Equality between the sexes: I wouldn’t have a problem with it if the word “equality” weren’t so loaded. Are we equally human? Yes. Equal before God and under the Rule of Law? Yes. Equally turned on by horribly-written novels in which members of the opposite sex make the main character insert butt-plugs? Not so much.
I’m a fan of the Golden Rule: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” However, applying it requires common sense. For example, if I desperately want a new chainsaw for Christmas, if I applied the Golden Rule like an idiot I’d get everyone I know a chainsaw for Christmas. The Golden Rule is a call for reciprocity, but actual reciprocity requires that varying wants and needs be taken into account.
And this is why so much of “gender equality” as we currently strive for it is doomed to failure. One of the ways in which this is most evident is the realm of Male-Only Spaces.
In some comment thread somewhere that I have no hope of locating on my own, Cail Corishev described a phenomenon by which boys find themselves crowded out by girls. I paraphrase (but will be happy to quote exactly if somebody provides the link), but I believe he used the example of altar boys. Part of the reason that altar boys want to be altar boys is that the name of the job is “altar boy“. One day they let girls do it, too. Boys are disheartened by this and see no reason to want to be an “altar kid”, so they drop out altogether. Those who wanted girls to take over for the boys now feel vindicated, for if no girls wanted to do the job, there wouldn’t be enough kids for the job.
In one sense, such takeovers are a victory for “equality”. Only boys did it, now everyone can! However, it’s not equal because by nature males and females simply aren’t equal in their regard for the “spaces” of the other gender:
When women are crowded out of an all-male space, many of them have an irrepressible urge to either invade that space or shut it down altogether.
When men are crowded out of an all-female space, we don’t give a damn*.
I’m sure that some idiot somewhere is pissed he can’t get a membership at Curves for Women, but the vast majority of guys who drive by Curves every day don’t give it so much as a second thought. If some guy started Angles for Men, within a month there would be picketing and lawsuits.
Which brings me to another related Truth:
When women invade male spaces, it fundamentally alters what goes on there: the men are likely to feel less masculine.
When men invade females spaces, the women are likely to be either indifferent or feel more feminine.
Men need places in which they can not only be brash and make fart jokes, they need to be around other men to find solve problems in masculine ways, to give each other crap without having to worry about feelings or communicating with sufficient nuance, to forget about keeping up appearances, keeping the coffee table wiped off, and being politically incorrect. An all-male environment can help you feel strong, alive, like the things that are getting you down don’t really matter all that much. For us, it’s downright essential.
I’m sure that women like their own places, too, but as an admitted outsider I find it hard to believe that the very presence of a male fundamentally alters the entire environment the way a female being around men does. Furthermore, I doubt that women need all-female spaces the way we do, nor that not being able to have them leaves quite the same mark.
Yet despite the greater importance of male spaces, its male spaces that are under assault. You don’t see men objecting to being left out of the quilting club, and boys who want to join the Brownies are extreme exceptions.
I could be wrong about a woman’s need to get away from men, but if I am, I have no problem letting them have at it. They’re welcome to whatever recipe exchange clubs or gardening parties or Pilates gyms they could possibly want. A woman’s book club in which they’re reading all my favorite books? I’ll gladly hook up with one of the members after the meeting.
But equality in this respect is impossible because we don’t want the same things. Whether it’s Augusta National, the Boy Scouts, Navy SEAL’s, a father-son bonding retreat, or your weekend hunting trip, women want to be everywhere. If you object, you’re a sexist, misogynist pig.
Most women simply can’t understand how their very presence changes things. I’ve had some great discussions about politics and philosophy with women, but far more often I’ve been having a great discussion with another guy only to find that it the conversation somehow drifts to reality TV after some girl shows up. I’ve been in mixed-race, all-male, groups in which we made fun of each other’s races and nobody’s feelings got hurt. Even if some female friend is “one of the guys”, she’s really not. Sorry, but when women are around we censor ourselves.
Sometimes we’ve got to be left uncensored.
There are ways in which women can bring out the best in us, but there are ways in which they don’t. How much better would the education in our high schools be if boys could just concentrate on the algebra solution on the board instead of trying to get a glimpse up Stephanie’s skirt? Don’t get me wrong, I figured out how to perfectly angle my watch in seventh grade English to see some great reflections of Deanna on it, but when Detroit wanted to start some all-male schools and suburban moms from NOW stopped them, I knew that they were keeping some boys from ever developing into men.
Some sides of us women are meant to see, some not. When women aren’t around, we might be at our most crude or ridiculously goofy, yet other times that’s when we’re at our very best. We need to be able to walk around the house hanging out of our boxers blasting AC/DC and not give a damn if she thinks it’s too loud, and we’ve also got to push and punish each other in ways that make women feel awkward. Most men understand how yelling along to heavy metal with five other guys, working on a motorcycle, and becoming a master software developer are intrinsically related. Most women want the software without the aggression or relaxation that goes into creating it.
Yet robbing men of such opportunities seems to be one of the reasons for feminism’s very existence. Perhaps some femmis understand why we need male spaces and intentionally want to hold us back, others probably have no clue, still others undoubtedly see it all through the prism of oppression, that a man’s desire to get the hell away from women every once in a while means that they secretly hate women.
Whatever the case may be, if we’re around women when we want to be, we’ll appreciate their presence just a little bit more when we have it.
And women need to recognize that invading male spaces doesn’t shine any light on any sort of great mystery, for the very fact that she’s there means she’s not seeing what it’s like when she’s not there. All she’s doing is taking the fun out of it for us, and perhaps even retarding our development
Yet it’s not just about fun, it’s where we become the type of men that women want to be around, as well. She can’t help that process along; all she can do is ruin it or get the hell out of the way so that we can do it ourselves.
If I sign up for some yoga class, it’s simply not the same. In this regard, we’re anything but equal.