Do you feel women are inherently “nurturing” with an instinct toward love and service? Does this instinct interfere with a woman’s ability towards logic, reason, and decision making? Does it help or harm a woman’s chances of attaining economic independence? Consider how a macro perspective and micro perspective on the social order might yield different answers to these questions.
I believe that whatever basic instinctive or genetic differences between men and women exist are overwhelmed by the society around us in most cases. There are always exceptions, and people can break away from the social contract they are a part of, but it is difficult and most of the time they wind up simply replacing it with another contract. People try to rebel against society, so they join the punks, goths, or anarchists. It’s a smaller group, but still has social order and influence.
When dealing with violence in particular, you notice some of the differences between genders, because in the most extreme of situations our instinctive nature comes out to protect our lives. Violence is part of the social order, but we rarely notice it, or the differences between genders because it doesn’t often happen in modern life. The most striking example for me is always the difference in adrenaline release in people. Men spike quickly, and drop quickly. If you can cause a spike in a man’s adrenaline then delay the fight for a minute, the drop will destroy his ability to fight, making his hands shake, his reactions slow, and his mind dull.
Women, on the other hand, spike slowly and drop slowly, so it may take ten minutes to peak, and they can maintain that high for another ten minutes. These times are in general, but they can be much slower, so to defend against a woman it is better to get the fight over before the adrenaline really kicks in. The best example I’ve seen of this is when I fought with my ex. I could walk out of the house for ten minutes to cool off, but when I went back in she was just getting started.
This kind of chemical difference makes women look more nurturing because of how much harder it is to get them to spike, and how long it takes. It seems like they are being more reasonable when they are just not as affected by their hormones yet. The problem is, people take their experience and apply it to the world. If the women I know behave one way, I expect it of all women. When people agree on what they expect, it creates social forces that make people into what we expect through teaching, shame, punishment, and reward. Over generations this creates an ideal that most people try to fit into, even if it doesn’t really fit or make them happy.
One of my favorite concepts is that we pass our demons on to our children. The problem is, we don’t believe in demons. We don’t realize that we suppress instinct and force people to obey. We don’t realize when we indulge instinct and call it choice. We are not aware of the ocean we are drowning in. We love, then rationalize why instead of understanding all the choices, hormones, and social forces that created that love. We never ask what love really is without quoting people who are long dead because it makes us feel better.
We have created a world where people are supposed to fit into places, where the lie of “traditional marriage” is a goal instead of a joke. Where greed is good, and capitalism isn’t slavery. A world where if you don’t fit into the jeans they sell there is something wrong with you, not that the world is skewed.
For women, this comes harder still. If they play along, they can go far, but never as far as a man with the same effort. If they challenge they system, they risk losing more than they could ever gain, but they may also cut a trail for others. Being “nurturing” is easy for a woman because it is expected. To do what is expected is always the easiest thing. You never let anyone down, you never fail to fit in, and you never challenge anyone’s power, you just die a slow unimportant death and never understand why.
That is always the problem with society, we need it to feel safe and to have the connection that makes most people’s lives have meaning, but it’s a trap. The only real advantage a woman has in today’s world is that they can see the trap and most men can’t. Men see the world with themselves on top and believe that nature made the world the way it is, that anyone violating that order must be punished. They do it subconsciously and by choice, and they never ask why.
The idea that women are more nurturing than men is a lie created by society over the millennium because they have closer ties to the children that they bear. Men can continue working while a woman is held back, so it is easier to leave her with the task of nurturing the children while he continues to work. We improve at what we practice, so women practice nurture and men practice work. We pass these practices, these demons, to our children and as generations go by we believe the lie that it always was this way.
The truth is that we are all violent and dangerous, that we survived nature, wildlife, starvation, and each other because we fear and we kill. Not just men, but all of us. Our instinct is to survive, fight or flight. The luxury of our modern world allows us to believe that nurture is more instinct than practice, that women are designed for it more than men. Society is necessary for our survival as a species, but to survive as an individual often takes selfishness.
The thing I like about these journals is that they are personal rather than research. I believe that we are all animals, but that we can be more. I believe that we are what we practice, that obedience, nurturing, love, hate, service, and disobedience are all skills that we learn, not instincts that we cannot break. We are what the world makes us, and we stay that way if we don’t start asking questions, and accepting that most of our answers are wrong. I believe we are all drowning, but some of us know it, some of us fight it, some learn to swim, and some believe they are still safe in the boat.
I know it’s a deviance from the original question, but I find the idea of instinct to be far more simple and pervasive than most people realize, and that nurturing is simply expressed differently between the genders. This happens not because of the animal that we are, but because in a society of specialization everyone learns their place and never needs to know anything more. A man protects, a woman nurtures, but take one or the other away and the role still needs to be fulfilled. When people believe that a man or woman’s place is set, it prevents the need from being filled. Life is fluid, and we are what we choose to be, even when we don’t realize all the choices we are making.