In Brief — An exploration of history, religion and beliefs that uncovers some uncomfortable truths about human males and females in society. [Written September 2017.]
Myths and Realities About the Sexes —
Courtship and marriage are believed to be the norm. The question is whether this is true in all cultures throughout time and throughout the world. Indeed, western culture today calls that tradition into question.
Male and Female Roles in Asia —
In China near the Tibetan border is a group, the Mosuo, that is both matriarchal (females holding power and tracing lineage through females) and practices open sexuality. It may seem strange to those in traditional western societies, but it exists today.
Marriage is unheard of, but a woman may settle on one man or she may choose several. Men are not powerless in that they have the right to refuse, but if the man is rejected or refuses, he returns to his mother’s home. This is common, without obligation and is not considered unusual.
Children of a sexual union become members of the woman’s family and are raised by the community. Ownership is not even considered. This concept is challenging to traditional views of family and child upbringing…but is it illogical?
Tradition, Logic and Propaganda —
Tradition is passing on the customs to later generations in the expectation that those customs will be adhered to. Thus, the Mosuo have a tradition of sexual openness. Is that custom wrong? Is it logical in light of research on the male and female libidos? Is that custom in any way similar to what we find in western society today?
Logic is defined simply as reasoning carried out according to strict and dispassionate scientific principles of validity. When looked at neutrally, the Mosuo way of life is logical and in accord with what we know of human sexuality.
Now, let’s look at what is known of human sexuality.
Research shows that all humans are somewhere on a continuum of sexuality. We have learned that females may have essentially the same sexual drive as males depending on the amount of testosterone in the female’s system. It’s only in the environment — tradition — that females have largely been conditioned to believe that their libidos are less than those of males. I say “conditioned” because the culture in which humans live — be it Islamic or others — sets the standard. Often it’s religion that demands adherence to cultural standards. Those females in much of Islam who rebel are demeaned or even killed. Is it logical or traditional? Does cultural, religious or governmental propaganda have anything to do with that standard?
I’ve written about propaganda, so what is propaganda? They are ideas that are often false or misleading in order to sway humans to believe something. We live in a world of propaganda whether it’s relatively benign advertising, cultural tradition or a government’s effort to enforce compliance. It shapes our lives.
All of us buy into the traditions of our culture. When my wife and I married, we accepted that marriage was necessary to confirm our love. Propaganda and culture at work! At least we were aware enough to make our vows before a Unitarian minister (note the religious element) such that we included a bit allowing the other partner to live his/her own life. Ownership was eliminated. Hooray for one small act of defiance.
Unfortunately, human relationships are rife with jealousy and a feeling of ownership of the partner. Both male and female partners believe they have a right to expect their partner to belong to them only. Murders are often committed because one of the partners succumbed to biological drives that offended the sense of ownership. Is it logical? Does it bear out the research on the spectrum of human sexuality?
This piece barely scratches the surface of the falsehoods we accept. Think long and hard about this. Do you accept the cultural traditions and propaganda that we live and breathe every moment of every day? What do you believe? Is any part of this wrong and, if so, why is it wrong? If right, why? Can it be changed?