The limits of the planet to support further increases in population render the reproductive role of men and women no longer relevant as the central plan of life. And the limits of the planet to support further ecological stress from overproduction render the role of career and “getting ahead” no longer credible as the self-evident social ideal. Moreover, potential parents cannot simply be diverted to the work force, adding to the burden of strained resources and pollution from overdevelopment. We must begin to consider alternative life goals to both making money and making babies. Men and women alike must define and choose goals more appropriate to the state of the world than the current excesses of production and reproduction. Imagination is required to conceive lives and social arrangements that do not simply aggravate the world’s condition. Something far beyond sexual liberation and equality is called for. It will not do for women to become functional men in the economy; nor simply for men and women to change places, with women moving out into the world of male pursuits and with men staying at home to care for children and domestic responsibilities. While that is a way to begin exploring each other’s sensibilities, in the present circumstance it is little more than trading dysfunctions. Moreover, going unisex hardly guarantees an integration of masculine and feminine principles. Women are not men who do mothering; femininity is not simply the role of nurturance in the home, a tour of biological duty in an otherwise masculine world. It is rather a worldview and a principle for defining reality that has been forced into recession in the historical era. The feminine is a sensibility, a mode of thinking, being, perceiving, acting—or not acting. It is as easily overpowered by masculinity, however, as silence is by talking, as nature is by civilization. Unless we consciously intend otherwise, the feminine will always be overshadowed by the masculine; just as the world will always be dominated by men who are ruthlessly good at imposing their will, and nature will continue to be overrun by civilization. I am not arguing that the feminine is better or worse, stronger or weaker than the masculine; but that there is a built-in imbalance between them because of their utterly different natures. We ignore this imbalance at increasing peril. And because of this difference, women can no more advance the feminine principle by masculine political means than one can advance the cause of silence by shouting it from the rooftops. It may be necessary for women to fight for equal rights and “feminist issues” in a male-dominated world. But it is not sufficient. Today, more than ever, all issues must be considered feminist issues.
RELATED TAGS: [reproductive role, planetary limit, ecological stress, over-reproduction, overproduction, overdevelopment, beyond sexual liberation, functional men, integration of masculine and feminine, vive la difference]
© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.