LIVING WITH WOMEN
 


EMPOWERING WOMEN


Long ago Solomon wisely advised: Give not your power to women... (Proverbs 31:3). Unfortunately many of us have been extremely slow learners; me in particular.


BACKGROUND


Empowering women is functioning or relating to them in ways which give powers (can-do abilities) they would not otherwise have. Forces which actually exist, if at all, in males are seen as though reflected in females. I say "if at all" because often such powers are entirely imagined by males--that is, only exist as magical or supernatural, not truly real, either in males who repress and project, or in females assumed to possess them.

Situation: Insofar as personal powers (not externally given) are concerned, the balance is with femininity to begin with--all em-powering aside--due to a genetic edge, biased legal structures and social mores, and generally greater degrees of embraced natural capacities.

Men, for any real equality to exist, need all the power we can get just to reach a level playing field; certainly we do not need to give any away, especially to those who are already at an advantage.

Also, empowering females is apt to backfire in time, further undermining an already unstable situation. This is likely because of genetic reasons, even when forces are socially as well as personally useful to those so empowered.  From the standpoint of genes, women need strong and virile males they can count on for good sperm and long term protection and support--not wimps who need the strength of women to exist with power ourselves.

Consequently, even when females work to make males stronger (as in, ego-boosting or letting us think we are), feel temporarily good about their gifted forces, and use them for pragmatic purposes (e.g., supporting family and structuring home arrangements), on deeper levels they may resent such males, even unconsciously reject both the men and their granted powers, because of these genetic facts.

All the advantages associated with male empowering, though socially functional and personally useful, may finally run counter-current to biological female needs related to conception and successful child rearing.

Generally speaking, women need a man "with balls"--both literally and figuratively, for increased odds of success in their inherited mothering agendas. When a man is otherwise (is weak, hen-pecked, wimpy, a pushover, or ball-less), he may be useful (better than none at all), and even loved as such; but--and this is the point here, a woman's genetic heritage is apt to cry out negatively, no matter what she consciously thinks/feels as an individual person.

I speculate that widespread, though often denied, female resentment, private disappointment, even anger and outward put downs of men, may be a reflection of this familiar situation today. On deep levels, I think, women are silently--if not verbally, crying out for "men to be men," not wimps they can easily manage, but who do not live up to what their genes call for, that is, so "women can be women."


Now to the practical question: How do we males often empower women beyond those forces they naturally and socially possess?

Among those I now see are these:


1.Falling in love


Perhaps more clearly and completely than in any other way, I see in hindsight that we males typically empower females when we fall in love with them. On analysis this immensely popular and socially acceptable event turns out to be more clearly and accurately seen as but a cloaked form of worship.

In spite of its seemingly unconscious beginnings ("it just happens"), social acceptability, female promotion, and temporarily exciting nature, finally falling in love with a female boils down to blind worship, unrealistic devotion with hidden expectations rooted in male repression and projected magical wishes--in other words, a psychic event with predictably disastrous consequences in time.

In religious language, falling in love is one form of secular idolatry--that is, "having a god (in this case a goddess) before God." Socially acceptable, personally enjoyed, and oft exploited, male "adoration" and "faithful devotion" are but reflections of thinly veiled worship, which, in Christian theology is supposed to be reserved for God alone. According to the bible, any such idolatry is breaking the first commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me") and is done so with dire spiritual consequences--which also soon become evident in the secular world, even as the bible predicts.

Relevant here, however, are only the elements of false empowering of local women (which, though similar in effect, is, according to popular religion, supposed to be reserved for a universal male God only). Bottom line: falling in love ("limerance") with a female is perhaps the most common and greatest form of female empowerment operative in present society.

Spin-offs from this familiar psychic event include:


2. Automatic deference


Automatic deference is blind, "unthinking (and often unreasonable)" obsequiousness, systematic "giving in" regardless of the situation or consequences. Although "pleasing females" does indeed have healthy genetic roots (in quest of acceptance essential for male replication), this familiar "whatever you say, dear" male stance goes far beyond any genetic realities and grandly empowers a female with unreal-but-operative forces not inherent either in her genes or herself as a person.

This male mode of relating to females in general, lovers in particular, and wives as well, is like self-castration, handing a woman a man's balls on a silver platter.


3. Systematic agreement


Systemic agreement(A spin-off from #2)--that is, accepting a female's thoughts or opinions (ideas, beliefs, etc.) as though they are inherently true, as if spoken by an infallible God. Systematic agreement is a stance of mental and verbal acceptance which takes whatever a woman says and/or thinks as "gospel truth." Even if a man inwardly disagrees completely, in this mode he functions or acts like the woman is "always right."

Again, though consciously aimed at pleasing or "avoiding an argument" or "just trying to keep the little woman happy," such a mode of relating unrealistically empowers a women's mind. When treated as though she is omniscient (mentally infallible) she is left with no legitimate, and often needed, feedback, especially so when her own "thinking function" is not her main suit in comparison with a powerful "feeling function." If, for example, she is not confident in her own reasoning abilities and actually needs/wants sensible feedback, then a male's automatic agreement may be more threatening than pleasing.


4. Looking for help


Looking for help refers to slightly cloaked desires to "be taken care of," that is, supported, "mothered," or "babied," e.g., to be fed, clothed, comforted, seduced, blessed, and given permission to be, especially his masculine self.

This common male situation is especially dangerous when cloaked with machoism (false independence, "I don't need you or anybody else") or phoney "love."  Females, I suspect, easily see through male egotism and/or false "love," and recognize hidden expectations rooted therein. Even when they accept and use the associated empowerment, the temptation to resent obvious male weakness, however cloaked, must be great.


5. Running from anger


Although a man may have good and solid reasons for avoiding female anger (e.g., keeping her favors), any refusal to stand up to it easily gives the appearance of male weakness (thereby, empowering the female) and makes female anger seem even more powerful than it actually is.

If a woman is already fearful of her own emotional powers, especially those seen as negative (of "exploding" or "acting out" in unloving ways), a man's "running away from her anger" cannot but amplify its inherent threat. Unwittingly, whatever his intentions, when a man runs from (does not stand up to or with) a woman's negative emotions, he falsely empowers her unrealistically.


6. Excessive compliments


When a man is automatically complimentary of everything a woman says, does, or how she appears, he unwittingly empowers her.


7. Looking for affirmation


This is another spin-off from #4. No matter how much self-affirmation is truly needed by a male, or how sincere his attempts to "get complimented" by a woman, all such efforts unwittingly empower a female so approached. Even when she chooses to act affirmingly, as in, giving desired compliments, she is further empowered beyond reality because at the same time she is handed the power to refuse them. Placed by such a male in a position to be freely able to give or withhold something he deeply desires, she obviously holds powers not inherent within herself.


8. Hiding masculinity


Paradoxically, when a male cloaks his masculinity from a female, even when she seems to wish it so, he unwittingly empowers her by placing options in her hands which do not truly exist there. While he is hiding signs of masculinity, she, in effect, has the power to allow or disallow these elements of himself into the open with her. Consequently, she is unrealistically in charge of his gender revelations in her presence.

A secondary unfortunate side effect of this male stance granting power to a female is that she too is required to be conscious of her own desires before she can signal his masculine response. So long as his masculinity is hidden (with revelation power in her hands), she cannot simply become female (get "turned-on") in response to his "going first," since he is, in effect, waiting on her to give permission to begin the whole gender-encounter process.


9. Explaining oneself


Automatic justification of behavior, emotions, ideas, is another way in which males may falsely empower females. Regardless of intent, this stance sets a woman up as having authority over a man's thinking. This is most dangerous in regard to his motives, reasons for what he does as well as feels.

Living thusly, as though she must understand him before he (his actions, motives, etc.) are acceptable and legitimate, unwittingly grants unrealistic powers to her. Imagine having the tacit authority to judge another as right or wrong, okay or not! This is what blindly happens whenever a man falls into the habit of automatically explaining himself to a woman.


10. Magical good graces


When a man lives-as-though a female's revealed favor--her smiles, approval, etc., as contrasted with her frowns, disapproval, negative judgment, are essential to his well being, his remaining openly himself in her presence, then he has placed extra-ordinary power in her hands.

At the same time, he has, paradoxically, invited severe restraint on her personal freedom to be honestly present with him. Once she realizes the magical power he has assigned to her good graces, she cannot but also see the effects of her frowns or other signs of disapproval. Even though she may enjoy and benefit from her granted powers on the positive side, once she also sees that all her negative feelings, regardless of how personal they may be, are inevitably taken as "against him (what did I do wrong?)," she must restrict her honest negative feelings with him, lest he take them personally when in fact her feelings have nothing to do with him.


11. Falling for female wiles


Although they are often unconscious (as best I can tell), and perhaps even genetic (inherited as Sophia's Wisdom), every female seems to have a number of personal "wiles (male managerial skills)." Perhaps, e.g., she has learned that "being apologetic" or verbally blaming herself for whatever goes wrong ("I know it's my fault"), works in bringing automatic forgiveness plus changed behavior on a male's part. Whenever a man reacts automatically to this or any other form of female behavior ("wile"), then he has unwittingly empowered and invited her to use it repeatedly.


12. Raising ass


This graphic metaphor for inviting being kicked in the butt portrays another common way in which males may empower females. By automatically taking the blame for any of her displeasure, such as, being immediately defensive or apologetic for any apparent offense (regardless of any part she may have played), a man unwittingly projects power for her to use with him. "Raising ass" in any of countless available ways, a man, unfortunately for him, invites and empowers female domination, even emotional if not physical abuse.


13. Catering to every whim


With full respect for potentially positive values in choosing to go to great lengths to please a female (as in, romantic endeavors), when this male mode becomes a habit of automatically catering to every whim--complaint or wish, revealed by a female, then he has passed reason and gone on to grant unrealistic powers, even if under cover of "love."


14. Looking for heart


Perhaps deeper than in any other way, males often empower females by "giving them our hearts"--that is, placing our symbolic hearts in their hands, giving them the responsibility (and magical power) for making us hearted or whole as individual persons.

Instead of remaining openly responsible for our own spiritual ("emotional") development and well-being--as is the nature of human reality ("every tub has to sit on its own bottom"), males all too commonly cop out on this natural human quest, in favor of projecting magical wishes onto females--that is, living-as-though females, at least one of them, can actually "give me heart (make me feel hearted and whole)" if only she will.

What actually happens, I analyze in retrospect, is that we males begin early to repress elements of our own human capacity for becoming/being whole ("hearted") within ourselves, especially parts of our inherited masculinity and other capacities falsely identified with femininity only (e.g., being emotional or "sissy").

Unwittingly, we split ourselves through these partial denials and repressions. We, in effect, "divide our hearts." Then, in the second phase of repression, namely, projection, we come to "see"--or so we imagine, powers denied within ourselves reflected in female "eyes (and bodies, etc.)." Caught up in this illusion, we begin to seek the other half of our "heart (the rest of ourselves)" from those in whom we glimpse its reflections.

Bottom line: In this, perhaps greatest, form of male empowerment of females, we erroneously "look for our hearts (potential wholeness)" from females who in reality don't have them to give. But once this familiar male mode is put in operation, such empowered female "lovers" are granted immense forces for managing us projecting males in countless other real ways, often more useful to them than to us.


CONCLUSION

I have noted these ways of empowering women in a semi-objective form as my mode of backing in, as it were, to difficult insights about myself--that is, to seeing more clearly some of the forms of my own repressions. Whether or not other males "give their powers to women" by these modes, certainly I have at one time or another participated, even blindly at the time, in all of them.


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