Men and women are created equal — for the most part. There are of course physical differences and differences on a neurological level, but when we take a look at gender roles on a social level, both men and women are born with the right to be respected, equally. The problem with the way things stand today is that following a period stretching for thousands upon thousands of years of the suppression of women, we are left with a sour taste in our mouths. A taste so sour that every time that we hear something that we believe to be unjust or sexist, in regards to women, we genuinely feel anger and hatred for the person exhibiting such unacceptable behavior.
Generation-Y — our generation — is stuck dealing with all the wrong that previous generations have accumulated over the years. We are stuck with racism. We are stuck with sexism. We are stuck with misogyny. Our ancestors brought life into these words and gave them their meanings long before they were ever spoken. Now, Generation-Yers are forced to live with the fact that such hatred was brought out of human nature and because they are so repulsed by the concepts, go out of their way to make it crystal-clear that they will play no part in such injustice.
Feeling such passion for anything is beautiful in itself. Felling such passion towards the extinction of sexism and misogyny is even more wonderful because the subject underlines what our morals — the undisputable laws of right and wrong — teach us. If you find yourself so moved for such a cause then you should consider yourself lucky to have found such great meaning for your life. However, I’m sad to say that most people don’t find themselves moved so genuinely for such a noble cause.
Like all great movements, you have those that simply like to wear the pins and wave the banners. You have those that enjoy protesting for the simple act of the protest itself. You have those that while they understand the cause and think that the cause is worth fighting for, they don’t actually believe in the cause; they are not moved to act for the cause in itself, but rather want to show the rest of the world that they are standing up for something. That they have morals, have a strong sense of ethics, are caring, daring and courageous people willing to fight for the cause — as long as the cause doesn’t require anything more than standing and holding a sign, baking cookies for bake sales, or running your mouth (fingers, rather) all over the Internet.
What’s worse is that half of these self-proclaimed crusaders of equality pass harsh judgment where it isn’t due. A good friend of mine just recently told me that the last woman he took out to dinner called him sexist for holding the door open for her. Apparently she can, “open her own door. Thank you very much.” Nowadays a man really has to watch what he says or risk being called misogynistic or a chauvinistic pig.
While in reality, if we were to take the word chauvinistic in its true meaning, these hardcore feminists that are popping up left and right within both sexes would be considered the chauvinists. Now all conversations are read through a filter. This filter highlights keywords that when used in the context of females and female behavior or treatment, triggers a preconceived response of hostility and hatred.
Now just about anything you say can be deemed misogynistic when interpreted in a certain manner. That’s all that matters, isn’t it? How we perceive and understand the meaning of words and sentences? The reality of the world is that there are countless versions of the reality that we each experience. Everything we take in from the outside world, all the sensations that we experience, come in as raw data but become processed and interpreted by us.
We don’t see the world the way it is; we see it the way that we as individuals happen to see it — our own worlds. This goes for everything we experience, but especially those things that have a tendency of inspiring emotional responses, whether positive or negative is irrelevant. Most importantly, we interpret what others say through that very same lens.
I’m convinced that most of the time two people will be having a conversation and one, if not both, will honestly not have the full understanding of what the other is saying. People have a tendency of not explaining themselves fully because they firstly believe that the other does understand what is being related and because people leave out a lot of details when they speak in order not to seem as if they are rambling on or lose the other’s attention. And even if both parties explain themselves fully, there is still a good chance that neither of them fully understand the other’s meaning behind the words.
This is even worse in our day and age thanks to technology. It’s hard enough to understand each other when we are standing face to face, privileged to all the body language and micro-expressions. Communicating over the phone is even harder because you lose so much of the personal interaction. And now no one even talks over the phone anymore; we text and email, misunderstand, misjudge, mis-react.
Add this lack of proper medium for communication with those fighting for a cause that they don’t truly support and you get a whole lot of unnecessary hatred floating around in the world. Which is sort of poetic, no? We are doing our best to better the world — or so I hope — but instead we are making it worse off. Fighting for a cause engulfs us with strong emotions of chauvinism. We are ready to fight for the cause. We are ready to make ourselves known. We are ready to be aggressive and make the world a better place through force.
This thought process is wrong to begin with. Hate only produces more hate. Then when we find ourselves in this trance we begin to interpret everything under a very different light. Everything becomes more likely to be interpreted as sexist, misogynistic and/or racist. Racism exists in the world — there is no doubting it. But racism does not exist everywhere—not everyone is racist. In fact, I’d argue that most Generation-Yers are not racist. This goes just as well for sexism and misogyny; I believe that most Generation-Yers aren’t misogynists or sexists. Of course there are plenty that are, but I believe that most are misjudged and misinterpreted.
People should be very careful with calling others sexist or misogynistic or what-have-you. If there is a chance that you may be missing the meaning then do your best to get things cleared up before passing judgment. Once you pass judgment, you are officially adding attention to a touchy subject. If you ever want this sort of thinking to become a thing of the past, then the less attention (assuming that it isn’t warranted) the better. On a side note: I don’t care what anyone thinks; I will open doors for women if I so damn please to do so.