Monday, October 13, 2008

Michelin Stars And Other Angry Thoughts

Today a radio program interviewed all sorts of restaurant owners and chefs who have been given those much-coveted Michelin stars in the U.S.. All those interviewed were men, on both sides of the awarding process. I'm sure that female chefs and restaurant owners have also received those delicious little stars, but not in any reasonable proportion to the numbers of women actually cooking on this earth.

And why does listening to that show make me angry? Because. Because imagine that there was something like the Michelin Star system for the best authors of books about how to take care of your infant or your young child. What do you think the sex distribution of those star-awardees would be? Once again, it would be almost completely male.

Here's the reason for my anger: Those who believe that the two sexes have inherently different tasks in this world (whether for god-given or genetic reasons) always assign women the tasks of cooking and child-rearing and nursing the sick. Yet the leading figures in these most womanly of fields are men. I have even read about radical feminists who eagerly consult books written by men on how to take care of their babies. Note that these men were never actually required to spend any hands-on time on childcare. They could become experts from a distance! Without actually spending years alone in a house with a child!

It's not actually the gender of these "experts" that makes me angry, but the pretense that a sex-segregated society of the type both fundamentalists and some feminists imagine could ever be an equal society. It would most assuredly be nothing of the kind. Women would be segregated to their households and every household would have a male boss. To create an equal system under sex-segregation would require something like two separate countries, one for women and one for men, and the trade would consists of sperm parcels and the return of boy babies, with some money and resources also paid by the men given that women have to spend more energy in delivering the babies. I'm pretty sure that no religious fundamentalist anti-feminist would ever approve of such a system should it ever be feasible in any case which I doubt.

My anger is over the pretense that "separate but equal" is possible for men and women under the present systems of cohabitation. It is not, and nothing good follows from pretending that it is. We have to learn to integrate the sexes better.