Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Do men hate women?

Via Making Light I find that Joss Whedon posted a sad and angry text about "honour killing" and about how men sometimes tend to think about women. He also speculates a bit in why:

I try to think how we got here. The theory I developed in college (shared by many I’m sure) is one I have yet to beat: Womb Envy. Biology: women are generally smaller and weaker than men. But they’re also much tougher. Put simply, men are strong enough to overpower a woman and propagate. Women are tough enough to have and nurture children, with or without the aid of a man. Oh, and they’ve also got the equipment to do that, to be part of the life cycle, to create and bond in a way no man ever really will. Somewhere a long time ago a bunch of men got together and said, “If all we do is hunt and gather, let’s make hunting and gathering the awesomest achievement, and let’s make childbirth kinda weak and shameful.” It’s a rather silly simplification, but I believe on a mass, unconscious level, it’s entirely true.

I'll tell you what I think. I think "womb envy" is close to the truth, but I think the whole thing has much simpler roots. Economy. Men want to know that their children are their own, especially in cultures that give great importance to lineage. This is why the idea of "ownership" of women so easily develops, and spreads.

Also, I don't think that men generally hate women, but I do think that people have an ugly tendency to group together and develop an internal culture that is more or less hostile to other groups. This is an instinct we have, and that we will have to learn to deal with. Everyone of us.

That said, I have to add that in my experience men and women can often be friends and work well together. We shouldn't forget that. In Sweden we also generally stress the importance of fathers, and I think a father can attach to a child just as well as a mother can if he's only allowed to (and allows himself). I like men, and like to think well of people.

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