Why Stage I institutions were oppressive and how Stage II institutions can be freeing
Pan of women’s anger at men comes from the belief that men made the rules, and made them to oppress women and benefit men. Since most institutions are headed by men, when these institutions don’t meet our needs, we tend to blame men. The challenge is twofold: first, to recognize that these institutions helped women to get to Stage II even before men; second, to understand how institutions that were functional in Stage I can now make a transition to become functional in Stage II.
How the functional family bocото the dysfunctional fomlly
Just as we held up Stage I marriages to Stage II standards and labeled them a failure, we currently hold up Stage I families to Stage II standards and label them dysfunctional. As many as 97 percent of our families of origin are said to be dysfunctional. So while in Stage I, "spare the rod, spoil the child" implied if you did not use the rod, you’ve abused the child, in Stage II, if you do use the rod, you’ve abused the child. Why?
In Stage 1, using the rod was considered functional – it taught children that not obeying would create pain Which was true – rules were designed to prevent starvation. But in Stage II, goals of self-fulfillment required being in touch with one’s feelings Using the rod disconnects children from their feelings and is therefore more likely to be dysfunctional.
In Stage I, mutual dependence was the cement in a family’s foundation. So there could hardly be too much of it. Codependence was Stage 1 functional But when divorces forced us to prepare ourselves for independence, then codependence often became over-dependence and therefore dysfunctional. So the functional Stage I family became the dysfunctional Stage II family
I would like to see us stop describing our families of origin as dysfunctional and begin describing them as Stage I functional. This gives them credit for the contribution they made to taking care of our survival needs so that we have the freedom to decide what is functional in Stage II. It also allows them to rejoice in the opportunity to pursue that freedom them selves rather than feel blamed and guilty for screwing up.
Feminists assume that marital traditions such as the father giving the bride away were a reflection of patriarchy But the father gave away the bride because it was the father giving away his responsibility to protea. (No one gave the man away because no one would protea a man. The job of the parents was to turn the son into a proteaor. not give him away to a proteaor.)
Our parents were often criticized for discouraging a son from "doing his own thing." But because a Vincent van Gogh could barely support himself (much less a family of ten), it was the job of parents to make sure their son didn’t become an artist, and to teach their daughters that being courted by such a man was courting disaster Children often heard those instructions as parents exercising power. In fact, it was not parental power, it waspostpone – merit of parental power – the postponement of Tevye’s and Golde’s ability to seek self-fulfillment and search for a deeper love. Thus Tevye was able to ask Golde Stage II questions onl after their daughter was about to be married off.
Because happiness was secondary, drinking, frustration, and abuse were rampant. But in Stage I. it was not functional to permit divorce: with eight children at home and no ability to support two homes, walking out was not an option. So we tolerated drinking and abuse rather than divorce and starvation.
In brief, the generations will leam to love each other more quickly if we see their socialization as Stage I functional rather than labeling them dysfunctional; if we acknowledge that the children best able to pursue Stage II values today often can do so exactly because their parents had Stage I values. Discussions of family values without distinctions between Stage I and Stage II families are thus setups for deprecation rather than appreciation.
Religion In transition
In Stage I, the church provided rigid rules and rituals designed to get people to make sacrifices for the next generation without questioning. In Stage II, questioning is needed to deal with life’s options, and rigidity is poor training for life’s ambiguities.
Stage 1 religions had to restrict premarital sex because premarital sex led to children without a guarantee for the children’s and woman’s protection. In Stage II, birth control allowed sex to become more associated with fulfillment, communication, and spiritual connection – goals of the Stage II relationship. So Stage II religions can focus less on restricting the sexes from access to each other’s bodies and more on assisting the sexes to have access to each other’s souls.
Stage II churches are now freer to teach how sexual inhibition often become spiritual inhibition. For example, teaching women to keep sex artificially repressed teaches men to tell women what they think women want to hear rather than what they’ are really feeling. Dishonesty’ inhibits spirituality. Women then begin to use their sexuality to get told what they want to hear rather than leam to enjoy their sexuality. They often contrast sexuality with spirituality rather than see how a sexual bond contributes to a spiritual bond. Women’s sexual repression is an effective way of giving Women control over men, but it keeps men less than genuine. Many women are beginning to prefer men who are genuine to men whom they can control. In brief. Stage I religion’s emphasis on rigid rules prepared a couple to be enduring role mates Stage II religion’s emphasis on communication prepares a couple to be soul mates.
Stage I churches will continue to seek men to lead as a symbol of men’s responsibility to be a problem solver and savior. These churches will attract mostly Stage I female followers and Stage I male leaders. Stage II churches will seek both sexes to lead, not by blaming men for leading in the past but by helping both sexes make a transition into a different future.
Stof • I versus Stagm II soxual politics
Worldwide, politicians trained in Stage I sexual ethics were suddenly judged by Stage II ethics. John Kennedy’s affairs were kept secret but Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton were seen as womanizers. Stage I Japanese prime ministers had geishas but Stage II prime minister Lino was toppled as soon as it was discovered he had had a geisha.
Why this change? In Stage I. divorces were not allowed, so men’s affairs did not put women’s economic security in jeopardy; in Stage II, affairs could lead to divorce, so men’s affairs did place women’s economic security in jeopardy. We did not want political leaders who would be role models for behavior that would put women’s economic security in jeopardy.
Doesn’t our supposed concern about women conflict with the sexual double standard that seems to have served only men? No. There were two double standards. (1) a man could have affairs, a woman couldn’t; and (2) a married woman could force her husband to support the children from her affairs; a married man could not force his wife to support the children from his affairs. (Rather, he was ostracized if he refused to take care of a child that resulted from his affairs.1′) It is the second double standard that we never hear about.
Both double standards, though, proteaed women. How? Had married men felt their wives were having affairs to create children they had to support, few men would commit to marriage and few women and children would receive proteaion.
Nevertheless, Stage I societies had a dilemma, marriage guaranteed women economic securin’ for a lifetime but failed to guarantee men sexual gratification for a lifetime. So Stage I societies created a marital deal: what 1 call the “marital triangle."
The marital triangle was the husband, wife, and mistress (or, depending on the culture, the geisha, prostitute, second wife, or a harem). The deal was this: Husband, your first obligation is to take care of your wife’s and children’s needs economically. If you’re still doing this but you’re not getting the sex, youth, beauty, attention, and passion that made you agree to do this for a lifetime to begin with, then you can take care of some of your
needs, too, but under two conditions, you must continue to provide for your family (no divorce is allowed even if your needs aren’t met); and you must also provide for some of the economic needs of this younger, attractive woman (geisha, mistress, prostitute) whose need for money otherwise might not be met.
In Stage I, no one group got their intimacy needs met – not husband, wife, mistress, or children. Of course, some individuals did, but that wasn’t the primary worry of a Stage I marriage: it was stability, and the marital triangle was the "great stability compromise."
By Stage II standards, politicians who declared they were moral but were having affairs were clearly hypocrites. But that missed the underlying spirit of morality that was bred into Stage I culture: morality meant taking care of your family. For most men, affairs would undermine that goal. But the man who could do both discreetly was not ostracized because on some level it was understood he was providing an incentive for a man to be successful and a better protector. All this changed when affairs signaled divorces and dumped millions of women into the workplace without workplace skills. Then politicians who had affairs soon also had no workplace.
By calling these changed standards a higher morality, women again appeared to have the higher morality. Women, though, did not have a higher morality. Why not? Every affair involved both sexes.
The difference? In the 1980s and 90s, Gary Hart’s Donna Rice got commercial and TV roles, Bill Clinton’s Gennifer Flowers got paid an estimated $100,000 to reveal her story. . . both sexes participated, but men were seen as perpetrators and women as via і ms even though the men’s careers were being hurt while women’s careers were being jump-started.
Stage II politics
When we think of political bosses, bribes, and patronage, we tend to think of male power, male corruption, the "good оГ boys" network, male chauvinism, and male dominance. The unraveling of this process is associated with the unraveling of these symbols of male dominance. However, in Stage I, political bosses, bribes, and patronage were acceptable not because they served men but because they served families – including women and children. The boss remained in power only as long as he created jobs to feed those families. He built his "machine" from the economic underclass, so these jobs fed the poor. The faa that they were jobs, not welfare, allowed the families respea.
When a man became the boss it was often the first symbol of an economic underclass – Irish or Italians or Jews or blacks – breaking into the economic ntaiastream. One could call it Stage I welfare or corruption or job training, depending on one’s point of view, but it benefited families, not just men. In its extreme forms (e. g., the Mafia), it not only provided for families but it disposed of men much more often than women