The other side of gender neutrality

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By Sabrina Almeida

Gender neutrality has dominated the news for a long time now. While I agree that no one should be discriminated against or victimized based on their gender and sexuality, I can’t help but wonder if we are pushing the envelope too far. Especially when it comes to sexual harassment.

I mean no disrespect to the victims who have suffered physically and emotionally at the hands of depraved individuals. However, going forward we must make a clear distinction between unwanted physical contact with sexual overtones and that which has no such intent. Not all unwanted touch is sexual in nature. Not all men are sexual predators. And there are some women who wouldn’t think twice about exploiting this angle for their own gain.

This is dangerous ground we are treading on with no comeback from any false implications. Societal condemnation is instant and lifelong. The accused will always be suspect despite being cleared in a court of law.

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For example, a male colleague who refers to you as ‘dear’ or touches your arm during a conversation is not always acting out of sexual impropriety. I’m sure there are many instances where women have unknowingly patted a male friend or co-worker. Imagine if he were to cry fowl! No, I’m not making light of a highly-sensitive subject. Just recommending caution.

As my husband talked about his day at work, I found myself editing his narration to include gender neutral terms. I’ve got my radar up and I’m sure other women have too. The whole issue has everyone so worked up that I’m deeply concerned for all the men that I know.

Somewhere in the fight for equality, many feminists have morphed into feminine supremacists. And they’re saying that being women, we should get more privileges than men.

Gender neutrality means that men, women and transgender persons should receive equal consideration for ‘all’ and not ‘some’ jobs. This being true, women shouldn’t expect men to do the ‘heavy lifting’ when it suits us.

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As one South Asian businessman said, his employees pulled their weight irrespective of gender. The young ladies helping customers load their purchases into their vehicles at some Canadian Tire locations will testify to that.

We women have digressed from fighting for equal rights to asking to be allowed to pick and choose when we want to be equal. We want to be wooed, wined and dined and would probably be offended if our dates didn’t pick up the bill or hold the door open for us.

I once encountered a woman chastising her teenage son for not giving his sister the seat she wanted almost immediately after lecturing her daughter about equal opportunity. That’s convenient isn’t it? Just like waiting for your husband to bring in the heavy grocery bags while you fight to be considered for his job.

What’s worse is that we are confusing our kids too. There’s nothing wrong with girls and boys wearing pink or blue, or whatever other colour you may consider a gender stereotype. But the choice should be theirs not ours. Until the time they can make such decisions, it’s up to us to keep them on neutral ground. Should they demonstrate a preference for what is consider a stereotype, we shouldn’t make it a point to steer them the other way.

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Yes, we should be sensitive and inclusive of transgender people but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us must give up our gender identities to accommodate them.

Teaching our daughters that they are equal means encouraging them to fully explore and achieve their potential. Not using their gender as a trump card in the workplace and society. And especially not to get out of their responsibilities to the home and family.

You will agree that the whole point of gender neutrality is not emphasizing gender!!! -CINEWS

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