“The country that is most marked by slavery, though, is clearly India. There are an estimated 14 million slaves in India – it would be as if the entire population of Pennsylvania were forced into slavery. The country suffers deeply from all major forms of slavery, according to the report. Forced labor is common, due in part to a system of hereditary debt bondage; many Indian children are born “owing” sums they could never possibly pay to masters who control them as chattel their entire lives.”
This is eye-opening. Just because I’m not there right now, suffering, doesn’t mean people aren’t suffering. Just because I don’t know someone doesn’t mean that, in different circumstances, I wouldn’t love them. That’s one lesson that I’ve considered teaching people that don’t understand that through a story. I’ve thought about writing a story in which a side character dies or goes through misfortune, written in such a way as to not evoke any emotional response from the reader. When things happen far enough away from us, I guess we sort of don’t care so much, because we’re not magical creatures made perfect—we’re animals that are just more evolved than those we see around us, ones who possess primitive qualities. We are selfish creatures, usually caring about family first and foremost because of our genes which determine our behavior (caring most about family had survival value, so our ancestors evolved to be that way), usually giving more to those who give the most to us, in whatever way. At least that’s my current view.
I thought about then changing the story to tell about that side character and make them matter to the reader by describing their life: their relations, thoughts, dreams, experiences—their humanity. I thought about making the reader come to love them, and then feel sorrow about their hardships and/ or demise. That would make the reader realize that someone once a stranger could matter deeply to them, and that in the same way most people don’t want their loved to suffer, we are capable of feeling that desire to protect those we may currently view as merely strangers.
Maybe that would make the reader realize that there are many people in the world that are capable of being understood, loved, and cared about, and that we are capable of wanting them to be safe just as much as we want our dearest to be safe.
Just because you’re ignorant of someone’s personality, circumstances, etc., doesn’t mean their suffering doesn’t matter.
Imagine that you hadn’t ever known the person you love the most. He, she, them—whatever. Imagine they had never walked into your life, but they had been in a different state or country. Imagine that they had been born a slave in India. If you really love them—not the love where you want to take, but the love where you want to give—doesn’t that bother you, the idea that they could have been suffering immensly? You probably don’t want them to suffer, right? Yet if you had not known them, and they had been a slave in India, and you had not helped them escape slavery, they would have suffered. But you wouldn’t have known, you maybe wouldn’t have cared all that much—not enough to break their suffering, anyway.
Do you get my point? If slavery’s still going on, people are suffering elsewhere, and no matter how far away they are or how different they are, they are people that are not beyond our caring and love.
Slavery is the opposite of progress, the opposite of the ideal of freedom. Aggression and hatred are not good. Hatred is so easy to have, whereas it is much harder to let go and forgive. Hatred is destructive. In my opinion, those that give themselves to hatred and destruction are weak, maybe not physically but emotionally, and perhaps not that smart, either, because if they were smarter maybe they’d think more deeply and realize that hatred is not progressive and it does not fix problems.
It’s good to care, and have empathy. I didn’t always think this way. Once, I thought it was good to have physical strength, to be aggressive, to be all that which is sometimes encouraged in males, because I wrongly thought—I was so wrong and I’m so sorry—that because males had historically done more and had historically proven their capabilities, they were always in the right, even when they appreciated violence and aggression. I didn’t think, basically, I just saw that males tended to have more resources, power, status, ability, respect—and I didn’t want to associate myself with females because I didn’t want to be on what I thought was the losing side.
I don’t think that way anymore because I’ve grown up a little and my world has gotten wider as I have gained more knowledge. Men are not all the same, and women are not all the same. The male gender (as opposed to biological sex) is a cage just like the female gender is a cage, with the male gender cage being perhaps less restrictive.
When I decided I didn’t want to be in either cage because I didn’t like the weight of gender roles associated with either gender, I decided to consider myself agender and be free to be myself and not worry about sticking to one of the two societal models. Let me explain it to you the way I see it.
Imagine a robot child (I say child so there are not really any physical differences to specify the robot’s sex, because this is before puberty) which looks pretty gender-neutral. Imagine a copy of this robot being made, so there are two identical bots. Imagine that if it can speak, its voice is gender-neutral (can’t tell whether it’s male or female). These circumstances make it so that biological sex is unclear. It has no male/ female parts, if you know what I mean.
Now let’s give them different genders. Make one a boy, the other a girl. Are they going to look different?
One may have longer hair, one shorter hair. Are those biological differences between the sexes? No, because both sexes are capable of growing their hair to the same length, it’s just that gender roles say that girls usually have longer hair and that boys usually have shorter hair. All I’m doing is demonstrating gender roles. What I’m trying to say is: when biological sex doesn’t exist, as in the case of these robots, what makes one a boy and the other a girl? Gender roles.
The girl bot may wear a dress, may wear pink, may wear make-up, etc.
What I’m trying to say is that gender roles exist, which you already know. And what are gender roles, other than behaviors that are associated with certain genders?
So basically they are restrictive, because if you put yourself in the female gender (dealing with how you feel inside your head, not what you have under your clothes), there are roles associated with that gender, and if you put yourself in the male gender, there are roles associated with that gender.
But here’s an idea, what if you choose to have no cage at all? What if you say, for example: “I’m a biological male, but why can’t I wear a dress, why can’t I wear make-up if I want to? It makes no sense, because who I am as an individual shouldn’t be limited by my biological sex. It seems genders can define, but they also can limit.”
It seems to me that in your brain, it’s not healthy for you to choose a gender. You’ll be changing your behavior without knowing it to conform, because we’re all somewhat afraid of going against the norm, because that requires bravery.
I think it’s more important for a person to be who they are than who society says they should be.