Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sexism or selfishness? Two strong women debate running the world

Today's topic: Women. Passion. Actions.

In one corner we have Isabel Allende, author and activist. In the other corner we have Jen Betton, illustrator and teacher. Two women. Two views. And two compelling notions of humanity's strengths ... and weaknesses.

Isabel, you're up first:



Jenny, your rebuttal (emphasis at end is mine):
Interesting. She seems like a very vivacious, wonderful lady! I really enjoyed her talk, and agreed with most of what she said. I'm going to pick on one particular statement she made about how "men run the world and look at how messed up it is".

I agree with her that the exploitation of women and children around the globe is reprehensible. I think more women in positions of influence is a good thing. I know that of all the people hurt around the world, women and children are the majority. I agree that empowering women to plant trees, change their circumstances, escape prostitution and subjugation are all very important things.

I just don't think that if women were running the world it would really be a better place. It would be different I'm sure, but not better. I think that the strong will always prey upon the weak, that those in power will always have to fight corruption and greed, and that abusers will look for others to hurt - whether they are men or women.

I think that the problem isn't that women don't run the world, but that people are selfish. I feel that this is the root of slavery, sexism - not that these things aren't terrible and wrong, but that they are expressions of a selfish desire to consider oneself superior, to live a privileged life, to justify treating others poorly, to justify thinking of oneself as better than others.

I actually saw the Bollero exhibit she referred to when it was in New York. Incidentally, the Abu Ghraib prison was under the command of a woman, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, while the tortures were going on. Also, three of the twelve soldiers convicted for torturing prisoners were women. I think men and women have an equal capacity for evil.

Ok gang, take it from here. What role does gender play in morality, courage, and effectiveness (if any)? Thoughts? Opinions? Support? Disagree? I'd love to hear what you're thinking ...

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