Predators can be pretty, charismatic, charming but still deadly, destructive and hurtful
(image by Mark Dumont)
" Traditional gender norms may contribute to higher levels of narcissism in men while discouraging narcissism in women.
...based on the "agency model" of narcissism, narcissists are more agentic (individualistically-oriented, self promoting) than communal (interdependentl-oriented) (Hedgeson 1994)
... many cultures gender scripts masculine prescribe that men be agentic-- pursuing self-benefiting goals such as amassing status, power and competence, while devaluing, as being "feminine," communal goals such as joining with others to build and nurture emotionally intimate relationships.
...Traditional masculine norms prescribe proactive agentic roles for men and receptive, communal roles for women. (Abele 2003) justifying patriarchal expectations that women should subserviently gratify men and affirm mens' self-views of superiority.
... Heterosexual men look to heterosexual women" to provide sexual pleasure and to tend to housework and other domestic activities and to serve as trophy partners to impress others. For these reasons heterosexual women are key resources and often gatekeepers in heterosexual men's quests for gratification, patriarchal power and status."
Keep in mind, I'm kind of throwing some random info I've found at you here, hoping you'll add new light, bring your perspectives and angles to the party.
Leonard Shlain wrote the book, Alphabet and the Goddess, discussing the theory, also described by Walter Ong, that the invention of the written word led to a massive change in culture in which women lost power and male, patriarchal power became ascendant. Shlain attributed the change in power to a change in the way people think and perceive catalyzed by the linear thinking that the written word encourages.
I'm curious if there is any anthropological information on how pre-civilized, indigenous cultures handled gender-related power, if at all.
Then we have domination. I believe that there can be leadership without domination. Domination grabs, holds and tries to increase and maintain control and power. Since the drive to dominate is also a trait of psychopaths and narcissists, I wonder if the presence of domination as a part of contemporary, industrialized civilized culture is something that has been imposed by these human predators. Is it possible to move the world to a more feminine archetypal culture where the values and rules are more bottom up, where domination is treated as an undesirable, inappropriate, perhaps even illegal behavior or trait, where the bottom-up characteristics described at the beginning of this article are embraced as positive cultural values, mores, even rules.
Back in the early eighties, when I became interested in Positivity-- an approach to psychology now described as positive psychology-- I worked on exploring a model based on the idea that psychology had been, for over 100 years, primarily focused on identifying and fixing pathology. I asked and explored the question-- How much can you do to help heal people, help to make them stronger and happier and robust, solely by using positive interventions and approaches, teaching positive skills. I never said that using the pathology-based approaches should not be used-- diagnoses, treatment, psychotherapy based on pathology models-- but I wanted to explore the potential that positive approaches could have, on their own or/and combined with the pathological approaches.
I think the same kind of question can be applied to bottom-up values, practices, behaviors and teachings. The catalysis of the bottom-up revolution is well under way thanks to the web and smart phones. We see the biggest new corporations based on bottom-up ideas and technologies, and we are seeing revolutions enabled by bottom-up energies and technologies.
Yet we have inherited a top-down collection of systems, politics, economic models (predatory capitalism) constitutions, histories, governments that are built upon tenets of domination, patriarchy, inequality, hierarchy, centralization and other top-down characteristics. There are top-down power-holders invested in that system. They've inculcated the masses through the mainstream media they own.
That gives us a growing plague of unaccountable billionaires and out-of-control corporations buying, with their financial and influence power, whole governments, political groups, heads of state and religious groups.
I wonder how much of our current civilization exists because of the predators among us and from our past.
I could go on. I'm writing a book about bottom-up. But I'm hoping some of my readers will have some insightful comments, and perhaps know of or dig up some relevant research and commentary.
BTW, I've also been reading some of the works of James C. Scott, such as Domination and the Arts of Resistance, and John Raven's The Emergence of Hierarchy, Domination, and Centralisation Reflections on the Work of Murray Bookchin