Thursday, October 13, 2016

Moving to Gender Equality

This latest coverage of Trump's verbal and physical assaults and subsequent campaign talk has really turned this election discussion again to that of gender equality. Much of the campaign is about equality. We have had religious, racial, sexuality, and gender to name the top topics of equality.

This post is about gender, though. I honestly do not think I have the appropriate vocabulary to talk about this, but perhaps that will help in some way to push the conversation forward. So many problems are a result of communications issues. Not that they don't happen, but that we are missing an understanding of each side and that, in some cases, the same words are used with different meanings.

In this article from the New York Times titled, 'What Politicians’ Reactions to the Trump Video Reveal About Sexism,' the author describes some of the nuances of politicians' responses from the analysis of a company who specializes in the matter, Textio.

I, a 32-year-old man who grew up in Kansas, felt that the article was very pointed. I felt a little sharpness enter into me from the article. I very much felt that I was being deemed a misogynist for thinking about my familiar relationships in that way. I know that I am not, but am I viewed that way for feeling that I need to protect the people, in this case, women, in my life?

I think that this goes along the lines of this black-and-white or binary view of various topics that are major points of contention in our everyday public discussions across our citizenry. There is not an easy method to draw people to these types of conversations without someone feeling like they are being negatively tagged with labels such as misogynist or sexist. I, for example, feel that women should have equal pay, positions of authority, standing in society, and so on down the list of unequalness.

I want my daughter to be able to do anything she wants in life. She currently wants to make music to sell on the radio so she can live with cheetahs to study them and build a time machine there. Excellent, she wants to be a zoologist, physicist, engineer, musician, and entrepreneur! I will do everything I can to help her move forward with her dreams. She currently takes piano lessons, excels in science and mathematics in school, and attends a STEM club every week.

Yet, she is my daughter, which is my familiar relationship, and I very much feel that I have a responsibility to protect her. Outdated chivalry? Maybe that is part of the case. I also have a high level of respect for her and know that she can achieve anything to which she sets her mind.

I think we need to have more of a discussion and education on this subject without devolving to binary labels being thrown at each other. Perhaps some alternate means for wording and some ways of viewing from the different perspective. There is not an overnight solution, but a sliding along a spectrum that needs to take time. Otherwise, expect reactions to act as a counter from those who perceive their world is flipping around them. I think we have come along way in just the last 10 years and continuing to slide in a positive direction for women is very much a good thing that we must continue.

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