It was pure coincidence, as it is. This weekend I zapped through the channels and found myself watching part of an old “Sliders” episode. It’s the one in which they land in a world in which the influence of genders is switched (and the professor runs against a woman for a political position, being considered an outsider - because, you know, he’s a man, he doesn’t have the capacity for politics). It was a very interesting intellectual experiment.
Intellectual experiments, the way I use the word here, are the cheapest kind of experiment - the one you do with your mind. The ‘what if’ variety is my favourite. Instead of, for example, asking “why is a zebra striped in black and white?” you can ask yourself “what if a zebra had a red and green checkerboard pattern?” or something along those lines. Soon you’ll then realize that the pattern of black and white stripes a zebra actually has makes it more difficult for a predator to pick one of them from a whole herd. It’s the most useful pattern they can have, considering their surrounding and way of life.
My ‘what if’ experiment is a little bit different, though, and was sparked by that “Sliders” episode. What if things had turned out the other way? What if women were ruling the world and acting the same way towards men ‘trying to rise above their station’ men in our world act towards women try to get into a position usually held by a man? The “Sliders” episode could give me a few tips, but I had to do most of it on my own.
The first step women would have taken, was to make men think all were as nature “intended it to be”. It could run along the lines of “a being ruled by its aggressions can’t be trusted with an influential position” or “only those who bring new life into the world can be allowed to rule it” or something else. Just try your own favourite line about why men are subordinate to women.
The second step would be to create a network which lifts young women in a favourable position in all lines of work. That’s how it works in our world for men, provided they are from the right university or social class. Due to such networks, the women could make sure men are not promoted above a certain position.
The third step would be some sort of brainwash. Show men again and again they are only useful for a handful of things (like sex, housework or propagation). They probably would be some kind of mirrored version of “Playboy” around and adverts would work with pictures of almost-nude men. So men would either consider themselves insignificant (because they are not pretty enough and just can serve as housekeepers) or basically degrade themselves to pure sexual objects (because they are good-looking, so why should they do anything apart from looking good).
Over a couple of centuries, that could turn the world which women rule into a mirrored version of our world. Women would do all the important jobs, would only stop working for a couple of weeks when giving birth. Men would stay home to care for the children, they would do all the bad-paid jobs and at the same time think that was how it should be.
In the end, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter why women or men rule the world. Ideally, people should rule together, not one gender over the other. But then, when has life been ideal?