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Is the same and equality,the same or different?

(23 Posts)
NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 09-Dec-14 22:36:54

I've wanted to post this and ask for quite a while because its something in my own head that is troubling me and I'm hoping some of you can educate me on the matter.

I think of myself as a feminist whilst I haven't read up on it or studied it at all I do challenge everyday sexism and injustice and I spend everyday working against male violence but its occurred to me that I'm unable to be sure I've understood equality as it should be in this context and after a few comments from an opinionated man about woman only gyms (of all things) I really need to learn from more informed people.

I have disabled children equality for them means on a basic level evening up the playing field and I think its the same for all other types of equality,he was saying no its not about that its about making everything identical I.e if a man lifts x weight so should a woman and women shouldn't be allowed woman only places that type thing.

I'm not sure if I have explained that well but I genuinely would like to hear thoughts about this and ideas,would any of you mind helping me understand more?

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 09-Dec-14 22:45:07

I think that's a bit of a patriarchal way of looking at equality.

You might ask him why he thinks women might need women's only spaces. Especially women's only spaces where they might be vulnerable. What he thinks of men's only spaces, are golf clubs, gentlemen's clubs etc ok for him?

For me, equality is a raising up of women to the same level of status as men. So that we're seen as fully human people. Not so that we're the same as men, but on an equal footing. If women were seen as being equal to men, then women's only space might not be a necessity anymore.

It's not about women becoming more masculine in their outlook, or men being more feminine in their actions. It's more about mutual respect.

Does that help? Buffy is far more erudite than I am!

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 09-Dec-14 22:50:37

I did say to him that the reason why we have women only spaces like gyms is because many men may in that context view women as sex objects and the the nature of a gym may make some women more vulnerable, he just ranted about men not needing men only spaces. I think he must be a bit thick because there are loads and loads of men only spaces.

I see it the same way you do.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 09-Dec-14 22:51:02

And yes it does thank you

BuffyWithChristmasEarings Tue 09-Dec-14 22:53:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 09-Dec-14 23:10:42

That's one of my favourite ever memes Buffy grin

And yes Sock, I think he might be a touch thick as well. Or blinkered.

<is being a nice feminist tonight>

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 09-Dec-14 23:36:40

Bit of both I guess, the thing is when he was complaining to me about his girlfriend not wanting to use his name after marriage I asked him why his name was important to him and why he thought she should.

He went into a lengthy explanation as to how his family name was important to him and why, I just said "she is part of a family and I expect her name is just as important to her, what makes you think yours is more important"

He grumped a bit but a few days later told me I had a point,so there may be some hope he might get it.

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 09-Dec-14 23:48:47

That's good, but I find people like that tiring. Well done for plugging away smile

NeedsAsockamnesty Wed 10-Dec-14 00:51:58

Its selfish really and because I have to come into contact with him lots so am hoping to make him a bit more tolerable

Dervel Wed 10-Dec-14 08:31:44

Equal does not mean uniform or identical. For the biosphere to continue to support life plant life needs to be able to take on carbon dioxide, and animal life requires oxygen. They are both equally important but their needs are different.

Taking his rhetoric to the extreme under an identical/uniform perspective what he aspires to isn't even remotely possible. Just take the issue of child bearing, if men are equal re: abortion rights then women are by definition unequal on the issue of bodily autonomy.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

BuffyWithChristmasEarings Wed 10-Dec-14 08:41:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BobbyDarin Wed 10-Dec-14 17:52:49

I was thinking about that picture.

The OP should tell the bloke it's about equal opportunity, and that applies to life in general, not just work. Then show him the picture.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 10-Dec-14 18:03:10

For me, equality is a raising up of women to the same level of status as men. So that we're seen as fully human people. Not so that we're the same as men, but on an equal footing. If women were seen as being equal to men, then women's only space might not be a necessity anymore.

This is especially true when we are talking about male violence against women.

Anonnynonny Wed 10-Dec-14 18:32:16

I think it's about the fact that the world has been organised by men for men for many centuries.

Yes women are in it and are sometimes even allowed to function quite tolerably well within it; but they must do so on men's terms. When they ask for bits of the world to be adapted so that they can function in the world as well as men can, some men perceive that as a demand for special treatment. Because a benefit which affects all people or just men, is perceived as universal while one which directly affects only women (such as maternity leave) is perceived as "special treatment" rather than just ensuring that the workplace is a bit of the world designed to enable both men and women to function in it, not just men.

A mixed sex gym is often dominated by men for various socio-cultural reasons. The machines have all been designed for an average size and weight man, not an average human. Sport has traditionally been an area where men have excluded women and they feel more at home in it and for some reason, some of them have an urge to explain to women how to use the equipment, what would be a better way to lift this weight, why you shouldn't do x y or z or whatever, all the time looking at our breasts.

Women OTOH don't do that to men in gyms. So when men go into that space, they feel comfortable that that space is their's, that they're not interlopers, that they have the right to be there. Women don't approach them assessing the size of their testicles telling them why they're doing something wrong and generally annoying them. So they don't need men-only gyms.

clarkkent01 Thu 11-Dec-14 11:14:15

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Pastmyduedate0208 Thu 11-Dec-14 11:42:56

these pesky men hating feminists, hey clarkkent.
Ooh can i see your lycra knickers?!

clarkkent01 Thu 11-Dec-14 11:53:10

arghh.... i want my own gym where i can wear lycra knickers free from your judging gaze !

Pastmyduedate0208 Thu 11-Dec-14 12:09:53

but its only banter!

clarkkent01 Thu 11-Dec-14 12:19:10

I find it interesting that you view segregating the sexes as the best way to make the world fit for women to function tolerably.

BuffyWithChristmasEarings Thu 11-Dec-14 12:29:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Anonnynonny Thu 11-Dec-14 12:51:48

Segregating the sexes isn't the best solution clarkkent.

The best solution is to immediately tear down the structures which were built only to accomodate men and then re-build them so that they accomodate all humans.

Are you willing to help do that?

messyisthenewtidy Thu 11-Dec-14 18:49:02

I suspect not. It's hard for men to understand. It's a bit like the threads about equal pay that come up every Wimbledon.

IMO the issue is about equal opportunities and that often requires differentiation rather than equal treatment. Men and women are different (either through biology or because they experience reality differently) so may need different remedies to reach the same outcome.

The desired outcome in this case is that women feel as unself-conscious as men when exercising. The quick fix for that is a woman's only gym. The long fix - and the one most feminists favour- is to break down the structures that result in men feeling more comfortable in mixed-sex spaces than women do.

This relative lack of discomfort that men feel is well documented and is probably the reason why men don't see the problem itself.

NeedsAsockamnesty Thu 11-Dec-14 23:17:44

That picture of the people on blocks is really helpful.

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