I am not pleased with the following, since most aspects mentioned are barely even outlined. I shall have to address each aspect in separate posts in turn, it would seem, as it would be too time-consuming to rework this post accordingly. I suppose ‘make one’s point another day’ is not going to become a rival for the notorious proverb. Regardless, here goes:
Even Western socities are, despite all real or alleged progress, still based upon the principle of inequality. And although many people tend to consider it oversensitive, one such inequality consists in misogyny, the concept of which the respective entry on oxforddictionaries.com defines as follows:
I put an emphasis on ‘ingrained prejudice’ because subtle misogyny is still misogyny, regardless of whether it is perceived and interpreted as such. If anything, it demonstrates that the basic attitude of forcing everyone to fit into set categories, as well as seeing females as inferior to males, has not changed at all, but has simply found another manner of expression. Most often, we are so perfectly adapted to our everyday roles that we do not even notice how desperately we try to fulfil everyone’s expectations – the origin of which they themselves may be unable to explain –, thus being bereft of being who we really are. Naturally, we are not free to do that which we want when we want, but that is beside the point. It is rather that from our earliest childhood onwards, we are trained and conditioned to suppress part of our natural character, such as a certain form of humour, a specific kind of laughter, even interest in specific areas, simply because our parents and educators in general distaste of them, not because they were actually harmful to anyone. We never stop adapting to these outer pressures, even as we mature into adulthood. Instead, we begin to apply the same measures to others, thus reproducing the same kind of society with the same kind of issues, while only the expression of the symptoms changes, but never the underlying illness.
Returning to the initial point, even many females implicitly and explicitly judge other females for not fitting the categories of a patriarchally structured society. Already have there been cries, from all corners of society, for a return to the alleged purity and unity of old times when no-one questioned his or her place in society, as though any of the issues we have been facing throughout history had only surfaced in the recent past because people, especially females, have raised their voices against custom. Yet the appeal is false as much as when done by religion or any other societal force: such a harmonious state has never existed. A lot of people still talk misogyny as well as racism casually, as though these things were the most natural thing in the world. How often does someone say, ‘This is a task for a woman’ (in a tone implying that it is beneath a man’s dignity) or ‘This is a task for a man’ (in a tone implying that a female would be too incompetent because of her sex, gender, and everything associated with it, to do it properly)? ‘She’s very masculine’, ‘He’s very feminine’, etc. are more of the same prejudiced, judgemental nonsense.
The whole picture comes down to this: If you have a penis and testicles, you are supposed to do and be like M; if you have a vagina and ovaries, you are supposed to do and be like F. If you do not comply, you will be sanctioned harshly and severely; if you do comply, you will be sanctioned harshly and severely, too. And if you do not fit the dichotomy written in stone, you will be sanctioned harshly and severely as well.
I, for one, neither wish to pick my poison nor to choose the lesser evil. Perhaps you are surprised to read something like this written by the epitome of privilege, a heterosexual, white middle-class male: yet the fact of the matter remains that I do care about these issues and take them very seriously. Reactions to my position usually range from scorn to (attempted but never succesful) ridicule because most people would, in most cases, rather listen to authority and the latest fashion news than to someone bringing up issues underlying their world to discuss them rather than ignore them or pretend that they were not to be taken seriously.
An open debate is usually prevented by an outright denial of the existence of the aforementioned issues, and if even mentioned, exposed to immediate ridicule, as though people’s eagerness to fit in would sadly be an ironic basis for unity: ‘Everyone is pointing his or her finger, so I should too, lest they turn on me next.’