I'm a little mad at Maria Shriver. Don't get me wrong, I love her. In fact, I'm sure we'd be good friends if we had coffee or something. The world is a better place because of her. She's a fighter for what's good, right and just. As far as I know, she's brilliant, bold, smart, kind, caring, compassionate... exactly what I hope my daughter and son will grow up to be.
I'm mad at her because I think that as someone who's fought for women's equality, rights, and recognition as long and as passionately as she has, she shouldn't -- as her recent Twitter conversation (#WhatMakesAGoodMan) does -- create gender-based distinctions when they aren't necessary. In my opinion, unless you're talking about putting the toilet seat down, #WhatMakesAGoodMan is pretty much the same as #WhatMakesAGoodWoman, which is to say #WhatMakesAGoodPerson.
I know, I know. She was just helping promote her brother Mark's new book about their dad, Sargent Shriver, who was indeed an amazing person, not simply a great man (and I suppose I should be mad at Mark, too). And before you and Maria get mad at me, I'm not suggesting there aren't things that shouldn't be reduced to or differentiated by the distinctions between women and men, girls and boys. Quite the contrary, there absolutely are, and as a society we're absolutely not talking enough about nor addressing a lot of them at any mainstream cultural level.
Here's are but a few examples of where we have to frame questions and considerations by gender: Why are women less happy now then they were 35 years ago? Why do women only earn 77 cents to the dollar a man makes? Why would 50% of women 18-25 rather be hit by a truck than be fat? Why do 30% of High School girls have eating disorders? Seriously, what's happening out there that so many women and girls feel this way?
See, the thing is there are already too many places and plenty of questions that do come down to the differences between us. But if we're ever going to bridge these divides, shouldn't we avoid making distinctions when none need exist? Like, really, what is the difference between being a good woman and being a good man and being a good person? Shouldn't those of us who are fighting for equality speak to what makes us the same -- at least when we can?
I think so. I think we have to, because for as long as we divide when we don't have to we'll never conquer.
Do you agree or disagree with me?
P.S. And Maria, I do love you, you're a #GreatPerson, and I'm not mad anymore.