Opinion: The Revolution Will Not Be Trivialized

Is there really a 'war' between the sexes? Depends how you define war. If you define 'war' as an armed conflict between two groups of people who already have lands, rights and freedoms of their own, then there isn't any war between the sexes.

In a 'war' both sides usually have access to weapons and defence training of some kind. Both sides are usually fighting to defend resources or rights that they have been granted by laws or traditions that they defined themselves. The struggle for gender equality is not like this at all: it has been led by women whom, until recently, could not even enter the military; who started off with no rights, freedoms, lands, laws or even elected leaders of their own. And how many 'wars' have you heard of where the victors simply want to work WITH their opponents and earn equal pay, or live with them in peace?

The 'war' between the sexes is not really a war. If anything, it's a popular revolution; a modern-day Peasants' Revolt. Over the past 100 years, women have invaded the awesome and well-defended structures of male privilege and won some very important (but still basic) rights: the right to work, to vote, and to prosecute those who abuse or harass them.

Women today are assuming far more visible and important roles than many people alive today thought they ever could (would, should) assume. A similar evolutionary leap happens in every generation, and every generation reacts the same way: by asking whether female equality has gone 'too far'. The gender gap is closing so quickly that people fail to grasp that it's STILL a gap.  They tend to overrate today's successes by measuring them against a the starkly depressing past, instead of measuring them against what could and should happen in the future.  When equality is measured against a relative standard, rather than an absolute one, though, it quickly degrades.

George Orwell warned all revolutionaries about the dangers of replacing absolute equality with relative equality in his book Animal Farm. At the beginning of the tale, the animals take over the farm and create a manifesto that states, "All animals are equal". Gradually exceptions are added to the manifesto. The pigs and dogs are granted extra meals while the rest of the animals are 'granted' extra work. Each amendment that's made represents another step backwards into familiar, master-and-servant behaviours. At the end of the tale, the pigs amend the manifesto to read, "All animals are equal... but some are more equal than others."

A similar tendency to backslide into familiar, antiquated ways still endangers the quest for gender equality, every step of the way. Women have gained a lot in the past century - a voice in the courts, in the government, in the media and the workplace. What we are still lacking (in the advanced West, at any rate) is equal pay, humane representation in the media (especially advertising)... and let's not forget, a unilateral say in every political, financial, environmental, educational, medical and military decision that affects us! To accept anything less would be to accept that women are 'less equal' than men are. And there's nothing revolutionary about that.

So there is only one party I can recommend going to this week and that's Femmes Fraktale's Soliparty for International Women's Day at the Kili Lounge on Thursday. There will be live painting, exhibition, performance and DJ sets by female artists. There will also be a voku (that's a homemade, buffet-style dinner) starting from 9 p.m. Nearest S & U Bahn is Frankfurter Allee. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This is really a great blog post to read, thanx!


All writing & images © A. E. Elliott (unless otherwise specified)

Search This Blog

My photo
Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.