Different genders should compliment each other


Published: 5/16/2019 2:50:53 PM
Modified: 5/16/2019 2:50:43 PM

I had a friend who was remarkable, not only for being an honest cop in Louisiana, but for being a devoted husband and an adoring father of three daughters. He was the most patient man I’d ever known, likely because he lived with such exotic creatures. He once told me he had more in common with the most primitive man in the darkest jungles than with the women he lived with, the women he cherished; he had achieved an understanding that only people who have deeply loved the opposite sex can attain. I’ve never known a man who claimed to understand women, although some foolish men mistake being able to manipulate women for understanding them. Some women claim to understand men, but I suspect that lies in women’s perspective rather than in any greater insight inherent in their gender.

Men and women are profoundly different from conception but have few instincts to guide them in their roles, so every culture devotes tremendous effort to teaching boys how to be men and girls how to be women. It’s time to dispel the myth that traditional gender roles were formulated to advantage one gender over the other. Both men and women have been empowered in every culture. That might be hard for moderns to see because the appearance of power in our society aligns with the metrics that men have developed to measure themselves, while the power of women goes largely undetected and unmeasured by men. Our ancestors weren’t so blind.

When someone smiles on the street and extends their hand, we assume they will not attack. Objectively, that might be dangerous naivete, but a level of predictability is necessary for society to function — for individuals to interact without having to constantly be on the defensive. Gender roles in every society provide a level of predictability that allow strangers to interact in ways that allow each to achieve their goals. If you destroy that predictability, distrust and violence ensue.

Learning of gender roles begins in infants as they observe the interactions of the most important people in their lives: their mother and father. That’s one reason why having a mother and father interacting constructively around them is so important for children’s development, and why the absence of either gender is associated with later psychological issues.

It isn’t easy. It takes tremendous strength, patience, understanding and faith to mate yourself to someone you will never truly understand, and who will never truly understand you. But the effort is worth it. Each gender brings knowledge, experience and perspective that is impossible for the other to possess. To forego that is to deprive yourself of half of human experience, as well as crippling your ability to interact in a mutually respectful and constructive manner with all of those of the opposite gender that you will encounter in your life.

It’s time we give the credit they deserve to all of those heroic souls who don’t shrink from their own gender, but embrace it and bravely share it with another who complements them in ways that no one of the same gender can. It’s time we appreciate how hard that is, and how desperately we need to provide the road maps of codified gender roles that allow them to navigate those sometimes-treacherous interactions. Convention and lust still unite the two genders in young lives, but it takes a profound patience, wisdom and understanding to stay united, lovingly accepting the difference of one’s mate, and cherishing what they are. That is what much of every society is devoted to furthering, and that ideal forms the basis for most of what is good in our lives. We should encourage it rather than continue the current vogue that pits the genders against each other, disparaging the differences we cannot individually comprehend as “toxic feminism” and “toxic masculinity.”

Society has a responsibility to preserve the wisdom of its ancestors. We need to stop intentionally confusing our children about their genders and depriving them of the guidance they need to deal with their developing, malleable natures. Considering the contemporary increase in rapid-onset gender dysphoria, I wonder if the misguided authorities who are actively abandoning the training of children to be boys and girls, or neglecting it, realize the damage they are doing, not only to the children they have under their influence, but to all of the people those children will interact with in their lives. For the sake of all that is good in the world, that madness needs to stop.

John Blasiak is a resident of Greenfield.

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