Chicken : Egg :: Difference : Inequality(?)

I have this paper to write, that basically asks me to address how an emphasis on the difference between the sexes, (and the concentration on the gender binary etc.) maintains systems of oppression. While this is a subject I'm interested in, I've found it hard to write about it in the past because I'm ambivalent about a couple of key issues.

Mostly the fact that to blur the lines between genders too intensely is to stray too close to the "I don't see color" or "I don't care if people are gay or straight" which I think is a position that should be avoided. At the same time, I completely agree with the idea that the gender binary is tool used to oppressive means. In fact, I could argue that the gender binary is perhaps the oppressive tool, but I don't think I will at this juncture.

I don't think that difference alone can create oppression, and even if it can, I don't think that's a particularly strong position to argue for social change from. See, people are different from each other. Entire groups of people are different from other groups of people. This doesn't in and of itself create advantage and disadvantage or oppression. The other side of this "difference coin" is that despite all of the differences that people have with each other (on any social level), we ultimately have much more in common.

But difference, or at least perceived difference, remains the primary cause for a system of advantage.

Additionally, I think I have to examine the function of the binary form itself, separately from the issue of difference. Even though binaries claim to be supported by difference, and in a historical sense are caused by differences, after a period of time, the difference dissolves and blurs. This leaves a "superficial" kind of difference, and a very strong binary system/logic that creates and maintains patriarchy (and other systems of oppression).

For better or for worse we're limited to a handful of sources which we read in class, and I think that the sources I have either agree with what I'm trying to argue, or can be interpreted to agree with what I'm saying.

Now all I have to do is pull all of it together in some sort of logical, coherent, and reasoned sort of way.



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