Friday, 5 November 2010
The Gender Paradox
Gender is a paradox. I am not here to spoon feed you arguments. This blog is meant to be provocative. Not argumentative. And there is wisdom in this. Our own identities as human beings, as sons and daughters, as adults, men and women, is always under our control. There are fundamental defining facts about you and your biology. And there are fundamental chemical distinctions at the heart of the gender difference.
If I am saying anything, I am saying we should be proud of these differences, not resent them. Women have the gift of, among many things, motherhood. Something a man will never experience, no matter what he tries to do. Men have the gift of extra testosterone, the perpetual motion of the human spirit.
But remember, the wave pulls back, and wave crashes forward. And both are equally powerful motions that feed into the same fluid dynamic. No amount of conceptual analysis can get closer to an understanding of the nature the masculine and the feminine than this.
Having said all this, we are still free. Sartre has a great example of the prisoner of war. Even though he might be experiencing physical confinement, and be at the mercy of prison guards, he is nevertheless free. This is the true nature of freedom. Freedom has no conditions, and exists IN all conditions. Freedom exists wherever there is even a morsel of choice, and as long as you are functioning human being, there is always a morsel of choice.
Now, what does this mean for masculinity? Well, just exactly what it means for femininity. There are physical facts that define you as a man or woman. We really need to get over that, in an age of endemic postmodern pathologies. However, we are still free, because we still have a freedom to express these energies, these chemical dispositions, these instincts.
The Taoists say that resistance to the facts is not a form freedom. However, an acceptance of them, is. Our identities, the way in which we express our sexualities, is always OUR CHOICE. But with this choice, comes a great, in fact a hefty, responsibility. It is equivalent to the responsibility that comes with political liberty. It means that we must start to see ourselves as different kinds of human beings altogether. Not victims, not Rawlsian “pops.” We have to see ourselves as powerful, self-reliant, emotionally integral human beings.
For the next generation of men, this will be their reality. There will come a point in their adolescence where the support of the parent remains, but no longer remains crucial. There will be a point where their ability to nurture, love and mother THEMSELVES will be their guiding instinct for survival and success. These will be men who are brave enough, strong enough and emotionally attuned enough to truly fall in love with a woman. Rather than use her as a psychological prop or crutch.