Are the realities of male and female opposite the modern stereotypes?
This is probably the most appropriate, most perfect subject we could ever examine on YourTango — a site so deeply devoted to sexuality and male-female relationships. Besides that, it's one of the most crucial and fundamental subjects to almost everyone on planet Earth. Most of us spend a lot of our time thinking about this in one way or another, and we realize that men and women generally have very different tendencies, different priorities, perceptions, ways of thinking, etc.
We try to understand each other, so that our male-female relationships will be more successful. But our understanding seems to be very lacking — and I think I know why. It seems to me that, in modern society, the nature of male and female is portrayed and seen as exactly the opposite of what it really is. If we accept that portrayal, no wonder we're confused!
I would like to present here, as briefly and simply as I can, my basic view of reality — and how male and female fit into it — and then ask for comments from readers.
Yin and Yang / Earth and Heaven
There's a very ancient understanding of the way in which everything in our world comes into being and functions. Everything is seen to be created and affected by the interaction of two fundamental forces. Since a very long time ago these forces have been called Yin and Yang, or Earth and Heaven. We stand here between the two — Earth below us and Heaven above — and both affect everything about us.
Earth is known as Great Yin — being an energy of great contraction, density, inwardness, magnetism, gathering and holding. Heaven is known as Great Yang — being an energy of great expansion, lightness, outwardness, electricity, radiating and releasing.
Everything is greatly influenced by these two forces; in fact, we can say that everything is made up of these two forces. We can call them Heaven and Earth, or spiritual and material, or wave and particle forces. Everything is composed of these two forces; and the ratio of the two and how they interact in a particular thing determine the nature of that thing. For example, a pumpkin is more expansive than a carrot root (or, the carrot root is more contractive than the pumpkin). We can say that the pumpkin shows more "heavenly" influences, and the carrot root shows more "earthly" influences.
We can, of course, make use of this concept to understand the nature of male and female, also. Understanding men and women in relation to these fundamental energies is not nearly as simple as understanding pumpkins and carrots ... but it's a worthwhile endeavor.
For starters, we need to realize that no one is completely male or completely female. Each of us is a fantastically complex mixture of the two energies, on all levels — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. In fact, we've all probably observed that some men seem more feminine than masculine, and some women seem more masculine than feminine. But, in general, we can identify certain things as characteristic of maleness and others as characteristic of femaleness.
Male and Female Nature
By "nature" I mean the inherent characteristics of male and female; the most basic, fundamental tendencies of each. Physically, of course, we distinguish male and female by the sexual organs. Male organs grow outward, female organs grow inward. Sexually, the form and function of the male organs are more expansive and releasing, while the female organs are more contractive, grabbing, holding, nurturing. These organs and these characteristics are present before our birth, and they constitute our basic nature.
We could say, then, that the nature of what we call "male" is more yang, more open, more heavenly, more spiritual ... and the nature of what we call "female" is more yin, more dense, more earthly, more material.
Is that a surprising statement? Were you thinking it's just the opposite? The common stereotype is that men are beefy blockheads, right? They're the ones who are dense and earthly! Women are the heavenly ones, dainty creatures of sweetness and light....
Yes — that's exactly my point! Somewhere along the way, our expectations of males and females got switched ... and now we can't understand why our male-female relationships are so difficult and confusing.
A long time ago, it was much easier to see the nature of male and female — because males were super-masculine and females were super-feminine. Men and women even referred to each other as "my other half." (In fact, they were doing that as recently as my childhood!) But the course of history is taking us to a point of completeness in ourselves — where men and women will no longer need each other for completion. In other words, the trend is for all of us to be more evenly balanced between male and female characteristics.
What has happened, it seems to me, is that we have confused our basic male and female natures with our balancing mechanisms. We observe that men eat more hunks of meat, for instance, and women eat more salads — and we conclude that men are therefore more dense and physical, and women are lighter and more ethereal. Or we notice that men are less talkative than women. BUT, here's what people don't understand: Men are eating those hunks of meat precisely because the nature of men is more ethereal...! They eat the meat (which is earthy and contractive) in order to balance their natural lightness and expansiveness! And the women eat the salads (which are light and expansive) in order to balance their natural earthiness and density. Then the contractive energy of the meat makes the men less talkative, and the expansive energy of the salad makes the women more talkative.
We are all constantly seeking balance. Every creature that is more expansive by nature will inevitably be drawn to contractive things, in order to make balance; and every creature that is more contractive by nature will be drawn to expansive things, for the same reason. What has happened in modern times is that we've mistaken the balancing mechanisms of male and female for the true nature.
All through history, traditional societies seem to have understood the true nature of male and female. The female was in charge of the household and the "earthly" possessions — food, clothing, shelter, and everything of physical value (because her nature was more "earthly") — and, of course, bearing the children. The male did the hunting, and raced out to do battle with any enemies (expansive stuff: throwing and shooting weapons, etc.) — and was in charge of spiritual matters.
Even in today's much more androgynous partnerships, the more-female of the pair is in charge of the household and the money; and, in plenty of cases, this person happens to be the husband.
In most cases, though, the woman is still the more earthy one. The female body is much better designed and equipped for the pleasures of the flesh (though often the male is the one who shows more interest in them — another example of seeking to balance his airy nature by attaching himself to something earthy).
In general, men are the lightweights, women are the heavyweights (in terms of airiness and earthiness). The saying, "If you want a physical job done, get a woman to do it; if you want someone to talk about doing it, get a man," is not without some basis in reality! Why do you think women love shopping, and money, and physical stuff in general, and why are they so concerned with physical appearances? Because their nature is more physical.
Given the freedom to express his true nature, a man will more likely sit and daydream, or meditate, or go fishing (which is really a disguised form of daydreaming/meditation). Give him a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, and just enough food to hold his body and soul together, and he will happily spend his days sitting and thinking, or writing, or "shooting the breeze" with his buddies....
Why do you think women live longer than men? Some people have speculated it's because men work harder or they're subjected to more stress. HA!! — not even true, and certainly not the reason for their shorter incarnations here. Women stay here longer because of their innate physicality, their Earth energy. It's harder for them to let go of the Earth ... even when they want to. My grandparents exemplified this perfectly. My grandmother's mantra, for the last 20 years of her life, was, "I just wish I could die! I just wish I could die!" It took her 20 years to do it, because she couldn't let go of the physical body. When my grandfather got tired of being here, he didn't say any such thing — he just went to bed and slept, or daydreamed, or whatever ... and he was gone in less than a year.
2012 — the coming of The Fifth Sun
According to certain Mayan Elders, in the World of The Fifth Sun (said to begin on December 22, 2012), human consciousness will somehow be transformed — from our long-held duality consciousness, into some kind of unity consciousness. So, maybe all concepts of duality — yang and yin, Heaven and Earth, even male and female — will soon be gone! Maybe.... But I suspect that "soon" in this context is a very relative word: "soon" in terms of cosmic time, probably. I greatly doubt that we will awaken on December 22 with such a dramatic change in our lives. If we do, I'm all for it. But, in case we don't, it will be helpful for us to understand the true nature of male and female for a while yet.
Your comments are encouraged here. Please tell me, from your own experience (not from what you've been told by anyone), what do YOU think about the nature of male and female?
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