Gender neutrality is often misunderstood against Gender equality, with a hairline difference between the two.
Nature in its pristinely prefers symmetry, but this symmetry is designed to bring balance to the system and it should not be misinterpreted as equating the entities in terms of their characteristics.
- The Solar system consists of unequal masses, yet the system is balanced due to symmetry in forces due to
- There are positive and negative charges in the universe, yet the universe is in a balance due to symmetry in forces due to an electric field.
Similarly, every living being has counterparts to take up a specific role and hence contribute to a stable existence.
Henceforth, the male and female pairs have their roles according to nature.
Gender and evolution
It shall be declaimed that biological and social purpose gender is widely diversified. Biologically the term gender is only associated with reproduction, while socially the purpose is attributed to the maintenance of social order.
But very certainly, the social norms are scientifically designed based on biological features.
For example:- The responsibility of a male (animal) is to defend its family against major threats, while that of the female is to tend and train the offspring to proliferate their lineage.
This concept is devised based on the paradigm of social sustainability and has nothing to do with the exceptional cases of modernization.
Gender: As assigned by humans
Based on the physical features and comparative trends humans have developed common jargon of feminization and masculinization; for example:-
- Mother nature, mother earth, and mother tongue, etc.
- Godfather, brotherhood and kingship (& kinship), etc.
Gender: As in holy scriptures
Apart from this, several holy scripts refer to God in the masculine image rather than female,
- The Bhagavad Geeta asserts Krishna the main character as the primary creator.
- The Kuran refers to Allah as ‘he the ultimate and supreme,’ and
- The Bible portrays the main characters, Adam, Abraham, and Joseph as the lynchpin of the context rather than their wives.
Apart from the most detested scripture manusmriti, some of these holy scriptures do have certain gender-specific norms, for example:-
- Bhagavad Geeta – Chapter 1, Verses 40 highlights that women should be regulated to maintain their chastity.
- Quran – Chapter 24, Verse 32, highlights the modesty dress code for women and their conduct in the family.
Although they are never intended to bring in discrimination, they were mainly to establish social order. And no instance promoted violence against women in any of these scriptures.
The concept of Patriarchy and Matriarchy arose mainly due to the dominance to retain power.
As per research conducted by Linnaeus University – Sweden the concept of power to discriminate arises from hegemonic privilege to a particular person, hence the dictums of the person gets widely accepted as Gender order.
Gender: In modern society
Parenting has a significant impact on the development of a child. Very certainly boy and girl children receive different mannerisms of conduct in society.
In schools, boys are made to feel that, they shouldn’t feel homesick, get very emotional, and shouldn’t cry, while a girl needs to be sympathized for the same reason.
Boys are exposed to an environment where it is ‘ok’ for a man to bathe, change over, and also urinate in unwatched public places, which convince them that privacy is only reserved for girls (women).
This is the same situation elsewhere:-
- There are announcements in metro trains insisting to vacate seats for women and the disabled. And on the other side, voices are being heard that womanhood is not a disability.
- Women presume that it is completely fine to enter the premises of public swimming pools (men’s batches), men’s restrooms, spas, and saloons if needed, but the contrary can never be imagined.
- A woman in trouble deserves a higher grade of attention than a man in the same situation.
- In times of war, natural disaster, and calamities there are wide cries to save women and children to avoid violence on them. But men are presumed to be responsible to sacrifice for their sake.
Finally, when 8 March is internationally observed as women’s day, with great ferventness, where women get public discounts and free public travel passes by the government, we rarely remember 18 Nov as men’s day.
Gender discrimination in law
While Women’s rights are protected by many pieces of legislation, men’s rights are sparsely stated. Women are generally presumed as victims rather than offenders.
- There are several instances of false criminal charges against men, with sec 498A (dowry case) being misused.
- And despite criminal background, the proportion of women convicts is lesser than men.
- A police officer must file an FIR if a woman raises a complaint (regardless of the jurisdiction of the officer), while a man facing a genuine threat is underprivileged in this regard.
- The Central Government rejected the JS Verma committee‘s recommendation to make several pieces of legislation gender-neutral.
In its plea, the Centre said that the rules pertaining to rape should not be changed, as certain provisions are required to combat the escalating crime against women.
Similarly, the Supreme Court rejected Rishi Malhotra’s PIL, which called for gender-neutral rape legislation since there are no laws protecting men from sexual harassment. It was Rishi Malhotra vs the Union of India.
Solution: Gender neutrality vs Gender equality
The concept of Gender neutrality means that either gender is given equal opportunity, while Gender equality means that both genders must be treated equally.
In the modern trend, the false notion of feminism is targeting the patriarchic society and false masculinization is subjugating the women-silenced society, rather than eradicating it to bring a neutral society.
The actual meaning of masculinizism and feminism is simply taking up the responsibility of humanism for the healthy and constructive existence of society.
Read More –
- Gender-neutral language: How to use it and Why it’s important.