What is the Truth about Gender Conflict?

“Intimacy in general terms is a song of spirit inviting two people to come together and share their spirit together. It is a song that no one can resist”
Sobonfu Some 

Women's liberation in my opinion brought women the right to be like men, but it has done
very little to bring any recognition and value to the traditional Feminine aspects of being
human. In today's world women are still only excepted in male-dominated world of empirical
thinking when they think like men. Women in general are still considered to be a necessary
evil, that does not match the masculine norm. So in reality Feminism has actually further
suppressed the Feminine aspects to the fringes of society. Feminism has been destroying
the feminine principle rather than vindicating it. 

“I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” – Nelson Mandela

The oppression of the Feminine aspects of our being of course not only applies to women, but also to men. Both men and women feel a deep longing, as if a part of themselves have been exiled. We feel as if we have been robbed of our humanity.

Unlike any other time of human history, we live in a time of plenty. People are usually well-fed and well-clothed. Even our poor people are rich in amenities compared to our ancestors of just a hundred years ago.

Yet, in spite of that, people in our culture are unhappy. They are unhappy with their jobs, with their spouses, where they live, and so on. People move a lot. They break-up a lot. What is going on here?

I don't think our unhappiness comes from a "spoiled brat" mentality, although some social
commentators think so. I think it grows from the fact that human nature is first a spiritual
nature before being a physical one. Having enough isn't really enough. As our Lord said,
"Man shall not live by bread alone." There is a spiritual side to our existence.”
James Wesley Stivers

Most people will acknowledge that there is a spiritual side to our nature, if you look at the
fact that the majority of the world's population do have some or other, religious, or spiritual
belief. However when you look at the main orthrodox religions, the Feminine Divine, plays at
best a supporting role and is purely virginal.

In Rosemary Ruether’s book – Sexism and God-Talk – she writes,
Humanity images the divine, and because it was created in the dual order of male and female it cannot be redeemed by a male savior alone. The messiah must appear in female form as well. The messianic community also must reflect this partite of male and female in its organization structure (Ruether 1983).

Where in our culture today do we see reflected the Sacred Marriage; the alchemical union
between the Divine Masculine and the Feminine Divine? Anyone with spiritual aspiration are
told to look to the Divine examples to base their lives on, but what examples are there in our
culture that gives us an example of the Divine Marriage. Is there then any wonder that there
are such confusion in the area of relationships, which of course reflects our inner confusion.

We all have a masculine and feminine side, or as Jung calls it Animus and Anima. Jung’s
theory states that every man
has a female side to his unconscious psyche which he calls
anima, while women have a male counterpart within their unconscious psyches which he
calls animus.

My intuition (yes, a feminine aspect) led me to a document which explains the modern dilemma between masculine and feminine in depth and clarity.;

According to Jung, there are four different developmental stages According to Jung, there
are four different developmental stages of the female
animus. The lower stage is that of the
personification of physical power, for example, seeing the athlete as hero. At the next stage of
animus, he possesses the ability for planned action and social reform. The third phase is the
Logos stage where he becomes the clergyman or professor who controls the word. Finally, the
last stage of development he becomes a religious experience incarnating a new meaning of life.
M. L. von Franz writes in _Man and his Symbols_,

The animus in his most developed form sometimes connects the;

woman's mind with the spiritual evolution of her age, and
can thereby make her even more receptive than man to new
creative ideas.  It is for this reason that in earlier times
women were used by many nations as diviners and seers.
The creative boldness of their positive animus at times
expresses thoughts and ideas that stimulate men to new enprises
(Jung 1964, 194-195).

Jung's male anima also has four stages of development. The first being the
biological, represented by Eve. The second is the romantic and aesthetic level still
characterized by sexual involvements exemplified by Faust's Helen.  The third stage, Eros,
is raised to a spiritual devotion as worshipped in the Virgin Mary. The fourth is
represented by Sapientia, a wise woman transcending the most pure and holy women,
represented by Athena and the Mona Lisa. (Certainly we have seen how Athena is not a
symbol of wisdom or justice, but one of male manipulation.)
Von Franz points out that modern man has rarely reach this final level of
individualization.  A man's anima helps him to find the hidden facts of his
unconsciousness about himself and guides him to find his ideal mate.  His anima helps him
to open up to more profound inner depths of his character by becoming aware of his inner
values. She conveys the vital messages of the great man inside himself.  So why has it
been so difficult for modern man to reach this final stage of development?
Looking at Jung's theory, we see his sexist bias against erotic enlightenment in his
last two stages of anima development which, I believe, accounts for why modern man has not
been able to fully individuate. Jung thinks male rebirth occurs through a spiritual
rebirth from within the virgin mother.  Also, Joseph Campbell states that the hero is born
through the virgin mother to represent his spiritual motivation into compassion which
transcends his self-preservation and sexual motivations (Campbell 1988, 176). Curtis D.
Smith writes in - Jung's Quest for Wholeness,
"Psychologically, Jung views "incest" as an appropriate symbol of the individuation process
and the union of opposites.  Incest symbolizes union with one's own being, it means
individuation or becoming a self...Incest is simply the union of like with like" (105).

It is at the virgin mother stage where Jung thinks the anima has developed beyond the desire for erotic and aesthetics qualities. Then we notice at the final stage, Eros is completely out of the picture as man searches for some transcendental Goddess who he will never find because the wisdom of the Goddess is immanence…the romantic, biological power of love. Romance is the supreme religious experience, the only phenomenon which will consummate a new meaning of life. 

The true test of the romantic story is its aesthetic qualities. Therefore, romantic love is the Wisdom of the Ages. Jung describes man’s anima in terms of Eros and a woman’s animus in terms of Logos. This means that men’s conscious strength, his governing principle is contained in the Logos, meaning the word and analytic thought. Jung felt by the nature of his sex, men were more assertive, courageous, objective, and spiritually-wise than women (Jung 1964, 194)

Woman was naturally stronger in matters of love and relationships.  She was

passive, soft, gentle, and less capable of objective thinking and independent action. In
other words, women have cultivated Eros and uncultivated Logos, while men have cultivated
Logos and uncultivated Eros. He believed the two different components of the psyche were
equally important, complementary, although contrasting.

However, Naomi Goldenberg points out how Jung’s writings reveal his prejudice against
the female Logos.  He writes,

The animus corresponds to the paternal Logos just as the anima
corresponds to the natural Eros. In men, Eros, the function of
relationship, is usually less developed than Logos. In women,
on the other hand, Eros is an expression of true nature, while
their Logos is often only a regrettable accident (Goldenberg
1981, 67).
Further evidence of his bias against women’s intellectual abilities, can be seen in
his essay “Women in Europe”. He writes,

“No one can get around the fact that by taking up a masculine profession, studying and working like a man, woman is doing something not wholly in accord with, if not directly injurious to, her feminine nature” (68). 

Jung goes on to call certain universities in the United States as “animus incubators” that produce opinionated women who are possessed by their animus.  He called these women inferior men who could not be as successful as men at doing such Logos work as writing books since their conscious strength was determined by Eros.

Why couldn’t Jung see that the driving force behind Logos was Eros?  It was Eros, not
Apollo, who inspired the great works of literature. In order for a woman or a man to write
authentic poetry they have to connect with their muse…either Aphrodite or Eros…to make
their works have a biological function for the survival of the human race. 

We write to attract our metaphysical mates who give us the union of opposities, enacting a new/old erotic world vision.  Our salvation lies through connecting with the Goddess and God of
Love and Beauty who are the muse of all the arts and sciences.  Only when sexual unions
have a survival reason for the future of the planet can the relationship bring happiness and fulfillment.
A clue to the reason why Jung was not able to find the achemical union necessary for
the foundation of a new religion is seen in his own relationships with women which is
explained in Demaris S. Wehr’s book,  – Jung and Feminism:  Liberating Archetypes – . Jung
writes about having a dual perception of his mother which he called her “daytime” and
“nighttime personality.”  Her daytime personality had an “animal warmth,” was maternal and
reassuring, whereas her nighttime personality was ghostly and spiritual,  which was both
fascinating and frightening to the young Jung.  He writes in his  – Memories, Dreams,
By day she was a living mother, but at night she seemed
uncanny.  Then she was like one of those seers who is at the
same time a strange animal, like a priestess in a bear’s cave.
Archaic and ruthless;  ruthless as truth and nature.  At such
moments she was the embodiment of what I have called the
“natural mind” (Jung 1961, 50).
The spiritual part of her personality he called the nonrational and the maternal part
he called rational.  He said that when the spiritual voice talked “that meant something.”
The light side was concerned with facts, was ambitious, proud, and enjoyed itself.  He
called it the “outside world.”  The dark side was hungry for meaning.  It would embarrass
his rational side when it became too irrational by its lack of relating to the “outside
world.”  Her light side was concerned with the practical matters of daily life where as
her dark side was fed with Goethe’s Faust and Nietzsche’s Zarathusra.

This division of the female anima carried on in his relationships with the other two
signifant females of his life, his wife Emma and his mistress and collaborator, Toni
Wolff.  Wehr writes,
Jung had a “split anima” (a split image of the feminine
operating within his own psyche), which was expressed in his
divided loyalty between the two women. One of the women, Emma,
respresented for him a “motherly container,” and the other
more of a “soul mate.” Jung’s split in images and experience —
between the wife/mother and the sexual companion–represents
a polarity not uncommon in the lives of Western man (Wehr
1987, 31-32).
In Toni Wolff’s interpretation of the anima\animus theory she reflects this division by
saying that in the feminine archetypes the “Hetaira” who she called man’s lover,
soul-sister and sexual companion are opposed to the “Mother.” Jung described the
opposition between the two as the dark side regarding the light side as his “thankless
moral task.”  He believes conflict between the two is resolved by being “true to both
sides of the conflict, allowing the resolution to emerge from the unconscious (Wehr 1987,

In his personal life, this resulted in trying to intergrate Toni into his family.
However, Wehr points out in one of Jung’s correspondences that he said, “Ultimately, we
all get stuck somewhere, for we are all mortal and remain but a part of what we are as a
whole.  The wholeness we can reach is very relative.” In Jung’s own life, he was unable to
bring the two together in order to free himself for the duality of darkness and light, to
put an end to the conflict between the “Mother” and the “Hetaira.” Unable to create the
fusion he was unable to find the alchemical formula, the magic of the two becoming one.
Jung’s lopsided theory undermined women’s ability to express themselves in words and
to, therefore, influence the social order.

This is the same suppression we have found in ancient Greek mythology. For instance, the myth of Perseus who steals the winged horse, Pegasus. The horse was born from Medusa’s dead body and, from her blood, poetry and the healing arts came into the world. Since in Jungian schema men have the superior power of language, the cultural roles between the sexes are not equally defined resulting in women’s lack of publishing power and social respect.
The same is true in the visual arts.  Men were in charge of the way women “were seen
and how they acted in the art world” (Borzello and Ledwidge 1986).

They provided the supper, sex, and were his muse, model, and subject matter.  She was around to prove he was a man, to make him feel like he was a god-like hero.  When women were finally given entry in the art world, since they had no tradition of their own, they compared themselves with men.  They became second-class citizens relegated to the less prestigious areas of art like teaching in schools and designing decorative arts.  However, men were taught the skills for doing the historical and biblical paintings which were considered the most
important work.  They were allowed to paint the female nude, but women were not given this
right.  Without the skills to produce a narrative work, she could not penetrate into the
sexist mythology destroying the world.
Margaret Mead and other cultural anthropologist have proven that gender roles are
socially constructed. In Mead’s research of the people of the highlands of New Guinea she
observed that in the Mudugumor tribe both sexes were aggressive and warlike;  their
neighbors the Arapesh, men and women were both nurturing and non-aggressive.  The third
tribe in her study the Tschambulie, women were assertive, practical, and competent while
the men spent time gossiping, adorning themselves, and strolling about.

The mythology of the culture determines the harmony between the two sexes.  It
determines whether or not the culture is peaceful or warlike.  Consequently, Jung’s
anima/animus theory reinforces the status quo, stereotyping women as the good introverted
housewives of the heroic men and the mistress as his private soul-mate companion.  Unable
to evolve out of the devotion-phase of the Madonna, and having the “magic authority” of
the word, deed, and image denied to her, she is unable to revolutionize the ubiguitous and
deadly misogyny instituted by the patriarchal system to ensure male dominance.

Since Jung’s theory splits mind from body men are consciously associated with mind
(Logos), and women with nature or body (Eros), her animus becomes an extension of his
imagination, establishing a parasitical co-dependency which sufficates both.  He projects
his anima onto her powerless being.  Unable to publish her own script, she is captivated
by his projections of fear, pornography, dread, hatred, seeing her as both the virgin and
the whore, the devouring mother who turns into the nagging wife or spinster “hag” or the
discarded crone.
In  – The Encyclopedia of Religion, Jeffrey Burton Russell predicts, “The witch,
melding the two archetypes of human hag and evil demon, is a powerful metaphor whose power
may be diminished from time to time but is unlikely to disappear” (423). 

When Jung’s archetypal theory is seen as frozen without the possibility of change, this dualistic, neurotic relationship between women and men becomes the stumbling block to our further evolution.  Women are paralyzed by not being able to influence the conscious thought of
the culture, while men cannot find the female sages they need in order to develop their
anima to the most advanced level of wisdom. This prevents creative partnerships so
necessary for the manifestation of a new meaning of life to come into existence. It
inhibits bringing the romantic metaphor into its primal position as evolutionary herald.
In her essay “From Muse to Heroine,” Anne Griswold Tyng writes, “When a woman
reclaims her own animus or is aware that she has projected it onto someone herself, when a
man assimilates his own anima or becomes similarly aware of his projection, both become
more complete and more creative” (Berkeley 1989, 184).  In opposition to her husband, Emma
Jung in her book Animus and Anima also believed that what women needed was not less animus but more; that is, more logos, power, and meaning.  She showed how there are two sides to animus projections:  a positive side, and a shadow side.  Examples of the later two stages are the animus of the word whose positive side would be that of a poet. 

On the negative side of the word would be the fire and brimstone preacher. The animus of meaning is exemplified by the prophet or philosopher, while the negative side would be the dogmatist. She further observed that women who seemed to have overbearing personalities were the ones who projected negative sides of the animus which sadly enough the patriarchal social system rewards.
How apparent it is that Society rewards these negative projections of men because we
live in a warrior, money worshipping culture which has divided Logos from Eros, marriage
from love, sex from meaning, and art from life. If an epic poetess is unable to have her
wisdom heard and her vision enacted by radically transforming the male anima through the
magic of the Gaia Messiah, our barbaric culture will not be able to develop into a
civilized state.  We will continue to have to witness the devolution of our ailing

I think the irony of life is that which we long for most deeply, is really our own oblivion. So we fear it, but long for it at the same time. But what we do not realize is that within the death of ourselves we will find our Divine selves. But just as with a child, where the outer child must die so that the adult may rise into vision, so we will find ourselves in oblivion with another. I believe when two people truly surrender to each other; you open your inner core, your deepest vulnerability to that other and say;” I so love you in all that you are that I am willing to blend all of me with you., so that in our merging and through our merging we will be reborn. Just as a child contains some of the essence of both the father and the mother, so you and I become the parents of ourselves reborn, but now containing the essence of each other.”

Together, there is no mystery that man and woman cannot probe. Together man and woman becomes the Creator. Separate, in conflict, we destroy ourself.


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