Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Boys and Girls are Girls and Boys . . . Genderation and Violence

Of all the dualisms generally proffered in this age of binary stupidity, one which too often proves dysfunctionally divisive and the source of much violence yet which is amongst the most primal of dichotomies we know, masculine/feminine is perhaps the most mistakenly arrayed in the prominent “Western” socio-cultural constructions and general milieu. The assumption that male=aggression/action and female=passive is in fact nigh the polar opposite of the teachings of tantra and yoga in general, and of many of the rest of the world's cultures. The tantric understanding of such is that masculinity in archetypal perfection is Shiva, God the Destroyer, most compassionate One and Master of Yoga, source of peace and tranquility. Though Parvati, Goddess Mother of the Universe, is sometimes engaged in meditation and austerities, She is most often represented as active, slaying demons, riding Her big kitty cat Dharma, adoring Her Husband or his lingum or caring for children. Shiva is mostly depicted sitting in meditation, and only occasionally in action.

Not to get too Freudian, mind you, but to look at the tantric perspective of the relationship of female and male from an archetypal and deconstruction perspective, from the perspective of form, it only makes sense that the male, bearing the projecting part, ought play the more passive role to effect a legitimate balance, and that the female, bearing receptive parts, ought play the more active or even aggressive role to effect the same. This natural and balanced state, represented in matriarchal societies and in some guises in Hindu culture (and in many undercurrents in “Western” culture), is not unlike the Hindu understanding of the Destroyer aspect/expression of the Divine as the Most Compassionate, thus balancing potential destructive force by placing such with the One most likely to show mercy and forbearance. Similarly in relation to gender, the one bearing “the rod” ought be the one with the most restraint, and the one who is to be penetrated, or better the receptive party, ought thus be the more active if not aggressive player in the partnership. 

 In the general “Western” understanding, promoted if not primarily promulgated in some guise by all three of the Abrahamic religions, does a great disservice to both men and women by a formation of gender that links male to aggression and female to passivity, in effect justifying violence against women because, “Oh, that's just the nature of men/masculinity.” In Nature the true nature of the male is passivity, to be the “pillar” so to speak. Though of certainty testosterone, when not properly utilized via right mind and right practice and true Nature, is potentially a physiological cause of aggressive behavior, the basic assumptions made by American/"Western" culture that woman is/ought be passive and male is/ought be aggressive/active foments discord undue, and is certainly to no small degree responsible for “rape culture” as such exists in this society. Were masculinity associated with quiet strength, wise reserve and compassion, and the feminine as active, dynamic and potent (Shakti, the name of Shiva's Wife/Consort and an appellation applied likewise to designate Laksmi and Saraswati, Consorts of the Maintainer and Creator, means “Power”), such things as political correctness would have no meaning as such is a response to discursive abuses of power that are largely a product of the preexistent misdeployal of gender, and the divorce rate would almost certainly thus plummet. If culture, mores and etiquette taught and fomented those constructions and conceptions of gender which are indeed more natural to humans (outside of cultural contrivances and patterning)--again, male as passive and female as active, and terms like “sissy” and “pussy” put into disuse (obviously discursive violences at least indirectly abusive to both men and women), then gender bias and most sex crimes would cease to perpetuate.

Now mind you, I'm not saying you will find that such a more healthy gender balance is extant in say, Indian culture generally, as patriarchal influences have been present for many years in Indian society in juxtaposition to said more natural balance of male and female presented in tantra and yoga generally. Nonetheless, to shift and reform gender consciousness and cultural binaries towards a pattern of “male=passive, female=active” as presented in tantra yoga would certainly do much to balance sex and gender disparities and injustices present in society generally, and such would also almost certainty improve mental health in our society as many of those ailments are in fact derived from or directly caused by gender formation issues created in and by a society that wrongfully and mistakenly arranges gender in the first place!! The very “penetrative” project of “manifest destiny” and the necessary correlative construct of male=aggressive in what has been designated “Western culture” is symptomatic of misdirected masculine impetus and potency, and indeed not of a basic flaw in “male nature.” The key to correcting such is not to encourage men to be more “feminine,” but in fact to rethink the very constructions of masculine and feminine in light of those more ancient deployals and in light of  Nature, and thus to recognize that Western constructions are not equal to nor necessarily the same as Nature's construction of gender. We are free to reimagine and reconstruct what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, and would do well to do so in light of the perpetuations of violence so endemic in this day and age under current constructions, violences that would likely dissipate were we to return to turn to those better constructions of that most basic binary as is proffered by yoga, Nature, and nigh all of our ancestral cultures.