The World We Live In

When we think of personality traits, we find a gender divide in the words most often used to describe typically cis-male and cis-female people. In terms of positive adjectives, men are strong, confident, competitive, brave, unrelenting, stoic, and unemotional. Women are soft, kind, nurturing, compassionate, empathic, sensitive and modest. Obviously these are not universal characteristics, and certainly not truly gendered, but they fit a stereotypical and traditional value system.

The trend in women’s liberation has been to get women to embody more of the typically male positive traits. We encourage women to show less emotion, to be more confident, and to be more physically aggressive. This is, naturally, what women must to do succeed in a male dominated world. In order to play with the boys, you have to be able to act like them. In order to impress your male boss, you need to behave like an aggressive, hyper confident male. Men who embody more of the feminine characteristics, on the other hand, are expected to fall into the “nice guys finish last” bucket.

Let’s think for a moment about the world we live in, and the type of world we’d like to live in. Overall, the trend in human society has been to expand the segments of society to which basic human rights are granted, and then to expand the definition of basic human rights. These days, the only type of violence allowed against another human being is in the name of war or law. Even rape is (mostly) illegal, when once it was a natural spoil of war, much as slaves were.

Civilization is gradually moving from valuing “male” attributes to “female” ones. While we still place great emphasis on certain male traits, how much of that is due to the fact that men dominate the power structures of the world? As women gradually intersperse themselves into executive positions, and I do expect this to take centuries, perhaps we’ll come to live in an ever more compassionate, violence free society. In this future world, empathy and sensitivity are not bad words, and women and their “female” ways are valued as much as their male counterparts. In other words, it’s a world where nice guys and girls can succeed in life.