One sentence in John Colapinto’s book, As Nature Made Him, really stroke me. David Reimer indeed says “I feel sorry for women. I’ve been there” (1).
Here we have the perspective from a person who had experience the position of women in our societies, which is, as he said, “way down there”. Women are not considered equal to men. Women are on permanent pressure and judgement upon their behavior, and here is the inequality. Society is always looking at women. There are certain things they cannot do, like when David Reimer, as Brenda, wants to fight, or learn mechanic. They cannot have a high responsibilities job, or if they succeed, they will not be payed as much as if they were men. Women have to look nice on every occasion, they have to be pretty, but not too sexy, otherwise men would catcall them, and think they are looking for it. Women have to succeed in every single part of their lives : having a job, having kids, taking care of themselves, making sport and being slim, and so on. I’m not denying that men are facing some frames of live they have to follow. But the main inequality is that the pressure maintained by society upon women are much stronger, and much global. Women have to constantly reaffirm their place in society, but men don’t have to do that, as Simone de Beauvoir explains (2). Men are the positive one, whereas women are negative, they are “the Other”, and are defined according to men’s terms.
Equality between sexes will only be reached when men and women will face the same expectations from society.
(1) John Colapinto – As Nature Made Him (2001) – p.262
(2) Simone de Beauvoir – The Second Sex (1949)