The two conversations this week were charged; one with advice stimulating a rehashing of the guidelines and the other balancing on a tightrope above a pitfall of triggers and reactions.
Why is it that talking about the differences between men and women is controversial and reactionary?
It was extremely difficult to talk about men or women without making huge generalisations. These generalisations seem to produce a disempowering assumptive accusation felt by all encompassed by the expression.
It can very quickly become personal. Whether it’s the first case when a human offered a question around the differences in communication and received intimate advice in return or when a human says men or women are generally a certain way.
Some humans in the group said that there were no differences and that they had come to the discussion to explore this further and perhaps have their mind changed. On some levels we are no different to each other, and perhaps this is on the spiritual level; our consciousness receiving and experiencing life. Yet we seem to have different tools that affect this experience of life; our bodies, production of oestrogen and testosterone to name a few.
Are our nature’s different, the way we communicate, direct and literal contrasting with indirect and explorative, thought based versus feeling based? This is where it gets tricky because it flows beyond sex as a spectrum on which men and women can find themselves either as more masculine or more feminine. Perhaps its these individuals who have tendencies or even vocations that are more recognised as the opposite sex quality who get offended as it puts them outside the categories. This could stimulate a sense of rejection from which we all can be triggered.
At one stage in the online conversation the women of the group were conversing and the men totally tuned out. Why? The two women were engrossed in conversation as the men sat quietly getting more and more disconnected.
The conversation could be seen as one entrenched in feeling, sporadically unearthing an abundance of ideas, a bubbling brook of feelings with exploratory meaning. The men tracking the dialogue in a linear fashion, seemed to lose the scent of meaning making and wandered off in distracted thoughts. Perhaps men find the meaning first and that influences their feelings? The women seemed to be exploring the space through feeling leaving the meaning relatively ambiguous and the men seemed to be attempting identifying the meaning.
The women sprouting an abundance of ideas and the men neatly packaging these ideas into neatly defined packages; chaos and order.
Upon the moment in which the advice was being given, the subject, who was a woman seemed to not be aware of the unsolicited advice she appeared to be giving and was consequently shocked by the man throwing down the guidelines in a very unsubtle, clear and direct way. This startled the woman and produced an emotional response. There were clear blindspots here; the woman lacking objectivity, submerged in her subjective experience is unaware of stepping over a boundary. The man clearly seeing the boundary stepped over acts swiftly with his sharp sword and cleaves the invader from his personal space with limited empathy, disregarding the feelings or emotions of the intruder.
A helpful metaphor illustrating the differences between men and women is the way we check out each other. The man, like a predator, judging distance and speed upon a linear line, targets its prey, with a direct gaze. The woman, gathering like a herbivore, listens to the environment with her senses, quick movements startle, yet she can focus peripherally upon potential predators without turning her gaze and receive unwarranted attention.
This metaphor can be unpacked to produce information about the patterns that both men and women generally follow. One human asked why men watch porn and what is the porn for women?
Men seem to be stimulated by visual information and women via the senses or through the use of words. This can be brought into the same above metaphor, men stalk and do not wish to scare off their prey, women watch for danger but if no sudden movements or sounds are made proximity and safety are achieved, both are stimulated and union is possible.
Although each conversation was uncomfortable at times they both were rich and abundant in experience and diverse opinion. The topic of men and women is an important and fiery space, yet in exploring we can make space for each other’s differences and extend our patience and listening in order to influence our interactions into complimentary collaborations rather than polarising division.
Next week the topic is up for suggestion. So bring your dangerous views, your curiousities, scary thoughts, or secretive questions to the collective playing field of the human group.