Tue 4 Feb, 2003 07:55 pm
In this world, except for a few notable exceptions, it is men who hold sway in the seats of power. Whether it is in business or politics it is the male of the species who basically controls the destiny of the planet.
I was on another thread tonight, where members were discussing the various offenses that American Presidents committed during their tenure. I got to thinking, and the thoughts that came to mind were power, domination, and privilege.
Then I started to thinking about the political threads right here on A2K, which too have been dominated by men. You see the anger, the aggression, the desire to control, that seem to be the hallmark of manly discussion in areas where power is the issue. You rarely see the same sort of hostility emanating from the women members.
Then I thought to myself, "What would it be like if women were to occupy the seats of power?" What skills could females bring to the negotiating tables of the world? Do you think that the way the world works would change, and if so, how? Where would women need the assistance of men in carrying out these formidable tasks?
This is a very earnest exploration of the differences in male and female leadership styles, and how women can work to make the world a better place. Please respect the seriousness of this thread. Thank you.
very interesting reflection topic indeed.
I think power corrupts whether you're male or female. there are much more benevolent men in power than aggressive ones, yet the agressive (read: overly ambitious) ones make it to the top and hold on to their seats at all costs. I believe women want to hold on to power just as much. see maggie thatcher, hilary clinton. and that's never good.
generally, however, I do suspect more openness from the female character and less chance of resolving conflict by military power and machism. from that point a view, we need a lot more women in high places. granted. but they still would be overrun by the ego of males. what we need to do, as a species, is to evolve to a point where hapiness is void of greed and power, and filled instead with responsibility and altruism. aspects both women and men possess.
Wolf- It is true that one cannot speak authoritatively about any particular person. Each of us is an individual. But is there something, whether innate or socially learned, about the male in general, that propels men towards aggression, domination and control?
Interesting question, Phoenix.
My instinctive reaction is to agree with your argument.
Will think more & return ..
It has often been said that women control 70% of the world's wealth, I think they give us just enough rope to hang ourselves.
Maybe the traits you perceive are related to the current reality? The symptoms being the cause....
Hopefully, my previous post made it under the "serious wire", you raise an interesting point, (as usual) Phoenix, and it will be interesting to see the responses.
Personally, I have never had a problem with women in positions of power over me, and I would readily vote for (and in fact, have) women for elected office.
I have always considered myself a leader of men, and a follower of women.*
Viva la difference!
Today I read in Time Magazine that in Europe Bush is commonly referred to as "the Toxic Texsan".
let's say that women and men are both capable of great struggles for peace and equality - from Marie Curie to Mandela - but that frustrated men and women more easily make it to the top.
the current US leaders being a sad illustration. they just won't let go.
Many women think they have to ape males in all their foibles to compete in business and politics. I have worked under a number of women in my time; its seems to me that the ones who seek to be competitive in the males' "domain" are abrasive and quick to move to crush any person or object perceived as giving the slightest resistance. - That said, I believe that most women do not fit this characterization. Most women, including the ones working in the office of my employment, are intent only on doing a good job. They would accept higher responsibility, but would not act so aggressively to get there. I think in general that women would be less likely to make the sort of assumptions that lead us to war and corporate misdeeds. But, only if the types I first described do not gain a preponderance of power.
I agree with you Phoenix and just hope in time that things will change!
Hmmmm - well, there have been some pretty horrific examples - like Thatcher... and I think there is something about what it takes to get real power that often renders a person who gets it unfit to wield it - however, that said, I do note amongst my own women friends and acquaintances who DO wield power - eg as politicians, trade union leaders etc - that they are able to work in a very co-operative way - even with their political opponents - to achieve things.
For example, in the previous government of my state, a friend of mine routinely worked with women of all the opposing parties to get legislation through or to lobby for things to be done - this when her party was in opposition.
Dreamweaver - welcome! You say:
"Maybe the traits you perceive are related to the current reality? The symptoms being the cause...."
I seem to be especially stupid tonight - could you explain what you mean?
Phoenix, I took some time to think about your topic before I replied, and it didn't help one bit.
About the only point of reference that I have in my personal life is within the scope of my career and within my family. My oldest sister has been in positions of authority and she is both agressive and intelligent. She is an amazing woman in that she raised a family, pursued a career, and maintained a balance among all these roles. I didn't always admire her tactics, but I must be fair and say that she got things done.
In my career, I had one female principal, and I swear to you she was one of the most biased people with whom I have ever had contact. It seemed that she was in constant competition with her staff.
Quite frankly, I prefer male dominance, but feel that a woman's hand is needed to calm the impetiousity of the male of the species; ergo, I always look at the profile of the first lady, and wonder what influence she might have over her husband (if any) in his role as leader.
I have always been an admirer of Ann Richards and also have a great deal of respect for Elizabeth Dole, among others.
This of course is only an opinion but I believe that women in the seat of power would act no differently than men do
I find the notions that the female of the species are somehow less aggressive, less prone to violence, and that a world ruled by women would be peaceful and harmonious, amusing.
There have been fewer women in history who ruled nations. Among those who ruled, most were noted for their ruthlessness and willingness to use military force. Cleo murdered her brother for the throne. Cathrine was more absolute than Nicky the Last. In modern times there have been Golda, Margaret, and Martha Stewart. The women of Congress have been as hawkish as any hoary old Senator dreaming of cavalry charges.
The list of women who ACTUALLY ruled from behind a puppet man is also large, though less certain and widely known. The Byzantine women were noted in this respect, but that fragment of the Roman Empire was more noted for it's politics by poison than as an era of good feeling. See the Evil Women thread over in the Relationships topical area.
As the Women's Movement has grown, the incidents of violent crime committed by women has also grown. Medea's sisters have always been around, but in the modern world the numbers have exploded. The sweet hand that rocks the craddle, also infects the babe with chauvinism, prejudice, and hate. The barber shop is filled with less talk of aggression than the gossip taking place beneath a hairdrier while nails are sharpened and painted blood red.
But, let's say your right and that the females of our species are by nature paragons of peace, devoted to finding solutions that bring smiles rather than tears, and who shrink from the shedding of blood. Nurturing above all. Could/would these female Solon's be any better at solving the world's problems? Would they remain polite and accomodating when the interests of those they were responsible for were challenged? If Saddam was a woman, would he be less dangerous? Is North Korea a nation-sized prison camp only because Kim's plumbing is different?
If a woman's nature is not as aggressive as man's, then women should not be permitted in the combat arms of the military. The military is designed to kill, destroy and demolish. TMilitary effectiveness requires aggression and combativeness, if women are less so than men then their presence in the military would be a disaster.
All absolute hogwash, of course. Men and women are both capable of civility and brutatlity. Both can be rational, or driven to extremes by personal ambition. Greed, anger, and lust can be found in both sexes. Patience, forgiveness and kindness is as common in men as it is in women. Both are equally vulnerable to emotional responses, and blind to rational thought.
I have worked with both men and women who are empowered -- and think that most of the women seemed more reasonable and easy-going. The women seemed to recognize that everyone had lives beyond the scope of whatever was going on, that power was good but a lot of work, that there was generally room for everyone to contribute and they didn't seem to think they needed to hold the power forever. There were also very few women who would pretend that someone else's work was their own -- though I have seen men do that countless times -- women are much more likely to attribute work to others IMO.
Men tend to be very concerned with the end product -- and overlook interferences better, not always to the end product's best advantage.
That said, I have also worked with a few women whose concentrated focus went way beyond the rational... you know, the women who have to do it all or one who didn't care about consequences. Agggh. Like a character gone wild, they seemed to rush themselves into an early grave or at least out the door and on to their next conquest (and we were happy to see them go).
I do not think that males hold monopoly on political aggression. The famous Russian Empress Catherine the Great initiated numerous wars, mainly against Turkey, and won them all. Her activities in Europe led to disappearance of Poland from the political map for almost 125 years (1796-1920). But in private life she was a typical woman, good mother to her son (he became later a Russian Emperor Paul I), and excellent lover to her male paramours (she became a widow at age of 33 and never married again).
British Prime-Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher did not hesitate to start war against Argentine on the Falklands issue. And Israeli PM Mrs. Golda Meyer was ironically called "the only male in the government".
And what about the biblical Judith?
Not a monopoly... everyone seems to agree.... but possibly a majority.