Gender and the Illusion of Difference

Unwinding Gender Concepts

Gender as a social construct fails us as human beings at many levels. The mere fact of living life out of a socially constructed identity, a mental concept of the self, creates a disconnect from the reality of our humanness leading to alienation of the true self. The first pitfall of the gender system therefore is that it assumes gender to be the totality of who we are as human beings, rather than merely a social superstructure laid upon our humanness. As we enact our gendered identities and gender roles throughout life, without paying much attention to the true self, we become trapped in our own mental constructs, and we relate to each other and the world out of gender ‘concepts’.

It is as if we are in an invisible jail that we are unconscious of, although we are vaguely aware of not being completely free.

The second way in which gender fails us as human beings is by creating the concepts of femininity and masculinity, the two main pillars on which gender as a concept rests. It is absolutely crucial in gender to see men as masculine only and women as feminine only, for the sole purpose of gender is to artificially separate and divide the two sexes, by creating and maintaining an illusion of difference. Apart from maintaining this illusion, there is no reason whatsoever for men to be masculine only and women to be feminine only. It is far more useful for both sexes to have the full range of capabilities implied in femininity and masculinity, since this gives them the flexibility of taking on any role in society – which goes against the grain of gender conditioning that aspires to keep women and men on separate tracks.

The artificial separation between the two sexes, by assuming men to be masculine only and women feminine only, means that women are disabled from undertaking tasks and jobs that men can do, and vice versa.

There is another problem with gender concepts of femininity and masculinity. They are unwaveringly rigid constructs of who women and men should be in society – so that there is no doubt in our mind that women and men are different – and are diagonally opposed from our true nature; they are mere caricatures of who we are, rather than representations or even approximations of our natural attributes.

To symbolise the masculine with control and aggression, and the feminine with docility and subservience, is akin to minimising our worthiness as women and men.

This multitude of errors in our understanding of who we are as human beings means that the process of unwinding gender needs to be done in steps. The first step must by necessity be de-gendering the concepts of femininity and masculinity, and re-defining them instead in a way that is closer to and more descriptive of our natural attributes that spontaneously feed into human endeavours. I have called these ‘natural feminine’ and ‘natural masculine’ in my book, and sometime even ‘true masculine’ and ‘true feminine’.

But we must be absolutely clear at all time that any talk of femininity/masculinity is mere concepualisation; an attempt to describe human traits and attributes and group them in way that people have been accustomed to and therefore can grasp more easily. Neither is real, nor has it ever been! 

My motivation in adhering to the use of these concepts is that to eliminate them from our vocabulary might lead to more confusion than understanding in discussing the relationships and roles of the two sexes in society. We are all accustomed to thinking of ourselves as either masculine or feminine or both, but have little understanding of ourselves as women and men without them. I have found these terms particularly useful when advocating that we embrace both sets of traits and attributes in both sexes, which is the second step in unwinding gender after de-gendering the concepts and a fundamental requirement in equalising the two sexes’ roles in society and eradicating sexism.

But this should not take away from the fact that to know the truth of who we are we must do away with all concepts altogether, not just gender but all self concepts that are mere thoughts and images that are meaningless in reality. This is the third and final step in unwinding our minds about sex and gender that will allow us to see through the illusion of difference between women and men.

With Love and higher consciousness

Muna Jawhary

Whether you agree or disagree, your thoughts and opinions are extremely valuable, so please leave a comment below and widen the conversation.

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