There are multiple strands running here and it becomes very complicated to try and tie them together, as you pull one end of the string, you end up tugging on the other side of another.
The three lines I see here are:
- Materialism and its exploitative incarnation on all humans in present society
- Feminism as a response to male privilege and expectations from other women/broader society
- "Masculanism" as a response to female privilege and expectations from other men/broader society
These are three types of trauma experienced by different types of individuals to varying degrees influenced by their life experiences and idiosyncratic disposition.
Materialism objectifies all people, oppressor and oppressed. They are forced to live as ego, leaving no room for the spirit, which through its reality of presence then manifests into compulsive behaviors. Spirituality moves to restore a natural range of expression to the spirit.
Feminism moves to restore a natural range of expression to individual women and the female gender as a whole. This range is being restricted by insensitivity, or unconscious behavior, from men as well as women. Men who strike women back into their conditioned role, and women who agree to stay there.
Male privilege, or any kind of privilege is like being a fish in water. It is difficult to notice it because it is all around you. Awakening to privilege is a bit like have a meditation practice where day by day, bit by bit, one begins to realize and see things that were earlier not noticeable. One who is awakened can be dumbstruck by the "blindness" of one who is not. But in my experience anger is not as effective as compassion when dealing with any kind of ignorance. Each person's reality should be respected, though it need not impose on one's own choices. This is kind of like "loyalty to loyalty".
In my view women are incredibly, repeatedly, and broadly reduced to material objects by signals that surround us and poison the very air we breathe. "Walking organs". Just today I was horrified by the CD cover Diplo is using for his album "Revolution" (not going to link it here...). Its not the overt sexuality that is a problem so much as the dehumanization of the beings involved in the picture.
But perhaps it is an articulation of what experience Diplo or his CD cover designer has had. Of what men and women in collusion have done. Not all of them, but some of them. It is important that every person take responsibility for the reality they live in. Not blame or fault, but responsibility. For there is no other place for it to be assigned, and certainly not in any individual outside the self. That is the only thing we have control over. For responsibility is the platform from which true power emerges. To not take self responsibility necessarily hands over that responsibility to an outside party, which is the basis of exploitation. This is part of the neo-feminist movement as well, where some women feel they should be able to express their bodies in a completely objectified manner if they so choose (Sasha Grey wikipedia). It is great to have this free choice, but not so great for every woman to be treated in that manner as though that were the only real value she had.
As a man, I can never be completely understand the experience of women. I can understand her experience as a spirit in a human body. Up to that point I can. But beyond that, to know what it is to be a spirit in an organically female body, I can not. I can use my imagination to walk in her shoes, but I can not actually walk in them. I can process, digest, and chose my actions based on the second hand experience that has been narrated to me. Or the experience I have witnessed as a man. And if I am sincere in my amity, I will try my best to do justice to what has been articulated to me. And at the same time make sure that I am not repeating in rote, but genuinely understanding, challenging, synthesizing and respecting my own ideas.
I remember being completely blind to how often a woman was harassed on the streets of New York with cat calls, because it would never happen when I was with my female friends. But once it was made aware to me in a feminism class, suddenly I started seeing it everywhere. And as I asked girl friends they all had stories of this daily abuse.
I think the main point you were trying to make classmate is that we live in a world of materialism, in materialism power is accumulated through war and science. Victory in war and science is best achieved by masculine qualities. And men are more disposed to express masculine qualities. And so although women are always welcome to participate with masculine incarnations of themselves, the lions share of rewards has gone to men. And so the blame goes to the world of materialism and not patriarchy.
I think there is something true somewhere within the concepts that have been strung together. But the great untruth is that aggression, analysis, innovation, pushing limits, directness, physical strength, relentlessness, order are not masculine traits. These are fundamentally human traits, along with compassion, love, nurture, care or what is implicitly implied as "feminine" traits by your point. They are all human possibilities of personality.
This is the water that can not be seen for having lived in it for so long. Why in the first place do we live in a society in which men are encouraged and rewarded to express the human traits which bring power, and women are not? Why are men groomed to accumulate power and women are not? Why is it that the traits which are required for success in material human society are considered to be "masculine" traits?
We call the very things that lead to success in the society we have created "masculine traits" when really they are universal expressions of emotions and drives experienced by every being. Surely you know women who are aggressive, analytical, innovative, pushing limits, direct, physically strong, restless, and prone to organization. So how then can these be called masculine traits?
All of these are human traits. Just because men were allowed to, or supposed to, or forced to express these traits does not make them masculine. The "gender division of labor", or the "gender division of personality" that has existed in various forms is no longer required. It is a relic. Whether it was ever "required" or not, or should have ever been allowed to exist or not to me is not my place to judge. I can only look at what humans as expressions of the universe did by looking at the social-historical record (though there are many counter-examples to prove otherwise in both human history as well as the animal kingdom). Having lived amongst tribals and villages in the jungle I did observe that there were two "clusters" of tasks--one focused broadly on the conservation of existing resources, and one focused on broadly on the acquisition of new resources--both critical for success. And as a general trend women focused on the first cluster and men focused on the second.
I can only look at today, and now. Where I am. Take responsibility for the world I live in. Choose my actions and choices with the full powers of consciousness and compassion that I can muster.
This gender division of personality traps both women and men. And I think this is the ultimate thing you were trying to get through to. We want to see women empowered to express themselves in whatever way they feel fit. They should not be struck back by fearful men into roles they do not connect. And they should not feel forced by fearful selves to stay in roles with which they do not connect.
But the same is also true for men. Men too must feel cherished and loved and appreciated for
whatever they wish to be. The oppressor and the oppressed are locked in mutual abuse, both prevented by convention from expressing their true spiritual nature. Whichever way is up or down or right or left, we are all hurting to various degrees due to the legacy of an intensely patriarchal ("relating to, or characteristic of a system of society or government controlled by men").
There ultimately is a masculine concept and a feminine concept that is i think far more subtle than any adjectives can ever describe. I'm not sure myself what "masculinity" would even mean in a post-gender paradigm. Perhaps gender becomes a skin that we shed ultimately in favor of our deepest nature: communion with a formless, shapeless creative power that directs our intuition.
The last thing we want is to overtip the scale so that men are then oppressed and abused as women have been, and so many men in our society do feel. Women too must realize that men are locked in a struggle of self empowerment of their own (http://www.reddit.com/r/mensrights). If women can wear pants and go to work, why can not men wear makeup and accessorize? Why is it so difficult for men to ask for help, admit they are having trouble, look for emotional companionship from other men, or express sensitivity. What is it that is preventing them from this behavior. Is it choice? Or is it themselves being held in place by fear. Or is it mockery by the women in their lives? This is where "masculanism" and the empowerment of men comes into play (as we see in subtle ways with the metrosexual movement, and perhaps even the ubiquitous presence of guys wearing pink shirts in the US in the early millenium).
There is nothing wrong with a man in control of organizing power like there is nothing wrong with rain. But a sustained torrential monsoon eventually drowns everything in its path and leaves soil erosion and eventually deforestation in its wake. Rain and sun are both needed to true growth.
Let us through our thought and action support women to empower themselves, and also support men to empower themselves. These are similar but not identical tracks.
I pray for a a system in which all beings are encouraged to cultivate those traits which they feel best serves their innate ambitions.
In a separate but not entirely unrelated note, this would also lead to greater prosperity through efficient allocation of labor as different men and women are free to specialize in whatever they are intrinsically disposed towards; resulting in increased productivity due to a generally higher standard of raw talent applied to different activities; generating more value that can be traded for mutual enhancement.