So I’m reading about the ancient Greeks and some of their ideas on the point of men and women in society – all this from Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. And it’s the usual … ‘the gods endowed each of the two sexes with different qualities. Physical traits, first of all: to men, who must work in the open air “plowing, sowing, planting, herding,” they gave the capacity to endure cold, heat and journeys on foot; women, who work indoors, were given bodies that are less resistant. Character traits as well: women have a natural fear, but one that has positive effects – it induces them to be mindful of the provisions, to worry about losing them, to be in dread of using them up. The man, on the other hand, is brave, for he is obliged to defend himself outdoors against everything that might cause him injury.’
Of course the first thing that any emancipated woman does is scoff at these ludricrous ideas. “Typical”. “Sexist pigs” And so on.
But then I got to thinking. What if it’s all actually true? What if men and women really are born with these features, that they really are innate, and that the reason, then, that so many of us get confused so often is that we’ve made such a halabaloo about resisting them. Now I’m not talking about this in the extreme – suggesting, that is, that it is ever OK for a man to hit a woman because of some inborn subservience. No, I mean what if it’s really true that in some completely scientific (hormonal?) way, women have got this tendency to WORRY. You know what I mean? No matter how emancipated you are, sister, no matter how post-post-feminist, the truth is, you WORRY too much.
How many times has a conflict arisen because a man (lover, father, brother, friend etc) just doesn’t seem to CARE?
Yes, it’s true.
When they do care you can be sure they’ll be defending themselves against injury in the great outdoors. Indeed, I recently witnessed a man trying to kill a spider the size of his fist with a large and very long iron pole.
(He was protecting me, of course.)