Kira Davis: Why Is the Standard of 'Gender Equality' Set to the Male Ideal?

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

I recently rewatched a trailer for Captain Marvel and I was struck by how heavily it focused on the protagonist’s emotions. The entire thing was a smashcut of character after character telling our heroine to keep her emotions in check, don’t get emotional, emotions are your enemy, etc. etc. Complementing the lectures were shots of Carol Danvers looking annoyed, stern, sterile. In the end, it is Carol’s strength and not her emotions that save the Marvel universe. I imagine Captain Marvel was one of the least enjoyed films in the recent Marvel spate because in the end, despite all of the talk of “emotions” and how women process them, the audience was subjected to two hours of Brie Larson being tough, being mad, and hardly being emotional at all. Just like a male superhero.

It got me thinking about how we throw around the term “gender equality” and what it really means. According to modern feminism and Hollywood culture, the goal of “gender equality” is for men and women to be equal by all measures…to be the same. It’s a measurement instead of a quality. I was struck by how when we are asked to take women more seriously in society in culture and entertainment, we’re told the way to do that is to view them the same way we view men.

Think about the number of “girl power” commercials, shows and films you’ve seen in the last few years. In every single one, our heroine is staring sternly into the camera or at her nemesis. Arms folded, brows furled…she’s playing soccer, she’s fixing cars, she’s throwing a football with the neighborhood boys. She’s not doing girl stuff…ewww, gross. No, she can do anything boys can do. Our action heroines are kicking ass and taking names. They’re sterile, emotionless…they burp, they slam shots, they save all the men around them all the time everywhere (see the new series Stumptown starring the smoldering Colbie Smulders for more of that). She can do anything boys can do!

Modern feminism screams “girls can do anything boys can do” and doesn’t once stop to wonder why it’s the boys we’re supposed to be emulating. I love to see an action heroine who saves the day because she is emotional, because she is intuitive, because she is nurturing, feminine, whatever other qualities we define as traditionally feminine. I get that girls play soccer. Are there any left who play with dolls and baby carriages?

Why is it that the the measure of “equality” is calibrated to the male standard?

Modern feminism has confused the idea of being equal with being equally valued. We should be valued in society as much as any man, but we should never seek to erase our feminine power in pursuit of being like men. We’ll never out-man a man, and why should we want to? There is power in all of the feminine qualities modern feminist culture has told us to ignore. We are only equal to men when we are different from men. All the tools we have for navigating this man’s world lie in who we are as women. It is foolish to negate that.

Modern feminism has ruined the privilege of being a woman.

I discussed this in more detail on the latest episode of Just Listen to Yourself. I also talk about what women are owed (or aren’t owed) in the workplace and how we can use the power of our femininity to empower us in our careers and our interactions.

JLTY is available pretty much anywhere you find podcasts, and if you do honor me with a listen I hope you’ll consider going the extra mile and honoring me with a good rating and review on iTunes. Enjoy!

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