Speak up for or write about an unpopular idea in a group.
My plan for today was to spend the day with feminists. There were several rallies and concerts and other stuff happening in Copenhagen on the International Women’s Day, and I thought I’d do worse than be at one of those places and discuss feminism and gender equality. I would be the antagonist.
I would emphasise that men and women are not identical. They should be equal in many important matters, yes, there should be more women in government and as CEOs, and every woman should have the same opportunities as a man when it comes to education and job opportunities. (And I do agree with the main parole in Norway about how doctor’s shouldn’t be able to not help women who wants an abortion.)
But there are differences, I would say. And just this sentence would make people mad. (It even makes my wife mad sometimes.) It would signify that I was an opponent.
There are still struggles, I imagine they would have said. We still have fights that need to be fought. And ff you’re not for us, you’re against us.
Yes, but does that mean that there are no gender differences apart from the obvious physical ones, I would ask. Really? [I hope I’m not fighting a straw man here.]
To me it’s obvious that there are brain differences between men and women. It is not a cultural thing that more men than women like cars, for instance, or that more women than men prefer gossiping to physical fighting. Some women fight and some men don’t like cars at all (e.g. me), but that’s not the point. There are trends, and these trends are visible in all cultures.
Steven Pinker once said: “That men and women might differ for reasons other than socialization, hidden biases & barriers is very close to an absolute taboo.” And I can imagine that today it would have been even more taboo than usual. But so what?
Sometimes you must simplify and distort the truth to fight for your cause. But I usually prefer the entire truth. And even though I do agree that lots of women the world over are much worse off than men just because of their gender, and that we must fight against this kind of oppression and injustice whenever we see it — I still do not like that the idea that one should not doubt one’s own arguments.
That’s why I never liked rallies. I never lied political parties or organisations where the point is to find a common platform and then fight for that platform, even though you really disagree with half of it. I never liked truths which you shouldn’t argue against just because, well, just because you shouldn’t.
My plan for today was to go to an International Women’s Day gathering and call myself an anti-feminist. A masculinist, perhaps. My plan was to doubt what shouldn’t be doubted, to question what shouldn’t be questioned, to prod and poke at Truths which may or may not be truths after all.
I am not one who storms barricades. I am not one who wants revolution. I believe there is more wisdom in sitting in the back, trying to figure out what really goes on.
On the other hand, that also means that I might get stuck in a dictatorship, or at least with a less than ideal society. If no-one fights oppression, then oppression has a greater chance of staying.
But still. As long as my female friends thinks it’s outrageous that I don’t call myself a feminist, I will continue to do so. As long as one shouldn’t question certain truths, I will do my best to do just that. As long as there are barricades, I will avoid them, hoping that it will give me a clearer picture of the fight.