History would have been better had women been the dominant sex.
Published on March 17, 2010 Pyschology Today Magazine
Men define history as a relentless march of progress. I define it as a parade of debauchery and oppression perpetrated by a small group of bloodthirsty lunatics with penises, interrupted by the very occasional humanitarian achievement.
History would have been entirely different, more fun, and lots better, if women had been the dominant sex.
Unfortunately, the die was cast from the earliest stirrings of civilization. The women were squatting in caves and yurts, conceiving babies, birthing babies, nurturing babies. They turned to the men and said, we're busy in here perpetuating the species -- go, get out of the house. Find something to do. Make history. So the men went out and got into trouble.
That's history. History is men bumbling out of the house and getting into trouble. History, as recorded by men, has traditionally been a chronology of wars. Armed agression would not occur in a matriarchal society.
There would be bitchiness. There would be crankiness. There would be sarcastic remarks.
My point is that hostilities between nations would be entirely different things.
You would hurt the feelings of your enemies.
It might even escalate, because that is the nature of the human species. In time, regrettably, societies would develop weapons of mass hurt feelings. These would be cruel, I do not deny it. You would make sweeping, public statements about the children in the other country. "Your children are ugly and have bad table manners."
Then you would feel terrible, and you'd talk about it. There'd be a lot of communication. In a matriarchal society, and the telephone would have been invented very, very early, right after the wheel.
But my key point is, no wars, in part because no one would want anyone else's land. Why would you want someone else's land? You can visit. If you own it, it's just more to clean.
I am not saying a matriarchal society would be perfect. I am saying it would be vastly more peaceful. No society run by women is sending its sons and daughters to be slaughtered by the sons and daughters of another society run by women. Control of the spice trade is not a reason for genocide. Women do not go to war over nutmeg.
Basically, women historians would not have been reduced to defining pivotal moments in history by battlefield events. Chapter 12 would not be "The Defeat of the Spanish Armada.'' That would not be the sort of thing to usher in a new era. Eras would be defined by collective realizations about the nature of harmony, goodwill, and better living through cooperation. Chapter 12 might be "When We Learned That If You Wash Your Hands You Get Sick Less." That would start an era.
"Cooking With Garlic," another era. An important pivot of history would be "The Discovery That Taking Turns Works Well In Most Situations." A major historical figure from the 1200s would be named something like "Phoebe the Nice." She would have an assistant, "Francine the Amusing." We would currently be in "The Era of Good Feeling Because of Epidural Injections."
You see? Better, more fun, and a lot less expensive, even in "The Era of Shopping as Sport."
adapted from I'm With Stupid: One Man, One Woman, and 10,000 Years of Misunderstandings between the Sexes Cleared Right Up, co-authored with Gene Weingarten, published by Simon and Schuster
Monday, April 12, 2010
History would have been better had women been the dominant sex.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Despite the popularity of books about men loving and marrying "bitches", it's really powerful and strong women that men love. We get turned on and not only want to bed powerful women, we want to spend the rest of our lives with them. It's not that we wouldn't take a roll in the hay with a woman we perceive as weak, but unless a man feels weak himself, he's going to look for a strong woman as a life partner.
When I talk about powerful women, I'm not talking only about women who hold their own financially. A woman can stay home and take care of children or get involved with charitable work or as Stephen Sondheim said it and Elaine Stritch sang it, be one of "The Ladies Who Lunch" and still feel and be powerful. As long as a man can't walk all over her and she is secure and doesn't need a man to give her an identity, a man will feel like he's won the prize.
n my experience (personal as well as professional) it’s only weak men and women who perceive strong, skilled, competent and self-respecting women as devaluing and malevolent. The women I've known who allow men to treat them like a doormat, I don't find attractive, and a quarter century ago when I was single, women who allowed me to walk all over them led me to feel chronically guilty and I'd quickly get rid of them. I think that's the central reason why men don't end up falling in love with women who are compliant, passive, and meek. Guys who feel weak may enjoy a woman's submissiveness, but are not happy when he feels guilty about his behavior and the woman responds by being whiny, complaining, nagging and a shrew. When a woman becomes castrating and devaluing, she's actively being a witch and when she becomes whiny, complaining, and self-pitying she's passively being aggressive and evil. Whether a woman takes away a guy's manhood and self respect or she manipulates with helplessness or resorting to tears, a nagging and ill-tempered woman is definitely not sexy to a guy unless he is hiding the very same fear: that he is in fact weak and helpless and hides it with bravado or what we now refer to as narcissism.
Weak women tend to fall for narcissistic guys who give the illusion of being strong. These are guys who need to be admired and worshipped to feel secure, and many women feel safe with a guy who demands adoration. This dysfunctional pattern became the title of my wife's dissertation in postgraduate training: "The Narcissistic Idealization and Devaluation Formulation." She explains that this is a modus operandi that dictates that if you don't treat me like garbage, I'll make rubbish out of you. The outcome is that the man then ends up feeling like he's sleeping with dribble and debris, and the woman feels and acts like she's diddly-squat. If she doesn't allow herself to be mistreated and devalued, a guy with pathological narcissism will run in the other direction and she becomes sexy and desirable to men looking for a life partner as opposed to a supplicant.
This formulation, by the way, is gender interchangeable; men who feel weak and allow themselves to be devalued by women will turn it around on the woman and act like a macho jerk or by being passively aggressive. Like the narcissistic men who treat women abusively, the narcissistic woman ends up disappointed and acts mean because she feels like she's sleeping with human refuse. She thinks that if she is degrading to the man it'll make her feel less badly about herself. What she really wants from the man, however, is true strength: kind but firm, gentle not wimpy, loving while not being needy. In reality we all want strong partners who feel good about themselves and both women and men with weak partners secretly and often unconsciously hope and pray that their partner will show strength and self-respect, because that's ultimately a pre-condition for good sex and love.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Top Strategies for Handling a BullyBy Hara Estroff Marano on March 30, 2010 ( articles found in Psychology Today Magazine)
Bullies are made and not born. Here are over two-dozen research-based strategies for helping kids deal with bullying.
What Children Can Do:
- A wise line of defense is avoidance. Know when to walk away. It is thoroughly adaptive behavior to avoid a bully. Being picked on is not character-building.
- Use humor to defuse a bully who may be about to attack. Make a joke: "Look, Johnny, lay off. I don't want you to be late for school."
- Or tell the bully assertively, "Get a life. Leave me alone." And walk away. This may be the best defense for girls.
- Recruit a friend. Observers find that having a friend on the playground is one of the most powerful protectives, especially for boys.
- In general, seek out the friendly children and build friendships with them.
- See that your child has a grounding in assertive behavior. The real first line of defense against a bully is self-confidence.
- Spread the word that bullying is bad for bullies.
- Ask your children how peers treat them. Children often are ashamed to bring up the subject. Parents must.
- Enroll your child in a social-skills group where children learn and practice skills in different situations.
- Model good relationships at home. Help siblings get along.
- Increase the social opportunities of all kids, but especially victimized ones. Invite other children, and groups of children, over to the house. Encourage sleepovers. This is your job; parents are social engineers.
- Enroll your child in classes or groups that develop competencies in activities that are valued by peers. Even kids who don't love sports may like karate, tae kwon do, and similar activities.
- Shut off the TV: much programming reinforces the idea that aggression is the only way to deal with conflicts.
- Empathy helps. Instill in all kids a sense of the distress that a victim experiences.
- Help your child come up with a set of clever verbal comebacks to be used in the event of victimization by verbally abusive peers.
- See that kids in groups have plenty of things to do. Provide play materials. Buy a soccer ball. Paint a hopscotch pattern on the sidewalk. Bullying flourishes when kids are together and have nothing else to do.
- Do not tell or teach a kid to fight back. Fighting back is the worst defense. In most instances, victimized children really are weaker and smaller than the bully-thus their fears of losing their fights may be quite real. Besides, not all bullying takes the form of physical aggression. Counter-aggression to any form of bullying actually increases the likelihood of continued victimization.
- Do not expect kids to work it out on their own. Bullying is not a simply a problem of individuals. Given the influence of the peer groups and reputational factors in maintaining the behavior of bullies and victims, it is extremely unrealistic to expect kids to alter the dynamics of bullying by themselves.
- Always intervene. Adults have a crucial role to play in the socialization of children. And consistency counts. Any time adults do not intervene they are essentially training others to solve problems through aggression.
- Intervene at the level of the group. Let all kids know bullying is not OK. Declare emphatically: "This is not acceptable behavior. You can't do this here."
- Talk to your child's teachers to find out what is normal behavior for children of that age group and to find out the class atmosphere is like.
- Talk to other parents; where there's one victimized child there are likely to be others.
- Get the school involved. At the very least, ask that the school declare bullying off-limits. A change in the atmosphere of the school is not only possible, but helpful in reducing bullying.
- Go to the school administration and demand that bullies be transferred to other classes or schools. Every child has the right to a safe school environment.
- If all else fails, see that your child is transferred to another school. The same child may thrive in a different school with a group of children having different values.