scary and dysfunctional!
Why are there so few men in yoga classes, dance classes and therapy groups? Why are most counselling and healing clients women?
Genetically speaking we are still stone-age creatures and our gender-related biology reflects the specialisations which allowed our family-based ancestors to successfully survive and pass on their genes at a time when there were no supermarkets or NHS.
The genetic differences are reflected in our brain structure and are accentuated by cultural factors in childhood, although these are not now as pronounced as when I was a child - e.g. only boys could do woodwork and metalwork classes, while only girls could do cookery and sewing.
GENDER APPROACHES to VULNERABILITY
Our ancestral women inevitably spent much of their short lives heavily involved in child-bearing and infant-care, which could be combined with GATHERING food and integrated with social bond development and communication and connection skills. A key female skill is VULNERABILITY, which most women instinctively know is great for social bonding, social support and also for attracting a protective mate. Vulnerability is a problem for men because biologically and culturally we are programmed to be more independent, self-reliant and to be a protector rather than someone protected.
The truth is that we are all vulnerable in this chaotic and dangerous world, but men and women tend to handle this in different ways - women tend to exploit it and men tend to deny or avoid it. Opening up to a healer, or joining a new social group, puts our vulnerability on the line. Typically women will want to go to a new social situation with a supportive friend or to know that the situation-leader is going to respect their vulnerability and "take care" of them. Men will more easily go alone, but will want to know that their strength and status will be respected and validated. These are sweeping generalisations of course.
GATHERING & HUNTING
Men became more specialised for HUNTING, which requires a lot more silence and in some forms is best done as a solitary activity while in others is best done as a "co-operative team" activity. The natural male adaptation to team-hunting seems to get sublimated into an obsession with football nowadays! The "lone-wolf" type of hunting skill is best expressed in men who are willing to go "against the status quo" in a spirit of innovation and discovery, or "go against the crowd" and resist social pressures in a search for truth. At worst, it can express in selfish crime and sexual predation.
Mike Meredith, Shamanic Practitioner
Most of my healing and stress-management clients are women and many of the holistic classes I run, or attend personally, are mostly or entirely women. I have pondered the same question that you do. Where are the men? Well many of them are watching football! Others are doing their male-bonding down the pub or on the golf course [developing the team-collaboration and hierarchical structure - once so important to team-hunting and still producing material-collaboration and team-support today]. Others are down the gym - building those powerful shoulders that will attract a mate and deter enemies! Many others are doing male territory-marking behaviour [aka DIY!] or protecting their mates and offspring from marauders [thinly disguised as watching TV!].
GENDER EQUALITY or GENDER MUTUALITY?
Long-standing genetic and cultural differences are being steadily eroded now, with both an upside and a downside. We have an unprecedented freedom to find and be, who you want to be and develop in what directions appeal. There are some very intuitive, nurturing, psychic and socially-skilled men around these days and also some very materialistic, competitive and egocentric women.
Successful families and communities seem to benefit from having a range of skills and energies available, just as our ancestors did. I know many women who provide valuable healing, wellbeing or social services, but are only able to do this because they are supported via partners [or taxpayers] who are more financially energetic and materialistically "savvy".
Would it benefit our society to have everybody very intuitive and psychic?
Personally I would find that too much. As a shamanic practitioner I spend a lot of time in the world of intuitive, psychic and relationship experiences and I find it quite refreshing [and entertaining!] to spend a certain amount of time in the company of folks [of whatever gender] who are "down to earth" materialistic. Even within myself, I value my worldly ego as much as my eternal soul, together they provide me with a diverse and rich range of life experiences.
We can all imagine in our aloof, God-like moments that we could create a better world than the incumbent divine intelligence is doing. At these times, when I feel myself being swept away by the desire to change people, I find it useful to draw on the wisdom of the Sikh prophet Guru Nanak who wrote:
"IF YOU CAN'T SEE GOD IN ALL, YOU CAN'T SEE GOD AT ALL!"
"YOU HAVE YOUR RULES ABOUT THIS AND THAT AND THE OTHER, BUT THE SAME LIGHT IS INSIDE OF EVERYONE!"
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