by Rebecca Poole, Brisbane, Australia
Why do people say “Grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really want to get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding! – Betty White
On one hand this is quite funny, and we laugh because it shows the ridiculousness of our world and the way we see ourselves, and possibly . . . if we didn’t laugh we would be crying.What this quote really exposes about our society is that we are championing toughness, and that we are in a constant battle of the sexes. Who can say that as a little kid they didn’t feel these two legacies of our current society thrust upon them? I know for myself as a young girl I thought that the tougher I could be and the more I could beat boys at anything I did, the better and more awesome I was. But what about the little boy who also has the pressure to be tougher? What about the shame of being beaten by a girl? Doesn’t this create resentment towards women at such a young age? We can’t pretend that this doesn’t happen or downplay its importance – it is everywhere. Is this just harmless banter between the sexes, or does it create a more insidious erosion of male – female relationships and a loss of a more feminine way in our society? What if it was normal for us to be told “Find some curves”, and it meant “Where is your tenderness?” If the world had more tenderness instead of the toughness that it is championing then maybe, just maybe, we as a whole humanity would be uncompromisingly sensitive to the welfare of our fellow brothers and sisters in the world. There is no way that abuse, aggression, violence and corruption of any kind would be tolerated if tenderness was one of the characteristics that was totally honoured in our world. What if we asked the world – Men, Women and Children – to re-develop their tenderness? I ask again, how different would the world be?