Or “this isn’t what we expected.”
When I was little the women in the family could sound like any feminist when talking about the men in the family. But it was different.
Look, there were realms. The house was the realm of women, and in it men were treated somewhere between nuisances and children. Yes, part of it is that Portugal is a very traditional culture with overtones acquired from the Arab occupation and that leaves certain issues. For instance, when I was little, if a woman wanted a job outside the house, she needed permission from her husband or father. And I want to point out right here, no, I don’t actually endorse that, particularly the father thing. (Presumably if you’re married you and your husband both agree on who works where. If not, well, there are problems with no fault divorce, but it sounds like you actually don’t have a marriage.)
To compensate for the outside being the world of men — seriously. No woman from 9 to 90 could step outside the door without having sexually explicit things called out to her by some random guy. No woman could safely be out of doors alone after 8pm or nightfall, whichever came first, etc. — the inside was the world of women, where men were treated like brain damaged infants.
The “Lord of his household” thing? Sure, he had the legal right to tell a woman she couldn’t take a job (a lot of the women in the village took jobs cleaning because her fathers/husbands wouldn’t sign the papers. So they arranged with other women to come in, do some part of the housework, and get paid either in money the husband never saw, or in kind (food, cloth, etc.) And the village, like most Latin cultures was rife with wife-beating (not in OUR family.) But other than that? Women set the house as they liked it, (and mostly to impress other women) and largely chose what the kids would do. And even violent men got treated as a mix of a nuisance and a child in the house.
At the lowest level in the village, men often drank all the money coming in (to be fair, the women did too. It was often the only thing they agreed on) but in more middle class households, the man handed over his paycheck, got given an allowance, and the woman disposed of all the rest.
And women did say things like “Men are so incompetent.”
But note, it was in THEIR realm. In the men’s realm women would ask for help to go to the bank (no, most paychecks never made it to the bank. Well, my mom was the investor in the family, so that’s different) or to deal with authorities of any kind, not because they were incapable, but because they felt outside their realm. And there, men would make comments about women.
I was weird, because I was expected to have a degree and not married, so I got trained in a lot of the “things of men.” Women in my family were, anyway, and in any case, things were changing by the time I hit adolescence, at least in pockets.
In one of his books, through the mouth of Lazarus Long, Heinlein wonders if men and women are the same species or merely symbiotic. I thought it was hilarious when I first read it. I’ve been laughing less and less ever since.
Sure, statistical groupings are such that some individuals from one will always be closer to the other in characteristics. But in general? The majority of the population. Ah!
I find my early training in an intensely sexist society helps in a way. Why? Because most groups were either all men or all women — except for me — and thus it’s easier for me to sense (even in mixed groups) what kind of group it is.
Women groups are intensely hierarchical. Aren’t I confused? Don’t I mean men’s?
No, I don’t. I sometimes wonder what in living hell is wrong with people who write the peaceful planet of women and are actually themselves women? Were they raised exclusively by males? Have they never experience female groups? Are they lizard people with a society with only one sex? The men who write this twaddle, I understand better. Put a man in a group of women and every woman goes instantly into “front keeping mode” on being sweetness and light.
Women are non physically violent but strongly hierarchical. Group mechanics are such that often the entire energy and focus of the group is a) establishing pecking order b) enforcing conformity.
Can you have a good working group with all women? Sure. But it has to be rather unusual women and women who are consumed by some kind of passion. So you’re less likely to get it in, say, clerical work or bureaucracy and more likely to get it in the arts, crafts, or helping professions. Something you can imagine something being devoted body and soul to you can see a good all-women work group. So, you know “What I want to do with my life is” complete that sentence for the job you’re contemplating in an all-women group: “All I want to do with my life is heal the sick” and you might get a decent work group. “All I want to do with my life is file form a in slot b” less so.
Men in groups, OTOH are more focused on task and less on personalities. Hell, men (and me) are less likely to notice slights, digs and subtle disputes. If you’re not hitting them in the face with a brick, the interpersonal will matter less, but they tend to get hyperfocused on their task. There can be bitter disputes, yes, but that’s usually because that guy down in cube b tends to never Florpz the Dbars the way they should be doing, and it’s slowing down the entire group.
Again, statistical likelihood and lived experience. There is probably out there an hyperfocused group of women. There is probably out there a group of men that are more into the brow beating, psychological warfare and pecking order than a room full of seamstresses. It’s just not as likely.
So, what does this mean for the war between men and women.
Well, in the real patriarchy I grew up in (Yes, it was) the men and women solved the fact that they have very different hierarchies by isolating to their own corners. Even in having and raising children they divided responsibility and the man was the heavy while the mother was the one who set the day to day: what you ate, what you dressed in, etc. My family was weird, so my free time was spent with dad a lot, but most kids saw dad as a distant and law-giving figure. Mom would climb the mountain and come back with the tablets of the law, but Dad was the law giver and punisher. (Not dad. He was really bad at the punisher stuff. I wonder if that’s why I fit so badly in Portugal.)
In each of their realms they treated the other sex as damaged children. This still happens to an extent, even with women working outside the house, because the woman is still responsible for how the house looks and is still in charge of making and getting things for the house, and even the man helps in her domain, he’s still only a “helper” and his position THERE is subordinate.
I was and am for women having the right to work outside the house, if they so choose, and not having to get anyone’s permission. I’m not for women getting pushed ahead of men or getting extra brownie points for being women in the work force, because that smacks of a trained pet. “The question is not if she does it better than men. The amazing thing is that she can do it at all.”
I think women who are more comfortable in the workforce should definitely do so. I also think that couples where no one intends to stay home with the kids (or arrange their schedules so one of them can be home with the kids at any time) shouldn’t have kids. But that’s me, and I’ve seen too many children farmed out to be raised by low-skilled strangers. I also know enough history to know that never ends well. OTOH I’m neither G-d nor emperor, so carry on. But do give it some thought. We’re maybe 1/2 genes and 1/2 environment. Do you want strangers making your child’s environment?
Anyway… moving right along.
What has puzzled me more than anything is the left’s insistence that we live in a patriarchy. I’ve seen the real patriarchy running around with no clothes on, and this ain’t even close to one. Hell, to a great extent, it’s turned into a matriarchy, with the women conquering the world of men, integrating men in their hierarchy and bullying them, at the same time they control the house.
Yes, I know, women make less, blah blah blah, which would be terrible if it were actually true (No, it’s not. I’s an effect of choices of field and hours worked) but in point of fact, most companies will aggressively try to hire/promote any semi-competent female, because of numbers and showing those to the government and not giving the appearance of discrimination, since you can get sued on Numbers without any real proof of ill will.
All of which brings us to the war between men and women, and the left’s persistent fear of “patriarchy” so subtle no one can find it in the real world.
I have a highly heretical theory, and one that means we are in deep trouble.
You see, having grown up in a patriarchy, I know the type of woman who succeeds in business in those. These are hard driven women, who live for their work. They turn their passion to whatever they’re doing, and devote themselves to it utterly. See that thing above, where a group of women who is doing something they consider vital can be results-focused (and amazing?) Yeah. A woman alone can be like that too. These women who would go into business would either build giant companies or climb to the top of their fields.
I knew women pianists, mathematicians and businesswomen who were respected and feared by every man who worked for them.
Let’s see: they acquired training despite insults and assumptions they were stupid (been there, done that) and then went into the workforce despite the assumption they were there to snag a man.
Despite all this, they were so focused and so good they went to the top of the field.
Dave Freer says there is this effect to a real discriminated against minority. The ones who succeed are amazing.
But these were the women the early feminists focused on. And an image was created that if we were universally allowed/encouraged to do this, then we’d all be like those few exceptional individuals.
No one large group, male or female, is EVER like its exceptional high achievers. Most human beings are mooches, slouches and time servers. It’s the nature of humanity.
So. So when it became DISCOURAGED to be a stay at home mom and women were pushed (still are) into careers whether they want them or not (and don’t tell me this doesn’t happen. Even while staying at home to write, I faced withering disdain that I was “just a housewife” everywhere from the doctor’s office to social occasions) they found that they don’t get ahead/do as well as those exceptional high achievers.
And so, because women have told themselves just-so stories about how they are better than men (always have, but it used to be in their domain only) they posit a conspiracy. Women are more likely to believe in conspiracies anyway, because the hidden velvet glove (with the spikes in it) are how all-female groups are organized.
Hence the ghost patriarchy.
I was reminded of this yesterday when one of my colleagues was running her mouth and positing hidden racism because otherwise black people would dominate the writing field, because they are all “Geniuses and so creative.”
Will someone find my eyes. They rolled onto the floor again.
People of all sexes and colors are geniuses and creative. But no large group of people, no matter how sorted is. 98% of humans seem unable to create anything new, though they can improve on other things. It’s a different way the brain works. And as for geniuses… “When everyone is a genius, no one is.”
For an adult to believe that all or even a majority of a race, a sex, a geographical origin, an orientation, or a profession, are “geniuses and so creative” denotes a certain lack of… ability to engage reality.
Most people are mooches, slouches and time-servers. It’s what humans are.
But because some groups have convinced themselves of this nonsense, and allowed it to become part of their internalized image, they HAVE to see conspiracies to keep them out everywhere. They have to start tallying up micro, picco and nano conspiracies. Otherwise they’ll have to look in the mirror go “I guess I’m not as good as I thought I was” and no human being wants to do that. For one, it leads to a lot more work or the humiliation of “settling.”
And so, the more equally society is, the more it gets accused of being a patriarchy and “colonial.”
Which in turn makes it harder to achieve anything, because some percentage of the population devotes its energies not to doing/creating/building, but to fighting the rest of the society they blame for their troubles.
It’s human. And unless we fix it, it will be the death of us.