Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Case Against Women's Rights?

With recent elections in the U.S. once again pulling out the rug from underneath abortion rights, with the low priority given to teaching young women math and science, with Hollywood actresses and musicians only as in-demand as their youth or hacked iPhones permit, with Gamergate exposing details of a female gamer’s private life, with pornography a multibillion dollar industry in the U.S. alone, with catcalls par-for-the-course on city streets, with monotheism’s long-standing tradition that treats woman across the globe like cattle, it seems as though being a woman is as tough as ever. Certainly one might be inclined to think that given the right to vote in democratic countries such as the U.S. that women would vote for candidates who espouse women’s rights, but many women – indoctrinated into a male worldview – can’t seem to stand the idea of too much freedom. The consequence is that they get dominated for it.

I’ve long tried to understand mankind’s continued attempts to subjugate or otherwise dominate women. For every person who thinks we are an evolving species – where ‘evolving’ means the species is growing smarter, wiser or more fair – there is every evidence to the contrary, especially if you are a woman. Could it be just a matter of perspective as news agencies are now more often reporting that which has always been taking place? Or, is the world really getting worse for women despite all the progress made in the arena of women’s rights since the turn of the century? Sure, everyone is running for the cure these days, but as everyone knows, if testicular cancer were as common as breast cancer, testicular cancer would have been cured by now. Why is being a woman such a curse? [Yes, I do say ‘curse’ being a male, though I do think I am more of an impartial observer than the next guy. There is also the fact that at least half of all the women I have ever known have said at some point in their lives that they would rather be a man.]

I’ve thought about this at less than great length, I admit. Nonetheless, I imagine what I am about to say is going to yank some chains. (Sorry, poor choice of words there.) Why does the worldwide male population (generally) treat the worldwide female population so poorly? I could think of only one single answer – it’s good for the species. Before I continue with that thought, let me say that I personally have little at stake in the human species; I have no children and have no plans to have children primarily due to my misanthropic tendencies. So when I say the subjugation or dominance of women is good for the species, that doesn’t mean I like it or that I think this is the way it should be. However, there is a reality to be faced here. From an evolutionary standpoint, I’m inclined to wonder if it makes sense for one gender to be under the thumb of the other gender. In this case, among Homo sapiens, it happens to be the case that men dominate women. Why? Reproductive advantage.

Men have taken an ‘is’ and turned it into an ‘ought.’ What I mean is that due to the physical differences between men and women (men have more muscle mass and invest less energy in creating a child) that men have become the dominate gender, and gladly so. Because men can overpower women, both figuratively and literally, they do. Because men can spread their genes farther and faster than women, they do. And what is the effect? More children, which is exactly what our genes want, to be passed on into the next generation. Remember, our genes don’t care how. It is biologically advantageous (in terms of reproduction) that men subjugate women. What would happen if the situation were reversed? Existing societies may clue us in.

If you think about societies in which woman are on more equal ground as men in terms of rights, women tend to have children later in life and fewer of them, or even not at all. The most industrial countries, which as a consequence tend to be more socially liberal, generally have lower birth rates than those that are not industrialized. (At the same time, many Third World nations have higher infant mortality rates but their higher birth rates see more children survive per mother than not.) Women understandably express an interest in freedom as the biological cost of having a child is high, especially in a world where it seems there is less and less involvement from fathers in raising children. The continued and focused degradation of women across the globe is a stand against women’s rights, as women’s rights infringe upon the rights supposed by males who believe they should have easy access to women for sex, that is, for reproductive purposes. But there is a mistake made by the global community of men; it’s their unconscious belief that their genes are any more important than a woman’s.

This belief is usually reinforced by religion but it is there even without it. I could be wrong, but I lean towards thinking men hold their belief due to the fact that they are more physically imposing than women; the differences between the physiques of the two genders is hard to ignore. That and recent experiments aside that are ready to combine the DNA of three people, the fact remains that traditionally, it takes a set of genes from both a male and female to make a child. Granted, if there isn’t anything biologically special about either parent, the offspring stands to be unremarkable as well. This is where the belief held by men that women should be subjugated falls apart.

If biology has taught us anything, it’s that life is the rule on Earth, not the exception. As this rule relates to human beings, realize that all the people on Earth – now almost 9 billion – are the offspring of whomever the first Homo sapiens were. Interestingly, for all the shaming of sex that societies around the world have engaged in over the past few thousand years, there’s still a whole lotta sex going around which is producing a whole lotta unremarkable people. (This is why I find it annoying when parents talk about the miracle of birth; I don’t think that which is common constitutes a miracle.) If you’ll notice, the only people who bat an eyelash when a passenger jet crashes, for instance, are the family and friends of the victims. This is mainly because the rest of us recognize that there really are enough people on the planet. Granted, recognizing this fact, whether consciously or unconsciously, doesn’t turn off our sex drive and for a good reason: If some catastrophe were to befall the entirety of the human race, there would no doubt be survivors and those survivors would need to procreate (or be driven to by our genes). It’s right about now you’re wondering what this has to do with the subjugation of women…

In order to survive catastrophes, it is not merely the drive to reproduce that can save the human population; the ingenuity of people is required as well. While men like to think of themselves as the leaders of the world, think for a moment if women had never been allowed to contribute to our understanding of the world:

·                  American molecular biologist Carol M. Greider. On Christmas Day 1984, she discovered an enzyme -- telomerase -- that maintains and builds up telomeres.

·                  Mary-Claire King, a geneticist at the University of Washington, discovered the gene that predisposes women to breast cancer.

·                  Marie Curie wins the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics for her theory of radioactivity and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for finding the elements.

·                  Curie’s daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie was awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating man-made radioactive particles.

·                  Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, a French virologist, performed much of the fundamental work that led the discovery of HIV. Barre-Sinoussi’s work won her the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

·                  Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring drew from government reports and scientific studies to describe the destruction that pesticides were wreaking on our environment and our health. Carson was a trained marine biologist and zoologist.

·                  Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees was groundbreaking and offered a glimpse into our own evolutionary roots.

·                  Circa 370 CE, Hypatia of Alexandria was an early scientist who wrote on the physical world and astronomy. Naturally, she was murdered by a gang of Christians.

·                  For more important women of science, click here.

This really is the tip of the iceberg and we haven’t even begun to mention the contribution of women to the various arts. Men, in their collective assholishness, might argue that men would have made these discoveries anyway. Of course, women could just as easily argue that given the chance, women would have all of the discoveries that men have.

The need for women’s rights is important insofar as people of various perspectives are needed to solve problems and/or contribute to problem solving. Women should not be regulated to mere breeding stock because they have more to contribute to societies than their genes. Women’s rights, their equality under the law, is for the sake of humanity’s long-term survival and for the flourishing of culture (if we’re to care about that as well). We can already see where the shortsightedness of a male-ruled world has led us and where male-dominated societies such as the one ISIS has in mind would lead us. How much longer will we accept teetering on the edge just so men can have their orgasms?  

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