On orders, women will torture as readily as men

Nazi Germany stamp - wikipedia_300pxMost of us have heard of the experiment done in the 60s where a bunch of students (mostly male) were asked to administer increasingly stronger shocks to a “subject” in the next room (another student who reacted with screams and begging as the “shocks” grew worse but was really not feeling anything).

A scientist just recently set up the same type of experiment and found that women were just as likely to continue administering the worsening shocks as men were.  Thought processes:

 

 

 

“Everyone was doing it” so it seemed to be okay.

The “victim” was in another room and couldn’t be seen suffering.

Because the authority figure ordered it, the shockers could feel the responsibility was his rather than theirs. “I had to do it. I was following orders.” (Movie: A Few Good Men. Nazi Germany.)

One of the conclusions the scientist reached was that seemingly women can be just as cruel as men, but they don’t often get the opportunity to do it in a public way or on a large scale–because jobs with that kind of power are taken by men.

I’m remembering a line from some movie (if anybody remembers the title, please share). In one scene a wise older black man was talking to his friend (or son or brother). He said something to the effect, “Don’t be so judgmental of white people. If the situation were reversed, that would be us.”

So does it come down to who’s got the raw power? Or is it more about enlightenment? The ability to put yourself in another’s place and apply the Golden Rule, even though it might cost you something. Does it mean any one of us would do anything to preserve our own social standing/reputation? But what if the price is life?

Soldiers—men and women—around the world face these kinds of issues regularly. Check out Demi Moore’s tough performance in the movie GI Jane. The movie Courage Under Fire with Denzel Washington and a surprising Meg Ryan is a powerful story of what a brave female officer went through to defend her right to command—and to protect her men. And here’s a website about women in the military.

Let us pray for all soldiers to be safe, and for days to come when no one will have to make those kinds of choices.

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DOES it get better than this?

I remember once seeing a newspaper article taped to someone’s refrigerator. It was a well-written article talking about a commercial that glorified a just-the-guys’ weekend–can’t remember if it was hunting or fishing or camping. The main thing was, they had their beer and each other. And the tagline was “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

The author of the article, a man, went on to say how inappropriate he thought that tagline was. He talked about his relationships with his children, and particularly with his wife, and how that’s the sort of image that really belongs with a tagline like that.

I remember having a brief discussion with my father about this. And what a point of difference we had–it just showed that we were living/thinking/breathing on such different planes that it was a miracle we could ever cross the divide and reach each others’ minds.

We’re going to be interviewing Dr. Karen Gail Lewis on our SWWAN Dive radio show on July 17. Her book, “With or Without a Man,” is a sensitive analysis of what it really means to be single. She’s a professional therapist/counselor, a single woman herself, and she’ll talk frankly about both the bad and the good parts of being single.

“7 Shocking Truths Every Single (or Single Again) Woman Must Know” mark your calendar to join us on that call. Her stories are fascinating, and her advice is perceptive and wise. You might already know everything she’s going to say. But sometimes it’s exquisitely rewarding to share your dreams, hopes, fears and joys with others.

How's your relationship with your dad?

Today’s father’s day. Good holiday. I loved my dad so much. Trouble was, we only got to know each other after my mom died–and he was already 72 and it was a hard process. Don’t know if other people in my age group noticed the same thing. Seems like when people got married back in the Depression era, many of them became very close. Like a closed society–just the two of them against the world.

That’s how it was with my parents–safe in a closed society of their own. They were inseparable in a world of their own; we kids were outsiders they felt an obligation to take care of. And they did a wonderful job. But emotional closeness was a foreign idea to them. Their own upbringing was totally devoid of it, so clearly it wasn’t something they knew much about or had any experience with.

Anyway, I don’t know if any other single women out there had troubled relationships with their dads, but today seems like a good day to ask the question. Did you? Was your relationship with your dad a real high point of your childhood, or did it leave a lot to be desired? Seems like a question worth asking–and I bet any number of enlightened researchers who care about these things have asked it. Maybe we can find some information about it.

But meanwhile, God bless all fathers. Whatever skills they had, at least we are here because of them. Happy father’s day, dads.




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