An online CNN headline reads: How to teach children about gender equality. The closing sentence after a fairly well-sized article and accompanying video says, “When I asked them [5th and 6th grade students] if they would tell their sons and daughters that girls and boys are different, they unanimously said they would tell their kids that girls and boys are equal.”
Perhaps an English lesson might be helpful. Different and equal are not antonyms. Furthermore, equal is a meaningless word if you don’t define what you are comparing. So two dimes and one nickel are equal in monetary value to one quarter, but they are not equal in weight or number.
A lesson in logic might be helpful as well. Stating that women as a group prefer A while men as a group prefer B or that men and women tend to excel in certain areas doesn’t say anything relevant about a particular woman or man or limit an individual in any way. The fact that my friend Robin happens to be a computer geek does not prove that if an overwhelming percentage of top software engineers are male, discrimination or social conditioning is to blame.
The article suggests examining ads and magazines for depictions of men and women and discussing stereotyping and misleading pictures. I’m all for that. It is important to understand how false airbrushed pictures are and how the media seduces us into believing and craving certain things. The author of the article and I would probably agree on some ads that we would both condemn. However, I would also include in the category of awareness learning how prevalent social conditioning is that is trying to do away with the idea of two genders because, subconsciously or not, there is a societal rebellion against the Creator of the concept expressed as, “Male and female He created them.”