Saturday, July 13, 2013

Harmonied men

A friend posted this article

Which inspired me to comment

"Men can't help themselves, which is why women should never be unchaperoned and should always cover their ankles, preferably with a burka. Naturally harmonied men cannot be expected to see girls in tank tops as human beings, as said girls are so clearly thumbing their uncovered noses at biological predator/prey rules. It is best for society if we all simply admit that boys will be boys and women are livestock. One hopes that each girl has a strong father/husband to protect her, but if not, it is probably God-ordained that she become a sex commodity.  In any case, the return to mom-and-pop values will protect more women by preventing their husbands from comparing their over-21 bodies to more youthful specimens and thereby, understandably, being unable to resist upgrading. I have a lot of women friends and they agree, even when it seems like they are saying no."

But more than that, I've been thinking about male-female interactions. Why my default position is men are predators, unless proven otherwise, and even if proven, can always revert back to predator at any moment. Why I always take the woman's side, even if she is a stranger, even if she is not making good choices, I still assume (until absolutely proven otherwise, which may never happen) that any guy involved is out to get her, in some way.

Because the social construction is such that a man ALWAYS has more power. 

But, then there's your personal life. And men you actually know. And it isn't supposed to be about power anymore. Right? But the mental power calculation is still going on in my head. As effusive and expressive as I am, there are still protected little fiefdoms whose existence I deny, distract from, even, by being so emotionally available in other areas. It costs me little to be effusive - it doesn't make me feel vulnerable, like it does to some people. But I'm not sure that that means I am any more willing to be vulnerable than someone who struggles to express himself emotionally.

One of my fiefdoms is my assumption that men don't act altruistically. That they don't truly act out of kindness or love or friendship (towards women) but that there is always, even if I can't see it, even if they aren't conscious of it, some hidden angle. 

Which sounds messed up when I write it out. Because I absolutely believe women act altruistically. And men are half of the species, and there are an awful lot of them, and unless I do really believe, like this guy suing Apple, that there is something inherently beastlike about the Y chromosome that turns men into creatures incapable of reason or compassion or self-control, then I don't even have an argument, just a belief I know isn't right but I know I still act on, everyday, as if I did believe it was right.

And I wonder, how much of this action on this belief I know isn't right, is an attempt to get approval, a pat on the back for being "smart," a round of applause from the female chorus, the matriarchal archetypes that question any trust I put in any man, any benefit of the doubt given, any relaxation of demands? Not real women, this chorus, though sometimes real women will deliver their lines. But the part of you that is suspicious. That refuses to trust. That is determined to be strong, inviolable. It's a good part of you - it's a good part of me. It stiffens my backbone when I am facing a strange man in an alley. It pools my experience with so many many other women's experiences, giving me stories to warn me and teach me and keep me safe. It sends me off on adventures, alone, to seek my fortune, because my gender is no reason I, too, cannot explore. It keeps me from cowing, when there is also a part of me that longs to let go and have someone else take over.

But this part of me is insatiable. It never is pleased, it never says, "Well done," and it never accepts any man's efforts. Maybe you don't have a part of you like this, but mine looks Artemis-fierce, coven-powerful. I assume everyone has something like this, but maybe yours looks different. But my problem now is, how do I turn it off?

For the coven's advice is not always correct, and Artemis is a virgin for a reason. And if I cannot look beyond this one part, this female power that has no room for the masculine, nor belief in its goodness, how can I progress? How can I bring my unspoken beliefs upon which I act into harmony with what I know to be true? 

My therapist has been telling me that I need to make fewer decisions with my head, and more with my gut. Which freaks me out a little because of course I want to, need to, be smart, be a scientist, be intellectual. But she isn't talking about financial decisions or health decisions - she's talking about decisions in how I interact with other human beings. And she says my "gut" decisions in these cases, the choices I make in the moment, are sound. It is my head, the questioning, the second-guessing, the worrying about whether a decision is strong, is noble, is considerate, is approved - that wears me down, wears me out, sets up battles for me against evil men who must be vanquished.

Psyche did listen to her sisters. She did follow their advice, against the wishes of her husband. The story hinges on this, and her ending would not have so happy if she hadn't - she would have remained ignorant, and undeveloped, and mortal. Probably overwhelmed by her husband, maybe bitter in the end. But she did listen to her sisters and follow their advice, and progress. She also killed them. I don't think I want to kill this part of me, because I like it. But I would like to master it. I dreamt the other night that I was Sherlock Holmes and I was fighting a Kraken. The secret was popping out its bulgy eyeballs. Not sure yet how this helps me trust men but I'm working on it.

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