Monday, September 26, 2011
Some of the behavior traits men share and which go into the formation of the Male Mask, are genetic, handed down since apehood. But most of them are taught to us by our parents, teachers and culture. There is no great conspiracy to this, it’s how those mentors were raised and how their parents and mentors before them were raised, so it’s just one of those things that is perpetuated down the generations. We hope that one of the effects of our book will be that mentors and parents will learn to appreciate and nurture the Feminine as well as the Masculine traits in boys; the full spectrum of human traits, rather than ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ traits. There is no doubt that boys and girls behave differently, but the suppression of the Feminine in boys has evolutionary ramifications. Carmen McNeil, a college professor of psychology of women, told us at a workshop that when her 3-year-old son has a serious question about life, she asks him, “What does your intuition tell you?” He always has an answer, and he is learning to listen to his innate Feminine. Meanwhile, most men cope with their ‘traditional’ upbringing.
As we grew up, we were taught that boys don’t feel pain, that it’s OK for us to hit things with other things, to wrestle and fight, to resolve everything physically — all the boy stuff. That early learning doesn’t go away; it’s always there at the foundation of our personalities. For some men, it remains their defining characteristic, their way of dealing with the world around them. The conditioning continues through our early years, and as we get older we may retreat into the comfort of the male pattern (unless our mothers and partners teach us otherwise), because it serves as a familiar uniform for us.
Human brains form connections in childhood that establish neural pathways, a network of connections, which become habits and preferred choices. That’s part of the struggle all humans, female and male, have with changes to our comfort zones, and it’s a large part of the difficulty in forming relationships. The preference is to stay with the known, even at the expense of maturing, and even though women prefer social stability. Most men don’t like to stand out in the crowd, we’re just guys like the rest of the guys; we’re part of the guy team, a brotherhood against the emotional world of the female, the unknown, the gay, the ‘weak’, the foreign and the mindful.
By the time the cascade of testosterone floods boys’ teenage bodies, we are fully entrenched in being guys. We have our instructions imprinted on our brains. Here's the guys’ version of "The List," the instructions that are passed on to most men by culture and are basically unknown, misinterpreted or romanticized by women:
• Don’t show emotions — being too happy or afraid and talking about love is for wimps. The only emotions allowed are expressed during sporting events and if they’re necessary to get sex.
• Don’t show weakness — or anything that might be interpreted as weakness by a jury of your peers. It is not manly, it invites bullying and it sets a bad example to the younger boys. It may only be used as a ploy to get sex.
• Be independent — asking for help is for kids. That includes asking for directions, unless it’s a way to get sex.
• Don’t admit to needing love or relationship — save the touchy-feely stuff for Mom, and only on her birthday. The only exception is when using it to get sex.
• Don’t let a woman tie you down — commitment is a noose, it leads to marriage, children and all those inhibiting things preventing men from being the heroic figures they ought to be. The only time for docility is if it leads to sex.
• Don’t show pain — grit your teeth, steel your spine, set your jaw, squint your eyes. Pain means nothing, even the pain of rejection. Carry on as if nothing can hurt you, unless you’re looking for sympathy sex.
Part of the Male Mask’s usefulness is for survival in this dangerous world of ours. It’s the shield from behind which we scan our surroundings, whenever we’re away from our home base. We step out of our front doors, no matter if we live in a New York apartment or an Idaho farmhouse, and what’s the first thing most men do? They scan for trouble. They look around, along the corridor, across the yard, up and down the street, whatever. They may not actually stop and look. They may not give any sign that they’re scanning. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it, but they are. A man walking down a city street is probably unconsciously attuned and aware of what’s going on around him. It’s instinctual to most men, perhaps because of the hunting history of mankind.
All that scanning goes on behind the Male Mask, which hides the fact that we’re aware and ready to fight or flee at any time. We men do such a good job of hiding it that most women don’t realize how attentive we are to the world around us, because we look so relaxed, or bored or annoyed that we’re being dragged from store to store. Women may see the physical signs of our emotions, but might not pick up on the constant background tension we experience outside our comfort zone of home.
So that’s the false front that women have to understand when they get involved with men. Most women believe men’s Masks to be our real selves and think we’re always in control, coolly navigating our way through our lives. No upsets, no fears, no threats to our steely exterior.
When we men find ourselves in a stable relationship, we may feel safe enough with our partners that we allow the Male Mask to slip when we’re with them. Suddenly we’re confronted by our real selves, and we may not like it all that much. We’re naturally, and that means biologically, gun-shy about the concept of commitment at the beginning of a relationship anyway, so any unmasking is doubly threatening.
So here we are, average guys hiding ourselves behind our Mask, guarding against ridicule and rejection, radiating strength and confidence, and hoping that nobody makes us have to prove ourselves. The great thing about a true partnership with a woman—once we’ve got over the initial fear, dropped the Mask, seen our true selves and realized that this isn’t such a bad deal after all—is that we can relax around our partner. We can take off this restrictive bloody Mask and, at least with her, we can be real. It’s all about being comfortable, secure enough in her company to let our guard down and enjoy true companionship. That’s just about all she wants too, although there will be some baggage to go with the arrangement.
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 11:13 AM
Sunday, September 25, 2011
The Male Mask
This is the culturally essential protective shell which, to some extent, all men form around themselves from an early age. It protects them from emotional and physical danger by restraining the feminine characteristics that all men possess, but which are deemed unmanly in society. Men usually drop the Male Mask only in the presence of someone they really trust, such as a beloved life partner or family member, or in later life, when display becomes less necessary and their ‘mindfulness’ is allowed more freedom.
We have divided humanity into the Alpha and Beta energies in order to be able to differentiate between the people out there who are initiating easy contact with the opposite sex and those who aren’t. Since it is the Alphas, male and female, of the world who have less trouble initiating with the partners of their choice (even if their partnerships may not last long), the relationship part of our book is written with the Betas in mind. Alpha and Beta may seem hierarchical categories, in which the Alpha is by definition ‘better’ than the Beta, but for humans that is not necessarily the case. As the corporate world has discovered with the help of a Harvard Business School study, so-called Alpha traits are often destructive to the structure of an organization that depends on the combined skills of everyone involved.
Since true Alphas are a very small minority, Betas are by far the most numerous and therefore the most ‘normal’ of people. Our society, urged on by the media, has become so accustomed to idolizing the Alpha traits that men tend to be disturbed by being called Beta. Yet the “Alpha Male Syndrome” is recognized as a real problem in organizations. We prefer to think of it as the Alpha-Mask Male Syndrome (see below).
Alpha strengths used by the rare true Alphas (perhaps 5% of the population) are useful and progressive, and the Alphas’ intense focus and charisma can achieve great things. Their only weakness may be that they are not natural team-players, so may not spend enough time thinking about those lower on the totem pole that are actually fulfilling the Alpha’s desires. They lack ‘rear-view mirrors’.
Since Alphas are in such an extreme minority, and since Alphas are so accustomed to being first, we’ll start with the Beta definitions.
The Beta Female has received little attention in our society, which has always held up the Alpha Female version of the moment as the epitome of womanhood. But, as you will read later on, the Beta woman, when in the presence of a man, is an Alpha Female to him. Especially if he’s a Beta Male.
About 95% of all women in the world are Beta Females, so they are the norm, however much they may feel left out by the mass media and movies. They are the foundation of humanity and the driving force of commerce. Most advertisements are aimed at Beta women, because they are the ones that hold the purse-strings and are the consumers that every company wants to attract, even as they create images of women that are hard to find anywhere in the real world.
Beta women are also the drivers of human evolution, through the choices they make in their mates. It is Sexual Selection in the hands of Beta Females that provides the gene pool for our species, so Betas are of the highest importance to the world, especially now that humans have the power to influence our environment to the point of destruction.
But despite their importance to the species and the planet, women who are living alone while yearning in their hearts for a partnership are surely Betas, not Alphas. They are deterred from initiating contact with men by fear of rejection and by unwillingness to risk being labeled as too ‘easy’ or aggressive.
Beta women, having been blinded to their Feminine power, generally do not understand the extent to which they intimidate men. All men, Betas in particular, but also the Alphas, are in awe of the Feminine and its sexual promise, which is the greatest urge in every species, including ours.
We know that once the Feminine is understood and utilized by Beta women, everything is possible – lasting and fulfilling relationships, a more peaceful existence and partnership with men in every facet of our culture – since their sheer numbers could bring us to the tipping point of culture change.
Being called a Beta Male is by no means the slur that our Alpha-worshipping media culture would have us believe it is. Indeed the media depend upon the Beta population to read and watch their productions. Almost all human beings are Betas and it is best to regard Beta-ness as the norm, with Alpha-ness as a rare occurrence. That’s why Alphas stand out so much. Our guess is that if Alphas were in the majority, the human race would not have survived as long as it has.
There is therefore a whole spectrum of Beta behaviors. Beta men, each with their unique personal qualities, are not as driven or focused as Alphas, and lack the Alpha’s charismatic traits. There are Betas who follow, but there are also Betas who are completely independent and in charge of their own lives but who are not comfortable in positions of absolute command. They may have confidence in their own abilities, find purpose and fulfillment in their lives, but may not wish to be in the limelight.
They may be in charge of a team in which collaboration is more evident than would be the case in Alpha leadership. They can lead by example of their acquired skills in their chosen field. They are more likely to form consensus-building groups and alliances, looking for the support of a community, rather than being the classic Lone Wolf Alphas and Alpha-Masks, who will strive for ‘success’ at any cost to those around them. That’s not to say that there aren’t Lone Wolf Betas, but they are more likely to be separating themselves from society as recluses than trying to run it.
Beta men and women are the foundation of human society, doing all the work that needs doing and not usually seeking the limelight. They may have fame thrust upon them, if they do something out of the ordinary, such as writing some revolutionary software or composing a great song. But mostly, they live their lives among their peers, without being the centers of attention and without wanting to be.
Unfortunately, those men living alone yet wishing to be in partnership are most likely Betas. Alphas can call their own shots without thinking, but Betas in general are far more circumspect of exposing themselves to rejection. This book was written to help these men and the women with whom they could be partnered. Our hope is that, with the help of their female partners, Beta Males can become Mindful Men, the kind of men who are comfortable in partnership with women and in expressing their feminine intelligence alongside their masculine focus.
Also, the Alpha-Mask Males (see below) come from the pool of Betas, those who want to conform to society’s fantasy of Alpha behavior, perhaps from being influenced by movies, or by having to be aggressive, even violent, in order to survive in their environment.
This man is born with basic traits of self-assurance and charisma, physical strength, intelligence, emotional control, independence, competitiveness, attractive or imposing physical appearance, courage, total focus on goals and a need to lead. The hallmark of the true Alpha is that they inspire respect for their vision, courage and focus without having to coerce others into becoming disciples.
The true Alpha Male is not driven by insecurity and fear and has no need for violence or over-aggressive tactics to achieve his goals. Alphas have historically been held as the epitome of manhood by other men, and while the world needs the true Alpha qualities of courage and independent thinking, they must sometimes be tempered with foresight of the consequences of his actions, something that Alphas often lack or show no concern for. Their competitiveness with their peers can create friction and create disharmony among their followers and employees.
This has been recognized as a liability in corporate management, where the old paradigm of the all-powerful boss is slowly being replaced. However, the Alpha Male has lost none of his attractiveness in politics, and the military is still built around blind obedience to the Alpha figurehead. Unfortunately, those two institutions are inextricably linked in countries like the USA, in which the go-for-broke Alpha is still worshipped as the paradigm of the All-American male. Only the influence of the Feminine will be able to divert unmindful Alpha Males into using their great abilities for the good of all.
The Mindful Alpha Male and Alpha Female have the greatest potential for positive leadership by example. The Alpha Males are the focused leaders who, if we can get their attention and help them to co-create rather than charge ahead alone, may help lead us all into positive cultural change.
Alpha-Mask Male – the Dangerous Wanna-be
Alpha-Mask Males are Betas hidden behind an exaggerated Male Mask. These are the men who have been, for example, so injured by rejection or abuse that they have constructed an elaborate shield that allows them to show indifference in times of fear. The more extreme Alpha-Mask Males are ‘over the top’ in their masculine traits – super macho, emotionally stunted, possibly violent, intent on their survival at any cost. Their drive, which may have been drilled into them by family, peers and mentors, is in craving respect, no matter how it is achieved.
Most often, unfortunately, the Alpha-Mask Male has been responsible for some of the most destructive human acts and is often mistaken for true Alphas by Betas. Their kind of over-aggressive leadership and willingness to ride roughshod over others has long been held up as the standard of leadership in popular culture, so much so that those who emulate them can find their way to the highest levels of business, politics and the military.
In such cases, the ‘respect’ that the Alpha-Mask craves and thinks he is receiving may only be fawning sycophancy from followers and copycats seeking their own aggrandizement. We see it all too often in political ‘strongmen’, dictators and despotic corporate CEOs. They do not take No for an answer, they rule with an iron fist and the bloody history of humanity is full of such men. Leading by instilling fear in their followers and destroying their opponents has been the hallmark of the most repressive societies. Political polarization without compromise is a typical Alpha-Mask tactic, which makes a mockery of public discourse and democracy.
Whatever the initial impetus for a man to become an Alpha-Mask Male, they are a pervasive influence on our media-driven, sound-bite society. The image of the Alpha-Mask as the strong, win-at-all-costs superman is an easy one to assimilate, and is attractive to adolescents looking for their own identity. It is unfortunate that more of these future Alpha-Mask Males are not guided towards less destructive behavior.
The influence of patriarchal values has been so pervasive for so long, that our norms are slow to change, and our dominator cultures love the Alpha-Mask Male. He is useful as cannon fodder in the endless string of wars that he is taught to anticipate with glee. He is the aggressive, violent member of the herd who thinks he is Somebody, and who can be brainwashed into any action his superiors demand of him. He is the gang member who continues to give patriarchy the ammunition it needs to keep his people down by his violent acts and his prison record. He is the avid consumer of every product that he thinks will prove he is A Real Man, from straight-pipe Harleys to weapons for recreational slaughter. We have seen Alpha-Mask Males as Presidents of the United States and as fanatical terrorists.
Yet all this behavior is founded, however unconsciously, on the male need to display, to be noticed, which gives a woman the power to ‘civilize’ the Alpha-Mask Male. If a woman can win over one of these men and get past the over-aggressive exterior, she may find a frightened boy, whose sensitivities are raw; someone with great depths of feeling just waiting for the gentle touch to bring them out from behind the Mask.
Any woman becomes an Alpha when she is in the company of a man. Men feel it instinctively, and just by being herself, she naturally assumes the Alpha role between them, thanks to the biological power of the Feminine.
Then there are those rare women who are true born Alphas who display some or all of the following: intelligence, charismatic self-assurance, emotional strength, attractive or imposing physical appearance, skill in forming alliances and building community, deep listening.
The true Alpha Female has already redefined seduction to her own ends, appealing to the better side in all of us, making no secret of her vulnerability to male force, and thereby winning the protection of men in a male-dominated arena. She does not lose sight of her nurturing side, because that is what she uses to gain allies. She is not ashamed of the effects of her sensual nature on men and is not afraid to use them to good effect around those who oppose her.
She has the holistic vision that is the specialty of the female brain, seeing fully the consequences of her actions and understanding the strength that comes from teamwork and partnership in all areas. Her charisma and charm help her to attract women and men in willing cooperation, making coercion and overly aggressive tactics unnecessary in achieving her goals. Alpha Women leaders create inclusive and horizontal cultures rather than pyramid-shaped hierarchies with themselves perched precariously at the top.
Alpha-Mask Female – playing a man’s game
These women are determined to win by any means and will adopt the qualities of the Male Mask to hide their true feminine selves. Alpha-Mask women use male tactics to gain power in male-dominated pursuits, often forsaking feminine power for abusive and coercive force.
When we talk about women as nurturers and seducers, we often hear reference made to powerful women who are perceived as Alphas in our society. The woman often cited as an example of the Alpha Female is Margaret Thatcher. But we regard her as the quintessential Alpha-Mask Female, opposed to consensus, belittling and coercive. Instead of creating partnerships and alliances, she alienated and polarized both those who supported her and her opposition; the antithesis of the alliance-making Feminine. Her success-at-any-cost campaign was in the male preserve of government, in which she made her controversial mark by assuming male strategies, holding sway over a Cabinet of Ministers that included no women.
To call her a true Alpha Female denigrates Alphas, and skews the public’s vision of the Feminine. Men understand the Thatcher approach, as it is similar to the male hierarchy-building tactic. It makes her easier for men to understand and to oppose, and she appealed to the boarding-school-educated Conservative politicians of her era, perhaps because she reminded them of the stern matrons about whom they had secret erotic fantasies. Just as ‘seduction’ has been given negative connotations in a male-dominator society, so has ‘Alpha Female’. The true Alpha woman is a powerful evolutionary co-creator, not a despotic governess.
So what does that all mean in our day-to-day existence? Who is to blame for the state of affairs the human race finds itself struggling with? Unless you believe in some god or other being the micro-manager of everyone’s lives, there’s nobody to blame but the collective cultural influence and our own genetic tampering. By trying to “fix” the human genome through selective breeding that has gone off course, we have diverted the course of our natural evolution.
We’re not talking about mad scientists here, but the choices of mates that have been made through the centuries, influenced first by patriarchy in general and then by patriarchal dilution of trust in the female power of selection. So we have a preponderance of Alpha and Alpha-Mask behavior leading the species, which is, due to the belief systems that their cliques have created over millennia, anti-Nature and thus anti-human.
In Evolution for Everyone, by Professor David Sloan Wilson is an illustration of men’s tampering with Nature to make it ‘better’, and also of the effects of Alpha behavior when selected for over generations. Wilson tells of a genetic experiment carried out by a poultry scientist who wanted to test ways of increasing egg production in chickens through selective breeding.
The hens were caged in groups of nine, and in the first experiment, he selected the most productive individual hens from several different cages to breed a new generation of Alphas, which would then be housed together in groups of nine from which the most productive individuals would be selected, and so on.
In the second experiment, he selected entire groups of nine hens from the most productive cages. He kept the groups together as groups and bred them to create more groups, from which the most productive groups would be selected.
Six generations later, the most productive individual hens that were removed from their groups had produced a generation of psychopaths. There were only three surviving hens in the cage, the other six having been pecked to death, and the survivors were almost featherless from constant attacks on each other. Egg production had plummeted, even though, in each generation, the most productive hens had been selected for breeding. It seems that the original single hens had increased their egg production by suppressing the productivity of their cage-mates, and those traits were passed down through each generation as the most productive/aggressive ones were selected for breeding.
The second groups of hens gave rise to cages full of plump, well-feathered “happy” hens, whose egg production had increased dramatically. The hens that lived as a micro-society to produce lots of eggs were healthy and lived harmoniously, having been selected for their co-operative traits.
We could categorize the top-laying single hens as Alphas, who became the ‘best’ by beating all the others and competing with them, using violence if necessary, to ‘win’. When too many Alphas were trying to beat each other, the whole system collapsed as they fought each other for top honors and ended up killing themselves. Sound familiar?
We could also categorize the second groups of hens as the Betas, the ones whose co-operative, productive, community-oriented traits were selected for and created a healthy society.
The whole experiment illustrates something about humans too. The desire to always be tinkering and ‘improving’ Nature’s systems is in itself the kind of behavior that has edged us toward our destruction, especially when it is carried out at the expense of other living beings. When this is systematized by corporations and the governments they influence, without accountability for their actions, it gives free rein to Alphas and Alpha-Masks to indulge in their most aggressive and antisocial behavior.
Perhaps it’s time for the Beta Revolution, where the Beta is the new Alpha, where co-operation is more important than making it to the ‘top’ and the Precautionary Principle is valued more than ‘success’ at any price. Perhaps we can no longer endure the Alpha-Mask behavior that endangers us all, and we must begin to make the Mindful Man and true partnership between the sexes the essential paradigm.
There’s evidence that this idea is creeping into mainstream consciousness, with mindful Beta guys acing out the Alpha-Masks as the romantic heroes. Kindness and mindfulness is sexy!
Read more at Seduction Redefined and buy the book here or at Amazon, or order from your local bookstore.
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 4:30 PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Functional Feminine represents all those traits that give women their innate biological power, and which inspired historical worship of the feminine principle. Women can give birth to new life, the future of their species. Women hold the power to alter the path of evolution through their selection of mates and their influence over their mates and offspring.
The Functional Feminine holds the ability to see the Big Picture. While men focus, women multi-task, while men obsess over details and facts, women consider side effects and use intuition and empathy. The Functional Feminine knows how to nurture, protect and provide for the ‘nest’, whether that be home or the greater community. It is emotional, visceral humanity, offering comfort, pleasure and warmth. It is the sensible in every way – the taking in of holistic information through the senses, using common sense, intuition and sensitivity to emotional and physical needs to create solutions. When given free rein, the Functional Feminine is the guardian of the planet, in tune with the rhythms of Nature. It is powerful vulnerability and tender resilience.
The awe in which the female form and women in general are held is evidence of the sensual power of the Functional Feminine. Men are enthralled by women, which can be frightening for men who feel diminished by their unfulfilled desires. The saying “The egg knows more than the sperm” is a colloquial simplification of the fact that the human egg is very selective in allowing a single sperm to be engulfed by it and fuse to it.
Far from being the passive receptor of the first, strongest, fastest-swimming sperm, the outer layer of the egg, the zona pellucida, acts as an adaptability test of the sperm. Proteins in the membrane act as docking ports for the chosen sperm, but they are constantly changing their ‘entry codes’, so the sperm must keep up with them to ‘crack the code’ and gain entry. Sperm want to get the job over and done with as soon as they can, while the egg wants to slow the process down in the interests of quality!
The choosiness of the egg may be intuitively understood by men, perceived as a threat to the male urge to procreate as much as possible and partly responsible for the restrictions of women’s freedom and influence that have survived to the present day. Even if the actual process has not been understood until recently, the power of a woman to reject a man’s advances definitely was, hence the introduction of arranged marriages, women as chattel or bargaining chips in the male struggle for status.
When women use force rather than their inherent power, or when they are cowed into submission and denial of their own power, the Dysfunctional Feminine arises. It feeds, imitates and celebrates the Dysfunctional Masculine. It has helped to erode women’s liberties, drive men’s greed, support war and pervert the evolution of our species.
The Functional Masculine is the power that men have to work for the common good of the species as the complement to the Feminine. Every great thing created by men is created, fundamentally, for the attention of women, and the Functional Masculine feels no threat in adjusting to the desires of women. When women are allowed to choose their mates (and when they use the Functional Feminine to do so), they choose kindness, generosity, humor, intelligence, altruism, curiosity and a host of non-destructive traits in their mates. These are all parts of the Functional Masculine, which also embodies controlled assertiveness, mental focus, adaptability, inventiveness and other survival traits selected by our distant foremothers and thereby inherited from our forefathers.
The Functional Masculine is not threatened by the Functional Feminine, but understands instinctively the complementary powers of each to advance civilization. When the Masculine resists adaptation to the needs of the Feminine and the species, it stresses physical force over intelligence, violence over channeled aggression, and creates the Dysfunctional Masculine.
The Dysfunctional Masculine has brought our species to the brink of destruction by disregarding the deep-rooted and essential connection of the Functional Feminine to the Earth and its preservation and to the Functional Masculine and its adaptability. The Dysfunctional Masculine has fought the Feminine at every turn, seeing only a threat to its fragile, distorted self-image of masculinity. When the Dysfunctional Masculine feels rejected or threatened by women, its reaction is likely to be overly aggressive as a display of its ‘strength’.
There is nothing strong in the Dysfunctional Masculine, except the desire to display superiority in any way possible, regardless of consequences. It is the non-adaptive, immature, bully face of a doomed breed, and we have been deep in its grip for thousands of years. Its diversion of evolution has finally come home to roost and our species must adapt now.
The Functional Feminine can turn the Dysfunctional Masculine around and we must create the partnership between the Functional Feminine and Masculine, or we will suffer the fate of every other species that the Dysfunctional Masculine, with support from the Dysfunctional Feminine, has caused to become extinct.
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 11:49 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Make someone happy, Make just one someone happy...
When Jimmy Durante wrote those words he could have been summing up the adaptability of men. Men are always doing things that make them happy, but the underlying reason for their doing all those things is the need to procreate. Doing what they like to do is a turn-on for men, but it is also meant to be a turn-on for a prospective mate. To that end, most of what men do is a mating display to attract women, even if they are not conscious of it. In fact, according to evolutionary psychologists like Professor Geoffrey Miller of the University of New Mexico, most of what we now take for granted as culture is actually male behavior based on display for females.
Evolutionists have long understood that the males of most species will tailor their appearance and behavior to the preferences of the females they want to attract. In an interview for our film of Baring Witness, itself a celebration of the power of the female human form to influence men’s behavior, Professor Miller points out, “if a woman advertises herself in a way that says, ‘I’m looking for a warrior prince, somebody who has got his status through aggression, conquest, domination, etc.’, guys will respond in the predictable way in trying to fulfill that role”.
It seems that men will tailor their actions and image to whatever signals women give about what they want from men, including the scary, long-term, responsible role of father to their children. In other sexual species, signals of abundant strength, energy and genetic health are thought to be the most attractive to females, as well as the ability to provide sustenance and protection in those that require the males to share in the rearing of offspring. In humans though, the strengths being advertised (perhaps falsely) can be displayed in ways that are deleterious to the species and counter-productive to the quest for sex.
Everything from acquisition of wealth to riding Harley-Davidsons without mufflers, from altruism to aggression, from blowing things up to curing disease, just about everything a man does, makes or invents, is based on display tactics that he has been taught to believe will be successful. The peacock’s tail is the most obvious example of male display, and one that barely allows the male to survive his predators. Other species are not so lucky and have suffered extinction due to “runaway” traits—traits that are selected over and over through generations, and become more and more pronounced – one possible victim was the Irish elk, which had huge antlers that may have led to its downfall.
One of the most important driving forces behind evolution is female selection for mating. Male animals will assume almost any discomfort and will physically adapt to almost any female preference if it means they will have the chance to pass their genes on to the next generation. Peacocks grow larger tails; bullfrogs croak louder; if enough women chose men with big feet, within two or three generations big-footed men would be the norm. And while human sex may not always be for the sole purpose of procreation, men have a lot in common with peacocks and bullfrogs when it comes to display. In the human case, male display is complicated by the active and resourceful human brain (itself a product of display), which has given men so many ways in which they can advertise their skills and traits.
Humans are inquisitive and adaptable. With their large brains and cooperative societies, they are capable of surviving anywhere they can build shelter, and they have shown themselves to be able to invent and make anything they put their minds to, including “gods”.
For thousands of years the male humans have been in charge of redesigning their environment to suit their needs. They have built cities, wiped out predators and engineered food production using synthetics and huge machinery. They have discovered how to make machines fly, how to send them to other planets, they have created languages, writing, poetry, mathematics, music and visual arts. They have thought up ever more ingenious and effective ways of killing each other.
Human males generally regard all this unequivocally as “progress”. It goes unquestioned and men see the progress as a means unto itself. “I progress therefore I am.” Evolutionary scientists, however, see a simple reason behind the drive for progress and in the very growth of the brain that produces it. Sex.
When distilled down to its core most male behavior is based on the primal need to display desirable traits in order to be selected for mating by females. The need to pass genes on to succeeding generations is the great driving force of all life on our planet, and in most sexual species it is the males who display while the females select.
Part of human “progress” has been to make this simple dynamic very complicated. It’s our big brain, always figuring out new ways of doing things, plus the formation of societies ruled by males, rather than by a partnership of males and females. When men started to decide what women should find attractive, the dating and mating game became a minefield of doubts and misunderstandings between the sexes. The natural course of sexual selection became diverted by the formation of patriarchies, which took the evolutionary power of the female and subdued it through arranged marriage, restrictions on female freedoms and the religious taboos concerning sex and procreation. Men took control of mating choices and taught succeeding generations of women the traits that men found desirable in men, rather than the traits that women might naturally have selected for. Thus, not only did women lose control of mate choices, their preferences were gradually changed as well. Generations of daughters were born with innate preferences for men with traits that men wished to maintain so that their lives could be as “masculine” as possible, with little to deter them from rapacious “progress” with little thought of peripheral consequences.
We are finally reaping the dubious rewards of millennia of such social and genetic engineering. Unencumbered by truly effective alternative modalities from the female half of the species, men have ridden roughshod over the Earth, laying waste to wildernesses and forests, slaughtering those humans unfortunate enough to be in their way, and have finally found a way to obey their own Biblical injunction, straight from the lips of their own “God”—take dominion over the earth and its beasts—by threatening the destruction of natural systems and tipping the delicate balance of Nature towards annihilation of our species, and many others before we die.
Women were also trained to be vain and demanding, to give men the excuse and impetus they needed to create “progress”. After all, their natural drive is to display for women, so what better way to display than to accede to their wives’ demands for more stuff, more money, greater social standing? Thus, both men and women have been complicit in perverting evolution by promoting patriarchies, creating and obeying societal standards that have served to suppress the Feminine. Some cases are overtly brutal, such as the cliterectomies carried out by West African women on their daughters and grand-daughters, or the foot-binding of Imperial Chinese girls’ feet by their mothers. Others are less overtly horrifying, but no less damaging in the long run, like the refusal of American mothers to discuss sex and birth control with their daughters and sons, so prolonging the ignorance and confusion and sustaining the patriarchal, feminine-suppressing status quo.
We have reached a point beyond blame and retribution, even if the latter were possible. No-one is personally to blame for obeying the rules of the societies our forefathers created. We are suffering the effects of the conditioning of millennia. But most people will do anything for a quiet life, so close consideration of our behavior and destructive ways, or making radical change in them, is an unattractive prospect to most. But the writing on the wall is becoming clearer with time, and humans are awakening to the need for new paradigms and consciousness of the consequences of our current actions.
Radical change in the form of partnership societies is a dream that can come true, if we begin soon enough. It takes one woman at a time, returning to her natural place as initiator of partnership and guide to her chosen mate. When men are guided into true, creative and conscious partnership with women, not only are couples and co-workers happier and more fulfilled, the work of living becomes easier and more effective. Men and women together, balancing the focused intention of one with the holistic vision of the other, taking responsibility for their actions, listening deeply to each other, understanding the foundations of each other’s cognition, just might bring us to an era of less destruction.
There will be resistance, of course, from men who only hear the drumbeat of centuries of aggression and from women camp followers egging them on in hope of plundered swag. But the future is with the males who can adapt to the necessities of survival and the mating preferences of females, and with females who can stand up and choose mates that will benefit, not hinder, the species, as is the case with most of Nature’s creatures.
The malleable male—the peacock, the bird of paradise, the bullfrog, the mindful man—will be the key to his species’ survival, be he Alpha or Beta. The runaway traits that have brought us and many other species to the brink must be slowed and stopped in their tracks. As the era of feminine awakening continues in the human race, the masculine transformation must take place if we and coming generations are to reap the benefits of the true progress of our species, in new, exciting directions and with new inventiveness and attentiveness. And it starts now...
Check out the web site SeductionRedefined.com and the book Seduction Redefined: A Guide to Creative Collaboration of the Feminine and Masculine.
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 3:31 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
When your day is going badly, just think, you could have been born a reptile, or a bird. In the first case, you would hatch out of your egg without any help, your cold-blooded mother having left right after she laid you, and you would have to fend for yourself from day one. The best you could hope for would be survival thanks to the sheer number of siblings hatching right alongside you making the odds longer that you would be eaten by predators. Birds at least get fed regurgitated stuff until they’re ready leave the nest, for better or worse. Although bird siblings tend to be pushy if not downright fratricidal when it comes to sharing the parent-provided upchuck.
But we mammals get to snuggle up to our warm, fuzzy parents, we suckle our mother’s warm milk and we get to play with our siblings between meals, as we slowly learn the business of growing up. When danger comes, at least one parent will be there to warn you and fight off predators. Comparatively speaking, not bad.
And when you add the advantages of being a human being on top of being a mammal—big brain, opposable thumbs, on top of most food chains, adaptable, inventive—you’ve got to admit that, theoretically, we’ve got it pretty easy.
The question is, if we’ve got it so good, how come we’re messing up so badly? We seem intent on putting ourselves in danger of slow, painful extinction as a species, and on making ourselves sick in as many ways as we can dream up. All the while espousing the progress of our civilization.
Some evolutionary scientists would say it was partly because of the choices men make in getting ahead. Men are built to display their best traits to females in order to keep the family tree growing by being chosen for mating. When women need men that can defend them from predators, they choose the ones with the best spear-throwing arms and the intelligence and forethought to know when and where danger is likely to lurk. Anti-lurking skills require some heavy thinking, so the men who were selected for these criteria mated with the women with a preference for them, giving birth to children with those criteria and with a preference for them. So it all snowballed down through the generations—humans gradually increased their brain size, became more able to outwit predators, invent language, create tools and weapons, paint pictures, sing songs, invent the wheel, guns, rockets, pesticides, cars, computers and Veg-o-matics—whatever it took for men to show women how suitable they were for mating.
Men’s impetus to display intelligence, adaptability and ingenuity, and their urge to explore, create, invent and compose stem from the need to pass their DNA to the next generation. Such characteristics would be not only a ticket to the boudoir, but, if applied to the well-being of our species and the natural systems that support us, an enhancement to life. Unfortunately, the past tells us that men’s inventiveness was too often applied to the destruction of fellow humans and other species.
Men operate in hierarchies, which spawn sub-hierarchies to keep the underlings from penetrating the master hierarchies. After thousands of years in which men have been running societies and creating cultures, hierarchy has become the accepted norm of life. It is essential to the view that allows humans to wipe out other species, and exclude, enslave or slaughter humans that are not deemed part of an acceptable hierarchy (and therefore less than human), by considering human beings (especially light-skinned human beings) as the peak of creation. And when a (male) God gets thrown in the mix, righteousness and zealotry take control.
Some of that righteous exclusion was directed at the female half of our species, for thousands of years considered inferior. Or that’s the story men would tell themselves. Another side of the story might be that men were and are afraid of the influence that the Feminine has on male behavior. (Imagine a house in which a dozen young men have been living. Now imagine that house with just one woman’s presence.) Men have become so accustomed to doing things the Guy Way for so long, that any ‘interference’ from the female side would spoil all the fun. But things are changing.
Thanks to the feminist movements of the twentieth century and the general change of heart that is slowly taking place in Western societies, women have a greater public presence than ever. And the feminine influence over men, while confusing in these early stages, cannot help but change the mindset of Might is Right. Once men start to realize that the behaviors they have exhibited for so long, the over-aggressive, macho, violent, coercive, warlike behaviors, are in reality not attractive to women, and may cost them the chance of getting laid, the behaviors will soon change.
That’s the great thing about sexual selection by females; it can turn drab male birds into peacocks, bald-headed deer into antlered stags, and it can turn one of the only species in which males kill each other to please their “gods” into mindful, conscious and resourceful members of the natural world.
It can’t be soon enough, and we owe it to the memory of all our furry little predecessors that survived the age of the dinosaurs and helped us attain the power to choose how good we can be.
For more on evolution, mating display, seduction, Alphas, Betas, Mindful Males and Sexual Selection, go to SeductionRedefined.com or just buy our book, Seduction Redefined: A Guide to Creative Collaboration of the Feminine and Masculine.
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 5:16 PM
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
In all mammalian species there are Alpha Males and Alpha Females. They both have what it takes to be king or queen of the hill, but have very different ways of using their Alpha power. In our own species, the Alpha Male is the born leader, charismatic, intelligent, strong-willed, commanding; the Alpha Female shares those traits, but has the additional power of seduction that is common to all women, only she has it in spades.
Sparks and sperm fly if two Alphas get together, and when they try living together the jockeying for position can become intense, until something has to give. Pretty soon they’re splitting up, or they’re devising ways to live apart in the same house.
“The two-alpha relationship is a challenge, but sometimes they can find ways to create separate circles of power within a relationship. Betas have a much easier time of it,” says Donna Sheehan, author of Seduction Redefined, a book released this month. She and her life-partner, Paul Reffell, wrote the book to help men and women understand the biological processes involved in creating lasting partnerships.
“Most people don’t want to think of themselves as Betas”, says Sheehan, “Especially men, who like the self-image of the lone wolf, prowling the wilds of life, independent and fiercely territorial.” Yet, she says, only about five percent of the human race are the Alphas of either sex, “born to lead, born to succeed, born to breed,” while about ninety-five per cent of the human race is comprised of Betas.
“In most modern cultures, men and women in general are so ignorant of each other, so fearful of rejection and so confused by contemporary gender issues that Betas have a hard time getting together. They often don’t have enough faith in themselves to get past the fear barrier. But the ones that do hook up have a better chance of succeeding than two competitive Alphas. It’s a relationship that could last a lifetime.”
Does that mean there’s no power play in a Beta-Beta couple? “Hardly, but when neither partner has an Alpha fortress to defend, each is likely to be more willing to give ground. The norm has long been for the man to take the commanding role in a relationship, or at least to act that way. And most women have allowed men to do that, to help them keep up appearances in public. But there are always complex domination issues in any relationship. Our job is to identify them and work them out so that there is a true partnership. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, which have little to do with gender and much to do with the individual. Where we went wrong in the past was to allow relationship roles to be divided down the gender line. "He is a man, therefore he must be the main provider." Men like to think there is a biological basis for this, but when we look at less industrialized societies, we see the woman providing sustenance and care for the entire family, her husband included. So, especially in a two-Beta relationship, the roles are plastic, moldable to any preference of the partners.”
Sheehan’s own long-term partnership is of a third kind. She is an avowed Alpha, while her partner, Paul Reffell, is proud to be a Beta. “But he’s no pushover,” says Sheehan. “When we met, he was about as determined as any man can be not to get involved with another woman. It took a year and a half of intense seduction by me before he entertained the idea of our living together.”
That was back in 1993, and their creative collaboration has been going strong ever since - a testament to seduction.
Read more at SeductionRedefined.com or just get it over with and buy the book Seduction Redefined: A Guide to Ceative Collaboration of the Feminine and Masculine.
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 3:51 PM
Sunday, September 11, 2011
This month, we published our book Seduction Redefined: A Guide to Creative Collaboration of the Feminine and Masculine. It is a call to women to rediscover their Feminine power through the biological skill of seduction. Women are designed to choose their mates and to be the guides to civilized behavior for the men in their lives.
We’ve heard from some lesbian women that this book therefore has no meaning for them. We have pointed out that all men and women contain the Masculine and the Feminine energies in varying degrees, so the basic principles still apply. After all, lesbian couples experience relationship problems that are strikingly similar to straight couples.
But having given it some more consideration, we want to point out that Seduction Redefined is not just about loving relationships. It is also about building the self-recognition of women’s power to guide men to sustainable actions. In this context, it’s about every contact a woman has with every man in her life, in every part of her life.
Men act in the ways they do primarily as a result of the displays they sense will be successful in mating with females. This is primordial and unconscious most of the time, and because it comes from the deepest animal part of the human male, it even applies to gay men. The successful displays get chosen by women, at least in societies where their choices are allowed, and down through hundreds of thousands of years, that has led to the creation of the today’s men. Sexual selection, of men by women, has formed men in their present image, more or less, since as similar displays are successful, they become more pronounced and become more popular in succeeding generations of females.
Where humans screwed up this great evolutionary system was in creating the patriarchal stranglehold over selection of mates through arranged marriage and the suppression of women. That warped the whole beautiful process, and allowed men to act pretty much in any way they wanted to, since women’s preferences had little to do with who got mating privileges. The fix was in.
That led to the creation of what we call our Alpha Mask society, in which men who are not fit to lead are trying by any means they can to be leaders. We saw in the Bush regime how that worked out, ending with the destruction of our economy and most of the world’s economies along with it, a handing over of government to corporate interests, the division between the people and government and the deterioration of the democratic process. But no administration and no political party, or indeed any male-dominated organization is immune.
Men left to act in any way they wish will usually act in ways that are destructive and short-sighted, while those who are guided by women act in ways that strengthen the communities in which they live and raise their offspring. Women are made for connection and social stability. Guys are, well, guys..... Together, women and men have made the human race the most amazingly adaptable and clever animal on Earth. By separating men from the influence of women we are approaching the demise of our species.
And it’s not just about mating. The feminine influence over men extends to every part of life. So we need partnership between men and women in boardrooms, offices, senate buildings, businesses and homes. In co-governorships of the states and in the co-presidency of the country. Businesses that encourage greater input from women are more successful and sustainable. Men struggle internally and externally for supremacy in the hierarchies they love to construct and feel safe in. Women build alliances and are less exclusive, more holistic in their thinking and innately ore concerned with the maintaining of stability. Men are risk-takers, focused on ‘growth’ and ‘success’, always pushing to go higher in the ranks and thereby impress women more, or so they think.
So we have to say that in these times in which ‘women’s work’ has become a slur, we declare that the true, unavoidable and necessary work for women is men. Guiding them to behaviors and actions that will increase rather than threaten the longevity of our species and the ecosystem that supports us all. That means even lesbians working alongside men and guiding them gently towards more mindfulness through the application of the woman’s feminine influence and the enhancement of their own. After all, lesbians have been struggling to wake up the patriarchy to equality. If that isn’t guiding men to better behavior, what is it? Women’s work – all women – is men!
Read more at SeductionRedefined.com .
Posted by Donna Oehm Sheehan and Paul Reffell at 1:24 PM