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Male & Female Dynamics, What Needs to be Reviewed?

Male & Female Dynamics, What Needs to be Reviewed?

We need to review the dynamic of our male and female interaction in a romantic relationship.

Once again times are changing. The initial steps of a relationship more or less remain the way they were, except maybe for the fact that the internet has created a new way for a man and a woman to meet and fall in love.

What has changed in one generation is the way women perceive their role in a relationship.

For the very first time since old matriarchal communities, women have stopped thinking of themselves through a man. It seems that I belong to the last generation of women who have felt any pressure to get married.

Among women in my generation there are still two kinds: the ones who have given up all career to dedicate their life to their family, and the ones who pursued a career despite a huge pressure to put their family first.

Once again, it is a crisis that triggers a massive change in women’s evolution. First world war pulled women out of their homes to do things men would have done. Second world war gave women expertise in fields that they did not have access to before that. The late sixties gave a huge boost to feminism opening the doors to high education for a lot of women.

Last, this world financial crisis since 2008 acts as a reminder that those of us who left all career to dedicate their life to their family made a much riskier choice.  When disposable income decreases, it is impossible to think anything else than “if I had kept my work I would be able to help  and we would be better off”. This is especially true when we have done long postgraduate studies that would have led us to a six figures income after a couple years.

Being dependant on a man, a doomed tradition.

In addition, being dependant on a man when individualism and immediate pleasure is a general trend, makes it a foolish choice.  I have seen so many women in their forties let down by their husband lured by a younger woman. They were left with close to nothing to live on. Of course, I can already hear the screams of these men who have been paying so much for their ex-wife because she was protected by the law. The US may be a bit better on that end, but in France or elsewhere, it is not that difficult for a smart man to organize his insolvency: then the law is with the woman, but the facts are not.

The truth is that, for my generation, it was good enough to have a potential career; the only way social pressure would not be after you if you decided to work with what you learnt, is when your husband could not provide well for both. And this by the way, was a huge pressure on men, still felt today.

In France, we, women, are still called the sexe faible (literal translation would be the weak gender), based on the fact that physical strength of a woman is weaker than for a man. The scope of that label though goes beyond physical strength, and still impacts the working world. Feminists have been fighting against everything that reflected this discrimination against women at work.

male and female dynamicI believe this expression should be dropped altogether because even the physical excuse has little relevance. If you look at the animal kingdom, those who survive in the long run are closer to the cockroaches than the dinosaurs: what is the strength for then?

If a belligerent feminism has done many good things to improve women’s condition, this strategy seems to me obsolete today.

After depending on men for centuries, the last thing women need is to define themselves against the male figure.

This is a very basic psychological rule: whether you base your actions mimicking men or by opposition to men, your reference point is still men. Women should define themselves according to their own view, that is the only way for them to feel at peace.

Unfortunately these days, I hear more and more how educated women find it easier to reject men to follow their own path. Younger women fully enjoy their freedom and their financial independence; they might have children but much later. Older women have a different motivation: they gave up on men after being deceived by them. They are financially independent in order to be self reliant.

We are at a crossroad: we, men and women, should all debate on what path we want to follow.

The alternative for me is the following:

Women consider that they can be without men, therefore triggering a gender war


Men and women both accept to consider that each gender has strengths and weaknesses, and both will grow from the interactions.

I deeply believe that the second path is the only one valuable, and is a turnkey for that.

Why do I believe so?

There is perfection in the combination of the yin and the yang, Chinese concept that rules the Universe.

There is perfect balance when the male works with the female.couple holding hands

That is true on every level, in every kingdom, among all living things.

Men and women are complementary. It is delusional to believe that we could survive without the other. Besides the basic survival for human kind, the close interaction of men and women is the only way to reach a better self, a higher self and spiritual growth.

Female and male have different perspectives that need to be joined to see the whole picture.

I will not fall into the easy path to say that our world’s current troubles are to blame on a male dominating world. Men have been in power for so long that they are doomed to abuse it and make mistakes. The baron de Montesquieu, 18th century French philosopher and political thinker in De l’Esprit des Lois, explained in depth why human kind is always tempted to abuse any power. Therefore I don’t think a totally female dominating world would do any better in the long run.

A lot of women would disagree because it is very hard to picture a totally female dominating world; women have had so little power so far.

Women in power is a fairly new concept: and those women who have power today whether in politics or in the business world are truly exceptional, because they had to be twice as good as the men they competed with, to be where they are.

The trend though is this: men are more and more challenged by their female counterparts in the working place, and they are less and less the king of their family kingdom as well.

What I tell my daughter.

I am the mother of a teenage daughter, and this is what I tell her: “study hard, work hard, think about your career and your financial independence, this is the only way you will find both fulfilment and a man who will love you for who you are.”

When she tells me that I made a different choice by stopping my career to raise my family, here is what I say: “Your father is an exceptional man who has always loved me for who I am; there are not many out there like him, and you cannot take the risk to be dependent on a man who would have lower values. Your father would have loved me the same way if I had worked; his love and respect for me is independent from the fact that I rely on him or not. This is not true for many men. I made a naive choice  when I decided to stop working to raise you. I wrongly thought that I could not do both: I did not realize then that my own balance was far more important in raising you than a housewife role that was not suiting me. And I know I am extremely lucky to be with a man who never took advantage of his position.”

Which mother would want her daughter today to sacrifice her career for a marriage that might end within an decade?

Sacrifice is not the way to a successful long-term relationship, nor it is the way to good parenting.

We are much better off learning from the differences we see in our partner than ignoring or despising them.

I have become who I am today because of the daily interactions with my husband I have had for so many years. I believe I am a better person now than I was when I met him.

It does not mean it is always easy, but believe me, all forms of expatriation are an enriching experience: so visit the planet of your partner, learn his or her language, not only you will get a better understanding of the world, but most importantly you will gain a better understanding of yourself.

As the powers are shifting to the female side, Gentlemen have no fear, accept to learn from that female side. Ladies, never forget what a valuable partner a man can be: be kind with men, they have been in power for so long, it is not easy to lose that supremacy, even if eventually it is for the best for both.

Couple-embracing-and-kissingThe last thing we want is a new episode of a gender war where we would all lose a lot.

My husband and I are a living proof that a long lasting interaction without dominance from one on the other is nourishing and fulfilling.

It may challenge you beliefs but whether you like it or not, a deep change is occurring. The quicker we will adjust and find new ways to be in a relationship, the easier it will be.

Anne Benissan
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