Tuesday, June 18, 2024

THE BRIDGE: Understanding Power

September 26, 2007 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Frederick Douglass, 1857

*It is no secret to anyone with a brain that men and women in America are nearly at war. At best, there is a major void of misunderstanding. At worst, there is a huge struggle over power.

And, in the struggle over power, there is a basic misunderstanding of the actual nature of power. In some ways, that struggle can be seen in relationships where traditional roles are being embraced by some and abandoned by others, resulting in confusion for most. In other ways, that struggle can be seen in the changes in social behavior.

For example, women who wish to wear revealing clothing without being looked at ostensibly seek to exercise power over men, forcing them to look away from that which they desire to see.

In a variety of ways–some good, some bad–women are seeking to garner greater control over their bodies and their lives, including their personal relationships with men. The problems come if men are not consulted with for cooperation or compromise.

Society has bound the evolution of women beyond their identification and consistent implementation of the metaphysical mother.

Society today also binds man’s evolution beyond the smothering influence of the metaphysical mother. The metaphysical mother may be our real mother, or the mothering that we receive from society’s reestablished mores, based on the desire of women to have greater freedom.

Following the thrust of that movement some twenty-five years ago, women and men began to redefine the traditional gender roles. The result has been a great deal of confusion and a struggle over the very basic elements of relationships.

Women are naturally seeking the freedom to exercise their feminine identities. Men are likewise, naturally seeking the freedom to exercise their masculine identities. In many ways, those efforts are both frustrated by the metaphysical mother, as women seek to assert themselves to equality in society and parity in the workplace, but sometimes going too far in ideology and interactions with men.

Without balance, the fallout is hyperfeminine identification and confusion in gender interaction.

Today’s thinking man is reevaluating his relationship with women while redefining himself. Much of who men are is defined by parenting and more women have raised today’s population than men.

Those women, if balanced themselves, made certain that their children had male influence in our lives. Otherwise, the children have been as imbalanced as they were. Unfortunately, many mothers–and accordingly, sons–are imbalanced.

As women seek to redefine themselves, the mission for men is to redefine themselves without care or influence from the women who, themselves imbalanced from lack of male influence, are determined to force some bastardized form of gender interaction into the mix.

For example, a bastardized form of gender identification has caused some women to look at their gender as mostly strong, independent, evolved humans who have the distasteful task of managing relationships with mostly backward, oversexed and often lazy cavemen who have difficulty functioning in the light of their strength. It has caused many women to believe that men are whatever women say that they are.

Many men are confused at best or at worst, falling into either hyperfemininity or hypermasculinity, rendering them unable to lead or make solid decisions, vacillating between following women and trying to lead them without a real plan.

It is not enough to repel these destructive manners of thinking, but women and men must discuss pragmatic gender identification and gender interactions in relationships, so that intrinsic evolution can occur. Otherwise, we must accept the confusion and contradictory behaviors that we are seeing today in our relationships.

A simple fact must be realized and accepted: Relationships have been reduced to an issue of power.

Today’s “liberated” woman will refuse to relinquish anything that looks like power to anyone who does not appear supremely powerful. Why would she? Why would a woman who is facing the nearly palpable possibility of life alone relinquish her power to someone who does not exude power and who may eventually give up the struggle and leave her alone anyway? Power concedes power to power or to nothing.

That is not to say that a man who is powerful must crush any woman in his way. It is to say that men of intrinsic power must exude that power and influence–not demand–that partners relinquish power to them, or to share power. It is also to say that there should not be any struggle over power-if a potential mate is not willing to relinquish power to you to share, then you must move on.

For the women who think that I am advocating the domination of women, I am not. What I am advocating is that in a relationship, someone must take charge. Decisions must be made, a division of power must be created and tasks assigned accordingly. Otherwise, we will continue to be relegated to the confusing, chaotic battles that most of our transitory and very temporary relationships have become.

Let’s deal with some reality here: In today’s society, both men and women are confused at best, and clueless at worst about how to establish and maintain relationships. The biggest problem in establishing something solid is in the question of who will lead.

We hear some of our sisters claiming that they want men to lead them and to be old fashioned, yet we hear others talk of wanting to be partners, and others, still, who lie about wanting to be independent, which is counter to what takes place in a relationship.

For men or women who view themselves as strong, you have to take a good look at yourself and define whether your strength is from intrinsic power, or manufactured based on fear and empowering slogans.

You are not strong because you have a degree and a good job–you are disciplined and lucky. You are not strong because you have a nice car and a decent home–you are frugal and again, lucky.

Strength is strength and is demonstrated by the ability to bend and not break. There is strength in the tall trees that bend in the wind, but remain in place for decades. There is little strength in the rigid, dry saplings, which break when a good gust of wind blows.

Are you like the tall oak tree or the rigid saplings? Ask yourself which type of relationship you have or have had–one that bends or breaks?

I came to think about the issue of power, because I don’t believe that women who wear revealing clothing seriously think that they are just wearing the latest fashions with no impact. I believe that some women actually like the sexual power they hold over men. The question women can only answer themselves is whether that is the kind of power they really want.

That social situation contains much of the confusion over power in today’s intergender interactions.

What it comes down to is a sharing of power between two people who must communicate and compromise with each other without influence from external gender politics.

Power, if viewed properly and employed pragmatically, can be shared by two individuals for the greater good of the resulting unit.

Now, that’s powerful!

By Darryl James

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