“After thousands of years of male dominance, we now stand at the beginning of the feminine era, when women will rise to their appropriate prominence, and the entire world will recognize the harmony between man and woman.”
The Rebbe – RABBI M.M. Schneerson, a champion of women’s rights since 1952.
Although the Feminist Movement, which took root in the late 18th century, with the push toward women’s suffrage, has successfully elevated women from “chattel” to liberated females, this rise in status has come at a surprising cost.
In the twenty-first century, heads no longer turn at the sight of a woman on a construction crew or doing interviews in an all-male major league locker room. In our modern culture, equal pay for equal work is a legislated norm. Yet, are women the same as men? Aren’t women still objectified by Madison Avenue? Don’t we still see female models adorning billboards aimed at male consumers? Isn’t the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition still the best-selling issue, even though it has been called a “catalog of sexism [and] objectification [where] women’s bodies are sold and traded like products or currency?” And we haven’t even mentioned that in 2010, labor statistics show that over $40 million was awarded to women who filed sexual harassment lawsuits in the workplace. Today it’s surely way more.
Which modern woman has not asserted herself in an effort to succeed in her career, only to be criticized in the most vulgar terms for doing the exact same thing any man would do?
And suddenly we see a new phenomenon described in Adam Carolla’s 2010 cultural rant In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.
“We’ve become self-entitled, thin-skinned, hyper allergic, gender-neutral, View-viewing little girls. What we used to settle with common sense or a fist we now settle with hand sanitizer and lawyers.”
Men are now becoming more like women!
Where we used to encourage healthy competition through community little leagues, we now bench the star athletes in order to “make it more fair” for the weaker players. More fair? Is it fair to punish those who work harder by softening the rules?
Somehow in our pursuit for equality, we did not consider the danger inherent in blurring the distinctions between men and women. Surely the quest for respect and reverence toward one another should not give rise to such chaos.
From a religious perspective, we turn to the Bible, our blueprint for life, for help with this dilemma.
The male and female “roles.”
We are taught that God, in His wisdom, has designed men and women with very different purposes.
In Chapter One of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we read, “So God created man in His [own] image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” Our sages elucidate this passage by explaining that, at the time of creation, male and female were one entity, “a single individual with two faces.” But immediately, G-d declared, “It is not good for man to be alone.” For as a single entity, man had no counterpart, no potential for growth and further creation.
So G-d divided Adam into two entities, male and female, and He called the female “Eve.”