Thursday, June 5, 2014
A CIVIL DEBATE ON THE APPEARANCE OF FEMALE ASCENDANCY
(Note from Mark Remond: I’m conflict averse, a trait utterly in keeping with my comfort level in a “Yes, Dear,” wife-worship marriage. I grew up in an often acrimonious home, and I’ve seen, and deplored, many marriages where even the silence is charged with hostility. In our home, my wife wisely decides and I happily abide. In this spirit I was particularly pleased by a recent civil exchange between two reader-commenters on the topic of whether women are truly outperforming men in more and more arenas of everyday life. Pleased because each commenter, while arguing for his position forcefully, was at least respectful of the other’s viewpoint. I was pleased as well by the thoughtfulness of the comments and the lively back-and-forth, so much so that I reprint the exchange here with only a few minor deletions.)
Readers Debate “dennis:LEADERSHIP WEARS HIGH HEELS!”
You are over-generalizing. Anyone can pick out an isolated anecdote about women outperforming men or vice versa. If you were outperformed by another man, would you bow down to him in obedience and servitude? Should the CEO of Samsung have bowed down in obedience to Steve Jobs? That's just silly.
I understand your fetish requires you to frame it that way, but get a grip. You do realize the most powerful people in the world are men, right? And by a huge margin.
More and more women will gain positions of leadership and authority as time goes on. I realize women never had opportunities before. Now that they have access, their numbers will swell in the higher ranks… they have nowhere to go but up. The upper ranks were exclusively men previously. So obviously, the growth of women in top positions will drastically outpace that of men.
I just don't get this mindset where people celebrate any female success as “women are taking over the world.” It's comical and sad, really.
To Mr. Concerned above… please allow me to offer an answer to you. First, the belief that women are innately superior to men is NOT based on anecdote. For example look at the metastudy below--a study of 308 studies involving 1.1 million children--that shows that in school girls outperform boys IN ALL SUBJECTS not just recently, [but] for the last hundred years. The authors credit "female thinking styles."
It's hard to explain this away.
Second, [you] argue that being outperformed isn't that significant because it doesn't (and shouldn't) translate automatically into male obedience. [You’re] right. But, given the larger context of patriarchal beliefs and conditioning, the truth of female superiority is highly significant. It shows that male entitlement to have the world oriented around their selfish desires is simply bad for all. Once these patriarchal beliefs are widely understood to be wrong--and it is happening with accelerating speed--two things happen:
First, men get into the habit of seriously listening to Women, asking their advice and following their leadership. It becomes something that men do in everyday life rather than a kink or a fantasy. Meanwhile, when women realize that EVEN WITH NO SPECIAL HELP, THEY WILL NORMALLY OUTTHINK, OUTPERFORM, AND OUT-LEAD MEN simply because they employ their own superior ways of doing things, this will give women greater confidence to think for themselves and not turn first to men. That will accelerate their ascension into leadership positions in work and family.
Second, as men realize that their gender wasn't born to rule, they will give up the equation of male identity with patriarchy. This means that over time more and more men will relinquish the mindset of competing with one another for a few scarce positions at the top and explore the joys of being a nurturer, including being a homemaker. Every man can be a nurturer of women. Being a nurturer means they can get vicarious pleasure from facilitating the pleasure of others--in this case women--especially when that facilitation comes at their own expense. Meanwhile, women come to see themselves as entitled to receiving such pleasure from men; it's their privilege as women. This will be the real end of patriarchy. This shift has a sexual component because more and more men will be attracted to strong women, and women will be attracted to men who can supply them with unselfish pleasure from taking care of them and their household.
Does this mean that men are subordinate? Yes, but being subordinate is not necessarily bad. It is only bad if it is forced and deprives a person of her opportunity for fulfillment. But if it is done voluntarily and gives a person satisfaction, it is a good thing. The joy of serving others instead of being oneself served has always been a high goal for religion. Why shouldn't men try it for a change? Not only is it voluntary, but it is more in accord with the truth of overall female excellence and expands the overall potential of society. Each sex will be exploring its own unrealized potentials in a refreshing way. In short, what is called matriarchy here is a social advance and a win-win for all.
Mr. Concerned responds:
L.S.: Eloquent, indeed, and quite an extrapolation into the future. You've sure got it all figured out. Thank you for the link to that study. Girls outperforming boys for 100 years? Wow! I admit, I'm impressed. I won't give my analysis here because I fear it will be unwelcome and I will be shouted down.
All I will say is that the researchers suggested several possible explanations. They did not credit superior female thinking. Different learning styles, cultural expectations, and parental encouragement were all cited as possible explanations. You chose to focus on the one you like and cite it as a rock-solid conclusion.
However, you've raised some issues worthy of serious discussion, and I'd love to discuss it with you privately if you're interested. Serious discussion will not be sexy talk appreciated on a blog like this.
But let's assume that females are generally smarter than males. Okay. All I was saying is that the prescription for ALL males to become a subservient underclass to their superiors is ridiculous. Do you really think that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet wouldn't have been successful if they had to compete against women?
Now, those are exceptional people, but we can all be successful according to our own abilities. I'm just saying it doesn't follow that men should just pack it in and take up housekeeping. Get out in the world and compete and find your place. Don't just pack it in and say "I can't compete with them." That's for losers.
L.S. responds again:
Dear Mr. Concerned, You will not be shouted down by me, only welcomed. And I apologize for not fully enumerating the possible reasons for the results of the study demonstrating girls' superior achievement. I certainly don't think all men should be full-time housekeepers. Neither does Nancy, if i remember her correctly. It's just that their talents can best be utilized under female leadership.
But let me address your underlying patriarchal mindset that is evident when you stress competition. In a society that is based on merit, there will always be some level of competition, but more and more people choose self-fulfillment and personal enjoyment as their highest goals in life. Trying to claw one's way to the top, though it may give you status, wealth, and power, is not personally satisfying to most people--men or Women. I suspect that may hold for you as well. To find out, I would invite you to try this experiment:
Abandon the idea of competing with women at least for a short while. Instead of viewing Women as your rivals, try just supporting and following them for a short period--perhaps a month. Seek out their advice whenever you have a problem; during meetings support their views (without compromising your values); when talking to women, listen to them attentively and quietly without interrupting them; try looking at things from their point of view; become better versed in women's topics and issues; try to anticipate their interests and needs; volunteer to do things on their behalf. This doesn't mean becoming passive or a loser. It means setting your male ego aside and enlisting your efforts and intelligence on behalf of others.
While you do these things, consult your own feelings. You may find that this gives you the kind of nurturing fulfillment that I discussed earlier. You may also find that you are become more popular among the women of your life. If this works for you, push ahead and carve out a space for this kind of behavior in your life. It's not all or nothing. You don't have to take up this lifestyle completely or not at all. You can just make it a small or medium-sized part of your life at first. It all depends on what gives you fulfillment. As for me, I am not in the kind of relationship dennis or Mark is, but I do get satisfaction in supporting and following women in many parts of my life--whether I'm among women or among men.
It's possible that you don't get any nurturing satisfaction from doing these things. in that case, you have learned a valuable lesson and you no longer need to visit these sites. My hunch is that you are intrigued enough to try out this little experiment. If you do, please report your experiences on this site. Many will find it quite interesting and instructive.
Mr. Concerned gets the last word:
LS: That's an interesting experiment. I suspect that I would enjoy some of it. I just don't interact with that many women on a daily basis. I don't have the type of job where I see many women.
Let me just state, my comment was in no way an indictment of female dominance/male submission. I'm a sub and am very attracted to calm strength and assertiveness in women. I even enjoy being "trained" by a woman in a relationship, even in the vanilla sense of the term.
All I was saying is that I think men are selling themselves short when they drop out of the race thinking they can't compete. Showing up is half the battle, and I think that's one thing young women have on men today--they show up--to college, to job interviews, to work.
Women may have the biggest edge in soft skills--responsibility, maturity, cooperation. Men seem to take longer to learn these things. However, I think it's a toxic and self fulfilling prophecy to say "I can't." Because then you surely won't.