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Old 11-06-2003, 11:23 AM   #1
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Strength

So, I've been thinking a lot about how we define strength. What does it mean to be strong? This has been on my mind after watching the beginnings of the 2004 US election, and after watching Schwarzenagger get elected amid him promises to "clean house" and "terminate" Gray Davis, rhetoric that clearly played on his Hollywood bad ass image. It's been said that Dean and Clark are the front runners because they have what it takes to "take on" Bush. Dean's temper and anger seem to have been a selling point (for some, anyway). Then there's Clark, war hero and four star general. Masculine (not to be confused with males or men ) values seem inherently valued over feminine ones (not to be confused with actual women).

I guess what I'm asking is, in North America, in Europe, in Latin America, whereever else you might be, do you think your leader has to show a certain masculine "strength" to win? If so, do you think that's appropriate or troublesome? Or not really a factor at all?

Cheers,
SD
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:40 AM   #2
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My quick, gut response is that people want leadership. The want someone to point a direction and go, not someone who can only articulate the most thoughtful direction to take.

People probably look elsewhere for nurturing.
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Old 11-06-2003, 08:26 PM   #3
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That makes some sense, NBC. Yet are we correct to equate wise leadership with action? One of my difficulties with Bush for example is that I think on the "reflection-action" spectrum, I find him to be way too far on the action side. Now, no one including myself wants someone who ponders and debates ad naseum adn does nothing. Emergencies arise and sometimes you don't have the luxury of reflection. I understand that.

I guess I wouldn't differentiate nurturing and strength so much though. Why do we in our culture equate gentleness or compassion with weakness? Or do we? I think it takes a huge amount of strenght to nurture! This is where the masculine and feminine values come in for me.

Thanks for your thoughts!

SD
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Old 11-06-2003, 10:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling
I guess I wouldn't differentiate nurturing and strength so much though. Why do we in our culture equate gentleness or compassion with weakness? Or do we? I think it takes a huge amount of strenght to nurture! This is where the masculine and feminine values come in for me.
I don't equate nurturing with weakness. I find great strenghth through nurturing, especially in spiritual matters (from a pastor or bible teacher).

We are an action oriented society. It may be the result of a shorter attention span or a lost work ethic. My generation wants things at age 30 that the previous generation earned by age 60.
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Old 11-07-2003, 08:34 AM   #5
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Interesting. I hadn't thought of the attention span thing, but you might be onto something. Also, its more politically expedient for a politico to go for the short term "we can see results NOW" thing than to lay groundwork for longterm progress which might not happen until the next guy's in office.

Where do you see work ethic fitting in?

What does everyone else think? Are masculine values given priority over feminine values in politics?

SD
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Old 11-07-2003, 11:00 AM   #6
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When I think of strength I think of Jesus. Now even if you aren't Christian, just look at the man betrayed in the Bible.

He stood for what he believed in, never backed down, never skirted around a subject, didn't care what people thought about the friends he chose to keep, never raised his hand in violence, yet knew humility, knew compassion, and knew love. That is strength to me. Most would probably disagree.

This doesn't quite fit the mold for most people, especially in politics. In fact I think most portrayals of Jesus in today's world try and give him more "masculine" qualities that really don't fit into my understanding of the man.

But that's what I think of when someone says strength.
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Old 11-07-2003, 11:04 AM   #7
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I think in my neck of the woods, "masculine" traits are favored over "feminine" traits. I think people are *too* action-oriented as opposed to thought-oriented, although, I agree Sherry, I don't want someone who does nothing because they are too busy thinking. There's plenty of nurturing sentiment here, but I think we could use more. I do think my Congressman, Spencer Bachus, tries very hard to strike a balance.
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Old 11-10-2003, 04:55 AM   #8
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Hello,

I have to look into the studies by Geert Hofstede, who examined different values in different countries. He identified five main values: feminity - masculinity, power distance, collectivism - individuality, long term focus and uncertainty avoidance.
His research indicated that the USA is quite masculine (and individual) compared to say the Netherlands or Sweden. In short, the leadership you expect from your government is probably culturally defined.

More info about Hofstede's research:
Cultures and Organisations: Software of the Mind (written by Hofstede)

C ya!

Marty
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Old 11-10-2003, 10:16 AM   #9
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Thanks so much Pop! Studies like that are exactly what I'm looking for!

So do you think feminine values are a better way to lead? A mix of both? Do you all think a dominance of masculine values is part of what we're seeing in the Bush admin?

SD
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