Si Vales, Valeo
Thank you for your kind email. The topic of gender is somewhat difficult these days. We are changing and evolving. Much of today’s troubles with regard to violent crime has to do with a misplaced sense of masculinity, and much of this crime is committed by men of reproductive age.
On the one hand men are supposed to be hunters and protector John Wayne types. But that requires a certain amount of aggression which is frowned upon by a society largely based on political correctness. Only to be appreciated when some one needs to get their hands dirty to protect the flock. Notice that many other countries are spared the horrific crimes have learned to live with in the US.
I think that men are not only able to express emotional tenderness, but that we are actually programmed for it. There is nothing weak or unmasculine about it, and a powerful man exercising that part of his manhood openly, also helps other men to see that it is good and acceptable. Many men don’t have the ability to carry that sense of perspective and that is what we must begin with.
Life, Love, Ethics, etc… must always be studied as a blend of nature and nurture. I have an idea or two about that. I think that tenderness or caritas, does not have to come at the cost of strength or gravitas. I think that while there are differences in genders which have developed over millions of years, the sexes tend to be complementary rather than opposites. Both sexes must be able to have access to and exercise their power in a non-mutually exclusive way.
My childhood/teen years were very difficult. I know people who became horrible psychopaths for less than I had to endure. But even before I discovered Thelema my method for finding who I was involved being some one that some one would want to be… at least until I figured out exactly what I was.
Turns out that approach ended up being a catalyst for who I really am.
Bare with me while I try to connect a real-life example of that I observed. How it relates to all of this will become apparent.
I worked for Netscape when they were a server solution back in the day. (I know. I am old.) I had two very close friends there. A guy, let’s call him Brian, and a woman that we will call Jennifer.
Jennifer was somewhat “butch,” and many people pegged her as a lesbian, but she wasn’t. She was a radical feminist and was very active with the Socialist party in Portland at the time. She was rebel, defied state department orders not to go to Cuba (which she did to see if the propaganda was true), she set up a lot of political rallies and for a short time she became something of a celebrity in public radio.
Brian, on the other hand, was mild mannered, kind. Very gentle and almost insecure about himself. He worked hard. Opened doors for ladies, took off his hat in front of women, etc… in short, he had etiquette for such a young guy. His parents had taught him well.
Since we all carpooled, it was only a matter of time for Brian to begin being attracted to Jenifer. We were going into the building, and he stepped in front of her to open the door. Instead of thanking him, she shouted at him that she was strong enough to “open her own goddamned door” and that he should stop being chauvinistic.
Her response was so over the top it even shocked me a little. Needless to say, Brian wasn’t going to try that again.
So fast-forward a couple of weeks and Jennifer confides in me that she has a thing for Brian, and she has flirted with him (she had, I had seen it myself) almost throwing herself on him, but he showed no interest at all.
Needless to say, it was a sad situation, but now Brian wanted nothing to do with her because he didn’t know how to EXIST or BE with her. He opened up and showed himself once, and she responded with disdain.
That is when I began to look at gender roles and societal peer pressure in earnest.
The “mating ritual,” the way that men and women once courted one another had been eliminated from our society, and it had not been replaced with anything more contemporary. There is a huge conflict with how we are wired as sexual beings and how we are expected to behave.
I haven’t yet figured it out, but I do notice that when the opposite sexes drop the PC nonsense and just allow their lizard brains to initiate the mating dance, that there is almost always success and happiness.
Maybe our societal expectations are evolving faster than we are able to.
Gender studies and gender roles are going to be huge issues in our present day as we expand our awareness now that we are dropping religious oppression and superstition. Hopefully, we wont replace those with political correctness. Everyone must be allowed to be who they are, and express themselves sexually as they find themselves. That said, if one is honest, and doesn’t have a pony in the race, they will surely become aware of a phenomena I call “The genetic imperative.”
For me opening a door, taking off my hat when a woman enters the room, or helping her be seated at a restaurant are gestures of kindness and of recognition of a woman deserving such kindness. It is chivalry, good manners and a signal of good upbringing. Good breeding used to be a signal the “genetic imperative” would recognize as a proper mate. No more, these days.
I was at a Starbucks one day. I ordered up a late and just observed people. It is my favorite past time, and I learn a lot about myself by watching others. A very good looking woman of reproductive age found herself a seat and began reading a book. Eventually a man, dressed all business sat down within eye-shot of the girl. He looked at her, and was clearly interested, so he began putting his toys on the table. His laptop, his iPhone, all came out of a really nice suitcase. He waited until she was looking at him to readjust his sleeves to make sure that she got a clear shot of the Rolex on his wrist. He grabbed the phone, and made a call that sounded very much like a business call. I began to observe the woman as she observed the man… she was physically aroused. Today the “genetic imperative” has moved away from intelligence, to kindness, to brutal force, to electronic toys, all of which signal to many women a potential breeding partner. I am generalizing here, of course, but studies in human sexuality seem to back me up.
There is no conscious effort involved with these responses, by the way. They occur in a part of the brain we are not really aware of.
Life, how we see ourselves, how we view others and interact with them seems to revolve around this “genetic imperative.”
I believe that regardless of what becomes PC or socially acceptable, we are still going to be subject to those primal impulses and signals.
In other words: man, do we really need to study more of human sexuality.
And please understand that my position is based on male-female relationships. There are many others to consider as well. For example, how does the genetic imperative play into same-sex, or multiple partners?
Also, note that we still haven’t touched on what a man is SUPPOSED to do to avoid the verbal barrage of a woman who is pissed off at you for NOT holding the door for her, or surrendering the seat on the bus.
I am not comfortable with the idea of killing chivalry, even though I agree that much of that was misogynistic, but it did serve a purpose. The problem with eliminating rituals before we understand them, or because some small percentage of people have a problem with it, is that we end up like we are now… no mating dance, no rites of passage, and nothing to connect us to our past.
If we remove something, it should be replaced with something better. And for me the question will always be: “Was it worth losing this etiquette because some one got their panties all up in a wad over it?” Most times the answer is no. PC is a social disease. It was well intended, but it has gone too far. Now everyone can complain and cry for just about anything, and we are supposed to consider their feelings by destroying something in our social fabric which is still relevant and helpful.
Consider the erosion of our Constitutional Right to self defense, for example. Which punish everyone for the behavior of a few. As Thelemites, we should strive for more strength, more freedom and more joy. We should never enable weakness in our friends when they are unable to see it for themselves. As a society of Thelemites, we should always strive to strengthen others, and never lower our standards or surrender our power to fit in.
Truth is, if we are doing Thelema right, we never will fit in.