In one of the readings I brought on vacation, I found a reference to the fact that men are socially recognized for superior characteristics to women. In the words of Frances Olsen, characteristics such as rationality, activity, reflection, reason, culture, power, objectivity and abstraction would be associated with men. They would be associated with women, in a symmetrically opposite sense: irrationality, passivity, feeling, emotion, nature, sensitivity and appetite for concrete.
Many explanations are not necessary to realize that this opposition is still current in the collective imagination. It combines well, by the way, with the well-known expressions of current use that make women smaller, so that they are not taken seriously (eg, “for sure she slept with her boss”, “she is badly loved”, “a woman you have to respect it ”,“ woman behind the wheel, constant danger ”…).
This brief survey reminds us that discrimination manifests itself in many ways and, not being today, reflects an old trend. Two weeks ago, regarding the feast of the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena (who accompanied Jesus to the end and announced his resurrection to the disciples), I was reminded that a certain popular tradition associates this Saint - unjustly - with a prostitute. Despite the fact that the text of the Gospels does not allow this association to be made, it can only be explained as a way of making it smaller - as a woman - in relation to the other disciples of Christ.
The persistence of these associations and expressions exposes the deep-seated inequality that has not ceased with feminist conquests. In this case, perpetuating discrimination in an insidious way: under the pretext of being a common language or a certain way of making humor, it contains the poison of difference, generating mechanisms of domination for those who think they are superior. She is to blame for the fact that even today many women hide from the public space (keeping silent) the shame they feel when they are offended, harassed or assaulted, simply because they are women.
It is therefore important to continue to eradicate all forms of discrimination, without falling into the temptation to judge that everything is done in this area. Last week, in “Le Monde”, regarding the death of the famous feminist lawyer Gisèle Halimi, I found, in the republication of an interview of her, this story that can inspire in the sense of promoting intransigence for equality: she said that, when received by President De Gaulle to be consulted on a matter of his specialty, when he addressed him with “How do I treat you: Lady or Girl?”, she replied, imposing a parity treatment: “Neither, call me Teacher".
May this example inspire women not to resign themselves, encouraging the creation of a positive culture of equality, which should be preferred to any form of censorship to replace these stereotypes.