I’ve always been of two minds when it comes to segregating the concerns of women from men – be it a matter of what we read, what we watch, what we purchase, or anything else.
Culturally determined? Of course, and so much more.
Politically as well?
Naturally. Look where we are, look where we’ve come; look at the road yet to cover.
This morning, I was perusing Huffington Post’s new Women’s Section. I find it appropriate that we need one; logical that it will succeed, and ideal in so far as it’s a place where we can carry on detailed discussions that may originate in other sections (politics, economy, health, education), while dissecting what matters most to us – as women.
Same Sex, Different Sex
I’m stimulated by all there is to discuss – by the ways in which men and women think differently, act differently, and need each other (differently) – albeit some would argue they don’t, and I would take the opposing position.
I would love to delve into issues of same sex education (based on experience), but would want to offer current research. I would love to address issues of single sex clubs, and why we once bristled at exclusivity (hello 1970s feminism). Are we more accepting today? And what if Huff Post offered a “Men’s Section?”
Speaking of which – the various aspects of Men’s Movements? Father’s Rights? Wouldn’t we do well to better address the causes – and try to find understanding? Not dismissively, not summarily, not superficially?
I’d be fascinated to discuss issues of sex differences in terms of jobs. Not only because of unemployment and earnings gaps, but the ways in which we need to recraft our employment environments to better suit families – rethink the nature of work itself, job structures, and pay.
Naturally, our approach to parenting and relationships is impacted by gender. Not bounded or defined necessarily – but influenced, without question.
Women, And What We Care About
I hope that the new Women’s Section might address the issues I just outlined. That men will join the conversation, so we might learn from our varying perspectives.
This morning – I’ve already found plenty to get me to thinking:
- Shannon Kelly and Barbara Kelly’s interpretation of the “Happy Children Unhappy Adults” debate
- Naomi Cahn and Wendy Kramer’s article on Sperm Donor Offspring
- Andrea Doucet on Sexy Headlines and Skimpy Research
And there’s so much more – well written, thorough, provocative and substantive.
I would challenge us – all of us – to continue to question and reflect on what we read, why we read it, and the necessary context for informed reading. To enjoy our humor, without discarding our ability to probe important issues with care. To explore what it means to be women, and to value our differences – among each other and with men. To invite those same men into our dialog – so we may better learn, better instruct, and improve the way we appreciate each other.
When it comes to men and women, we have endless sources of conversation. We need to keep talking. We especially need to respectfully listen.
Coming to an understanding doesn’t require a common position. Shared values and political persuasion may make for more workable (smoother?) friendships and relationships, but varying perspectives and priorities reflect who we are at a point in time; they are also what stretch us and may eventually bring us back to each other.