An initial dogma of feminism, no longer much used but whose influence lingers, was that all gender differences are culturally induced. There are no real ones.
It flies in the face of about five bodies of science, whose findings I will attempt to represent.
Femininity is sanctuary. Masculinity, the energy to define and maintain it. One cannot exist without the other, the very existence of one creates the other, equal parts of the same whole.
Mother is comfort and safety. Father, independence and adventure. Female inner, male outer; the yin and yang of life.
To understand the genders, look at how societies use them as symbols. Female is for things gentle and comforting; male, protection and permanence.
Goddess of the stream, the seasons, the moon Femaleness is for what changes and adapts: acceptance and malleability. Maleness is for permanence: the sun, mountains, and that which gives a society permanence: authority and tradition. In Egypt, when the Pharaoh was a woman, for formal ceremonies she wore the wig and false beard of the office. The office holder could be anything. The office that for which it stood: what binds a society together and to its generations was male.
Those who see submission or dominance reveal themselves, not the genders.
We want women to be pure, perfect and sacred. Men especially do as it creates them. So when a woman commits a crime we have a thousand excuses. For a man, there are none. Maleness is responsibility. We do not understand a violation of his sacred trust, any more than a women.who kills children.
Male strength is in overcoming. It is immediate. Female strength is in endurance. Women win by coming last. No society can survive without both the strength to resist and endure. Women have always been as strong as men, simply in their time.
So even strength assumed two forms, rooted in the same duality of The One. Wildly different natures, each needed for the other, each with the same root: lifes longing for itself. Life made two from one to make many.
It is why a young man cannot simply walk down the street but must leap to grab a branch and yell to a distant friend. (And why the young woman finds this foolish, yet oddly intriguing.) Because maleness is about boundaries and limits. He must know and test his to know his world. (And the young woman must learn how to control this independent force: how the two attach.)
Women sense; men understand. Women feel; men do. Which is superior? Who can do without the other?
Sex is not what draws us together. That is physical manifestation. Each nature seeks its complement, equal halves of the same whole. Men and women equally seek the new life from within themselves via the other, and that new life means as much to both for the same reason: it is why we exist in this form. Both value and nurture, each in their way, both examples of the many equal aspects of Life.
Distorted patriarchy pushes away. It treats all things as objects: action without feeling. Distorted matriarchy holds too close. It stifles and invades, not seeing another as separate. We each need some of the other.
If one of Lifes energies distorts in a society, both do equally, such is their tie.
There has always been natural gender equality. The only thing that changes is the lense through which we see. Social context forms much of that lense, and sometimes needs adjustment. But chronic images of inequality reveal the lusts of the observer, not what really exists.
©2007, KC Wilson
To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. - Marilyn French