Imagine two tennis players on either side of the court. They have a deep relationship with each other. They’ve been playing their game together for a very long time—a very long time (like, since the Pleistocene). Thwack, thwack, thwack . . . the ball goes back and forth. Thwack, thwack, thwack . . . “That was over the line!” “No it wasn’t!” . . . thwack, thwack, thwack . . . “You double taped!” “I did not!” . . . thwack, thwack, thwack. At the end the players argue heatedly.
Both players claim to have lost.
“I was defeated by your superior power and weaponry,” says one. “I’m sorry,” says the other, “but I am verycertain that I came out the loser in this game.” At first the contestants are each intractable, so certain are each that they see reality and the other does not. But, eventually, they begin to listen to each other and, over time, they’re no longer so very sure. You see it is exactly because there can be no certainty and no complete agreement that after a long time spent arguing, for the sake of their friendship, they make a decision—they shake hands and agree to “call it a draw.”
I submit that no human mind can hold the entire female experience on one side of the brain, the entire male experience on the other, and claim to Know, with certainty, which side is lighter/which side is heavier; which is happier/which is sadder; more fulfilled/less fulfilled; freer/more constrained; which is “better”/which is “worse.” The reality of the Big Picture is a reality that simply will not support any such certainty.
And so, for the sake of gender relations, for the sake of the social fabric upon which so much depends, I suggest calling it a draw. In Equalism, “It All Balances Out” is not asserted as dogma. It’s an invitation: “We’ve agreed to call it even, come join us!”
In the absence of certainty, I say, why not be magnanimous about it? The contest for the coveted title of MVP (Most Victimized and Powerless), is a destructive contest that can have no positive outcome. A pox on it. There is much forward movement needed in the realms of gender politics and gender relations. But should we remain stuck in “my victim is bigger than your victim,” no such progress can be made. So I say, let’s make the collective decision to call it even, and start anew with a new gender-neutral gender politics.
By Tim Goldich