Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Different sorts of ego

I have been enjoying "The Undivided Past" by David Cannadine, read in audio form by Gildart Jackson.  The historian and Princeton professor of history reviews six identifiers that have figured largely in attempts to explain, classify and understand humans.  After emphasizing that religions include a wide variety of divergent sorts of people and that nations even more so, that Marx and Engels's rigorous but misguided effort to demonstrate that social class (proletariat, bourgeois, and aristocratic) were THE preeminent markers of human identity, Cannadine looks at gender.  

There has been speculation about the superiority or inferiority of one of the genders or the other as far back as writing goes.  It seems rather difficult for humans not to assume that one of the genders is better, for many reasons, most of which have been gone over many times and need not be repeated here.  The effort to more or less organize women in women's groups to advance the causes and interests of women, in a political and public way, especially on a national or multinational scale, is fairly recent.  The famous American convention of women, announcing their desires for greater political and legal rights was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. in 1848.  The Constitutional amendment granting women the vote was ratified on August 18, 1920.  The National Organization of Women was founded in 1966 and is one of several organizations interested in the rights of women.

Cannadine makes clear that great masses of women in this country and others have felt little interest in political and legal issues and that few themes have seemed to be important to a majority of women.  Even the efforts to secure the vote and other rather fundamental ideas have appealed to well-educated, rather wealthy women and other women have made it clear in various ways and times that they felt little unity with the main campaigns and the women involved with them.

My work, starting as an elementary school teacher and working in teacher training for several decades after that, gave me plenty of chance to interact with women.  Having been male all my life but working with many women, including an all-girls camp in two years of summer jobs, I took an early and sustained interest in women's psychology.  One of the memorable books for me was "Sex and Fantasy" by Robert May (1980).  The title makes the book sound a little pornographic but it is actually about the sorts of fantasies males and females tend to have, especially as older children and teens.  He shows that males often think of daring deeds, of the sort that demonstrate bravery, while females often think of caring deeds, as in motherhood.  His emphasis on male pride helped me to conclude that males tend to have more pride and more competitiveness than females.  

Then, as I watched grandmothers competing to see who made the most endearing cookies for grandchildren and young women competing to see who could offer the most arresting views of cleavage, I saw that women have strong wills and rigorous egos but that they may compete in different contests than males work in.

Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby