Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

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Masculinity Without the Abuse of Women

November 12, 2017

via change without force….


The spike in charges by women against men over the past few years regarding alleged sexual improprieties and acts of aggression doesn’t suggest any discovery of new information, but does indicate that more women are finding that they are being listened to more, which in turn encourages others to come forward.

The only downside might be that, thus far, the process has been like the sound of one hand clapping. To generate anything of substance, this needs to be a two handed effort. The time-worn women in white hats, men in black theme may inject energy and drama into the issue, but real substantive change will require something new and different if we hope to do more than just wrestle over power and control. It’s time to move on from the “who did what to whom?” question and work on “So, what do people want, and what steps need to be taken in order to realize those goals?”

Any such goals should be realistic rather than be rigidly tied to idealism driven by social and political forces. That is not to say that ideals shouldn’t guide us, just that they should not dictate the details.

Human beings, like other animals, have an innate nature that is followed whether they are behaving in positive, constructive ways or are being negative and destructive, and everywhere in between. Sometimes, both qualities are expressed simultaneously. Therein may be the challenge: to figure out how to minimize or redirect behaviors and attitudes that threaten to be negative, destructive, or self-contradictory, while favoring and fostering those that are positive and are likely to help the society achieve its goals.

Certain adversarial aspects of the male-female relationship are as old as humanity itself and are rooted in the human nature referred to above. As with all life forms, we are subject to two primary drives: to survive, and to reproduce. Our generally competitive nature is an expression of both, as is our history of violence and conquest that I refer to as the perpetual game of King of the Mountain. The underlying drives may be unlikely to change, and perhaps that is as it should be, but associated behaviors can be changed, and progress has been made over the civilized millennia, as is demonstrated by the evolution of sports as a partial substitute for warfare and other competitive acts of violence.

With the current focus on the historical prevalence of men perpetrating different kinds of sexual aggression and violence against women, I think we need to be cautious not to set our sights on changing those underlying drives, and instead focus on the behavioral responses to them. More realistic, achievable goals should address the ways those drives are specifically manifested in men and in women, and in human beings as a species.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead discovered certain matrilineal cultures among the South Pacific islanders, and some pre-Norman Conquest British societies were said to have had matrilineal systems of succession, but most societies around the globe have been patrilineal. Whether such relationships are desirable within the existing cultures or whether changes will occur will become evident, but changes or the creation of new adaptations will develop through a deeper understanding of ourselves and momentum, not the application of force.

Our cultures have traditionally groomed boys to assume certain roles just as they have groomed girls to assume paths of their own. Those roles weren’t dictated, they developed by way of several influences, including biology, adaptation to circumstances, King of the Mountain, and more. Those roles can change, of course, and most likely will over time, but attempting to effect such changes by force would be self-defeating.

It would be helpful to look at the challenges to be faced by males if they are to foster younger generations that retain the positive aspects of their masculinity, yet are not defined by abuse and dominance over women. We would presently hope for future women to retain their femininity without being sexualized in ways that set them up to be predated upon. The idea is not to do away with sexuality, but to try to develop cultural mores around it that are mutually acceptable and fulfilling for both genders

How does one raise a boy to do the things boys do, develop a positive, nonviolent sense of his sexuality while discouraging a disrespectful or exploitative understanding of women and how he should relate to them?

How does one raise a girl to enjoy the activities of her gender-peers, develop a positive, non-submissive knowledge of her self as a person, with a fulfilling sense of her sexuality, and healthy expectations for herself and any mate or mates with whom she establishes a relationship?

We need to discover what the modern male and modern female desires, need, and expects from different kinds of relationships with members of the opposite sex. Men and women need to think about these things and to come up with new, previously unasked questions that can help them begin the process of creating a culture wherein the concepts of rank, power, and value depend upon factors such as ability and achievement rather than simply as a function of biological gender.

Western cultures currently appear to be experimenting with how we view men and women, maleness and femininity. The processes involved and the eventual outcomes may or may not gibe with the current generations of political correctness, but the undertaking will have to look at prevailing historical gender idealizations, understand the genesis and function of those presentations, and make changes where mutually desirable and possible.

This kind of culture would have the potential for a version of “equality” I think people, especially women, have been seeking. We have been attempting to establish concepts of equity by force, and it seems we have not yet recognized that to be a self-defeating process. If humanity is to successfully create new cultural mores, we must facilitate their evolution, not just try to enforce a prescriptive idea of how things should be according to some committee or temporary political majority.

I think we should try.

 

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Left coast borborygmus

October 9, 2014

Yes-yes law_002 [MOUNT]

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Aging gracefully, one skin-tag at a time

August 16, 2013

Aging gracefully, one skin-tag at a time

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The dog….

July 2, 2013

My family doesn’t talk much. It’s not that we don’t like each other, because we do. Very much. We’re just not particularly communicative. Birthdays, weddings, funerals. That’s about it. You know how it is.

“H’lo?”

“Yo, How’s everybody?”

“……….um.”

“It’s your brother, f’chrissake>”

“I knew that. So, how are YOU?”

“Good.”

“What’s up?”

“Just thought I’d touch base. Been awhile.”

“Yep….”

“……….”

“Well, Jenn’s all graduated, and….”

“NO!!!”

“Yeah, really! She’ll be heading off to the university in the fall.”

“Imagine!……seems like just yesterday..”

“Yeah, I know. So what’s new with you folks?”

“Mmmm…not much. I don’t know. Dog died…”

“NO!!!….Good grief, I’d have thought he’d have been gone a long time ago. How the heck old was he!?”

“Died six years ago Tuesday…figured I’d never told ya, so….”

“Oh….OK…..Sorry to hear it. You gonna get another one?”

“Did.”

“What is it…?”

“Dead. He died a year ago…”

 

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The dog….

July 2, 2013

The dog…..

via The dog…..

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Open letter…

November 21, 2009

…to the gum-snapper checking me in at the doctor’s office and the little snot handing me back my credit card at the gas station…


Dear Mr. __________,
Mrs. __________,
Miss __________,


We have never been formally introduced, but have come to engage in a casual business exchange where it is both convenient and polite to address each other by name. In that regard, I would like to let you know that I prefer to be addressed as Mr. _________ in such relationships. I, in turn, would prefer to address you similarly.

In fact, though it may seem a bit archaic in this day and age, I grew to adulthood in a world where such forms of address were the norm, and I have never quite dropped the practice. To this day, I find it awkward to address anyone other than my family or closest friends by only their familiar names or nicknames.

That said, I would sincerely appreciate it if you would indulge my idiosyncrasies and address me as Mr. ________ instead of my first name until such time as we become fishing buddies, husband and wife, or in-laws.


Respectfully,


Mr. __________

*****

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Heart-shaped chocolates and buns of gouda

October 30, 2009

It occurred to me while reading the Sunday newspaper recently that the stuff in the ads and the stuff in the editorials don’t jibe. This is blatantly evident at any time of year, not just Christmas. The tinsel won’t be off the living room floor before we’ll be greeted at every turn of a page and every store-front with smiling Victoria’s Secret models tempting us with heart-shaped chocolates and grapefruit sized bottoms.

Next, it will be green thongs for St. Patrick’s day, exemplars of the runway offering Easter finery, size 2 and under of course, followed by a couple of months worth of string bikinis.

The complimentary side of the coin is an endless barrage of TV presentations featuring early middle aged machismos who, but for the grace of Viagra, would be mere helpless noodles. If all it takes to look like THAT is a little dysfunction, hell, it might be worth the inconvenience!

Meanwhile, plain brown wrappers everywhere peck out diatribes of anti-sexuality as money changes hands at warp speed in the marketplace. Women who haven’t seen size two since ninth grade, if ever, wax indignant about being sex-objects. They should be so lucky. Men who couldn’t bench-press their own shoes snort disapprovingly while secretly enjoying every tease commercial and print ad and plotting ways to order their free samples of “Sequoias in the Valley of Love” or whatever the hell the latest elixir of impossible miracles happens to be.

Like it or not, mating season is year-round for the human species. Pheromones fill the air, idealized female’s presenting carefully accentuated characteristics of sexual attractiveness, and rock-solid young males who shave before every meal and exude surplus testosterone fill the fanciful field of vision. Yet, any man who dares to ogle is a “pig” and any woman who shortsightedly purrs at the image of the handsome jocko selling the car that “turns you on” instantly falls off the moral dado in the estimation of her peers doing the same thing but more discreetly.

If it is so foul, why does it take an orgasm to sell everything from a pair of living room curtains to a cheeseburger? Who’s selling and who’s buying? The answer is we all are, but we’ve developed this façade of disgust, like PITA people secretly enjoying a good steak.

It’s really quite amusing when you think about it. I’ve never seen a gorgeous woman with legs all the way up to her ears complain about being pleasing to the eye, and I’ve never known a man who was offended to overhear himself being referred to as a “hunk”. On the other hand, I do notice a lot of lard butts loitering about the lingerie shops, and I’ve been guilty of looking at the spandex in the sporting goods store as though an intense stare would miraculously allow me to actually wear the stupid things without looking like an oversized Gouda cheese.

I think the only society ever to be successful at accepting their natural functions as healthy and downright fun were the South Sea Islanders of Margaret Mead fame, but we “civilized” them a long time ago.