The first question I would like to ask is, is there a false conclusion already in the topic itself?
Probably, it should be assumed that the difficulties in relations between a man and a woman are due, in essence, to gender differences. But this is not the case. The relationship between man and woman between men and women is primarily the relationship between people. Everything that is good in the relationship between one human being and another should be considered good in the relationship between a man and a woman, and everything that is bad in a relationship between people is also bad in a relationship between a man and a woman.
The main flaws in relationships between men and women are mostly due not to male or female character traits, but to relationships between people.
I would like to revisit this problem, but first I will characterize the topic as a whole. In the relationship between men and women, it is about the relationship between the victorious and the defeated groups. In the United States in 1949, this thought may have seemed unusual and a little strange, but if we want to understand how history affects the relationship of the sexes today and how they know about each other and feel about each other, then we must consider the history of relationships between men and women over the past five millennia. Only then will we be able to come to the question of what is the specificity of the essential differences between men and women, which is characteristic of relations between men and women: what is a sui generis problem, and not a problem of human relations.
Let’s start with the second question and define the relationship between men and women as the relationship between the winning and losing groups. I said before that today in the United States it sounds strange, because there, especially in the big cities, obviously, women do not behave like defeated and do not feel defeated. On this issue, who is the strongest sex in this modern culture, there has been a lot of discussion, and not without reason. However, I in no way believe that the problem is solved, even if they say that women in America have achieved emancipation and therefore have the same social status as men. In my opinion, the millennial struggle in relations between men and women is felt even more sharply in our modern culture.
There is some compelling evidence that patriarchal society, as represented in China and India, in Europe and America over the past five to six millennia, is not the only form in which both sexes have organized their life together. Much indicates that, if not everywhere, then in many places, patriarchal societies in which power belonged to men, gave way to matriarchal ones. This was reflected in the fact that women and mothers were the mainstay of the family and society. The woman occupied a dominant position in social and family life. Even today, traces of her domination are visible in various confessions. Traces of the old organization are also found in a document we are all familiar with: the Old Testament.
If you try to read the story of Adam and Eve with some objectivity, then we note that it is for the sin of Eve that a man should rule over a woman, and she accepts this rule as a punishment. It is directed not only against Eve, but also indirectly against Adam, because dominating others is not much easier than becoming addicted.
If the domination of men over women is declared a new principle, then there was probably a time when this was not the case. And we do have documents that confirm this. If we compare the Babylonian creation stories with the biblical story, we find that in this Babylonian story, which predates the biblical story in time, the situation is presented in a completely different way. At the center of Babylonian history, we do not find a male god, but a female deity Tiamat. Her sons try to oppose her and finally defeat her, as a result of which they establish the dominion of male deities led by the great Babylonian god Marduk.
Marduk must prove his power in trials, show that he can defeat a female deity. He must show that by the power of his word, he can destroy and restore a woman’s clothes. This test may seem to us somewhat reckless, but it expresses the essence. The superiority of women in a matriarchal society was clearly expressed in one thing: they could give birth to children, which men could not. The attempt by men to overthrow women from the throne is connected with their claims to be able to create and destroy things, not in the natural way that women did, but through word and spirit.
The biblical creation myth begins where the Babylonian story ends. God creates the world with his word to convincingly emphasize the superiority of patriarchal culture over matriarchal, and the biblical story tells us about the origin of Eve from the rib of a man, not a man from a woman.
Patriarchal culture, a culture in which men definitely have to dominate women in order to be the strongest sex, has survived throughout the world. Indeed, only today, among small primitive peoples, do we find convincing remnants of the old matriarchal form. Only recently has the domination of a man over a woman begun to crumble.
In a patriarchal society, there are all the typical ideological stereotypes and prejudices that are constantly developed by the dominant group, such as: women are dominated by feelings, and they are vain; that they, like children, cannot be good organizers; not as strong as men, but attractive.
And yet, these stereotypes about the essence of women, developed in patriarchal societies, are quite obviously contrary to reality. Where, exactly, does the idea that women are more conceited than men come from? I believe that anyone who takes a closer look will say first of all about men that they are vain. There is hardly any area where they would not strive for vanity.
Women are much less conceited than men. Of course, sometimes they are forced to flaunt genuine vanity, because they (the so-called weaker sex) had to seek and achieved the favor of men. The myth that women are more conceited than men loses its strength when objectively examined.
Let’s turn to another prejudice: as if men should be harder than women. Each nurse will confirm that many more men than women faint when injected or drawn; that women tolerate severe pain much better, while men behave like little children and are willing to hide behind their mother’s skirts. However, men have managed over the centuries or even millennia to spread the opinion that they are the strongest and most resilient sex.
This is not surprising. This is one of those ideologies that is typical of the group of people who must prove their right to dominate. And if this group does not form the majority, but makes up almost half of humanity and for thousands of years constantly claims that it has the right to rule over the other half, then it is necessary to create an ideology that would convince itself and others of this right.
In the XVIII-XIX centuries, the problem of equality between men and women has become really relevant. During this period, a rather interesting phenomenon developed: those who argued that women should have equal rights with men, at the same time argued that there are no psychological differences between the sexes. The French put it this way: souls are sexless, and therefore, there are no psychological differences. Those who opposed the political and social equality of women often emphasized, quite critically and wittily, how different men and women are in psychological terms. Of course, they again conclude that, based on these psychological differences, women might be more fit for their purpose if they did not participate in public and political life on an equal basis with men.
On the contrary, today in the ideologies of many supporters of feminism, progress, liberalism and other groups who advocate the equality of all people in general and both sexes in particular, we meet the opinion that there are no differences or that they are insignificant. They say that if there were any differences at one time, they boil down to differences in culture and in upbringing, but there are no significant mental differences between the two sexes that are not the result of the influence of environmental factors or factors of upbringing.
This point of view, popular with advocates of equal rights for men and women, is vulnerable in many ways. First, it substantiates when they say that there are no psychological differences between different nations, that everyone who only utters the word “race” is saying something terrible. It is possible that the word “race” as a scientific concept was chosen unsuccessfully, but differences between representatives of different nations exist both in physiology and in temperament.
Secondly, why I find this reasoning unacceptable, it generates false principles. It is subordinated to the idea of equality, equality means identity. In reality, the alleged equality and the requirement of equality are polar in nature: despite all the differences, no one person should use the other as a means to achieve his goal, for every human being is an end in itself. And this means that each person, as a representative of his kind and his nation, should have the freedom to develop his individuality. Equality does not imply denial of differences, but the possibility of their fuller realization.
If we understand equality as the absence of differences between people, then we contribute to trends that lead to the impoverishment of our culture, that is, to the “automation” of the individual and the loss of what is the most valuable component of human existence, the flourishing and development of features each person’s personality.
Speaking about the peculiarities here, I would like to remember what a strange fate this word has. When we say of someone today that they are “special,” we are not pursuing any benefit. And yet this should be the greatest compliment if they say about someone that he is something “special”, because, in fact, this should mean that he did not “yield”, that he retained the most valuable of human essence his personality, that he is a unique personality that is different from every other under the sun.
The false assumption that equality is identical with identity is one of the reasons for a specific phenomenon in our culture of diminishing, blurring the differences between the sexes. Women try to behave like men, and men, respectively, like women, and the difference between masculine and feminine, between man and woman, is gradually disappearing.
I believe that the only solution to the above problem is to understand the function of certain differences in relationships between the sexes. It cannot be said about the positive and negative poles of an electrical network that one of the poles is less valuable than the other. Moreover, it can be said that the tension between them is created through their differences, and these differences are the basis of fruitful dynamics.
In the same sense, both sexes and what they symbolize, masculine and feminine principles in the world, in the Universe and in each of us are two poles that must preserve their differences, their opposite, in order to create a fruitful dynamics, productive force which corresponds to this polarity.
Now I will consider the second premise: the relationship between men and women will never get better than the relationship between people in a particular society, but also will not change for the worse. Our interpersonal relationships affect relationships between men and women through what I have called “marketing orientation” in this work. In fact, we are all terribly alone, although at first glance we seem to be sociable and communicate with many people.
The average person today is terribly lonely and feels lonely. He offers himself as a commodity and feels that his value depends on his ability to sell himself and on his acceptance by other people. He notes that his price is not determined either by the intrinsic or consumer value of his personality, or by his strength or ability to love, or by his human qualities. It is determined by how he can sell these qualities or through them achieve success and recognition of other people. This is what I mean by “marketing orientation”.
Based on this, today it is quite easy to shake the self-esteem of many people. They lack a sense of self-esteem from the conviction: “This is me, I can love, think and feel.” Moreover, they feel much more confident if they are recognized by other people, if they can sell themselves, if others say: “You are a wonderful man” or “You are a wonderful woman.”
A sense of self-worth, depending on the opinions of others, is associated with the fear of changing this opinion. Every day brings new challenges, and it is constantly necessary to convince yourself and others that you are okay.
Let’s imagine the following situation. Instead of a person, take, for example, a handbag lying for sale on the counter: a handbag, one of those that were sold in large quantities during the day, could be proud of itself in the evening, while the other, one of those that is no longer completely in vogue or a little more expensive, or for some reason did not sell very well, will feel depressed. One handbag can say, “I am excellent,” the other will say to itself, “I am not good for anything (I am nothing),” although an “excellent” handbag must not be prettier, more comfortable, or better quality than the other. An unsold handbag must feel like shoppers don’t like it. The example shows that the cost of a handbag depends on its success, that is, on how many buyers prefer it over another handbag for some reason.
Now let’s take an example with people. This means that none of us can be something special, and each of us as a person must always be ready for internal changes in order to adapt to the latest requirements. Therefore, parents, comparing themselves with their children, are often embarrassed: children know much better about what is “inside”. And yet, parents are always ready to learn. Just like children, they follow the latest “price quotes” in the labor market. They learn the freshest “quotes” in this market from movies, from advertisements of alcoholic beverages and fashionable clothes, from messages about what “VIPs” wear and talk about … How can this “marketing orientation” affect relationships? between opposite sexes men and women? I believe that most of what lies behind the concept of “love” is the pursuit of success and recognition. A person needs someone else, who would not only at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, but also at 8, 10 and 12 say to him: “You are just excellent, you are fine, you do it right.” This is one point of view. Following a different point of view, one can also prove one’s own worth by choosing a reliable partner. You need to be a supermodel yourself, because only then do you have the right and obligation to fall in love with a supermodel. This idea can be expressed much more simply: one 18-year-old guy, who was asked what is the purpose of his life, replied: “I want to buy a better car than I have now, I want to exchange my Ford for a Buick, so that there were girls of the highest class. ” This guy was at least outspoken. He expressed what in our culture determines the choice of a partner, albeit in a more acceptable form.
There is another side to marketing orientation that affects the relationship between the sexes. Everything here follows certain patterns and we try hard to follow the latest fashion and act accordingly. For this reason, the roles that we choose for ourselves in different situations, and especially our roles as representatives of one of the sexes, are already clearly predetermined, but these patterns of behavior are not similar to each other and do not always correspond to each other. Most often they contradict each other. A man at work, in a business setting, should be aggressive, and gentle at home. He should live by his profession, but in the evening, having come home, he should not be tired. In dealing with clients and in competition, he should be unceremonious, but in relations with his wife and children, he must be absolutely sincere. He should be loved by everyone and, of course, devote most of himself to his family.
The modern man tries to comply with all the above-mentioned patterns of behavior, and only the fact that he does not take them very seriously saves him from insanity. The same goes for women. They also have to conform to certain role patterns that are difficult to compare with each other, as is the case with men.
Of course, at all times and in every culture there were certain ideas about the ideal, about what a man should be, and what a woman should be, but even in earlier times these ideas were not stable. However, in a culture where a lot depends on our relevance to the latest fashions, the real qualities associated with our roles as a man or a woman remain unrevealed, receding into the background, as we behave as expected of us.
The relationship between a man and a woman is not very specific. If a man and a woman make decisions about choosing a partner based on their marketing orientation and predetermined role patterns, then it is inevitable that they will quickly get bored with each other. In my opinion, the word “boredom” is overlooked. We talk about various things that a person encounters, but we rarely talk about the worst of all, that you start to get bored, being alone with yourself and, even worse, being among the same people.
Many see only two ways to overcome this boredom. Some avoid it by using any of the many opportunities our culture has to offer. They go to parties, make new acquaintances, drink, play cards, listen to the radio, and so deceive themselves day in and day out. Others, and this partly depends on which social class they belong to, console themselves that everything will change as soon as they change partners. They think their marriage was a failure because they chose the wrong partner, and believe that by changing partners they will overcome boredom.
They do not see that the most important question does not sound like this: “Do they love me?”, which has the same meaning as the question “Do they recognize me?” “Am I protected?” “Do they admire me?”, And the essence of the main question is: “Can I love at all?”
In fact, love is not easy. Sometimes it is very easy to fall in love and be loved until the other person, and you yourself, will not get bored. But to love and, so to speak, “to remain” (to be) in love is quite difficult, although it does not require anything supernatural from us, but in reality is the most important human quality.
If it is impossible to be alone with oneself, if there is no interest in others and in oneself, then life with a partner will not work out without not starting to get bored after a while. If the relationship between the sexes leads to a surge of loneliness and isolation of partners, then these relationships have little to do with the opportunities that lie in a real relationship between a man and a woman.
And I would also like to remind you of one false conclusion. I mean the misconception that sexuality is the main problem in the relationship between the sexes. Thirty years ago, we all, or rather, many of us, were very proud of sexual emancipation. It seemed that the chains of the past were broken and now a new era in sexual relations is coming. But the results were by no means excellent, as many expected, since not all that glitters is gold. There are many non-sexual motivations for sexual attraction (Begehren).
Vanity is one of the strongest sex drive agents (Begehren), arguably the strongest of all, but loneliness and rebellion against existing relationships can also be a sexual impulse. A man who thinks that he is full of strength and energy for sexual adventures, and the sexual attractiveness of women provokes him, is in fact at the mercy of his vanity: he wants to prove his superiority over other men.
There is no special sexual relationship that would be better than the normal human relationship between partners. Sexual relationships are often the shortest path to getting closer to each other, but they are extremely deceiving. Of course, sexuality is an important aspect of human relationships, but in modern culture, so many different functions are attributed to it that I fear that everything that seems to us sexual freedom, which is so much talked about, ultimately does not come close to sexuality. Do we even know what the difference is between a man and a woman? Everything I have said so far has had a negative connotation. Anyone who expected a clear definition of the differences between a man and a woman may be disappointed, but I do not think that he himself has an idea of them. From all of the above, one thing is clear: we simply cannot know anything about them. If both sexes have fought with each other for millennia, if they have prejudices against each other, characteristic of this kind of struggle, then how can we today determine what the true differences are?
And only when we do not think about differences, when we forget the traditional cliché, we can develop that sense of equality, in which each partner is an end in itself. Only then can we learn something about the differences between a man and a woman. I would like to highlight one difference regarding the degree of success in relationships between a man and a woman, which has a certain meaning that we must take into account in our culture. It seems to me that women are more capable of being gentle than men.
The concept of “tenderness” is multifaceted. This is love, respect, and understanding. Tenderness is something different from sexuality, hunger and thirst. Psychologically speaking, feelings such as sexuality, hunger, and thirst are characterized by self-directed dynamics; their intensity increases until it reaches the climax of the satisfaction of desires, which then disappear for a while.
Tenderness refers to another type of desires and impulses. Tenderness does not exist on its own, it has no purpose, no climax and no instant end. She finds satisfaction in the action itself, in the joy of being full of love, affectionate and gentle, taking the other person seriously, respecting him and making him happy.
It seems to me that there is little tenderness left in our society. At the mention of this word, you only imagine films about love. All passionate kisses are censored, and yet the viewer should feel how wonderful it is. The films show false passion. For many, it does not seem convincing enough, but many learn this, even if “imaginary” love.
And how often in a film can you see real tenderness in relationships between partners or between parents and children and in general between people? Quite rare.
I’m not going to argue that we are not capable of tenderness. I just want to say that our culture takes away the courage to be gentle. This is due to the fact that our society has a target orientation. Everything has its own purpose, everything is aimed at something definite, you constantly need to strive for something.
We are trying to buy time, and then we do not know what to do with it, and we “kill” it. Our first impulse is always to achieve something. It is unlikely that we still have a feeling of awareness of the very process of life without striving to achieve something, but only to live, eat, drink, sleep, think, feel and see something. If there is no purpose in life, we are concerned: why then all this? Tenderness also has no purpose. She does not have a physiological attitude to discharge or instantly satisfy someone, as is the case with sexuality. She has no other purpose than to rejoice in the warm, tender feeling of joy and care for another person.
Therefore, we are afraid of tenderness. People, especially men, feel uncomfortable if they often have to show tenderness. And, in addition, it is the attempt to deny the differences between the sexes that prevents men and women from showing as equal as possible, prevents women from showing their tenderness, which is organically inherent in them and is a purely feminine quality.
And here I again return to the idea expressed earlier that the struggle between the sexes is not over yet. In America, women have achieved equality in all areas. But this equality is not yet absolute, although it is still much more significant than before. In addition, women still have to defend this conquest. They are full of zeal to prove that they are equal with men precisely because they are not much different from them, therefore men suppress the impulses of their tenderness. As a result, men do not have enough tenderness, and they, as if to compensate for it, have a strong desire to be a constant object of admiration in order to assert their self-esteem. Thus, they are in a state of constant dependence and fear. Women, on the other hand, are frustrated because they cannot fulfill their assigned role to the fullest.
In conclusion, I must once again draw attention to the difference between a man and a woman and emphasize: anyone who would like to know the difference between a man and a woman should not ponder and reflect on whether he is a typical man or a typical woman, rather , you need to allow yourself to lead a fulfilling life. Only the one who does not torment himself with the question: “Am I playing my role correctly and have I achieved success?” it is he who learns the deep productivity of differences between the sexes inherent in each individual person.