I wrote a while back about how achieving gender equality means encouraging and supporting men in stereotypically female roles as much as vice versa. But it also means equally encouraging stereotypical female behaviors and expression. Encouraging women to act more in line with our expectations for men without similarly encouraging men in the other direction actually reinforces the patriarchal value system. It doesn’t combat it.
Telling women to be more like men because traditionally female behavior expectations are undesirable or lesser is still demonizing femininity. And there’s nothing wrong with the work and emotional labor and expression and cultural trappings that we’ve associated with womanhood.
What’s wrong is when women are forced into those things, forced to conform, not allowed to determine their own path.
It’s okay to embrace the feminine aspects of spiritual practice. But it’s okay for EVERYONE to embrace the feminine aspects of spiritual practice regardless of identity. And it’s okay for women to choose not to embrace those aspects, as long as it’s also okay for men to choose not to embrace the masculine aspects.
Then maybe someday we’ll delineate between the two with different words. We only call these things masculine and feminine because of how humanity has long treated women and men differently. And if we stop treating them differently, stop defining gender in terms of behaviors and affectations and appearance standards, then those differences become what they really are: unrelated dichotomies. Qualities divorced from gender-based value judgments. Things any human can exhibit and possess. Things which have nothing to do with biology or identity.
Tags: equality, feminism, gender, spirituality
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