Posts Tagged ‘Chauvinism’

Being Male is Chauvanist?

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while… honestly, I thought no one was reading this, and also, sometimes life sucks. But I notice people have been commenting, so I figured I’d get back at it, hopefully consistently.

Something I learned relatively quickly in college was this: apparently my Y chromosomes is apparently an offense to (some) women. Now, I’m not trying to paint a wide stroke here, but lets take some background. First, I was raised in a relatively religious household, and a large part of Jainism is the idea to treat everyone the same and to treat everyone kindly. Like most other old religions, Jainism does cast females in a lower light then males, but in all reality, I find females more religious then males, so specially in modern context, the history doesn’t matter. So for me as a kid, I didn’t see any point in differentiating the sexes, but the idea of chivalry seemed to fit right in with my Jain upbringing. I like to treat everyone with respect, even those who have done me wrong. I tend to be nice even to people who’ve hurt me. It doesn’t mean I’ve never been mean to those people too… I’m no saint. But the important part is how this developed my view on women. I’m that guy who’ll rush ahead a bit to open a door for a woman. I do it for anyone, but I might not rush for a guy. I pretty much always at least to try to pay for dinner when I go out with a female friend, specially if its someone I’m interested in. I don’t think they can’t pay, and if they really insist on it, I always give in. I might not have been the best boyfriend, but I don’t think either of the two girls I’ve been in a relationship with up to now can deny I tried to treat them right.

My alma mater used to consist of five main colleges, one of which was Douglass College, a prominent women’s-only college in the US. Over the last 3 years, there’s been a lot of restructuring at the University, merging the five colleges into one consolidated university. This was met with a lot of reluctance, specially from Douglass College. Now, all five of the colleges have a very rich heritage; Rutgers College was one of the first colleges in America. But of all five, Douglass students argued the loudest. Douglass College used to be a separate organization, but due to funding, ease, and I’m sure a hundred other reasons, it joined the State University of New Jersey, with the goals to lead and empower women, admirable goals for sure. But a group within the college, whom I can only describe as feminists, were completely against the idea of a consolidation. They insisted that if a consolidation was to take place, the other four colleges should merge, and Douglass remain independent. Now mind you, the role Douglass plays both for its goals and its politics was important to the University, and all attempts would be (and have be) made to preserve the history, goals, and programs provided. These girls just wouldn’t see it. I was all in support of their wanting to protect their school… had someone told me the School of Engineering would be merged (and in some cases, it seemed to come close), I would have been as fervent at it. I think popular feminism is as extreme as the religious right, but its a choice someone makes, and I was in support of their main goals, albeit being one of the students involved in the merger. My support vanished very quickly though when one day I was heading to support one of their rallies, and upon arriving, girls started shouting at me, with words like, “chauvinist”, “jerk”, and you can imagine they got worse. I pretty much decided there that I really didn’t find the cause worth supporting. In the next few months, I continued to push the merger, and the University continued to protect the goals and programs of Douglass, but it was merged in. I didn’t really care if they stayed separate anymore.

What’s the point of this long-winded story you ask? Just upset that some girls called me a “chauvinist”? Nah. In fact, I understand why they were upset. But here is my view on female rights, at least from what I’ve seen. And I fully expect to be chastised for some of this… girls I know have stopped talking to me over it. Males and females are definitely not equal in the US, let alone in the world, but I honestly think what holds them back now is not “the man” but themselves. Sure, I’m again talking about a lot of women who don’t fall into the category, but I see it just like different religions or cultures. You can’t have a small radical group you do nothing about then complain that they’re the ones who are at fault. It seems that feminists want to be proudly different but the same. Now note, I didn’t say “equal” because they don’t seem to paint a picture of equality. Equality implies to me that two groups are at the same level. Feminists feel so oppressed that simply my genetic structure is enough to offend them.

Take for example, the ongoing argument about women in the workplace. I’m far from being the ideal guy to talk about this; I have conflicting feelings about gender roles in situations like a marriage, work, etc. When I get married, I have no issue with my wife working, but I think if we have kids, one of us will have to leave our job. I’m a workaholic, so I can’t imagine leaving my job, but if my wife doesn’t really doesn’t want to, I’ll do it. The issue I have is women who will have a kid then head back to work in a few weeks, leaving kids to nanny’s, artificial milk, etc. No matter how equal men and women get, men and women will never be equal. Biologically, its impossible. No matter what you do, there are simple differences in genetics, biology, and hormones. Hormonally, women are better suited to be nurturing. Its not that guys don’t care, its not how we’re structured. Same way, males tend to be more aggressive then females. Now, someone could argue that this is all just excuses, and in a way it is. We are more then our animal instincts, but end of the day my point is this:

We’re not the same, get over it.

Use your differences for you. Dressing in masculine clothes doesn’t get you further in a job. Proving you can do anything a guy can do doesn’t make you equal. Using your differences, not flaunting them, pulls you ahead. I told my girlfriend this at one point, I’ll treat you like a princess or an equal. I can’t treat you special and treat you no differently then anyone else. As an Indian, I either get to be treated as a minority, or I get to be treated as an equal. Any time I’ve made it clear I’m separate, I’ve earned jeering looks and hostility from others. Fine, males and females aren’t equal yet. Most guys will agree, specially guys who wish it weren’t the case. But every time you try to step over us in the name of gender equality, I really don’t care how hard you get trampled.