Gloria Steinem Takes On The French Police

The French police have traditionally approached crimes of passion with: “Cherchez la femme!” (look for the woman). As a man, well that’s always sounded about right to me. But then it’s my gender who came up with this indictment in the first place. Been doing it ever since we indicted Eve…Helen of Troy… Bathsheba…. Cleopatra…Anne Boleyn …Mata Harri…Monica Lewinsky….Heidie Floss…well, you get the libidinous idea.

Anthropologists — and now Gloria Steinem — suggest it’s the male of the species copping out by shifting the blame. She made me do it…!

Listen in to some of the back-slapping jokes among the boys in the local sports bar. Catch some of the raunchier plots from Hollywood and television. Sit long enough to force your way through a rap song’s lyrics. Steinem’s case made and case closed.

This Punch-and-Judy dynamic has been around ever since we started putting on those fig leaves in the Garden. We noticed the differences. But now this is where the French have another traditional saying: “Viva le difference’.” Whether you credit God or Darwin, the panoply of differences between the sexes is like traveling down the galleries of a magnificent museum that has no ending.

Ever since the earth goddesses of harvest and birth were replaced eons ago with the sky gods of thunder and power, the female of the species has been relegated to a subsidiary role in the great narratives. Now that the Steinems of the world have helped break the ancient seals, the scrolls are beginning to reveal the extraordinarily subtle counterpoints to this symphony of life.

For man’s burst of strength there is woman’s courageous endurance. For man’s need to power there is woman’s need to love. For man’s passion to forage there’s woman’s need to harvest. One without the other is forever a half. Viva la difference’ and viva the mutual respect for those differences. To be really whole, each half must join the other without becoming the other…

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  • Here in the "West" of our country a man is seen as a rather small figure if he 'cops' to the excuse "She made me do it...!" ..... Differences there are .... praise that .... though where we are the 'pioneer' stock is but a scant two generations back and was spoken to on a daily basis ... "The women were strong" [Kudo's to Mr. Keillor] .... The current generation of women picked up where their grandmothers left off (oft times in penurious hardship) and have a work ethic that shames many a man .... My own missus who is in her 60's and retired has worked harder this year than anyone with a "protestant work ethic" would imagine ... and for the record is off to 'substitute teach' this Friday afternoon ... just because ... as she says "She should be doing something" .... forty years I have had to 'keep up with her' .... a warning that my father issued when he first met her ... I have managed to keep her in sight ... but gosh I wish she would slow down at times so that .... as you say Jack there are "subtle counterpoints to this symphony of life" ... my one lesson learned from the ladies I grew up around was "The women are not just a match for men in life's tasks ... they are the ones who see it through to completion"!

  • Oh how well you hear me...! I too have long learned that the female of the species is more than equal to the male. In different ways, yes, but those differences seem part of the great plan by which we two halves really do become one. One, in the way the species grows and advances; but still two in the way we each preserve our own oneness. Sounds like you and I may have found the way this symphony should be played. Now perhaps it's for the young studs to hear this symphony the same way. The sexes are no more in "competition" with one another than are the brass and string sections of the great orchestra.

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