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Is Equality Really Possible?

Posted on Thu, 13 September, 2012

Equality is such a lofty goal really.  Striving to make people or things uniform and accepted as such when there are so many inherent differences.  It seems everywhere I look equality is on the forefront of people’s agendas.  But is it really possible?

Now that we’re on the other side of the political conventions, one of the clear themes to emerge, beside the constant volley of who’s lying and who holds the truth trademark, is that even though our country is enlightened enough to elect a black president, our country I not enlightened enough to accept him.  Our entire country, that is. It is painfully obvious that Obama is hated first for his skin color and then, almost as if as a desperate attempt to gather evidence, his opposition tacks on his foreign policy or approach to rebuilding the economy.  Thankfully blatant bigotry will not fly so they couch it in all the other rhetoric.

We know the country was not ready for a Jewish candidate courtesy of Joe Lieberman.  It appears as if a female president is in the same category, even when she displays the same characteristics as her male counterparts.

Female candidates should not have to project themselves in masculine traits in order to be taken seriously.  Female leaders can lead, and still be women thank you very much.  I wonder what Hilary would say on the matter.  In Miss Representation, it is clear that women adopt these traits in order to gain acceptance in the majority, but then are crucified for it in the media, where their femininity and sexuality is trashed as if by a pack of dogs.

The larger question is why can’t we see groups different from ourselves as equal?

Why is it necessary to point out that 60% of the US gold medals were won by women?  At the heart of the movement, feminism really advocates for the simple fact that we shouldn’t make more out of one group’s abilities over another’s.  We shouldn’t have to point out that women excel, just like men.  Utopian perhaps.

As a parent I struggle with fairness too.  Mostly because my kids won’t let me forget or let it go.  With a boy and a girl there will be certain unavoidable issues triggering fairness; clothes for example.  With the simple difference in age, there comes inherent inequality.  My 4-year-old daughter cannot accept that she is not allowed to watch the same movies as her 7-year-old brother.  Nor can she grasp why she is not ready for sleepovers when her brother has them. I will admit that I have adopted the “fairness is not my focus” attitude with the sibling issues.  With 3 years between them there will be imbalances for a long time, and I’m not about to start counting pieces of food or trinkets to assure them they have an equal share.  If you’re not familiar with “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”, you should be.  It rolls off the tongue very easily.

Since equality will not reign supreme in our domestic life, can we then expect it in our larger society?  The struggle has been waging for centuries to be sure and takes into account many aspects of human life: gender, culture, religion, race, age.  I would have added creed, but I have no idea what that is.                                                                   I don’t want to teach my kids that they can’t expect fair and equal treatment in their jobs or gender roles.  But I also find I have to prepare them for realistic fights on those fronts. Is it realistic of me to expect and enjoy when a man opens the door for me, but also hope for and expect gender equality?  I open doors for other women, by the way.  Just sayin.

Is equality having your cake and eating it too?  There will always be good and bad sides to everything, it is the yin yang philosophy that governs our world.  I guess I’m hopeful that we can really work toward accepting the totality of our selves and our fellow beings without forcing changes upon them.  It’s a hard and brutal history to work against with slavery, mass murder, inquisitions, terrorism, pogroms, holocausts as our predecessors.  As Hilary Clinton said today in response to the slaying of our ambassador, our country was founded with acceptance in mind.  Yet we still don’t live it.

Ghandi said it simply: be the change you want to see in the world.

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A blog written by a hip, sometimes irreverent shrink who’s been around the block and calls it like it is

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