The horizontal conflict (part 2/3): women VS men (2/2).
In the previous part of this article I introduced the controversial theme of sexual domination, alternating between females and males. Since this is a macrosocial phenomenon, what I write here (both in this conclusive and in the previous part) necessarily has a certain degree of generalization. I therefore emphasize that, with the psychosocial arguments that I present here, it is not my intention to devalue or underestimate what makes us unique and human: that sensitivity, exquisitely subjective, through which each of us filters the experiences he experiences.
START AGAIN FROM THE APPROPRIATE RING OF THE CHAIN.
In the conclusion of the first part of this article, you will remember that I had identified the following vicious circle in the relationship between women and men: abuse of one sex over another; accumulation of rancor and its transmission to subsequent generations; timeless revenge of the sex whose fathers (or grandparents, or great-grandparents, etc.) or whose mothers (or grandmothers, or great-grandmothers, etc.) had been subdued; new abuse of sexes inverted with respect to the starting one; etc. I also said that the fundamental point to proceed in the analysis of this perverse cycle, ideally aimed (as far as I am concerned) to break it and replace it with something more ethical and healthy, was to understand clearly where we are today in the chain. Well, in this regard I believe that:
- if we take Bachofen’s theory (always illustrated in the first part of this Article) as valid, at the dawn of human civilization (Amazonian matriarchy) women exercised a domination, mostly psychological and sometimes even physical, over men. However, there were also forms of “soft” matriarchy, which I would define as “demetric” as they are associated with the cult of the earth and nature. The cultricians of these second forms of matriarchy were much milder and more peaceful than the Amazons, so we can speculate that there were also equal forms of relationship between women and men;
- since the advent of the polytheistic patriarchate, and then to an even greater extent with patriarchal monotheism, the power relations have been reversed. The result was a domination of males over females, often brutal (I think of the figure of the husband and father master, even institutionalized in Roman law) but in some ways also protective (such as, for example, in relieving women from the traumatic confrontation with the fields battle). What is to be emphasized here is that, especially with justifications passed off as “religious”, women have been subjected until recently;
- already during the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and then with the advent of modern Feminism in the twentieth century, this cycle of patriarchal power was questioned. After struggles and demonstrations, between 1902 (Australia) and 1971 (Switzerland) women from all western nations obtained full rights and equal status with men (*);
- from the 1970s until today, despite the ever more complete integration of women in both the productive society and in law, choruses of angry indignation continue against the “male-master”, or presumed such. The claims therefore continue even in the absence of real oppression (**). The careful reader and reader will have understood what I am talking about:we are witnessing a new game of power, activated by modern feminist Amazons (Neofeminism), where the real purpose beyond what is declared is domination over the opposite sex. So now we know that, compared to the chain of domination between the sexes, we are in a phase in which the descendants of those who had been oppressed avenge (unconsciously: I am not saying that this is conscious, of course) their mothers. And in so doing, they risk starting a new cycle of hostility between the sexes.
THE VIOLENCE OF THE PATRIARCHATE (MASCHILISM).
It was and is (in those cases in which unfortunately it still appears today) carnal, animalistic, trivial in its brutality; as such, it is easily visible and identifiable. If we think, for example, of a woman abused by her partner, we can think of a swollen face with bruises and other signs of violence. Just as it is clear, this type of violence is taken seriously (in fact there are institutions for the protection of female victims of male violence, such as the “Telefono Rosa”) and arouses strong social disapproval.
THE VIOLENCE OF THE AMAZON MATRIARCHATE, OR NEOFEMINISM.
It is mostly verbal and psychological, but sometimes also physical, and is hardly visible and identifiable. This is because a man mistreated by a woman (boss, partner, or anyone else significant) will hardly emerge in the sunlight, for the following reasons:
- while the social archetype of the abused female is that of a victim to be protected, when a male suffers mistreatment he is often seen (or afraid of being seen) as a “loser” unable to defend himself and assert himself. If we add to this the shame typically experienced by every victim of mistreatment (female or male), we understand well that for a man asking for help is extremely difficult and problematic (and already it is for women, who however are socially much more used to asking support when they need it, not having a gender stereotype that invites them to always show themselves in full control of themselves and their lives);
- since the violence it suffers (I speak in this case of the psychological one) is opaque (it is possible to grasp signs of it, such as stress on the face, but not unequivocal signs), it will hardly activate alarm bells in loved ones who could convince him to break the delay and ask for help.
It follows that the cases of women ‘s violence against men are hidden, underground, insidious to bring out … and not non-existent as many people believe naively! Moreover, last year they also clearly emerged, with the episode of that lady who disfigured the ex boyfriend with acid (an action already performed several times by men towards women), and this year with another regrettable episode: that of a woman who repeatedly beat her husband in front of her children, breaking a vase on his head. Faced with events of this magnitude, anyone who is honest must admit thatthe rhetoric, so dear to neo-feminists (***), of woman as victim to the bitter end is anachronistic. The misunderstanding of the neo-feminists (which is the same as those who are still male-dominated today) is the same that every bully has in common: considering himself to be self-actualized in proportion to the degree of coercive power exercised over the other. Alias: to seek not power over oneself and one’s own life, but one directed towards the omnipotent control of the other. Amazonian Patriarchy and Matriarchy (****) are ultimately quite similar: two forges of hatred between the sexes, who work in the service of Thanatos regardless of who is in the blacksmith’s position and who in the martyred massacre’s position with forged weapons.We must understand that the solution cannot be yet another role reversal between Executioners and Victims; the real point is not “who dominates who”, but rather to get out of the “logic” of brutal competition to embrace that of empathetic cooperation.
RELATIONS AND INTERIORITIES.
Our relationships and our interiority are interdependent: if I am at peace with myself, I will be brought to welcome the other (also other sex); welcoming the other opens me to his and my emotional world, giving me emotional fullness and therefore contentment. Similarly, if I close myself to the other or compete with him / her for power I make him an enemy; this results in a psychophysiological state of tension and stress, with the release of cortisol associated with attack or flight dynamics. The reverse process is equally valid: being in struggle with oneself, or in flight from oneself, precludes full encounter with the other who is experienced as a threat to an already precarious balance.
ARCHETYPES: A COMPASS FOR INTEGRITY.
An psychological construct that is useful for us to get out of this quagmire and give a decisive jerk to the chain of mutual abuses between the sexes is that of Archetipo, as elaborated and developed by Carl Gustav Jung. In essence, an Archetype is a prototype: a basic model, a mold. (Sabatini Coletti Dictionary). In Philosophy, with Plato we could say that Archetypes are the Ideas of Hyperuranium (or World of Ideas) while the bodies of the physical world are its manifestation. With respect to human consciousness, Jung identified several Archetypes of crucial importance. Those that interest us most here are:
- the Animus, or that psychic instance that we can associate with the Yang energy theorized in Chinese Taoism: it is a proactive, masculine and penetrating force, which in subjective consciousness is attributable to the introjection of the most admired male figures (for men ) or attractive (for women);
- the Soul, or that psychic instance to be associated with the Yin energy of Taoism: a receptive, feminine and enveloping force, psychically referable to introjected female figures (especially for women) and idealized (especially for men).
In the psyche of women the Animus is more incisive than the Soul, while for men the opposite is true. (Which is consistent with the main experiences relating to the “Oedipus complex” identified by Sigmund Freud). (*****) Nevertheless, each of us can access both of these Archetypes, by virtue of the fact that we were born as a result of the union between two parents of different sex and we were raised by them. And if even one of our parents or both of us had passed away early, however since we were young we have had relationships with people of both sexes. (The most important of which, taken as substitute parents of the missing ones). Now that we know we can have access to both the Soul and the Animus, let’s ask ourselves: presumably,what will happen when we despise the opposite sex or want to dominate it? At the relational and social level, we have already seen it: a chain of interminable violence and mutual oppression starts. And on the inner level? On this plane, what happens is that we assassinate a part of ourselves and consequently compromise our integrity (psychic and ethical). Precisely:
- a woman who despises men is severing contact with the Soul, suppressing her femininity to compete fiercely with them. This implies that, in giving voice to the Animus, it will distort and extreme its characteristics by acting destructively (see: Amazonian neo-feminism);
- a man who despises women enters the war with the soul, with the consequence of not being able to live harmoniously his female part. This lack of contact with the energies and with the archetypes of the cosmic Feminine can produce: either a perception of masculinity as something dangerous and destructive, with consequent phobic escape from contact with the Animus and problems such as social insecurity and sexual inhibition, or a totalitarian identification with a violent and lacerating masculinity (see: Male chauvinism).
So the lesson to be learned is this: every time we despise or attack the other sex, in addition to harming others, we are also hurting ourselves. Specifically, we are disintegrating by alienating ourselves from a part of ourselves, attributable to archetypal energies. We can choose to use this awareness to actively engage in contacting both the Animus and the Soul, with the intent to pacify them. This, in turn, will help us become more loving and welcoming to the opposite sex. For too long we have been wrapped in the chains of ignorance (of ourselves) and violence (between the sexes). It is definitely time to go back to being aware and free.