Flinders Ranges under cloud Nov 2014. North of Merna Mora on the way to Brachina, looking east.

Women- What have we learned?

On a mudmap, this topic constitutes our present experience. Present experience usually includes mystification at how our partner 'ticks,' if not great pain in the relationship. For gay couples I can only begin to guess at what the issues might be here. But for male - female couples I think a critical element in our relationships, and our pain, is the attitude we blokes have learned about women.

Let me quote an excerpt from another article

I was down the beach one beautiful still morning when I met a really nice, gentle bloke, who often swims, too. We both watched someone swimming right out past the pontoon, over the 'blue line' toward the pellet plant jetty. "I hope you don't go swimming out there," said the man. "You take your life in your hands out there. If he gets a cramp, he's dead." "If it's up to my chest, that's deep enough", I said. "Besides, then you can still run ashore if a shark turns up!"

Sharks.... He began to tell me of a boating friend who once found a large white pointer lurking under the pontoon. We talked of the common fear all beach swimmers have in the back of their mind. What really struck me when the subject changed to sharks was not the depth of his feeling; I shared that! It was the way he expressed it. His fear, his anger, his loathing of sharks, was all expressed in terms of female genitals.

I'd heard it before in the pubs. Men hate women, it seems. And they are afraid of them. Their deepest anger and loathing is expressed in terms of female genitals, sexual union, and especially, by the language used to describe menstruation. And there it was again, that morning on the beach. Not from some yobbo in the pub, but in a well spoken, gentle man. I had thought I would have liked him in the congregation.

I have begun to learn that this hatred is very deep, and very common. It is endemic in our society, although usually hidden below the surface. And again and again at its roots it seems to be linked to the reproductive biology of women. Our society is rife with the hatred of women; it's not just the yobs.

I remember University College. It was seen as a joke to lift a girl over your shoulders and carry her out to the showers. We 'men' ruled.

The college Master's wife once questioned this behaviour. He said, "Oh, I think they enjoy it!" Those of us at the table were treated to a fascinating response from his wife! This was in the early 70's. Now such a thing might result in sexual harassment charges.

My experience of my own youth, and of marriage preparation classes, and counselling, is that we men almost constantly treat women as 'different.' And by different, I mean, somewhat second class. I question whether any really healthy relationship cans exist with a woman with that attitude at its foundation.

Mapping Questions:
1 What have I learned about women in my growing up?
2 What unjustified assumptions do I bring into my relationship?

May 1999

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