I missed a tweet a couple of weeks ago that my niece wrote. When I opened the URL I found this quote as being part of the highlights of an interview:-
“Within our culture we hold on to this idea that genitals dictate your gender. But in reality there’s a difference between your biological sex and your socially ascribed gender. Your biological sex is determined by your chromosomal make-up and it differentiates people physically from each other. Men and women are identical apart from the sex chromosome which distinguishes you as male or female. Gender is the socialisation of boys and girls into masculinised and feminised individuals.”
I was taken aback by parts of this so I listened to the podcast:-
By the end of the interview rather than being taken aback I felt much more in tune. Firstly I like the clear distinction represented by the words gender and genitalia, and the word gender applies to what I have been calling conditioning (patriarchal) in recent blogs. There is an interesting discussion of “response to feminism” over time. When women have been asserting themselves socially there has been a cultural response and chauvinist reaction; I liked this but am unable to comment as my lifestyle takes me outside such trending.
At one point she mentioned that empowerment of women because they give birth. This is interesting and I will expand below. But I was taken aback by the discussion of chromosomal make-up. Earlier in my life I was political, and at that time inclusiveness was dominant in my approach; if I were being political now I would not mention this point. However my focus has been on the spiritual vis-à-vis the mature model. It appears as if the psychologist, Fani, is saying something like this:-
The minor chromosomal difference leads to the difference in physical bodies between women and men. In all other matters women and men are the same.
This is my interpretation of what she said in the quote above. I hope that interpretation is not incorrect, I disagree with her but I don’t wish to misrepresent her. The consequence of what she says is that all gender is conditioning, and that apart from physical appearance we are the same.
With the mature phase we have complete agreement, no difference between women and men despite the preponderance of males in the world of spirituality. I could easily replace the word conditioning with gender but then I could also replace it with race and class. I am not disputing that we live in a patriarchy but for me the world we live in is dominated by the interests of 1%-world, a world that includes greedy women as well as men – although far fewer.
But if my interpretation is correct then Fani is ignoring instinct. Development via race and class does not have an instinctual component but I do believe girls and boys start with different instincts, and that it is the manipulation of these instincts by the 1% through patriarchy that leads to oppression of women – discussed in earlier blogs. In an immature society like ours the impact of instinct is of greater importance than it should be. Spiritually I understand instinct to mean faculties (instincts) that nature gives us to help survive – as discussed before survival after birth and procreation (survival of the species). For mature people these are almost insignificant in terms of their approach to life but for most people who are intentionally constrained into immature development instinct has greater import. Hence the degree of difficulty in distinguishing instinct from gender (patriarchal conditioning).
Again the following is something that I would not say politically. As mentioned above, at some time the power of women because they gave birth was considered dominant. I feel instinct attracts the baby to the mother more than the father in early childhood. Traditionally the woman has been the lynchpin of the home. Whilst I personally think this is a good natural thing I say it with a degree of caution. This nurturing faculty could be just conditioning but it is hard to discern. I was around in the 60s and 70s for the time of the first phase of feminism Fani alluded to. Whilst the movement talked of feminism in general, for me two issues appeared to dominate. Violence against women has appropriately been universally condemned. The subjugated position of women in society has been pointed out, and steps have been taken to counter this. This has led to arguments of equal pay but there is still a long way to go for this. To be perfectly honest I think women deserve equal pay, but I am completely unhappy that this thread of feminism has led to a situation where women are involved in 1%-world and perform the same actions as men with an equal lack of compassion – whether imposed or otherwise. When I was politically active the women whose inclusion I fought for spoke of bringing compassion into the workplace. In my view this has not happened. Women work harder to get equal rights, and this work includes greater adherence to the compassionless demands of 1%-world in order to succeed. In my view immorality is not acceptable by subjugated groups although it is more understandable.
I have had a longstanding criticism of the feminist movement of that time. They promoted equality in the workplace, and tacitly accepted the patriarchal relegation of work in the home by their focus. For me our western societies are breaking down because of the lack of emphasis on the education of our young to being good compassionate citizens. This emphasis would begin at home, and thus place much greater importance on the nurturing lynchpin – the traditional role of mother conditioned or otherwise.
I think the talk with Dr Fani was very interesting, and apart from the issue of instinct have total agreement.