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The women according to the I Ching

learner

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Dear friends,

An informal conversation a couple of days ago in the Friend?s Area raised a really interesting subject. We were talking about relationships and I came across witty remarks made by Martin and Pedro. I decided to pose to the I Ching the question:

What is the position of women in the world nowadays?

The answer came with Hex 44, with fifth changing line, going to Hex 50.

44. Kou / Coming to Meet
above Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
below Sun The Gentle, Wind

The Judgement
Coming to Meet. The maiden is powerful.
One should not marry such a maiden.

Line in the fifth place means:
A melon covered with willow leaves.
Hidden lines.
Then it drops down to one from heaven.

I have always regarded the Hex 44 fifth moving line as a difficult one to understand. Being curious about the meaning in this specific context, I have been wondering if any of you would have some insights on it, even if you think that this is an awkward question to ask to the I Ching! *grin *

Thank you.
Mirian
 

martin

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Hi Mirian,

I like these 'hidden lines' in line 5.
A hidden telephone line to the White House?
biggrin.gif

And 50 in the background, feminine healing power?

Don't know what to make of the 'don't marry such a maiden', though.
Well, what sometimes happened in feminism was that women thought that they should be like men.
But man power is not woman power. Imitating man power will not help a woman when she wants to contact her own natural power.
Perhaps that is what the I Ching tries to say.

Martin
 

learner

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Hi Martin,

I burst out laughing when I read your interesting ?theory? about the telephone line to the White House as a possible interpretation for the ?hidden lines? in line 5.
I just could not help it!
But, seriously, I totally agree when you say that a woman should not try to replicate ?if I can use this word here- the power of a man. Women and men are endowed with their own strength by Nature, actually. That aspect about both feminine and masculine nature is extraordinarily interesting.
Well, if that is the message of the I Ching underlying the hexagram and emphasized in the fifth line it happens to be timely. Apparently, the ancient book has a modern satellite dish receiving up-to-date information about us, humble human beings on Earth. *grin*

I came up with another idea about the fifth line right now. It might also mean that women have not fulfilled their potential yet.
?A melon covered with willow leaves.
Hidden lines.?
Perhaps, their best qualities will be revealed in the future.
?Then it drops down to one from heaven.?

But, honestly, I am not sure.

Thanks,
All the best,
Mirian
 

cal val

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Hi Mirian...

My idea about the changing fifth line is a bit different than yours, although I like yours very much. Women have their strengths...men often confuse it with power when they fall in love with women...it's actually the power of love that's confusing them...*grin*

I've also heard it interpreted as the fruit and leaves of the medlar tree. The medlar fruit is sort of like a crab apple. The leaves actually have medicinal properties. The juice of the leaves soothes the skin after sunburn...and screens the skin from the harmful rays of the sun...it's protective.

Men have their strengths as well...one of them is superior physical strength. When reading your question and answer, my immediate thought was that, in terms of physical strength...compared to men, women are delicate and fragile. And men, with their superior physical strength, must protect women from harm, so that they can later enjoy the fruit of the women's strengths...*grin*

Just a thought.

Ciao for now,

Val
 

learner

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Hi Val,

Hmmm, quite interesting idea. Perhaps the men?s misunderstanding about feminine power is due to the fact that, in general, they do not have the same ability to vent their feelings, considering open demonstration of affection as a kind of enormous strength, which can be overwhelming.
Personally, I have been thoroughly thinking about how to achieve more balance between power and sensitivity. I fear love sometimes myself and do not want to scare or confuse anyone at all! **grin**
I must confess that at the moment I would like to be protected for sure! Could not we just go back to the good old times? Black and white movies like ?From whom the bell tolls?, actor Gary Cooper taking care of the fragile heroine?.

(Sighs and *grin ** grin **?).

Hmm, I must be dreaming?.

Bye for now,

Mirian
 

cal val

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Learner...

Or like in "It happened One Night" (1934) Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert...*sigh*

Cheers,

Val
 

gene

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I've been very tempted to stay out of this conversation, but think I will add one little comment here, (maybe more.) The idea that men do not have the ability to vent their emotions is not correct. Our emotional makeup is completely different. We do not get emotional over the same things a woman gets emotional over. This is hardwired right into us. Many years ago I had a friend who had once been married to a four star general in the air force. Everyone thought she had the perfect marriage, except her. Her biggest complaint is he did not show his emotions. Why this is such a serious thing to a lady is beyond my comprehension, but it seems to be. She seemed to think it was a weakness. Nobody gets to be a four star general by being weak. The slightest weakness can lead to a disrespect by other men, and if possible, can lead to attempts to undermine the man's authority. A four star general has no problem telling his men exactly what he thinks of them. There is no fear attached, and no hesitation. He just does it. But it is all in the context. Watch the way football players talk to each other. You think there is no emotion? But in polite society, that kind of display of emotion would be considered inappropriate, and rightfully so. Watch which men are more inmature, and watch how they deal with emotion, it puts a whole new perspective on it. Women can rage and no one will fault her for it. First of all, there is an unspoken, unwritten rule in society that anything a woman does to a man, well, he deserved it. And if there is any reaction by the man, the least that can be thought of him is he is not a gentleman, but usually it is considered much worse than that. Therefore men are at a great disadvantage to women in polite society simply because they cannot defend themselves. This has nothing to do with the fear of or inability to display emotion. It is just the way society works. Women often are unaware of their own power, they are not aware that socially, they create the rules, and any man who wants to find a mate, or have a family, is going to have to follow the rules created by women. That is just the way it is. I know this may not ring true for some women, but think about it for a while.

Gene
 

hilary

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I appreciate Yi's sense of humour, giving us 44 to talk about in this context, that great trigger for Wilhelm's misogynistic moments!

I read an article once on Hexagram 44 suggesting that a better translation would be not 'one should not marry the woman' but 'no use to take the woman'. The idea being that this was a royal bride arriving, and you should stand aside to let her go all the way - not rape her in the woods. The verb isn't the one used for 'marry' in hexagrams 53 and 54 - seems to mean something more like 'seize, take hold, capture'. (Also, the word is not 'maiden' as in 54, 'marrying maiden'. Ritsema and Karcher just have it as 'womanhood'.)

(Corrections/additions from any knowledgeable people would be very welcome indeed here.)

Line 5 is indeed a puzzle - perhaps the idea is that it is still in the 'melting pot' and the nature of the gift from heaven has yet to emerge, and maybe still has some growing to do. (Thank you, Mirian!)
 

martin

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Quote with gender changed:

"Men can rage and no one will fault him for it. First of all, there is an unspoken, unwritten rule in society that anything a man does to a woman, well, she deserved it. And if there is any reaction by the woman, the least that can be thought of her is she is not a lady, but usually it is considered much worse than that. Therefore women are at a great disadvantage to men in polite society simply because they cannot defend themselves. This has nothing to do with the fear of or inability to display emotion. It is just the way society works. Men often are unaware of their own power, they are not aware that socially, they create the rules, and any woman who wants to find a mate, or have a family, is going to have to follow the rules created by men. That is just the way it is. I know this may not ring true for some men, but think about it for a while."

*grin*
 

joang

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Hello, All.

Does anyone know WHY the ancient Chinese would cover a melon with willow leaves? If we knew the purpose of the custom, it might shed some light on the meaning of line 5.

Namaste,
Joan
 

martin

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Legge has a different translation: " The fifth line, undivided, shows its subject as a medlar tree overspreading the gourd beneath it"

I wonder if it could be a symbol for a mother protecting her children.
 

gene

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I'll admit, this is a tough one. Some commentators have considered line 5 as a sacriledge that brought down the wrath of heaven. I don't think this fits in with the hexagram over all though. Line 5 is correct and central, its only weakness is that it does not properly correlate with line two, both are yang. Hexagrams in which line five is yang and line two is yin lend themselves much more easily to a marriage or proper relationship hexagram. This is why I believe the commentary, (or actually just one reason why) says, the "maiden is strong." (Also because the nuclear hexagram is one, which is extremely strong.) The judgment however, does not tell us about the overall meaning of the hexagram, only the judgment that usually applies when we ask for a divination. (Even then not always.)

Since heaven is above, and wind below, then the power of the ruler extends to all places, and heaven can express its laws. The primary law is the complementariness of yin and yang. We often see the opposites in yin and yang, and therefore think of them as uncomplementary units. Therefore, our natural thinking is that "one should not marry the maiden." This is only superficially true though. As in hexagram 38, where we dwell on the opposition, not the complement, line 5 is yin and line two is yang, which indicates there is some hope the opposition can be overcome. In reality, even when the maiden is strong, and we should not marry her, it is the law of heaven and earth for the complements, the opposites, to come together. Without their coming together, heaven, earth, and humanity are not renewed, (through children brought about by copulation) When both male and female try to act strong, they oppose and confront each other, in any relationship there has to be a follower and a leader. Otherwise, the relationship cannot stay on the same track. In thirty eight and forty four there is a hint as to how to overcome the opposition. In line 5 of 44 it is through covering and protecting the yin element. This is related to hexagram 17 in which the elder son shows consideration for the younger woman and places himself willingly beneath her. As such he gives her a higher social status as the female element, and shows her consideration. Without this covering and protection, the yin element can easily spoil. In hexagram 44 line one and four have a correspondence with each other, however, neither one is in its proper place. Therefore, once again, the yang is too strong, and the yin is too weak. Here there is "no fish in the tank." If we do not follow the social rules, and if we do not allow ourselves to unite, (because the maiden is too strong), we become alienated and the opposite or complementary element is not at our disposal when we need it. Hence, no fish in the tank. Therefore, it is up to the ruler, the yang line in the fifth place, to right things. Since he protects and understands the yin element, it falls to his lot, as if it were fate. Line five is the governing ruler, line one is the constituting ruler. Hence, as governing ruler, he is able to "couple" with the first line without danger.

Gene
 

gene

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Yes, pregnancy is a possibility, in several lines. In line one, a very small and furtive force grows. In line two there is a fish in the tank. (A child in the womb). In line four, no fish in the tank, (barrenness, miscarriage, or such). In line five, the yin element is covered. So there are at least four lines that could refer to a pregnancy. The hexagram as a whole is about coupling, which can lead to pregnancy. The bottom trigram, wind, is about penetration. And the upper, has kinetic power to create.

Gene
 

bradford_h

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Hi Hilary -

Talk about misogynistic, the Mawangdui text titles the hexagram Gou, The Bitch, both as female dog and a term of contempt. "Not at all useful to court the bitch."

But the hexagram is about patience and restraint.
In Line 5 the practice of covering the melons allowed them to age slowly in the cellar, like good wine, the sugars developed along with the flavor. Then with perfect timing the very heavens came around to greet the blessed event (the birth of perfection).

Brad
 

hilary

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Good question, Joan (not ignoring you, Gene, sorry, just can't think of anything to add
happy.gif
)

Rutt:
"Bitter gourd bound with willow withies.
Jade baton sustain.
Something will drop from the sky."

And his notes on this line (the notes are the best part of the book):

"The gourd is bound near the stalk while it is growing, in order to ensure that, when it is dried for use as a flask, it will have a good shape with two bulbous parts, or at least a narrow neck. Compare the reference to drying a gourd in Analects 17.7: 'Am I a bitter gourd, fit only for hanging up (to dry and use as a bottle), not for eating?'.
"The last two characters about using a zhang 'baton' are the same as an oracle in Hexagram 2 and resemble 42:3. Gao Heng reads zhang ...as Shang..."

...and hence reads this as destruction of Shang, maybe for that impiety Gene was talking about. From what I've read, I think Gao Heng may have a slight reputation for over-creative 'reading as'.

The book you really need for this is Steve Marshall's, though. He has a jam-packed chapter on many things marital and sexual in Yi, entitled 'Melons, willows, hoarfrost and creepers' in the Mandate of Heaven. His footnotes on hexagram 44, line 5 suggest it could be a sacrifice to the river goddess, but is also teeming with female sexual imagery.

One thought in support of Gao Heng - the Zhou (or at least the histories of them, don't know how authentic these are - could really do with Steve here...) did accuse the Shang ruler of being far too heavily influenced by a woman.

I must get to bed. It's good to be back, though!
 

hilary

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Bradford, we 'crossed in the post'. Sweet melons in the cellar? Much nicer than bitter gourds. What's the source for that? Also, can you tell us anything about the Zhou-view-of-Shang side of it?
Thanks!
 

gene

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While I don't know much about ancient Chinese, I suspect, as is often the case, that there are several possible interpretations of this. I also suspect, (and only suspect) that one possible interpretation is "one has not (or does not) married the maiden." (Huang says though, that the original idea was a married couple). As such, they meet, and they have a relationship, but they do not marry.

On a personal level this could be reflective of a relationship between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The two "come to meet" but in most people they do not have an integrative relationship. Ancient texts are showing that several early societies greatly concerned themselves about integration between the conscious and unconscious. In the average person, the two "souls" separate at death and one soul can even die. This fits in fairly well with the Daoist concept that souls can reincarnate with a soulmate that they were not with in a previous incarnation. That means reincarnating with someone else's subconscious. Without integrating the two souls, there is no "heaven." And the lack of integration can be synonymous with the concept of hell.

In view of all this it is highly possible that this hexagram can be read on various levels with different meanings. The individual lines can tell us something of the relationship between our own conscious and unconscious. The fifth line could indicate the only case of true integration within all the lines. If anyone is interested in information regarding this ancient belief, which is still taught in some forms of Hinduism and other eastern religions, go to http://www.unknowncountry.com and click on listen now. Then go to Sept 6th, "Lost secrets of Death." I think some of you, or all of you will find the interview quite interesting. You might even want to buy the book for further details.

Gene
 

bradford_h

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Hi Hilary -
I don't think it's that complicated
When flowers and fruits are picked prematurely
(and as far as _they_ are concerned, any picking is premature) there are natural mechanisms to speed up the process of going to seed. Flower preservatives are designed interrupt this process. So does cool dark storage. Perhaps their melons were often in danger of frost damage before they were completely ripe and this method alowed them to keep on getting better.
I forgot to add before that the gua is not just about patience and restraint, but also other cares taken to prevent entropy and dissipation or other undermining influences
Brad
PS
I've little respect for Richard Rutt
For sticking his head up Gao Heng's butt
 

cal val

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Hilary...

Well it appears, looking at this thread, that misogyny is alive and well and flourishing right here on your forum.

Further...if one were to consider the imagery Steve Marshall gives us in "The Mandate of Heaven" about 44 and line 5 (and one should seriously consider Steve Marshall's interpretation because it comes from exhaustive study of several ancient sources, not just the ZhouYi), then the real misogynist here is the Yi...much more so than Wilhelm or Baynes.

We've got fetus-in-the-womb imagery, ie. woman's position in the world today is...babymaker. We've also got vulva (the gourd) and pubic hair (willow leaves), ie. woman's position in the world today is...sex object.

Adding to that a possible interpretation of the imagery in Hex 50...the cooking pot, you might interpret that woman's position in the world today is babymaking sex object and cook...or...barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

Let's work on this one some more...PLEASE...so I can wipe that imagery out of my mind.

BLEEECCCHHH!

Love ya,

Val

PS And Gene...please stop trying to change the subject, you sly little devil you. We're talking women here and their position in the world today, not conscious/subconscious communication, government plots or UFOs.
biggrin.gif
 

gene

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Val

I take it you looked at the website.

And "sly little devil." Now there is a compliment I don't receive often. Thanks. ha ha.

Hexagram 44 is a government plot to destroy the morals of our youth, and hexagram 50 is a government plot to "overturn the cauldron and spoil the prince's meal. So we are all dependent on the government and welfare for our sustenance. Oh, come on, admit it, it does make sense, doesn't it? smile.

Gene
 

cal val

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That was a fun post above, but seriously speaking now, I don't believe the Yi is a misogynist at all. Wilhelm was, Freud was, a lot of men were and are.

Misogyny is some men's way of dealing with their fear of women. And I think the authors of the ZhouYi may have been expressing their fear..or awe...of women in this hexagram.

It talks of powerful women, and women's deepest and strongest power where men are concerned is their sexuality. When I commented that love is powerful and men confuse that with women being powerful in my first post, that is what I was alluding to. This hexagram is jam packed with female sexual imagery and is about a woman's sexuality, and the power that lies therein.

Not being a man, I can only guess why our sexuality seems so powerful to them (I would love for any man here to tell me honestly why it is), but I think, using the imagery that Steve Marshall provides us for 44 in "The Mandate of Heaven," there might be some strong clues here as to why. We are the gender that carry and bear the children...the offspring...the continuation of the species. We are "chosen" for this very difficult task, not men.

If one were to compare a woman to the imagery of the ding, women's power and position in the world becomes even stronger. Woman as ding is the spiritual nourishment of mankind and civilization. Woman as ding is beautiful and peaceful. Woman as ding is man's connection to Heaven and the Universe.

Mirian, I don't really think, according to what the Yi has answered, that our position in the world today is any more or less than it was 1,000 years ago or 10,000 years ago. I think the only difference today is that we understand our position better...and are moving forward accordingly.

Peace, love and understanding,

Val
 
D

dharma

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Great topic of discussion and a lot of ideas here with merit. I would like to add a few veggies of my own to the soup pot if I may.
wink.gif


On a physical level, women are the embodiment of the yin, the great creative magnetic energy that is by nature contained and hidden, and men are the embodiment of the yang, the great creative transformative energy that is by nature the manifestation of all that is visible.

Psychologically speaking, both men and women have access to the yin and the yang but as opposites and in different measure. Women embody the yin power in greater proportion and the yang power in lesser measure. Conversely, men embody the yang power in greater proportion and the yin power in lesser measure.

This universal yin power is fundamentally a dark primal force that frightens a lot of people. Our lack of understanding of this force makes us project our fear of this overwhelming force out onto the sex that embodies the yin force in greater proportion -women. This is why traditionally women have been the one's subjugated and enslaved. This is the dominating ego controlling and harnessing the expression of the universal unconscious endeavoring to master it for it's own ends.

However, we must each learn to yield and welcome this dark feminine yin power and allow it through without attempting to contain or curb it's natural impulse because it's strength is squelched and strangled otherwise, and then ego is allowed to continue reigning supreme.

Grasping yin power lightly we learn to trust and value this underlying force, whose purpose is to impregnate (determine what gets manifested into the visible world) at every level. Until we can let go and allow this to happen though we fall victim to the lure and temptation of ego that urges us to grip tightly and control it (remember the raping of the bride that Hilary mentioned?) lest "her" overwhelming forces cause the our presently fortified ego to be drowned out and relegated to a lower position.

I asked what would be the ideal way to express this yin energy in both sexes and got hx26 unchanging. Hasn't Gene been working on this hexagram on another page somewhere?
happy.gif


Dharma
 

cal val

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Dharma...

Reading your post, I was inspired to look up Hex 26 in the Nigel Richmond book, and this is what he says:

Pattern:

Great actions achieve their purpose.
Outer obeys inner,
becoming quiet and still.

Nature:

Life force unfolds in evolution of form.
The peak of form is order.

Human:

He is inspried.
Works all day outside,
discovering the form of things
he thinks he has made.
In the evening
he sits on the mountain.

Form:

The pipe through which water flows.

*sigh* I like that...

This thread has really piqued my curiosity, and I already so love men and am very curious about them, that I think the corresponding question: "What is man's position in the world today?" begs an answer. I just feel it would be more appropriate for a man to ask than a woman...so I didn't...any of you guys game?

Cheerio the noo,

Val
 

joang

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Hi, all

The misogynistic language of the I Ching doesn't bother me at all anymore. A long time ago the Yi confirmed my suspicion that "male and female, superior and inferior," etc., are often used as references to ideas that are affecting the situation in question, rather than persons of either gender.

Namaste,
Joan
 

martin

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OK, what is man's position in the world today?
(I think I asked in fact: what should it be?)

The Yi says 25 (line 1) to 12.

25 is a very yang hexagram, mars + uranus in my astrological scheme. Intuitive action among other things. And action that is in accordance with the truth and reveals the truth.

12 in the background - yang and yin, male and female cannot meet ...
Men are supposed to bring the resulting standstill to an end and 25 is the path?

Line 1: Innocent behavior brings good fortune ...

One message is, I think: men should stop playing political games.
 

cal val

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Joan...

I don't let misogyny bother me anymore either...in the Wilhelm book or otherwise. As I said above, I understand the root of it. And like you, I take it into account and look around it for what the Yi is really trying to tell me. Same with the inferior/superior references...I see them as saying a person less suited for this situation/a person better suited for this situation...or whatever...it depends on the depth of the answer. Let's hope we've evolved since the day the Chinese characters were written or translated...whichever the case may be...as inferior/superior.

Without knowing why, I've always felt the line "One should not marry such a maiden" did not fit in the Hex 44 scenario. "One is afraid to marry such a maiden" just might be more honest.

Yes, Wilhelm made some mistakes in his translation/interpretation, and his errors were very possibly motivated by his own misogyny but...so what? There's so much else that's well translated/interpreted in his book...so much clarity otherwise...that it's to my benefit to just step around the mistakes. Referring to and comparing to other sources is a great way to gain additional clarity. And this forum is perfect for that.

Has anyone done a perfect translation?

Cheerio the noo,

Val
 

hilary

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Good rich soup with chunky bits, this
biggrin.gif


I can't imagine the perfect translation - never found it yet, anyway. But while we are on the subject of translations, please register your vote for your favourite. Please? With just 76 votes so far, this is getting embarrassing, and putting me right off reader polls.

Dharma, you said:
"However, we must each learn to yield and welcome this dark feminine yin power and allow it through without attempting to contain or curb its natural impulse because its strength is squelched and strangled otherwise, and then ego is allowed to continue reigning supreme."

I think the message of 44 is not so much that the 'strong woman' force needs attending to or it will vanish, but rather that it will reappear no matter how firmly it is squelched, and then it will turn your life upside down in ways you hadn't anticipated and did not want in the least.

Yi says there's no use in grasping the woman (because, says the commentary, you can't live with her for long - I take that to mean that new wine into old jars is not a long-term prospect). But s/he remains delightfully silent on the question of what we are supposed to do with this force.
 

gene

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Val and everyone

I think there is so much difference between the thinking and attitudes of men and women it is almost like being a different species. I have no awareness whatsoever, though other men might, of any fear of women's sexuality. What we fear most is discussions like this where we can innocently say the wrong thing, and be relegated to the reject heap for the rest of our lives. In the 70's it was popular to say that the difference between men and women was socialized, that there really was no difference. It flied in the face of common sense, but no one dared say it because there was a social stigma attached to going against what the "elite" were saying. Much research of the 80's and 90's was suppressed because it did not conform to this socialization philosophy. The research is there though in neuroscientific circles, and it is known that men's and women's brains actually develop differently, at different rates, and different parts of the brain are emphasized. Last I heard, though I won't swear to it, is that the emotional centers in the female brain are much more developed than in men's. This is hardwiring, this is not socialization. As such, there is much curiosity by one sex about the other. I don't think either sex has a monopoly on understanding themselves, let alone the opposite sex.

Women have been enslaved? Possibly, but I guarantee you that men feel just as strongly that they are getting the worst end of the bargain. Almost all tv or movie dramas have the same general plot. Some psycho male tries to hurt a woman, and all the cops and good guys in the world come to the aid of the poor woman. In the process, a dozen cops can get killed trying to protect the woman, and no one blinks an eye. But if there is a woman hurt in the show, everyone is up in arms. Everybody does a sigh of relief, when the three or four good guys left in the battle finally defeat the bad guy that wanted to hurt the woman. Does this mean men are suppressed or enslaved? No, but it does show that not everything is on an equal footing. Here she has an advantage, there he has one. etc etc etc. Equal but opposite forces. Women have one advantage over men. They act together as a unit more than men. Women talk and men's reputations and social status can be ruined. What happens if a man talks to his buddy about the evil aspects of a woman? Does it hurt her? Not very much. A man's attitude is, that's your problem buddy. He'll still go out with her in a heartbeat and think what a chump his buddy is, couldn't treat her right. But men have an advantage because they are less inclined to sacrifice themselves for the relationship. If it works for them fine, if not they go elsewhere. (Men are mars which rules Aries, the me first sign.) Women will work and strive and sometimes sacrifice their own self respect and dignity to make a relationship work. (Women are Venus which rules libra, the relationship sign.) They tend to give too much of themselves to make something work that is unworkable. Look at women's magazines, Headline after headline, get him to do this, get him to do that. How to make it work, etc. etc. Can you imagine the uproar if a man's magazine had a headline saying, "get her to do this?" Mind control your woman? When women willingly sacrifice themselves for the relationship, they unwittingly set themselves up as slaves and such. Doesn't excuse the men. I know, I am not saying that. There is truth and untruth on both sides of the equation. All too often though, what we see in the opposite sex is a mirror image of what we are in a more subconscious way.

Gene
 

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