Aug 052012
 

My personal experience is that masculinity and femininity complement each other very nicely. I become exceptionally moody and morose without the company of women. In a mixed gathering, I prefer to be in the kitchen, behaving myself like a mouse in the corner, than with the men watching sports in the family room. And, I know that I really like being married and having a feminine woman as my best friend.

Further, while lurking near widows and divorced women, I have heard them confess that they “simply like having a man around.” It sounded as if, like me, the simple presence of someone of the other gender satisfied a palpably felt deficit.

The feminist Gloria Steinem famously asserted that, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” OMG! Didn’t Dr. Seuss put a fish riding a bicycle in his “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish?” What a rascal he was! I’ve gotta look for that.

 

The way some men treat the women in their lives, one could believe that the women would truly be better off without them. In any event, there is often clearly room left for improvement in many relationships. My wife, Dianna, liked the sentiment of the poster, below, and brought it to my attention.

The text reads: “We need to teach our DAUGHTERS the difference between a man who FLATTERS her and a man who COMPLIMENTS her. a man who SPENDS MONEY on her and a man who INVESTS in her. A man who views her as PROPERTY and a man who views her PROPERLY. a man who LUSTS after her and a man who LOVES her. A man who believes HE is GOD’s GIFT to women and a man who remembers a WOMAN was GOD’s GIFT to MAN and then teach OUR SONS to be that kind of man.”

Let me add the observation that the sentiment still tilts toward a sexist, patriarchal view of gender relations. I think that women are capable of being even more self-sufficient emotionally and physically. While I deeply treasure the satisfying bonds between men and women, I am sympathetic toward those with a radically-independent spirit.

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In fact, the entire range of “conservative” thought tilts toward a sexist, patriarchal view of gender relations. Another way of saying this is George Lakoff’s observation that conservatives tend to have a “strong father” view of how families and governments should be run. Conservatives tend to look for, follow, and be loyal to their chosen authorities. It is very clear that “He’s the boss” or that the man of the house or the conservatively-elected president is “the decider.” On the other hand, the “liberal” tilt endorses a nurturing father, rather than a strict authoritarian.

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Apr 102012
 

@ChumForThought – By David Satterlee – Throwing ideas into dangerous waters

“Chum” is the word for chopped fish that is thrown overboard to attract other fish – and especially sharks. Ideas are like chum for thought.

I believe that comparing ideas can be a force for good that attracts us to each other. Strangers often become friends as they talk and work together, uniting to solve mutual problems.

Many people like to avoid controversy like they would avoid swimming with sharks. You hear friends say “let’s talk about anything but politics and religion.” That’s completely understandable, and if a friend tells me that, I’ll be the first one to back off and respect their need for comfort without confrontation or fear.

However, as Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I think it is good to compare notes and discuss ideas. We make both ourselves and our companion better for the time we spend trying to understand each other.

We become enemies by withdrawing and refusing to talk, empathize, think, or compromise. People who can’t talk together become suspicious and divided. They become fearful and hateful. They often resort to war to resolve their differences. Unthinking alienation is not the path to peace, security, and brotherhood.

The ability to communicate about issues, including our values, is what draws us together as friends, families, and communities. When we can communicate, we can work together to solve problems. We can unite for common goals and for our common good.

I believe that we become better people when we chose to compare and discuss ideas. It can useful to know what is going on and discuss events. But, it is often pointed out that gossip, by only discussing people, can be damaging. Coming together about ideas is best.

This column will focus on the practical side of practicing “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” I hope that you will find it to be encouraging and thought provoking… chum for thought.

©2012, David Satterlee

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