Yesterday my wife asked me if I would like her to make me a sandwich, and if so what I wanted on it. I said ‘yes’ and thought about the situation as she busied herself in the kitchen.
The sandwich is a powerful symbol on both sides of the Feminist line. For the Feminist the sandwich is a trivializing image of degradation. For the anti-Feminist the sandwich is a deserved slap-down, a humiliating tribute expected from a recaptured servant or reconquered enemy in recognition of defeat.
Not in my home. As far as I know my wife is unfamiliar with the sandwich mythos; to her it is a piece of food, one that can be used to say “I love you.” Food preparation is a point of pride for my wife. She is very good at it. Preparing an excellent meal is an important family responsibility and its execution is part of her success as an adult, a hostess, a wife, and a mother.
Conflict and Frame
Most of us experience a reflexive desire to win conflicts. This exists as a core masculine instinct that is magnified in response to a culture seeking to suppress that and other aspects of our nature.
We are often so hungry to win that we will take up a conflict just because it is presented to us.
The concept of Frame is well-discussed in these corners of the internet. Here is my interpretation for the purpose of this article:
People observing events can’t help but tell stories in their minds to explain those events. Any number of stories may serve, but only one of them runs at a time – and the entity dictating that story holds Frame.
He who writes the stories in people’s minds determines how they behave.
Because of our desire to win conflicts we often accept a situation as a conflict just because it is framed as one, either by narrative or by action.
But here’s the thing; winning a conflict is not the same as not having a conflict in the first place.
When Winning is Losing
Men in our corner of the internet often reinforce conflicts that shouldn’t even exist by attempting to win them. That is, we blindly accept a hostile system’s frame because it dangles an alluring conflict in front of us.
If two groups of people view the world through two different stories, the more honest and detached on each side can step outside of their own minds to examine the two stories. They can even develop the concept of an entirely different third story.
If two groups of people view the world through the same story neither side is likely to question the story. The idea of a different story may not even be possible to grasp.
By attempting to win the sandwich war we legitimize the conflict with our frame and our energy. If that is the best way, then good. I say it is not the best way.
Is the proper relationship of the sexes one of domination and subjugation, or one of leadership and support? If the former, winning the sandwich war is probably as good a conflict to win as any.
But if it is the latter, winning the sandwich war actually constitutes defeat by solidifying natural allies into opposing camps.
If the latter, attempting to win the sandwich war legitimizes an unhealthy view of relationships.
If the latter, the only way to win is not to play.
The sandwich was delicious.