In the end… we’re all fruit

One excellent film that perhaps could be the basis for some gender and society discussions is My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  At the end of the film, after the Wedding, the father of the bride describes the rationalization that allowed him to accept his daughter’s marriage to a non-Greek man:

“I-I was thinking last night, um, the night before my-my daughter was gonna marry, uh, I-an Miller, that, um, you know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word Milo, which is mean apple, there you go. As many of you know, our name Portokalos is come from the Greek word Portokali, which means orange. So, okay, here tonight we have, uh, apple and orange… we all different, but, in the end, we all fruit.”

The comparison of apples and oranges is nicely reflected in Delphy’s article “Rethinking Sex and Gender.”  She points out that even though the differences between vegetables (or fruits) are multiple, they do not exist in any sort of hierarchy (61).  So she questions why men and women, who are all human (like the fruit), have existed in a hierarchy since before anyone can remember.  Why do the differences between men and women necessarily result in inequity – and why does it have to remain so?

Mr. Portokalos’s initial fear of welcoming a non-Greek into the family reflects the rather intense “fear that we might lose what seem to be fundamental social categories” that Delphy accurately attributes to humans abandoning the divisions of sex and gender altogether (57).  As (somewhat) rational beings, humans love to make sense of absolutely everything in their world.  Making sense of the sexed marks on our bodies with nicely outlined gender categories makes sense – until you realize these gender categories do not even fit.  So for right now, I am prepared to take Delphy’s advice and imagine a world without gender.

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2 Responses to In the end… we’re all fruit

  1. DorcyC says:

    While I’d like to believe that our current gender hierarchy is just a misguided categorization, I’m hesitant to believe that human beings can be thought of in the same way that fruits and vegetables are in Delphy’s “Rethinking Sex and Gender”. In fact, I’m not even sure they’re thought of correctly at all. Delphy suggests that fruits and vegetables can be categorized without being separated into an hierarchy because they are “incommensurable” as they “do not have a common measure” (61). To her, cabbages and carrots can be separated without being compared.

    I’m not sure that it’s as simple as she suggests. I think, in reality, we do compare and judge vegetables. We judge them on how juicy they are, how nutritious they are, how crunchy they are and how suitable they are for certain dishes. It’s not that we don’t compare vegetables, we just don’t compare them as a whole. We judge them on their parts – on their separate attributes.

    Similarly, we no longer compare categories of people as a whole. We no longer say, categorically, than men are above women. Instead, most people compare them on specific characteristics. They would say that men are stronger, they are smarter and that they are more determined. For me, it is the misguided valuation of these individual characteristics that are at fault for modern prejudices. If we began saying that oranges are lower in Vitamin C or that apples are lower in fiber, I think these fruits would feel wrongly judged as well.

    • irism999 says:

      I agree with DorcyC’s post stating that we as a society now judge vegetables and people by their characteristics, not by their whole being. Society does make generalized statements such as “men are physically stronger than women or women are more sentimental than men.” However, it seems society does this as an excuse to then categorize people as whole. Once certain statements about the characteristics of each gender/sex have been made, it is much easier to accumulate these characteristics and then say a certain sex is A and another isn’t. It is fine to distinguish one thing from “another,” fruits or types of people. However the problem lies in using the differences noted to justify the treatment of such two different fruits or people. For example, it is wrong to justify the lower wages of women in the United States with their characteristic of having to take time off after child-birth. A list can be made of the differences between an orange and an apple. However, these differences should not favor the inclusion of one or the other in the fruit salad bowl.

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