God Of The Gaps

November 20, 2021

As human beings we are naturally curious, intellectually hungry and profoundly inquisitive creatures.

We don’t like what we don’t know and always strive to fill in life’s blank spaces with answers we understand and can comprehend.

For millennia we never knew why the big ball of fire rose into our skies, or what it even was, or where it came from, or went. We didn’t know how flowers and food grew from the ground, and couldn’t explain the miracle of childbirth.

And so came the God of the Gaps, to fill in these scary spaces with some kind of answer.

I wonder if we see this politically too, with broad terms like ‘patriarchy’, providing simple and ideological answers to complex societal issues, with outdated concepts that are half a century old.

Because fifty years ago we didn’t really understand pay gaps, or the hidden truths of domestic violence either.

These were unquantifiable, unspoken and mysterious questions, for which a new God of the Gaps was created.

But today, we have better answers.

We know Western women are now paid the same as men, but work different jobs and shorter hours. We know it’s specifically mothers who are paid less, and this is linked to parental leave, with mothers taking more time out of their career than fathers.

We know that countries where fathers take equal time away for parental leave, experience far smaller pay gaps, or none at all. And that giving fathers equal rights will help mothers earn more.

Similarly for domestic violence, we know it is not a product or tool of patriarchal male dominance.

And that it’s better described as a pattern of learnt family behaviour, often a consequence of childhood abuse – that men can also be subjected to.

We have the tools to understand these issues, and others, better than ever before; with new scientific, evidence based ideas and perspectives that are de-politicised, testable and don’t dehumanise or erase men and boys.

So why won’t we use them?

[1] The Economist - https://tinyurl.com/wmd3xcuz
[2] PayScale Pay gap – https://tinyurl.com/34thkcx4

Images by david-marcu, jeremy-thomas, mario-gogh from Unsplash.


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