Got this request in response to this post:
Please help! How do I prove to my guy friends that women are equal to men? “
IHM: Equality means that we do not need to prove how capable or ‘superior’ we are, to have the same basic rights that everybody else has.
So, when we say everybody is equal we mean, everybody has an equal right to happiness, dignity, justice, safety and freedom (etc), no matter what their age, ability, skin colour, literacy level, sexual orientation, race, caste or gender.
Do you ever feel the need to ‘prove’ that you are ‘superior’? In a joke maybe? It seems some people do. What makes some people want to ‘prove’ (sometimes jokingly) they are superior?
What do they mean when they say men (or women) are ‘superior’? What can make some people more deserving of basic rights than others?
Here are three arguments used to ‘prove’ that ‘men are superior to women’. Do share if you have heard any others.
1. Men are superior because a woman cannot take off her shirt but a man can.
A possible response: A woman being able to take off her shirt without fear of shaming, stigma, violence, honour killing or moral policing, would be an indication of a society that doesn’t see women’s bodies and lives as everybody’s business.
Objectification of women and their bodies does not make men superior to women, it’s a social evil and should be challenged. The societies where women are not objectified seem to have lesser (sexual or otherwise) aggression by men against women and children.
Also, a sari without a blouse was a standard dress for majority of Indian women. [Link]. It didn’t give them right to equality, they were still burnt, honour killed, married off as kids and killed at birth.
Also if we were to use the above logic, does the fact that women can bear children make them superior? Does the scarcity of women make them ‘superior’?
2. A woman can’t rape a man, so men are ‘superior’.
A possible response: This one seems to be a variation of – “The male community, including myself, needs only 10 minutes, just ten minutes… to send what is called sperm, into the uterus of a female.”
Or, लो आज नारीवाद का अंतिम संस्कार किये देता हू – roughly translates to ‘Come, let me perform the last rites of feminism today’. [link shared by anonymous]
So are murderers ‘superior’ to law abiding, non violent citizens?
And, also a man might never learn whose child he is raising – does that make women superior?
3. Why have there been ten times more male inventors and scientists than female ones?
The email says,
I KNOW that the reason for this isn’t that men are superior but how on earth do I explain it to the people who believe that it is so?”