SheilaG commented on the conclusion of the Men Without Women series here. Everything she said was spot on:
Lately, I’ve been observing male behavior in groups control. Every once in awhile a woman will bring her husband or boyfriend to a woman’s event. What I notice, is that within a women’s culture, when men are the distinct minority (usually one guy and say 14 women), they sit there in silence. They say virtually nothing, and are seemingly incapable of carrying on any conversation at all in this atmosphere. Why the women bring these men is beyond me, since they contribute almost nothing to the group.
So I think, men have really got to gather on their own and figure out how they intend to end all the rape and mayhem. I think they have to seriously work on their almost non-existent social skills, and really learn to carry on real conversations with women that don’t involve their domination.
In women only settings, the non-violence and happiness is apparent. It’s very easy for this spiritual connection to flourish.
Without women, I think men might have to seriously rethink just about every thing. Without stealing women’s “facilitation energy” they would have to truly converse as equals.
At this time in evolution, I don’t think men have much of a spiritual nature at all. They have succeeded in really making the world unlivable in so many areas. They can’t even converse on women’s terms, and if they can’t even do that, what will they do to end this nightmare of male supremacy world wide?
Hell, we men can’t converse with each other on men’s terms. There’s no equals among ourselves. Men create hierarchy wherever we go, and everything we do, say, and think is within that hierarchical framework. Since we’re so concerned with how our words and actions will place us in the hierarchy relative to the men around us, we can’t achieve sincerity and honesty.
So when faced by a room full of women, with no men around to do the hierarchy dance with, men freeze up. We don’t know how to read women’s language, and without men around as a hierarchical reference, we aren’t having our place in the world affirmed by a “person” (read: male; women do not qualify as persons to men). Even worse, we’re in a room full of women and none of them are telling us how awesome we are. So we have two options: put ourselves at the bottom of the one-man hierarchy in the room and sulk, or jump to the top of the one-man hierarchy and establish our dominance, either by derailing the conversation or asserting controlling body language over the woman to whom our presence in the group is attached (hereafter Girlfriend, because girlfriends and wives are going to get it a lot worse than mothers, friends, and other relatives – though sisters come close).
And we can’t just breathe a sigh of relief when the conversation’s over. No, we’ve been slighted, and such slights must be punished. First, we’ll rectify our unmanning in front of Girlfriend. We put down the things that the other women said, usually with an ugly character assessment thrown in.
Then the punishment begins. Any future interaction with, discussion about, or mere mention of the women present will bring out a gorilla response. “Seriously? Lily said that on Facebook? Just goes to show that she has [personality defect] and [can’t handle a simple situation / always chooses inferior men / will never amount to anything / etc.].” We trot this out at the first mention in order to forestall any expression of solidarity by Girlfriend. Girlfriend understands the unspoken choice: either defend a woman against an immediate, violent response by a man, or protect herself from the same violent response.
And worse is when Girlfriend made the mistake of saying something which might have trod upon our ego. Something small, perhaps a tiny anecdote. Really, all it takes is mentioning Our Holy Manliness without also making sure to mention how awesome we are. Because if we’re spoken of without glowing terms attached, that’s the same thing as being put down and ridiculed. Woe betide Girlfriend if she slips up in that department. We’ll be damn sure to punish her as well.
I spent years refining my techniques at dividing the women I wanted to control from their relationships which were beyond my control. This is usually only talked about when discussing physically abusive men and the reasons women don’t leave them. That scenario is simply the more overt example of men’s relationships with women in general. When my male friends in high school and I talked with each other about women, we were doing two things: reaffirming ourselves as totally awesome, and trading techniques for isolating and demeaning women in order to make them dependent on us. We never came out and said that we were doing all of this, though we were explicit about how bros were to be prioritized over hos, and we had vague ideas about what we should and shouldn’t take from girls and women.
When I read “facilitation energy” in SheilaG’s comment, something clicked. There were times where I was exposed to all-female conversation in school as the only male present, and many of these conversations – pretty much the ones in which I had the sense to stay quiet – had mind-altering qualities. They felt familiar and alien; they opened my head and shut down my conscious mind. I felt hopeful and determined and enlightened. It wasn’t always the quality of the topic. I think it was just the actual conversation itself, conversation between women who were (for a moment) unhindered by dominance-establishing behavior, with all the data flashing by through channels I didn’t even know existed.
I have a feeling that SheilaG was talking about the energy which women deliberately expend on men to prop men up so that we can engage in normal behavior without totally embarrassing ourselves, going on a violent rampage, or staying in one spot and drooling until we starve to death. But I never felt more facilitated than when I was in a transcendent state, and the most reliable ways to achieve transcendence have always been religious devotion or discussions without men involved, whether listening in on female conversation in school or spending hours talking with my wife.
I think that this energy is necessary for male spirituality. I think that men crave it, and because we crave it, we want to control it. Because we want to control it, we have to do violence to it. We crush it, and we wonder why it doesn’t make us feel the way we wanted to feel when we strangle it into pulp. So we blame the pulp for not making us into the people we wanted to be.
Maybe a long time ago, women saw that men could become something really cool when exposed to the cosmic radiation of their energy, something worth keeping around, worth befriending and loving, worth trusting. We took that opportunity away from ourselves when we extended grabbing claws and swinging fists to take what we wanted. We did it collectively by establishing patriarchy, and we do it individually – I do it, and other men do it as well – when we reinforce patriarchy and engage in dominance-establishing and control-seeking behavior.