actually I never thought about gender discrimination that much since I was about 16 years old and had gotten over my phase as a feminist. When I was a child, I always wished I were a boy and especially at about 11, when my tits started to grow and my brother and his friends didn’t want to play with me anymore because I was a girl, but with 16 I stopped worrying about such things and a bit later I learned that being a girl has its advantages.
Anyhow, since I am a Buddhist nun, I can’t help but think about gender differences and discrimination. Although I do admit that some men also are discriminated and treated unfair or bad, I do think that most of the time the women are the victim of discrimination.
And how deep it is rooted to be in this position of the second, the inferior, the weaker. We have dogs in the monastery and chickens and in addition a hard core macho, a ‘chovinist pig’ as abbot (In the beginning I thought he hates women and does not care about or for them but in the meantime I know that it is otherwise, he loves and cares for women and can be their friend.)
Now, watching all the animals every day, I noticed that the female dog is very patient, well behaved, ungreedy almost. She lets the male eat first, sometimes there is a little whining when the male eats all and she goes hungry (that was in the beginning, now we take care that she gets her share). The chickens come running when I call them with a ‘gawgawgaw’ and throw some rice but the roster is always first and even chases the hens away when they try to get some grains of rice. The hens accept that and wait or pick some grain on the periphery of the thrown rice.
Oh, how much do I appreciate the Buddhas teaching about: not superior, not inferior, not equal. Humankind is capable of understanding this. Although the vast majority does not, I would think. Male and female are different, but non of us inferior, non superior. We are not equal. We are different. Our normal perception and tendency to be judgmental makes something that is different automatically inferior and ourselves superior. And I admit that when I write of the monk urinating out of the vihara, I feel superior because I would not do something like that. But as I have other faults and shortcomings, I should not feel superior but just different. (And be grateful that I am indeed different)