- April 7th, 2009
-the word feminists scream their hearts out with that common filipino expression "kung kaya ng lalake, kaya rin ng babae" But is this really equality? Is equality in this sense a sense of Justice?
Sometimes I get this irk feeling when feminists struggle desperately to encourage all women to do or exceed everything men do. As if gender is a battle, a war which at some point should have a winner and a loser, and that one should outwit the other. This is absurd and destructive.
Way back in history, some of the men indeed treated women as subordinate, as properties, as concubines, as less human beings. Feminist existentialist Simone de Beauvoir, in her controversial book "the Second Sex" explained how men treated women as "the other". She outlined and explained the unjust treatment of men towards women. Yes she was right, Yes these treatments were definitely wrong.. Injustice indeed. Yet to rectify the wrong doings of the past, would duplicating everything men do become the solution? Beating the men in all stuff they do? Women empowerment in this sense is a misconception, because through this it is like trying to become what you can never become, that is, a man. In this derrogatory sense, women "trying to beat men in all things they do" just enhances gender discrimination because at some point, we can only (in general sense) achieve averagely on things which we are not designed to do. We are all made for specific reasons. The point is, we never had the same strengths and weaknesses. The extreme feminists of the past have promoted "hatred" towards men, rather than further understanding of our own specie. This is my critique.
POWER, as all the superheroes redundantly advise to people, "comes from within". It comes from an enhanced uniqueness which spring out from what the person is made. Men and women are created for specific reasons and functions in this world. Thus they function differently YET complimentarily. So the POWER comes from the enhancement of our specialized role. The great chinese philosopher Confucius referred to this as "The Rectification of Names". In the Analects of Confucius Book 13, Confucuis said: “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success." Thus peace and cooperation in the society comes from doing what you should be doing and conflict comes when one assumes a role of the other. A father should behave like a father, a student like a student, a police officer like a police officer, a teacher like a teacher, men like men and a woman like a woman. Each has their own responsibility. These are the necessary factors to create a just society, for if a police officer behave like somebody he's not, say a business man, on duty, (collecting money for specialized service) then there is corruption. Power indeed comes from the enhancement of the roles specially assigned to us through our names.
Rather than trying to beat men in all things they do, the power of women comes from simply being a woman. It is the nature of woman to take good care of the children. And so I put in forward that mother can have more power than any great leaders in the world. A mother, by being a mother can proliferate her powers and ideas to a greater number of people. By taking good care of her children, she can create leaders out of them. An example is a mother who has 11 children. Majority of her life, she was at home taking good care of the children. Despite poverty, all her children were still able to finish school. Some became high ranking officials, well respected professionals, researchers and leaders. All her teachings and philosophies spread multiple times. Rectifying her name as a mother, she was able to influence so many people through her children, who became good leaders, and were admired by people, who then taught their children to become like them. The web effect is phenomenal. A research study on successful individuals concluded that all these successful people, without exception, were greatly influenced by their mothers.
Women can always change the course of history, although most of the time she is removed from the actual actors. Often unrecognized, she is mostly the invisible influencial factor that drives men to decide on things: within the mind of the decision makers (e.g. Imelda to Ferdinand Marcos), of the heroes (e.g. Teodora Alonso to Jose Rizal), of influencial artists (e.g. Yoko Ono to John Lennon), even the most influential person in history, Jesus Christ, was brought up by Mother Mary. They are behind some of the great creations of the world like Taj Mahal (Mumtaz Mahal to Emperor Shah Jahan) or China's 6,000 steps (Xu to Goujiang). These women did not stand side by side in synagogues to preach, or neither did Teodora Alonso wrote books, Imelda didn't even need to run for President, all they have done is be the woman that they are and inspired people to change the course of history, positively (rizal) or negatively (marcos). This is the kind of power which is unique to women, as strong as men, subtle yet entirely different from the power of men. As it is often stated, that behind every great man, there is a woman.
There should't exist a competition for who is better, man or woman, because they simply cannot be compared. It's like comparing apples to oranges where there simply cannot be a "better" one. Women empowerment is not doing what men can do but simply by being and enhancing herself, rectifying her role. Indeed it cannot be denied that except for biological functions, humans of either sex can do what the other can do, man can sew, women can construct buildings, etc. But to have that desired empowerment women don't need to replicate men, rather they stay woman and be a woman, making the relation between men and women not a war of competing egos but making it an existence of cooperating and complimenting powers. This is justice, this is feminism. This is equality.