The Margins of a Leaf

All the words in our language are made up by the founders of that particular language. These founders are the ones who decided that a leaf was to be called a leaf. Why did they choose to call the smaller entities on a tree leaves? They classified all the types of leaves in the world as one entity, not calling each different leaf by a different name. This is what society does by nature, constantly tries to organize their environment into categories in order to simplify their life.

In this same way, women and men were categorized by society. Men are the pillars of which our constitution exist, since they are responsible for writing it, white men to be exact. Women hung in the shadow of their husbands, since they were dependent of them during such time. Now a day’s women and men stand independent of each other, one can live without need of the other. We, men and women, stand as equals in many ways, yet we are separated by a category thrusted upon each of us since birth. Since birth a child is categorized by their biology, boy or girl.

In Genevieve Vaughan’s article, For Giving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange she proclaims categorizing in our society can be destructive by pointing out that “Perhaps the greatest (and smallest) mistake humanity had made is to give our babies opposite gender names — such an innocent but terrible mistake”. She calls gender categorizing humanity’s greatest mistake, not only does she call it a mistake but the greatest mistake, these words are not without cause. Since birth children of different sex learn that they are different and for this reason alone they should be treated different, not equal. “Such an innocent but terrible mistake” shows that the intentions are not done in malice, a baby girl is not named Ashley with the intention she will grow up to be a female treated inferior to the baby boy named James in the crib next to hers. How can men and women be treated as equals when we learn to be different?

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How would the social dynamic change if society eliminated the categories of men and women into one single category, people. The term people is how both are categorized anyhow, it’s not as if they are being placed in a whole new category. The category of human being is one in which women and man are counted as equals. If gender equality was to exist it must begin by the root, not categorizing children, treating female and male children the same.

Picture taken by Monica Ramirez

Just like all the different leaves are called under the same name, people should be addressed by the same name as well. Leaves come in different sizes and shapes such as lemon leaves, orange leaves, tomato leaves, betel leaves, cocoa leaves, etc., but are categorized as one entity in order to depict them as a whole instead of an individual. “Just as it is certain that one leaf is never totally the same as another” (Nietsche 3), a thought from On the Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense gives you the image of comparing two leaves from the same tree and knowing that they will not be the same no matter how similar they appear. Just like leaves, there is diversity among people varying from many different countries, ethnicity and cultures. There are so many things like language and culture that separates human beings into different categories, we should not let sex be one of those categories. Furthermore a leaf should not be discriminated due to the tree it grows on, a leaf is just a leaf.