Women are not complicated. Men are basic

“Who can understand women?” – With a defeated tone of voice and sometimes with disdain, says almost every guy I know. I hear it in daily conversations, in television and it’s all over the internet; sometimes said directly, but many times alluded to in subtle ways. Well, the answer to that question is simple: women.

Women are seen as complicated because most people (including them sometimes) don’t understand the complexity of their psyche. Our poor understanding of the female psyche, in my opinion, lies on two main aspects. One has to do with the complexity of her body, and the other has to do with the imposed gender roles. Due to these two aspects, women are seen as complicated, hysterical, emotional; to the point that many women have become convinced of this too.

Taking into consideration that our general knowledge of psychology, anthropology and sociology are male-centered: that is, examined from a male point of view of a male subject of study; and that there aren’t as many female specialized researches, we naturally don’t have much choice but to believe that women are no less than complicated. I say if the world was female-centered, it would be more common to hear that men are just basic.

Thankfully now, compared to just half a century ago, there is a lot more interest and many more studies about the female body and psyche from the perspective of females. One book I really enjoyed is Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés; I strongly recommend this book to women but also to those men who think women are ungraspable beings.  In her book, she intertwines the female spirit, energy, and psyche, as the Wild Woman, that true female nature we have beneath our masks (gender roles) assigned by society throughout the years. This Wild Woman archetype is strongly characterized by originality, freedom as well as instinct, and this instinct is intensely protective, creative, ingenious, loyal and constantly moving. Her psyche is, without any doubt, complex. It responds organically to the complexity of her body and of her surroundings.

As we all know, the female body is very complex; we cannot expect a body capable of carrying human life within itself to be simple. However, many of us females underestimate the complexity of our bodies, which is one of the reasons why we sometimes get frustrated for not understanding exactly why we feel the way you we do; that’s when we blame our “hormones” (without necessarily understanding what that means), the moon, the waves, or whatever our culture tells us that has an effect on our bodies and minds. Sometimes we feel crazy for no reason so we try to suppress it.

On top of that, we must comply with all the expectations of our societies, expectations associated to gender roles that are sometimes unrealistic and many times unfair, such as: maintaining a certain type of body, staying forever young (I really don’t get this one, why is it frowned upon that I, a living being, age?), focusing from a young age primarily on the poetic and romantic aspects of life despite our natural interest for the exact sciences, not expressing too much of our minds and bodies yet always smiling (when women are told “put a smile on your face”, “why so serious?” by a stranger in the street when just walking and minding her own business).

A woman that doesn’t understand her true nature, complexity, and is forced to comply with unnatural requirements, will certainly not be able to express her true self, especially not in a way that would be graspable for men. As a result, some women prefer to hide their feelings, thoughts and desires because they don’t want to be seen as too weak or emotional, which is looked down upon, and sometimes choose to adopt manly attitudes, at the risk of being called names such as b*tch or sl*t, due to society’s double standards. To explain this differently, think of the gender stereotypes we are often exposed to. When you imagine a girly girl what adjectives come to mind?

I have always considered myself a girls’ girl, as female as it gets, I can understand women well. However, I never enjoyed shopping, I never asked my girls to accompany me to the public bathrooms, I do not cry during romantic movies, I didn’t dream about my wedding day as a little girl, as a child I liked sports and outdoor activities, as a teenager my favorite movies where action movies, I do not expect a guy to pay for my things, I do not like heart-shaped chocolates, I do not believe in Valentine’s Day, and I do not believe in flowers as gifts (they should stay in the ground where they belong; give me a potted plant instead). These preferences don’t make you more or less of a female/male; whether you enjoy these things or not is a matter of personal preference. Humans should be able to have these preferences without being subjected to labels (girls being called tomboys and boys being called sissies). The female psyche is a lot deeper than superficial preferences.

So please, let’s not attempt to describe womanhood on the base of women who have been molded and adapted to gender roles. We must define womanhood on the base of a woman liberated from those gender roles, a woman true to her authentic nature. When we remove gender roles we find a woman who responds to the complexity of her body, to her cognition and to her transcendental self (spirituality). What mainly defines the female psyche is that these three aspects often overlap and are expressed simultaneously (integrated consciousness) which gives rise to intuition; for this reason, female views of reality can often be less compartmentalized, more holistic.

I believe males are definitely equally integrated beings, but throughout history, they have convinced themselves that their physical capacities and their evolving survival capabilities (which in modern times translate into dollar earnings) are the only things that define their worth; they conformed to a less evolved version of who they actually are. Many of them are expressing only one aspect of their psyche rather than all three and only awareness of all three will allow them to live more holistically. So when I say that some men are too basic I mean they choose to think, feel and act too basic. The word is basic, not simple, because the way I see it “simple” implies humbleness, detachment from egotistic desires, whereas “basic” implies a strong attachment to our most primitive selves (bodily desires). Basic men act as if they had little more than just an animal body. I think male humans, in their essence, are as capable of self-control as female humans, their minds and souls are also connected to their bodies and therefore they are equally complicated. However, many times they choose to ignore this and go with their basic instincts. And this choice has become so engraved in their behavior that it is misinterpreted as the main manifestation of their nature, to the point that it’s common to believe that there is nothing they can do about it.

You see, I am very much attracted to the male body, but my integrated consciousness (the one described above) allows me to focus on other things besides tall-muscular-dark-hairy men (my favorite kind). Thanks to my capacity of seeing further than my animal instinct, I don’t need to think about them 24/7. As integrated humans, we don’t need to act on our impulses all the time not because we’re afraid to get hurt, or because it’s “immoral” in the traditional sense, or because it’s frowned upon or illegal in some forms, but because our rational minds and souls can understand that that is not what we really want at a certain moment. If you think this makes me complicated then consider yourself basic to me.

The misunderstanding that human nature, as studied by men, is primarily controlled by basic instincts has been the cause of many unfortunate behaviors, such as oppression of one group over another, unhealthy competition, abuse of natural resources, harmful expressions of sexuality, violence, uncontrollable materialism, repression of inner feelings, dichotomizing between mind and heart, dismissing transcendental reality, and a large number of more misconceptions of humanity that resulted in millions of frustrated men (and women) today.

So my suggestion is that in the face of complicated feelings, or people, first of all, be grateful that your consciousness is not basic, and then trust that there is a real reason for that complication; it is primarily because one is not being true to what the integrated consciousness really wants, one is not honoring our inherent complexity. Once we realize what our holistic self wants, we become simpler. In other words, I think all humans are complex, and how integrated each individual chooses to think and act is what will make them less basic, and moreover become simple which paradoxically requires complexity and integrated consciousness.

‘The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without’ – Ernest Hemingway.

basic vs integrated

Responsible freedom of expression

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Many societies have established this right as a law, and in general, they recognize freedom of expression as a human right that needs to be guaranteed in order to call a society free and democratic.

Some of us are lucky to be born in one of those societies, where this human right is guaranteed, to a certain extent at least; and, despite the inherent ethical limitations this law has, such as hate speech or children’s pornography, it has become acceptable to express almost whatever is in our minds and hearts, under the claim that it is our born right to express what we want.

I believe it is without a doubt a right that everyone in the world should be able to enjoy from the moment they are born; but unfortunately, we still live in a time where this is not the norm in many places, be it because of political views, religious beliefs, gender, social class, race, or another classification established by man in regards to freedom privileges.  It is a shame that our so called world ‘civilization’ is still struggling with this principle even in its very basic form.  It may not be the case of our countries but the presence of this issue elsewhere does affect our world civilization and so it makes all of us accountable for this problem.

However, in those places where this right is already an established norm, where many platforms are offered to us to publicly express what we please, and we are free to say what we want to whoever we want, I feel that it’s being used irresponsibly.  Indeed this norm contains some limitations, but in general practice, this right seems to have many blurry lines. It seems like this freedom has become a free pass to mock and offend each other while priding ourselves for exercising this ability. We gave this freedom an individualistic twist, responding to our egocentric desires. We turned it into a tool for oppression defeating its original purpose.  And the result: it’s adding more disunity amongst people.  In other words, now that enjoying freedom of expression is not an issue for some of us, the issue is what we express. So my main suggestion in the following paragraphs is that we consider that the practice of our personal freedoms must go in harmony with the wellbeing of the whole, and for that, each of us must attempt to express our best selves.

I one aspect, being really free to express who we truly are implies trying to be free from judgment, as judgment is a reflection of our insecurities, our ego, and is not of our conscious selves.  When we see or hear something we don’t agree with from someone else, we should view this as an opportunity to teach and learn, not self-righteously, but understanding that each of our views is a result of what we have been exposed to through family, culture, friends, experiences, through inner search and awakening, something we once heard, etc.; and that maybe there’s a greater understanding that we can reach together. I once heard “freedom of expression implies tolerating bigotry”, I think that doesn’t express the whole purpose of this freedom, I think that even though everyone should have the right to express their thoughts, this freedom also implies that it is our right to express our disagreement with them, but our attitude and purpose of expressing our disagreement is what will matter. We can’t go around life just complaining and pointing out at what we don’t agree from each other, that’s not doing anyone any good. And sometimes, if others don’t agree with us, the healthy thing is to let go; it doesn’t qualify as universal freedom anymore if we’re trying to impose our views.

One of the implications of freedom of expression is to tolerate ideas that are different from ours; however, in my opinion, there should be more than to just tolerate one another, the purpose should be to connect and learn from one another, to share knowledge so that we can create more knowledge.  Being only tolerant sometimes suggests a conceited attitude and a self-righteous approach; meaning, we are so conformed with our ways that we feel we are being open minded enough by putting up with people who are different from us, whether we interact with them or not.  We get so comfortable in that thinking that we don’t allow ourselves to explore and see what positive things we could gain from our differences.  So I believe tolerance needs to go by the hand of genuine respect and, even better, by respectful curiosity and openness of mind and heart. And this is where freedom of expression plays an important role, as it is the tool we use to approach others and share thoughts.

This also applies to our freedom to express our perceptions about the traditions of other cultures. I believe in comedy and good sense of humor, using our differences for laughter is fine, but I think it’s irresponsible to use comedy as a way of demeaning others and inciting others to do so as well, like we are world bullies. Our expressions should show that we enjoy our differences and in general they should bring out positive qualities, rather than judging people, stigmatizing them, stereotyping them, ridiculing them and ending up perpetrating more prejudice and hate. We end up adding to society’s categorization tendency, a tendency that is divisive in nature, instead of contributing to unity.

On the other hand, if we say something we should expect people to criticize it, and at the same time we shouldn’t take offense so easily by what others express. Also, I don’t think we should expect to find some spokesperson of our opinion (confirmation from others), nor should we fear that some self-appointed expert will correct us.  However, even though in many places we have the legal right to hate and to voice it -which is fine, I believe no one should regulate our thoughts- we should regulate our own thoughts and expressions; there must be a certain level of self-imposed censorship, censorship of what is unfair judging or prejudice, because if freedom of expression is really a freedom, we need to make sure it’s safe.

On some deeper level, I believe that our attitude towards ourselves and our own society has a lot to do with what we express, if we are humble to recognize our strengths and our weaknesses, and those of our society, we will be humble in assisting others to improve too, we will be educating with our expressions like we were educated; if we don’t see our own flaws or are too indulgent with ourselves, we might act self-righteous or hypocritical.  Hypocrisy is a very easy flaw to overlook in ourselves.

Regardless of different societies’ interpretation of the limitations of this freedom, which is too complex to get into in this post, my main point here is that we are entitled to our thoughts and feelings, but what makes us civilized responsible humans beings is that we try to orient those thoughts and feelings towards love and unity, those that will shed more light and awareness on our physical, intellectual or spiritual reality; this is the main standard we need.  Now that we have achieved this right in the free world, we need to honor it. How else can we call ourselves civilized, if we can’t even exercise such basic principle with respect and consideration of our fellow humans?

So what I suggest is this: that we remember that as much as it is our right to express, it is also our duty to be responsible with this right, meaning to be conscious of not causing harm with it. More so, we should make it our responsibility to ensure that our expressions contribute to the betterment of our society and even of our world civilization.