Lyrical masterpieces have, to varying degrees of success, attempted illuminating the many so-called mysteries bound within women. A common refrain given to men from teens onward points to women as unfathomable. I’ve always considered such false sagacity, or quaint household wisdom, as particularly troubling. Given the curiosity and excitement of a teen brain, the declaration entails cutting off what should be a world of inquiry and often removes from conscious connection a means of establishing a full or mature relational bond. Little wonder then that so many forms of relationship end up being generated upon base sexuality or game-playing or other tactics of distancing. Authentic understanding seeks closeness, finding the mystery and majesty in every revelatory experience, rather than the ineffable.
Let’s start with removing the assumption that women are somehow “other.” As in, other than male, other than rational, other than…whatever comes to mind. This means removing the “us and them” mentality that so ridiculously characterizes dialogue between genders. Not incidentally, this also entails removal of the “us VS them” combative or adversarial mentality. Beginning there is, like in war, to assume a gulf between two opposing sides. All of which also means being in complete disagreement with any answer that declares women are “ruled by” and then listing a set of things reeking of a dogmatism taken from religio-cultural upbringing, social authorities or one’s arm-chair philosophizing.
Starting there, we can move on to noting women, as are men, are first and foremost human. This point may bury the meter in obviousness, but due to being so obvious it is often quickly ignored or dismissed. Incredibly, the complexity of the human animal is thoughtlessly assumed immediately knowable by simple virtue of belonging to the species. Given the rampant confusion in so many lives about decisions, emotional states and the sources of behavior, this assumption seems the height of hubris.
Without going down the rabbit-hole of specifics, human beings are characterized by 1) a pervasive need to organize their experiences into narratives and 2) derive personal and/or transcendent meaning from within those narratives. In practice this manifests within socio-cultural and familial structures as well as individual proclivities given from temperament and how a person’s mind emerged from their genetic/environment.
It is within the practice that people get hung up. Ease is found in isolating some social, familial or genetic particularity and declaring “see, women are that!” in some form of grandstanding. This comes up in various statements that women are more social or emotional, require certain needs connected with safety or the like, whereas men then end up being the opposite. See here the continuation of “us and/vs them” thinking? Not helpful.
Women, like men, because they are human and therefore intimately interconnected with every facet of existence are like a Mandelbrot art form. Certainly at an isolated perspective they’re fascinating, even perhaps mysterious, but this is due to the continuation of “other” thinking, isolating and ultimately demeaning that it is. Once perspective is broadened to note the near-infinite permutations both real and potential cascading back and forth in time, each woman (and man for that matter) is seen as “us in them” and “them in us.”
Want to know a woman better? Want to know anyone better? Stop thinking of her or them as only one characteristic, as only a part and therefore apart. Consider instead all that may be currently unseen, seek through listening and inquiry what one is ignorant of and always remember that we share this thing called life.
© David Teachout