I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what femininity and masculinity are all about and it’s been a struggle. Everyone’s definitions appear to be different. I have observed however that while people’s verbal definitions are very different how they represent femininity and masculinity over time has not changed significantly. While there is currently societal pressure to redefine these terms to fit egalitarian agendas, we must understand that these archetypes have been generated over the course of MILLIONS of years. It’s not something we can change overnight on a whim. So if we decide to redefine terms, meanings and how we live based solely on societal pressure we become a Jenga tower with some foundational pieces misaligned. Not only does that make us unstable, but it also leads to a significant amount of discomfort that we may find difficult to track. It’s incredibly easy to lie to yourself and if you feel shame for feeling a certain way you will deceive yourself into believing that you shouldn’t feel that or that you don’t actually feel that. After a certain point the ideas have been so deeply suppressed that it becomes almost impossible to figure out why you are unhappy. I have caught myself deeply ensnared in this trap. Feeling shame for things that are actually not shameful. Working through those feelings, I’ve gained more confidence and have a stronger sense of wholeness since a missing piece of me has been added to the puzzle.
I fear greatly that many men and women are falling into this trap. We deny what we truly want, because of shame or fear. We lie to protect ourselves in the short term without the foresight to understand the massive damage we occur later on. I see men pretending that they don’t care what others think of them when they clearly do. We are status driven which is a mixed bag. If the drive to increase status leads to many great things happening is that not a benefit to society? Instead of masking parts of ourselves that we deem unseemly, why don’t we properly integrate them so that we can see them. You can conceptualize it as a weak alliance with a neighboring kingdom. You don’t want to be beholden to them, but you also may need their help from time to time and you ABSOLUTELY want to keep an eye on them, because if you don’t they can destroy you without you ever seeing it coming.
Women are more complicated than men in many ways. The dominance hierarchy for men is based on responsibility, respect and the adoration of females. With women it doesn’t seem to follow a pattern as clear cut, but we can look at some anecdotal clues to see what used to constitute a successful woman.
An incompetent stupid woman could gain seemingly endless respect and adoration from a marriage to a respected man. By piggybacking off of the male dominance hierarchy and marrying a high status male, you could instantly gain respect through no true merit of your own. The argument could clearly be made that you earned that marriage through being the type of person that a high status male would want to marry, but if you follow that line of thinking then you are saying that what men value is good and a successful woman is one who becomes man’s ideal.
If you familiarize yourself with history then you will see how dreadful it was for a woman to be unable to bear children. In the Bible Sarai, Abraham’s wife is so ashamed that she cannot bear children that she tells him that he should sleep with her handmaiden Hagar so that through her she may have some semblance of motherhood. Why the fixation with motherhood? Well what is more important? Men play a role in raising a child, but especially during the early years women have borne the primary responsibility. Those early years are also in many ways the most important. Damage done during the first few years of life can take decades to fix, if it can be fixed at all. That is a tremendous amount of responsibility, but we find with that a huge potential for blessings. Ask your grandmother or ANY grandmother that you know what’s on their mind and they may mention a few things about their friends or the projects that they are working on, but the conversation will always lead towards their children and grandchildren. If life is like a mountain then if lived well then we may make it fairly close to the top by the end of our life. From there we can see all. It should profoundly impact you that with all their life spread out before them and plenty of time all grandmothers tend to focus on is their children and grandchildren. They are at the top of the mountain they can focus on whatever they want, but what they find most important is their children.
It should be noted that grandfathers also tend to speak much about their grandchildren. That is because men are quite feminine compared to other creatures. Male bears don’t give a damn about their offspring and will tear them to pieces the very next summer. The other reason why they take such pride in their children and grandchildren is because they see them as an extension of themselves; which they are. It is quite literally their seed planted in the garden(woman) of their choosing. Turns out that men, or at least men with any sense, are grateful for that garden, especially if that garden tended to the little saplings they produced together with care and love.
I’d like to dissect the image above. What is the feeling you get from it? I feel respect and adoration. He almost looks apprehensive which makes sense since men have always felt naked and vulnerable around women. They used to be approached with a certain amount of reverence. That’s because men and women lived more separate lives and when a man saw a woman, he didn’t see that woman he saw his conceptualization of the ideal woman. In that conceptualization he saw a beauty and tender hearted purity that he greatly admired. It WAS NOT weakness. It should not be thought of that way. Men hate weakness, but they love the beauty, grace and delicateness of women. You can think of a married couple as a rose. Men see themselves and act out the part of the stem. They are ugly, harsh and have barbs. Women act out the part of the blossom. They are the part that everyone truly cares about. The beautiful part. The reproductive part. The part that justifies the existence of the flower. A blossom-less rose is nothing more than a weed. The rose stem’s job is to protect the flower and to supply nutrients to the flower. Protect and provide. That is the man’s role. A rose blossom’s value is self evident, but a rose stem that offers no nutrients to it’s blossom or fails to protect is worthless. In this way men must justify their existence.
There are countless ways in which these reoccurring themes can be manipulated. Man’s desire to protect what he say as precious, became tyrannical. Women’s roles were put into neat little boxes, because that’s how men prefer to think, but that’s not how life works. Not all women want the life I described above and obviously what I described above is not all a woman’s life entails, but just examples of things that are more feminine than masculine in nature. A desire to help protect women from danger became in many ways an oppressive force which women fought off in order to gain some independence. The birth control pill threw a wrench in the traditional system as well shielding women from the consequences of promiscuity.
Now what need do women have of men? They can have as much sex as they want without the responsibility of offspring. But even if they do decide to have kids why do they need a man? In the U.S. you won’t starve if you have children as a single mother. The state will provide. If you’re a career woman, then you can probably afford a nanny. Women for the FIRST TIME IN HISTORY live in a society wherein they can truly be independent. When women can just as easily marry the state or their career where is a man’s role, besides that of a sperm donor or erect penis to pleasure oneself with?
Beyond this men have been actively told to suppress their masculine attributes to make room for a new breed of women to come forward to take their positions. We are witnessing a strong counter-swing to the strictly defined gender roles of previous generations. Before something was wrong with a woman who prioritized a successful career over children, now a stay at home mom is “just a mom” no matter how many children she cares for, how well she cares for them and the countless side projects she is involved in. This “anti-role” which is the product of a rebellion against the original role is as oppressive as the original role, but more dangerous because it flows against millions of years of evolution. It is my hope that we have reached the apex of this counter-swing and that we can center ourselves in a position where women have true freedom to do what is meaningful to them rather than following a strict role or anti-role.
The latest breeds of feminism have not sought to glorify femininity, but rather to masculinize women and emasculate men. The feminine has been increasingly devalued rather than glorified.
Women these days are being sold a false bill of goods being told that they can have their cake and eat it too. Women are told they can be successful career minded individuals while simultaneously being amazing mothers. Maybe one in a billion women can do that, but here’s how it appears to work out for female lawyers. They do incredibly well in law school, while there or afterwards they marry a brilliant man who is also incredibly driven and talented, because women rarely marry men much less intelligent than they are. He wants a career too so they both crank away at it. She makes it to partner or close to it and then burns out finding that she really would like to have a family, but by that time she has expended all her youthful energy on her career. She is less fertile and her children have a higher likelihood of developing birth defects. Fortune magazine found that while 47% of law school graduates are women, only 17% of women become equity partners. That’s not because they aren’t being welcomed. On the contrary one company decided to give 22 weeks of PTO and another introduced a breast milk shipping program for traveling women with young children. Despite these efforts, law firms cannot keep women. I also would like to make the point that they desperately want them. An intelligent, creative and engaging female attorney is a huge asset for a firm. They are incredibly motivated to do all that they can to keep them from leaving.
It appears that on average over time evolutionary biology has a more powerful effect than even the most pervasive social constructionist policies.
Females must be allowed to be feminine. I will repeat that we are not simple creatures and the rose blossom metaphor applies more to the feminine personality traits most prominently found in women than to a specific individual woman. An individual is a complex multifaceted person with many sub-personalities. We are most at peace when the Jenga pieces are aligned and we have properly satisfied our sub-personalities’ needs.
This is no sophisticated hypothesis, but it feels to move forward we must firstly recognize innate differences, between men and women and then come together as distinct equals. Boys must be allowed to be boys and girls must be allowed to be girls. Just allow them to be. Your son might like playing dress up with his sister and your daughter might like sports more than make up and dolls. Gender differences don’t even prominently appear until puberty so it’s pointless if not harmful to attempt to manipulate their interests at a young age.
Just allow individuals to be. This says nothing about denying differences, but more about recognizing the following: 1. Personality differences vary more within a gender than between genders so you cannot simply say that because you are X gender you will behave X way. 2. Our relationship is symbiotic. Gender differences are not a problem to be solved. The social constructionist approach not only denies evolution, but also very clearly asserts that masculine characteristics are superior. The attempts to emasculate men are merely the other side of the coin. Masculine attributes are superior in this view, because they are being pushed heavily on women, but we only wish masculine attributes to be valued if we can level the playing field.
I’m still working through how to solve the dilemma I’ve laid out, because it’s dangerous to attempt to change the world, but the solution that seems most obvious to me is to stop trying to solve the problem. I’ve laid out some average gender differences, but I’m not trying to box anyone in. I think the dilemma is solved by attempting to view the world as it actually is, and then encouraging people to follow the most meaningful path they can see. Hacking away wildly at the world attempting to tell it how it must be is childish and dangerous. It’s possible that those attacking femininity for equality’s sake are doing so naively with good intentions, but it’s also very possible that many know damn well what they are doing.
”By their fruits ye shall know them”