Today’s post is something of a spur of the moment thing. It comes about as a result of two posts intersecting in my mind today. The first is “well, when I called her ‘evil’, she just laughed” over at 80 Proof Oinomancy. I encourage everyone to read the whole thing, as it is pithy, in keeping with Ace’s usual style. The most important parts are these:
See, the vast majority (I’d say ≥ 95%) of women that play “tough” are, at their core—
Odds are they had a very weak – if not completely absent – father figure.
This left them feeling twice as vulnerable as the average female.
Now, be sure to understand, dear reader, fear is a female’s default position.
So, am I saying all of those women are – at heart – just frightened, little girls?
(Permit me to be uncharacteristically clear, rather than my usually cryptic self.)
That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Now, all of this I have heard and known before. Still, a refresher never hurts, especially when the timing matches up with something else you read. In this case another post.
The second post is one over at Scott’s blog, Ideals are never fully attainable. The relevant part is this section at the end:
If may also be true that women do not naturally respond with graciousness at the sight of their husbands trying harder, this is also something that must be addressed. I don’t actually believe that women struggle with empathy. I do, however believe they tend to lack the courage and/or motivation to turn the data provided by empathic responses into actionable items. In other words, the kind of empathy that changes your life and the lives around you. This is what happens when you see something that is not right and then you make a series of decisions about what can be done, and then do them. But no one escapes the Lords wrath in the end when He will ask “why did you stubbornly wait to do the right thing?” and we respond:
“I was waiting for the other person to go first.”
Both of these posts together, or at least the ideas they presented, made something click in me. You see, I have a theory now why women seem to have trouble with empathy. This is something long discussed in the manosphere, and there are even some commenters who argue women are incapable of empathy. Of course, there are also those who argue women have no agency or are incapable of loyalty, etc.
As for myself, I think women are entirely capable of empathy. I have known some empathetic women. And history is filled with numerous examples of such women- indeed the general culture still clings to the notion that women are naturally empathetic. That had to come from somewhere. My suspicion is that it did in fact used to be the case, although in recent years that has changed.
So where am I going with all of this? Here goes:
I theorize that women are having difficulty in this age with empathy because they are insecure and afraid- and empathy requires courage to carry out.
Here are the individual arguments which lead to this conclusion:
Argument 1: Empathy requires courage-
To empathize with someone is to put yourself in their shoes. This requires that you both understand their position, and mentally assume it as well. That involves, by necessity, assuming a vulnerable state in order to feel what they feel. That requires courage because you will be experiencing- and confronting- fears and insecurities you would otherwise not face.
Argument 2: Women’s default state is fear-
As Ace explains, fear is a female’s default state. This is difficult for men to internalize, because while we feel fear we don’t live it like a woman does. Consider their vulnerability and weakness compared to ours, and this becomes so much clearer. Not to mention test this argument against their actions and see how things start to make sense.
Argument 3: Women are more insecure than ever-
While there are exceptions, most women these days are profoundly insecure. It is no wonder why. Masculine men are increasingly scarce. They are cut off from the traditional sources of security and sense of belonging- families are small, separated and play little role in everyday life, a sense of greater community is non-existent, and they have increasingly been pushed into roles that are traditionally male (which under natural conditions would only occur in a state of social/community distress).
Argument 4: Insecurity undermines courage-
To be insecure and to be afraid are not necessarily the same, but both are closely aligned and both together interfere with courage. To feel fear, and to be afraid, are also not the same. It is natural to feel fear at various things. But to feel afraid is to let that fear take hold of you and guide you. Herein lies the problem- fear, when it guides an individual, interferes with our higher callings, such as empathy. I believe this is because being afraid is inherently emotional, and thus tied to our bodies and their Appetites, while being empathetic is a matter of the soul and the Reason/Will. Being afraid is an instance of the body suborning the soul, and thus matters of the soul, such as empathy, are tossed aside.
Argument 5- Notable empathetic women felt a sense of peace-
If you look back in history at some of the female saints noted for being empathetic, there was a profound sense of peace in their lives. They were unafraid- often despite great and obvious perils to their well-being. I believe this was a product of two functions. The first and most important was the peace that their Faith gave to them- a peace given not as the world gives it. The second reason was that the culture of the time didn’t encourage or stimulate female insecurity like ours does now. Thus, it was easier for them to overcome and rise above that default state of fear.
When you take these different arguments and combine them, the natural conclusion is that women have trouble with empathy because they are profoundly insecure and afraid. Until those insecurities are resolved, and until they are no longer afraid (or are at least able to overcome their fears), they will lack the means to show true empathy.
In the context of Scott’s post previously mentioned, you can see the problem with the Promise Keeper’s movement. The men were doubling down on actions which made their wives even more insecure. Which only increased the tendency of those women to act out in a negative manner. Which of course made the men feel bad, and believe they were doing something wrong. So they doubled down again on the foolishness, with even more negativity resulting. It is a vicious cycle which cannot end well.