Now that women have finally, and officially, been approved for combat roles in the USA, the Winnowing of Modern Man is now complete — and the dissolution of that manly myth is long overdue. The harsh and prosecutorial role of men in the history of the world has been to control and temper the overwhelming power of the female form using religion, laws and politics as cudgels for behavior correction. The forever stain on humankind is the trans-vaginal wand, “clean” women, and forced separation during menses because a woman is considered too filthy to share a bed with her husband as she bleeds.
All of these efforts to bind our women have failed, or are bound to fail, because they are inhuman punishments for contexts that are not choices, but mandates. The Inhuman Test is a simple one: Just spin around the test to the opposite sex and see if the result is ridiculous and outrageous.
No man would accept any wand near his prostate to check for the forced viability of his sperm.
No man would want to be banned from the marital bed for a nocturnal emission.
No man would accept being barred from the field of combat because of his DNA.
Now we are left with facing the hauntings of our past. How can we begin to explain to those who come after us why we refused to let women vote or divorce or own their decisions that regulated their bodies? Women tend to leave women alone when it comes to life choices, but men tend to want to control men and, especially, another man’s woman.
That need to control is born of anger and fear. Forget penis envy. Men have birth envy. The power to create another person is incredibly impressive, and as science rises and religious dogma declines, one day women will not need a man just to have a baby, and when that happens, the gender power shift will be complete.
Women will own the world because they are the more compassionate and comprehensive gender. Women can do it all, because they have no choice but to do it all. I hate to admit it, but men are, and pretty much always have been, convenient, but not necessary, appendages to successful living — and that’s why so many men tend to cling to their mothers while silently suffering in fear of their wives. Manliness is, perhaps, just an easy label for passive-aggressiveness.
I read something a while ago that tried to explain the family dynamic in clear and unsettling terms. A daughter’s parents stick with her forever, and her children become their children, while a son’s parents only see his wife as itinerant, replaceable, and unnecessary. If there are children to be had in the marriage, their welfare ultimately falls to their son’s wife because he can always remarry and have many more children with many other women. Daughters have a half-life for childbirth while sons can procreate for decades. The limited window for a daughter to create children is what binds her harder to her family than her husband’s to his.
Of course, there are variations on that argument, but in its widest, and most general scape, there is probably some truth in that unconfessed, but intentional, reality. I once had a female student who argued in class that when a man and woman marry, it is the husband who must leave his mother and — “like an egg” — become one with his new wife’s family. The young male students in the class appeared horrified by that hard reality waiting to hit them in the future.
I definitely have birth envy! I’d love to have more involvement in having children than just the initial input. 🙂
Love that thought, Gordon! Giving birth must be one of the most incredible experiences of a lifetime.
What a cracker of a blog !
There are so many valid points here and so many points to commend , but I am never happy with “me too” responses so I try not to do them.
As a woman I am pleased that American women have the CHOICE to serve their country in an active combat role should they wish to do so. For me the right to choice – to self determination is fundamental.
As a wife who has been in the position where her husband refused to become the “egg” and start a new family and who refused to put his new family before his “old nest ” I can testify to the long term damage this ultimately causes.
Ah, dear, sweet, beloved, Nicola, how I have missed you! SMILE!
The “me too” response, at least on WP.com, has now become touching the “like” button on an article. Nothing to do with Facebook “like” buttons — but a WP.com “like” puts your Gravatar on the article near the like button and adds your Gravatar to the sidebar. It isn’t as great as an actual comment, but it does seem to offer the “drive-by agree-er” a way to give a thumbs up without actually typing anything…
Not allowing women on the battlefield was generally determined to be detrimental — at least in the USA — because women were “too emotional” and would crumble in the face of seeing the fellow soldiers bloodied and dying. Eh? It seems like women have a much higher tolerance for dealing with “blood issues” than men do just because of the way their bodies are moderated and their historial role in doing most of the child rearing and animal butchering.
You’re point about the husband is straight on. It’s fascinating to me watching young couples trying to “calendar” the holidays: Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas Morning with hers, etc. I don’t think that ever really works in the long term because the daughter always belongs to her family and the son doesn’t ever really belong to his. He must go to her and become part of her family — and if his family feels left out — then they are welcome to join him in her family. When Janna and I first married, I told her straight up — “I will follow you” — when it comes to managing spending time with family.
The woman gives herself to her husband — and the husband must give himself to her family.
I watched a very good documentary on women in battle – I am going to have to go and do some research and see if I can hunt up some sources . I am sure there is historical evidence of armies of women – especially in Europe. I think women can actually be more ferocious than men – especially if they are protecting their own. Boudica is one that comes to mind.
As to the second point I would have settled for giving himself to our new family – ie put his children before his parents !
I’m sure those ferocious women in history are precisely why there have been so many male-controlled social punishments invented to keep the women in place. Let us know what you find!
I’m all in on sharing your disappointment! A man needs to be strong enough to cleave and join anew.
Our conversation reminds me of — “The Chinese Mother” — who expects a child to choose the parent over their spouse or children in every circumstance:
His mother has a lot to answer for !
Oh, yeah! Scary stuff! SMILE!
It’s a good thing for women to be treated more equally in all things. There can still be manners and being nice to each other, but it should be on a personal level and not depending if you are a girl or boy.
Right! I think that’s where we’re headed. Forget gender. Concentrate on the person.
Women have been putting men and families back together since the beginning of time. If we had more women generals in the military we would not have as many wars.
I think you are right about that, Anne. I wonder why women appear to be more careful and thoughtful when it comes to giving up lives in the cause of war?
Maybe it is beaause it is women who give birth ?
That has to be a major part of it, Nicola! Men lack that empathy for creation.