Monday, April 04, 2005

Playing nicely

Women today aren't supposed to be feminine. We live in a liberal society and the first principle of liberalism is that we become human when we create who we are through our own choices: through our individual will and reason. A traditional gender identity is not something that we choose, it's simply inherited. Therefore it takes on a negative connotation in a liberal society; it comes to be seen as an oppressive impediment to our individual freedom to choose our own identity.

So, we have a generation of women brought up to believe that traditional femininity is somehow oppressive to women.

At a practical level, this wreaks havoc in relationships between men and women. After all, heterosexual men, by definition, are going to be attracted to the feminine qualities of women. If women are too successful in denying these qualities, men will understandably be left confused and less willing to commit to relationships.

Toby Green is a relationships psychologist who recognises the damage done to relationships by the denial of traditional gender qualities. In her latest column she writes,

Nick said he was throwing in the towel. Women were now officially in the "too hard basket". The latest problem was asking a woman in a pub if he could buy her a drink only to be told to "p--- off".

Nick said he'd tried to adjst to the "new woman" and was no longer confused. He just didn't like them.

Being a female has become a serious business. It's as though women have been militarised into believing that femininity is sissy, they've even giving up on the art of flirting.

Psychology practices are bursting with single women in their 30s asking "How do I find a man?" These are successful, attractive and smart women. But what they're missing is the soft, sensual side ...

Some of the women saying they want to find a man don't know how to play the game, or refuse to play it.

Toby Green goes even further down the path of conservatism later in the article. She talks about how difficult it is to simply switch gender roles because of the existence of an "inherent psychology" of man, existing as part of a "human nature".

In other words, she openly rejects the liberal idea that we are "blank slates" and that we therefore simply make up who we are as we go along. Instead, she agrees with conservatives (and modern science) that qualities of manhood and womanhood are hardwired into us and are therefore difficult to change.

Conservatives, who don't share the liberal first principle, have no reason for wanting to obliterate the differences between men and women. What we want to do is to work with human nature, rather than against it, by encouraging the best masculine qualities in men and the best feminine qualities in women.

Overall, we like gender difference. We wouldn't be heterosexual if we didn't. We want our women to be attractively feminine as we find much to admire and love in a genuinely feminine woman.

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