I became conscious of some cultural values in this direction when I left to live outside the US.
Because there IS some more-or-less assumed principles concerning women and their accepted or expected role in relationships.... and it isn't the same
I began to see correlations between the cultural values upon emotion and intellect.
I noticed that in France, women are expected to be the more rational, down to earth, and almost - more authoritive gender. I never noticed my own
opposing values until faced with that.
Here's one way to look at it-
Imagine that, for the human psyche in general (and I think there is some rational reasons we all develop this way)
-Females represent our emotional and basic "animal" nature (the body, instincts, less conscious drives)
-Males represent the ego, our conscious awareness and intellect.
Whatever your culture holds as values and truths about those two parts of us will be reflected in our attitudes about men and women in various
contexts and relations.
This was interesting because on this subject, the American and French are totally opposing- Americans have more in common with the Japanese than they
do with the french!
We are taught that all our choices of act and word should, ideally, be consciously chosen. The mind should be the master of the ship that is the body.
The individual is a sort of separated element from it's surroundings and others, and the intellect (if developed well enough) should be able to keep
that separation and not be influenced by others or events. The individual is believed to have almost unlimited potential power in this respect. (I can
do anything I put my mind to).
In other words, we are taught to not trust our emotions- they are irrational, dangerous, and need to be trained or controlled to submit to the wisdom
and clarity of the intellect. The strong mind (man) can resist and tame the terrible animal within. The weak mind (man) falls into it's traps of
In France, the individual is considered to be a part of it's surroundings and indissociable- the exterior and others not only have an unavoidable
impact upon behavior and thought, but that this is good
. Our natural drives and instincts are social
in nature- they
have developed thus far with reason and are to be trusted as a universal pathway to interaction and relation between the "I" and all that is "Not I".
Ideally, they are taught to trust their instincts, reflexes and drives.... to rely upon emotions as precious and useful forms of collecting and
passing on information. Pleasure is considered the reliable way nature has of telling us we're doing the right thing.
Women are often the ones who are "boss" in the home and marriage- but not in a way a man will complain about. They don't test, harrass, complain,
nag... they simply give everyone in the home information on how they can be successful and happy in each context, based upon their assumed knowledge
of how society works, psychology, and the needs of the body.
To tell the truth, I was first struck by my own reactions to this - I felt these men were "weak" to be following the lead of their wives! It was kind
of horrible to realize I didn't trust my own gender. I definately didn't trust my emotions and was quite used to ignoring them, disregarding them, or
finding ways of changing them to fit my goals and intents.
The women here cannot understand why it is so acceptable in the states for women to change their body in order to appeal to men- women in their
forties, with boob jobs, filler and botox, long dyed hair, fake nails...I have been asked by french women what that is all about. I look back at them,
women around me wearing no makeup, their gray hairs visible, nails clean but short and natural, their clothing classic, but without plunging
necklines. One time I said, " we american women want to appeal to the eye of men, even if we aren't actually looking for a mate, it is just assumed we
should take the male fantasy as reference for how we should be."
They laughed, and I mulled over the horror of what I had just said. They said, but men like women, you don't have to change anything to be attractive
for men!! (and I think some men will agree with that here).
I didn't know how to explain the multilayered view I was having that - americans like pretty emotions. They think a smart mind will make sure they
have only extremely positive, light, and colorful emotions. So we try to look like pretty positive emotions. And when our mate is not aiding us to
think positive, be happy, or be otherwise positive, we might provoke him a bit to pay attention to that, and be aware- the emotions are not being
trained or directed... they need some attending to.
I think that is also what is behind the American fascination for 50 Shades of Grey, for example. We all want our emotions to be controlled, roped in
and made to submit to the benevolent and wise mind (which knows what is best for us).
Here, people believe their ego is the dangerous one to watch out for- it doesn't really get much about others and relations, it has it's own warped
ideas based on it's own fantasies and ideals, and emotions are there to guide it, and keep it from getting carried away in rationalisations that
ultimately escape reality and are doomed to failure.
I think I was a young woman who also would throw fits at times to get my mate to react (when I was a teen). I didn't expect that of him though- I took
him at his word and took it seriously. I wanted him to show he had will power, goals, insight and a plan to bring it about. Of course that was too
much to ask of a twenty year old guy! (LOL!)
The very strange thing is, that after all this time, my conclusion is that a woman grows out of such crazy behavior when she really realizes and
appreciates her TRUE power. When she realizes the profound impact of her emotions upon the world, and the way they can be beneficial and trusted
instead of used to "get" what "I" want, then they become a more stable source of emotion.
edit on 25-12-2016 by Bluesma because: (no reason
edit on 25-12-2016 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)