Gender Behavior

First, a distinction needs to made between capability and tendency. In will-based living, it is believed that life should be pursued on the basis of information about what is the best thing to do, then choosing to do it. Intellectually, "the best thing to do" should have no gender. By logical extension, rational behavior should have no gender. Let me stipulate here, that men and women are capable of the same things, if they choose to do those things.

However, if life is pursued more on the basis of what is agreeable, then general (not universal) differences are found in what men and women find agreeable. Though genderless will-based living may be consistently reflected in conscious ideology, the agreeable (and therefore gender) creeps into perception. This is so even if pleasurelessness predominates the life. People who dispute gender behavior are referring to capability; those who affirm gender behavior are referring to tendency.

It used to be taken for granted that mature women, in general, tended to ways of perceiving, behaving and experiencing that were different from mature men in general. This was based on everyday observation, and has been termed primary asymmetry. With patriarchy and male privilege, gender roles were developed. While gender roles are based on some aspects of gender behavior, they were additionally intended to reinforce male privilege and protect the powerful. Gender behavior, where it exists, is spontaneous, and very different in energy from a gender role, which is imposed from outside.

When gender roles were rightfully challenged, they were confused with gender behavior, and both were suspect and maligned. In large part this is because of sexism, which clearly exists. In the United Sates, sexism seems to have two prongs, economic discrimination and male privilege.

Economic discrimination perhaps evolves from the following: The masculine is more mission oriented, geared toward 'getting' or 'building' something, while the feminine is geared more toward tending to conditions or people. But in our greedy, expansionistic economy, 'getting' more and building more is considered to be where the 'value' is added. So it is rewarded with more money and of course, money secondarily gives power. Women-rich ( I won't use the usual term 'dominated') fields such as nursing, teaching, child raising, and now counseling are paid less than construction, sales, or business maneuvering, despite requiring equal or greater responsibility and complexity.

Male privilege refers to the tendency of men to allow and expect women to take on an unequal division of labor, responsibility, and self-denial. It can be thought of as having both a relational and a societal element. Men are less affected by the cry of babies, the demands of children, the needs of sick people, or an unkempt house and women will often end of taking care of these things on their own because the men in the household make no immediate move to help. Even if each individual piece of work by the woman seems voluntary, the overall picture is not. For example in a household where both partners work full-time, the woman is often expected to cook and clean when she gets home. Or for another example, a woman will be expected to do all the childcare, and housework, even if it amounts to far more than the man’s job. Though some have proposed that male privilege came about from force, common sense observation in our present time indicates that male privilege is all about men exploiting the tendencies of women. Most readers will be familiar with the 'old-fashioned' social norm that a man supported his wife and did not allow her to work outside the home. Now the oppressive and self-serving possibilities of this are easy to see. But could this not also be, in some crude way, a social norm that was intended to prevent the male privilege that is rampant in our time, that of a women with two jobs, the home and a job outside the home?

Now in addressing these inequities, the mainstream cultural belief is employed which says that right and good living comes from the right use of will and the right information, and nothing else. What is not understandable intellectually is not trusted. Gender behavior, if part of nature, is a force not under control of the will or intellect. To those trying, (futilely) to perfect living by will, this is hard to accept. Gender behavior, therefore is asserted to be taught. Gender behavior is believed to be an artifact of social learning of gender roles.

However, everyday observation shows that gender behavior is as strong as ever, and stronger in a person generally as the strength of the sense of self increases. The lamentable situation that has arisen is that most 'well-socialized' people are at war with themselves because they cannot stamp out all the vestiges of gender behavior that they fear to show. To be politically correct, women 'must' be more like men and men 'must' be more like women. The result is a quasi ''unisex" gender role that is just as imposed from outside, and which no one fulfills very well.

'Lip-stick' feminism is testament to the emergence of of gender behavior among those who have been taught that it is wrong. 'Nice guys' sometimes lament that women seem to prefer 'bad boys.' However it is not bad behavior that is attractive but rather masculine behavior. Masculine behavior is itself often seen as 'bad,' perhaps in part due to a planer relationship with aggression. Besides the above listed reasons, this may be because masculine behavior survives intact most among those males who for whatever reason have resisted socialization and so exhibit both bad behavior (from misdevelopment perhaps) and masculine behavior (from nature).


Very controversial also, is the view that homosexuality is in part, a misdevelopment of gender. In his book Love and Orgasm, Alexander Lowen spent three chapters discussing same sex attraction. He concluded that it was a result mostly of development and not genetics. This view is controversial. The psychological idea that homosexuality is less than optimal sexual development is often confused with homophobia and devaluation. In the written views of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen, almost 99% of people have less than optimal sexual development.

In Lowen's three chapters, a slight tone of disdain may be discerned, Whatever contextual factors contributed to this, it is unfortunate. In any case, the approach to work in the Reich and Lowen tradition is not an ideological one, but one based on identifying underlying character, (which is not determined by sexual preference) and increasing vitality and capacity for expression.