It is known that the issue concerning gender differences is a controversial one. Some people are sure that men and women are fundamentally similar, while others state that there are certain fundamental differences between them (Stange et al., p. 539). Ā For example, a number of liberal theories call for equal rights of women and men in our society on the ground that men and women are fundamentally similar. According to the ideas of the educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, “men and women are not fundamentally similar; rather, men and women typically undergo a different moral development”¯ (Culver, 2007, p. 222). Thus, the moral attitude of men can be called the “ethics of justice”¯, which is focused on abstract rules, norms, principles and rights, while the dominant moral attitude of women can be called the “ethics of care”¯ which is concentrated on the concern for others, sense of responsibility and the significant role of relationships (Culver, 2007, p. 222).
It is clear that the study of gender differences in our society may lead to the conclusion that men and women are fundamentally different, and should occupy different roles in our society. However, since our society values equality and there are many rules and regulations that protect the U.S. citizens from gender discrimination, the study of gender differences may be either unnecessary at best or damaging at worst. Nevertheless, this issue is of great importance as it helps to evaluate the real role of women in our society. Although men and women are different in moral, psychological and physical terms, they are fundamentally similar as they are entitled to be treated equally. Today this issue is widely discussed in many legal debates. Historically, the major challenge in our society was to prove the fact that women should be treated equally with men.
The major argument of this paper: although men and women are different in moral, psychological and physical terms, they are fundamentally similar as they are entitled to be treated equally.
Gender analysis can help to better understand the differences and similarities of various ideologies. In order to provide an effective gender analysis, it is necessary to refer to recognizing the natures of both genders. According to Jean-Baptiste Say, “women and men have fundamentally different natures”¯ (Forget, 2002, p. 103). The differences in the nature of two genders create different social roles for the representatives of each gender. This fact means that recognizing the differences in the nature of two genders can lead to stability in our society “because the true interests of men and women are fundamentally harmonious”¯ (Forget, 2002, p. 104).
Men and women are not similar as they do not have the same human nature. However, the true interests of men and women are “not in the opposition to one another”¯- their interests are harmonious, according to Evelyn L. Forget (2002, p. 104). That is why the relationships between a man and a woman are created when both genders recognize that they share common interests. Social stability depends on different roles of men and women in our society. For example, education helps to make two genders “much more similar than they have been historically”¯ (Forget, 2002, p. 104).
In addition, it is necessary to refer to the role of physical differences between men and women. Martha E. Thompson and Michael Armato (2012) discuss gender issues in their book Investigating Gender. The authors of the book state that “the complexities of female, male and intersexual biology and the two-way relationship between biology and social life are masked by the model of biological sex provided by our faith and sexual dimorphism”¯ (Thompson & Armato, 2012, p. 63). It is clear that human bodies identify the gender of an individual. This fact means that human bodies not only reflect biological mandates of individuals, but also their social mandates. It has been found that “men’s bodies, minds, hormones, brains and innate psychologies are superior to women’s”¯, according to Martha E. Thompson and Michael Armato (2012, p. 63). This fact proves that men have more privileges in this world. However, not all men have equal privileges and not all women in our society are oppressed in the same way. In addition, Martha E. Thompson and Michael Armato argue that “the intersecting social inequalities of race, social class, nationality, sexuality and ability all play out on human bodies”¯ (2012, p. 64). For example, those women in Western societies, who enjoy certain privileges, should do everything possible to be attractive and comply with the major notions of femininity. By contrast, “women of color, poor women, women from the poor nations, lesbians, and women with disabilities do not have the same level of access to dominant notions of femininity”¯ (Thompson & Armato, 2012, p. 64).