Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Whit Blauvelt

    September 15, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    I was there in the 60s too, Charles. On average men and women are different. As individuals, there have always been women more like men than like average women, and men more like women than like average men. And there’s nothing superior about being average! Consider also the discussion in The Dawn of Everything about how neighboring cultures often define themselves against each other, with the Northwest coast Natives Americans being a slave-owning aristocratic culture, and the California coast Natives being strongly egalitarian, and each seeing the other’s norms as quite wrong. This is despite the two cultures being genetically quite close. It was nurture, not nature, being expressed. Well, men and women have also been, in many historical periods, neighboring cultures, defining themselves as being what the other is not. Much of the difference here — not all but not trivially — has been nurture, not nature.

    In the 60s it was still common to speak of “the war of the sexes.” It was somewhat akin to the Cold War — also between two cultures defining themselves against each other. Of course, the Cold War is back now, as both Russia and China resort to defining themselves against the civilized world. And the war of the sexes has been revived by the US GOP, with its Supreme Court puppets revoking women’s freedoms.

    In any case we don’t need a society which enforces differences in its institutions. People find plenty of ways to declare themselves different. The mods and the rockers in 60s London, disco and punk in 70s America, we always find ways to define ourselves by who we’re not. Yet the ultimate examples of mod and rocker, Bowie and Jagger, both when in their prime displayed a powerfully androgenous sexual charm.