by Allen Alexander
WHY is it so difficult for women to find equality in a world where women hold the majority? Women will not find the equality they seek so long as they aspire to be equal to a species that is unfair. Women are told that they must emulate men in order to be regarded as highly as men. Women want to be equal to men in what men call a ‘man’s world’, which is almost impossible without a war between the sexes. But war is not the answer.
Many elements divide the human race. There is racism, religion, class, and so much more. There is at least one question that is ignored every time women speak of gender equality. The question is this: “what class of men will women be made equal to; and does that include all women?”
This issue of gender equality is, and has always been a delicate one. Men do not regard other men as their equals. Men also struggle for equality against the psychological barriers of racism, class division and religion, and these barriers have also been set among women. It is difficult for women to achieve gender equality for they are divided amongst themselves for the same reason that men are. Women are not equal to men because not even man is equal to man. But that does not mean that the fight for equality is hopeless.
Racism was invented to dominate a race which was not one’s own; class structure was invented to divide people of the same race; and androcentrism was invented to dominate and subjugate womankind. All of these inventions could be said to be the works of men, for they came out of societies that were ruled primarily by men. Today, they have taken root in the minds of so many people. Men have brought about too much division already. The examples that men have set will continue to bring about division unless a greater example is set; an example which can only be made by women.
There is much that women can do that men have failed to achieve. The fight for gender equality has the potential to unify the entire human race if only it is fought properly. If women can break the barriers of race, class, religion, status, and culture (which divides them), and come together in a way which men have never done, the result will be phenomenal.
We simply cannot make a difference if we all remain the same. Racist women do not treat all women equally; most upper-class women do not regard lower-class women as their equal and the list goes on. If the vast majority of women do not accept one another as equals, then how can they expect men who are not equals among themselves to regard women as their equals? It is simply not enough for women to aspire for equality with only the men of her class and race, for that would justify reasons for her to be treated unfairly by men of a higher social class. Surely, this is not the best that we can aspire for.
Men have ruled the world through the ideologies and philosophies that they have created, and a great fraction of society continues to be brainwashed by these ideologies. They are perpetuated by everyone who consciously and unconsciously accepts patriarchy and the marginalisation of femininity. A lot of our customs and our traditions represent these concepts. Woman was once the property of her father until she married and became the property of her husband. Today she is still walked down the isle to her betrothed who waits at the alter; a practice which symbolises the transference of ownership. Why aren’t men being walked down the isle? This does not request a change of tradition, but perhaps mothers should consider walking their sons down the isle to the woman who may possibly look after him for the rest of his life.