I had an opportunity to think on the nature of discrimination the other day. On an author friend of mine’s blog the other day another author, (full disclosure, both writers were female) who writes fiction for young adults was decrying the lack of female authors and female main characters — in a field almost totally dominated by female authors.
In fact, said author was amazed when, at a book signing, a woman told her her son loved her books.
Now imagine that the other way around. You’re a male author and you tell someone you’re always surprised when a girl likes your work — you’d get whacked over the head.
It’s interesting in our culture, that there seems to be only one group against whom it’s safe to discriminate — men.
Before you laugh and/or burn down my house around my ears ladies, hear me out.
Look at the world around you, you’ve won.
We have scholarships and student loan programs specifically for women. Business loan programs targeted specifically at women. Women’s studies programs.
Imagine the explosion if a university started offering a degree program in “men’s studies.”
It goes deeper than that, however. Look in the popular culture and tell me the last time you saw a commercial or sit-com in which the father was not portrayed as a bumbling idiot who needs his wise and compassionate wife to save him from himself.
Another writer friend of mine Kate Paulk, who kind of went off on the lady who thought we needed more female authors in a female dominated field, told me she noticed that it’s quite all right to tell jokes about stupid men these days, but no one tells jokes about stupid women anymore.
That’s not quite true, men do tell jokes of that sort, but only very privately to trusted friends, lest someone find out we told the joke.
These days women are entering college at a vastly higher rate than men — including, interestingly enough, previously male dominated fields like the sciences. Women are already dominant in several fields, such as teaching.
Imagine if you will how many times you’ve seen a sign on a desk which says, “The best man for a job is a woman,” or words to that effect.
Now imagine if the sign said, “There’s no job a woman can do a man can’t do better.”
The man with that on his desk would likely be fired or sued for gender discrimination or sexual harassment.
Seems to me discrimination is discrimination.
Equal pay for equal work? Certainly. The job should go to the most qualified person regardless of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or whatever else we can think of? Absolutely — even if it’s a straight, white male.
The real problem here, to my mind, is that we’ve forgotten an essential truth — men and women are not the same. We think differently. We see the world differently. There are real, fundamental physical and psychological differences between the genders and it’s not sexist to acknowledge and celebrate that.
All IMHO, of course.
(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Cherokee County News-Advocate. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.)