Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gender ender?

I consider myself a pragmatist.  I like formulas.  I loved calculus in high school because integrating and differentiating are really simple proccesses once the concept clicks.   I like examining all aspects of a question to find the best possible solution.  When making big decisions (hmmmm this tends to take a while for me) i try to explore the long term consequences and implications of different options to help guide my choice.

Now let's examine what has been in the news this past month.  There has been much discussion regarding Sheryl Sandberg's new book Lean In.  I can't even count the number of articles I have read both extolling and villifying her book.  One such article encouraged women to "lean out " of family/home responsibilities, to not feel guilty about missing milestones in children's life due to work because they aren't really that big of a deal afterall.  And of course people can rarely discuss Sheryl without also discussing Marissa Meyer of Yahoo who famously or infamously depending on how you see things only took off 2 weeks for maternity leave after having a baby.  She then also said of her 6 month forray into motherhood that it wasn't as hard as everyone said it would be.

And of course one cannot open their facebook page or turn on the radio without being assailed with all kinds of opinions about the supreme court's hearing of california's proposition 8 and the federal Defens of Marriage Act.

And so I have thought and thought and thought about these issues.  I have examined both sides of the coin and tried to see the legitimate arguments of each side.    My purpose is not to emotionally argue any side.  Too often we appeal to strong emotions when arguing a point.  However, strong  emotions can interefere with reason and rationality.  Like i initially stated I like to be pragmatic when approaching things so I have to ask myself what the long term consequences are of encouraging women to lean into work, take shortened maternity leaves because it really isn't that big of a deal to be a mother, and then the other issue of the long term implication of changing the definition of marriage to include same sex unions.  I believe that these two seemingly non related topics actually have the same long term implications.   The implication of both is that gender should be a non-issue.  Gender doesn't really matter.  Women should not feel compelled because of their inherent gender towards family life.  Marriage should be a genderless institution made up of two consenting adults who love each other.  In the grand scheme of things is this really about working women or same sex marriage or is the real question whether or not to value gender?   Would it be better to live in a world where gender is not our defining characteristic?  Should gender matter?  Is this what we want, a genderless society?  Because if we are honest with ourselves this is the real issue here.
If indeed we as a society want this then my "modest proposal" is that we end gender.  Each time a baby is born we send them to a place to have their inherent gender removed. We take away all genitalia.  We refer to no one by he or she.  When these babies grow up and decide to have children they may choose one specially designed at a laboratory.
Now i realize my modest proposal is ridiculous but in my mind so is the idea of living without gender.  I believe that gender matters.  And because I believe that gender matters I support the concept of marriage as it has been defined since the beginning of time, mainly the union of a man and a woman.  There is no way around the science that a baby is conceived from the sperm of a man and an egg from a woman.  Every child has a right to have both of those parents in his/her life.