A letter from a confused feminist

I get the sense – and please correct me if I’m wrong – that feminists mean something more than that. Like maybe not just equality but precise, numerical equivalence: the same number of men and women CEO’s, fork operators, nannies, and systems analysts, the same number of diapers changed and dishes washed, the same pay for professional basketball players, the same number of bylines in the New York Times whether in the style section or the financial pages, the same price charged for a hair cut or a dry-cleaned shirt.

So, I’m wondering, Jen (is it ok if I call you Jen?): Can someone be a feminist and believe there are reasons other than patriarchal social conditioning for some of these gender gaps? Like, to take one example, maybe women aren’t as interested in following pro basketball as men are? I was surprised to find out recently that Sweden still has one of the most sex segregated labor markets anywhere. Women are teachers, social workers, and child care workers, men mechanics, and CEO’s! Sweden! Where teachers can’t say “Good morning, Boys and Girls” because they don’t want boys and girls to be reminded that some of them are boys and some are girls (though it’s a good guess the little rascals keep thinking about it anyway.) Mind you, I’m not saying I know these differences between the sexes are innate (is it ok to say sexes and not genders?), but the other day I read some stuff about oxytocin and testosterone and even though Gloria Steinem said that research on that kind of thing is “anti-American,” it got me to thinking that it’s possible. Isn’t it?

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