A Better World Ruled by Women, Bloody Sunday in Selma, Claire Underwood, Ferguson Missouri, Frank Underwood, Heather Dunbar, House of Cards, Melvin Konner, Netflix, President Obama, Testosterone, Viktor Petrov, WSJ
I have been enjoying a high level of control of my time (granted that nobody, even an autocratic tyrant, has a total control of anything) since I retired last June. Freed from the routine necessity to prepare for the upcoming week’s work, which in the past often demanded my time on weekends, I enjoy spending my leisurely time reading the weekend edition of WSJ nearly every Saturday morning these days.
This morning what interested me most was a short article in the Review section, “A Better World, Ruled by Women” written by Melvin Konner. According to him, men and women are biologically destined to behave differently and the world ruled by women would be “less likely to go to war”. In addition, “Sex scandals, financial corruption and violence are all overwhelmingly male.” It seems testosterone in the male is responsible for the prevalent maleficence observed in male behaviors. Prof. Konner writes: “Testosterone goes to the brain in late prenatal life and prepares the hypothalamus and amygdala for a tendency to physical aggression and a kind of sexual drive that is detached from affection and throws caution to the winds.” I am not sure if it’s only the biological sex that control human behaviors and if all the women leaders in the past who displayed the masculine behaviors, which was essentially testosterone-driven, were merely imitating male behaviors; but nevertheless I feel it is worth experimenting with a female president in the United States. (Part of me says Prof. Konner’s argument seems too simplistic because I tend to think some form of androgyny would work in many situations. But, it shows just my prejudice.)
This article was interesting particularly when considered in the context of this week’s Saturday journal that displayed many androgynous male fashion plates, such as softer forms of Armani and tight-fitting suits of Burberry. I wonder if the trend (in the established industrialized nations) is moving toward the assimilation and empowerment of femininity in many areas. Even this season’s Netflix’s House of Cards seems to suggest that Claire Underwood or Heather Dunbar might make a better president/ political leader than Frank Underwood, who suddenly became a little more human, thus feminized, at times, or Viktor Petrov, the embodiment of crude masculinity.
This morning as I cleaned up late breakfast dishes and folded the laundry I watched CNN reporting the 50th commemoration of the “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, one of the pivotal moment in the American people’s continuing effort to eradicate the racial inequality by demanding their rights to vote, which apparently was not enforced in the southern states despite the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Although I did not really experience that turbulent period in American history I find it remarkable that this anniversary is marked by an impassioned speech by the first bi-racial president. This could have happened only in America! True, the United States is a complex nation (well, every nation is complex, but the U.S. seems more complex than others) where many diverse views and attitudes can be observed concurrently: some people embrace socially progressive ideas and attitudes easily while some decidedly do not. For instance, even as the nation celebrates the first “black” president, in some parts of the same nation, systematic exploitations/ oppressions against black people, such as the one exemplified in Ferguson, Missouri, are perpetrated, according to the study done by the Department of Justice. It’s not clear if this nation is incrementally becoming one of the most desirable nations that ever existed (I think this hinges on the continuing availability of opportunity and resources per capita), but it still is a good candidate to become one.