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Friday, March 07, 2014

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Gender

Dear Friends,
This Sunday we are discussing: Gender.

Just when we thought that in the 21st Century gender wouldn't be an
issue in our society, we are constantly reading reports of statistics
that demonstrate huge disparities between male and female earnings,
imbalanced employment opportunities between the sexes, violence against
women. And to cap it all some governments, supported by religious
institutions, are busy eroding away at the human rights achieved by
women to be responsible for their biological and social roles and needs.

But gender issues are not only about women, they also involve
discrimination against men. The need to appear macho and aggressively
competitive at work is a role not everyone enjoys playing simply to make
a living. Then there is the subtle discrimination against men by
corporations to pressurise them to get married (or be married) and have
a family. Supposedly this is a virtuous attribute in men, but in reality
is makes it more difficult for these people to go against the demands of
the corporation. Married men do not make good whistle blowers viz:
Assange and Snowdon.

We usually understand gender to have at least a meaning in three
different contexts: gender in the biological sense, i.e. male and
female; gender in the social context, i.e. man and woman; and gender as
a character trait, i.e. manly and feminine.

We can safely assume that there must have been valid reasons for our
species to develop into two sexes to reproduce and prolong our
biological system. So, in a way, we are left with no choice but to think
in terms of male-dom and female-dom. This can be useful when it comes to
the reproductive process, but it is very evident that nature did not
design human beings so that all should reproduce. The way we (and
animals for that matter) function in the real world demonstrates beyond
doubt that we are not designed for all to reproduce and prolong our
individual genes. Competition, especially one based on utilitarianism,
is totally incompatible with universal and equal distribution.

Indeed, in the social role, we do not need to categorise human beings in
terms of gender; it is just irrelevant for society to function. Anyone
can be a prime minister, anyone can be a plumber, anyone can be a pope,
anyone can be a doctor and anyone can be a philosopher. There is not
natural law that says that men cannot be good housekeepers, but of
course there is a natural law that says that men cannot have babies.
Babies are a matter of biology; housekeeping is a social activity. And
as a person what law determines that a man has to be an aggressive brute
and women a soft and weak person?

However, the biggest flaw in our discussion regarding males and females,
and men and women is that we are the victims of the "face value curse."
We are cursed to function so that the person in front of us in first and
foremost a male or a female and not our partner, or our doctor, or our
shop assistant or our favourite movie star. This suggests to me, at
least, that in the 21st century we are still much closer to our
biological origins rather than our destination as philosopher monarchs.

In the meantime Ruel has sent us his link to his essay on the topic:

Hello Lawrence,
Here is the link to what I wrote re Sunday´s PhiloMadrid topic:

http://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/on-sex-and-gender/
Thanks and see you on Sunday.
Best,
Ruel

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.__com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at
O'Donnell's
Irish Pub, c/ Barcel├│ 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/__tertuliainenglishmadrid/
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from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Gender

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