Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Misconceptions about equality

Introduction

As a Swede I have seen an enormous amount of misconceptions about equality between the genders being propagated through television, newspaper articles and editorials, my own school education, and political propaganda. The same problems, often with a focus on race instead of gender, are present in the US. Similar problems exist, if to a noticeably lesser degree in e.g. Germany.

This page deals with some such occurrences (at the moment with a focus on Swedish gender equality). It will potentially grow lengthy over time. Likely a discussion of equality of opportunity (what I consider true equality) vs. equality of outcome (think Harrison Bergeronw) will be added.


Side-note:

The original version of this page was written before my study of feminism, and based only on observations of, to be blunt, stupidity where equality is concerned. I was at the time not consciously aware of the extreme degree of biological “equalness” that some feminist propose (“gender as a social construct”, etc.) This does not make the errors of thought below less stupid, in light of this particular feminist idea being scientifically debunked (cf. e.g. an article on genetic disposition for transsexualisme); however, it does suggest a pattern of consistent thought, not just random human stupidity—which was the target I set out to attack.


Meaning of “equality”

While “equality” can be legitimately used to imply “equalness”, the normal use is to imply “equality before the law”, “equal opportunities”, or similar. This article discusses uses of “equality”in the latter meanings, and it is clear from context that this reading is the intended in the sources.

As far as Swedish is concerned, two words are in common use: “Jämställdhet” (roughly, “even-put-ness”), which can only refer to the latter meanings; and the near-synonymous “jämlikhet” (“even-like-ness”), which could conceivably be used in the former sense—however, I cannot recall ever having seen this.

This distinction is important to bear in mind, because many discussions of equality (at least in Sweden) amount to pointing to differences in outcome, and raising hell because “equalness” has not been reached.

Lack of uniformity implies lack of equality

Uniformity of behaviour

http://www.friidrott.se/nyheter.aspx?id=9580e (in Swedish) starts of with the claim “Jämlikheten allt närmre!”–“Equality ever closer!”, and goes on to substantiate this claim with statistics showing that the proportion of female participants in certain Swedish road-running events has increased rapidly—as have the sales of running shoes for women.

Here equality appears to be used in sense of “uniformity of behaviour”—women have reached equality with men when they behave like men. I can only speculate that the author implicitly assumes that men and women are so inherently identical that deviations from “equality of behaviour” are signs of inequality in the more typical sense—an extremely naive view. (But a view that is very common in Sweden.)

Because women have long been allowed to participate and, at least in Sweden in reasonably modern times, have only rarely had lesser opportunities than men, the statistics reflect changes in interests and habits—not equality.

Uniformity of treatment

http://svt.se/2.22620/1.1617124/svenska_skolan_inte_jamstalld?lid=puff_1617129&lpos=lasmere discusses a report from DEJA (Delegationen för jämställdhet i skolan/Delegation for equality in schools) to the Swedish minister of education, Jan Björklund. I additionally draw on a page from an online version of the SVT (Swedish Television) video-text on the same subject, which unfortunately is not archived.

The core statement in both:

A later claim is that the choices of high-school programs (which are highly varied in Sweden) are “very gender stereotypical” (“väldigt könsstereotypa”, article), respectively divided into typical girl’s and boy’s educations (video text). The video text adds that those pupils who make “untraditional” choices are more prone to drop out.

This is exactly what is to be expected: There are natural difference between the sexes, and their interests vary—end of discussion. That Swedish feminist propaganda keeps denying this fact, and does so without contradiction in main media, is outrageous. The very fact that the “untraditional” students drop out more, is in strong support of this, and not as implied (in my perception, this is not entirely clear cut) a sign of further discrimination.


Side-note:

Beware that this is a statement about aggregates: No a priori statement can be made about any individual boy or girl. Further, the existence of a strong genetic component does not rule an environmental component out.


It is true that other factors may play in, e.g., that a girl is teased for considering joining a “male” program or conversely; however, this is highly unlikely to be the main explanation. Similarly, a contributing explanation of the higher drop-out rate may be that being in an environment with, say, four times as many members of the opposite sex as of the same sex, can be far from ideal; however, this is not a sign of lacking equality, but just tough luck: A baseball player who lands in a town of basket fanatics may simply have to join a basket team—he has no right to complain of discrimination just because no-one wants to play his game. Only if it can be shown, e.g., that he is given worse service in the super-market can he legitimately complain.

Both articles are clear on the described situation being something bad that should be fought—without providing arguments ad rem, just rhetoric and preconceived opinions.


Side-note:

Not having read the report, I cannot say whether the discussed problems were present in the report (although I consider this likely) and merely too uncritically propagated by media, or whether the report was more factual and a later unscientific/feministic distortion has taken place. For the purposes of this discussion, this is irrelevant; however, care should be taken when and if blame is assigned.