These survivalist roles for women and men existed for a very long time. They weren’t optional, unless public scorn and censure of the cruelest kind is what you call a choice. The roles weren’t socially visible either. Jane Austen for example, took the view she did, rather than the feminist viewpoint that came visible 150 years later, because the more modern perspective we see today wasn’t yet evolutionarily available. The old survival-based roles largely defined reality for women and men.
What about the story of the women who were defending the sacred site while the men were defending them. My guess is that the women inside the circle felt seen and held by the men – as a group – in a way they often didn’t in their usual lives. The men felt seen and valued offering that service. Each sex felt that they had a good place and a connection to the other. I’m guessing the women were “stunned” (as they described it) because this mutuality is seldom acknowledged in our time.
The story has some power, even for us who weren’t there, because we resonate with those archetypal roles deeply and bodily.
And yes the beginnings of change are upon us.
Maybe there’s a new world coming in which women can be fully agentic and in the world without being seen, by women or men, as less womanly or worthy. Maybe there’s a world coming in which men might permit a vulnerability that simply wasn’t possible in the survival-oriented world. (In that world, the name of the man who stopped to check his feelings when confronted with the tiger was often “Lunch”, as Ken Wilber and perhaps others have noted.)
This post-survivalist partnership hasn’t arrived yet.
What about the second story, the Focusing (body-centered inner inquiry) community in which the men dropped out until all were gone? (The “fewer men in personal growth areas” is often observed, of course, not only in this community.)
The short short answer is that men’s inner sense of vulnerability is still culturally hidden from both women and men alike. It’s in a position much like Jane Austen’s feminism was in its time, still invisible.
Men are slower because it was evolutionarily functional for women to ask men for help. She gets love, help and support by asking it of men. It’s part of her traditional territory to ask for help. It’s evolutionarily dysfunctional for him to ask for help. His role has been to protect and provide and he’s socially perceived as unmanly and unworthy for asking for help. Or to notice that he might like to have it.
A few notes towards the conversation we could be having in Part 3 very soon.
(I’ll share some news about my “Euro-pilgrimage” – which is already opening more doors than I dared hope for – soon.)