More on gender

So tonight Erik and I talked as usual, and we had a nice conversation. As is our habit, we talked about “deep” stuff, like the importance of respect in relationships (any relationships, including encounters with strangers), but we also covered such topics as whether a certain professor must be wearing a thong if he’s wearing tight pants and has no underwear lines. Erik’s opinion: he probably just has really thick pants. (Yes, this is a professor of mine. Jennifer will know which one I’m talking about.)

We also discussed the article I more-or-less reviewed yesterday, the one on women leaving high-status jobs to stay at home and raise their kids. I mentioned the problems I had with the whole is-biology-destiny? issue, and the good job I thought the article did of explaining why that’s an issue. For a while we explored whether we think it’s possible to accept these two facts: (1) women are choosing to stay home with kids, and (2) men and women are different; without conflating them to equal: (3) therefore, women are naturally more domestic/tied to their kids/whatever. We agreed that of course, facts #1 and 2 should certainly not be used as justification for or result of one another. But I thought about how hard it has been for me, personally, to accept the second fact, that men and women are different. Then I realized it’s because for so many years we fought for equality, saying we’re the same we’re the same, and we do and think and feel the same things. Now that equality is more or less accepted, it feels to me like a regression to admit that no, actually, we’re different. So I remarked that I almost wish we could unfight that fight: not give up our equality, but to take away the need to even assert it. Equality isn’t doing man-like things in a man’s world. We can do and feel totally different things and still be equal. If I want someday to stay at home someday with the kids, we need to not view that as evidence of some kind of lack of strength or success or ambition or other so-called positive trait. Let’s face it, I have no desire to climb the corporate ladder. I totally empathize with the women interviewed in the article who said they left their jobs because they just weren’t fulfilling enough. That explanation should be enough, but instead, too many of us feel lingering guilt, or inferiority, about choosing (or contemplating someday choosing) home over work. Or we feel embarrassment or condemnation for others who make that choice. The same goes for men. By now the equality part should be assumed, so that the choices we make should be seen simply as different, not indicative of negative/inferior traits on the part of the maker of that choice.

In other news, I crave mushroom pizza. I made myself pasta with tomato sauce (and oh I do love my new olive oil, and my own tomato sauce) to try and fend off the craving, but it’ll be back tomorrow, yes it will.

Sometimes these days I feel like my best writing and thinking happens in my journal. I like that I like what I write here, but I also worry that this says not so great things about my academic ability and future…

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]