I'm a feminist of the old-fashioned variety, the type of feminist who believes that the presence of that second X chromosome shouldn't automatically exclude me from anything ... within reason. After all, the presence of a uterus doesn't indicate the absence of a mind. It doesn't even indicate mental inferiority. Therefore, being female shouldn't preclude any girl (or woman) from pursuing any activity or career which she can learn to perform well and shouldn't be used as an excuse to deny her the fullness of human rights.
That makes my religious affiliation problematic, because the Church doesn't allow women into the clergy. The argument goes that Jesus didn't have women as his apostles, so the Church doesn't have women as priests. Well, Jesus didn't vote for governor, drive a car, or eat chocolate. Does that mean we shouldn't do any of those either? In those days, women--legally chattel--who abandoned their families to follow Jesus would have been outcasts without any influence whatsoever. The Church, however, asserts a gender-based dogma of separate but equal.
I wonder where we've heard that before? (For those who are confused, look up the term "Jim Crow.")
Here's another one. Back the dark ages when I was young and in college, young women gathered to discuss how to be safe when traversing the campus after a series of on-campus rapes and assaults were reported. They organized a "Take Back the Night" march. How, I asked a friend, could women "take back" what we never had?
She didn't know either. Neither of us participated in that march.
Other biases remain, not just pertaining to women, but to nationality, creed, etc. Social justice zealots have done a lot to rectify the institutionalized discrimination in western society such that Millennials and GenZ don't remember a time when they were told "girls can't do that." Now they believe girls can do anything boys can do and just as well.
Of course, that's not true. I'm not being biased, I'm recognizing the real physical differences between men and women. Men are stronger than women. It's that simple. It's a physical reality. If you have a man and a woman of the same height and weight standing next to each other, the man has 30 percent more muscular strength. Of course, physical strength doesn't equate to mental acuity, but that's another issue entirely.
Back to the Church: it's correct in recognizing that there are very real differences between men and women. Those real differences translate into one huge distinction: only women have babies and they assume the majority of responsibility in caring for children (especially, very young children). When's the last time you saw a man lactate or menstruate? When it comes to something like gender equality in the military, the application of common sense apparently crumbles beneath the stridency of social justice zealots.
Back in the Sixties and earlier, pregnancy meant automatic discharge for a woman in the military. I don't disagree entirely with that policy for women serving in combat roles or where they are in danger. Let's be honest: pregnant women are clumsy, easily exhausted, and not particularly fast on their feet. I know because I've been through pregnancy more than once. I absolutely disagree with the notion of reducing the criteria for qualification into elite forces in the name of gender inclusivity. However, gender isn't important when it comes to flying aircraft, driving a tank, or shooting a rifle from afar. Who says a fighter pilot, sniper, or code breaker has to be a man?
I have the same attitude when it comes to law enforcement and firefighting. Don't dumb down the requirements to accommodate some artificial notion of diversity. If someone can't meet the qualifications for such service, then he or she shouldn't be admitted. Someone--male or female regardless of background or ancestry--should certainly be welcome to try again after failing, but that doesn't mean the standards for qualification change. Refer to Walter E. Williams' recent article, "Disproportionalities: Whose Fault?" Some things hold themselves apart from discrimination, and not all disparities prove discrimination.
Apply some common sense, folks.
This problematic failure to reconcile today's radical feminism with reality has leeched into language. In some ways, I see the change as positive; in others, laughable. I like that writers are more cognizant now of incorporating feminine pronouns as well as the traditional masculine pronouns. Using plural pronouns as gender-neutral singular pronouns annoys me, even when I catch myself doing it.
That said, this recognition of the very real differences between men and women is one of the reasons I like romance as a genre. Within the genre, most authors hold true to men being men, women being women, and sheep being scared. (Okay, I don't come across too many sheep.) Romance celebrates men for being masculine, especially when those men can tap into their "softer" sides without losing their masculinity. Romance also celebrates women for being women: a woman doesn't have to lose her femininity when she excels at something traditionally reserved for men, nor does she have to be a meek and spineless pushover if she prefers traditionally female pursuits.
Despite the fantasy that is romance, common sense usually applies.