#16 – Vive La Difference or Maybe Not!

We have observed a fundamental difference between communities where the expression of male energy is very dominant and those where female energy is more freely expressed. The future of the Global Village may depend on our understanding what those differences are.

For example, the very patriarchal nation of Ireland, also a bastion of the patriarchal Catholic Church, struggles with a culture where women have historically been repressed. “‘In the ‘40s and ‘50s, people replaced the colonialism of the Brits with a kind of colonialism of the church,’ said Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, a senator from the Labor Party. That fostered an intermingling of Catholicism and Irish identity that was a ‘toxic mix,’ he added.”   (1)

In a society where women are disempowered and abused we can be sure that their children are at risk from male-dominated institutions. The shift in awareness regarding the abuses of the male-dominated Church is exemplified by the book Why the Irish Church Deserves to Die by newspaper and book publisher Garry O’Sullivan. He attacked what many were beginning to call the “old guard” of the Church. “That old guard was discredited by the yearslong drumbeat of child abuse allegations that began to emerge in the early 1990s as well as a cover-up by church officials who spent years denying the problem and moving abusive priests from parish to parish.”   (1)

The worldview of the Church projected on women an identity of the other, inferior intellectually and often morally. “For decades, Irish priests zealously protected their communities from what they saw as the moral dangers posed by sexual promiscuity, unwed mothers and impoverished children.”   (1)   Ironically, the real threat to the Irish community came from the priests themselves.

However, males cannot be expected to surrender their power willingly. “Even in its diminished state, the church continues to play a role. It controls almost all state-funded primary schools—nearly 97 percent—and the law allows them to consider religion as a factor in admissions. Many hospitals, too, are either owned by the church or located on church property.”   (1)

As in Ireland, we can see that American males also struggle to hold on to power. We have learned that this behavior is an expression of the power energy center of the false-self survival strategy. This self-destructive behavior is part of the identity determined by the worldview inherited by virtually all American males. This conditioning starts in early childhood. That worldview or narrative needs to change which is the only way to change the identity of American males and since identity drives behavior we will need to understand the genesis of both or the self-destructive behavior of the American male will continue.

Bradford Smith remembered the 4th of July fireworks in the U.S. when he was an eleven year old in the year 1920. We can sense the beginning of what males, suspended in the Peter Pan Syndrome, do when they fail to grow up and take responsibility for their behavior. “In this sense every explosion we created had curative value and every adult expression of annoyance, every headache, every startled movement to get out of the way of our artillery satisfied our deep need of rebelling against the authority that kept us in bondage.”   (2)   Hence, the often angry American male is enslaved by his worldview and the resultant identity without even knowing why he behaves the way he does.

Obviously what is needed for all males in the global village is a different story, a healthier context, a bildungsroman. A bildungsroman, a German word composed of bildung meaning “education” plus roman meaning “novel.” A bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story. In essence, such a story is about taking responsibility for one’s behavior.

This has been recognized by novelists in the coming-of-age genre which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. In these narratives, character change and the growth of self-reliance is extremely important. Some of the more important modern examples are:

The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J. D. Salinger
Goodbye Columbus (1959) by Philip Roth
The Cider House Rules (1985) by John Irving

Since women also possess a false self are we being too optimistic in suggesting that they may be doing a better job in resisting the temptations of plenty, pleasure and power than their male counterparts? Well, first of all, it would be hard to tell in the realm of political leadership because women have been deprived of opportunities to lead their communities. “Less than one-quarter of parliamentary seats worldwide are held by women. Among heads of state, 7 percent are female.”   (3)

Iceland is a nation where we can look for evidence of what political leadership by females looks like. “Indeed, the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland first for gender equality nine years in a row, in an index that examines educational opportunities, life expectancy, pay equity and other factors. Eight out of 10 Icelandic women work, the highest female employment rate in the world.”   (3)

Of course, the movement toward equality for women in Iceland was not won without a struggle. “They mentioned a 1975 strike, when Iceland’s women walked out of factories and kitchens for a day, demanding equal pay, and the subsequent founding of a feminist party. Since then, Iceland, an island of 330,000, has established shared parental leave, banned strip clubs, instituted gender quotas in boardrooms and passed same-sex marriage with a unanimous vote.”   (3)

Contrasting Ireland and Iceland reveals that there is truly a cost to any community devaluing women and that includes both nations and institutions.  “Wall Street has for years prided itself on being a ‘meritocracy,’ arguing that its performance-based culture drives capital to the best trading ideas and the best deals. Despite research showing that companies with more diversity, and particularly more women in leadership, offer higher returns on capital, lower risk and greater innovation than firms without such leadership. Wall Street has been, and is, predominantly male at the top. Its trading floors are 90 percent men. This ignores studies indicating that members of homogeneous groups tend to trust one another too much, leading to potential market mispricing.”   (4)

Among the principals involved in creating sustainable human communities are the balance between cooperation and competition. Providing equality of opportunity for women creates more successful and healthy public and private sector institutions even in the highly competitive world of venture capital. “First Round Capital reports that its investment in companies with a female founder have posted 63 percent better returns than men-only firms.”   (4)

Despite the tongue-in-cheek title of our essay, we are not suggesting any qualitative difference between men and women. In the Global Village today both men and women are exhibiting unconscious and self-destructive behavior. To change these behaviors will require a deeper understanding of what it means to be truly human. “None of us is fully awake to how much the masculine pursuit of power, production, prestige, and ‘accomplishment’ impoverishes us and drives feminine values out of our lives.”   (5)

It is high time to wake up!

Insight # 16: The worldview of the Global Village trains women that their role is not be self-reliant human beings but to be mirrors who reflect back to a man his identity, his ideal or his fantasy.

Links:

References:

  1. Stack, Liam. “‘Demise of the Church’ Tilts Ireland to the Left.” The New York Times. December 3, 2017, page 4.
  2. Smith, Bradford. “The Glorious Unsafe Fourth.” American Heritage. June 1959, page 43.
  3. Bennhold, Katrin. “At a Meeting of Leaders,an Outnumbered Male.” The New York Times. December 3, 2017, page 10.
  4. Krawcheck, Sallie. “The Cost of Devaluing Women.” The New York Times. December 3, 2017, page 2.
  5. Johnson, Robert. We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love. New York: Harper, 1983, page 21.

 

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