Gender, the great divider, the source of many of the big issues facing the world today. Women's rights, homosexual rights, abortion, birth control, equality in the workplace, sexual harassment, rape, even women's healthcare are all under fire in our nation right now and are all matters of gender.
Just this week a bill was passed in the Oklahoma State Senate that will criminalize the use of abortion, even in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother. The bill even states that some forms of birth control will be illegal. (http://www.necn.com) This means that in today's society women are still second class citizens. They are slowly having control over their own bodies revoked once again. Conversely more and more states are finally allowing for legalized Gay Marriage which is a tremendous step forward. However, it is sad though, how many states still do not allow it, or that it is still fought against so hard.
There are basic human biological truths that do divide us, but beyond the ability to produce eggs or sperm or gestate a fetus... what really separates us? An article in the news recently told the story of a young girl who was born a boy. After many years he/she was finally allowed to just live the way he/she felt he/she needed to live. The boy knew at the young age of 3 or 4 that he was really a she. Now 15, she lives entirely as a girl. What makes this an even bigger interest and puzzle is that she was twin. Her identical twin brother lives as a boy and never felt he was anything but a boy, but fully accepts his now sister. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk) This goes to show you that gender is something beyond what we can identify easily. The young boy knew almost from birth that he was a girl inside, and yet his twin knew he was a boy. The lines of gender are not as clear cut as people would like us to think.
The common ideas of gender are put in place to keep certain groups of people under other groups of people. If women and men are so vastly different then of course women can not hold important positions in the work place, and they are too fragile or docile to hold political positions. Men should be men. A young boy can not possibly play with a barbie or like the color purple. These are ideas that will harm the human race as a whole because these ideas only serve the best interests of a ruling few.
Another recent news story was from a blog of a retail game shop clerk who watched in shock as a father berated his 10-11 year old son for wanting to buy a purple game controller as his gift from his older brother. When physical violence was threatened the older brother stepped in and stood up to his father. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com) It is amazing that today there are still people who think that liking the color purple if you are a male is not only wrong but immediately means you are sub male or worse homosexual or worse still a wannabe woman. The color purple was in fact the color for royalty up until a few hundred years ago, so even this sort of is relatively new.
So who do these ideas benefit? I would like to say no one, that all are harmed by this way of thinking, but no. This sort of thinking benefits every man who ever got a job because the more qualified woman up for the job was disregarded because of her gender. It benefits every politician who got elected on a platform of keeping gay marriage illegal. It benefits every husband who ever felt the need to keep his wife under his thumb so that she could never leave him. It benefits the church leader who uses gender and sexuality issues to control the fear filled masses. It benefits anyone who wishes to embrace hate and rise above on a platform of inequality and disadvantage.
As sociological minded people it is our job to think differently. One must never fall into a thought process simply because that was the way things always have been, because that isn't even true. Marriage for instance was until very recently a monetary transaction between the father of the usually child bride and the man who wished to breed with her and was willing to pay the highest price to her father. So how is that a better option than two men who love each other very much joining together is wedded matrimony. As sociologically minded people it is our job to open our minds to truth and see the world how it truly is. That gender is a muddled thing at best and that men and women are not really very different and are in fact perfectly equal in all things.