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Monday, 15 February 2016

We need to talk (2) - problems and solutions

Despite all insight that I have gained over the years, I still fall in the same old trap: offering solutions to problems while she only wants to talk about her experiences. Sometimes I realise this just in time and then I am able to adjust my mindset but not too often. The problem is that women don't like being offered solutions and that men don't like to talk about problems. Also see my 8 November 2015 blog - "We need to talk".

Women don't like being offered solutions as they look for emotional support and understanding rather than advice (source). Men are perfectly happy to talk about solutions but they don't like talking about - or listening to - problems. To men, talking about problems - without solving them - feels like a waste of time and effort. To women, it feels like bonding and sharing.

I suppose that this difference is ultimately rooted in human evolution. Even some 1,000 years ago, many humans still lived like the hunter/gatherers of 3 million years ago. The 3 minute video in my 13 February 2016 blog would show that almost 3,999 of our 4,000 kilometre journey are behind us and that we have been living in the final kilometre of our human journey for the last 1,000 years. Human evolutionary psychology has been shaped for an extremely long time.

In a hunter/gatherer culture it made little sense to talk about the new hunt as the food opportunity might be gone by then. The tribal leader had a solution and the rest of the men executed his decision. Success would develop trust in his skills. Failure would give rise to new leadership - with or without a fight. Male conversations could easily imply conspiracies for mutiny. Hierarchy is still essential to men whether in companies, military, or organisations.

From an evolutionary perspective, nearly all human and animal hierarchies are male dominated. Female-biased dominance occurs rarely in mammals (Wiki). Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal. In several theologies, matriarchy has been portrayed as negative. (Wiki) From an evolutionary perspective, one could argue that "today's" male attitude towards women is only of "yesterday"

The role of men and women in societies has been clear for some 3 million years. Only since a few hundred years, the female role in our society has changed enormously: (1) The female right to vote only started in the early 1900s and is still ongoing today (eg, 2015 in Saudi Arabia), and (2) during and after WW2 (1940-45), "the absolute urgency of mobilizing the entire population made the expansion of the role of women inevitable" (Wiki). This timing equals the last 100 metres in a human journey of 4,000,000 metres.

In my view, men haven't found a solution to the problem of finding a "new" balance between men and women. This may be upsetting to men but sexual aggression against women (eg, Cologne) is clearly not a solution. Saying "We don't need you" is neither a solution nor the truth. The ongoing female fight for Equality complicates finding this new balance and makes it even more urgent. Perhaps it's time for men to say: "We need to talk".

Ani DiFranco - Talk To Me Now (1990) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

he said ani, you've gotten tough
'cause my tone was curt
yeah, and when I'm approached in a dark alley
I don't lift my skirt
in this city
is a full time occupation
I'm determined
to survive on this shore
you know I don't
avert my eyes anymore
in a man's world
I am a woman by birth
and after nineteen times around I have found
they will stop at nothing once they know what you are worth
talk to me now
I played the powerless
in too many dark scenes
and I was blessed with a birth and a death
and I guess I just want some say in between
don't you understand
in the day to day
and the face to face
I have to act
just as strong as I can
just to preserve a place
where I can be who I am
so if you still know how
talk to me now

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