09-03-2016

Is the difference between men and women, only a matter of gender?


Men and women, are we so different? And where do our differences come from? From Simone de Beauvoir’s to Judith Butler’s gender theory, to the Najat Vallaud-Belkacem‘s fight for equality between boys and girls, the idea is becoming widespread that it is mainly the consequence of cultural conditioning, or worse, a devious subservience of women to long-standing patriarchy. In support of these contentions, numerous injustices against women can be observed, and one should be able to denounce them. It is fair to demand that women must be respected; but should they be respected in an identical manner as men, or by recognizing their differences? Is it fair to recognize the same desires and skills for men as for women, or on the contrary to recognize women’s particular aspirations and talents?

Firstly, why are we so different? What distinguishes men and women is their difference of sex because of sexual reproduction. Is it only a morphological and biological detail without any social consequence? Sexual complementarity is essential for conception, gestation and birth of children. But a child’s personal history doesn’t stop at birth, it is only the beginning. And the parents are well aware, that to forge a man or a woman, the child needs many years of education, of slow learning. Therefore, the role of the father and the mother do no stop with breast-weaning of the child.

Those in National Education often consider that the entry to school should mark the beginning for learning civic education, a public service founding our social unity, one of the missions would be to liberate the child from any old-fashioned family conditioning. To such a point that teachers seem upset when parents reclaim their role as the primary educator, and take an interest in the pedagogical contents of the teaching. But in practice, the school quickly turns back to the parents, judging them as failing, whenever the child’s behavior reflects unhappiness, either by showing agressivity, depressive or even suicidal tendencies, indiscipline or becoming a school drop-out.

Yes, the father and the mother continue to have an essential role to play in the education of the child, until he reaches the age of adulthood. Under these conditions, in the very same logic as sexual reproduction, why should the role of the father and the mother be identical, non-differentiated? In fact, what do we expect from a father, what do we expect from a mother? And if nature has inscribed differences in us for the conception, would it not be the same for education, from a physical as well as psychological viewpoint? Undoubtedly, we need to rediscover the fundamental roles of the father and the mother to understand what establishes the difference between men and women.