It began reasonably and innocently enough, as political correctitude always does.
Women should have the right to vote.
Well of course they should, come to think of it.
Women should be able to have careers.
And why the devil not?
Women should receive equal pay for equal work.
That’s only fair, really.
Women should be able to serve their country in the military. Even in combat.
Well, if they’re absolutely sure that’s what they want.
Men damn well better eradicate all forms of sexism and start watching their spoken and written language closely to erase all forms of gender favoritism.
So we guys started doing our best to comply, alternating the use of she and he, and him and her, making sure we use Mr. and Ms., respecting hyphenated last names, desisting from ogling cleavage, not calling the waitress cutie-pie.
There should be, and there is, in fact, essentially no difference between women and men whatever.
Whoa. Wait a minute.
There’s correct. Then there’s over-correct.
If there’s no difference between the genders, then why don’t we allow both sexes on a football field or on a basketball court? Why do we insist on different Olympic events for women and men? Why do we allow women’s magazines and men’s magazines? Why don’t men attend breast-feeding classes and why don’t lingerie boutiques offer codpieces?
Sorry, but the genders are different in many ways. Not just psychologically and emotionally but also down-deep physically. That’s inescapable fact and has nothing to do with fairness. Female and male brains are even wired differently. According to a National Academy of Sciences study, confirmed by brain scans, a woman’s brain is configured to be feeling-oriented, while a man’s brain is set up to be action-oriented. A little thought backs this up. For uncounted generations the men of most tribes were by tradition the hunters and providers, while the women nurtured and protected the children they bore. Our brains have evolved exquisitely to reflect and perpetuate this.
And do we really wish it were not so? I like being a guy. Naomi likes being a gal.
But we writers had better be aware of ever-changing politically-correct sentiments at all times in creating our fiction, lest we inadvertently tread on sensitive toes.
Nails painted or not.
p.s. 1 Yesterday (3/8) was International Women’s Day. More power to you, ladies.
p.s. 2 Once in a while an author will attempt to write a story from the opposite gender’s point of view. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't, quite. As for me, it’s plenty-enough challenge trying to write well from my own gender’s point of view.