I’d like to start out with an example of comparison because that is how we ultimately view difference. Let’s compare apples and oranges and find their differences. One is red and one is orange. One has a core and one does not. Does that make one better than the other? We compare two kinds of people/things and point out what is not similar between the two in order to find difference. That which is not similar is difference.
There seems to be an issue of hierarchy involved when we speak of difference, because one is typically “better” than the other. The one side that is not as good, is the one that is considered of lesser value and therefor it’s the different one. The idea behind difference is finding things that one side has and that the other side is missing. It’s comparing two people or objects, like apples and oranges, or men and women, and pointing out what makes one unlike the other. Many people view this word in a negative way because they often times see difference as an area where two sides struggle to agree. This negative connotation that accompanies difference is not necessary. Being different from someone is not a bad thing or an issue of being unequal to the other.
Scott mentions the Sears case as an example in her essay and how: “Difference was substituted for inequality, the appropriate antithesis of equality, becoming inequality’s explanation and legitimation.” There is this desire for difference to be connected with inequality or equality. Why is there the need to connect something that is different with something that is unequal? The two things being compared, such as man and woman, are only able to be different because the other exists. So aren’t they in turn equal? This idea that “I’m a woman because I’m not a man” wouldn’t be comparable if not for the both of them.