Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I wonder

how true it is. Maybe my straight male readers can enlighten me.

I notice on a lot of the TV shows I watch, lots of them with "strong women" --some of whom are strong women, some of whom are bitches and some of whom are worse than that, how much energy the women spend in attempting to control the speech and opinions of the men. The men seem uninterested in doing that to them.

I have no heteroid relationships with women, so I don't have this experience. (Although if I think back to my AIDS work days, with lesbians, they did that a lot. A lot.) The only woman in my personal life who ever tried that, and still does, is my mother.



Anonymous said...

I wonder if the story lines you refer to are only for drama's sake somehow. I can't think of a single tv show or movie I've seen where such transactions" occur between a man and a woman. I guess you don't mean a guy says or thinks "Reagan rescued the country" or "time shares are stupid" and a woman will try to convince him otherwise.

My sense is in real life, women do Gelassenheit vis-à-vis men's opinions in details, whereas some husbands (now mostly lower-class?) may wish to control or rather be the source of their wives' opinions about politics and economics. But when it comes to worldviews, women can become very concern'd -- e.g. to convert their boyfriend or husband from cynicism and to Christianity. (Women who aren't fanatics seem always to come up with optimistic worldviews even of Christianity, which is only optimistic in transcendence. For instance, a Calvinist belief in original sin and total depravity doesn't mean people aren't basically good persons. Just as the radical feminist doctrine of men as violent aggressors doesn't mean feminist college students in the 1970s didn't want loving boyfriends, fiancés and husbands.)

When a woman is very involved in trying to control a guy's thoughts and something like religion vs atheism isn't involved, then maybe what's involved is his thoughts about people in their lives -- including members of her and his families. If he thinks his brother is a jerk and worthless, she may decide to achieve womanhood's highest glory by discovering (or imagining) good qualities in the brother and achieving a reconciliation. That was a sarcastic example, but presumably such endeavours don't always involve the female wish to deny unpleasant realities and to get everyone to focus instead on irrelevant or perhaps comparatively minor good qualities. ... Imagining good qualities goes by this method: project one's own goodwill into the supposedly bad person, then realize that malice and laziness etc can't be motivating the supposedly bad person (because the projectress isn't malicious or lazy etc) so therefore some sort of deep tremendous hurt must have convinced the supposedly bad person that he needs to say cruel things etc. Which proves that "reaching out in kindness" will result in the melting away of the supposedly bad person's bad qualities. Or if the bad qualities continue, that's because the supposedly bad person's pain is continuing. ... Popular Christianity rewards those who are good at or at least dedicated at perceiving or imagining good qualities in bad persons, and coming up with plausible traumas and pains that motivate externally unpleasant behaviour in others. But then lots of times guys write off family relationships too easily, and women are right to try to correct mistaken impressions. ... On the other hand, women can intervene to persuade a guy that someone, e.g. a family member, is a bad person with bad selfish motives if that person feels a threat to her needs.

Anonymous said...

Examples. In "Crime and Punishment" Sonia wishes to redeem Raskolnikov's worldview, but presumably doesn't have or wish to have any opinions about the intellectual books he studies. This may be more astute than liberal of her, quite aside from whether she is intelligent enough to have an opinion about such books. Obviously if she converts him to her Christianity and love, this will determine whatever opinions he will have about Rousseau, Gogol, et al, or whether Russia must always have a Tsar. In "Pride and Punishment" we have a more beautiful surface for a rather similar arrangment. Elizabeth changes Darcy's whole sense of life and love, but we get the impression that he will instruct her about Aristotle and Shakespeare et al. I guess her father can't already have instructed her much in the books he studies because he is so remiss with his family, as may congrue with a time prior to the crescendo to the French Revolution, when things went on the same regardless, but in a time of tremendous motions remissness even in the landed gentry is punish'd. In any case, she would surely have protested against his conclusions from his studies that their lives don't matter much vis-a-vis contemplation of the whole and so on.

I can't imagine that contrary examples of marriages occur frequently, because marrying a man she can't look up to is so dismal for a woman that this seldom occurs: usually this means a more intelligent man. (Not that a man wishes to look down on the woman he marries. There isn't symmetry in this. He looks on her as this wonderful person isn't similar to -- she is better than he. Very important for a woman to be able to perceive in her husband that he is smarter than she -- even if (only) in his work. But smart women will jump through complex mental hoops to fancy that their boyfriend or husband is smarter than she is. ... A radical feminist I know, now in her 80s, was indignant that her daughter "had to" marry a guy who wasn't as smart as the daughter -- like the capitalist hetero-patriarchy's final outrage was to not supply her daughter with a husband she could look up to! ... The male ego's need to be smarter than his wife seems to me much less strong. The guys I know of who are in this situation seems to shrug it off okay. ... I think a lot or most really smart hetero girls figure out while still teenagers that they may as well be single for life.

... A long-time believer that man completes woman, not vice versa, I sense that women like to have a husband with an definite identity plus definite career intentions (in the African-American woman's phraseology) "to be a man with a plan": she then fits her various and usually quite complex projects around him -- which she lets him participate in as her gifts to him. When two spouses are "ideologically" quite different but otherwise quite compatible, they do Gelassenheit. Not merely e.g. if she's for Democrat health care etc and he's a libertarian Republican, or she tends to like to see a Divine Design in the environment and the development of life whereas he dismisses such feelings or thoughts; but e.g. if he needs to go on about his ideas and she doesn't really have strong opinions about stuff, or if she's really into a religion or spirituality and he doesn't want to get involved with such concerns.

Leah said...

As a very strong woman I can assure you, real women don't behave like those bitches on TV. As for your mother, that is her prerogative, but only she has that right.

The rest of us know how to get our way while making sure the guy thinks he came up with the brilliant idea himself. Even when the guy figures out how it works, he realizes that the system is working, everyone is happy and there is no need for one side or the other to lord it over the other.

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