Many of us think that gender equality is about empowering women.
I agree that it may be a part of it, and I agree that women are currently ranked lower than men on many levels. But I personally believe it is not only about lifting women.
I believe that gender equality will give men freedom as much as it would women.
I am a woman. Apparently. I just don’t think of my gender or sex regularly enough except when I am reminded from time to time. And I somehow get a rude shock every time somebody reminds me.
I am also a Japanese woman, which belongs to a group of Asian women; to which Australia has an unfortunate reputation in parts that there are Australian men, who are incapable of building relationship with Australian woman, visiting Asian countries to choose their bride and to bring back to Australia. Some of the Asian countries are financially scarce that they simply can’t say no to a “better” life in Australia proposed by a “nice” man. I struggle to agree with the concept that such relationship are immediately acknowledged as marriage while it is illegal for gay couples to marry after a 15 years of loyal relationship. But that is another issue. Asian women are known to be hard working, brought up to find gratitude in anything, and also say yes to everything. A lot of these Asian brides do not have enough language skills to argue, so the men usually gets their way. And unless I opened my mouth, ( and I emphasise this with a broad grin), I am usually and automatically grouped with this category of people.
I am a small woman, who most people can physically look down upon. It is just unfortunate that people miscalculate another’s abilities by their appearance, but it must be like that they are talking to me from a hight of a podium all of the time. I can mildly understand the confusion after a length of time that they begin to think they are supposed to be more important than me.
I am a single woman. Most people in this world think there is something wrong with women who choose to take care of themselves. In fact, in a therapy training I attended in the last few years, with a government accredited training provider in Australia, people assumed there had to be something wrong with me for being unmarried. And I walked away from them with false memory they planted that I had a terrible childhood which un-abled me to build intimate relationships. I actually originate from a privileged background; but it took me 2 years+ to remember who I was. And that was the punishment I received for being a single woman. It turns out that in this country, it is not regulated to create such disturbance in another in order to interfere with one’s sexual orientation or preference of life. It appears that many people believe a single female has to be lonely, where single male are often considered lucky and even free. I share my life with 70 something trillion cells in my body, and I don’t see how that has to be considered ‘alone’.
I am a migrant. I have only gained a permanent residency in this country after 8 years+ of gradual process. I don’t have a voting right yet, and many other rights Australian people take for granted.
I do not have a Tertiary qualification. I was lined up for it at the ‘right’ age and I would have studied at least 4 years to achieve whatever I was going for. I chose to walked away. And I wound’t have it another way.
When you see me in a mirror, you see a figure of minority.
You ‘know’ that anybody can do better than me.
And then, if this was a theatrical act, a scene change happens. Background change.
I am somebody who trained and performed as a professional stunt actor, among many other things; I have trade qualification, I learned to ski by watching Youtube videos, I speak two language at the level I can argue my position to the heart content. I have some wicked financial management skills and an ability live a happy life with the amount of asset that would probably cause panic attack in a lot of people in this country.
I know what it is like to jump from the 6th floor of a building. I trained to do that as a part of my work. I had completed a day’s training with a broken bone. I have worked with a dislocated joint. I fell off a horse because a script said so. I rolled down a staircase, and this, I only found out hours before the act. I can abseil down from a roof and enter a building from the balcony. I was involved in some forms of martial art for some years. We swam in the river when there was snow on the side of the stream. I have proven my ability to work around the clock starting from 2am ( bakery), 4am ( race course), 6am ( breakfast shift ), 8am ( riding school ), 10am ( lunch -dinner shift ) 2pm ( dinner shift ) and so it goes. I have worked 17 hours straight to cover a difficult time at a workplace, and this happened while I was normally working 12 hours a day/ 6 days a week, split shift. I finished work at 11pm that night, and started 6am the following day. The day after, I had a day off; so I went skiing.
For those who saw me as a small single Asian woman who does not have a tertiary qualification or own a house BUT SHE CAN COOK, WASH AND CLEAN, they would have lost their words by now. And they know that they cannot add these things up together using their formula; man>woman. And usually, their first response is to make me wrong. And the classic remedy is to try to fix me; either by force or ‘kindness’ which says “women don’t have to live a life like that.”
But the thing is, I am all of above if not more. If you tried to fix it, then you would have ruined it.
If you cannot accept it, then it is your problem.
The thing is, this should not have to be a problem. This can be just another unique human you share this planet with.
It can only be a problem, because you see me as a minor, who can and has done things you would not likely want to do in your life; and that I did not have to be convinced to do these things. I was only following my nose, and these things just came along.
It is only a problem to you if you see me with your belief that I have to be somebody less capable than you. Because then, in that instance of seeing me do more than you, you have named yourself a loser.
It does not have to be like that. And all it takes is to see a person as a person. Not as a woman, different skin colour, background, or anything else.
If we just recognise each person as somebody who has their own path, you don’t need to be ‘better’ than another. None of us should have to argue to legitimise our identity. Equally, wearing brand clothes does not make you more attractive than before. There are better place to spend money than that. Plant some trees.
I honestly believe that gender equality will give men freedom as much as it would women. Think about it. You don’t have to lie to yourself any longer. You know some women will always run faster than you. And you won’t need to block this out of you awareness to call yourself a ‘man’. You can chose to spend time with people who you want to, instead of who you can dominate. And you will see how some men who has been in respectful relationship would already know this.
Gender equality is not a charity. It’s not a trend. It is a revolution where everybody wins. And so it should be.