Great response. Still, from having lived life, I’d say there’s much more to be done. And probably it’s not so much of a woman’s issue as a human issue.
If a species, at least as intelligent as ours, but differently inclined were to observe us, would they not conclude that we had issues like this: humans are hierarchical, but intelligent and therefore self-destructive.
This was an underlying premise of a sci-fi trilogy written by Octavia Butler. In the trilogy, that’s what these aliens, ( who incidentally came to rescue the planet after WWIII) kept saying about humans. Their intent was to wipe humans out, in a fairly benign sort of way, by not allowing them to reproduce.
So at first reading this trilogy, I was annoyed by the constant repetition of this concept, which of course didn’t make sense to me. I am human, and as a human I have never encountered a species as intelligent as my own, able to say to me, “hey you know what the problem with you humans really is?”
But this trilogy was actually a long argument, making the case that humans are a defective species, that will end up destroying itself because of those two biological traits: heirarchical behavior and intelligence-they are at odds.
If you think about it, it really makes sense. Smart enough to build a bomb to damage huge land masses on the planet, heirarcical enough to deploy that bomb just because one won’t submit to the will of another. These two traits do not go together. Because if you want to rule via brute force (and humans seem to always resort to that) then you shouldn’t be smart enough to raise armies and build huge arsenals. You should, like apes and chimps, be limited to sticks and stones, therefore your ability for mass destruction is nonexistent. You can destroy each other, with stick and stones, but not the planet.
But what does any of this have to do with feminism? Or women, for that matter? Because, I would posit that for millennia, we’ve been focused on the heirarchical concept of might makes right. He who has the biggest army wins etc and ad naseam…and this need for war is largely a masculine characteristic, one where female characteristics have no place, or very little anyway.
And in a might makes right world, the abilities that are unrelated to physical strength are largely Devalued, which is to say, in this world women simply are not valued as much as men because they are not physically as strong. They don’t win wars, at least not physically, though they can certainly play a part in setting it off.
But here’s my response to that — it’s idiotic to make physical strength the currency. It’s dumb, because there is so much more to the human experience than that.
Humans have intellectual capital, so take a Bill Gates, while he probably wasn’t a playground bully, he whipped a lot of asses, with his mind. Arguably, intellectual capital can belong equally to either gender, we haven’t heard that men are naturally smarter than women, in a while, though certainly that has been the belief throughout much of civilization.
Also, and this is even more important, humans have emotional capital, and it could be argued that with regard to this, women even have the upper hand. Women often get classified as being more manipulative (emotionally) than men. John Hopkins often points out that in the battle of the sexes, women certainly do have their weapons. It’s true, and emotional manipulation is often one of them. I only think women rely on that weapon, more so than men, because they lack the physical strength that would allow them to manipulate in other physical ways, which men (especially big men) do all the time.
Big men just use their bodies to intimidate people. Women cannot do this, so they resort to other machinations. But I think that anyone’s level of emotional manipulation ability, harkens back to whatever happened in their childhood and what they had to do to survive. Everyone is small at some point, so I think it’s probably the case, men and women are equally as capable of being manipulative, men just have more options than women and so they focus on those other options. Women are stuck with the manipulation game and thus some become extraordinarily skilled at it.
Sexually abused young women can be some of the most destructive and toxically manipulative people, you will ever encounter…and yet there is a reason for this, this kind of abuse makes people toxic and destructive; and this kind of abuse is directly the result of a “might makes right” kind of culture.
So my point is ultimately, that we humans are so focused on one side of the equation, one aspect of our being, to the exclusion of all the rest, that everything is out of whack! It’s all out of balance. So one side of the see-saw is totally up in the air, feminism (at least some of the theories I’ve been exposed to in the attempt to assist sexual assault survivors) tries to swing the see-saw completely in the other direction.
Now most people say, “wait a minute, hold on! Two wrongs don’t make a right!”
Or I say…it doesn’t really help to tell a victim something that the entire world (except the feminists) isn’t going to agree with. So I don’t think you should tell a victim of sexual assault (it’s never your fault) because first it simplifies the issue of “fault” way too much, and I don’t think that even the victim believes that.
But also, there is an entire world that’s going to tell the victim “yes it is! It is your fault, and here’s why!” Now, that’s not right either.
And that’s the reason why some feminists take such extreme stances on things, to try to correct the imbalance.
But it’s not right to place the blame entirely on the assaulters shoulders because he (or she) too is a victim of “might makes right” programming that basically tells people rape is okay, in a lot of situations. These people are just going along with the programming that ALL humans agree to. But in running these programs, we are destroying ourselves and our future: cause I’m going to be blunt here, when an adult has sex with a kid, he or she creates a hand grenade, that will explode on the rest of us at some later time.
But back to “might makes right.” This is over reliance on a very small and very primitive and primal part of the masculine human experience, is wrong, it’s off, it’s like being stuck on stupid. War doesn’t work! It shouldn’t be the thought paradigm that runs the world.
Someone remarked to me, the entire world is being held hostage by the antics of two men behaving like adolescent boys. She was referencing Trump and Kim Jong Un. Both definitely from the might makes right school. Every week Kim is shooting off missiles like they are nerf gun bullets, meanwhile huge portions of his population are starving.
If America was a different sort of country we would be in the same boat under Trump, and in fact many of us are. The whole might makes right heirarchical belief system Is a real problem in our world. I see feminists as trying to provide the counter balance — and the more extreme feminists are trying to counter the more extreme masculinists. I know that’s not a word.
But it should be, because as you say feminists want everyone to ascribe to their beliefs about who women should be and how they should be treated, the same can certainly be said about legions of men- the whole military industrial complex is devoted to everyone ascribing to what it thinks a man should be. The men who fund it for their own nefarious purposes, well we could call them masculinists. Or the MRA people…we could call them masculinists, but we just don’t think in these terms. The whole world revolves around a type of masculinity that is underdeveloped, and that’s a human problem.
Bottom line, our human thought processes, not just about gender, but a whole host of things are extremely limited. We have got to do better. So yeah. There’s much more to be done. Especially, if we intend to keep inhabiting the planet.