Equality of Men & Women
Male/Female - Nature/Nurture Anima/Animus
This discussion is not about equality based on gender, race or cultural "norms", instead
it is based on the reality of equality of Personhood. Culturally-based: beliefs, practices and
standards differ widely across cultures and communities, hence "personhood" is the basic
commonality to use for a discussion on this. It's an open discussion: I hope to engage you in
dialogue on this: please send me your views, thoughts and suggestions.
Thus there is a danger in comparing one's own situation to someone else's if one doesn't
understand this crucial point.
Equality: both men and women should enjoy, and receive, equality of personhood:
equality of dignity, mutual respect, harmony, complementarity,
and if they are in a committed relationship; a unified destiny.
While they may be "hard-wired" differently - the effects of that on actual daily life are
still hotly disputed - see below.
Of course, there are differences between males and females - but this is often reduced
to being primarily biological. Biology doesn't dictate "better" or "lesser".
It just means: difference.
How the biology affects human conduct and behaviour is the source of an ongoing debate -
one that has yet to be resolved.
Regardless of biological differences - the main point is, there is an equality of personhood
that must be regarded as the most important criteria.
Actually, when it comes to "differences", most of them are Cultural, not biological.
Within the equality of personhood and the equality there are some special qualities that a
man has because he is man, and that woman has because she is woman.
There is an equality of harmony: meaning that there has to be peaceful cooperation
between men and women. We should find ways to smooth the path of our relationships.
There is and equality of complementarity. This is somewhat like saying that our
relationships should not be merely the sound of singing in unison as in music.
- It can only be the integrated sound of the various voices, whether soprano and
bass, alto and tenor. That way, the differences of male and female are respected,
affirmed and valued.
It also ensures that males and females won't try to duplicate each other; instead, an
opportunity to highlight each other's unique qualities exists that allows mutual
There is an equality of fairness; an equality of being treated on the basis of merit,
rather than gender; and an equality of being acknowledged and responded to - again,
as a unique individual, and not because of gender.
There is no room for, or need for, the essences and effects of twisted, dysfunctional
maleness and femaleness that is a self-aggrandizing effort to subdue and control and
exploit the other for their own private desires and enrichment.
There are several examples on this site, of what happens to those who are unsuccessful:
Dysfunctional Families/Relationships, Codependency, or Comparing Healthy-Unhealthy
Relationships. You may also wish to read "The Rules For Being Human".
Generally, men have more brute strength than women, and many abuse that strength
by trying to dominate women (and children) through intimidation, violence and abuse -
and look to be "waited on hand-and-foot".
But this is also true of many women. Women might have as much brute strength as men
they have, and try to use that way to gain dominance.
But, they often tend to use words, and where her words fail her, she knows the other
weaknesses to capitalize on. Neither of these so-called "gender" behaviours is good,
desirable, adaptive, healthy or functional.
Many men and women have been raised without a positive vision of what it means to be
male or female. They have been told (and all too often, seen) many negative things:
things humans ought not to be, things humans are to be liberated from.
Nature/Nurture: There has been no intent to ignore biological differences. Instead,
the focus has been on the cultural (learned) ones. The "nature-nurture" controversy
and debate is still going strongly.
It is not likely to be settled for a long time: however, there is some consensus that
at best we can say that human (both male and female) are a blend of inherent,
biological and perhaps inherited characteristics, AND cultural (learned) ones.
In the context and spirit of this article, the best we can say is, that the blend will be
different for each individual: for example:
Emotional Differences between female/Male: that there are differences goes
without saying. Whether the emotions themselves are different between the
genders is open to question: perhaps it is safest to say that each gender has
learned how to experience, and express, them differently.
When we take the time to really get to know another person, we discover a rich
emotional life - expressed uniquely learned factors (nurture) is also open to
question - and the subject of an ongoing debate.
Another point people often use is to say that men and women think differently, that
they use two "logics".
Sexuality - Sex "drive" differences between male/female. Here too, the
nature/nurture factor is involved. First, as applying to "differences" between
males and females as far as their sexuality and their sex drives are concerned.
And secondly, within relationships. People commonly speak of one or the other having
high, or low, sex drives (libidos). And these are often ascribed to inherent differences
between male and female.
Yet, in reality, there are many members of both genders who have so-called "high"
sex drives, as there are those with so-called "low" sex drives. Actually, "high-low"
are relative terms: relative only to two individuals. It is common that in many, many
relationships there are differences in approach, desire etc between the two
And it is they who tend to describe those differences in terms of "high", or "low" -
when instead the focus should be on the fact that they are different, and ways of
finding a mutually satisfying resolution to the difference should be sought, rather
than "blaming" or "labelling".
After all, there are many factors that impinge on sex-drive: for example, health,
fatigue, stress etc - all of which have little, or nothing, to do with maleness or
Anima/Animus: in the midst of this "controversy", there is something else to
consider. This is Carl Gustuv Jung's concept of Anima/Animus: the male/female
aspects each gender carries within. It means that a female has a preponderance of
femaleness (anima), yet at the same time has within her psyche her opposite
Males, conversely, have a preponderance of maleness (animus), yet carry within
their psyche its opposite - the anima.
Thus, not only does nature/nurture come into play - it is also how the internal psychic
balance of anima (femaleness) and animus (maleness) are blended and harmonized.
This whole concept is also related to yin-yang, and left-brain / right-brain.
This is not intended to be "the" definitive work on this topic, but anything that
leads to improved understanding, points of view, acceptance and more functional
behaviour and attitudes can only be good. Please join me in dialogue on this
important facet of real human life (email or snail mail - see "Contact/Comments").
It is an introduction that will be revised on an ongoing basis:
I think it is summed-up nicely in this tribute to the late Fritz Perls:
How We Are (a philosophy to live by)
"If I just do my thing and you do yours, We stand in danger of losing each other
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations; but I am in this world to
confirm you as a unique human being, and to be confirmed by you.
We are fully ourselves only in relation to each other; the I detached from a Thou
I do not find you by chance; I find you by an active life of reaching out. Rather than
passively letting things happen to me, I can act intentionally to make them happen.
I must begin with myself, true; but I must not end with myself: the Truth begins
- "Beyond Perls" (Walter Tubbs)
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada
|Equality of Personhood between Women and Men
Male - Female (Gender) Equality
Essay on the Fundamental Basics
Some Definitions and Realities we each face are:
1. Men are from Earth
Women are from Earth.
That's our starting point - "equal planetary residence"
2. Not all women are alike.
Some women are more evolved than other women.
3. Not all men are alike.
Some men are more evolved than other men.
4. Gender identity is the sense we have of belonging either to the male portion of
the human race or the female portion of the race.
5. Gender conceit is when either gender assumes that what is natural and
preferred for her/his gender is correct for both genders.
We are ALL unique individuals.
Those qualities exist because of their differences: differences because they are each
unique individuals. In showing mutual respect and care there are special ways that a
man shows respect to a woman; and vice versa.
Equality of personhood and mutuality of respect is not sameness. Yes, there is a
"sameness" of qualities and equal access to all qualities - but they remain unique, and
different: full individual - striving to fulfil their potential.
Equality is expressed differently in the way we relate to each other as man and woman,
not because we are male and female, but because of our respective, unique personhoods.
And those personhoods are manifested in the two individuals in a relationship, or
situation: they each have a specialness that needs to be recognized, honoured and
Equality of personhood means that a man is not less a person than a woman because he
has hair on his chest. They are equal in their personhood and those differences don't
change that - in fact, they aren't relevant.
There is an equality of dignity. A dignity which requires them to be equally honoured as
humans. That honour is due to each simply because they are humans - this applies to all
people in our lives: that honour belongs to male and female equally (whether as adults, or
There is an equality of mutual respect. And it means that both men and women should be
equally diligent in respecting and honouring each other.
Respect should never flow just one direction: they should regard each other with a kind
of awe that is tempered by the reality of who each is - and accepting them fully, "warts
|Dawn Cove Abbey
Roadside Assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman MA, © 2007-2017
Questions and comments welcomed.
Liberation (and enlightenment) means that manhood does not consist of sexual exploitation:
that a man is not just characterized by cool, rational unemotionalism.
Nor is maleness only the ruthless task-oriented drive to conquer. Conversely,
womanhood is not boring domesticity, nor homebound motherhood. Femaleness is not
just some mindless emotionalism, nor passive sexual compliance.
Now that we have seen what manhood and womanhood is NOT, and what it IS
(tentatively and conditionally), what are we left with in our society? The main thing is a
big void of confusion about who and what they are: frustrating, guilt-producing,
destructive, dysfunctional confusion.
Many couples have a clear vision of what it means to be a husband and a wife (or
committed partners). That confusion has a profound effect on the stability of
marriage/relationships and the way the children will be prepared for life as male and
That confusion ends when both partners gain insight and clarity with regard to the
other's uniqueness and of their relationship as completely singular in terms of what will help
it survive or not, in short, come to understand and accept each other.
There are advocates who insist that relationships should be fair, and that there is
some standard to which all relationships should be compared to.
To clarify what that means, or doesn't mean, it would be helpful to regard Camilia
Paglia's work (books): uncontrollable, often self defeating urges and very different
agendas depending on one's gender. (See, for example Paglia, Vamps and Tramps).
Sexual equality may be possible - but not extremely likely according to Paglia. She indicates
that the belief that when "equality" is achieved it will result in complete ease in relationships.
Impossible, she says.
And this is due, she goes on, because men and women are vastly different and their
differences, though creating an often chaotic world for one and other, are what passion is
all about (see more on sexual/emotional differences below).
Relationships are never completely balanced: there is always some degree of hierarchy.
Actually, relationships function often on many hierarchies simultaneously, and balances
shift during the course of relationships, often many times.
The "raw material" which makes up one relationship is completely different from any other,
and gauging balance against other relationships, or the ideal of complete equity in all
regards is futile, impossible.
Paglia says, "(those who) see every hierarchy as repressive, are practicing a social fiction
that rejects contingency, that is, human limitation by nature or fate (3, Sexual Personae)."
Caring is good. Some people care more than others, and caring often endures despite
inequity. Thankfully, we live in a world in which caring can shower itself on the good, bad
and ugly. Sometimes this results in imbalance.
Imbalance is not necessarily bad, and to regard it that way would require us to
consider the most altruistic individuals in history as flawed. A mind-set result that
examines many caring behaviours, and the possibility that some many need modification
while others may not.
This attitudinal/behavioural approach can be applied to almost any situation where
disagreement, tension, hurt, discord, lack of harmony and other problems exist - by
either gender (or both genders, depending on the circumstances).