Secularism, the way I understand it, is looking at all religions the same way without bias—in essence accepting the equality of all faiths (as opposed to my God bestest).
Likewise, gender-equality strives to attain equivalence of the sexes in terms of perception and opportunity.
Noble aims indeed and ones to which I fully subscribe to.
One of the fundamental concepts inherent in the definition of “equality” is that to an external observer, the two equal quantities should appear the same, modulo some property. In other words, if I say that A and B are equal in weight, then modulo the property of weight, they should be indistinguishable.
Annie Zaidi writes thusly about the debate about women in the Army:
The trouble is that men live trapped in menâ€™s bodies (and of course, they donâ€™t have a choice in the affair) which makes them utterly incapable of forming rational, logical views on the subject of strength, fortitude, courage etc.
As a woman and a citizen, I can say two things with certainty. One, that if an army requires strength, courage or sheer tenacity, women are more fit for the job than men are.
The response in the comments section of Annie’s post: “Bravo” ,”Applause” and other assorted encomiums.
Now, let’s say someone had written the same thing in such a way that every occurance of the word man/men and woman/women are interchanged:
The trouble is that women live trapped in womenâ€™s bodies (and of course, they donâ€™t have a choice in the affair) which makes them utterly incapable of forming rational, logical views on the subject of strength, fortitude, courage etc.
As a man and a citizen, I can say two things with certainty. One, that if an army requires strength, courage or sheer tenacity, men are more fit for the job than women are.
Here’s the question. Since I have replaced equals with equals, the effect of these two posts should be the same with respect to reader reaction.
I suppose you have already realized the point I am trying to make.
If anyone had written this “interchanged version” , the comments would be “Shame shame” (from the same people), and the blogger would be dubbed a MCP, a misogynist and worse.
Is this equality?
This labelling intrigued me as I have always wanted to be a fine journalist myself—-and have only polite “No thank you”s and editorial silence to show for my efforts.
Now when someone like Dilip D Souza, a famous journalist, awarded author and noted blogger himself, calls this an example of fine journalism—–I have to confess that it sets me thinking as to what the concepts of fairness and equality really are in the journalistic world.
As another example of this curious definition of “equality” between the sexes, we have had a spate of cases in the US where female school teachers have been found sleeping with underage school boys and let off with much lighter sentences than male teachers who have indulged in similar acts of moral turpitude.
These female-teacher-does-male-student-stories generate mass media frenzy (standard Leno joke: Goddamn, I wish I went to that school), there is a lot of sympathy for the female teacher (ooh her husband ignored her in bed), the underage boy is blamed (it was he who seduced the female teacher—-he looks so grown up) and legal howlers like the case where one female offender [Debra Lafave] was let off on the grounds she was too sexy for jail.
“Lafave, her lawyer argued, was simply too attractive to be put in jail.
“To place Debbie into a Florida state women’s penitentiary,” Fitzgibbons said, “to place an attractive young woman in that kind of hellhole, is like placing a piece of raw meat in with the lions. I don’t think Debbie could survive it.”
Judge Timmerman apparently agreed.
Now if the perpetrators were male, there would no jokes, no quarter given for an aloof wife, no consideration of whether the girl came onto him or how mature the girl looked—he would be seen as a paedophile and nothing more.
There would be universal revulsion and condemnation all around, people would chuckle gleefully at the indignities that would be heaped on a child molester in jail,pointing out to each other that it’s time this pervert realized how it feels to be violated.
When faced with such facts as the above, the standard “counterattack” from people whose concept of gender equality borders on female chauvinism is that women have had it bad for centuries and in some ways, it’s payback time.
So tough luck.
Of course, this is the same logic that justifies caste-based reservations (punishing this generation for the wrongs of their forefathers) for all perpetuity.
And also sanctifies the breaking down of mosques ( Babur and Mahmud of Ghazni broke our temples in the 1500s and burnt our house and raped our women—-and so in 2002 we am doing the same to you)—–so I won’t spend time in discussing this absurd arguement any further.
Which leads me to the question I started out with: is the concept of equality something I have totally failed to comprehend (a rather damning possibility for someone who proves equivalence relations between process models for a living)?
Is this the reason why I have never managed to become a journalist—let alone a fine one ?