Introduction (excerpt)

The Male Thing’s Swan Song

A number of books have been published that do their best to “educate/brainwash” us into believing women and men function in such radically different manners we might as well have originated from different planets. It is the very nature of this misinformation that has perpetuated the rift between the sexes. Granted, biological cycles and differing hormonal levels influence behavior and attitude. But would our thinking processes and deportment be so divergent in cultures where women and men are raised more androgynously—where roles are not so clearly defined by one’s sex at birth? (And who decided blue is for boys and pink is for girls, anyway?) Society preaches “girls are sugar, spice and everything nice,” and yuk, “boys are snakes and snails . . .” According to Shakespeare: “Thinking makes it so.” We will see what we believe. If we hold onto the false supposition of our irreconcilable differences, we will continue to antagonistically act and react according to those implanted adversarial beliefs.

The question arises: What makes a man, a man and a woman, a woman? The concept of the “male thing” and the “female thing” defines identity and dictates to us the proper behavior for our particular sex within the dogmatic confines of our culture. Yet gender-based roles differ greatly from one culture to another. Adding to the confusion, no two men or women are exactly alike. We have all been acquainted with heterosexual men who do not fit Society’s stereotype of the “manly man.” These men may be judged too effeminate in their affect. Their personalities may be considered too artistic, passive, intuitive, and emotional. And conversely, there are heterosexual, “masculine” women who are physical, aggressive, analytical, and intellectual in their persona. While there are obvious physical differences between the sexes; since the human animal physiologically, intellectually, and psychologically embodies components of both male and female—yin and yang (defined as the animus and anima, by Carl Jung), there is no universal standard for judging “appropriate-to-gender” role playing. In dismantling the separating concept of “male and female things,” we can more easily accept the “human thing,” our similarities, the glue, which binds us together.

Before we can trust each other and ourselves we need to gain an understanding of who we are and what drives us to do the things we do. The androgynous “human thing” on an animal level, above all else is the ego, the impulse to survive. And in accepting survival as the primal motivating force of our lives, we must come to grips with our animal nature. Similar to the conduct and the social structure of wolves, human beings are “scent laying, territorial claiming, social pack animals.” When a woman places her sweater or flyer on a seat in an auditorium, in essence she is laying scent, claiming this place as her own. Each time a man drops his dirty socks on the floor of his home, much to the dismay of his lady, he unconsciously is laying scent. When a disenfranchised youth spray paints his gang’s name on a wall, he is defining the boundary of his turf. (And then there is the issue of the upturned toilet seat—men’s failure to “listen to reason,” their ignorance of the urgent demands of female physiology and the disgusting feeling of cold toilet water splashing on an unexpectedly unsupported bare bottom. Disregarding the underlying “passive-aggressive” components, this represents both a claim of territory and a battle for alpha position and dominance within what may be perceived by a man as his last remaining sanctuary—the bathroom.) . . .

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