the laid.back Buddhist has MOVED...back!

Tuesday, September 11

Same Is NOT Equal

Because I really don't see how it's equality if it means individuality is somehow lost in the process. Same cannot be mistaken for equal.

Being a woman is not the same as being a man.

Never has been, never will be... nor should it be.

By the very nature of being men and women, we are polar opposites. That's what creates the allure for our attraction. Embracing those natural differences between men and women only serves to strengthen this connection. This magnetic polarity between our genders is needed. It's the basis of what we consider to be sexy.

That's what I said to my Human Sexuality professor last week when she asked the class for an opinion.

She really likes me now.

So the million-dollar question remains: if it's not a sameness, then what does it mean to be equal?

See, I never understood why equality must be treated as an elimination of differences. People can choose to conform to standards, trying to be the same or trying to pretend that it's good to be the same. But the characteristics of our sex doesn't just influence how we look or how we act. It's also affects how we think, innately.

And for all the differences between how men and women think, I actually feel there are more similarities than anything else.

Regardless of our sex, we all experience joy, suffer from self-doubt and...need time to recover from heartbreak.

I see equality as blending those apparent and sometimes not-so apparently different qualities. It's not enough to simply recognize men and women as different—it's also a matter of respecting how those differences can help us grow.

And, personally? That polarity between genders is probably one of the reasons why I find the masculinity of men fascinating.

Haha, then again that could also just mean that my brain is actually a hormone in disguise!


18 Musing(s):

friendly angel said...

Hey there Joanne, again, very intelligent and obviously thought out perspective. That last sentence though, are you saying you are actually the male side of the equality? Cause you know, at first thought it does seem like it could be a good exercise in understanding someone your are close with (to put yourself in their shoes and write how it night feel to be the other)

Cause I have to confess, in reading your blog it seems i have developed a minor e-crush on you. The problem is that I am not really sure that I am comfortable enough with my sexuality to know that my e-crush is of another male! ;)
I'm messing with you Joanne, and no offense to any Him, or the future or hypothetical him.

Chris C said...

Interesting post :)

I am not so sure men and women think alike though. This is not a bad thing as long as we recognize this and understand this does not mean men and women are not equal, just that we have our differences. :)

dcr said...

Equality is perhaps best measured in opportunity rather than sameness.

If you measure things in sameness, then not even people of the same sex would ever be truly equal. There was a short story I read long ago, the title and author of which are now forgotten, that illustrated this. If you want to achieve true equality (sameness), then you would have to take the least able person and bring everyone down to their level. For example, if the slowest man could walk only five steps a minute, then the fastest man would have to be (by use of weights or other contraptions) brought down to the same pace. That way, whereever they would go, neither would have any advantage over the other. They would be equal.

This is the fallacy of trying to make everyone equal. And, how would we ever make men and women truly equal? If a woman is pregnant, would we force the father to carry around with him a weight equal to the growing womb of the mother? Would we hurt him to replicate the pain of childbirth? Would we force him to take a paternity leave equal to that of the mother so that men and women would not have any workplace disparity?

If you do that, what of people that do not have children, or who have multiple children? Do we force people to have children so that they would not have a more advantageous situation in the workplace? Do we control the number of children people may have?

There are things we can never truly equalize, except if we take extreme measures, which may make everyone more equal but at the expense of making everyone less free.

Men, whether or not they father children, will always have a natural advantage over women, who choose to mother children, in the workplace. Men do not necessarily need to take a leave or time off. So, men can be fathers or not, and it does not affect their work situation to a large degree. On the other hand, for women to accomplish the same, they would likely have to forego motherhood or certain facets of motherhood.

It is more reasonable to measure equality in opportunity and to recognize that, whether you are a man or a woman, there are advantages and disadvantages to each gender. We must also recognize that our own choices limit our opportunities. That does not make us unequal, however, if we all have the same opportunities to start.

As we take advantage of our opportunities by making choices, we limit our ability to respond to other opportunities. It is unreasonable to label this as inequality.

If a person is prohibited from being in a certain profession because of their sex, then that is not equality, because you are denying an opportunity because of her sex.* If a person limits their opportunities by the choices they make, which may include parenthood, then that is not inequality because people are making their own choices and not being denied opportunities on the basis of gender.

*Except, of course, for professions where a certain gender is a reasonable requirement. Do you really want men modeling bras in the Victoria's Secret catalog?

xtina said...

You do bring up a good point. After all, if we were all the same we might as well be gay, right? :)

dnordstrom said...

I get it now, I really do. I read about this a couple of nights ago and I'm seeing it all around me. The reason why your intellect is so attractive, is that you, my friend, is a highly sexed person. It stimulates your brain, taking you to higher than normal altitudes. All this became really obvious to me by reading your posts.

This is a good thing and I'm happy to see it. Going back to the topic, I think you're making it more complicated than it has to be. Remember what Einstein said, you know the quote. Let me simplify things.

Equality is the opposite of discrimination, as simple as that. Women and men in the workplace should have equal pay if they perform equally. Women and men in the community should have equal opportunity under equal circumstances.

But one has to understand that it's easier said than done. We live in a complex world, in which change is a process. Politicians are surrounded with a lot of factors. But no doubt you already know this.

What many feminists don't seem to understand is that the equality problem goes both ways. While I may get something because I'm a man, you may get something because you're pretty.

jon said...

Haha, then again that could also just mean that my brain is actually a hormone in disguise!

It means your brain is normal. Much of our contemporary understanding of sexuality and parity, in my opinion, is not normative.

I grew up with very strong, highly educated women in the household and a strong man who respected their rights, character and personalities. As result, it gets me in a lot of trouble, but I insist on every occassion possible, that Feminism, as articulated from the platform of the feminists I know, is simply another form of sexism. When challenged I easily and rightly express myself as an egalitarian.

Those that seek the constant homogeneity of cultures miss out on the important fact that our differences are most certainly attributes to be celebrated, and I, for one, am amazed and intoxicated by true feminine mystique and the inherent strength therein.

Sarcasm Abounds said...

I think Elmo from "Sesame Street" said it best when he summed up your eloquent ponderings as:

(Running Elmo sound) "Same!" (running back) "Not Same. See?"


Joanne said...

Friendly Angel: Haha, well I’m hesitant to take sides on the issue of male-female equality. Gender roles are social constructs defined by our modern culture. I think it’s more trying to understand gender traits, which are just as similar as they are different…only our society likes to place emphasis on the disparity between the gender traits rather than the similarities. Which is totally understandable, as trying to understand what’s different makes for interesting stuff to publish in the news.

Chris: That sentence makes me smile, “I’m not so sure men and women think alike though, “ because I understand what you mean, totally. But I think it’s more progressive for us to think of men and women not just as separate genders, but as people…as a person. But that’s really hard to do with all the gender stereotypes that influence our own perspectives.

Dan: You know what? One of these days, you should just guest blog for me. I like your answer of opportunity…when I have a million bucks to spare, I’ll let ya know! ;) And, it’s funny you should mention Victoria’s Secret models…because apparently 80% of runway models are Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) because they have the tall slender look that’s more characteristic of men. Ironic, huh? Because it means “men” are still setting the standard for what it means to be feminine and attractive.

Vy: Learn how to not double-post, lols. ;) Ha, if we were all the “same,” I think I’d wither away in boredom.

Daniel: I agree, it definitely goes both ways. And, haha…I’m just going to have to straight up disagree with you here—I don’t think I’m making it more complicated. Gender roles ARE complicated and run deep into modern mentality. Why is it that if you told a girl that she throws a ball like a boy, it’s a compliment. But if you turn it around and told a guy that he throws like a girl…yeah, it becomes an insult. I’m glad you mentioned the workforce, as with more and more women having careers alongside men, the playing field is being leveled as to who is the “breadwinner” of the family. It puts more pressure on women, but like you said…it does go both ways, and by accepting that women can bring in income, it relieves the pressure on men to be the only financial supporter of his family.

Jon: I like what you said about how feminism can be a form of sexism. Too often people make the mistake of assuming feminism to be based solely on power, the power of men versus the power of women. TRUE feminism advocates equality between gender roles (not genders, there’s 2 different sexes for a reason…but gender roles need not be so socially rigid). Then again, if it were true feminism…why do we call it that? You’re right, it should be egalitarian. Your mother and sister(s) sound amazing. I always wished I had a brother in my own family.

SA: HAHAHA! I do see.

Magari said...

Alright, this is another attempt to define the esoteric so dont expect much...

Same and equal are the same and equal and they also are not?!

this universe includes polarities yet it is one entity.

Most Buddhists like to meditate on something called "the oneness of duality"

wish I had a link or something.

Joanne said...

Magari: Haha, give myself leeway, that's why I call my Buddhist philosophy "laidback"! ;) But actually, I am advocating for a "oneness" of this duality of the sexes...for when two people come together as equals, they share a "oneness". They are two individuals who know how to be themselves while also being a part of someone else. Thanks for the comment! =)

Rolando said...

Is this a 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus' thing? hahaha

I believe we are the same as you say we experience joy, suffering, etc. as we humans do.

We just express ourselves differently and communicate differently.

Unless you're Dr. Phil I believe that will always be the case, but that uniqueness is why men are men and women are women.

I like that we're different in that sense. I like the challenge of trying to understand the opposite sex. Makes life interesting.

Joanne said...

Rolando: Agreed. Life is already interesting enough as is...this is one of those things that makes it sweet as well.

David said...

Equality is sharing the same privilege as everyone else. It disregards status, gender, and income so society itself will be fair and just. Equality was never the definition of "same". Equality is sharing the "same" privilege as everyone else. I hope what I said makes some sense for this topic really made my thoughts poured out.

keeyit said...

Women and men never be the same =)

dnordstrom said...

I've got a question for you. Which one do you prefer; complexity or simplicity?

I know you absolutely love thinking; adding stuff to a big pile that is supposed to define a concept or problem. But do you also try to strip it down to it's bare essence?

I'm not attempting to prove you wrong here because if you're anything like me, there's no point in even trying. And I think we're both "right", I just want to look at things as simple as possible. I'm merely curious about your way of thinking.

There's a quote for every situation:

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak”
Hans Hofmann

And a personal favorite:

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Leonardo da Vinci

But let's move on to something more creative and ask ourselves "how" instead of "why" and "what". First step was to define and interpret the problem. Done. Now, how do you want to change the world in terms of equality?

"Accepting that women can bring in income"? We're way past that milestone by now. Except for some conservative, ignorant fools.

RennyBA said...

Interesting and very readable post!

Btw: The polarity between genders is fascinating me too. Probably the reasons why I like the femininity in woman:-)

The Chick said...

So many opinions! But agree or disagree, I like that you're EVEN thinking about it!

Joanne said...

David: Thanks, I’m glad you shared your thoughts with me.
Keeyit: LOLs, and thank goodness! ;) But we’re definitely equals.

Daniel: Jeez, that’s a tough question! I could definitely go on and on about this issue in a full-fledged post. Maybe I prefer complexity because it gives me the opportunity to simplify it into something understandable and relatable. The best “how” is by example, one person at a time. Great quotes, by the way.

RennyBA: Thank you! Haha, I’m glad I’m not alone in having a fascination for the opposite sex.

TheChick: Aww, yeah. Well, it’s a natural progression when I think about men, relationships, etc. =)

Winston Churchill