Do Strong Women Hate Men? myth v. reality
by Patricia Smith Melton
Founder, Peace X Peace
Editor, Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women
Over eight years Peace X Peace has grown into a women-based e-community across more than 100 nations, as men of all cultures have told us that peace is up to the women. They say men have messed up and women need to take over. We are rarely accused of “hating” men, yet it does happen, and it happened today. Let’s examine, I say, slightly irked, that convenient, thought-stopping equation of: strong women = women who hate men.
Do these men think we (strong) women show hatred of them by marrying them, living with them, having babies with them, making love to them, cooking for them, caring for them when they are ill or despondent, protecting our boy children and our girl children, getting flushed when they flatter us, looking good for them (often according to their preferences), putting careers on hold for them, crying through the night for them, trying to protect them from wars, allowing them immense slack, and . . . well, women around the world could fill out this list. Of course, some of these articles are cultural imperatives in regions where women will be ostracized, ignored, demeaned, or brutalized if they don’t concur. But show me a free (straight) woman who doesn’t want to be loved by men and to love in return and I’ll show you a very rare woman indeed.
Peace X Peace does not hate men. The women who work for Peace X Peace do not hate men. Peace X Peace embraces men. What we advocate for is the integration, in attitude and action, of the best Feminine Principles and the best Masculine Principles inside all individuals of all sexes and between all individuals of all sexes. Listening?
Some best Feminine Principles for social harmony and thriving cultures: inclusiveness, nurturing, consensus building, holistic thinking, deep listening and open communication, emotional wisdom, valuing intuitive strength, finding commonality, employing images and music, and reaching across differences for safety.
Some best Masculine Principles for social harmony and thriving cultures: logical thought, concrete action, direct speech and leadership, strength-building, clarity of purpose, alliance building with peers, employing words and hard data, and constructing physical structures.
The Peace X Peace position is that the best perspectives, talents, and actions of women and men must be combined if we are to solve our world’s problems. We say this because it is true. The world needs women; the world needs men. Simple fact. Like most women, Peace X Peace is very practical.
Right now these complements are not in balance. Is it hating men to point out that men have been in charge? This is a fact, just as the grief, destruction, poverty, war, and brutality around us are facts.
Does asking for parity for the sake of women and, therefore, of families, communities, cultures, and the world threaten men of character and goodness? Hopefully not, because women’s wisdom is as necessary as the wisdom of men of character and goodness.
Sustainable peace with thriving cultures cannot be achieved without an infusion of female perspectives and actions into decision-making and policy implementation. It is what we need to bring fresh perspectives, knowledge from the ground, more transparency, determined nurturing, and tenacious love to transforming conflicts into opportunities, from the kitchen table to the summit table.
For peace to be sustainable in any state or culture it must have substance, what Peace X Peace calls the Pillars of Peace. These include economic empowerment, education, health and well-being, conflict transformation, environmental sustainability, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, and justice and good government.
Building the Pillars of Peace requires men and women to put aside fears and stereotypes and work together towards viable goals without blaming each other. To any man who thinks strong women hate men, I say, “Come on board, and welcome to our world. We need you. The world needs you.”