Me and my close friend once stumbled into a serious talk about feminism, which escalated into a debate. Thankfully, a civil one. It started from a simple question, “Can a female be a good leader?”.
He argued that “no, they can’t” because of their inherent limited capacity, that they tend to be overly emotional, and they have physical limitations that will hamper their performance.
I argued that “yes, they can” because even though they might have different biological composition in a way that they menstruate, get pregnant, and such many of them are capable in overcoming it and it must be appreciated.
He argued that many things couldn’t be overcame, such as the facts where women aren’t able to supervise and lead well because they wouldn’t be able to monitor their subordinates as well as men because of their limited physical capacity, where they wouldn’t be able to show up all the time and direct on the field, unlike men who are more capable in doing so.
I argued that good leaders are those who can direct their subordinates well and can delegate tasks, I think many women are very much capable in doing so. Women might have different physical capability from men, but in one sector, endurance, many of them are better than men. This explain why many factory workers are women, because they are very capable in doing boring and menial tasks over and over again. But does that mean women should just stick to doing boring and menial labour instead of leading? I did wonder.
He argued that women should only be allowed to lead when there are no better men who could.
I argued that gender shouldn’t be factored into this, they should just be judged individually. A more capable woman to a less capable man is basically just a more capable person compared to a less capable person. And vice versa, a more capable man to a less capable woman is basically just a more capable person compared to a less capable person. A male shouldn’t get a free pass when he has subpar skills compared to his female counterparts, and vice-versa.
Let’s agree to disagree then, I said. We admitted that our values clashed, him with his Indonesian and Islamic values, me with my liberal and Westernised values. I won’t say which one is better which one is worse, since after all every value has its own specific set of arguments which shouldn’t be dismissed. So we ended the debate not agreeing upon anything. Even though I did evoke a question for him to ponder, “When a woman makes a mistake, why is suddenly her gender brought up as a reason for her lack of capacity?” While the same thing does not apply to a man who makes a mistake, his gender won’t be brought up as the reason of his lack of capacity.
Hell yeah, I’m a male feminist and I’m proud of it. You might call it an oxymoron, such as being a Muslim atheist. But gender equality interests me much and I want to contribute to it even from the smallest things possible. Starting from engaging in any intellectual simulation and making my close friends at least question the status quo.