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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