Andrew Johnson is a retired father with six grown-up children and personal experience of the family court system. This is his anti-statist, libertarian perspective, on why the search for equality between men and women is doomed to fail.
— This is article #71 in our series of #100Voices4Men and boys
I have heard that the goal of the men’s movement is, “finishing off what feminists started when they campaigned for gender equality – TRUE equality!”
It is not a good idea. Apart from the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE anyway, it is not even wise to try and achieve something that goes against the real, observable nature of humanity.
Men and women are not “fungible”. Meaning, we cannot treat men and women as if they are easily interchangeable, have the same properties and characteristics, etc..
We are not dealing with, for example, haddock and cod. We are dealing with entities that are, by natural evolution, meant to complement each other when taken together, and have greatly different properties when considered separately. Meat and spuds. Plaice and lemon.
The “contentious” issues of sexual politics do have a habit of being based on “inconvenient” realities that the “equality” obsessives have absolutely no way of squaring off. We are a not a hermaphrodite species. “Ye can-nae change the laws of biology captain” as Scotty famously did not say in “Star Trek”.
Did you note I used the term “sexual” politics? It is my personal policy not to use terms that are often associated with feminist writers. Not merely to distance myself from an ideology I do not care much for, but because I regard “sex” as more explanatory than “gender”. The reasons why “the sexes” can’t often be treated as if they are the same, is because sexual reproduction depends on them behaving differently and having different properties. “Gender politics” really comes down to SEX. Let’s not be coy now.
Women bear children. They carry a child for nine months. They provide that growing body with all it needs. It is a major thing in the life of any woman who experiences it. It is not without risks and is often a difficult time for the woman. Mentally and physiologically.
Reproduction has a hugely significant impact on females. Solely the female. Not the male. He does not carry a child. He does not bear the risk, the pain.
He is not even necessarily aware that his genes are being used to create a child — few men are “required” to fulfil the reproductive abilities of all fertile women.
So, it is natural in society that when it comes to children – babies especially — it is all about THE MOTHER. It is and pretty much always will be, geared around HER needs and comfort.
Of course, that leads us on to…
Men are required to fertilise female eggs.
Without even getting into the immense task involved in convincing a woman to bear a child for a man. (Suffice it to say, women are CHOOSY and can afford to be, indeed HAVE to be, if they want the best chance for their offspring to be strong and cared for.)
That is pretty much all a chosen man needs to do, to ensure the species continues.
Hang on, no, not quite.
Raising kids, is hard work. It is time consuming. It demands a lot of resources. Who has to provide these resources?
The mother, is the PRIMARY parent, so she is needed for that role.
Don’t like that thought? Tough. Get used to it. Times have NOT changed much matey. Nor are they likely to this century.
Perhaps a DNA test can determine who “the other parent” is. If the mother wishes that. But he is not going to be breastfeeding the child, and certainly not carrying the child for nine months.
‘Human nature does not seek equality’
So what can his role be?
I think we know that. He provides. He cares for the mother, he engages with the world of work and labour, and brings back resources. Hey, he can even change nappies and play with the child.
There are of course others who can do this.
The state will even do it. The state can (and does) take over much of the “child raising” and resource provision so that both the mother and the father can then be “free” to… Support the state!
This is why the statists like the idea of “equalising” the sexes.
But it doesn’t really work does it? Mothers remain “sacred”. Men are still expected to work to provide for mothers, either directly, or indirectly via taxation.
A fools errand…
There are other reasons I can give why the quest for equality is at best pointless and even counterproductive.
Men will usually choose to provide women with MORE than what is “equal” and indeed women (and fathers of the bride) will always be willing to rate men on how they provide for her. (Capitulation?)
Human nature does not seek “equality” it seeks MORE than an equal share of resources when it can get it.
The most obvious inequalities are FINANCIAL differentials between SOCIAL CLASSES, vast and overwhelming compared to sexual inequalities in many regards.
Perhaps consider this:
Two equal parties, are more likely to argue, less likely to be able to settle their disagreements and make a decision, and ultimately will need a third party that is ‘MORE EQUAL’ than both to decide for them and there we come back to her ‘mate’ the STATE.
So, what is the way forward for men, women, children and the family life so many of us cherish?
Aim not for unrealistic and mutually power reducing “equality” between men and women. But for a system that encourages COMPATIBLE treatment of men and women. A system that frees men to be the best of manliness and allows women to be the best of womanliness.
And the beauty of it is, we know how to do that. Our cultural instincts showed us, a long time ago, and it doesn’t need any state help to “engineer” it along.
Gender equality? It was never the solution, and all attempts at making it so worsened the problems between the sexes. It was, and still is… A fool’s errand.
Feature image: Flickr/winnifredxoxo
Andrew Johnson is retired father with six grown-up children and personal experience of the family court system. He considers himself to be an anti-statist libertarian.
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men’s Day 2014 by clicking on this link—#100Voices4Men—and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
The views expressed in these articles are not the views of insideMAN editorial team. Whether you agree with the views expressed in this article or not we invite you to take take part in this important discussion, our only request is that you express yourself in a way that ensures everyone’s voice can be heard.