双语散文:我不会为平等去送死

  I Won't Die for Equality

  摘要:The army is slammed for sexism, but do we want a Mum's Army?

  军队因为性别歧视而受指责,但难道我们需要一支娘子军吗?

  Seventy-five years ago all British women were finally given what all British men had been granted 10 years earlier ——the right to vote. First of f the blocks to mark the occasion has been, oddly, the Sun (that same organ, ironically, mostly 'celebrates' women's emancipation with a naked interest in their bulging breasts and shapely bums).

  That no one else has yet seemed to notice reflects the fact that the winning side in the equality war doesn't want to waste precious time crowing. They want to get on with dealing the most humiliating defeat upon the remaining enemy: foes such as those employers who pay women less than comparable men; the corporations with an all-male hierarchy at the top; and of course the men who tiresomely persist in sexist words or behaviour.

  Like the military. A report last week slammed the Army for sexism, complaining that women are called 'girls' ——quite different, the authors said, from referring to the troops as 'our boys'. 'Boys', it seems, is a good, encouraging, matey kind of word. 'Girls', by contrast, is derogatory and demeaning. This was only to be expected, the authors pointed out, from an institution that enjoys 'partial' exemption from equal opportunities legislation ?nbsp;and thus can exclude its 'girls' from some direct combat positions. How chauvinist can you get?

  But hold on: do women really want to turn Dad's Army into Mum's Army, a posse of latter-day Amazons braving the front line, cheek by jowl with their male counterparts? We don't want to stand beside the boys and fire rifles into the whites of Iraqi eyes. Nor are we gasping for a chance to be blasted to smithereens by a cluster bomb. I may not be crazy about being called 'girl', but that doesn't mean I want to be mowed down with the 'boys' in the killing fields.

  Yet this kind of job-equalising ——if Jack can do it, Jill sure as hell can do it better ——has long been cherished by social planners, feminist or not. For decades, men-only enclaves gave women their battle cry: let me in there! The xclusion zone in those days ranged from smart clubs, manual work, the Church of England and the armed forces.

  Now it has shrunk to a few moth-eaten armchairs in clubland; the golfers' paradise——the Royal and Ancient Club of St Andrews; the Roman Catholic priesthood; and front-line combat.

  The head of the Stock Exchange is a woman, female plumbers are growing in numbers (including that Oxford graduate, Nicola Gillison, who made headlines recently because she ditched her consultancy job for a mole wrench), and one in 12 of the Army is female. As for women lorry drivers, that should be no surprise. Women drivers have such a sterling record that insurance companies now offer cheaper premiums in return for the promise that no man will come anywhere near the four wheels of their car.

  Given such progress, only rabid equalisers would argue that they cannot rest until women have the right to be wind bagged by some old geezer reading Horse and Hound by the fire; or risk death or a war wound through their rightful place on the front line.

  Social engineering that fixes men and women in the same post, at all costs, makes no sense. As the foreigner chewed his dumplings at some dire Intourist restaurant in the Soviet Union, his (or her) surprised gaze might alight upon the workers outside in their drab overalls. Who were those stocky muscular figures clambering up the scaffolding with buckets of primrose yellow paint to freshen up the crumbling facades of the surrounding buildings? Women. Who was heaving the garbagecontainers into the dilapidated rubbish truck? Women. Who was shovelling up the piles of dirt and grit left in the melted snow by the side of the road? Women.

  And what of the Israeli army, which believes women sabras as well as men should face enemy fire? That idea has proved a disaster ?nbsp; with men behaving suicidally to protect the women, casualties mounting, and the government now considering legislation to keep women away from the front. It's been a dire tale in the American military too, with physical strength tests rigged to accommodate women soldiers who with the best will in the world cannot throw a hand grenade to a safe distance.

  There's nothing wrong with a handful of super-tough modern-day GI Janes being hooked on Jane's Guide to Extra Lethal Infantry Weapons, or wasting their weekends playing war games; the modern military needs women to boost its flagging recruits, and if supply now matches demands, I am sure we can all rest more easily in the shadow of the Axis of Evil.

  But a woman does not need to be in the firing line to feel as good as a man. That is an equality too far.

  不平等,毋宁死?

  七十五年前,全体英国女性最终获得了全体英国男性早十年就已获得的选举权。奇怪的是,第一个让这条消息见报的是《太阳报》(具有讽刺意味的是,同样是这份报纸,大多数情况下“庆祝”妇女解放时都毫不掩饰对女性高耸的胸脯和形状优美的臀部的兴趣)。

  这一点似乎并未引起他人注意,这反映了这场平等之战的赢家并不想浪费宝贵的时间去欢呼。她们要继续战斗,给残敌以沉重打击:这些敌人包括那些让男女同工不同酬的业主;最高决策层为清一色男性的公司;当然还有那些坚持性别歧视语言或行为且乐此不疲的男性。

  就说军队吧。上周的一个报告指责部队搞性别歧视,抱怨说女兵被叫作“姑娘们”——作者说,这跟把军队称作“小伙子们”完全不同。“小伙子们”似乎是个好的、鼓舞人心的、表示友好的词。而相比之下“姑娘们”就是贬义的,有辱人格。作者还指出,只有在一个享受部分免除机会均等立法束缚的机构,才会发生这种事,而且他们因此可以不让“姑娘们”进入最前沿阵地。性别沙文主义是多么猖狂!

  但且慢:女性真的想把爹爹军变为娘子军吗?一支强悍刚勇的现代娘子军要在前线与她们的男同胞们并肩冲锋陷阵?我们并不想与小伙子们并肩站着,用步枪子弹射入伊拉克人的眼睛。我们同样不会渴望被集束炸弹撕成碎片。我可能并不在意被称作“姑娘”,但这并不意味着我想在血腥的沙场跟那些“小伙子们”一起成片地倒下。

  但这种就业的机会均等——如果男的能做,女的肯定能做得更好——长期以来被不论男女的 社会计划者们奉为头等大事。几十年来,对那些原先由男人垄断的地方,女人们就吹起号角,发起冲锋,高呼:让我们进来!那时的禁区有时髦俱乐部、体力劳动、英国国教和军队。

  而今这些禁区已缩小到伦敦俱乐部区最为保守的几个、高尔夫俱乐部(如圣安德鲁皇家和古典俱乐部)、罗马天主教的神职人员和前线作战人员。股票交易所的负责人是位女性,女性管道工人数量也在增加(包括那位叫尼古拉·吉利森的牛津毕业生,最近她由于放弃了咨询公司的工作去当一名下水道钳工而成为头条新闻),军队里12个士兵中就有一个是女的。至于女货车驾驶员,那应该一点也不奇怪。女性驾驶员有着非常优秀的安全行驶记录,结果现在只要她们允诺不会有任何男性碰她们的车,保险公司就可以让她们少交保险费。

  在获得如此进步的情况下,只有狂热的机会均等主义者才会振振有词地说,直到女性有权选择她们是愿意在炉火旁听一个怪老头喋喋不休地读《马与猎犬》还是上前线冒生命危险或受伤,她们才会歇着。

  千方百计让男女干同样工作的社会工程毫无意义。外国人在苏联沉闷的国际旅行社餐厅里嚼着团子时,他(或她)惊讶的目光可能会停留在餐厅外面穿着灰褐色工装裤的工人身上。那些满身粘乎乎、体形粗壮,提着一桶桶淡黄色油漆艰难地攀上脚手架去刷新周围建筑物凹凸不平门面的都是些什么人?是女性。是谁用力举起垃圾箱并搬进破旧不堪的垃圾车?是女性。又是谁把融化了的雪里的一堆堆烂泥和沙砾铲到路边?是女性。

  以色列的军队认为不管土生土长的女性还是男性都应该面对敌人的枪口,情形又是怎样呢?这种观念已被证明是一场灾难:男性为了保护女性奋不顾身,结果伤亡人数攀升,政府现正考虑立法让女性离开前线。美国军队的有关情况同样惨淡, 体能测试被做了手脚,让那些尽最大力量也不能把手榴弹掷到安全距离的女兵得到“照顾”。

  少数几个超英勇的现役女性对《简氏超大杀伤力步兵武器指南》爱不释手,或把周末泡在战争游戏里,这没有什么错。现代军队需要女性来补充其低落的兵源,若这方面供需平衡,我肯定在“邪恶轴心”的阴影下我们可以睡得更安稳些。

  但女性不必非要匍匐在前沿阵地上才会像男性那样感觉良好。那是太牵强的平等。

 

分类:英语美文 | 人气: | 时间:2015-11-13 00:48:54 | 发布:美文
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