*Yes, yes, another report from the closet with the see through door. Actually this was the first time I visibly stepped out of line, the first issue that bugged the almighty cr*p out of me enough that I threw a fit publicly on line. This was back when I was on LJ and it got SO MUCH backlash from my colleagues and hints that I’d never work in this town again, that I had to close it to public view. Now, of course, I’m a bonafide traitor to my gender (who knew you could be betray something you had no choice about or that you owed any loyalty to strangers who only shared a characteristic with you. Oh, wait, Marxists know. Like the shadow they know the evil that lurks in the heart of the unsorted, un-group alligiance
men women humans widgets. And they’re more than willing to mau mau the person that steps out of line. Well, that’s too bad, because this here too-tall-nail has decided it’s more moral, more interesting and far more fun to hammer back.*
And the women are winning. And this is a bad thing. Seriously. Indulge me.
I know this goes completely against everything you’ve ever heard and learned. History — and SF — is full of dreamers who are convinced that if women ruled the world it would all be beauty flowers and non aggression. (To these dreamers I say spend a week as a girl in an all-girl school. It will be a rude awakening.)
Dreamers of the Dan Brown stripe posit a peaceful female worship, with yet more beauty and flowers and non-aggression. They ignore the fact that 99% of the goddess-worshipping religions were scary. And don’t tell me that’s patriarchal slander — it’s not. The baby-killing of Astoreth worship has been documented extensively. (Of course, the Phoenicians were equal-opportunity baby killers.) The castrations of Cybele worship were also well documented. Now, I can hardly imagine a female divinity without imagining hormonal episodes requiring appeasement — but that’s because I’m a woman of a certain age, and that’s fodder for another altogether different discussion. Suffice it to say that the maiden and mother usually also had a crone persona who was … er… “not a nice person.”
Anyway — all this to say since I joined the MOB (Mothers Of Boys) the scales about such things as the inherent equality of men and women as far as their brain structure and basic behavior have fallen from my eyes. (Well, the scales that remained. My experience in school notwithstanding, I’d been TAUGHT that females were getting the short end of the stick and that’s a hard thing to overcome. Learned wisdom is so much more coherent than lived wisdom, after all.)
Again — indulge me — I’m going to make a lot of statements I can too back up, but which would take very, very, very long to document — so it will seem like I’m ranting mid air. Stay with it. If I feel up to it later, I’ll post some references.
Yes, women have been horribly oppressed throughout history including the rather disgusting Victorian period that most Americans seem to believe is how ALL of history went. I contend, though, that women were not oppressed by some international conspiracy of males — yes, I know what Women’s Studies professors say. I would however remind you we’re talking of a group of people who a) have issues finding their own socks in the dresser they’ve used for ten years. b) Are so good at communicating as a group that they couldn’t coordinate their way out of a wet paper bag, or to quote my friend Kate, couldn’t organize a bonk in a brothel. (In most large organizations the “social/coordinating” function is performed by females at various levels.) c) That women being oppressed by a patriarchy so thorough it altered history and changed all records of peaceful female religion would require a conspiracy lasting thousands of years and involving almost every male on Earth. If you believe that, I have this bridge in NY that I would like to sell you. — Women were oppressed by their own bodies.
Throughout most of history women had no safe and effective means of stopping pregnancy. — please, spare me the “herbal” remedies. I grew up in a village that had little access to medicine. If there had been an effective means of preventing pregnancy we’d have known it. TRUST me. There are abortificients, but they endanger the mother as well. However, until the pill there was no safe contraceptive. The herbal contraceptive is a plot device dreamed up by fantasy writers. Also, btw, the People’s Republic of China TESTED all these methods (including swallowing live tadpoles at the full moon.) NONE of them worked. SERIOUSLY.*
What this meant in practical fact is that most women were pregnant from menarche to menopause, if they were lucky to live that long. I’ve been pregnant. If you haven’t, take it from me it’s not a condition conducive to brilliant discourse or reasoned logic. On top of that, of course, women would suffer the evils of repeated child bearing with no rest. In effect this DID make women frail and not the intellectual equals of men. And it encouraged any male around to “oppress” them. I.e., when the majority of females around you need a minder, you’re going to assume ALL females need a minder. It’s human nature. Note that beyond suffrage, the greatest advance in women’s equality came from the pill. Not a coincidence, that.
However, the people who think that women were oppressed by an international historical cabal rule the establishment. Including the educational establishment. I find it hilarious that in their minds men/boys are so powerful that they must be kept back and are suspected of being criminals just because they have a penis. This is attributing them god-like powers to rival what any Victorian housewife would believe.
Anyway — these people have decided all efforts must be made to equal male and female performance in school. Since, in practical fact, this is impossible since males and females develop at different paces and favor different areas, they’ve settled for hobbling the all-powerful males.
You see this everywhere from Saturday morning cartoons to kindergarten to all the grades beyond. In cartoons these days, the girls ALWAYS rescue the boys. (They do it while keeping impeccably groomed hair, too. Impressive, that.) And in school all the girls are assumed to be right and all the boys are assumed to be wrong.
Because it’s been determined girls learn better in groups — not all girls. I HATED group work. But most girls — group work rules the class. Because girls do better in homework, particularly of the “decorating and coloring” kind, this homework persists well into highschool — even with no pedagogical excuse. Because single-sex education is good for BOTH genders, but BETTER for boys, single-sex education is anathema.
As a matter of fact I don’t know ANY parents of boys who haven’t been told their sons are ADHD at some point and told the boy needs ritalin. Even my older son, who is almost as verbally inclined as a girl, and who has always been interested in learning had this pushed at him in first grade. Middle school is insane for boys, as their verbal skills at that age lag well behind the girls. They are not only behind academically, they also tend to have issues working in groups. Boys are accused of sexual harassment on a regular basis at this age. No girl ever is.
I remember going to the parent teacher conference for my older son, in sixth grade, and sitting in the hallway listening to the other parents. All the parents whose children had perfect grades were parents of girls. All the parents whose children were inexplicably not doing well, despite high IQs, were parents of boys.
You’re not outraged? Reverse those. Perhaps it will help. Imagine that our method for teaching teens was leaving all the girls out in the cold and favoring boys. Wouldn’t it shock you? It should.
On top of all, we’re fostering a victim mentality in these girls. We’re giving them the advantages AND telling them boys are oppressing them — these all powerful creatures from which there is no escape.
You’re not worried? You should be.
If an alien species had devised a way to stop the human race from reproducing they wouldn’t have come up with a better way to drive both girls and boys crazy.
Look — this is striking at the core of our society. by which I don’t mean American or even western society. I mean SOCIETY. Human. Association.
Insofar as that goes — and without in anyway defending it — there is a reason that, given the chance (mostly by nature and that pesky pregnancy thing) societies become ridiculously anti-woman. There is a reason Islamic countries are terrified of the female half of their population — no, don’t want to hear anything about higher observances. Female circumcision. Veiling (anyone who thinks those who put women in slip covers respect women needs his or her head examined.) Women’s testimony being worth half of the man’s. Women punished for being raped. If that’s respect and kindness, give me insult and intolerance any day — there is a reason Imperial China circumscribed females to non-human status.
The reason is that we ARE more powerful than they are.
No, seriously. And I’m not talking about the ability to bear life within us, or some such chestnut dreamed up by an anthropologist. I’m talking about — creating social links.
Women, perhaps because they were the child caretakers and therefore had to be able to communicate child care lore as well as teach the children, seem to have learned to organize and create cooperative links. Men’s brains seem to run to hierarchies — the order giving necessary to cooperative hunting — while women’s brains run to networks — the communication lines necessary to pass on recipes and child care tips.
The farther we go back, the more we’re sure the greatest innovations leading to civilization were the work of women: agriculture. Animal domestication.
I’m going to take a wild leap and assume we also invented language. Stands to reason “Gog go around mammoth from front” is far less complex than “Iga make sure child doesn’t eat poisonous berries.”
In that sense we MADE society. We fit into society naturally. Our aggression is verbal, social. It’s an aggression that consists in freezing out and/or going around people. Male aggression consists of hitting someone over the head. Our society — any advanced society — condones the first, but not the last.
We are — so to put it — house broken. Males aren’t. Young males MUST be trained to fit into society. Young females instinctively know how to go around and manipulate the system. (Yes, I’m talking generally. I had no social clue and was very much male in my approach.)
THIS, ladies, is our turf. They had a handle on us while continuous pregnancy weakened us. They could even get the upper hand and push us to a corner.
NOW they can’t. Science has equalized the odds. And therefore, our superior organizational skills — ever more needed in an increasingly complex society — already give us an advantage.
On top of that our schools are treating our boys as guilty until proven innocent. This is alienating them and making them crazy. It’s also giving them a distaste for learning, which is why most college graduates are women.
We’ve won. They’re on the run.
It’s now time to remember that they are our fathers/husbands/children. It’s now time to remember that if we demand that men behave like women and become women in all but equipment only a small percentage will be able to accommodate. The rest will become embittered, disillusioned and, ultimately, aggressive. Because that’s how men behave when they’re not happy.
It’s time to stop driving the young warriors from the tribe to live in the wilderness. They only become dangerous and come back in attack mode.
We’ve won. Fly the standard. Sound the trumpet. And then extend your hand to the enemy — bring those boys back in. They are no more guilty for the crimes of their ancestors who were terrified of women than the little girls today are guilty of the crimes of women who in the last four decades have been terrified of men.
It’s time to stop this nonsense. We’re two halves of a whole. Regardless of how your preference runs, or whether you have both genders in the home — it takes both to make a society. Or at least a functional society. And — until science overcomes that — it takes both to make a physical human being.
Go out there and hug a man today.
*Actually, according to the my friend Kate Paulk’s research, there was some sort of berry (?) on the coast of Tunisia that taken every day prevented conception. This was recorded in some Roman manuscripts, and if it wasn’t a joke, become extinct within a few years. If she shows up in comments, she might give us the name of it.