"All men are the same."That was a line from the disgusting Thai horror film, Meat Grinder, that I was watching this morning. I have to get my scary movie fill while my wife is out of the house since even the soundtrack gives her chills. Seriously. I had to turn off Raiders of the Lost Ark because the opening music was too eerie for her. Today worked because she was taking her Spanish lesson for the better part of the morning, so I popped it in. I was brutal. Let's just say that I'm glad that my Thailand days are behind me.
The line first reminded me of a Saved by the Bell episode where Kelly was railing into Zack and made a very similar statement at which AC said, "Hey! Don't judge us by our worse specimen." Good point, but we all know that AC was just posturing so he could sweep in and take Kelly from Zack. It's pretty safe to say that Saved by the Bell and Seinfeld can be used to explain everything in my life. One was for my youth and the other for my adult years. I'm guessing Golden Girls is going to be on the menu for my golden years. That, or Empty Nest.
And while I get most of my wisdom from cheesy kids sitcoms from the early nineties, I've gotta be thinking of my religions as well and the line clearly made me think of Jainism. Jains believe that men are higher on the Karmic scale than women meaning that if a woman wishes to be liberated from the pains of the world, then she must live a good life as a woman and then be reborn as a man and start the struggle all over again. I told my wife this and she was not impressed. In fact, no one should be. It's unfair.
I happen to think that being a woman in this world is infinitely harder than being a man. Women have to do everything that men do plus they are wrongly expected to shoulder the burden of childcare and domestic dreadfulness. That's tough and for them to have to work so hard for their family and themselves only to be told that despite their efforts they still must be reborn a man, is an awful slap in the spiritual face. So much in fact that I have a hard time understanding why women would adhere to such a faith which preaches equality on the physical level only to shun it metaphysically.
A very simple look at what how women are framed in scripture reveals a lot about how women were viewed at the time.
With clever pretences women make up to him, however foolish they be; they know how to contrive that some monks will become intimate with them.Sounds almost witch-like doesn't it? Those clever sirens have many a trick up their sleeve to lure those pure, helpless and innocent monks. Oh, but it gets richer.
Meekly and politely they approach him with their manifold arts to win his heart; and talking sweetly in confidential conversation they make him do (what they like). As (men by baiting) with a piece of flesh a fearless single lion get him into a trap, so women may capture an ascetic though he be careful.I can't say that I blame the architects of the religion, though. They were products of their time and while they seriously missed the boat on this one (something that most religions seemed to do), I think this issue brings about another one.
"All men are the same"I'm sure many women have made this broad statement before and behaviorally, many men overlap on all sorts of issues, so it can be fair, but only in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. My problem here is not with this cliché, but with that fact that Jainism treats all men the same insofar that they are closer to karmic liberation than women. This has far-reaching consequences. Men automatically view themselves as a higher being than women. Just like humans do with animals (who are lower on the scale), men can make the claim that they are more liberated and therefore more worthy of respect. On the same note, men can treat women with less respect which was clearly witnessed in the depiction of women trying to "capture" men with their flesh.
To quote my wife, "There's no way that I'm on a lower karmic level than you."