We Are Equal, But Not The Same

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Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of heat in the comments on certain blog posts about how I am “sexist” in my “generalizations.”

Sexist?

Have you read my articles?

I would think my constant push for fairness, mutual respect, and equality, is the furthest thing from sexist.

But, this does raise an interesting point. Why is it, that people associate the term equality with being the same?

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Not only are men and women different, but it’s been scientifically proven that our brains are different.

Does this make either gender better or worse? Smarter or dumber? More or less apt to succeed? NO! But, it does make us different.

Trying to tell me that a white suburban American male thinks the same way as a female from Nairobi is ridiculous. But why is it wrong to say that out loud? Are we all so petrified of offending someone that we must group every single person into one area?

We should embrace our differences and be honest about them, otherwise we will create future generations of drones with no individuality.

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We are equal in how we should be treated. Every race and gender is equal in this sense, but we are all different – and, that is a beautiful thing.

Each of us have unique nuances that make us who we are, that all go away if we try to shove a square peg in a round hole. No matter how much you try to make a woman the same as a man, she is not, and vice versa. Sorry if this sounds sexist to some of you, but I think it’s an amazing thing.

This means we can learn from each other, collaborate with each other, and truly appreciate each other for being an individual unlike anyone else who has ever lived.

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So, treat each other with the respect and kindness that you would your equal – because that’s exactly what they are.

But, don’t be mistaken, they are not the same as you, and that is what makes the world beautiful.

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29 Comments

  1. Karl G Larsen on December 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

    James, great post here. Sexist – I think not! It’s interesting (and you bring up a good point) that people are walking on egg shells, not voicing their thoughts, because fear is holding them captive, fear of judgement by others. I agree that part of our societal beauty does reside in the wide spectrum of differences between us and at the same time we should all be treated equal, from a humanity standpoint. Keep up the good work!!

  2. femaleramblings on December 8, 2013 at 9:12 am

    This is the most insightful, honest and actually feminist piece I’ve read. Thanks for writing. X

  3. […] ← What Love Does (And Doesn’t) Look Like We Are Equal, But Not The Same → […]

  4. Shanice Flowers on December 8, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I am a recent subscriber and I must say I have read all of your articles since then.e message of this one however has had an inexpiable impact on me its simplicity I believe is what makes its message so profound!. I thank you for this short but enjoyable read, and look forward to your next article

    Kind Regards, Shanice Flowers Ambassador (2013-2014) UWI STAT Vice Chancellor’s Ambassador Corps

  5. Christen on December 8, 2013 at 11:19 am

    When you claim that women are emotional rather than logical, that is blatantly sexist. You can cover it up with sweet comments about loving and respecting one another, but those kind of stereotypes have fed patriarchy for generations. People frequently use the idea that women aren’t logical as a reason why they *shouldn’t* run for office or be a CEO. Being nice about it /=/ being feminist.

    • James Michael Sama on December 8, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Actually, it’s factually and scientifically accurate. Nothing wrong with it at all and I never said there was.

      On the contrary, I wrote an article entitled why we need to take women seriously and it goes against everything you just assumed about me in your comment.

      Perhaps you should re-read this article and not purposely miss the point.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Natalie Glynn on December 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm

        I must say that saying “scientifically proven” demonstrates a laymen’s fundamental misunderstanding of science. Scientific evidence supports a claim. It can disprove something, but it cannot “prove” something because new evidence could always arise to disprove the claim (hence it can only support a claim). Additionally, all the evidence I have read, including the article you referenced here, indicates that differences increase with age, indicating a cultural or nurture component to the differences to which you refer.

        I agree, there are differences between men and women, but I would contend that the differences you referred to in your original article are rooted in a traditionally Western conception of the male/female dichotomy rather than some fundamental biological difference. You might notice that the subjects of even the scientific articles you reference are Americans. At least some of the women reacting negatively (i.e. arguing that you are spouting sexist propaganda) are probably referring to this kind of covert sexism that is engendered in people in our culture through lifelong enculturation.

        Finally, to say that women are emotional and men are logical is a false dichotomy. Men and women are equal parts emotional and logical beings, but I would agree if you were arguing that they are taught to express those parts differently, which is what I would argue is the root of the communication issue that must be remembered in any relationship.



      • James Michael Sama on December 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm

        I said scientifically accurate in my comment, given the article I linked in this post. I understand how science works and how nothing is 100%, and can always be rebutted.

        However, I see no information being supplied that argues against what I said using facts or studies – simply opinion and, dare I say, emotional reactions.

        I don’t understand what the issue is here, this entire article is supposed to be positive and to bring people together. I realize that some people will always want to argue and bring others down, but frankly, I have no time for it nor interest in it.

        I see absolutely no basis for the claim of sexism being applied here, everything I write is based on mutual respect for both genders in all situations.

        Thanks,

        – JMS.



      • Natalie Glynn on December 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

        I meant to include this article in my first comment. I came across it in my Bioanthropology News group earlier this week (some might say serendipitously), and I think it does a good job of summing up the covert sexism and biological determinism that I was referring to in my first comment.

        http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/07/brain-science-ditch-male-female-cliche



      • Natalie Glynn on December 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

        I feel the need to clarify my point considering your response (and reference to my being emotional) seemed to indicate a misreading of my original point. I was simply explaining that if it seems that a person is arguing for a fundamental difference (and potentially indicating a biological basis for that difference), then it is a common and understandable reaction to suspect sexism (overt or covert) given that these differences have been used to perpetuate sexism in the first place. Notice how I never called you sexist.

        My point was to indicate that acknowledging that these differences likely have roots in cultural conceptions of gender and the subsequent differential treatment of male and female children would likely reduce the comments crying sexism.

        I also have better things to do than argue, but I truly dislike being misunderstood or the implication that my response might be emotional rather than logical because I pride myself on my use of reason and logic. Enjoy your evening.



      • Natalie Glynn on December 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm

        PS The “prove” comment was referring to your use of it in the article, not this comment thread. (Normally, I’d just edit my last post rather than make yet another comment, but it doesn’t have that function.)

        Also, I feel the need to say that your response was surprisingly rude given that my comment was fairly innocuous and actually supported your position for understanding differences and the implications for communication in relationships.



      • James Michael Sama on December 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm

        I apologize for any rudeness, it’s tiring facing ridicule 24/7 when expressing my opinion on my personal blog online – now and then it tends to get to me and I may not give the most eloquent responses.

        Sorry again.

        – James



    • Jeniece on December 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Interesting fact to back him:
      In men, the area of the brain that controls language is on the opposite side of the area of the brain that controls emotions. Therefore, men don’t understand their emotions as well as women, nor can they articulate verbally how they’re feeling as easily as women can (where language and emotion are controlled by the same area, making it second nature to us). hence, men are less likely to make decisions based on emotions, resorting to logic (or what they think is logical). It’s not sexist, its realistic and practical. I mean, face it, we as women are emotional beings unlike our male counterparts. But it doesn’t make us incapable of being successful. And as for those who take our gender differences as a sign of weakness or incompetence, or use it as the basis for sexist beliefs (which clearly, Sama does not do) are ignorant and a waste of oxygen. Men may be better at playing the part, but only with a women behind him, leading him, guiding his thoughts and decisions, and ultimately, helping him make those emotional connections needed* to better understand themselves and make better decisions in life. Simply put, and many may disagree, men need* women to be capital M Men, leaders, presidents, CEO’s ect. Without us, their empires would fall, as we’ve seen in the past. We’re actually the lucky ones, because we don’t necessarily need men; we have our girlfriends 🙂

      • Sarah on December 8, 2013 at 9:10 pm

        Where exactly are you reading this “fact”?



  6. Lesia Griffith Flynn on December 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I love the points you make about nuance and individuality. (Actually, I love all of your posts I’ve read so far!) But I agree, nuance and individuality are highly underrated. These are the components that make up a great cocktail party, in life or on a social media page. We all enjoy the differences in each other, if we’re honest. Great post!

  7. Spazzzito on December 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    very well put fellow blogger. people tend to be afraid of the different since we live in such a conformist socirty

  8. Jeniece on December 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Very well said. There’s a great book called Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax that discusses the science behind innate differences between genders. Sax gives an in depth analysis on the vastly different brain structures between males and females, “like oranges to apples”, as well as the differences in the way we see, hear, feel, react and interact. He places most of his emphasis on children, because as we grow and mature, we learn to adjust our ways; children don’t yet have that control. That’s why you are 100% right that it is so important for us to understand the implications these differences have on child development when raising kids. Parents and teachers especially need to educate themselves as it can have a profound effect on a child’s learning abilities and emotional upbringing.
    I love your articles btw!
    God bless you and your work!

  9. […] to make it hard if we keep blaming the other person. Men and women are not supposed to be alike, we’re supposed to be different but equal. Equal in the pretense that we will show respect for each other, be willing to understand something […]

  10. Mellifera on December 9, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Well, I do think you are right in saying that we are different, although, I’m not sure it is all about gender. I think it’s also about culture and education, and most of all, every human being is unique. And I can understand why some people are stating that male and female brains are not the same is a patriarchal thing. Because it is, in a way, since saying women work with emotions isn’t far from the era when you’d lock a woman in a cell because she was said to be hysterical.
    I mean, I’d use my own experience, because I’m no scientist, I’m a girl, I’m an artist, yet I can read maps, plans and be pretty logical. On the other hand, my boyfriend cannot go anywhere without google maps and cannot read a map as well as I do (I impressed him in a way) ad one of my ex bf’s was… well pretty hysterical to be honnest. I do think there is a genetic part in the mind, yet I think the rest is mostly education and environment. So yeah, in a way I do think we are different, we all are, although I tend to think when it comes to gender that it is also dued to education.

  11. brenelliott05 on December 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    This reminds me of Star Trek episodes where there was a colony of drones. Not a pretty or healthy thing. People were made into machines and there was one voice thinking for all of them and controlling them. How awful!

  12. Laken on December 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article. Keep up the good thoughts.

  13. Maja on December 10, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for having the courage to say this. Women and men do have different innate strengths, neither of which are better than the other, just different. Saying that women are naturally more emotional does not mean that they will tear up at the drop of a hat; it means simply that they are more emotionally intelligent, in that they, in general, are more adept at utilizing their emotions in problem-solving. I see this as a compliment. Also, I think that saying that chivalry is in some way chauvinistic is a ridiculous notion. Nine times out of ten, your boyfriend is probably much more physically strong than you, and to believe that opening a car door for you is intended to offend you is laughable. I see it as a sign of respect for my femininity. Thanks again James, I enjoy reading your posts 🙂

  14. Katie on December 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Love it. Thank you. These differences extend beyond just men and women. These differences apply to cultures, religions, age groups, etc. The desire to be “politically correct” just silences and crushes the beauty of diversity around us. Thank you for standing up for differences. How can we accept who we are if we are too afraid to admit we are any different?

  15. Sarahj on December 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    This is so spot on! I am very passionate about empowering women and I believe women have distinct differences from men that we need to embrace and not be ashamed of. I agree with every article i have read of yours and i can feel the sincerity and intention behind them! If both people in a relationship understood their differences and didnt try to mold their partner into something they are not, couples would stay together a lot longer. I believe together, a man and women compliment each other perfectly! My bf tells me all the time that i remind him how to be loving and care about people more. Men sometimes need that feminine, creative touch in their lives just as women sometimes need someone by their side to think logically and help them move on from negative emotions quicker. We are different so we can be complete together and when both people in a partnership realize this, they can become an unstoppable, powerful duo. Greats posts keep it up 🙂

  16. rlcarterrn on January 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    I’m amazed at how often you write things that are so incredibly similar to posts I have written (see this: http://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2013/10/30/all-kinds-of-kinds/). It’s great to know there are other like-minded people in the world. Keep up the great work!

  17. […] If reading this is your first introduction to my writing, I feel the need to give a disclaimer. I am writing this article because I published a male version a few months ago and fair is fair, ladies…I also typically write on equality, love, and respect. […]

  18. […] If reading this is your first introduction to my writing, I feel the need to give a disclaimer. I am writing this article because I published a male version a few months ago and fair is fair, ladies…I also typically write on equality, love, and respect. […]

  19. MB on November 9, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Sorry but your articles do not impress me. You’re extremely defensive and yes, you are part of the problem of patriarchy.

  20. […] If reading this is your first introduction to my writing, I feel the need to give a disclaimer. I am writing this article because I published a male version quite some time ago, and fair is fair, ladies…I also typically write on equality, love, and respect. […]

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