Thursday, May 14, 2009

On the hardships of equality

Dr. Melissa Clouthier has a fantastic post up about how modern feminism tears down femininity and beauty.

To be taken seriously, a liberal woman must be ugly or make herself ugly. To be accepted by God and/or the culture, a gay man should have been born a woman. These untenable positions make the trapped person very angry. So feminist women hate their ovaries and breasts and so do gay men.

The solution, then, is to shame and silence those who have what the jealous person cannot have. Feminists will participate in the destruction of Sarah Palin right along side Andrew Sullivan. Feminists will discuss a beauty pageant winner’s artificial breasts right along side Perez Hilton. They are consumed with jealous, impotent rage. It makes them hideously ugly.

This is a sad, but often true statement. Of course it is a generalization, but how many of us don't know people like this? People so consumed with bucking their idea of what society is telling them that they feel the need to lash out with hatred and vitriol? It ain't the exception any more, I fear.

Having two daughters has really changed my perceptions on some of these topics. I have certainly developed a clearer stance on the differences between celebrating beauty and objectification and what it means to promote equality between genders. It certainly doesn't involve tearing down masculinity to promote femininity. True equality involves embracing the differences, celebrating those differences but accepting that those differences don't pose limitations on what a person can do with their life.

Now, that's an easy thing to say: those differences don't pose limitations on what a person can do with their life. It's a much harder thing to actualize. I have a cousin who did a hitch in the Navy. She didn't do some desk jockey yeoman job, she was a gunner's mate. This was only a few years ago and she was still subjected to the "boy's club" mentality prevalent in many of these predominantly male jobs. Add the testosterone-fueled military-at-sea environment and you can guess the kinds of problems she had. And she decided to get out. I'm not sure if it was what was supposed to be or not, but she's happier now (at least she was last time I spoke with her).

I would add to that my own experience as a military journalist. I didn't see hardly any field time in comparison to the combat arms guys. I mostly worked 9-to-5 style jobs and had a pretty lax environment. So, any time I went out with more traditional Army types, I caught a lot of hell. The fact that I couldn't hang with them eventually led to me getting out of the Army. As it should have. The simple fact is that if you can't be a soldier, you shouldn't.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that just because someone tries something and fails, or quits, or decides that they would be better off doing something else, doesn't mean that there's not the opportunity for equality out there. I think it's far too easy for people to look at circumstances where someone fails and blame the environment.

Hardship is not unique to anyone. The degree may be more or less extreme, but just because someone hasn't experienced a particular brand of difficulty doesn't mean they haven't done their own time in their own private purgatory. And, like Dr. Clouthier implies, it's easy for one to get caught up in their own idea of personal persecution that they feel the need to lash out at anyone not like them. There are, of course, people who have earned hate and mistrust, but not everyone who isn't you.

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