A discussion about a research article by JD Unwin, a British anthropologist, has prompted me to try to express my views on the particularly controversial subject of how sexual liberation, especially of women, has changed society.
JD Unwin states: ‘100% of societies that loosened constraints on female sexuality, opening Pandora’s box quickly degenerated and fell apart. Natural female instincts are destructive to civilization’.
Basically, in order to keep society functioning, women should be deprived of demonstrating part of their natural instincts because they are destructive (?) to civilisation. Societies and civilisations have had wars and problems regardless of how much or how little freedom women had.
I think that the actual issue of sexual freedom as it has developed (or degenerated, if you prefer) was a carrot dangled in front of women, who were promised freedom not only to do what they considered right but to be free of guilt for doing so. It never quite happened, or at least not how it was expected to.
Nowadays in my sons’ generation there’s still the “stud and slut” dichotomy. Men were told that women didn’t need them and women were told they didn’t need men. So what happened- and this is my personal and probably flawed and biased take based on my experience and what I observe- is that men let their “inner little boy” take over when they were told that they needn’t take responsibility for women, which translated into them never quite growing up. Women, on the other hand, saw that they had to take care of themselves because a lot of men were, as they say, dropping the ball more than was acceptable. So they became tough, demanding and In a certain way “masculine”.
Of course, me being my grandmother’s descendant, I know that women are quite capable of taking care of their lives and many have leadership qualities, like men.
Economist Joseph Schumpeter equated the success of capitalism to’ love of the family, for without family the male would have less incentive to sacrifice and save money out of love for his wife and children, and would probably spend his money on more pleasurable endeavors.’
So family is not one of life’s pleasurable endeavours and therefore men have to submit to marriage in order to be useful to society. Men are useless to society unmarried and/or childless? They cannot control their financial resources if not ‘tied’ to a family? Of course, women bear the brunt of childbearing and rearing. This hasn’t changed in its origin. I’d be livid if I were a man and read these things about men shirking their duty. Why don’t these erudite gentlemen take a step further and research on why it happens? Is it women’s fault or is it, as I pointed out before, that some men cannot handle a strong capable woman and feel diminished regardless of her treatment of him?
Been there. Made myself small, worked menial jobs so as to not hurt the man’s feelings, birthed and raised two children while alone 50% of the time, made decisions that did not benefit me in the first place…all to no avail. There’s an epidemic of Peter Pans and I certainly don’t think women are to blame.
Nikola Tesla: (what a disappointment, apart from proving that he understood women as much as I understand Chinese)
“Our civilization will sink to a state like that which is found among the bees, ants and other insects–a state wherein the male is ruthlessly killed off. In this matriarchal empire which will be established the female rules. As the female predominates, the males are at her mercy. The male is considered important only as a factor in the general scheme of the continuity of life. The tendency of women to push aside man, supplanting the old spirit of cooperation with him in all the affairs of life, is very disappointing to me. Woman’s independence and her cleverness in obtaining what she wants in the business world is breaking down man’s spirit of independence. The old fire he once experienced at being able to achieve something that would compel and hold a woman’s devotion is turning to ashes. Women don’t seem to want that sort of thing to-day. They appear to want to control and govern. They want man to look up to them, instead of their looking up to him.”
First, if women are to look up to a man, he must be worthy of it. He must be trustworthy and self sufficient and not need a mommy to boss him. I know many men of all ages who are good men but unless someone is pushing them, or better, dragging them along like a stubborn ox who will not budge for his life, will not do their share of work in a family. They believe their role is limited to breadwinner and little else. In such a circumstance, women HAVE TO be the leader. You try to get him to do what’s right but after years, you give up and do it yourself. Furthermore, what’s so wrong in man looking up to a woman? Aren’t women, at least some, worthy of admiration? These erudite gentlemen don’t say a peep about men shirking their duty, just that if men aren’t put into a marriage they become lazy and spend what they earn on pleasurable things, which it implies that a family is not. All the responsibility for families and society neatly and conveniently placed at women’s feet… Been there, done that. It’s useless to toil away and deny yourself and nag and pinch and grunt. Some men are useless married or otherwise…like some women.
Precisely this dividing women into pieces, some of which are ‘right’ and others which are ‘wrong’ is something that some feminists do too. They sell women the idea that only their intellectual self is worthy of being developed, while their nurturing side will make them slaves. Now, enter JD Unwin who, from a peculiarly conservative point of view, says that female instincts are nefarious for society. You do see the irony? So women can give free rein to their instincts as long as these instincts are ‘controlled’ by someone other than women because if given too much liberty, they will destroy civilisation. Female sexual liberty is to be feared!
Why do men, then, not try to be real men? Trustworthy, hardworking. dependable, invested in their families and not just accepting the unfair and limited role of breadwinners?
A real man is sturdy, not inflexible; intelligent and capable and carries the responsibility for his own life. A real man shares his thoughts and feelings and is not afraid of a capable woman; on the contrary, he values a strong woman because he doesn’t need a damsel in distress but a warrior like him by his side. A real man is caring and compassionate but will not hesitate to defend his people and himself if necessary.
As Simone de Beauvoir said quite rightly ‘ You are not born a woman, you become one.’
This is applicable to men as well. Women and men are responsible for themselves.
A civilisation is not dependant on only half of its members, whether for good or for bad, for its survival but on the interaction and capacity to employ all the resources it possesses for the advancement of society.
Great post. I don’t think women truly been sexually liberated or are free to express their sexuality without risk of judgment. Even still, a woman’s sexual history can be used against her in rape trials, women still are judged for how they dress or how many men they sleep with, and as you say there is still the “stud and slut” dichotomy – a man who sleep with a lot of women is admired and considered a stud, while a woman who sleeps around is scorned and called a slut. These attitudes are archaic, harmful, and just need to end. Thank you for posting this. Wish you the best – speak766
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Thank you for reading! It’s something that has always intrigued me, how women are supposedly liberated but in reality we are judged differently than men. Especially by other women. All the best to you.
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Great post, and I agree with everything you’ve said here, and in the spirit of your post, at the age of 43, I am still learning to become a better man.
I think a better question might be to ask what does sexual liberation mean? It seems that women were always free in the sense of being able to have sexual if they chose, the consequences were simply more dire so they didn’t. We can say the consequences are less dire, but judgment remains. Previously judgment was simply more harsh I would argue. I don’t say this to argue that woman have nothing to complain about, because any judgement for a woman behaving in a way that feels natural to her sexually is too much, especially when men still don’t experience any sort of symmetrical judgment for their behavior. It might be that a society should be more sexually conservative, but that rule then should apply to both male and female. The fact that it doesn’t, tells you how far we still have to go on the matter of gender equality. Sexual liberation in terms of just being able to express your sexuality has limited value if you are shamed and criticized for doing so. For that to change it requires an actual acknowledgment that women are as much humanity as men, and the patriarchy isn’t there yet.
Sorry for the late reply! I think we are all learning and that to me is the point of life. I´ll be 50 next year and I´m still trying to figure out how this thing called life works. Being a Green Dog certainly doesn’t help. Judging women has always been harsher than judging men because women are loaded with the obligation of being better than men morally, which of course we’re not. Even today, as my sons tell me, girls are still judged more harshly than their peers for much the same behaviour. I’ve heard from people my age and younger that girls are worse than boys because they smoke and drink and have sex too much-like boys. I’ve also been excluded from conversations with other parents because, as they say, I’ve got no worries because I only have sons. Talk about male chauvinism turning against men! The only thing that won’t happen to my sons is that they won’t get pregnant but that is the only thing that they are free from facing. Likewise, I’ve been told that I shouldn’t call out any chauvinistic behaviour because I am the mother of two boys. I’ve been called a man hater, despite the men in my family feeling perfectly loved and accepted by me according to them.Obviously, I agree that whoever wants society to be more sexually conservative should also accept that it’s a two way street and it needs to be for both men and women. Thank you for reading and for your comment! Good afternoon from Spain 🙂
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You raise an interesting point when you say:
…because women are loaded with the obligation of being better than men morally, which of course we’re not
I never thought of it that way, and I guess there is some truth there. I don’t think it’s wrong to want people to be better morally and such an expectation in of itself shouldn’t be looked down upon, but to me the problem is always that a different morality is applied to men, or that men can be excused for behaving immoral…”boys will be boys”…that kind of thing.
Then there is the question of what is moral behavior? Is there something intrinsically harmful about a woman who wants to sleep with a lot of men, as long she’s safe, and it’s what she wants to do? When morals are arbitrary and/or are arbitrarily applied to a particular gender this seems to be the root of the problem. A woman who is more sexually liberated is not less moral. Nor is she less moral than a man who has done the same behavior. To me, it’s still indicative of a society that is trying to control the behavior of women and that’s a big problem.
Anybody who says that boys are easier, are the one’s who I don’t think are paying attention to raising boys to be feminists. In my opinion raising a boy is harder because it’s much harder to make someone see the advantages they enjoy as a function of their gender, than it is to point out to them the injustices they can easily see and experience as women. You need to help boys see through the veil of what appears to be normal, but is actually tilted in their direction. To me that’s a hard challenge, because I myself am still learning as well.
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The fact remains, at least in Spanish society, that women have to ‘better’ than men. Our flaws are less excusable and the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse, although not accepted in many occasions is still used for perceived ‘minor’ infractions such as sexist language and jokes, for example. Yes, as a mother of boys I’ve found it challenging to remind them that they will not be looked upon as bad or nasty for having several girlfriends or getting drunk as long as they keep a minimum of decency and aren’t aggressive to others. I’ve told them two stories that are graphic as to my experience: When I was 16, I failed two subjects at high school. My father sat me down and gave me the talk about him working hard for me to study and that if I didn’t get good grades he’d pull me out of school. I was expecting it because they weren’t used to it(me failing) and for people who lived through the Spanish civil war and had to emigrate to make a living, effort was the standard. But immediately after he said that about studying more, he went on to say something that has stayed with me til this day. He said that if I fooled around and got pregnant he’d throw me out of the house. I took offence at this because I was such a good girl I was dumb. I didn’t even think of going out with a boy and it wouldn’t be til 3 years later at university that I’d have a boyfriend at all.
Another anecdote is when, at the age of 22, I got a prize of one week with all expenses paid to Paris because I was an outstanding French student at the Alliance Française. They only gave one a year to the best student. I’d done both levels of French examinations in one year and passed. I went home excited by the perspective. When my dad had heard what I’d said, he answered me very calmly that if I was old enough to decide to go, I was also old enough to find somewhere else to live when I came back. The following day I told my teacher and she came to my house to talk to my parents. All to no avail. I knew they would do it, at least for a few days to punish me. I was overly responsible, aware that my parents were old and I was their only daughter.
I know that if I’d been a boy they would have let me go. Why? Simple: a boy ‘doesn’t bring anything home’, meaning he won’t get knocked up. Which brings me back to my exclusion from the conversations of parents. It seems that the only valuable thing about a woman is her sexuality and to control it is paramount because it means controlling reproduction. That’s why girls and women are loaded with the extra care and the extra responsibility. It’s also why I think that girls are outscoring boys in school and university. We are told that we need to work harder and we are expected to prove ourselves worthier in every aspect of our lives. No wonder so many women are stressed out! And then we have the issue that I pointed out in my article: since men were told that they are not responsible for women, they just regressed into teenagers and seem incapable of caring for themselves. I see it in my own sons, which I adore. They are bright and good but they have to be pushed to attain their goals, where most girls their age don’t need to be told anything or encouraged in a continuous way. And the father figure influences them tremendously, much more than the mother figure. No matter what I do, it’s not copied. It’s tough to be grown up! In any case, nowadays feminism is a loaded word. People automatically assume that you’re a man hater. I am getting to the point where I just stop commenting but, me being me, I can’t hold my breath forever!