What is the difference between men and women? If we listen to the chauvinists and feminists of this world, the differences approach almost that of a different species. There are calls now for separate rights for women, just as in the past there were different rights for men. There are well-meant calls for different standards to be applied in legal proceedings and in the presumption of innocence based on if the accuser is a man or a woman. There is even increasing effective calls for different standards to be applied to the formerly ability-based fields of study and work. But what really is the difference between men and women?
In my research when I was developing The Code (available now), I explored this question. One of the most illuminating books that I came across which tackled this and other questions regarding human differences was Charles Murray’s Human Diversity. In this book, Dr Murray explores the questions of how different men and women are from each other. Dr Murray notes the striking physiological, phenotypical, and neurological differences between men and women.
He notes that these myriad differences manifest in the aggregate as differences in work and life preferences. Differences in problem-solving approaches and the stereotypical personality differences observable between the sexes. Yet, Dr Murray notes that despite these real and significant differences, both sexes equal out at around the same level overall. I.e., while their paths differ, men and women still arrive at the same outcome.
This means that as both men and women, when considered as aggregate groups, are of fundamentally equal abilities, they should be treated equally in our communities. Men and women should be subject to the same laws, the same legal processes, and face the same punishments for infractions of those laws. Men and women should be required to meet the same functionally determined standards for employment, study, and promotions as each other.
This revelation of functional equality between the sexes forms the basis of the Codist conceptions of both the value of the individual, the nature of biological sex, and the harmfulness to the Purpose of biological sex-based discrimination. Conceptions that affirm that men and women are of equal value and should possess equal dignity and rights in our communities and families.
Instead of focusing on the group, we counsel you to look at the individual. Most differences (except for the reproductive differences) between men and women as groups also exist within the sexes. While it may be true that more women will be short than men and more men will be aggressive than women, this does not in any way mean that a given man will be aggressive or a given woman will be short. Some women will be stronger than most men, and some men will be weaker than most women. Sure, these men and women will be less common than the alternative, but by fixating on averages, we lose sight of the significant difference within sex-differentiated populations.
As both sexes are heterogeneous groupings of individuals, does it not make sense to treat men and women as the individuals that they are, as opposed to assuming that they represent some average of their group regardless of their actual situation? If we treat men and women as individuals, we can fairly account for their individual differences even where those differences are sex-based. Take, for example, the gestation and delivery of children. Only women (females) can do this vital task. Being pregnant is extremely taxing on the individual and requires the person (woman) who is pregnant to refrain from doing heavy lifting, eating certain foods, or being exposed to particularly extreme environments while pregnant. Does that mean women should be treated differently than men at least while they are pregnant?
No, it does not. Let me explain why. If instead of fixating on the question of pregnancy, we instead reduce the question down to its most basic premise, we find that we are not asking only about how women who are pregnant should be treated. We are actually asking about the treatment of individuals (male or female) who, due to temporary health conditions, cannot do heavy work, be exposed to extreme environments, etc.
By rephrasing the question in this way, we can see that, while only women will need to be on light duties due to pregnancy, men and women will, at various times, need to be placed on light duties due to sickness or injury. To treat them equally, we must set the rules to be the same and ensure that they affect individuals with similar needs in the same manner. I.e., if it is acceptable for an injured worker (male or female) to take time off or do light duties due to sickness or injury to prevent harm to themselves or others, then it must also be acceptable for a pregnant woman to do the same.
The same principle applies to all other seemingly sex-specific questions. I am confident that, through this method of reducing the questions which seem to be about sex to their core, we will see that in each case the need to accommodate the biological differences between the sexes can be achieved without prejudice to the other sex. It takes a bit of imagination but there is much more to discuss on this subject, so subscribe and join us in re-framing the conversation around sex to one that, while accounting for our differences, promotes the welfare of all the members of our families and communities irrespective of if they are a male or a female.
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