Some feminists like to insist that nurturing is what distinguishes women, even makes them superior to men. Congressman Barbara Jordan said, I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have. Hes just incapable of it.
Even anthropologist Margaret Mead, a staunch defender of fathers and fatherhood, considered nurturing by men socially induced, not natural nor instinctive. This perception is basic to our culture.
Whats funny about it, certainly from feminists, is how they rely upon male nurturing for much of what they get. Women have always known that the surest way to get anything from a man is to play helpless and / or innocent. Im so sorry officer. This car is new and I didnt know I was speeding. What female cop would buy that? Most male cops do. It is an appeal to the male reflex to protect and assist the weak and innocent, as in raising children.
(Many women are disgusted to see others play this game, unaware when they do it themselves.)
You could say that the common female negotiation strategy of sweetness is a similar reliance upon male nurturing. There isnt a six-year-old girl who cant twist her daddy around here little finger. Playing child is part of female survival skills, but exploitive when taken beyond real needs and not part of equal exchange.
(Its not the only female strategy. For women who cannot bring themselves to bargain there is emotional and moral bullying. I am deeply offended. But that equally relies upon the male need to make women by extension from children happy.)
Feminists quickly learned that crying, Women have always been oppressed, got men moving. Its playing helpless, but now so over-played that Cathy Young, for one, believes feminists infantize women more than any man ever has. Women are not that blameless, incompetent, or stupid that they are always or inevitably oppressed. But, damn, the myth works well.
Obviously a ploy is going on, so what is telling is what is being plied. If men didnt have the understanding or compassion to which Barbara Jordan refers, women would have gotten the back of the hand they claim men only give them back when women first complained. But complaining has worked so well so quickly its gone on to test its limits, which are yet to be found. Victim woman gets results.
Why? Because of the very thing so many want to deny about men: their reflex to protect, to help the weak to self-sufficiency. To nurture. It is a biological reaction in men upon which all society has always relied or human societies would not exist.
Some anthropologists speculate that the reason women have smaller bodies, retain a childs high-pitched voice, and have more protruding eyes than men is to appeal to men as needing care like children. If so, how could anyone say there is no such thing as male nurturing? If there werent, the small-frame-protruding-eyes bit wouldnt work any better than playing helpless.
Its as though the male instinct to nurture came first, then women put themselves in its path to get its benefits. Not enough, they then claimed to be the only ones who had the instinct, and to complete the coup recruited men to that view. How?You want us to be special, dont you? Eye-bat, eye-bat.
It may be that men have an even deeper, stronger nurturing instinct than women, so fundamental that it is taken for granted. If it didnt exist, it couldnt be exploited. It gives women power.
©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