The greatest trick of all time was not the devil convincing man that he did not exist. It was man convincing himself that woman is an inferior being. The continued strength of anti-female feeling is extremely worrying, which is why campaigns such as HeForShe, spearheaded by Emma Watson, should be encouraged and applauded.
I was recently sent the music video for Lionface's track Girl and it saddened me. Not because of the quality or content of the song or video, both of which are very good. What got me down was the thought that the video might be an accurate representation of how 50% of the planet's population see the world. If, like me, you're a sucker for retro-game themed videos, check it out below:
Lionface - Girl
Directed by Daniel Broadley
Whether it's campaigners receiving death threats, an actress being harassed for hours in New York, mass kidnappings, genital mutilation, unequal pay, or a programmer receiving death threats over a false allegation of attempted media influence, women seem to get a raw deal in life. It's puzzling that there are so many guys out there that still have such a warped view of what it means to be a man. The idea that women are somehow inferior to men or that they can be objectified, or subjected to physical abuse is a throwback to a bygone era.
In a prehistoric world where physical violence was commonplace, having children made women vulnerable. It wasn't just three trimesters of massive physiological change; it was the years spent nourishing and nurturing the children afterwards. It made sense for men and women to form symbiotic relationships, where the man took a primary role in protecting the unit. Most men are physically stronger than most women. There is a higher preponderance of violence and psychopaths in the male population, so in a prehistoric world, man could easily enforce his will physically.
The advent of civilisation brought laws that were intended to minimise violence, but men were not about to relinquish the power that they had long been accustomed to. So the tactics deployed to retain that power evolved. Instead of relying purely on physical force, women were variously represented as mentally deficient, over-emotional, evil, scatty, impure, unreliable or slutty. They were slandered and discredited on a massive scale. For hundreds of years women were denied their own surnames and were simply regarded as possessions that belonged to their husbands. Negative behaviour towards women is a direct consequence of hundreds of years of ingrained, officially sanctioned psychological abuse and it largely stems from the insecurity of men.
The modern world gives men reason to be afraid of women. When the requirement for brute strength is removed from life, women compare extremely favourably to men, often beating men in many important educational and social metrics. Women tend to score higher than men academically. They have stronger planning skills, and they are more effective at cooperating. This doesn't mean that women are better than men. It simply means that men and women are different.
One of my good friends is a great salesman. His business partner is really strong at project delivery. Each without the other wouldn't have a business, so one is not better or more important than the other; they're just different and they combine to succeed. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses. If we collaborate as equals, we can seek to build on each other's strengths to make a better world.
Any individuals, organisations, or religions that seek to relegate women to an inferior status should be viewed with extreme caution. The views are probably the product of insecure men, fearful of what might happen if they engaged women as equals. The truth is that there is nothing to fear. A world where men and women are truly equal will benefit us all.