April 13, 2005

To post or not to post

(I have always had a knack for saying the obvious)
Men and women are different.
Why should that have been so hard for me to say? But I have been turning it around in my mind for months now, usually deciding it was best to steer clear of the whole ball of wax. But as they say, the truth shall make you free. Why should we labor under false pretenses? Life is hard enough as it is.
On average, women are superior to men in many areas including 'emotional intelligence', multitasking and language. They have better senses of smell and color vision, and upon entering school are about a year ahead of the boys with regards to language. On average, men are better at spatial reasoning and logic, are typically bigger and stronger, and are better at judging speeds and distances. And we are all created with equal dignity, and deserve equal respect, and everyone should have the chance to follow their dreams.
The Swedes will tell you that this country is the most advanced in the world with regards to the equality of the sexes. And they do a pretty good job according to many measures. But there are a few nuts that are hard to crack, for example, there are almost no female firefighters in Sweden and the day cares and grade schools are 95 % female and the airline pilots are 99 % male and there are more women faculty members in languages at the Universities whereas the science faculties are more male. Why should these things bother us? Yes, of course, equal pay for equal work, but, does the cause of liberation demand that 50 % of firefighters be female and 50 % of kindergarden teachers male? What if more women are drawn to teaching young kids because they happen to be good at it and if more men are drawn to firefighting and truck driving? To me that's what the goal should be-- equality, the equal right of anyone, male or female, to decide what they want.
The men need the women and the women need the men and don't let anybody tell you anything different.
The biologists and sociologists and so on have been hard at work documenting fundamental hardwired differences between men and women, as if we need any more evidence that we're not the same. Not hard to name examples-- women can talk and listen at the same time and carry on multiple conversations, and men for the most part can only do one thing at once-- for example it does not come easily to me to talk and watch TV at the same time, and my wife is much better at picking up on the emotional undercurrents in plots. Being honest, the reason I do most of the maintenance on the house and car and so on is because I find it kind of interesting and I'm not half bad at it, but I don't think my wife finds it so interesting or is so very good at laying floors or installing windows or putting on winter tires. I've heard the theory that men are men and women are women because of socialization, that we are taught our roles. But I don't buy it, not more than 15 % at least. I can't tell you the number of times I have told both my sons to stop hitting things with sticks. It comes to them naturally. If we live with the idea that we are meant to be the same in everything we'll always be fighting millions of years of evolution, whereas if we see our differences as an advantage, I think everyone would be happier.


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