Joy: Of course, I’m not denying physiological differences between males and females, boys and girls, anymore than I’m denying psychological and spiritual differences. What I am proposing, however, is that when boys and girls reach adolescence they are, generally speaking of course, on equal footing physically.
Host: So some fundamental changes take place during adolescence, obviously…
Joy: Well, yes, of course, but there are some fundamental social changes that take place, too; that are actually foisted upon girls, who could greatly benefit from an equal, co-educational physical education and training program throughout middle school or junior high.
Host: Now, I think I know you’re talking about more than simply keeping boys and girls together merely for the sake of making some socio-political statement… (Both Laugh) That’s just not you, so…
Joy: So, no … No, what I’m talking about is no longer derailing girls at that point in their lives – and this sadly continues to happen, probably, in most of our schools, even in our day and age – but if you first employ someone who is truly capable of education and training, rather than hiring someone to quote-unquote “teach” P. E. just because he has muscles, hairy chest, and knows how to blow a whistle…
Host: Wow! Now that cuts!
Joy: Well, really, what are we talking about here? This is truth; this is reality, and it’s sad but we can correct the situation. Look, you take some middle school and, on the one hand, train both girls and boys in … oh, say, archery for one semester, and then in track for one or two semesters, and then maybe swimming…
Host: Assuming you had the facilities, of course.
Joy: Well, except for swimming, that wouldn’t be difficult, but anyway… You train them side by side in these specific athletic areas – tennis, volleyball, and soccer come to mind, too – and then, along with that also implement an healthy, well-organized, high-quality physical exercise and training program… Well, do that for two, three years and let’s see where those boys and girls are, on average, at age 13 or 14.
Host: You’re saying they’d be equal physically then?
Joy: Equal may be more difficult to judge than we ordinarily think, but…
Host: Generally speaking, I mean. There wouldn’t be the apparent incongruity there is now? Physically…
Joy: Generally speaking, no there would not be, and studies have proven this at this basic age, and I have to emphasize that because, of course, more physiological changes occur over the ensuing years. However, beginning high school on more of an equal footing, and continuing within an outstanding program that truly is education and training under the guidance and direction of someone who is genuinely qualified… Well, this would benefit both boys and girls, but more assuredly girls as they are growing up into young women.
Host: Now … project for me, if you will, what this means in adulthood, in your estimation. Are you proposing that men and women would actually be physically equal, in terms of strength and ability, across the board, or…?
Joy: No, no, no. Not at all. Like I said, there are obvious physiological differences, and these are not going to go away, nor should they. However, for example, men are said to be, on average, 30 percent stronger than women in upper body strength; that’s quite a wide gap, and one we probably cannot close, but one that we certainly can narrow. I fully believe a number of studies have proven this to be the case, although others question these studies. Still, it’s entirely possible that one generation from now we’ll be talking about men being 20 percent stronger than women in upper body strength instead of 30. And it’s certainly possible that, even sooner, we’ll be talking about women basically equaling men, on average, in lower body strength. And very possibly women equaling, or even excelling men, in the areas of flexibility, dexterity, short-term speed, alertness, cognitive action and reaction … and I could go on. The point is, we can foresee entire generations of women, who are gifted and talented, fully physically fit and strong, vigilant and confident … still women, with men still being men, yet truly equal.
Host: Why is the physical part of all of this so important to you?
Joy: Quite simply because it seems to be the touchstone for authentic egalitarianism, whether it should be or not; it is also the obstacle… If women continue to feel, on the whole, so very much inferior to men physically, then how does than affect them emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually? You see, by putting girls, teens, and young women on the track to optimal health and physical strength and overall fitness, you then begin to close some of the gaps we’ve mentioned. You also begin opening doors where they might actually excel, thus counter-balancing those areas in which they are not as advanced, or as strong and strapping, you might say. (Some laughter)
Host: O.k. And this, obviously, would give women more confidence, I suppose, which would lead to other benefits.
Joy: Exactly. You hit the nail on the head, sir! (More Laughter) Besides the obvious health benefits, the overall confidence of many, if not most, of these women would be bolstered … very naturally, too. Now, of course, confidence entails more than the physical element, and I certainly know that, but with the physical barrier of “he strong – she weak” largely removed, well… Again, it would surely lead to greater confidence, which in turn would lead these “next generation women,” if I may use the term here, to … to walk with their backs straight and heads held high … you know, to push above and beyond with all of their gifts and talents and intelligence. Women almost instinctively, even in our day and age, hold back because of a socially-culturally inbred notion that … well, that they are meant to, you know, quote-unquote “keep your place.” And this continues, or I should say perpetuates, an environment of fear … however blatant or subtle, it’s still there.
Host: You really think this is still true?
Joy: I know it is … yes. Absolutely, without question, and an awful lot of this hinges on the secular iconography of big, burly, handsome men flexing their muscles and finely-contoured, well-tanned, big-bosom women all prepped and ready for sex, of course.
Host: Whoa! O.k.!
Joy: The exception to this might be women to whom something very unnatural has happened, making them superheroes; or those few and far-between women, who are fairly strong and fast and know some form of martial arts – you know, the kick-ass sex models – but they’re usually not only the extreme minority but under male authority, or they eventually keel over for the better, stronger, hunk hero. Then, of course, you have the not-so-subtle, non-physical messages bombing us daily through the media. You have the vulgar, ever-flippant, cuttingly sarcastic woman married, or hooked up with, the dumb-butt man – her whipping boy – who doesn’t have sense enough to get in out of the rain… Do we really want any of these kinds of women? You see, I’m aiming at an authentically healthy egalitarian environment, emphasis on healthy, and that’s not one in which either of the sexes is destroyed … or subjugated or marginalized or whatever.
Fen Sloughheart reached over and turned off the radio. His face was red and dripping with sweat, even though he had the thermostat in his large, now-empty house, set on 18o C (64.5o F). With his left hand he slowly crushed a diet cola can and just kept squeezing until it split near the top. The jagged edge dug into his skin. Blood freely flowed from the side of his palm… He hated Joy Brighterday… To death and hell and beyond, he hated her.