Conversations about gender differences have been happening for a long time. Since like, the 70’s, man! Sometimes I can’t even believe I’m discussing a given gender-related topic in 2013; it just seems so out-dated that sometimes I would rather roll my eyes and /facedesk than be talking about it.
One such conversation on a Facebook status started out with the content of the status–gender identity and what it means/could mean as gender roles change. It ended up a classic “Of course women are different because x” type discussion which led me to wonder: What is it, exactly, that makes me different from a man?
My sparring partner in this debate attempted to teach me how women are childbearers and so our society developed in such a way that women stayed at home with the kids. What’s wrong with that? he queried. What’s wrong with holding a door open for a woman but not a man under similar circumstances? He’s doing it out of respect for the woman–something that apparently is not owed the man. Is there something wrong with treating her well because she’s a woman?
Infuriatingly, my acquaintance didn’t understand that I or anyone wouldn’t and don’t want to be treated any differently–better or worse–due to sex characteristics. Why are you treating me differently? Why should someone offer me their chair and not a young man? Why should I be paid less? There isn’t any difference that justifies treating someone one way or another because of their sex.
The main difference between me and a male is my vagina. Somehow, having one makes me dainty enough that I can’t hold doors or sit on the floor. Having a vagina means that, while I don’t have any children, I should still be home with the other females of the tribe cooking instead of hunting with the men.
This led me to wonder: What could one devise about me knowing that I have a vagina? What does my having one say about me as a person? I’ve come up with a handy collection of things my vagina can tell you about me.
My vagina says that I’m most likely a cis woman or possibly a trans* woman or trans* man, although I’m none of those.
My vagina says that there is likely more oestrogen than testosterone in my body, but not definitively.
My vagina tells you that there is probably (but not definitely) an accompanying uterus and ovaries.
My vagina indicates that I’m (most likely) capable of having children, but not whether I will choose to do so.
My vagina implies the presence of breasts and other secondary characteristics, but does not confirm them.
All the things you can infer about me by knowing I have a vagina are supplemental physical characteristics, and none of them are definitive. There is nothing you can devise about my personality, my tastes, my interests or anything else that actually speaks to my character. You know nothing about who I am by knowing that I have one. Here’s a short list of things you don’t know about me thanks to my vajay-jay:
My favourite actor (it’s NPH)
My favourite book (it’s currently God is Not Great)
How I feel about wearing the colour pink (save me!)
My favourite candy (it’s Reese’s)
The point here, kids, is that having a vagina or a penis doesn’t give anyone cause to treat you one way or another. Just because someone has a penis doesn’t mean they want me to punch them. (That’s what guys do, amirite?)
We should be at a point in our culture that we can just treat people like *gasp* people. Maybe we should learn something about a person before we go making judgements and deciding that, hey, that girl can’t possibly be comfortable sitting on the floor! But that guy sitting near her obviously is on the floor because he wants to be and besides he would have taken my chair if he wanted it, right? That woman passing on the street wanted me to cat-call at her, it makes her feel good about herself!
No. Just no. Hold the door open for the human being following behind you. Don’t put anyone on a pedestal above anyone else, it’s asinine and rude to everyone involved.
Featured image from xkcd.com, bolded text is an edit