Gender Equality, Social Constructionism and Leveling the Differences

On the surface, the clip portrayed itself to be rallying for noble cause: Gender Equality and Inclusiveness. The message here is that babies are not supposed to be influenced by any external norms (social construct) based on their genders, instead they must be allowed to grow as they genuinely are, to be their real selves, regardless of their genders, free from any pressure of the society.

I totally support that all women and men in any part of the globe must be treated equally in their rights as humans. No women should be denied education, or the rights to be involved politically, and no women should ever be subjected to any kind of abuse just because they are women. Likewise, while the gender based injustice towards men are not so readily perceived, no men should be discriminated against just because they are not women.

Yet, when such a zeal towards the betterment of humanity is reduced to leveling gender differences and a perceived freedom defined negatively as immunity from any social norms, expectations and pressures, we should carefully question ourselves if we are treading down the right path.

Social construct is not without errors, and the many injustices victimizing both genders can be the direct product of corrupt social norms. But social construct does not create the genders. Babies born male or female are inherently different by design, at least biologically. A good social construct acknowledges and maximizes the potential of this difference for mankind’s flourishing.

As Professor Esolen has pointed out in his book “Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child,” it is an easy task to raise up adult males and adult females. “…whether boys and girls like it or not, their bodies will grow to adulthood eventually. Whether they become men and women is a different matter.” (p.195) Babies do not grow up to be men and women being left to themselves without any coaching from other real men and women in their lives any more likely than athletes becoming successful if left to their own will without pressures and moulding from the coaches and rigorous training.

Yes, we absolutely need a world where real men and women are treated equal in their worth, dignity and rights, as they inherently are. What we don’t need are adult males and females who have been so used to choosing their own views over the society since their babyhoods. The former have always been and will always be contributing positively to mankind’s civilization and society, I doubt the latter ever will.

As for the tagline #NoMoreBoysAndGirls, there’s no need for equality and inclusiveness when we are all just the same. It’s not equality, it’s uniformity in the name of embracing diversity. And that is such an irony.

Children and Nature

“This bunny loves me, I love it too.”

In general, the urban kids of our days learn what they know about animals from books and videos, in a classroom setting. Which is good. But we could be leaving out the fundamentals when much of the spotlight is on biological facts and environmental issues only.

Such knowledge, when introduced too early without a meaningful bonding between the children and the nature, may instead become an overwhelming burden to the little ones. Suddenly, nature is about deforestation, about damages, about endangered animals, about stopping animals cruelty.

Children first need a love for the nature before they can shoulder these responsibilities. It’s true that children are naturally inclined towards the nature, but it’s also an instinct that needs nurturing. And in a setting where regular interaction with nature is not a granted thing, it falls on our shoulders as parents, teachers; the educators, to intentionally expose the children to the nature and nurture their love for it.

Responsible stewardship towards the nature starts with a genuine love for it. And love for the nature comes only through knowing it. As the Indonesians say, “Tak kenal maka tak sayang.” We cannot love what we do not know. And we cannot know what we do not see, or hear, or sense.

(Picture was taken at Cibalung Happy Land, Bogor, Indonesia, an agrotourism site offering a vast range of good old days farming experiences and other nature related activities, at very affordable rates. In this picture was “fun with rabbits” activity, priced at IDR20,000 with rabbit feeding available at IDR5,000.)