Strength & Weakness: His vs. Hers

The top three categories to measure strength and weakness were the same for men and women. The fourth was entirely different, but the last one was similar. Society defines strength in men and women very differently despite giving the same name to each category.


temperanceMen and women must have and assert their wills to be considered strong. In the weak, however, there is a broad divide. The weak-willed woman is considered by many to be a prize, while the willful woman is reviled. No one shows any deference to the weak-willed man, who is considered less manly in will’s absence.

Ironically, temperance is advocated by very few, but expected by all at the relationship level. Display of strong will is attractive in finding a mate, yet the self-same inflexibility is the rock against which many a relationship has run aground.


Overwhelmingly, a strong belief system is an attractant when seeking a mate. Adherence to that belief system is equally important. Here, the strong have choices:

  • Yoke themselves to someone of equal strength within the same belief system.
  • Take in someone without a belief system or one weak enough to be broken.
  • Engage someone with equal strength to convert (Mate or self)  from one belief system to the other.

The one with the weak belief system often seeks out the strong for validation, structure, guidance and/or salvation.


Men and women differ in what comprises character based on societal beliefs and stereotypical gender roles. What they have in common:

  • Fortitude StrengthHonesty
  • Faithfulness (not fidelity)
  • Kindness
  • Gentility
  • Forgiveness
  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Devotion
  • Selflessness
  • Generosity
  • Common sense (not intellect)

Where they differ is listed above in parenthesis. Women are expected to be monogamous and must not be broadly ignorant.  Society commonly accepts men’s infidelities, but condemns them for less-than-average intellect, even in light of specialty expertise.

Both are expected to have faithfulness, meaning being true to the responsibilities of the relationship. Necessarily, these responsibilities are as diverse as the characters involved with one another.

Strong men and women are expected to have common sense. This sense must transcend all layers of life from the most critical decisions to the most mundane choices.

Prudence & Insight

While different characteristics, both prudence and insight go hand-in-hand but are not measured the same in men and women. Societal gender roles play a large part in defining the differences.

Men are expected to make the right choices as a matter of intellect, manhood and leadership role. Women should choose responsibly based on the emotional impact of their decisions, experience in human nature and counsel of others. The stark difference is men should know, and women should ask.

Honor & Courage

ChariotThe most surprising result was women should be courageous, and men should be honorable. Often, honor and courage are considered a package where one cannot exist without the other, but not when considering the gender specifics of strength.

While societies generally do not equate honor and infidelity, men are expected to be consistent and persistent without making a mockery of their belief systems. Women, in spite of the last section, are deemed strong when they venture alone into unknown or dangerous territory.

Both genders are considered weak when they fail at courage, but  only men are considered weak when they fail at honor.

Why does society view men and women differently when comparing the same traits? How do these traits make men and women compatible when the characteristics are not in equal measure?

© Red Dwyer 2011
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  1. When I first starting reading the post, I was reminded of meanings of tarot cards, only to see, once scrolling down, you used the images.

    I know my comments do not answer the questions you ask, but my mind has its own path.

  2. Well, I once wrote a poem on Tarot cards for a contest. While it tanked then, as soon as the contest was over, it rose to number 1 – much to my annoyance as it is one of the first articles publishers now see when going to my writing portfolio. I certainly don’t want to be known as a kook. On the other hand, it’s the favorite thing I wrote as far as my daughter is concerned, and it’s the only thing she lists of mine as her favorite. She is hard to please, so …

    I have studied many things and philosophies, the cards are one of those things. Not because I am a writer, this was before. However, writing just continues to broaden my horizons.

    • As was the way for many a contest. Nothing wrong with broader horizons. What made you think of Tarot out of what I wrote?

  3. Society has virtually always been patriarchal–at any rate, with few exceptions,and has considered men to be superior to women whether that society openly portrayed that relationship between the sexes or not. There within is stuffed the explanation for a great number of these curious contradictions.
    When analyzed logically precluding societal brainwashing of patriarchal prejudgment, these traits reveal that the sexes are a lot more ‘equal’ in fact (not in practice) than might be expected . Greater compatibility is the natural outfall of that change perhaps?
    The strong-minded willful woman is reviled? Not in my book. Such strong-mindedness if used intelligently–is a trait to be admired.

    • Remember, friend, your book has a low subscription rate.

      Insightful as usual. You should like the next segment, indeed. 😉 Red.

  4. That should have been ‘Such strong-mindedness IF used intelligently-is a trait to be admired. “:)

  5. What’s funny is that I woke up this morning thinking about the things Raymond said. Whether you follow the Bible or evolution, a woman’s role is supposed to be wife and mother.

    To this day, it annoys me when women, when asked on game shows about what they do, answer with: “I am married and have x amount of children …” While having a family is a blessing, too many TV programs and reality show put an emphasis on that we should be happy with just these roles. Not to say that we can’t, but some women want more than to be known as solely that. Also, there should be more emphasis what it does entail to be “just” that – it ain’t easy.

    • It is an undervalued role without compensation. I calculated the value of a SAHM about ten years ago as $184K per year. I would venture now, that sum is likely to be half again higher.

      You will be interested in my next two posts for certain, and may well enjoy the fourth segment of this series. Red.

  6. What made me think of that? A feeling. It’s not tied in your words, but what I read in between. Hard to explain.

  7. Hi Red! 🙂

    There’s been no sign of Doug all day so I’m happy! 🙂

    I am willing to help anyone, but Doug has sold me out to the premier local gangster family (loooong story), tried to intimidate me, made several passes at me in an effort to find out if I was Gay (I’m straight) and repeatedly used me as a sounding board for his vengeance and suicide fantasies.

    Sniffing my used underwear was the final straw.

    No doubt he’ll wait for me to calm down – again – and come back acting as if he’s all sweetness and light.

    The Romans had a saying ‘In Vinas Veritas’ “In Wine, Truth”.

    The Doug who drinks is NOT a person I would like to know…

    Love and hugs!


    • Oh, Pren! How wonderful! And yes, the boxer incident was a mite much for me, and I have loads of children who do/have done disgusting and abominable things. Too bad he could not get psychiatric intervention somewhere far away from your tea cozy.

      Let him think the storm has past. I would be the tempest every time I saw him. Foam at the mouth if you must, but if it keeps him at bay, well worth the suds, eh?


  8. I must admit that i prefer strong women – my mother was a doormat whose husband wiped his feet on often before she stopped giving him an excuse for violence, so he turned on his children instead.

    Had my mother been strong and willing to protect her children she’d have let the six Police officers who wanted to stop him do him over, but she was so afraid of what he’d do to her on leaving hospital that she preferred listening to her children scream to doing something about it.

    A strong willed woman would have poisoned the bastard!

    Needless to say, the only women I ever knew who were strong willed were my best friend Pat whose children adopted me and Hanne who died unexpectedly of a massive stroke the year we were to have married…

    Because of my medication I have nothing to offer in a relationship, but I have my adopted family and with that I am well content…

    Love and hugs!


    • I think through all of your heartache, Pren, you do indeed have much to offer in a relationship, not the least of which are commitment, compassion and a plethora of experience in what NOT to bring to a relationship. I say it because it is true: It is as important to know what NOT to do as it is to know what to do.

      I daresay, you have the staples of a healthy relationship, med side-effects notwithstanding. Best to know where the longevity lies.

      Have a good rest, and I shall see you on the morrow after church, my friend.


  9. Hi Red! 🙂

    If I started foaming at the mouth I’d end up in a secure unit in a shirt with long sleeves!!! LoL!!!

    Doug is a bully and an abject coward, so the only time he acts up is when he’s had a skin full and I can handle him easily although I’d need to disinfect myself afterwards – he showers once every one to three weeks and, otherwise, he and soap are strangers…

    The last time I had to help him his lack of personal hygiene nearly cost me the sight in my right eye because I rubbed it before washing my hands and ended up with a severe eye infection.

    Next time I might not be as lucky as I was able to get immediate treatment thanks to my local surgery! 🙂

    I hate to tell you what a mess his home is in…

    Love and hugs!


    • And we certainly do not want that! You need to stay healthy…and your wits about you, Pren. I cannot begin to express my level of disgust. I am OCD and cannot abide anyone without superb personal hygiene. *Shudder* I am probably better for your not sharing the state of his home. Egads. {HUGZ} Red.

      • Hi hun! 🙂

        I’m with you on the hygiene thing – I wash every morning and night, clean my teeth twice a day, use antiperspirant and cologne when required and wash my clothes every week as they are fresh on each day although I can only shave weekly because of a skin allergy to shaving soap although these days I use a shaving gel which I bought recently and which doesn’t seem to irritate my skin as much.

        I have drawers full of new clothes which I keep for when the ones I use wear out, so I never lack for looking good although I admit I don’t iron much of my clothes even though I have an iron and a small ironing board, but that’s because I can’t stand for long due to bad joints.

        My home gets dusty, it’s true, but I usually go on cleaning binges every month so it remains tolerable! 🙂

        Pat can only visit for short periods as she has allergies so I usually clean in advance of her visits! 🙂

        Doug on the other hand wears the same clothes for weeks at a time with numerous burn holes from his hand rolled cigarettes made from scavenged tobacco and smells pretty bad.

        I won’t go into detail about his home, but you can’t see the floor – enough said???

        Love and hugs!


  10. awarewriter

     /  December 17, 2011

    Intellect vs. emotions strikes a chord with me. It’s dualistic bullshit. Yes, we need both but I believe our emotional makeup and responses define our humanity.

    Change of subject.

    When people hear the name Mendelssohn, Felix comes to mind. Most people don’t know that Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix’s older sister composed 466 pieces of music and was Felix’s equal if not better but she was prohibited by societal mores from pursuing a public composing career so she did all her composing in private. Sucks doesn’t it.


    • Point one: Here, here!

      Point two: I knew. I hated. I still see it today.

      America today is better? Instead of telling our daughters not to pursue careers in public fields, instead we brainwash them into believing their bodies are an abomination. We fill their heads full of sadistic ideals and thrash them when they are neither self-misogynistic or masochistic enough to stomach the degrading remarks and judgments. We teach them plastic surgery is the cure all for what ails them and prevents them from finding happiness in the arms of another.

      We give them means of validation like cutting and teen pregnancy, which absolves them from a sentence of chasing the stick figure body style to their graves. We tolerate bullying or choose to ignore its existence. We refuse to employ discipline and dole out mediocre (at best) punishments, if any. We refuse to train them to grow up to be functioning parents. We glorify the ones guilty of all the sins we extol them not to commit.

      The way I see it, Fanny had it easy sitting at home composing to her hearts content. All she missed out on was fame and fortune. Today’s girls are lucky to reach womanhood without psychiatric intervention. Those who fail, do so at the hands of the society meant to protect them, rather than some underdeveloped nation’s epidemic.

      *Calmly puts soap box away*


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