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I find feminist theory to be an interesting topic of discussion because it questions the status quo, and in doing so causes us to look beyond those questions and into our definition of what is right, just and good.
- One interesting point is the issue of gender equality. In terms of feminist theory, this largely deals with differences in the way the genders are perceived and treated, not necessarily with biological differences (although this does come into play, particularly in the question of how closely gender relates to biological sex). It is a precept of feminist theory that women are largely treated as inferiors in virtually every aspect of comparison. This calls into question many of our practices, and it seems right to ask "is this behavior born of any justifiable reason, or is it prejudice"? It seems fitting to the American ideal of self-sufficiency and hard work that one can earn success through the strength of their own merits, and deeply-ingrained prejudices may be robbing worthy women (and men) of the happiness their work ought to have earned.
- In going beyond the question of gender equality, we may ask "what is meant by the term 'equality'?" Simply going off of my personal experience, people find it very difficult to define equality in a way that does not create some loophole that they don't agree with. Does equality mean "everyone gets the same result"? Then no one has an incentive to work harder, do better, or be competetive. Does equality mean "everyone has the same opportunities for success and happiness"? Then how do we deal with the fact that women experience a much higher natural risk for breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression and Alzheimer's disease, yet also have longer lifespans, much lower incidence of death by injury, and form a small minority of active combatants in war? If men cannot bear children, do they deserve paternity leave when children are born? For how long? These questions are worth discussing; they will not go away by ignoring them, and finding a means of addressing them is important to our continued development as a progressive society that takes in new information and adapts to it, rather than sweeping it under an ideological rug.
Links to my sources for Alzheimer's and paternity leave are below.
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