The battle of the sexes is fought in perpetuity; there is no victor, no reprieve, and no group compromise when an immovable object clashes with an irresistible force. This is the battle fought between men and women, respectively.
See woman. Like how woman looks. Attempt to talk (or catcall) to woman in the flesh, direct messages, or inbox. A billion such stories.
Noticed by man. Approached by man. Screen…A billion more stories.
This seems straightforward: a direct show of interest and decision to reciprocate, or decline, overtly or otherwise. Beyond that initiation is a Chinese telephone which filters and transcribes into consciousness intentions, purpose, goals, aspirations, and outcomes.
The man now turns his attention to what lies behind the smile, under the weave, and inside the belly. The woman, having been disarmed by the punchline, the wit, the delivery, the meme, the Mark X, the Honda, the camouflage beard, or the six pack, also goes in search, hoping to uncover something other than a void.
The Basis of the Patriarchy
Relations between men and women are, at least from the eyes of an observer of both sides, a kidnapping where undivided attention is the hostage. In a traditional relationship, or as we diverge from the values or years past, a patriarchy grounded relationship, the man assumes his role as the primary earner and provider and the woman slots into a role of caregiver. The roles are a union, with very little intersection.
The patriarchy, or the catapulting of men into dominant positions, was forged — a fabrication. It’s tempting to believe that the benefactors, on the surface, were sole creators and upholders of the order; but women, as put forward by Gerda Lerner in The Creation of Patriarchy, were willful participants in the creation of a society which placed men at the forefront for when battle lines are drawn. This order is thought to be natural and an oppressive system which suits men. The truth to the patriarchy which we jostle to divvy up whenever we discuss who should pay on the first date is much, much more complicated.
Lerner concluded that the patriarchy was engraved into human consciousness during the Bronze Age (before the writings of the Bible and Greek philosophy which were, logically, laced with sexist rhetoric) once humans moved to separate the sexes on the basis of differences such as the female’s gift of carrying new life to term. Over time, men could assume the mantle of stoic provider, landowner, and protector, whereas in days gone by sourcing food and other traditionally male tasks were shared endeavours.
The Creation of Patriarchy further goes to note the manner in which oppression operates, whether racial, gender, or class. These are all human creations: divisions made for selfish delights. The most modern counters, as we know them today, are Black Lives Matter, feminism/egalitarianism, and socialism.
Patriarchal norms offer many advantages for men. We created it. We set it a way for our benefit, but the women who were chosen to be our better halves were, as rightly posited by Lerner, participants who sacrificed sexual liberation in the form of subordination and monogamy, for the perks by way of being provided for, protected by high status men, and joint control of lower class women and men. By the time the pervasiveness and weightiness of this new system had been realized, it had already become systemic and deeply entrenched.
So, what I’m saying to women is, and at the great risk of mansplaining, every time you mock a man for being broke, you are participating in the patriarchy as a high status woman by exercising your privilege on men who aren’t there yet. Really and truly though, in your defense, him nuh ready. He isn’t.
And what must be said to men, each time your pride is hurt by a woman mocking your bank balance, it’s the system in which you willingly participate whenever you subjugate women and confine them to washing, cooking, and cleaning that now works to your detriment. But this is already known. It is the system which facilitates rape culture, for example, an egregious abuse of the sex you signed on the dotted line to protect.
The patriarchy has come to be characteristic of both sides clamouring for its benefits while disowning the pitfalls and abuses of privilege.
However, if a woman’s primary basis for choosing a male partner is the weight of his pocket, you are an upholder of the patriarchy. Any denial of his right to express his equal human emotion is one tick for the olden days when women were second class citizens. Shaming a first move that is heartfelt and genuine is an acknowledgment of compliance and support of a system that places the onus on men to leave himself vulnerable, with bated breath, after he went pew pew in your inbox.
Ladies, when a man fights back against what is in his eyes, an injustice, it’s because he identifies that the world is changing and patriarchal norms are being challenged. The creation is being dismantled as women become more financially liberated. That is not an out for men, who still deal with the recoil of being seen as the stronger sex because of being physically stronger on average than women, in a world where we aren’t fending off lions, Sabre-toothed tigers, or bears. Financial power is still power, but it is perhaps liberation and not power, which requires subjugation of another, which should be sought.
Often lost in the rubble that is the dismantling of the male psyche and ego is that men account for 80% of murder victims worldwide, and are twice as likely to die by suicide (four times as likely in Europe and the Americas). These statistics may be a consequence of a society which has put men in direct competition with each other. Scarcity in high value women, as determined by physical attractiveness, as it has been erected as a marker of achievement in this cockamamie system, means men must compete to scale the heights of society for the few women who mean something to other men. This divides the male sex along class lines, okays impressing other men, in a sort of survival of the fittest where the winners claim the fairer sex as the prize.
The patriarchy works to degrade the sensibilities and values of generations of men and women, but in contrasting ways.
The Upside Down
Men ask themselves: a modern woman is more financially liberated, but requires of me to perform my duties as prescribed under the Laws of Patriarchy. I’m also expected to work on ourselves to stand out among the beards and abdominal muscles. I’ve gone out and learned to cook, wash, clean and refined my personality because men aren’t naturally inclined to homemaking or emotional intelligence and it sets me apart. But I was born into humble means. I work at a call centre. My student loans are untamable.
I must now express my interest at great risk of exposure and injury to feelings, to then, if successful, foot the bill, and jump through hoops to impress you when only your looks has impressed us to this point. We’re tired, sis. Please, open your purse for once.
This is the wail heard in the internet space every day.
An egalitarian society in this age must be populated by the kind of man who aspires to be capable of performing traditionally female roles with as much ease as the traditionally male ones. Thought of in many male dominated circles as a too violent swing of the pendulum away from patriarchy to matriarchy, the correspondent self actualization pursuits of men today point to a trek away from the specialized skillsets of the provider and protector. Instead of viewing recent happenings and push-back from women, patriarchist and feminist alike, from a victim’s lens, it could be seen as an avenue to increase your value. You know, mek all sugar bad mind.
A high value man is in high demand and can therefore sift with discernment to zero in on high value women. Feminism, much as with Black Lives Matter, need not be seen as a challenge to an established order, and should instead be seen as a call to action. “Men are trash”, by the same token, albeit inaccurate in its shifting of the blame from the patriarchy to men, won’t be taken as an offense to one who doesn’t fit the bill.
The low bar created by the patriarchy for what constitutes a high value man and woman is also threatened when men work on themselves and demand a standard that is higher than purely outward beauty. So if a man catches himself in an argument about paying on dates, who is to cook, clean and wash, or scoffs at the idea of spoiling a woman, then he isn’t ready to demand the same, or a Playstation 5 for that matter. A battle between the sexes, as we see, may not need to be a battle, but rather a challenge to create a value proposition. Just a thought.