“I like to think of myself as a human being.” This is a quote by Bruce Lee, when asked on whether he considered himself Chinese or American. In terms of race, Bruce considers whether he is one or the other irrelevant. Ought we to answer in the same way if asked whether we are man or woman? Perhaps if we did, there would be no need for words like misogyny or feminism, and “The Other” mentioned by Simone de Beauvoir wouldn’t apply to the sexes. Gender is, like race, just another identifier – and much less clear-cut than being either male or female. Sex is different because it is required for humanity to propagate.
When It Changed presents a society where the need for two sexes to reproduce is gone, and thusly, the women decide to take their leave off a decaying, ravaged Earth and spend six centuries building a colony on a new planet with no men. When the men finally do come back, the concept of “the other” is taken to the utmost extreme – our female protagonists can hardly view the men as human when their kind has not been exposed to men for six centuries.
The Second Sex tells us how women in almost every society throughout history were defined by the men for “the sex”, and were differentiated for it in reference to the man – in other words, viewed as abnormal or substandard. This is like what is happening in the story but with the roles reversed.
Why didn’t the U.S. draft women during the first and second World Wars or the Vietnam War? They could have, but drafting all the women means there’d be almost no one around the homeland to have babies and keep our population up, which would put us in a very disadvantageous position if we’d lost the war. Does this still mean the draft policy during that era was discriminatory?
(“think about it in terms of gender and the complexities that arise due to the way in which our genetic code is not necessarily the same as our behavior” really confused me.)