I’m just gonna be straight-up with y’all. This is my first blog post ever in life, and I’m a scientist by training, not a writer, so stick it out with me. I’ll probably ramble. Or wander with the Israelites for 40 years. Your choice. But it might be fun.
I’m sitting here drinking hot chai tea. If you were here, I’d totally get you some. I wish I could, because who can argue over steeping, flavorful tea? It’s the best. And we could sit here and discuss, because I prefer one-on-one interactions anyway. Let’s get to it.
I’m tired. I’m tired of arguing. The First World is full of it, especially if you ever go onto the Internet (which I’m assuming you do, and I feel like that’s a safe assumption; if this is one of the rare times you’re on here, you might wanna try reading someone who’s a little better versed than myself). There are so many –isms and –ists out there that it really is hard to figure out what to think, and everyone is arguing for their own personal agenda. So, let’s just have a brief discussion, argument-free. How’s that sound? Thought you’d like that.
I don’t like labels, as a general rule, because people are way more complicated than any box you can put them in. I’m not sure what a “feminist” is—not because I don’t think men and women don’t deserve the same opportunities or standing before the law, in jobs, or in all of society, but because it means different things to different people. I believe in all of those things.
But I’ll be honest: I’ve been burned out by feminism. My closest relationship was with a very feminist girl. I live with the most feminist person I’ve ever in my life encountered, and that’s saying something. (Strangely enough, he’s a white dude, too. See? Isn’t that strange?) There’s always some new feminist issue out there that has to be tackled right now on the Internet dangit! And that’s not where I come from. So, I’m hesitant to apply that label to myself or anyone else. I think, however, that Sarah Bessey puts it best in her book Jesus Feminist where she says that “at its core, feminism consists of the radical notion that women are people, too” and “it’s not necessary to subscribe to all the diverse—and contrary—opinions within feminism to call oneself a feminist.” So, I guess, according to Bessey, I am one, and you probably are, too.
I’m a middle-class, white, male, soon-to-be college grad from a Christian university. Who better to talk about the issue of women? But really, it is an issue. Now, I will go ahead and say that there are differences between men and women (gasp!), and I will go so far as to say you think so, too (gasp gaspity gasp!). Who has the obligation to bear the children? No matter how much anyone may want it to be true, men can’t have children. We’re not seahorses. One is XX and one is XY. One bears children, and one only fertilizes. Our bodies work differently. Our brains are structured differently. We metabolize differently. There are good, biological reasons for all of this. If it didn’t work and weren’t good, then evolution says that’s not how it would be.
So, I’m just going to throw out the idea that men and women are equivalent. From a scientific background, “equal” means “same”. “Equivalent” means “functionally the same”. So, for all intents and purposes, men and women are to be treated societally the same, while actually having differences. Saying men and women are the same is wrong, boring, and sells both sexes short. There’s beauty in the differences between them, as well as the commonalities. Both are necessary. The problems come when one group (yes, typically the men) tries to dominate the other (the women; process of elimination, people). There’s nothing right or good about that, and I think that’s anti-Jesus. Jesus didn’t play favorites among the sexes. He was cool like that.
Sadly, in our culture, both men and women reduce women to the sum of their parts. This LiveScience article discusses a study done where both men and women tended to see women, rather than men, as a sum of their parts. That’s a problem. We’re better than this. Men do it for sexual reasons, and women do it for competitive ones. (The funny thing is, in the animal kingdom, it’s usually the males that are objectified, which seems to be fine with the animals, since they’re usually fertilization factories anyway. Humans are a little more up there, though. I think we can know better.)
How can we fix these problems? Honestly, it’s a big problem to tackle. But, I will say that I don’t think argument will get us anywhere. Argument just pits people against other people and creates conflict by its own nature. We need to be willing to sit down (maybe with tea!) and discuss and talk, while still being firm and resolute. And make sense. And be reasonable. And realize that real change takes time, and it usually happens gradually in incomplete steps. Because really, don’t we argue enough? Isn’t division what causes this junk to begin with? Believe it or not, a person is reasonable most of the time, if you come to them with respect and humility and don’t throw ideals or arguments at them, trying to make them stick. They just get bruised and throw theirs right back. Extremism isn’t helpful, either. By its nature it excludes. To change people’s minds and hearts, you can’t exclude those who disagree. You change them by showing them a better way. Isn’t that what Jesus did anyway?
Kelly Cox is currently studying Biological Studies with a pre-med emphasis and a chemistry minor. So basically, he knows science. He doesn’t have a blog (yet) but is on Twitter @Mr_Dr_Cox.