Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

‘What do women want?’

Helen of Troy
Helen of Troy

Not since the legendary Helen of Troy a female has caused the fall of so many men as we are witnessing nowadays.

In business, sports, entertainment, politics, academics, congress and the media mighty men come crashing down because of women’s recollections of untoward behaviour, many yesterdays ago.  

A woman’s desire for revenge outlasts all other emotions. Is there any man, anywhere able to enjoy a night’s sound sleep, when the threat of an accusation from days long past might await him. And what man has not committed many follies, when green in years and enflamed with desire?

It is the old and wiser men who sway their power and position over the weak and needy that are truly despicable. However, in both cases a deluge of female complaints emerge from mostly middle to older women, who seem to have suddenly recalled moments of disgrace and dishonour. The skeletons must come out of the closet and what better time than now that those old “Don Juans”, nave become rich, famous and powerful. The greater the fall, the greater the joy of revenge. Traces of that old heartless Aphrodite are still apparent.

It is nonetheless a bold act, pointing a collective finger of accusation at such high-powered forceful men, for while timid individually, women are as bold as brass when banned together. So out they come one after the other, from every nook and cranny, out of the woodworks, falling from the sky, to break the silence of decades, face cameras, lights, crowds and describe painful, ugly moments inflicted upon them by these men.

Has the battle for women’s rights finally been won? It is now closer than ever.

Sceptics have a million questions swimming in their brains. Why now? Why on the eve of a political campaign or when the assailants have reached such high positions? What do they stand to gain? Are they looking for financial settlements, notoriety or simply to remove that crushing burden off their chests, now that they can, without being mocked, humiliated or disbelieved?

Still the reasons can be politically not emotionally instigated. On the eve of an election emotion smells like politics to most. It is a mystery, as is everything about a woman. Why was Bill Clinton forgiven and not Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein?

It is little wonder that he threw his arms up in the air and confessed to his companion with a tone of total despair: The great question which I have not been able to answer despite my 30 years of research into the feminine psyche is, “what do women want?” If Sigmund Freud could not fathom that, perhaps he has been overrated.

They are legitimate questions, but the media and the public have chosen to take the woman’s words, without proof or evidence against the denials of her assailant. Regardless of the motive, the woman is believed whether truthful or not, because throughout history men have always been guilty.

Time and trouble may tame a young woman, “but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any force”.

Why do men assault women?  

The simple answer is because they can, because “Might is right”, not “Right is right”.

Aristotle believed that women were inferior versions of men, more emotional and therefore unable to make good judgement. He believed they were more adept at lying, more apt to misinform and manipulate. Well, what a condemnation. Threads of such ideas have been carried on for centuries into today. Could Aristotle too have been overrated?

Professor Steve Taylor of Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, author of The Fall, has a theory that for the last 6,000 years, man’s inhumanity to women is their revenge for their lack of control over their male impulses. Another male found another way to put the blame on women.  

Man’s desire to control has been a need throughout history. He is driven to conquer, to subjugate other groups, why not women. Male aggression is often rewarded by greater access to attention and success with women. That inspires sexual misconduct. Really? Most female erotic literature is written by men, read and believed by them.

Enslaved by men throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, unable to have influence over the political, religious or cultural laws of their societies, they became mere properties. In some cultures a widow is to commit suicide following her husband’s death. Sex is sinful and again it is a woman’s fault for she is capable of arousing desires even when enslaved and covered from head to toe.

Freud believes anatomy is destiny. It is the woman’s destiny. Indeed.

This time is now over and done with. Following the industrial movement women woke up to the fact that they are willing and able to do what men do. The feminist movement started and has grown to a degree where it is illegal by law for men to make unwanted advances towards women. “Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact“, says Dean G K Kilpatrick, of the University of South Carolina. Pay attention all members of the male sex, when she says no, that is what she means. Otherwise it is a crime punishable by law.

Whatever happened to those good old, ancient times when women were revered for their mysterious life-giving powers, high-priestesses, goddesses, matriarchs of great tribes, heart and soul of every family, every community?

To be treated with the same esteem as men is what women want Mr Freud. Respect.

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