Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Re: How feminism destroyed real men

How feminism destroyed real men offers an interesting glimpse into male-female relations. Women don't like wimps is the writers claim. But I wonder if he's overgeneralizing.

In the 1990's it was popular for men to try and embrace their feminine side. As the author says, the idealized relationship was for the man to cry along with their partner while watching a chick flick and then cook up a decent dinner. But, he says, that merely created a generation of spineless and sexless men. Hmmm..?? Instead the "real man" is strong, powerful, decision-making, etc.

Some choice quotes: A true Amazon couldn't stand the company of a supplicant male, let alone marry one. Real alpha-women are the ones who can more than hold their own with an alpha-man...women love men who stand up to them, who won't be pushed around....women secretly long for a man with swagger, who is cocky and selfassured and has the cheek to stand up them and make fun of their feminine foibles...They long for the rakish charm of a man who knows there's a whole ocean of fish out there, who isn't afraid of being himself in case he is rejected....

What he's actually describing is power plays. In the Reichian-psychology inspired model I learned at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, this was labeled Psychopathy. To explain what this means, BBSH teaches a form of studying human characteristics based on how they disconnect with their true essence. One who practices Psychopathy tends to dominate others, generally with mental domination.

This is the kind of person who demands the other acknowledge them as the boss, who prefers to dominate the people around them. They think that if they are in control, then everything will be okay. That you assure the best outcome by being in control. One thing the Psychopathy practitioner wants is to be met in equal power. They want their partner to meet them (metaphorically) on the field of battle and be tested strength-for-strength. Reading that article is a great example of Psychopathy in action.

But what he says is not the entire picture of human relationships.

For example there are men whose authentic expression is to be a pushover, there are men whose authentic expression is to talk and talk and talk and be very emotional, etc. In fact the human characteristics are shared by both men and women.

Psychologists understand that all of us have both feminine and masculine aspects to our personalities. These aspects come in different proportions for different people. It's not that females are only feminine and males are only masculine. We both have each. The yin-yang symbol demonstrates this very well, with having black and white swirling around each other, but in the center of black there is a spot of white, and in the center of white there is a spot of white.

I would agree with him that any person who buries their true self. If someone's true self (as they understand it) is more dominant, then perhaps that's how they should live.

But what of those who dominate for dominations sake? Who let domination of others run rampant over the feelings and boundaries of those around them? This is one of the ways that relationships are a training ground for us to find our true selves. The overzealous dominator is a challenge to all those around him or her, for those other people to find enough power from within themselves to at least meet the dominator in equal power.

At the same time it is very likely the overzealous dominator is overstepping their own true self. As I said earlier, BBSH teaches about several character patterns, Psychopathy is just one of the five of them. These character patterns are ways in which humans disconnect from their true self.

The real quest is to learn to live from your true self.