“But I can’t fix you and you don’t want me…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of the English language is that its fluent speakers have so large a vocabulary from which to draw.

 

Yet, many seem to use whatever word comes easiest to mind instead of what is actually most appropriate to express the particular idea to be communicated.

 

Even worse, some choose to twist and wring meanings from words never meant to produce such, in pursuit of a selfish (at best) or nefarious (at worst) goal.

 

Case in point:

 

“Women are equal to men.”

 

 

 

I’d be hard pressed to find a more inaccurate, incomplete and damaging statement.

 

Men and women are most certainly not equal.

 

This misstatement, in fact, is the wellspring from which the preponderance of our gender-relation problems burst in an all-consuming flood to drown dating, marriage and even civility.  

 

See, here is what is heard and (very likely) meant:

 

equal

[ee-kwuh l] 

 

adjective

 

1.as great as; the same as (often followed by to or with)

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/equal

 

 

 

This causes countless problems – all false presumptions predicated on that phrase – ranging from:

 

Miscommunication – Men and women both perceive the world and communicate entirely differently.

 

Failed attraction – Men and women are not tempted/drawn/complemented by the same characteristics.

 

Dissatisfaction – Men and women have differing needs, wants and methods of goal accomplishment.

 

Taking the road of equality leads to a destination no one truly wants to visit since no one really chose it.

 

It is tantamount to a compromise that was never properly negotiated.

 

 

 

A far more accurate – and healthy – phrasing would be:

 

“Women are equivalent to men.”

 

equivalent

[ih-kwiv-uh-luh nt]

 

adjective

1. equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.:

 

2. corresponding in position, function, etc.:

 

3. Geometry: having the same extent, as a triangle and a square of equal area.

 

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/equivalent?s=t

 

 

 

Now, “equivalent” is a much better choice for many reasons.

 

First, it states men and women are “equal in significance” but it does not make them interchangeable cogs in a massive, unfeeling machine; it makes no claim they are the same.

 

Second, it makes them “corresponding in function”.

 

As demonstrated by the fact they can both be parents but only one is suited to be a mother and the other is suited to be a father.

 

Third, this is bolstered by the geometric definition which states, in essence, that a square peg can’t be put in a round hole even though they measure the same size.

 

 

 

Some may think my thoughts here are trivial.

 

But I remind them:

 

Words have power.

 

It’s called “spelling”, after all.

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Responses to ““But I can’t fix you and you don’t want me…””

  1. […] “But I can’t fix you and you don’t want me…” […]

  2. I’m going to have to re-read this post some months from now to get the second meaning, besides the obvious one.

  3. Also – “Women need men like a fish need a bicycle”.

    So…what? Are women fish now?

    Thoughtless propaganda convincing to the unthoughtful.

    Wald

  4. You are right, of course. However, you are thinking like a man. 🙂

    Women would take the same meaning from equivalent that they gave to equal because they feel the same.

  5. Both sentences are nonsensical.

    Better: Men and women both deserve god’s love.

    • I believe we’re effectively saying the same thing considering the “equivalent” status I’m trying to articulate.

      Each are valuable and “lovable”, as you say.

      But, if I missing something, that’s fine.

      We can disagree.

      • Well, for one, I want to point out shortly – if you are not aware of it – how definitions are derived. Employees of the dictionary producer collect thousands of samples of a word from written works. Through analysis these real usage samples, the definition is derived. It is not the other way. That is, the definition is not a law that everyone follows. Rather, the definition follows the usage.

        So your first mistake is to seek for absolute usefulness in all 3 cases, which is absolutely unnecessary, as language can tolerate ambivalent words. Or rather, it must.

        Second, you interpret the words used in the definition as you want to.

        For instance, ‘equal in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.’ can be interpreted as worthy of god’s love, which is what we mean, but if you forget the context of your article, it actually seems like quite a feminist statement. Equal in value seems like a term that economists could use. Equal in force seems like a term the military could use.

        In case of ‘corresponding in position, function, etc.’, I feel you are making up something that it does not state when you say that only one can be mother or father. In the pure sense of that definition, it would imply that both are replaceable with each other, thus equivalent. But look at society. Women are nurses while men are coal miners. These are not equivalents in any way that that definition allows. If anything, women are equivalents to each other.

        But I think the bigger problem here is that ‘equivalent’ requires a context. Equal implies complete equality in all respects. Equivalence implies a exchangeability in a certain context. So you could say that men and women are equivalent as god’s children, but not equivalent as coal miners or nurses. You could, of course, generalize and say that both are equivalent as WORKERS. But that seems like a pointless assertion meant to say nothing more but: We need both. Which is self-evident and can be articulated in much more elegant ways.

        Does that make sense?

        And of course, I welcome disagreement. Hope you do not mind that I continue the debate in this manner.

      • Damn, Tom.

        Very well articulated points.

        ” I think the bigger problem here is that ‘equivalent’ requires a context.”

        Fair point.

        I’d say the context is that to which many in our ‘sphere would default:

        The value in a personal relationship.

        A complementary exchange.

        In which case, I stand by my words.

        However, in a larger sense, I would agree that (at its core) it can be defined as you have done:

        Both are worthy of God’s love.

        All the best,

        A♠

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