Build for Life, Not for Fixes

full-body-castMy previous post was a bit of a fumbling crash-test-dummy wreck. After four long days of intensive care, in quadriplegic static-slings (in stasis?) and frequent bed-pans, I begin my rehabilitation in this way. Luckily, perhaps miraculously, I had a wonderful female human being, who despite my masculine Homo erectus “verbage” — I think she called it, but repeatedly with an odd angry French accent — she foolishly remains my friend and offered this TEDxAmericanRiviera video that literally explains to my kind… “what it’s all about.” Even better, the presentation is by a woman who knows something about it.

ludovico-techniqueAs prescribed, I watched so intently the highly impatient German nurses kept giving me eye-drops while grumbling what I couldn’t quite make out was “Nicht-Augentropfen, aber Fett Einlauf in den Arsch!” If I’m honest, it sounded a little frightening. Does anyone have that translation?

Without further babbling, I present Sheila Kelley


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The proverbial light-bulb — admittedly more like a flickering miniature Xmas-light — lit up bright, and shown through various unmentionable orifices cared for by my German nurses… it was truly an Ah HAH painful moment, but with one minor tweak I would offer. It is this:  instead of the exact quote from Joseph Campbell, I’d perhaps say…

“Woman is life and Man is the servant of life.
The Male’s job is to protect [that service
so that Woman may freely give more life.]

— currently, Professor Baboon

You see, some/many women can protect themselves quite well. There’s no need for us men to prematurely step-in, unless she asks us to do so. Then the VALUE of collaboration, protection, service, all varieties of love, and the culturing between Woman and Man that Sheila Kelley is urging, is increased exponentially as BOTH are more empowered equally. Well, at least that’s my take to her fantastic presentation.

My dear female rescuer then sent me on my way with a reminder, “Before marriage, a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage, the “Y” becomes silent. And we are excellent housekeepers. Every time we get a divorce, we keep the house.” I believe she called that The V Empowered. She said one day I’ll understand, if I don’t real soon.


Addendum
— I’ve since realized that I should have clearly indicated in my last paragraph (above) that we/my friend and I, were joking-about/mocking local social norms; i.e. not uber serious and purely between the two of us, laughing about my own personal history with women/ex-wives and by default my neophyte entry into sexism vs. feminism. I see now she was comfortable with/about me to do that but may not have done it publicly with strangers — one man who you know pretty well, versus several unknown men and women. But I don’t know now if that was the case. I do see today how my last paragraph could easily be taken offensively by those who were not present. My sincere apologies.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Addendum #2 — My blogging-buddy Swarn, at Cloak Unfurled, has given me permission to link his outstanding, poignant, gut-wrenching TRUE post, “The Long Silencing of Women“. I felt it was an excellent addition/temporary-conclusion to this, my crude male attempt on the subject of Feminism-Sexism. He agreed. Many thanks Swarn! It is well worth the read.

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65 thoughts on “Build for Life, Not for Fixes

        • Primarily the quotation emphasises women’s breeding role, or rather you emphasise that.

          For some clarity, for what it’s worth… I didn’t like Joseph Campbell’s quote with the words “protect the women”, I preferred protect the service of life, and women bring LIFE in many various ways to my life, NOT just for bearing children, certainly not to be objects to screw! Duh! Honestly, I did not take the entire video, nor Campbell’s quote, to mean purely and narrowly child-bearing life. It meant the essense of ALL of life is made better with equal value, equal creativity… as opposed to patriarchy, obviously, but also antiquated social roles. And what’s inherently wrong with some self-less service for/toward your spouse/partner? Make sense?

          Secondly, portraying women as greedy exploitative whores isn’t exactly a good recommendation.

          For better clarification, the final paragraph was just her and I literally joking, mocking traditional gender-roles and stigmas. She found it funny, I found it HILARIOUS. I sincerely apologize if the mocking offended. It wasn’t intended to; just comic-relief of a sometimes hyper-sensitive subject in which I often feel I am a scuba-diver in full gear… out of water running aimlessly. :/

          Liked by 2 people

  1. I don’t want to speak for Roughseas, but if I were to guess where she has a problem it would be with your adjusted quote. And in some ways you are also being diminishing to men too. So in a way what you have written is worse. Listen, I’ve been on this journey…I take that back, I’m still on the journey because when you grow up and live in a world that is tilted against women, normal is very hard thing to recognize as not correct. So I’m not going to say that what you said is necessarily worse simply because you are trying, and I have tried in the same way in the past and had to realize that I still didn’t have it right. My overall impression was that you sort of tried to swing the other way in making women out to be the giver of life, men are their servants. So in addition to sort of defining women as valued only for their ability to bring life into the world, you have sort of devalued men as well. Because last time I checked I was still pretty important to the process of creating and nurturing a child. Feminism is about equality. And so when I read this I cringed a little because I knew Victoria and Roughseas would give you an ear full again. By now putting women above and men as their servants of protection you are defining roles, but the point is that no such roles need to be defined. Some women don’t want children, and that’s fine. Some men don’t want children and that’s fine. Some women raise children all on their own with no “protector of life” and they do an amazing job. Some men raise children by themselves, the “giver of life” long gone and they do an amazing job. Feminism does not want to see anybody as servants or see men and women as complimentary puzzle pieces, but simply promote the idea that every human being has the right to define their own role and the right of self-determination equally.

    I do agree with what you say at the end. However it should be noted that our ability to do things increases exponentially through cooperation regardless of gender. Again this is just my impression and I could have misunderstood what you are trying to say. And I do know that heart is in the right place. After posting this, Roughseas may have replied to your inquiry so perhaps her and I read this post differently, but I wanted to share my initial thoughts.

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    • Swarn, you are right, I am on full earful direction. I hope I don’t have high blood pressure because it would be stratospheric. This is a huge example of gender binarism by defining women as erotic creatures, pole dancers, and breeders. I don’t give two hoots if this video is said by some woman wearing high heels and displaying her erotic cleavage, it totally demeans women and talks about nothing, absolutely nothing, but their bodies.

      At least it has the advantage of leaving me relatively speechless. But this video, does nothing, NOTHING, for promoting the basic tenets of feminism and gender equality. Would Emily Davidson have stood up and come out with such absolute garbage?

      More to the point. Would any man?

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      • Even though it’s really no laughing matter that your blood is boiling, your description was enjoyable. Lol And I agree, the video was sort of a strange way to introduce a talk about feminism. But then I realized it really wasn’t about feminism.

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        • Well as Roughseas mentioned it is very binary in its presentation. It’s fitting masculine and feminine into categories. Why do that? Look the message of being comfortable in your skin is an important one but why does it only have to be about one’s physical looks? What if a woman doesn’t really want anyone to think about her tits 5 minutes before or her behind 5 minutes after she leaves? What if instead we can anticipate what she has to say, or how she makes us smile, or her sense of humor, and then long for that after she leaves? In an analogy where gender imbalance is a disease, this video essentially teaches us how be positive about the symptoms, rather than getting to the root of the problem. While there are definitely differences on average between men and women we occupy a whole range of characteristics. There are likely women more aggressive than me. Does that mean we should label them as masculine? I am likely more sensitive and emotional than some women. Does that make me feminine? I am biologically male, that’s true, but I simply strive to be a good person and a better person each day. Something I hope everybody aspires to regardless of gender. And when it comes to who I am attracted to, sure there will be a physical aspect, but an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual connection. I am not concerned with with whether that labels her as more feminine or masculine. And I I was attracted to men I shouldn’t be concerned with their degree of masculinity or femininity because such labels are ultimately unnecessary and are likely more harmful because it makes us feel like we have to fit into one category or another instead of just being the people we want to be.

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        • Swarn, I must ask for your patience and grace with me on this, and anyone else that finds my post nauseating, and my comments and questions, my interpretations, etc, offensive or crude, for the moment they are simply my honest raw thoughts with no intent to hurt or shame. I just desire to better understand. So far my first “hang-up” on gender and feminism might be summed up with this analogy…and I beg your patience with me:

          There is no denying that there are apples and oranges, as well as plums, pears, peaches, grapes, bananas, etc. Yes they are “fruit” but they are equally apples, oranges, peaches, etc. How have we learned these differences? By physical appearance, by taste certainly, but also smell, and their biological and elemental compositions. Homo sapiens, and all other Earthly species are certainly a factual part of this Natural diversity. From a DNA level, we cannot even fully detach ourselves from ALL living organic species on Earth! Some animal species don’t even require a “human binary system” or sexual orientation to create descendants! Much of existence on this planet is in many ways not even the least bit dependent on human interpretations, extrapolations, or categorizations! I LOVE THAT FACT!

          So here is my hang-up: from a biological, DNA, and physical point of view, what the hell is wrong with respectfully distinguishing and understanding differences, slight or glaring, like we do with “hometowns” and cultures, while ALSO EMBRACING similarities and/or perfect replication, i.e. equal? I do not see what is wrong with appreciating an apple as an apple, while also appreciating fruit. I’m still confused.

          Now, let me share my thoughts (right, wrong, or neither) about function after asking this question.

          An entity’s function is determined by what or who exactly? Try to cover all the bases.

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    • Listen, I’ve been on this journey…I take that back, I’m still on the journey because when you grow up and live in a world that is tilted against women, normal is very hard thing to recognize as not correct. So I’m not going to say that what you said is necessarily worse simply because you are trying, and I have tried in the same way in the past and had to realize that I still didn’t have it right.

      Swarn, you took many words right out of mouth, but I am so damn high on RED ALERT that my comprehension, analysis, critical-thinking skills are over-heating and losing screws, bolts, and other necessary parts, I don’t frickin’ know which way is up! When this “friend” of mine and I talked and she recommended this TEDx video — she owns and teaches at her own dance studio in Dallas, all ages — it all totally resonated. I felt like I had made a step or two of real progress; exciting! Until Roughseas’ comment. Talk about fatal deflation. 😦

      For some clarity, for what it’s worth… I didn’t like Joseph Campbell’s quote with the words “protect the women”, I preferred protect the service of life, and women bring LIFE in many various ways to my life, NOT just for bearing children, certainly not to be objects to screw! Duh! Honestly, I did not take the entire video, nor Campbell’s quote, to mean purely and narrowly child-bearing life. It meant the essense of ALL of life is made better with equal value, equal creativity… as opposed to patriarchy, obviously, but also antiquated social roles. And what’s inherently wrong with some self-less service for/toward your spouse/partner? Make sense?

      To draw the comparison of slavery servitude into her presentation, I think is to miss the point, the bigger point. But again, I am SUCH a Novice with this right now, my head spins! 😮

      For more clarification, the final paragraph was just her and I literally joking, mocking traditional gender-roles and stigmas. She found it funny, I found it HILARIOUS. I sincerely apologize if the mocking offended. It wasn’t intended to; just comic-relief of a sometimes hyper-sensitive subject in which I often feel I am a scuba-diver in full gear… out of water running aimlessly. :/

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        • Do you mean “Bollocks Sheila Kelley”? Do you mean “bollocks” on what I took from the video? Do you mean “bollocks” to my Friend who recommended such a bollocky video? Do you mean “bollocks” on American gender-roles or American society as a whole? “Bollocks” on ALL OF LIFE and its fucked-up gender-systems or its lack of simply ONE gender to avoid ANY AND ALL confusion and sexism for all known time?

          What exactly? In detail. In civil detail please. And if I exhaust your patience to Super Nova Gamma-burst status Roughseas, tell me. I’ll leave you alone.

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        • On you or me? 😀

          I’m just earnestly trying to understand a subject I struggle with miserably for several different reasons. How best to do it? Must I put on full-armour plating, helmet, and shield — barely able to breath! — or can I sit at the table of enlightment and dialogue? 🙂

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        • It depends where you want to start. Google female oppression? That will give you articles on perspective (often with a class/communist bias) but it won’t tell you about today and 20/21st century thinking. DeadWildRoses has some good posts. ValerieTarico does too, mainly on abortion related issues. I don’t follow any feminist blogs per se so I’m not much use there. Twisty (I blame the patriarchy) is another, but rarely posts these days so it would be a case of reading back. I’ve got mixed views about her. Bit wordy and pretentious for my taste. I’ve dropped out of the forum networks and the last one I was on didn’t allow men anyway. The point is, if you want to sit at the table, shouldn’t you do some homework first?

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        • Yes, yes and yes. To say yes to 4 and 5 would be too much of a generalisation I think.

          But let’s look in more detail.

          Sheila Kelley is in the business of making money from a string of exercise workshops that involve pole-dancing. Therefore she is going to focus on the ‘erotic’ nature of a woman’s body. What you found ‘fantastic’ I found superficial and lacking in content. But, after all, it was merely a twenty minute personal sales promotion.
          How about pole-dancing? While there may well be world championships in it, with less than fifty contenders for the first one, to elevate it to art and sport, is to take away from its main purpose and that is to use women’s bodies to turn men on by wrapping their legs around a phallic symbol. I don’t for a minute argue that it isn’t hard work. But the point is, it’s merely yet another way of objectifying women by their bodies and sexual function or pleasure for men.
          I personally do not like being judged on my tits, arse and three holes. Kelley may not have mentioned the holes but she might as well have done. I would prefer people think of me as that stuck-up self-opinionated cow with two degrees who is overly sarcastic and has compassion for animals. Because, as happens in older age, when my tits and arse sag and are no longer worth looking at, the rest remain, unless I get dementia of course.
          Now, how many male presentations can you find glorifying the eroticism of a male body? How seriously do you think that would be taken? Does anyone even care? If not, why not? Sure, you can go on macho retreats to find your inner self, but does anyone really think there is money in promoting eroticism for men? In fact, going back to pole dancing, businesses that have tried to attract men have failed sadly. What self-respecting man would stand up for twenty minutes and talk about how men need to express their erotic selves? You may think they should, but the fact remains that they don’t. And the reason they don’t, is because as Swarn so eloquently expressed, our societal construct is such that patriarchal dominant values prevail, and they ascribe certain values to men, and others to women. Just to be clear, the main role of women is to be the sexual servant of the men. Therefore, a woman is judged on how good, or how potentially good, she will be in that role. Go back to Kelley’s very telling words about tits and arse. How many male speakers close their talk reminding listeners that what they need to remember, is the size of their cock when they walk into the room and the tightness of their arse as they leave?
          Kelley is an actress and a trained dancer. She is not a respected academic, a feminist, or a speaker for anyone apart from herself. Please do not confuse feminism with women’s sexuality. Feminism is about overt and subtle daily discrimination. It’s about education, health care, access to free contraception, abortion rights and total bodily autonomy. It’s about having the same rights that men take for granted. It’s about not being purely valued for your body and the ability to wrap yourself around a pole for someone else’s gratification.

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        • Roughseas & Swarn,

          I’m here, and apologies for WordPress’s comment format; this has become a difficult discussion thread to sort. Ugh!

          Let me read over carefully what you’ve both written, then I’ll respond, perhaps in a new comment thread addressed to you. Thank you for taking the time for this! ❤

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        • Ugh, I can’t respond to the comments further down, but I’ll reply here to see if I can take what Roughseas said and look at it from another angle.

          In your statement you say “empowering women to express their natural eroticism in an otherwise oppressing traditionally pious puritanical society”. Let’s take a look at that statement. Puritanism suppressed not only the body of women, but also the mind. Really limiting their freedom of expression in general. Limiting their freedom of choice. Denying them their rights of self-determination. So when you hold up the Sheila Kelley talk as an exciting example of empowerment for women one can say sure it’s perhaps a positive step in that women are free to be openly erotic, but it’s sort of a very small victory. It’s a bit like saying that it’s exciting we live in a time where a woman can be on the cover of a magazine and be dressed provocatively and wear very little clothing. I guess, but it still paints a sort of one-dimensional picture of women. What’s more exciting is women have the freedom to choose how they want to express themselves. But we still live in a society where it is not more acceptable for a woman to display her cleavage than her leadership skills, her knowledge of physics, or her desire not to want children.

          Now let’s take a look at “natural eroticism”. What does that mean? Is the only thing erotic about a woman her body? Maybe you find it erotic, and that’s great, but it doesn’t have to define eroticism. And how natural is it. Perhaps you were simply raised to only find eroticism in a woman’s body over the eroticism that might be present in her mind, her inner strength, her character. Maybe you are just as much of a victim of appreciating that one dimension of eroticism in a woman, because you were raised to think of masculinity in a one dimensional way as well. I am sure there are many women who find certain physical aspects of a man erotic, but as Roughseas says there is little expectation or pressure for men to display such eroticism so why should women be expected to be erotic in that way and Sheila Kelley seems to be promoting.

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        • Swarn, I was reading your comment, and the thought struck me. We have taken similar but different approaches to this topic. I wondered whose view would carry most credence. I was reminded of the Professor’s last post about being a macho man discussing with other similar alphas. If we had no visual avatars, how do people think? I know women who use non-descriptive names and images and people assume they are men … because they write, sensibly? Lucidly? Logically. Wittily? It’s very damning when that happens. I’m sidetracking somewhat, but I thought there was a vague relevance. It’s all really about inbuilt gender expectation.

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        • That is in an interesting point. If I’m honest with myself I will admit to perhaps assigning gender based on certain expectations. Often stylistically, but then I have to catch myself to remember that what might be on average true, is not necessarily true. It takes actual mental discipline to train yourself out of it and it gets better over time. I do know that I would say similar things here regardless of the gender of my audience so I feel that’s a good start in removing your expectations on the gender of the writer, by making sure that my own writing is the same sort of reasoning that I expect everyone, regardless of gender could understand.

          I am reminded also of a time when I was in grad school when another grad student who I had never met and worked in a different building sent out an e-mail to everybody who collaborated on a field project if there was any interest in a T-shirt to commemorate the project. I e-mailed back my interested and I was responded to with a compliment “you have a very pretty name”. Given that my name is Indian an the gender is not clear (actually in my dad’s culture they don’t have gender specific names…at least historically) he decided to take a chance. This is largely a function of there being limited amounts of women in the field (especially at that time) and your typical introverted nerd who thought that might be the best way to get my attention. But I think it might be natural to try and humanize the person behind an ambiguous source, and that means also assigning some sort of gender. I mean even if I know it’s a man or a woman, if I don’t know what they look like I will form some sort of image. Given the gender stereotypes you associate with that, this can be of course problematic.

          In terms of how I approach the subject I would say while it is different than your approach I find both approaches more like…well apples and oranges. 🙂 Ultimately we are both a product of our experiences and education and so we may simply have arrived at the same conclusions through different sources, and you have the added benefit of much more personal experience. Also I guess the teacher in me has also looked at your responses and intentionally tried not to repeat the same arguments because I feel a learner benefits from multiple perspectives as opposed to just trying the same perspective repeatedly.

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        • I am going to be honest with you Roughseas because on subjects like this, honesty streamlines productive dialogue despite TEMPORARY emotional verbage. ❤

          I have been more willing to discuss my language flaws and shortcomings on feminism/gender-issues with Swarn because his comments & replies are… less reactionary at first or second. I don't FEEL as 'defensive' when he writes to me and hence, my heart-felt listening and absorption are more porous than with your current verbage and written tone. Nonetheless, I will take a bit more time responding (as I've already done) to your comments, BUT… I most certainly will respond — and please don't point-out the irrelevant gender difference between you and Swarn.

          There you have it. My raw honesty, with due respect. 🙂

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        • And that is exactly the response I was hoping you would not type. :/

          I’m admitting again, I obviously have language flaws and shortcomings regarding feminism & gender-issues… excluding political LGBT rights. 🙂

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        • In fact I’ll be honest. I don’t know if you are familiar with the “I fucking love science” page on Facebook. I am one of the ones who was surprised that a woman started that page. Not because it celebrates a love of science, but because of “fucking” being in the title of the page. So I’m still a work in progress. No question.

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        • See that’s why you are a step above. I don’t really think the crudeness is necessary and probably turns away some of the more conservative Christians who could actually benefit from reading some of the more wondrous things we know about in the universe. But for whatever reason I expect men to be more crude. Probably related to some prim and proper stereotype…although my mom carefully tried to enforce that to make sure that both me and my sister were prim and proper.

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        • I am posting something here, because I wanted to post a link for both you and the Professor. Because I think you both will find it fascinating regardless of what intuitive or academic knowledge you have about the subject I think it’s a worth while listen as it addresses expectations and how much expectations shape behavior. So whether those expectations are based on gender or not expectations can make a huge difference and are something we have to pay attention to in all areas of our life. There is a great podcast on NPR called Invisibilia and this podcast episode is on expectations. It is an hour long, but since we all give 20 minutes to Sheila Kelley you can find an hour for this…its fascinating stuff http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/378577902/how-to-become-batman?showDate=2015-01-23

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        • Agreed Roughseas. And some people simply refer students to other libraries, authors, visionaries, etc., for a lonely homework experience. They are possibly too busy, yes. They may also be ‘above’ having to teach, to bring along such naive new-comers, yes. It’s all acceptable true, but no where NEAR as impactful or memorable as the human touch, voice, and heart. 🙂

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        • First, I can’t thank you enough Swarn for the time, effort, and eloquent style you’ve included in your comment replies! Thank you, thank you!

          Is it surprising that I find NOTHING at all wrong, offensive, off-target, etc, with any bit of your last 2 comments? Truly, I might have written similar things, but in (slightly/less slightly?) different language-construction based on my personal culture, i.e. familial culture, socio-political culture, geographical culture, etc. impressions followed by my brain’s ability to sort it, formulate it, and apply it — which will certainly have levels of error!

          What I’ve digested so far from your comments and am ready to ‘spit out’ 😉 … is that all these “constructs” we have of the world and the people around us, is VERY fluid. The minute I feel I have a great concept/construct about my interactions, 30-minutes later, tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade, next century, will likely appear, sound, taste, feel, smell SLIGHTLY and/or ENTIRELY different than my original thesis! And if THAT isn’t fluid enough for me/you, groups-of-consensus both majority and minority, ALSO screw-up your brain’s finalized concept/construct! Return to step 1 and repeat. LOL

          Therefore, how best to manage the fluid interactions within a puddle, creek, river, sea, or ocean of seemingly endless changing organic beings, all influencing each other to some, great, or in-between… degrees. Now, when something goes wrong or hurts in such a FLUID existence of beings… seeking “higher roads” might/should/would be evolutionary, possibly revolutionary, AND/OR erroneously perfect. Does that warrant war? Does that warrant abuse? Does that warrant tantrums? Does it warrant poise? Does it warrant a specific modified conditioning?

          That’s where I am at… today. Tomorrow? Certainly not the same as before. 🙂

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        • I think that’s very well said Professor. There is a lot of input out there and it is natural for us to try and sort it out. Return to step 1 and repeat could be said to be very like what the scientific method asks us to do. It’s the in between that we get caught up in. When do we know we need to return to step 1 and repeat? And I think we can answer this question in a number of ways. Our are concepts causing harm and suffering. Definitely time to go back to the drawing board. What about the lack of women in fields like physics and engineering. Is the world worse off? Perhaps not perceptibly so. But we then have to ask ourselves why are there less women in those fields? Are there genetic reasons for this to be so? And even if there was could we develop methods that over some basic behavioral characteristic? How do our expectations limit the wants and desires of other people? Now somewhere there is a woman who loves physics and could be really good at it, or is really good at it, and somewhere there is a male teacher who expects her to not be good at it. Perhaps he’s not even consciously misogynistic, but every physicist he’s known has been a man, so he assumes that women just aren’t good at it. So there is harm here, even if that woman is most likely going to cover it up, perhaps figure the battle isn’t worth. Perhaps figure that she needs to be able to pursue some career that will help her family and thus takes a different route instead of taking up the fight to become a physicist. This does not need to be this way. So thus we must also question our constructs to see if they are faulty in their construction even if the harm is not easily perceptible. We must also remember that time and time again we prove that cooperation combined with diversity of thought elevates us to new levels, and there is an important level of diversity we are missing in the arts, in the sciences, in government. Something is wrong. And it could be that Sheila Kelley, while perhaps being very well meaning in her drive to empower women, isn’t really advancing the human cause. That’s the ultimate goal of feminism. To advance the cause of humanity to reduce suffering by making sure all facets of our world are representative of the population. So that we all feel like we have an equal voice in the world. Because in the end we will all sink or swim together.

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        • Because in the end we will all sink or swim together.

          Swarn, I stand applauding yelling “BRAVO! BRAVO!” for all that you’ve just typed/stated! Your style draws the discussion away from polarization, and into a production of inclusive collaboration… WHILE embracing our fluid human nature, as perfect and imperfect as we are!

          But I especially like that final sentence! It is almost incomprehensibly TRUE! I often feel that your stated truth there, has only ONE/TWO major enemy/enemies:

          Fear with judgment.

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        • I would say also ignorance and indifference. Some people out there just don’t get it that we are all on this rock together and how we treat each other everywhere might actually matter.

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        • Some people out there just don’t get it that we are all on this rock together and how we treat each other everywhere might actually matter.

          True Swarn. And HOW we communicate to each other during conflict/misalignment/diversity is BEYOND critical, HAH, maybe the difference between progress or failure, peace or war, love or hate, more fear and less courage or the reverse. I have learned one BIG lesson

          I sometimes see the world and people unconciously through my own narrow lens and unwittingly portray that onto them, life, and this world. THAT will not get me too far fast will it? LOL 😦 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to answer your question here, because the comment box is longer, and there is probably no quick way to answer your questions. First though let me say that I am enjoying the discussion, take no offense, feel any impatient, or pass in judgment. You are who you are and I appreciate you for that and have no need to see you in any other way than the way you want to be, and simply appreciate your inquisitiveness.

    Alright so let’s talk DNA. Now if you want to talk about the difference between male and female, this is a different discussion than between men and women. One is biology, and the other is a social construct. Now if you want to talk about genetic differences that lead to physical differences like penises, testicles, prostates vs vaginas, uteruses, cervices, mammaries, etc then sure we can make some pretty distinct differences between male and female. Is that what determines why you love someone? Perhaps the type of love, but attachments can be strong between family, friends and romantic partners, and such physical differences have little to say about that. If we focus on romantic love then sure you want your romantic partner to have a vagina. Great…but is that why you would appreciate her? Probably not. Makes for a bad inscription on a card, and doesn’t go over very well when you give her the reasons why you want to marry her. Because there are lots of females with vaginas out there, I’m sure she’s looking for you to say something a little more personal. Lesbians have vaginas, there are transgenders with vaginas, so a vagina isn’t likely going to be the criteria you are most interested in when looking for that special someone. I guarantee you there are things very particular to her that are the reasons why you are attracted to her and love her. Now there are probably a ton of things that you like in a woman that is compatible for you as a romantic partner. But does what you find attractive define femininity. If you like a woman who is tall and slender is that the definition of femininity? If you like a woman who is sensitive or demure or whatever, that’s good for you, but certainly doesn’t define what is feminine just as you yourself don’t define what is masculine.

    What we define as masculine and feminine are stereotypes and even if we could say they represent the differences between men and women on average, that is just on average. For every average there are those that are one side of the mean and those on the other side. For “average” masculine, and “average” feminine. And so it seems likely that there will be some overlap and there is. But then there is the second problem that arises. These things are not purely genetic. Nature and nurture cannot be separated. They are intertwined and so to what degree our “average” characteristics are natural and environmental cannot be easily parsed out. What we do know is that the right environment can completely overwrite some genetic background. If we start early enough we can turn a boy born genetically with all the hyper aggressiveness of a football player and raise him as a bookish nerd, and take a baby girl born with a sweet and gentle disposition genetically and turn her into a gruff female body builder, with the right environment. We also know that in hunter-gatherer societies are very egalitarian and while division of labor was often done by gender. Men didn’t hunt all that often and did a lot gathering. And there are case studies of tribes where women did the hunting and men did the gathering, and they were pretty good at hunting. And it seems that men and women had at least some knowledge of the other genders skill set in case of emergency in more desperate times.

    So if we go to your fruit analogy which is somewhat problematic from the get go since no fruit is a sentient being with it’s desires and wants but let’s talk about apples and oranges. Let’s say apple is female and orange is male. In the human tapestry there are a WIDE range of apples and a WIDE range of oranges. There are sweet apples and tart apples, just as there are sweet oranges and tart oranges with all degrees of sweet to tart in between. There are some apples that taste a lot like oranges, and there are oranges that taste a lot like apples. There are apples who think they are oranges, and there are oranges who think they are apples. And there are fruits which have the peel of an orange and inside is an apple, and fruits that have the peel of an apple and inside are oranges. And then there are even some fruits where you look at it and seems a little orangish and a little applish and it’s really just “happy” being ambiguous and that’s okay too. So you can appreciate apples for being apples and oranges for being oranges…but chances are what you really like is just a certain type of apple. That’s what you really want, and that’s cool, but why should the apple you like be the definition of an apple, especially when that apple might be sweet, but others like their apples more tart. And all the different types of apples really just want to be respected and not be told they all need to be like one type of apple. And the oranges who think they are apples, also wanted to be treated like an apple, because that’s how THEY feel. There are different types of apples out there for everyone, because everyone has different tastes, so just let the apples be and don’t worry so much about defining them. Just find what you like. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate the wide range of women out there and am attracted to a far wider range than when I was younger, when I felt femininity was a very narrow band of qualities to me. And more to the point, back when I thought a definition of femininity was important. If I were to build the ideal looking woman that I’m attracted to physically she would not look like my wife. Fortunately my wife is much more beautiful than that, for all the things she is. And a lot of that has very little to do with “feminine” characteristics. She has many qualities I admire, enjoy, and share. While it is important based on my sexual orientation that she is female, I am not overly concerned with defining any of her qualities as feminine. She is handier than I am around the house. She’s a better driver than I am. Do any of those make me less of a man or her less of a woman? Of course not. So you can appreciate the type of woman you like and still appreciate all women, nobody is saying you can’t, but the type of woman you like isn’t necessarily the definition of what a woman is.

    Finally in answer to your question “An entity’s function is determined by what or who exactly?” I would say by themselves. So one gender doesn’t need to decide what the other is all about. Social constructs of categorizations are part of how our minds operate, but that doesn’t mean that they truly represent reality. And isn’t that really what categorizing, labeling and stereotyping does? Makes things easier and simpler. But life isn’t so easy or simple and in the end we would do well to remember to loosen our grip on where one category ends and another begins, because as we understand life and humanity better, the lines begin to blur to the point where we see that maybe we shouldn’t be drawing any lines at all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Swarn & Roughseas,

      I’m here, and apologies for WordPress’s comment format; this has become a difficult discussion thread to sort. Ugh!

      Let me read over carefully what you’ve both written, then I’ll respond, perhaps in a new comment thread addressed to you. Thank you for taking the time for this! ❤

      Like

  3. This is all still very difficult for me and without a doubt, I want to resolve HOW to become a more respectful and sensitive person to an obvious social problem, a problem that seems to be more acute in the U.S., particularly the South and pockets of random regions in the nation, and certainly within MY OWN language and interactions with diverse peoples.

    No matter how badly or how frequently I flub-up, I will continue to push-through and away from my narrow-mindedness. Patience and integrity are appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to be patient with your inherent sexism. Really? I’ll just spend my time explaining to you all about oppression because you really want to help and it’s not your fault and … and … and women are a social problem? It’s difficult for you? That you don’t understand? How difficult do you think it is for women? I need to be patient with you because you don’t understand sexism?

      You may wish to remove your foot from your mouth at some point.

      I’ve already told you. Just read and learn. Then come back for the advanced class. No, forget that, the intermediate one. I doubt you’ll make advanced.

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      • At first my initial reaction was to dissect your comment, bring into question, agree in parts, challenge and correct in others, etc… but after my reply was getting lengthy and read more like a lot of ‘bothered gritty stonewall-ish’ emotion, I trashed it and started over with this…

        I accept your perspective Roughseas with this blog-post and my previous blog-post. Thank you for sticking around despite how frustrating and “unbelievable” it has been for you. I do recognize your’s & women’s negative personal experiences from sexism, as well as your/women’s fight and campaign to change it. Shouldn’t it be my fight too? I wish to be a small or large part of that change, but I’ve also now learned that I probably should NOT be on the front-lines of that battle without more “training.” For a Participator and a less-than Spectator, that’s not always easy for me. :/

        With that said, I wish in a way I were pansexual! Perhaps then I’d have more suitable, more agreeable language and etiquette with this planet’s extremely diverse populations. But I’m not. I am flawed with moments of tragedy, and maybe fewer moments of brilliance. That’s clear and all I can say, again, I very much require patience through this subject. If not with you, then someone else or some other activist. Either way, your feedback is always welcomed… even as highly charged as it is. 😉

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    • 😦 My hope is that sometime, or one day, your comment here would instead read…

      Professor, there might be hope for you after all. Keep up the hard, resilient progress, and don’t let ANY mean angered naysayers stop you!

      Just as there are a plethora of diverse beings on this planet, there are many methods of effective motivation as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, Professor, I was going to start out on how much I appreciated the post and how much I appreciated the video. NOW, after reading all the comments, I am going to comment on your original post, what I perceived as your intent for the post, and how the string of comments seems to remind me a bit of a runaway train, along with the havoc that such a runaway train can wreak (maybe the wrong idiom, but you (and others) will get my point.)

    Let me begin with what I thought of your post. I know what you were trying to do and I believe you succeeded with many. Correct me if I am wrong, but I got that women should think more of themselves. They should realize they are powerful and have the capability to show themselves equal to anyone: male or female. Yes, women are feminine creatures and, according to Sheila Kelley’s video, if they can properly embrace the femininity with all it encompasses, then they can become a powerful creature. Like she said, they can become the “Hero in their lives”.

    I enjoyed her video and shared it with some others because of the message I perceived. We women need to stop getting hung up on our bodies, need to stop allowing others (again both male and female) to carve our own opinions of ourselves. Further, unlike the other folks’ comments here, I did not see this video as her preaching you have to have a good body. She was being tongue-in-cheek with breasts first, ass after. Her point was no matter what your body type, be proud of yourself. In fact, it made me think of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. Ms. Kelley is trying to get that message across. My take anyway. FURTHER, and just as important, she made a point to state that once a woman can embrace her femininity and, yes, her sexuality it can enhance her relationship with her partner. The two become a powerful unit together. It inures to everyone’s benefit.

    Now the runaway train: I read your blogs and the comments from your regulars and many times I am shaking my head in agreement with them. This time though, not so much. To begin with, I am really irritated by the mean spirited attack on your responses when you are obviously trying hard to please? accommodate? I am not sure of the particular word I am trying to put my fingers on, but you are bending over backwards to try to see the point of view that is being blasted – vehemently blasted, I might add. Here is where you need to realize that although your heart and your head is in the right place on the subject, with what you are trying to convey – it is not going to matter to some people. You can do or say nothing right to someone who is so blinded by rage on the subject. You’re wasting your time. Earlier it was discussed that fluidity is a virtue (not quite in those words), but there are times with being too fluid accomplishes nothing but a puddle that needs to be cleaned up. AND, with some puddles, others are bound to slip and fall and do some serious damage.

    The damage that this runaway train is causing is that the anger behind the message deludes the point. I consider myself a feminist. However, I also know from my backwoods upbringing – in the country – that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. There are ways to educate on the validity how women are demeaned, devalued, mistreated and how the sexes are so misaligned as to not understand each other most of the time, but when people are beaten over the head with the message in such a vicious manner, no one wants to hear it and the message is lost. Ms. Kelley was/is using honey to get across a message that woman are the ones with the ability to empower themselves. They just have to grab hold of it and do it.

    Finally, Professor, I appreciate that you try so hard to understand us. It is not an easy task because men and women really are so different. Considering your pastime 😉 it seems dichotomous that you are so in touch with that side of us. Please keep on with what you are doing. There are so very many of us who see what you’re trying to do and who appreciate it. Bravo to you, my friend, because you are a wonderful and rare breed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A sincere thanks LoneStar for your kind support and encouragement. 🙂

      I have a desire to understand most things and understand most people to a level that goes well beyond the conventional, well beyond status quo. Digging for an intimacy of people & things can obviously be slippery, particularly when I am the one without a map or just as bad, the wrong map. 😮

      One lesson I’m learning so far is that modern feminism could very well be globally standardized, i.e. clear sharp distinctions, but it seems to me so far it is also varied relative to the immdediate region’s social, political language & landscape. Hence, my referral to various forms of flow/fluidity into one big ocean: the global standard. Obviously, the further evolved (for lack of a better term) one region becomes… the bigger & sharper the distinctions between regions & cultures. I know oh so well how the fluid status quo is VERY different in Texas, the South, and parts of the U.S. as opposed to other regions of the world. Texans, myself included, are certainly behind (less evolved?) 😉 than other cultures in some/many social political areas, but those differences do not have to define human groups as “impossible” or no hope at all for the next era of enlightenment! Just like de-evolution or barbarism, Enlightenment is also not at all exclusive to any one region. For that matter, enlightenment ALSO comes in various forms/fluids. 😉

      As has been seen from these last two posts, I still have much to learn and digest before I can become one of Feminism’s graduated allies. But on the general public battlefield of Feminism vs. Sexism, there is no doubt where my loyalties are fixed. On the smaller intimate levels, however, I can be a fish out of water gasping for air. :/ I just hope my Feminism friends will push me (kick me) back into the water — I certainly can do no good left out of it, can I? 😉

      Like

      • So many words. Reading so many bantering opinions smothers me. The Professor knows that if I respond to a blog…something is REALLY pressing on my heart.

        I am not aware of how many of you have an actual (in person) relationship with the Professor, but I do. He is a compassionate man TOTALLY in touch with the kind of feminine power of which Kelley speaks (which is a rare quality in a man).

        I hope that the responders in this blog take the time to study their words to HEAR the tone and type of emotionalism you are putting out there. I believe in the theory of doing all you do in love. If you truly want to have an impact on the world with your values and beliefs, you have to back them up and share them in love. (I know you do lonestarlove — your response reveals a deep happiness in your soul).

        I thrive on happiness and personal confidence and I hope that everyone in this string of responses has a slice of happiness to hold on to in this world of judgement and preconception.

        **Please pardon my sunny outlook 😃😃. I’m not a blogger or one to lay my opinion out there in type very often. I hope you all have mercy on me (or ignore me).**

        Liked by 2 people

        • MomDistracted, I am so glad you posted. I love what you said to me: “your response reveals a deep happiness in your soul.” I never thought of it that way. Thank you for that perspective.:) I do believe I will have to agree with you. I also want to express that a “sunny outlook” is ALWAYS great to read. Shame on those who may not feel that way, but I would much rather be around a happy person. You should not be ignored. 🙂 Any, when you write to defend our dear Professor, all the more reason to reach out and express your thoughts. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • **Please pardon my sunny outlook 😃😃. I’m not a blogger or one to lay my opinion out there in type very often. I hope you all have mercy on me (or ignore me).**

          No! There will be no such pardon unless you become a FANATICAL blogger constantly agreeing with me! 😈 😉

          Seriously though MomDistracted, thank you for your kind feedback & encouragement. You are a great friend… of what(?) 26-years… both in-person, phone, and all the never-ending day-dreams you have about me!? 😛

          Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, dear Professor. Here is where I will have to chime in further. Different perspectives of a topic could very well be regional, but that does not make them “less evolved.” I am a pretty enlightened person – a female person – who firmly believes that women should have the same rights as a man and be treated the same as a man when comes to the those rights, e.g. same work, same pay or, reverting to a post of Swarn’s on a prior blog: the same respect if doing the same work in the same field (Physics was his example).

        As you can tell because you know me, I like to paint pictures with words. I think that pictures stick with a person long after the words are gone. So, I am going to make another illustration/picture here. Believe me I do beat the drum of feminism, hoping the meaning of the beats reaches receptive ears. Am I less evolved because my drumbeat is different? Does it make me less enlightened because I like a slow subtle beat? I do not beat it loud and viciously – that has a tendency to scare others away – when what I want to do is invite. The type of beat that invites the opposite sex to dance with me to that beat, to learn from it while I whisper my point of view in his ear so as to really, get his attention? Am I wrong if I use my sexual being to get him to understand my point of view of feminism? It can be done.  My point is, just because I may be from Texas (transplanted in Florida), my only difference in my view and expression for this very necessary topic is how I beat my drum; the delivery of the drumbeat to those to whom I come in contact. 😉 I have four daughters and I try to educate them to be strong, independent women, so I beat my drum differently for them. I do it in a way that gets their attention, draws them in to hear the rest of the song…

        You keep on fighting the cause in the way you do, dear friend. Reading your reply to my post makes me think you see yourself as a diamond in the rough – not so. You are so much more finished, more polished than most men I know. You keep doing what you’re doing… you are appreciated AND, I know you are still appreciated by those who beat their drum madly… I’ve seen their respect of you in other posts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you again LoneStar for your further kind words for me on this necessary subject.

          I want to be cautious though that this speeding train — to borrow your earlier analogy — doesn’t lose any (more?) wheels or derail despite how inexperienced the train’s Conductor (me) drives it. The social-political hot-buttons I/we might trigger could well cause “a wreck” or near wreck, yes, but that wouldn’t help much would it? I still want important elements of human honesty about Feminism vs. Sexism from THOSE people who have suffered through it! In other words, the high-charged emotion behind those experiences are always VALID and should be heard! Why? Why do I still want them shared? Because I — and I hate to say it — am a male who has NOT suffered to the same extent what many/most women have suffered for some or most of their lives. If anything, I’m learning that I had a part in its perpetuation, big or small, at various times in my life publicly AND intimately 1-on-1 or in small groups. I now want to be expertly aware in the future. I’ve been given some extensive homework about it and have much to read when time allows.

          Therefore LoneStar and MomDistracted, even though I might accidentally push hot-buttons, or agitate feminists with my naivety, in the end I’d much rather be working with individual “raw truths” than diluted ones. If my feelings get hurt, fine. They’re temporary. I seriously doubt that my boyish feelings compare to some of the pain-levels women have been put through. Unless I’m psychic, how else am I going to REALLY understand what it’s like for a woman? They should feel comfortable to tell me like it is, give it to me straight. And I have to make myself available to learn through smooth and rough times, equally. That’s what some of my blog followers and commentators have been through personally. I must respect that and I’d ask anyone else here to do the same — those persons don’t know me “in the flesh” like you or MomDistracted. 🙂

          Nonetheless, I appreciate your two’s concern for my well-being as I tip-toe through this minefield in my full scuba gear. Please keep your body-baskets on standby for parts I might or will probably lose. 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  5. What often amazes me about discussions of various sorts is how much one is focused on their own opinion without giving consideration to that of others. More so, how one uses one’s own worldview to interpret and give meaning (often not what was intended) to what others say.

    Perhaps “amazes” is not the right term. Is there a term for indicating being “frustrated by having one’s words and intent distorted by others who look to put their own interpretation on one’s own character and mindset?”

    I’ve gradually gravitated to minimizing serious discussions because it’s much easier approaching everything with humor and not caring what others might think me to be. What I then lack in friends is made up by peace of mind and the freedom to not change myself to please others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What often amazes me about discussions of various sorts is how much one is focused on their own opinion without giving consideration to that of others. More so, how one uses one’s own worldview to interpret and give meaning (often not what was intended) to what others say.

      Indeed. Your great point reminds me of the children’s game “Telephone” where all the kids sit in a big circle, one child starts the game whispering a sentence in the kid’s ear next to them, and so on around the circle. I’m sure you know the outcome. Point being, our sense-preceptors — at any age — can most certainly be biased and imperfect, intentionally or not.

      Perhaps “amazes” is not the right term. Is there a term for indicating being “frustrated by having one’s words and intent distorted by others who look to put their own interpretation on one’s own character and mindset?”

      A good question Disperser. What I often do or try to do is ask first, sometimes asking several questions just to be extra sure I understand. Then there are times when all my numerous questions are interpreted as patronizing or agitating. Sometimes you can never win. LOL 😉

      I’ve gradually gravitated to minimizing serious discussions because it’s much easier approaching everything with humor and not caring what others might think me to be. What I then lack in friends is made up by peace of mind and the freedom to not change myself to please others.

      That is perfectly understandable, and I cannot argue your adjusted position of said discussions. Wise. There are certain topics (e.g. SSC BDSM) where I pick-n-choose my battles as well for the exact same reasons you give. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, apologies! I do it partly to maintain a bit of privacy (protection?) and partly out of respect for other’s… whose stomachs are more sensitive and easily offended. 🙂

          Like

        • Offending me is a difficult task. Many have tried and failed. I typically welcome the challenge.

          I can, however, easily be grossed out. For example, by someone putting marinara sauce on a perfectly good plate of pasta, or anyone eating onions as if they were apples.

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