I woke up dreaming this morning that I was talking with a group of attractive and sensually dressed young women about their conservative religious views on sex and relationships. I must admit that the visual aspect of this dream was enjoyable...yet I woke up bothered by the conversation. Weird huh? But actually as I think about it perhaps this dream is all about some lifelong conflicts I have observed within myself and society as a whole. How do we handle the many mysteries and disparities on relationships between the sexes? Why do we place so much emphasis on fashion and appearances? Should it be a "religious" issue? Is there any "correct" or rational position between "Burkas and Bikinis"?
Now, I understand when a man starts writing on themes touching on the opposite sex or regarding feminism and roles between the sexes...many women's hair starts raising on the napes of their necks. Blood starts rushing to their heads and a sensitive, understanding male should probably get ready to make themselves scarce or just button up. As many of you know...I have never been very smart about that. I have had my share (probably more) of discussions with female friends and family members on these sensitive issues...but I haven't really written much about it...so watch out...here comes.
I won't cover all the issues in one blog obviously...but I will try for now to address some macros and micros on my observations on the feminine mystique and battle between the sexes. It goes without saying that my views are from a "male" perspective...and while I like to think of myself as "enlightened" or semi-educated...I'll state from the outset that I am probably too conservative for the feminists in my views...and to liberal for the ultra-conservatives. That means I probably will never achieve majority support of my views. Still, I hope my experiences can at least just be another voice in what I think is one of the least discussed or understood challenges in the world...the relationship between the sexes.
A long time ago I read the now famous book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". While I found the book somewhat over generalizing, I think it made many valid observations about the ongoing differences in how men and women think, feel and act. But I think the subject is much more convoluted than Dr. Gray gets into in this book...it is much deeper and conflicted than just being from "different planets" or going back to caveman or "Tarzan and Jane" type analogies.
Much of this theme, like religion and politics, is REALLY subjective and if every person in the world is so unique...well, start combining people two by two and you have some REAL unique and different experiences in life and living. There is no exact science here...and this subject probably is at the core of modern day psychology. Not the origins of "man" or "who am I"...but more about who am I in relationship to him or her.
Here are a few of my basic observations or thoughts:
Its easier for the rest of the animal kingdom. While many species do unite for life and make families...most of them have very short life spans. They don't have to spend 50+ years together, therefore they don't have as many issues about "getting old together".
Most animals mate on pure instinct and "animal attraction". In the human race we have much more to consider such as do we come from the same class or background, will they get along with my friends and let me see his or her financial statement.
Many species, such as Deer, have special mating or "rutting" season. During this time the male testosterone is highly elevated and the females hormones somehow know to respond and get ready for mating season. Of course, in Gods infinite wisdom regarding survival of the fittest, the Bucks grow horns to fight with...mostly fighting over which Doe he is going to conquer. The biggest buck gets first choice of the Doe. Hmmm, maybe we humans evolved from Deer...you know...ultimate fighting, boxing, various macho sports where we elevate the victor to the spoils...including the prettiest women. Another big difference is that people tend to be in "rutting season" every weekend. We and the rabbits...
We are the only animals who put on clothes and hide our "private parts". Whether this goes back to Adam and Eve in the "Garden of Eden", I don't know. Somehow I think it was more tied to the rationality of man when he saw that "all men were NOT created equal" and wanted to cover up that fact.
I have been privileged...or confused...in life to grow up in these modern, "interesting" times. It is just in the last century that women were given democratic rights to vote in much of the first world. It's only in the last century or so that women were "permitted" to work in traditional, wage earning jobs outside the home. Even with the advent of rapid "modernization", we are still fighting wars/conflicts over cultural and religious issues...may of which are based on women's rights in many of what we call "backward" cultures.
Even within the USA during my lifetime we have seen a shifting of values between the sexes. We have the fundamentalist religious right fighting culturally and politically to preserve values of family, home and traditional "Patriarchal" roles in society between men and women. We have gone from Victorian traditions to "free love" of the 70s to now growing acceptance of "Burkas" for Muslim women in our country. Talk about diversity!
In the midst of all that you have had the growth of "Feminism" or "Feminine Mystique" where women have demanded greater autonomy and participation in life's political and business decisions. I have always respected and supported equal rights for women...and in many ways I see them as the "stronger" sex. I am convinced most of us men would be much more "wimpy" about enduring pregnancy and the hard work of raising children and homemaking. There is an alarming growth in America of single women raising children without support from a husband or male counterpart. I respect the ability of some of those women to do that...though it is obvious to me that this is not the ideal way to live and raise kids. Yet, there are some tough women stepping up to that challenge. My mother was one of those.
Where the feminist movement loses me is when they overshoot their goals or go to extreme positions that most of their fellow females are not even in line with. I truly understand women's nature of reacting or rejecting centuries of subjugation by Patriarchal societies and religions. The animalistic raping or killing of women and children by "warriors" that even continues in many parts of our conflictive world today is inexcusable and calls into question if such men have ANY intelligence or soul. I guess not. To this end, I believe there is a fundamental nature between men and women that men should protect them...not beat and/or rape them. Sex should ALWAYS be consensual like with most intelligent beings. Unfortunately we have some very deviant creatures that have evolved over time. Personally I think those deviants should be castrated...applying basic "old testament" justice to such deviants.
On the other hand...I believe that whether you want to admit it or not...humans are VERY sexual in general. Obviously some cultures and traditions more than others embrace or allow for their sexuality. Unfortunately, mankind has been continually manipulated and "controlled" regarding their sexuality by the institutions and "powers that be". While I know arguments can be made that we are better off with strict rules and mores instead of just freely expressing our sexual natures...I think instead of making things "better" in understanding our sexuality, we have just clouded the issue and our natures with layers of guilt and cover-up to where most societies have no room for educating their children on sex without some form of prohibition and guilt tripping attached. In my opinion, this has been some of the root causes for so much deviant sexual behavior in our society. It seems to me that when people are forbidden to do something...their curiosity and drive to do so becomes that much stronger. You have MANY people living dishonestly about their sexuality. Many deviants and dysfunctional people come out of the most strict, legalistic cultures when it comes to sex. In my opinion, the "educated" world is very backward and conflicted in its expression or pursuit of sexuality. I would venture to guess that most marriages within a few years become very devoid of sexual intimacy. Why is that? Natural...or learned behaviors?
In the midst of these natural tensions between the sexes we now have growing extremes between the liberal and conservative views on the subject. With the advent of "Democracy" and "civil rights"...you have many people advocating freedom to wear anything...or nothing...in public places. On the other hand, you have extreme Feminists pandering against making women "sex objects"...they don't think women should dress differently from men or provocatively if they want to gain respect and equality with men. Then you have ultra conservative groups within Islam, Christianity and other religions who want their women to cover up for an entirely different reason. They still view women as "property" or UNDER the man as head of household. To that end they don't want "their" woman objectified by other men...nor do they apparently want to be "tempted" by seeing other women's flesh. Apparently some people just can't see a little hairy leg without going into lusting convulsions. God apparently is NOT happy with our viewing the opposite flesh.
Well, let me summarize with a few of my admissions or viewpoints.
I have seen a lot of "flesh" in my day...but the sexiest women are those who show "just enough" but don't throw it all out there "in your face".
The art of seduction is waning in the world
I never understood scantily or seductively dressed women in public who took offense at being stared at by men. If they don't want to be observed or "lusted after"...cover up! And women who don't understand men looking at those scantily clothed women...don't understand men.
I have never understood fat men or women wearing skin tight clothing or "speedos"
I have never understood the sexual depravity I have seen in many fundamentalist religious men I have known or known of. Get honest...and get some help.
I believe "sex education" is a natural thing and doesn't need to be taught with all our adult biases and baggage. And yes, some people are more "sexual" than others. Be open and don't guilt trip the children.
There should be no laws regarding sexual activities between consenting adults. We may not like or understand the proclivities of another person...but that doesn't give us license to judge or control THEIR behavior. The only necessary laws are to protect men, women and children from unwanted advances and sexual aggression.
True equality between the sexes should include equal "freedom" (if so chosen) to explore other relationships or experiences. The macho double standard regarding sex we see throughout our societies is just that.
For me, the ideal would be we could all run around naked and somehow still see and respect the individual beauty and personality we all have. People who are "naturalists" or belong to Nudist colonies I think are pursuing this honesty. I am afraid until our world gets more honest about the nature and importance of sex in our existence, we will forever be dealing with false ideas of who we are and how we tick. While we have grown up being polite, respectful and very PRIVATE about sex...I'm not sure that has helped us much with the population boom...or the problem of pedophilia.
Burkas...or Bikinis? Depends on who's wearing them. Beyond that, it should be every womans choice.