Okay. I’m going to create an experiment. All I want you think about is Nurture. Nature will just come to you. Nature is something we all have our own idea about.
The social interest of the Nature verses Nurture debate where the latter is more obviously socially constructed than the premier is a notion which has developed as a consequence of perception. But this debate is by far cut and dried. It’s apples and pears i.e. different cultures have their own ideas on what is nature and what is not.
According to Arnold Gehlen, social construction of the body involves regulation and discipline of the body. For example, in traditional Japanese society, there was no such thing as the menopause – a female biological process that ceases. The menopause was not in the public sphere. Women felt discomfort associated with this feature of female aging in private. This is one way, through culture and religion; women’s bodies were socially controlled creating marginalization. Today, although society has become feminized, patriarchy still pervades and differently from society to society. In the West, it is particularly, through Medical science that institutions constantly construct ways in which we should live our lives and how we see other people.
Luce Irigaray, the French philosopher wants women to ‘block the patriarchal logic that invariably constructs the feminine body in negative biology for their own strategic ends’. (McNay, Lois, 1994:20) For example, heterosexual women regardless of Patriarchy, will either always prefer to date a man who is taller and earns more money than them which helps drive patriarchy in the first place and fulfils representations of women throughout history as married or faithful lovers as the key to a stable and harmonious society e.g. Mother India, where opportunities for women for certain careers or expressing non-mainstream sexuality are closed - which borne out of socialisation, women are not going to turn a blind eye to soon as Asian socieities fulfils representations of women as childless and unmarried to the key to an unstable society like in the West.
Returning to the notion of women as stereotypes, according to the internationally acclaimed Egyptian writer Dr Nawal El Saadawi, women are deceived by marriage, as marriage is in fact an institution of Prostitution where the only difference between street prostitution and marriage being, in the regular constancy of being well paid to have sex.
This is a dark and bleak view of marriage recalled in her 1983 Egyptian novel ‘Woman at Point zero’. It tells a powerful life story of a woman called Fidarus awaiting death row in a Cairo prison for murdering a pimp - a crime to which, Fidarus confesses to without shame, unravelling her story to a Psychologist and author – like Saadawi, to be relieved of her psychological problems, just as men go to Prostitutes to be relieved of their sexual problems. Saadawi does not separate problems of sexuality with psychology and the clinical. According to her, Prostitutes are actually doctors, because they are relieving men of their sexual frustration of violence.
All over the world, women are inferior in all the marriage codes –- through patriarchy, class, sexuality, economic, and the social- civil marriages, included because secularism as Saadawi believes, ‘….is an illusion’.
In conclusion, although we all need ideals – a need to strive and hope for e.g. fantasy where Fairy tales like the Brother’s Grimm are on a basic level, an expression of our humanity. Fairy tales teach that we are all capable of extreme cruelty and extreme compassion. However, if the old paradigms are shifting in favour of an inversion of Fairy tales by modern feminists, from what every little girl wants is to get married to a Prince and live happily ever after, to something else, then the familiar Western fairytales with their old morality and old plots will wither away but tales by feminists like Angela Carter and some men’s will probably in that case become part of an ascendancy of a new kind of Fairy tale. As a tangent, do depictions of mainly white main characters in movie blockbusters, damage young black people’s perceptions of themselves?
Returning to Women’s attitude to male bodies, they need to become rebranded in order to forfeit irresponsibility in relationships, and their own relationship of their bodies to society. As luce Irigaray says, feminine subjectivity needs to become autonomous and capable of a cultivation and culture of their own to one day coexist with male subjectivity, and recognise the existence of the unknowable, (Irigaray, 2008) dismissing the socialisation of songs like U2’s ‘One’ and the philosopher Hegel’s want to reduce everything to be homogenous.
Irigaray, Luce, 2008, ‘conversations’, Continuum
McNay, Lois, 1994, ‘Foucault and Feminism’, Blackwell Publishers
El Saadawi, Nawal, 2007, 2nd edition, ‘Woman at Point zero’, Zed Books