By Roya Monajem, Tehran
The biological basis for women's insecurity is their relative physical weakness. This together with their major biological role as the gender responsible for the survival of the species used to make them totally incapable of effective self-defense in the face of the stronger sex. Their greatest fear has been the threat of rape and unwanted pregnancy. So they were always in need of a man (father, husband, son) for protection. In times of famine and over-population particularly of females, they were first to be sacrificed. This could be a species control over its survival in the same way as other animals, such as lemurs do under the same circumstances. But this is how the things are in nature. She does not make her judgments on the basis of good and bad, right and wrong. Good and right in nature means survival. That's all.
From this natural perspective, women had no other alternative than to surrender to man's will and obey his commands. They HAD to put up with all the patriarchal values 'imposed' on them throughout the human history. And they will continue to do so as long as the objective conditions (financial dependency and patriarchal values) for feeling insecure continues. A financial dependent woman will naturally compromise more than a confident professional woman. That is why the more security women gained as the resulting consequences of industrialization, the more openly they started to fight for their 'equal rights.' In many parts of the world even today a lonely woman is a plight. If I were Hindu leaving in a village in India, my mental choice would have been to be burnt alive with my dead husband! It is quite possible that when I actually see the fire that will stimulate the survival instinct in me, depending to the degree of the fear produced I will either try to escape or surrender. It is awful to be left alone without masculine protection in a traditional patriarchal society. It is awful to live constantly in the state of fear. And what does any human being under the state of fear and desperation do? Compromise whatever is necessary in order to stay alive. That's why Hindu women surrendered. And Pre-Islamic Iranian women who according to historical and archeological documents enjoyed equal rights with men surrendered to Islam that considers them as half a man.
This is one of the major (we can call it biological) reason for feminine silence and compromise throughout the history of mankind. Suppression, oppression, ignorance and the rest are the more superficial reasons for women's long silence. They could survive because they were based on a deeper physical foundation. Why should one start a war that one knows would definitely lose in? No wise man would act like that! Women were no fools! Their survival instinct could not allow them to take such a risk. Starting a war in which one knows one will lose? Never. It is often said women are more patient than men. In addition to the process of growing up and pregnancy that make women more patient than men (which can be called the physiological basis of patience), women have to show more patience and self-restraint in arguments and fights with men. They can make a man really fierce and thus threatening. They know what to say and how to act to make a man to go up the wall. After all men are brought up by women. But we know the reaction of a trapped person as well; such person can easily commit a crime. Once again the survival instinct will take over the situation. Particularly, as feminine logic (at least until pre-feminist era) is very different from masculine logic. Compared to the latter, it is 'illogic' or natural logic. Masculine logic can be called human logic. Because of staying at home, women did not need to develop the kind of logic that men had to develop because of their role in development of tools and their participation in social relationships. Development of working tools, science and technology are based on logical thinking. In pre-industrial women, the logic is the logic of Nature, that is the result of pure physical senses. In the world of senses the law of either/or rules. Something (a scent, on object, a taste, a sound and...) either exists or does not exist. In the world of reality and not mathematics (logic), a rabbit will definitely win a turtle in a running match. Doubt is the matter of physiology; of not possessing a sharp sense. Berkeley (idealism), doubt in the very existence of objects can exist only in the masculine world of logic. That is why when a woman says something, she thinks she is saying THE truth! If she finds a hair on your coat, that means you are betraying her. That's it! That is the end of the discussion. Under no conditions will she be convinced otherwise! She is invincible in her belief!
But today, such resoluteness and absolutism in thought and speech and deed is just an illusion. The feminine intuitive power used to be stronger again because of the objective conditions of life. In times of danger, one should have the power to act immediately. Again as the task of survival has been largely a feminine task, she needed that stronger intuitive power. That is why that Natural feminine logic is called illogic nowadays. Every hair on a husband's coat or shirt does not mean infidelity!
Nietzche says that the worse anger that a man can face is the anger of a woman who is in love with him. Indeed it can be the worst anger as it is the anger of an insecure fearful human being. That man becomes her source of feeling safe and secure in a way that no man can ever understand and experience. It is like the anger of a fierce animal whose territory is threatened by the enemy. Nationalism can only arise from a masculine mentality. Women's territory is their home that is protected by a man. She can not risk losing him.
That's why women could not fight for equal rights before industrialization and modernization of the mode of production and life including defense. In a safe house with a gun under the pillow a woman can finally feel safe without a man. This is the first time in history of mankind that women do not need to feel insecure - consciously, subconsciously, unconsciously - due to her physical weakness.
It is also said that women are more passive, receptive and tolerant. These can all result from the same feeling of insecurity. The more insecure one feels, the more one can become passive. This can also explain the present political passivity in Iran and anywhere that people suffer from a deep unconscious and conscious insecurity. This may be considered as the biological basis for political passivity wherever it is observed. That is why passivity, receptivity and as such are all considered as feminine (yin) characteristics. Logic - in the masculine sense of the word - does not work in the world of insecurity and thus fear. A man can sit down and contemplate on his conditions and why he is in such a state, etc as all the oppressed suppressed classes, except women did throughout history. A woman could never do such a thing before the twentieth century. The objective conditions for such an approach were not yet available, particularly under the rule of patriarchal ideology when that physical insecurity is intensified with religious and social insecurities.
Insecure mothers can propagate only insecurity in their children and that's why as long as the patriarchal values last there will be wars. The vicious circle goes like this, the stronger the rule of patriarchal values, the more insecure women will feel and the more insecurity they feel, the more they breed insecurity and the more wars we will create in the world.
The safer and more independent women felt, the more they could think like men and thus struggle for masculine values, such as equal social and legal rights.
One of the interesting results of feminist movement is the emergence of conditions that force men to compromise more than ever in the history of marriage. The main reason is that they can lose a lot if they go for divorce. This is largely the case of Western men. However, the same phenomenon can be observed in traditional countries such as Iran where in many cases women's dowry is much higher than the amount a man can afford to pay. Where is Mr. Nietzche to see the anger of these women when they don't feel loved or feel betrayed by their husbands? In this country we call the husbands of such women as zan zalil, meaning 'humbled by a woman.' They act like servants, slaves and a great compromiser which all used to be the traditional role of women.
If we take the formation of patriarchal society as an unconscious hateful reaction of males, what may be the unconscious female hateful reaction?
Perhaps to give birth to men who would take their revenge from other men!
The intention and goal for writing these articles is to delve into human collective unconscious that is most probably coded in our genetic pool as well. Awareness of what may lie in our unconscious, in our biological and physiological make up can greatly help us to transcend them and thus overcome their 'negative' effects. Today, there is not much objective grounds for women's insecurity, but if the above speculation has any truth or 'logical' basis then this unconscious insecurity does affect our approaches to the opposite sex and will breed and propagate insecurity. Awareness of this fact can help women to see everything from another perspective and stop them from reacting out of the state of fear that is destructive for human race, particularly today that our beautiful earth is in urgent need of care, security and love.
A fearful insecure person is incapable of experiencing and expressing true love.
This is not the time for women to take a historical revenge for their inferior social, religious and legal position in the past and present. Although modern armaments have given the opportunity to women to feel secure for the first time in history, they are simultaneously far more dangerous for the Earth than the traditional armaments. We can not afford breeding insecure human beings anymore.
As the gender responsible for human survival, whatever happens to human race from now on is more on women's shoulders and their failure in breeding happy, healthy human beings.
1. It is not too wild to consider the emergence of the patriarchal society as a reaction of the weaker sex to its relatively insignificant role in the survival of the species. God knows how many times I have heard men telling me that their wife does not need them and can beautifully survive without them, while on the other hand I could see how dependent the wife is and would find life very difficult without her husband.
2. The other important reason is feminine conception of life and existence. This is discussed fully in Womanhood- Motherhood.
3. Refer to the last Corner's piece "War & Love" for why the word 'hateful' is used.
... Payvand News - 5/24/04 ... --