Debate Magazine

Battle Of The Sexes

Posted on the 28 March 2011 by Humanwriter @roseforman

Battle Of The Sexes

I've heard two things recently which have made me question feminism or, more precisely, how we perceive feminism. Firstly was the girl in my Feminist Perspectives of International Law class, she has the firm belief that men are basically useless, they can’t do the things that we women can do: eg. Cook, clean, raise children AND hold down a job. She is a spokeswoman for the phrase “behind every great man there is a great woman,” and basically sets out to prove the point that anything they can do we can do better! This is not my personal opinion and, I believe, not the opinion of many modern feminists. I think it doesn’t give enough credit to men and their ability to be a single parent, homemaker or multi-tasker. It is not correct to say that women and men are equal, there ARE fundamental differences which distinguish us as opposing sexes[1] (if there weren’t these differences surely we’d just be the same species except half of us have penis’s and the half of us don’t!). We think differently and we act differently in the same situations, its human nature and it is undeniable. It is not as simple as saying “fine I’ll act like a man and that will solve all my equality problems.” In the workplace, for example, this is all well and good until a female co-worker gets pregnant and has to take time off to give birth, even if she goes back to work the next day she is denying her innate maternal instincts. A male co-worker does not have this necessity to take time off work to give birth, but he should be free from social constraints to act out his own paternal instincts (some, however, would argue that his paternal instinct is to protect and provide for the family and therefore by staying at work and earning more money he is fulfilling his natural role… but that’s another story). However, the man can perform roles which the woman is stereotypically identified in and visa-versa, such as the male mid-wife and the fact that most chefs are male, if the woman’s job is to cook then why is she no good at it?! (I’m referring from personal experience here!) I believe that the modern feminist thinker is more likely to be of the opinion that anything they can do we can do in our own way as well, and anything I can do he can probably do too if society allows them. We are not going to be equal, because, as I said: we are fundamentally different, but we should have equal opportunities, women should be allowed to fight on the front line of combat and men should be able to stay at home and raise the children if that’s what they want to do.The second thing I heard was during my part-time bar job, two people noted that the more attractive girls think they can stand around and look pretty, “too pretty to work.” But my argument is why can’t we have both? These chauvinists couldn’t look past the fact that these girls are attractive, they assumed they could only either be attractive and lazy OR normal and hardworking. Why can’t an attractive woman be taken seriously to be intelligent and hardworking and still wear make-up? As Jessica Valenti says feminism isn’t “a synonym for excessive body hair.”[2] So what if I wear my Wonderbra instead of burning it? Does that mean that I want others to judge me as a pretty girl who thinks that I don’t have to do any work? I want to earn my place in society through my own merits the same as any man or unattractive girl! To quote the saying I say far too often when people are surprised that I actually have some brains: “I’m not just a pretty face!”

[1] See Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1990), pp.24-32. [2] Guardian Article:

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