Men

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Baha'i Warrior
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Men

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:51 pm

This topic concerns this quote:

    The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendency. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced.

    (From a talk, cited in Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, 5th rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), p. 149)


Now, my question is: have we arrived there yet, that is, in an age which is "less masculine and more...feminine"? What does the quote exactly mean by the world becoming more feminine: just the abolishment of war, large scale violence, men being more compasionate, etc., or does it extend to other domains (dress, behavior, etc.)? Certainly I don't think it means men actually acting and dressing less masculine, as is the current trend...

If you look at our culture, for example take many TV sitcoms, I think the shift in some ways has been made radically toward the feminine side, that is, now the unbalance is resulting from our society being too feminine. Observing how many men behave, act, and dress on my campus just confirms my belief. Television commercials these days have "mom" (the one in charge) rolling her eyes at a goofy, emasculated dad (never vice versa as it is not "P.C." to do so). Boys are given Ritalin and condemned for being boys, discouraged and in fact sometimes disallowed to play sterotypical boy games. Half of all marriages end in divorce, and in most cases women take custody of the children and are the sole breadwinners—leaving their sons no parental masculine role model and no masculine figure to confirm their daughters' femininity: crucial, indispensable factors for a child's full emotional development.

...Well, I could give many more examples (I have many in mind), but I won't because I'm afraid I might offend someone (and I don't want to make it any more politically incorrect than it already is—but I think many of you know what I'm getting at :wink:). This thread by the way is not meant to offend, it is just meant to discuss the topic.

There are hadith in Islam (as I have heard from a scholar and some others—if anyone can find examples I'd appreciate it) and similar ones in Zoroastrianism and even Hinduism that state, I believe, that the end of times will come when men become (act and dress) like women, and vice versa. Is that what we are seeing today? Could this be another sign that the promised Day has come?

What are your ideas? :)

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Postby brettz9 » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:49 am

I don't know what you mean about boys dressing less masculine, unless you mean cross-dressing; the Bible speaks against this, but I don't know of anything in the Baha'i Writings about it (besides perhaps the injunction to be normal and moderate, but this can obviously be bent quite a bit without any explicit guidance).

I'd say that on the one hand, there is an excessive fear about being seen as feminine as well as a sad reality of domestic abuse (largely though not exclusively at the hand of males), and on the other, some imbalance at times against men.

The Guardian, in his remarks...about parents" and children's, wives" and husbands" relations in America, meant that there is a tendency in that country for children to be too independent of the wishes of their parents and lacking in the respect due to them. Also wives, in some cases, have a tendency to exert an unjust degree of domination over their husbands, which, of course, is not right, any more than that the husband should unjustly dominate his wife.

(22 July 1943, at http://bahai-library.com/?file=uhj_rela ... sband_wife )


Bahá'u'lláh also stressed the importance of consultation. We should not think this worthwhile method of seeking solutions is confined to the administrative institutions of the Cause. Family consultation employing full and frank discussion, and animated by awareness of the need for moderation and balance, can be the panacea for domestic conflict. Wives should not attempt to dominate their husbands, nor husbands their wives.

(Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, dated August 1, 1978 at http://bahai-library.com/?file=nsa_guid ... nsultation )


I have said in America and Europe that there is only the question of votes in which women have been held back and claim equality with men. In California they even have this right. In all other respects it is men who must demand equality of rights. How many men in Europe and America work from morning until evening and whatever they save is spent on adornments and jewelry and colorful clothes and the latest fashions for their wives who spend their time in pleasure and enjoyment? In reality, these poor men are servants of their wives.
Once a respectable gentleman came with his wife to see me. A little dust had settled on the wife's shoes. She instantly asked her husband to clean them. As the poor man was cleaning her shoes he glanced at me. I said, `Madam! Do you also clean your husband's shoes?' She replied that she cleaned his clothes. I said, `No, that is not equality. You, too, must clean his shoes.' Now then, it would be better if you occasionally stand up for the rights of men.340
One time an American woman had gone on a long trip to Europe, all in great comfort, while her poor husband was back in America, working hard and sending his earnings to her. This is the case with most of the wealthy and middle classes of the West, whereas there must be equality. A condition must be realized in which the man and woman sacrifice their rights for each other, serve each other with heart and soul and not through force and violence. This condition cannot be realized except through the power of faith. Hearts must be attracted to the divine fragrances so that each one prefers the other to himself and does not consider himself above the other.
A Parsi Bahá'í came to `Akká to ask me to make honorable mention of his deceased wife. He was lamenting piteously saying, `That woman worked hard for forty years in my home but as I had no wealth she never had any comfort.' To put it briefly, spiritual susceptibilities must reach this stage, they must become heavenly. Physical susceptibilities are of an animal nature and it is heavenly enlightenment which is worthy of man.
('Abdu'l-Baha, Mahmud's Diary, November 1, 1912 at http://bahai-library.com/?file=zarqani_ ... section223 )


Now despite this, Baha'i texts as recent as 1995 also talk about a continuing imbalance in our society having too much of a masculine (not always male, by the way) approach to power and consultation. See the whole section VI at http://bahai-library.com/?file=bic_pros ... mankind#VI

There are way too many instances in the U.S. where dialogue is dominated by argumentation, often by men as well as possibly a few women who will engage them in kind. I think too often when men think of empowering women, they are thinking of the women who are already excessively powered up (and they thus don't consider its necessity or even desirability), and not consider the humble women who prefer to steer away from heated conversations altogether, and whose contributions (intellectual as well as social/emotional) are thus ignored and lost.

Look at News discussion boards to take one example of this fruitless bickering and oneupmanship. But even here, self-effacing humor (like the Daly show, comedians in Mexico and other countries humanizing their leaders through comedy, etc.)--a more "feminine" approach I would say--is showing the power to make a niche amidst the bickering.

I've seen the quotation you refer to in one of Moojan Momen's books on Islam, but I don't have it handy.

take care,
Brett

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:14 am

brettz9 wrote:I don't know what you mean about boys dressing less masculine, unless you mean cross-dressing; the Bible speaks against this, but I don't know of anything in the Baha'i Writings about it (besides perhaps the injunction to be normal and moderate, but this can obviously be bent quite a bit without any explicit guidance).


I was just giving an example. Have you heard of the recent upsurge of "gender dysphorias"? These days, they treat people with Gender Identity Disorder with sex reassignment surgery (SRS)! They change patients' sex as a "cure," and what's worse, now they are starting to do this procedure on children. Can you believe that, transexual kids? What father in his right mind would listen to his son's complaints of wanting to be a girl, and get him an SRS? Abominable... (see http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/rekers.html for more info on the disorder).

You say:

I've seen the quotation you refer to in one of Moojan Momen's books on Islam, but I don't have it handy.


Do you know which book? I REALLY want to find that quote! What we are seeing today is a total fulfillment of this prophesy. Not only do we have the transvestites, but we also have people who are "unhappy" with their sex, changing it! How much more fulfilled could this prophesy get? Not to mention general patterns of dress (which I already referred to).

brettz9 wrote:I'd say that on the one hand, there is an excessive fear about being seen as feminine as well as a sad reality of domestic abuse (largely though not exclusively at the hand of males), and on the other, some imbalance at times against men.


I am not seeing that, that there is an excessive fear about being feminine in today's overly liberal climate. That's only a very small minority. Compare to places like san francisco. Political beliefs today are causing/encouraging men to be less masculine—that combined with the domestic abuse you mention. The domestic abuse, including bad parenting in general, certainly creates a huge vulnerability.

It was just in the news recently—since the 80s mens testosterone levels have been dropping by 1% each year. Hmm...:?:

What more proof do we need that this prophesy has been fulfilled? :wink:


Also wives, in some cases, have a tendency to exert an unjust degree of domination over their husbands, which, of course, is not right, any more than that the husband should unjustly dominate his wife.


Brett...I am speechless sometimes how you are able to find these gems. :) This is yet another example of what I'm talking about. I'm sure we have all seen this, wives taking over the families and emasculating the fathers. You don't see this usually (or to such a great extent) in Middle Eastern countries, probably because women don't have so much power over there in regards to divorce (here they have too much power in that regard). Again, I think this is related to the prophesy (or at least is paving the path to its fulfillment and further fulfillment)!

I have said in America and Europe that there is only the question of votes in which women have been held back and claim equality with men. In California they even have this right. In all other respects it is men who must demand equality of rights. How many men in Europe and America work from morning until evening and whatever they save is spent on adornments and jewelry and colorful clothes and the latest fashions for their wives who spend their time in pleasure and enjoyment? In reality, these poor men are servants of their wives.

Once a respectable gentleman came with his wife to see me. A little dust had settled on the wife's shoes. She instantly asked her husband to clean them. As the poor man was cleaning her shoes he glanced at me. I said, `Madam! Do you also clean your husband's shoes?' She replied that she cleaned his clothes. I said, `No, that is not equality. You, too, must clean his shoes.' Now then, it would be better if you occasionally stand up for the rights of men....


Alright :) ... I never knew these quotes existed! 'Abdu'l-Baha even saw this pattern of wives taking advantage of their husbands, and this certainly was a warning sign for what was to come. (I was listening to a talk show today blaming all this on feminism.)

brettz9 wrote:Now despite this, Baha'i texts as recent as 1995 also talk about a continuing imbalance in our society having too much of a masculine (not always male, by the way) approach to power and consultation.


Good you said "not always male," as we have just seen that women are now taking on these masculine roles (exerting their power, dominance, etc. in the family).

brettz9 wrote:There are way too many instances in the U.S. where dialogue is dominated by argumentation, often by men as well as possibly a few women who will engage them in kind.


"Few"? What about the quotes by 'Abdu'l-Baha we just discussed? I think it is vice versa. Just look at the rates of divorce. Half of all marriages end in divorce, and that figure is steadily increasing. Do the men usually instigate the divorce, take custody of the kids, keep their house, etc.?

brettz9 wrote:I think too often when men think of empowering women, they are thinking of the women who are already excessively powered up (and they thus don't consider its necessity or even desirability), and not consider the humble women who prefer to steer away from heated conversations altogether, and whose contributions (intellectual as well as social/emotional) are thus ignored and lost.


There are many men who escape from "heated conversations." But the point is, sure men engage in it, but it is also a problem seen in women too, otherwise 'Abdu'l-Baha wouldn't have referred to it. I'm not trying to say men are angels, but women aren't either, and we have to recognize that just as men have their tests, so do women. We shouldn't always blame the men just because historically they have been the dominant ones, I believe. That would be unfair.

Well, I'm just putting things together...I am, of course, not the first one to have seen this trend :)

Best,

Warrior

FruccalFrilia
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obscure

Postby FruccalFrilia » Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:53 pm

"You must excuse me for keeping you waiting, Dr Grant. I am very, very sorry to have kept you waiting, very sorry. But I was captured by three hundred women this afternoon. Is it not a dreadful thing to be captured by so many women? (At this I felt wickedly amused.) "The women in America dominate the men," the Master continued.

Diary of Juliet Thompson
Chapter 4
November 28, 1912

I think I heard somewhere that recently in the U.S.A more women go to college than men. And that during undergraduate years women seem more proactive while men tend be more laid back in class.

Baha'i Warrior
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Re: obscure

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:40 pm

Argos wrote:"You must excuse me for keeping you waiting, Dr Grant. I am very, very sorry to have kept you waiting, very sorry. But I was captured by three hundred women this afternoon. Is it not a dreadful thing to be captured by so many women? (At this I felt wickedly amused.) "The women in America dominate the men," the Master continued.

Diary of Juliet Thompson
Chapter 4
November 28, 1912


lol. And that's before feminism took full force. Thank you for that contribution, Argos! (I have heard that the Master had some critical things to say about feminism by the way—maybe stated as the women's movement.)

Argos wrote:I think I heard somewhere that recently in the U.S.A more women go to college than men. And that during undergraduate years women seem more proactive while men tend be more laid back in class.


You are most correct. College statistics: 58% women vs. 42% men. And who says it won't be 60% for women soon?

And yes, from personal experience I can tell you that women dominate in pretty much everything college-related. I was recently inducted into an honor society which was only for the top percent in the major. Believe it or not, at the induction, except for 3 or 4 other men, all the inductees were women (total about 50 or 55)! I can honestly say, I felt out of place. It was somewhat humiliating even, and I kept thinking: this is how women must have felt back in the 50s when they were in college. So you can imagine how many stares I got (plus, on top of the fact that I was a man, I was also actually dressed up for the occasion. The women were wearing mini skirts. I guess that was two strikes against me.) So, anyway, I have a very, very hard time believing that there were only 3 or 4 men who were at the top of the their major. Imagine what an uproar would have been caused had the situation been the other way around. :roll:

Don't get me wrong though. I'm all for women being on the same level as men academically. But I am totally opposed to them taking over like this, and I think women themselves should protest as it is an injustice (and the 58 vs. 42 percent statistic was framed that way too by other sources). Whatever protest there may have been was smothered.

Well, I guess what we are seeing in society is a colossal reaction to the discrimination that occured in the past. The equilibrium has been massively shifted in the other direction, which is a bad thing.

Thanks again for bringing up those important points, Argos. Nice to have you as a member on this forum.

—Warrior

Zazaban
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Postby Zazaban » Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:21 pm

I agree. It seems that the whole world seems now to be sexist the other way. and racist the other way. it seems that society thinks only men can be sexist or only whites can be racist.
Justice and equity are twin Guardians that watch over men. From them are revealed such blessed and perspicuous words as are the cause of the well-being of the world and the protection of the nations.
~ Bahá'u'lláh

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Postby FruccalFrilia » Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:40 pm

"By My Life! The names of handmaidens who are devoted to God are written and set down by the Pen of the Most High in the Crimson Book. They excel over men in the sight of God. How numerous are the heroes and knights in the field who are bereft of the True One and have no share in His recognition, but thou hast attained and received thy fill."
(Bahá'u'lláh, from a Tablet- translated from the Persian.

"Furthermore the education of women is more necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect herself the child will necessarily be deficient; therefore imperfection of woman implies a condition of imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother who rears, nurtures and guides the growth of the child.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 133.)


"As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs."
(`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133.)


A few assorted comments:.
Certian fields like physics and math seem to be more dominated by men.
I agree that the short skirt phenomenon that passes for formal dress does not abide by chasity or moderation and in some cases even self respect. Also I think, unfortunately, equality has often been defined by women adopting more masculine traits, rather than the spread of positive feminine traits. I dont think a role reversal counts as equality either!

brettz9
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Postby brettz9 » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:40 pm

As far as equality, again, in the Baha'i teachings, equality does not mean sameness. For example, in college aptitude tests, young women tend to perform better in language, and in the past at least, men tended to perform better in math. Although a certain degree of this may have been socialization, it is also quite reasonable to consider this as potentially having genetic differences. Women, biologically and historically speaking, as well as what the Baha'i Writings suggest, have a primary role in raising young children. To do this, the mother (in many cultures at least) models language for the baby. Women have also acquired skills over the ages in building bridges within families, and, as linguistics will testify, women are also more sensitive to language markers of status (presumably since their family's financial welfare, at least in the past, depended much on finding (and winning over) a spouse who had a high enough position). The one area I have read that studies suggest men have an inherent advantage is in mental object rotation (maybe due to a historical need to plan hunts?)--thus perhaps explaining men's preference for maps in directions. In one of my physics classes, I privately joked to a fellow classmate within a large lecture room, "isn't that a girl down there?"--women really are underrepresented--particularly in the U.S.--in certain scientific areas (and the fact that it is not universal ought to give us pause to consider the potential for prejudicial upbringings).

So, as far as the statistics BW offered, although it is possible that there may be a prejudice of sorts involved, I think the above reasons and a few others could also explain the situation...

Maybe the present societal acceptance of excessive machismo in men, leads them to shun school or engage in behavior which either turns off their teachers or tunes them out from learning (this behavior likely has some roots in attracting a mate; though it can still be controlled, it is still a part of men's biology). As a former teacher myself, I can testify that even at an early age, boys tend to have the capacity to be more disruptive.

As far as your comments, Zazaban, about the world being racist the other way as well, I think in most public discourse you are correct. In the Baha'i community as well as the greater community, there is sometimes (in the U.S. at least) a lop-sided discussion which tends to reinforce the politicization of blacks on this issue and privately turn off many whites. Too little attention is paid to the statements of the Guardian in the Advent of Divine Justice that both white and black have serious responsibilities on the issue.

But although we may say, I believe in all fairness, that the public discourse tends to be slanted sometimes excessively against the white, that does not mean at all that on a private level that whites are following the teaching any better. Whites are specifically supposed to "persuade them [blacks] through their intimate, spontaneous and informal association with them of the genuineness of their friendship and the sincerity of their intentions, and to master their impatience of any lack of responsiveness on the part of a people who have received, for so long a period, such grievous and slow-healing wounds." (Advent of Divine Justice, p. 40) I don't think that these instructions are being followed very well overall, even by many well-intentioned Baha'is.

Racial minorities are given a kind of leeway, as they should be, sometimes too little, but in other cases, too much. But I think many white people do not realize how severely racism still afflicts other white people. If you look at almost any discussion board on the internet (where private feelings are aired more openly)--whether those discussions on the news, or even technical subjects, you can see a whole lot of open, nasty white racism. Also, a lot of times, this racism is masked under pride in America; this is of course not to say that the two are the same, but for some people, it truly, truly is.

What is great to be able to see is whites who do not check in their reasoning at the door to just follow everything blacks may say about racism, but who still persist very strongly in maintaining and expanding friendships in all sincerity, as well as blacks who are brave enough to follow the advice of 'Abdu'l-Baha to show gratitude for the historic sacrifice of (many) whites in the U.S. to bring their freedom and Shoghi Effendi's words for them in turn to "...show by every means in their power the warmth of their response, their readiness to forget the past, and their ability to wipe out every trace of suspicion that may still linger in their hearts and minds." (Advent of Divine Justice, p. 40)

best wishes,
Brett


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