Legal rights should be identical. As for softer social privileges, in this realm humans are first and foremost a biological species with innate tendencies, that since the dawn of humankind have created a balance between two sets of complementary privileges – men’s privileges and women’s privileges (alongside two sets of obligations, men’s and women’s).
Around the 1990s, at a point when feminism was not needed for formal equality (thanks to humanism, of both sexes, that starting in the 19th century gradually and painfully created legal equality of all, women included), feminists found it harder and harder to continue to find ways to justify feminism to women (why feminism should exist when democratic humanism provides and maintains equality). Feminism therefore moved at that point from the two domains humanism was centered on, of: 1) law, 2) work (in both of which humanism is the one who created equality, not feminism), and intruded into a third domain: sexuality and the intimate relations between the sexes.
But without understanding it, by that, feminists left the realm of socially-determined man-made rules (law, work) and entered a realm determined primarily by human biology and imprinted human genetics – those blueprints because of which the offspring of a human resembles a human and not a dog or a cat – human genetics. And in this realm what prevails and has always prevailed is that nature-born system of EQUIVALENCES, of different privileges to two sexes, privileges that complement each other.
For example, female sexuality innately seeks male resources because of a drive that evolved in evolution to secure offspring survival, and is attracted to a male presenting resources, that is, a gift or today inviting to dinner, and male sexuality had the complementary drive to present gifts and receive satisfaction from it, so we have a female privilege for resources that were created by a male, while the male sexuality innately seeks caring and tendering behaviors in women for the same reason coming from evolution to secure offspring survival (a nurturing mother), which then creates a soft male privilege of enjoying “residual caring and tendering” – like getting dinner, and again women have the complementary drive and receive satisfaction from feeding a man just like a man feels satisfaction from inviting a woman to dinner.
Feminists never allowed men and women to have an open discussion about whether as human beings, they want to extend formal equality from the domain of humanism (law and work) into the domain of their intimate, biology-driven, imprinted relations – of a two-sexes sexuality and mating. Feminists themselves never really had an internal discussion about applying their “men and woman are identical” that works for law and work (in work, as equal opportunity), to sexuality, to arrive at their new formula of “men and women are identical in sexuality and couplehood like for law and work”. They were driven into this third domain, when they attempted to continue finding ways to convince women that feminists are needed in a world shaped by humanism that already provides equality. The move into the third domain was done in feminism in a survival instinct (in 2016 , a poll from the UK reports that merely 7% of people identify as feminists, feminism was becoming extinct).
I do believe that almost all men and women, including most women and girls identifying today as feminists on social media, do not want to extend a feminist “sexes are identical” from law and work (socially-determined, man-made) to the third domain feminism was drawn into – sexuality and the intimate relations, but to keep their innate, imprinted, sexuality and the system nature created there, of two sets of complementary privileges, one set per each sex. I think that in this third realm, almost everyone likes the notion of very slight modifications there, that mostly carry a symbolic meaning of “a gesture” more than anything resembling “sexes are identical” – okay, so the guy cooks dinner once every two years, okay, so the girl takes the car to the garage once in a decade.
The human sexuality, unlike the realms of law and work-norms, is not created by society. It is innate and has drives which partly overlap between sexes and to a large extent do not overlap between the two sexes but complement each other innately. Human sexuality and mating is founded not on equality through identical rights but on equality through a balance generated by nature itself (in all mammals) between different privileges for each sex that overall form a balance between sexes. And for that reason, for the 99% in both sexes, what feminism now tries to achieve, of “just as in law and work men and women are identical, in the third domain, of sexuality and mating, men and women are identical too” is called: oppression. Oppression in men and women of their deepest, complementary (not identical) drives that together form: human sexuality, and the human sense of existential realization – of finding that person in the other sex and realizing with that person sexuality in the broadest sense of sexuality: love.
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3 thoughts on “Aren’t everyone in agreement that men and women should be equal?”
Great post! It’s interesting to consider the balance of complementary privileges between men and women in the realm of innate human biology and genetics. I agree that extending the concept of “equality of rights” to the realm of intimate relationships and sexuality may not be applicable or even desirable. I have a question, though: how do you suggest we move forward in promoting gender equality in areas where it is still lacking, while also respecting and acknowledging the innate differences between men and women in the realm of sexuality?
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Great question. And my answer would be: I don’t know, but I think the only way to find out, is for men and women to start having this conversation, together. Out of mutual appreciation, they adore each other – they shouldn’t see it as a battle but as “moving in together”, and trying to figure out who carries what, “which side of the bed you want”… I would really love to see places where men and women are just having this conversation about what they want from each other – what they also want to give each other. In online forums and groups formed for that purpose, but also in the real world, in some kind of “talk circles”. I have no idea what the balance they might arrive at together could be, perhaps there will be all kinds of types of balances, but I do feel very strongly two things – that deep down they both want this conversation, and that in that same deep place, just above the diaphragm and right under the heart, they also have the solutions, just waiting to be discovered. I might be a little naive, but hey, almost everything humanity does is almost a miracle – no one in his right mind would do things like inventing traffic or the currency system if they had to plan it in advance, they would see immediately that it just can’t work – and it works!
Loved reading this
This article raises an interesting perspective on the innate biological tendencies that shape human sexuality and the balance of privileges between men and women. It offers a nuanced view of feminism’s entry into the realm of intimate relations and highlights the importance of acknowledging the complementary drives between the sexes.
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