I am a man, therefore i am competitive, willing to use violence to achieve what i want and capable of having sex even with women i dislike.
Actually, i do not correspond to most of the archetypal male image. In many ways, i am more of a girl. I like to be courted instead of courting. I dislike sports. I wouldn’t have sex with someone if we were fighting.
And this is not out of a desire to “be different”. I do prefer to be like everyone else. But the standard is so stupid. I feel like people are shooting themselves on the foot all the time.
Obviously, the issue with what exactly means “being male” or “female” is just part of a greater deal. That is, gender issues. That is, how we structure our society based (amongst other things) on preconceived roles for men and women.
So, i think that gender issues are not solved, or are problematic enough to deserve more attention, and to be faced as challenges to our civilization as important as the acceleration of the comm-technologies or the up-scaling ecological issues.
I will accept that gender issues are not the only things that do not make sense in the world around me. How can an imbecile be president of the USA? How can a porn-star be “queen of the kids” in Brazil? But i think gender issues are more important than, well, almost anything else. Why?
First of all, gender issues have a tremendous impact on the subjective life of all people. Even if poor-old-slum-inhabitant Zé will have his life doomed by being raised on a “Favela“, which is the product of market forces and cultural prejudices much larger than his individual power, his perceived woes will be connected much more with whether Maria does not want to lay down with him. Who is going to fuck who gets much more attention than those other “important” issues. The average person will worry over the geo-bio-political issues only after he sorted out who he wants to date/marry.
Not only that, but who we see ourselves to be, and what we define to ourselves that we want from life, our identities and dreams, are built upon the gender issues. That means: the very things we strive for, the very standards against which we will judge what are important issues or not, are based on gender issues. They are there, very deeply ingrained on our culture to the point we cannot even see them clearly.
But gender issues are not important only subjectively. Albeit having a diffuse effect, gender issues impact all of our civilization. They are part of what have bought us to our present habit of consumerism, of high stress levels on work being seen as “natural” or “healthy”, our habit of seeing “success” in competitive scales instead in how happy you are with yourself, and so on. If you cannot pinpoint the exact consequences of gender issues in geopolitics this is a symptom of their complexity and not of lack of importance.
To make one example, imagine if you could take out all the sexiness of having a car. If the buying decision of car-owners could be completely disassociated from sexual repressions. If the car owned could be made to not influence at all the chances of a given person having company after a night out. Now imagine if bigger cars or smaller ones would be more desirable. Now imagine the difference in car sales. And now remember that car exhaust is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide.
Also, although i think this would deserve a much deeper analysis, we can begin to see the reach of gender issues. The current idea of Nation-State, for example, is based upon a very specific concept of “family”. This Family is neither natural nor more practical than any other possible arrangement (and there are almost no end to familiar structures in different cultures). And this idea of family is exactly a distribution of roles mostly based on gender.
But, whether they be important or not, is it realistic to want to change anything about gender roles in our society?
I believe so. Example: is it natural that men are more violent? Probably not. Is it natural that men are more sex-oriented than women? Probably not. Still, we hold those things are true. We take them for granted. We act as if they were unchangeable. But what makes them unchangeable is exactly that we treat them as such.
Most of the things expected from a gender role are based on culture, not in nature. Aggressiveness, competitiveness, robustness, and so forth. Those traits are chosen and trained, rather than forced on us.
We do not change mostly because we do not want to be seen as unpredictable in such a touchy subject. We do not want to diminish our chances to get laid. Because our stances in regard to such a subject will likely affect our chance to get laid more than, say, a difference in salary or our ability to be charming in conversation. If i am not seen as a “suitable reliable possible partner” i might even be Nobel awardee in literature and Olympic champion in gymnastics that this hot chick will not try to get me.
As “chances of getting laid” have a bigger subjective importance than economics or even religion, you might see that questioning gender issues is too risky to most people.
Still, we need to discuss them.
The generation of my parents (i am 28 right now, so say the generation born circa 1930s-40s) has more divorces than continuing marriages. Of the 4 sons of my maternal grandfather, all are divorced. And my parent’s divorce was the most painful thing that ever happened to me.
That means that, to me, the current state of affairs is not good enough. But i also see it all around me. I see couples who fight endlessly (sometimes with vicious tactics) over the roles expected from each other. I see violence against women. I see circumcision. I see child eroticizing. And so on, and so forth…