“The archetypal pattern is that one goes from the unconscious perfection of childhood, to the conscious imperfection of middle life, to the conscious perfection of old age. One moves from an innocent wholeness, in which the inner world and the outer world are united, to a separation and differentiation between the inner and outer worlds with an accompanying sense of life’s duality, and then, at last, to enlightenment – a conscious reconciliation of the inner and outer in harmonious wholeness.” (Johnson, HE, p. 6)
This is the “normal” route for psychological development for both men and women. But somehow, that “normal” process got twisted and bent out of shape, often never progressing very far along the journey of becoming fully mature, aware and balanced. Something has interfered with this archetypal pattern. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette call it “boy psychology,” a product of living in a patriarchal society.
“Patriarchy, in our view, is an attack on masculinity in its fullness as well as femininity in its fullness. Those caught up in the structures and dynamics of patriarchy seek to dominate not only women but men as well. Patriarchy is based on fear – of women to be sure, but also fear of men. Boys fear women. They also fear real men.” (Moore & Gillette, King Warrior, Magician, Lover, p. xvii)
In hearing these words, it begins to make some sense when one considers how our patriarchal societies deal with our adult sexuality. Women are to be covered and denied sexuality, even to the point of having a mother cover up when breast feeding her infant child, even going so far as to encourage women to bypass nature and have the child given a prepared formula. If women are allowed to “expose” their bodies, it is almost always for perverted “boy psychology” pleasure, which we know as pornography, an industry that places both the masculine and the feminine in bondage, creating victims of both men and women. Women are enslaved, in spite of appearances, to the immature masculine impulse that has dominated the modern world.
It isn’t just the women who are told to cover up. If anything, men are even more oppressed. The mere sight of an exposed penis causes all sorts of problems, psychological as well as legal. The penis, especially one that is visibly aroused, is threatening. Consider the public reaction to a nude male walking past a playground versus a nude woman walking past a playground – the anger, fear and demands for punishment would be much harsher for the man.
Yet, there is a real need for both male and female sexuality to be accepted as natural, rather than something to be feared. When we teach our children to fear their bodies, we set in place a reappearance of the sexuality of their bodies in the personal and collective shadow. It becomes exceedingly difficult for both men and women to grow into mature conscious beings.