What’s that? Did you just say “equality between men and women?” Yeah…right.
After discussion today, I immediately asked one of my friends do you think a girl could beat a boy in a basketball game? He said, well it depends on the ability of the two. If the boy is taller than the girl, then the boy will win. If the guy is awful, and the girl is a decent player then the girl will win. But, if the guy and girl have the same ability, the guy will win.
At first, it sounds like sexism. But, one should consider the following question: are these just society’s social constructions or are gender abilities actually different inherently?
Personally, I believe that people will sometimes claim that men are better than women, or that women are better than men-it just depends on the context that you are comparing them in.
Let’s continue our basketball example. If you watch this YouTube video, you see that the guy’s ability in basketball is much better than the girl. He also slows down whenever he gets near her to show that if he was playing at full speed, the girl would have no chance in beating him at all.
Guy Verse Girl Basketball:
If Mills was watching this video, he would claim the following: “For, however great and apparently ineradicable the moral and intellectual differences between men and women might be, the evidence of their being natural differences could only be negative” (663). Here, Mills alludes to the fact that there really are no differences when men and women are born. They have the same abilities when they are born in terms of mental capacity, but his ideas do bring into question if this is the same for physical differences.
In my opinion, people develop different skills and capitalize on them in different ways, which leads to the social constructions we have in society. For example, men were always nurtured beforehand to be more physically active in the fields, while women were told they should stay at home and take care of the family. It develops different stigmas that men are stronger than women, so they should prevail in physical ability situations. However, this norm is tested when you have a woman who can compete at the same physical level as men. If society didn’t already think there was a difference in ability between men and women, then a woman beating a man wouldn’t be so surprising.
Mills would also agree with me because he writes, “If men had ever been found in society without women, or women without men, or if there had been a society of men and women in which the women were not under the control of the men, something might have been positively known about the mental and moral differences which may be inherent in the mature of each” (662). I believe that Mills was reinforcing the idea of social construction. If society had never created them, we would be living in a much different world where the abilities of the different genders wouldn’t be questioned or tested. However, this is a limited explanation of what Mills thinks; but, now I want to know what do you think? Will men and women ever be able to compete at an equal level in the same context?