Wednesday, November 02, 2005

More on Relationships

I've been thinking some more about the post I did yesterday regarding how hard it is for a smart woman to find a good man. (Those words just strike me as so stupid together.)

I think the one thing I've noticed after more reflection is the lack of discussion regarding emotion. There's alot of self-pitty from MoDo. There's alot of whining from the guys mentioned in the story. And there's alot of anger and indignation from the various commenters. But really, there's not a whole lot addressing the underlying emotions (really anxieties) of the people involved.

I believe (really, I've come to believe somewhat recently) that most action in the world of humans is driven by emotion. Yeah, reason is nice and comes around every once in a while, when someone is in touch with what they are feeling, but I think that's pretty rare. I think that we don't at all appreciate the underlying importance of the underlying emotional structures that we are born into (I'm learning about Family System Theory lately). And our lack of appreciation is what's gone horribly wrong in the original article. MoDo probably feels anxious at some level, and so do the women that she interviews (and so do the men), but in some attempt to bring reason to the world, she attributes what she sees to rock solid biology. "Of course it makes so much sense that men have 'hunter' genes, and women have 'damsel in distress genese' and our modern society is going against the ways of nature!" Well, not so much. To me, genes that cause men to become "hunters" have little to do with the situations that MoDo writes about. The desire of most people to distance themselves form emotional conflict/closeness do.

Why would a man want to attribute borish behaviour to genetics? Well, besides being an easy excuse, it seems to me that when someone is hunting a less successful, but highly attractive female, a guy doesn't ever have to feel whatever is going on inside his own head. Men are taught from very early on to distance from emotions, and meet problems with quiet and determined resilliance. It's kind of hard to question yourself with that type of model to live up to. If I hunt women who are less successful than me, I never have to question my own vulnerabilities. It becomes all about them.

But what happens, when that women is just as successful and intelligent as me. My anxiety about whatever is wrong with myself, must go shooting through the roof. I'm forced to deal with things because the person confronting me is on the same level as me. It's got to be tough. And welcome to the world of divorce in the professional, educated class.

For women it's the opposite side of the coin. No matter how feminist your parents were, there are so many social cues that I couldn't imagine not feeling anxious about finding and keeping a man. (or you jump completely to the other side, and don't please anyone. I think that there isn't much naturally occuring middle ground for women on this issue.) That anxiety has to run through a relationship, and leads probably often to the things that MoDo points out in the article (stupid chivalry and the like) that we would never want for our daughters.

Women, unfortunately don't have a recourse like men. A man can avoid the uncomfortable feelings and run away to hunt without being looked unfavorably. Women have to stew in the kitchen.

I think I've probably rambled a bit in this post, and not really ended up where I originally intended to, but the main point I wanted to raise was that anxiety is everywhere. And although MoDo's article was a pile of steaming crap, it really does point out how people work through emotion rather than reason, and that we often try to cover up that emotion with reason. I think it's good to yell at the NYT for publishing such garbage, but change isn't really ever going to happen until we make it the societal norm that we question and look into our own emotions. I'll try to come back to this point in the future.

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