When looking at left-wing online magazines you will find that the male versus female ratio among their contributors is quite unequal. It ranges from 5 to 1 to even 9 to 1 (last time I checked at the “Counterpunch” magazine).
To be sure, when I first started counting names, there was quite a bit of sour grapes in my motivations and a bit of anger as well.
Here we have male progressives stating over and over again that strengthening the issue of women’s rights and equality must be an intrinsic part of progressive policies (and with women’s rights they most prominently mean the right of women to have abortions on demand) while at the same time you see in their own publications fewer women than in the Iranian parliament and certainly a lower female to male ration than in the Iranian TV station Press TV and on Vatican Radio.
Now, I should probably not say or even think that the only reason why left-wing men are so supportive of a pro-abortion legislation is that they want to protect their own privileges of having sex with anyone whenever they want without having to take responsibility for the small consequences of their acts, leaving the women to the often devastating emotional and physical pains their choices might have had. No, that would be an extremely unfair interpretation of those male-female numbers.
My guess is rather, that the main reason is most likely that there are far fewer women who even attempt to contribute articles to left-wing publications than there are men. It could be that many women see themselves as less competent in writing than their male fellows.
It is, however, not the case, that women are actually less interested in the subjects of social justice and peace. On the contrary, women have an equal or even larger part in many forms of political activism than men.
Indeed when you look at anti-war demonstrations you will often see more female than male faces among the demonstrators, just as in civil rights and social justice protests. And even in places where political activism might be risky to one’s health, freedom or life, you can see women on the forefront. Rachel Corey,a American who was working as human rights volunteer in Palestine and killed by an Israeli bulldozer about to demolish a Palestinian home, was a woman after all and so were the three American nuns Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel who were tortured and killed by American supported death squads in El Salvador.
And so while women can become the foot-soldiers in left-wing protests and even risk and lose their lives, they are still less competent to write and analyze?
Yes, this is indeed true, when competence is measured by left-wing male standards.
The reason for this is, that women are indeed somehow different from men in thinking, although both men and women can train themselves into the thinking patterns of the other gender.
A woman’s brain is connected in a way that all her thoughts have to pass through her emotional centers and this will fill abstract facts with emotional background.
Statistics of war casualties will then no longer be just numbers but will be mentally connected to images of people who suffer and die.
Of course this can lead a woman to lose herself in individual details and forgetting the big picture. The fate of a fallen soldier from the invading army might be seen as equal horrific as the fate of thousands of civilians killed by these invaders.
Yes, the statistics and the big pictures are necessary, but so are the details, when the details are human beings.
Another factor that might make women’s writings seem more incompetent than those of men is the tendency of women to see the humanity in the other, even in the person on the other side of the male-created divides. And therefor women are less clear-cut.
“You are either for or against us” is often not the female style.
If you see humanity and even reason and value in those on the other side, you might come to the conclusion that the best option is dialogue and compromise not fight to the death.
While most politically interested women have adjusted to the dualistic philosophies their male compatriots espouse, there are occasionally times when the female thinking becomes slightly visible, like the seam of a colorful skirt under the one-colored covering mental coat all women have to wear to be accepted in male intellectual company.
And, of course, as women we are often more critical of one another than of our male fellows. And that’s why even a female editor will be far more likely to turn down a woman’s article submission for political incorrectness and for straying from the path of doctrinal and verbal compliance to the male created structures of discourse than she would a man. Men are getting more leeway in that respect.
The need to adjust and cooperate is part of our female mental make-up. Seeing unconventional thought in another woman somehow feels as being at odds with what is “proper”.
Personally I think we women should change this attitude, but not in an aggressive manner as some feminists suggest, seeing the enemy in everyone male, but in the way in which we women have indeed a high competence, namely reaching out and seeing the humanity in the other and seeking compromise.
Yes, we as humanity often need numbers and statistics as well as straight and clear-cut statements. It was the dualism of mostly male inventors that has created our digital technology. And without it I would not sit here in front of my laptop computer and write these words. Even if I would write with a pen on a piece of paper, the words I would write would be very different. I would not have the internet with all the vastness of its information highways. And without this information my mind and attitude would be different. And even if I had gotten some of this information from books and I would be able to write the words I write now, chances would be slim indeed that anybody would read what I have written.
But although we as humanity do need the abstract, we also need to see behind the numbers and we need to see the complexity that is revealed in human and in all the rest of nature. This complexity cannot be explained so easily by a reduced form of mathematical reason, but it can be fathomed by a deeper emotional and maybe even spiritual view on the world.
We as women in our full feminine range of thinking have something to give to humanity.
There is for instance the idea that life in its evolutionary process is not a fight of all against all, but a process which demands constant cooperation or even symbiosis.
When women have become a more equal voice in political, economic, historic and social analysis then some of the precepts and axioms of even scientific discourse might change.
Darwin might be laid to his well-deserved rest replaced by Peter Kropotkin’s evolution theory of “Mutual Aid”.
Darwin in his time found resonance in a male dominated science and political analysis, while Kropotkin’s theory – based on the observation that there is far more symbiosis between and within species than there is actual competition – did not.
When we accept Kropotkin rather than Darwin we might see that the consequence of this cooperative development of species is the enormous diversity we see in nature among all species and even within the same species. Diversity might also be the key for survival, since it allows attributes to be perpetuated which might seem useless or even a weakness at some environmental conditions, while they might become key survival tools at other times.
But since Darwin was preferred to Kropotkin in the past, today even the well-observed tendencies for cooperation and symbiosis in nature have been re-interpreted and pressed into the Darwinian thought model.
Darwin’s ideas of biology were then turned into the foundation of political and sociological theories. Everything in the political sphere was subsequently seen as a fight between opposing forces, a fight for dominance, for conquest or even extermination of the opposing force.
When female thinking becomes equally accepted to male thinking in scientific and political discourse Kropotkin’s theory should also become more accepted. Then a different idea of life as cooperation will change our cultural views. Both men and women might realize that the most successful species are those with the highest capacity for cooperation and symbiosis as well as a tolerance for diversity. New political and sociological ideas might grow out of it.
- Survival of the Nicest: The Other Theory of Evolution (wwje.wordpress.com)