Essay on The pre-feminism concept of gender differences

Essay on The pre-feminism concept of gender differences

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“Girls go to Jupiter to get more ‘stupider’, boys go to Mars to get more candy bars!” A few of us may have heard this sort of unrefined phraseology during our grade school years, or possibly even uttered something similar (present company excluded, of course). While youthful taunts and jest often play around with and make light of gender superiority or bias, the subject has accumulated a much more serious tone in recent times. In education, academia, and the corporate workforce, the notion of gender differences has been defined, redefined, and defined again, in the pursuit of a single truth; How different are men and women, if any different at all? And if such a difference can be shown to exist, what does that mean for equality and real life experience between the sexes?

The pre-feminism concept of gender differences is captured by Harvey C. Mansfield: “Formerly society recognized the differences between the sexes, and with laws and customs accentuated those differences (435).” And indeed, accentuate them it did, as women were left without many opportunities enjoyed by their male counterparts. The absence of such opportunities, included voting rights, education, and property rights, is documented in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments (411). Stanton does not speak to innate gender differences per se, but roundly testifies of the political injustice experienced by American women in the 1800’s. She shines the “equal station to which they [women] are entitled” through the prism of the Declaration of Independence, matching the inequality of women to men with the colonies to the English Crown, to reveal a sad portrait of female personhood (411-412, Italics mine).

Gender traits in the past were placed into c...

... middle of paper ...

...f intelligence, we do not travel to different planets as boys and girls, nor are we from different planets, as some recent books have suggested. We are created and born (on Earth) for distinctly different purposes, with a specialized aptitude for the fulfillment of those purposes. Both sexes will be happier, families will be healthier, and communities will be more prosperous and connected when they endeavor to discover and embrace their differences and specific gender roles. To admit that there are differences, subtle or obtuse, in cognitive and physical ability is to simply recognize our diversity, the often touted, uber-value of this new age. And this precious diversity is not and should never be a hindrance to equal opportunity or equal rights in society, but the sweet complementation present in both the male and female roles that completes the other.

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