There is no such thing as true equality between the sexes, and there never will be.
Beyond the traditional fights for equal voting rights, equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity, and equal education, there are many examples in today’s modern Western society — often regarded to have the most equal treatment of genders — where blatant sexual discrimination or segregation occurs. Equality is not part of the nature of mankind (or womankind, for that matter).
Take weddings, for instance. The modern Western wedding focuses rightfully on the bride and groom. Small ceremonies may include only a gender-specific Best Man and a Maid of Honor, defined respectively by Webster’s Dictionary as “a groom’s chief attendant” and the “chief unmarried woman attendant of the bride”. It is extremely rare to witness a ceremony where roles in either party have gone outside the stereotypes. Larger ceremonies generally increase the number of attendants in the bridal party, adding only female attendants to the bride’s side and only male attendants to the groom’s. It is odd to witness at a ceremony intended to bring two people together for the rest of their lives in supposed equality such a prominent display of sexual segregation, a row of males on one side, stamped out in black tuxedos (or God forbid, light blue!), and a line of females on the other, all dressed alike in florals, solids, or pastels. A society with true sexual equality would result in groupings of mixed genders in each party.
Daily commerce displays different manners of sexual discrimination. Men, when in environments traditionally conducive to women, tend to treat women better than they do men. Male jewelry store clerks spend hours, days, weeks patiently helping prospective brides choose the perfect ring and go out of their way to ensure the perception of perfection. Grooms are lucky to get a male clerk’s full-time attention, let alone the same level of service offered to their female counterparts. Conversely, men, when in male-oriented environs, often treat men better than they do women. Picture almost any repair shop, electronics boutique, or construction site.
Sex, itself, designed by nature to bring men and women together physically, is the most pronounced cause of the chasm between the sexes. It’s a simple economic formula: supply versus demand. As long as there’s a mutual demand for it, whoever controls the supply has the most influential power, and that is most often held by women. Rape and prostitution are notably non-mutual and exceptions; rape is purely a struggle for power and arguably has nothing to do with sex per se, and in prostitution the demand is not for mutual sexual pleasure, but a financial arrangement in order to satisfy only one party’s sexual desires. To obtain a truly equal partnership, the element of sexual power must be removed, however the controlling party is physically and mentally incapable of relinquishing control, and unwilling to do so. I have not yet heard an ardent feminist, while advocating increased female rights, argue in favor of relinquishing sexual power in an effort to truly establish equality. It will never happen.
Sex even causes disparity within genders, so much so that volumes of books have been written on the subject. How many times have you heard one woman criticizing another for having bøøbs that are too big, lips that are too full, a waist that is too tiny, or was just too pretty? Odds are, very often — and it’s almost never dished out by those similarly adorned. The ridicule is, at its basest, an attempt to reduce the threat to their own sexual desirability, mixed with large helpings of envy and jealousy.
Sarah Jones, one of the contestants on Survivor IV, has endured many online criticisms penned by fellow women on various forums, including Kara’s “Ding, Dong! The Bøøbs are gone!”, Melinda’s “[Sarah] has no pretension to be anything but a bimbo. With her teeny-weeny bikini and store-bought bøøbs, she wants to be the Anna Nicole Smith of the Marquesas”, and myriad others. Even my wife joined in to voice her disapproval of Sarah’s breasts.
“About the bikini on the island — every single day was 100 degrees and every person there, man or woman, had a bathing suit on. Because I have bøøbs, I got the rap for that, but I would consider Playboy for the right amount of money. It would be fun.” — Sarah Jones (Entertainment Tonight, 2002/03/20)
[Editor’s note: The right amount of money surfaced within a year; Sarah was featured in the “Playboy: Girls of Reality TV” DVD in 2003.]
On the other hand, one of my best friends, Brenden, who happens to be amply blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view), even more so now that she is breastfeeding a newborn, is not — at least, to my knowledge — one of the ones to usually comment about Sarah’s “alterations”. Brenden is secure in her own sexuality, comfortable with her own body, and aware of the sexual power she possesses; she is therefore not threatened by Sarah and has no reason to belittle her.
In opposition to Sarah’s criticizers, unless he’s gay or on the cusp, you’ll rarely hear a guy genuinely join in the criticisms; the general sentiment is that as long as the breasts are natural, the bigger they are, the better they are. And even artificial ones like Sarah’s are praised, too, to a point.
However, both genders tend to be critical of artificially enhanced extremes. Originally a pair of 37C’s, Eva Valois’ record-breaking 71-inch bust — fashioned by a designer of aeronautics industry fuselage moulds — held as much as three liters of surgical serum in each breast. Obsessed with her pursuit of artificial beauty, she changed her name to Lolo Ferrari, was crowned Miss Tits, Europe, and eventually launched her short-lived singing career with her first single, an annoyingly repetitive Eurodisco hit called “Airbag Generation“.
“My mother told me I was ugly and stupid… She said I was only good for emptying chamber pots. I wanted to be an anaesthetist, but you can’t learn with a mother like that. Actually, I’m like my mother. She thinks she’s ugly too. When I was born, it was herself that she saw and she stuck all sorts of negative stuff on me. She did all she could to stop me living…
My mother was always very unhappy with my father. My father was this macho guy who was never there and deceived her openly. So she revenged herself on me. She told me I was revolting too, that no one would ever want me. She hit me sometimes with a riding crop. I was frightened and I was ashamed; I wanted to change my face, my body, to transform myself. I wanted to die, really.” — Lolo Ferrari (The Guardian)
She survived at least 25 cosmetic operations by the time of her self-inflicted, premature death at the age of 30. In the few years prior to her death, Lolo (French slang for “tits”) wore a specially engineered bra day and night and could not sleep on her stomach or her back because her grotesquely proportioned bøøbs interfered with her breathing. Rumors spread that she avoided travel by plane for fear that her silicone implants would burst in the pressurized cabins. She died on March 5, 2000, apparently from an overdose of prescription antidepressants, a victim of self-loathing and manipulation by her husband and manager, Eric Vigne, the ultimate price to pay for submitting to someone else’s sexual power.
Emphasizing the inequality of the sexes paves the way for continued inequality and discrimination. Countless companies promote and benefit financially from gender inequality by promoting women-owned small businesses, providing cancer treatments solely to women, or offering gym services only to women. Researchers are often paid to make sexual distinctions: “women are more likely than men to believe in technological hazards”, “women who dye their hair red are more likely to cheat on their partners”, “rates of depressive and anxiety disorders are higher for women, while men experience more substance abuse disorders”, “women are more likely than men to develop autoimmune diseases”, and on and on. Despite today’s legal forms of equality, as long as there is an imbalance in or desire for power, or a financial or sexual interest, true equality between the sexes cannot exist.
We already embrace that men and women are different — Venus, Mars, and all that. Let’s just face the truth that men and women are, and will forever remain, biologically, mentally, financially, and socially unequal.
Maybe things would be different if men could have bøøbs of their own to play with.