“Is he reading from a female author or male author?” I asked a young woman nearby.
“Female,” she replied.
I started to explain myself. “Well, I mean, I thought a man would be more likely to know about the penis…” I was about to explain that although I had deep and meaningful experiences with vaginas, I still wouldn’t feel comfortable writing a piece focused on what it’s like having the organ. But she had started looking elsewhere.
Later I thought, “Was what I said sexist?” Sexism is prejudging the person based on their sex… Like if you think a woman is better at raising a baby, or a man is better at being a soldier.
So what I had said was sexist, because I thought it more likely a man would be talking about a penis than a female…which thinking more on it, perhaps females talk about dick as much as men. I sincerely hope they do anyway…
In her New Yorker article, Jai Tolentino rightly observes the importance of furthering the feminist cause beyond the complaining. She directs us on how to distance from the individualist and capitalist culture. Why individualism and capitalism? That’s a good question. And it that reveals what makes feminism uniquely female.
Feminism comes from being female (There is no other way to frame it, by definition). Therefore, it must come to be recognized that the female spirit is different from the male spirit. Not at odds, but different. The feminine is here to complement and balance the male’s tendency, which, Jai describes, as being for individualism and capitalism, ie owning things, buying and selling things, making things.
Individualism and capitalism are not automatically bad things. Individualism taken too far prevents a community from working together. Capitalism with only profit as the goal leaves a task that is without joy.
Asking Why females should try to distance society from individualism and capitalism uncovers our true natures: The nurturing, sensitive, relationship-building, maintenance-mindset of the female. And the male nature that is less personal, less sensitive, and more about economy and production.
These are generalizations, but they are from scientific studies that show the sexes are indeed different in their emotional IQ’s and their ability to relate to others in social interactions: Females simply connect better than males. Their ability to empathize makes them better nurturers. The male’s lack of empathy makes them better killers. (Look at prison populations and this becomes immediately apparent)
The responsibility of feminists is to use their special spirit to improve society. And this larger scope goes beyond complaints of men’s negative influence on society, but in bringing the value of women into society.
And so we come to the How to bring this change about, which Jai noted. Merely complaining about the paternal foundation of society doesn’t address how to address this obvious reality. There is a feminine power that women must bring to bear in their partnership with men. And paradoxically, in order to be heard, women must gain the individualistic strength to force their message of soft power.
“Listen to us,” is clear, but ineffective. “Listen to us, because we have something to add to a society which has become focused on accumulation and growth instead of the quality of relationships and building your communities.”