Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness: On Gender

Let me just preface this by saying that my views on love are very different from most people's. I'm not suggesting that my opinions are correct and that everyone should think like me. I understand that love is a very personal subject, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, whatever that may be. There is no right and wrong on love, just different perceptions of it. Again, I'm not judging, just thinking.

This is the second part of an exploration on love in the world of today. The first part can be found here.

Women and Men are traditionally depicted as having different views on sex and on love. Society tells us that women don't think about sex as much as men do, and they don't enjoy it either. For them, it's more about the romance. These societal norms make women feel like they must hide their sexual thoughts. In truth, women think about sex just as much as men. If anything, because their sexual feelings are repressed, they might think about sex more then their male counterparts. Men, on the other hand, are free to express their sexual desires, because society tells them it's perfectly normal to do so.

This leads to a difference in opinions on love and therefore, on sex. But lets start with love.

Societal norms lead us to believe that men are pigs, who, even if they say they love you, just want to get busy with you - and everyone else. Obviously, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. Men, it is said, are incapable of romance and true love, except for certain exceptions. Girls, on the other hand, dream up a perfect love story, a Prince Charming rescuing her on his white steed... yet have little hope of it actually happening. So when a guy does care for them in that way, it's a welcome surprise. In some cases, it also plants the seeds of doubt.

Why? Because women are insecure. So are men, really, but society conveniently forgets to point that out, instead referring time and time again to a woman's apparent lack of self-confidence. I'm not a man, but I've spoken to many of them, and let me tell you - men are just as insecure as women. We have the same fears, and so, the same desires.

In other words, men and women approach relationships differently mostly because society tells us we should. There are stereotypes and discriminatory statements identified with each gender, and we tend to blindly take them to be fact. In the end, abiding to those societal norms makes it tougher for true love to exist. It makes it tougher for open relationships to take place, because society doesn't accept them, and in fact, rejects them almost in the same way Christianity has rejected Pagan practices.

These stereotypes actually encourage negative feelings to enter a relationship, be it insecurity, jealousy, doubt... And all of these can be attributed to a lack of trust. Trust, as we discussed previously, is the fundamental pillar of all relationships. Yet, for some reason, it almost seems to disappear in what should be one of the most important partnerships of our lives.

Why don't we pause for a second. Let us take a look at what trust actually means. Webster defines "trust" as:

1 a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b: one in which confidence is placed


5 a (1): a charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence or as a condition of some relationship
: something committed or entrusted to one to be used or cared for in the interest of another
b: responsible charge or office
: care , custody

Trust is not a one-way street, especially in a relationship. You must have confidence in each others' feelings and actions, but you also take custody of a tiny element of your partner's heart and soul... of their spirit. And you become responsible for caring for it, as they are responsible of caring for your spirit. Therefore, in order to function properly, trust must flow both ways.

Coupled with trust is the concept of honesty. According to Webster, "honesty" is:

2 a: fairness and straightforwardness of conduct
: adherence to the facts : sincerity

Without honesty, there can be no trust. And since trust is essential to building and maintaining a good relationship, honesty is a must.

Which brings me to the topic of affairs, addressed in the next post, for readability purposes.

Stay tuned...

Please feel free to leave comments, as long as they promote the exploration of the topic rather than bash my thoughts and opinions. I'm looking for constructive criticism, not hate mail. If you have nothing helpful to say, please don't bother saying it.

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