Ed. Note: I’d originally published this on my Facebook account and has since trafficked in a productive and educational conversation as a result. If you’d like to join in the conversation, then simply click here. If you need to add me first, I’ll be sure to accept your request as soon as possible.
The old cultural perception that “Hitting women is never okay” is a bit simplistic and flirtatious with patriarchal norms. Now don’t confuse this with me advocating violence against women, or rooting on Chris Brown to take another swing at Rihanna. That is not where I’m getting at. I am merely attacking the old ideal that hitting women, under all circumstances, under all conditions, is never okay.
Let me explain: This ideal is attached to a common sexist perception that all women are weaker than men, and thus all men are stronger than women. It assumes that there’s a biological difference between women and men in body size, strength, etc. While this might’ve been an accepted ideal a few decades ago, today we know better. Both men and women come in all shapes and sizes, in all manners of different strengths. One could possibly argue that a majority of women are smaller than the majority of men, but to then argue that women in general, thus, must be weaker than men is to completely exclude a very large group of women who are of the contrary. The same regarding men.
Where racial conflicts continue, despite there being absolutely no difference between human beings who are white, black, brown, etc. except that of their melanin levels, the gender conflicts continue, despite there being little to any difference besides certain biological chemical reactions – to which some women don’t even go through what other women do. Should we then exclude them as women? No! Regardless of conflicts on what little differences we may attain, we’re all people.
As people, we should try and do our best in destroying whatever gender binary gap there is due to cultural patriarchy. We are too caught up into recognizing certain differences between men and women that we completely ignore the differences women in general have with one another, and the differences men in general have with one another. In fact, in many cases, some men and women show greater similarities than their own fellow gender binary. In the end, it would seem, it isn’t that men and women are different, but rather people in general are flooded in both differences and similarities.
Which brings me back to the cultural norm that “Hitting women is never okay.” Should this not instead be, “Hitting anyone who is clearly smaller than you and weaker than you is never okay”? This then would deem gender binary an irrelevancy, and instead fixate on people in general and whatever difference they may attain between one another. If one person is clearly larger and stronger and is attacking someone who is smaller and weaker, this should be where we as a society of the 21st century should put our feet down and declare opposition. Not whether a man is beating a woman, or a woman beating a man.
Really, we as a modern society should try and end violence in general as best as possible. That beating anyone is never okay unless done so in defense of one’s life.