The Battle of the Sexes

Growing up in the 60’s with a liberal mother I was all over the women’s movement.  We marched for Choice, we burned our bra’s, we shouted out “Equal Rights for Equal Pay!” And, we did a lot of good.

Things have changed.

They are not yet as equal as they should be and the Roe vs. Wade keeps being modified and brought into question, but women have made a lot of headway in our culture.  We “have come a long way, baby”.  And perhaps as a rallying point for women the National Organization for Women is needed to get people to push for women’s freedoms.  Maybe we wouldn’t address them without this, what I call, “Self Protective” stance. But it’s a shame.

In the past few years men have begun to organize themselves in a similar fashion. There is a National Men’s Equality Congress this year, there are men’s rights books and magazines, men’s rights online digests and men’s activism agencies.  They have brought light to the issue of parental alienation and father’s rights. And for better or worse, Alec Baldwin has suddenly become their spokesman. They have done some great things to help father’s regain position in the courts as important in the emotional lives of children. But again, they have thrust themselves into an extremely “Self Protective” stance. Again, it’s a shame.

As human animals we find ourselves in this “Self Protective” position when we perceive ourselves to be under attack. There is no doubt that women have perceived themselves as under attack from the pedagogical structure of our society from it’s outset.  Women have fought for the right to vote, to go to work, to own property, to raise our children on our own and to choose when to continue to carry a child. Women have even had to fight for the right to not be beaten by their husbands.

In our culture, and most others, men have more income and therefore more access to financial power. Money buys a lot of power. It’s easy for those without power to assume that those in power have all the rights they want and that they are persecutory. Women have experienced themselves as the “Victims” of this perceived persecutory power that men have held for generations. There is no doubt that women have suffered.

When we perceive ourselves to be “Victims” we have three choices. We can remain in the “Victim” position and let ourselves slowly deteriorate because this position is one of hopelessness and powerlessness; there is no way out. Or, we can learn to placate our persecutor and please and cater to them while controlling them through our pandering to them, this is called being a “Rescuer.  It is a position that women have often, throughout history used to give them as sense of power (think of the characterization of a “Jewish Mother” or a “Southern Belle”).  Finally, we can chose to become a “Self Protector” and fight for our rights against our persecutor whom we perceive to be “wrong”, “bad”, and needing punishment (a classic example is of the caricature of a “bra-burning femi-Nazi dyke” from which most men recoil in fear).

The problem with choosing to perceive ourselves as a “Victim” and taking any of these positions is that we cannot escape the battle.  Conflict and pain is unavoidable when we are in this egocentric position of perceiving ourselves as the “Victim” of some persecutor that has no soul and no sense of empathy for our plight. We are then stuck in a position of having to fight for our survival against a perceived enemy.  We become staunchly adversarial with our foe. We fight until we prevail and our enemy “loses”.

Of course, when someone loses a battle they are then the “Victim” and in order for them to have any hope, they have no choice but to fight back.  Gangsters find themselves locked into this stupid cycle for generations and with lives lost on either side simply for the reason that they cannot let themselves be in the “Victim” position.Africa is caught in this cycle at the cost of millions of lives. The Judeo-Christian world has been caught in this cycle with Muslims for thousands of years. And women and men are stuck in it as well.

The death and destruction caused by what I call “The Cycle of Egocentrism” has cost lives, humanity dignity, peace and unfathomable resources throughout time. And it’s so unnecessary.

With all the combined wisdom of our modern world we do know other ways to behave.  But we choose not to because we don’t realize that our behaviors are dictated by primitive brain stem activity that makes us believe the three positions are our only hope for survival. It is our primitive brain, a part of us that evolved to help us survive primitive conditions which dictates our current battles. But we are evolved beings. We do have the capacity to think and make choices based on new information.

As women and men separating ourselves into these “Self Protective” positions we are forever locked into battle. Yet we do have different choices we can make. We can choose to move out of the idea that in order to avoid being a “Victim” we have to be “Self Protectors”.   Instead we can take ownership of our own lives, and provide ourselves and or former “enemy” with respect and empathy.  We can move out of  “The Cycle of Egocentrism” and into “The Cycle of Compassion” and provide ourselves an opportunity to experience deeper connection with the opposite sex instead of viewing ourselves as opponents in a battle for survival.  The truth is we cannot survive without each other. There is no arena in which this is more obvious than the “battle of the Sexes”.


Related Articles

read more articles on Censorship & Sexual Repression