Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation Between Women and Men, by William Keepin, Ph.D. with Cynthia Brix, M. Div. and Molly Dwyer, Ph.D.
Hohm Press, 9781890772741, 298 pp., 2007
Divine Duality is perhaps one of the most interesting attempts at a meaningful reconciliation of contemporary gender issues I have read in a long time. It asserts no certain formula or particular answer and so I cannot find any particular or certain fault with it. Abandoning the trite simplifications of popular self help models (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) which ultimately not only fail to address the deeply conditioned and limiting idea’s about gender (held internationally, regardless of social model, religious bias or cultural prerogative,) but most often shamelessly reinforce them.
Instead, Dr. Keepin attempts to provide guidelines for a compassionate deconstruction. Men and women are brought together and made to confront the realities and limitations of each other’s lives and perspectives. Given the opportunity to support and recognize one another and often to confront their own unconscious participation and perpetuation of harmful or unhealthy gender perspectives. Astonishingly, that’s really all they try to do, which I think is admirable.
Perhaps even more astonishing, Dr. Keepin also concedes the weaknesses in his guidelines so that individuals with less conventional issues (LGBT) do not end up feeling excluded from larger group dynamics and in his appendixes recommends some adaptive approaches for situations outside of the usual group dynamic.
The book is full of moving anecdotes, one in particular I found quite touching. A young man, raised by a tyrannical mother and shipped off to military school and later military service. As he is working through a series of breathing and meditative exercises he gradually becomes increasingly emotional. The young woman who was his sitter (a wise consideration, as centred breathwork can often illicit strong emotional responses) touched his face to comfort him and he broke down into sobbing tears. He pulls himself together while telling his sitter his story which is marked by an absence and longing for intimacy. Finishing his tale a tear rolled down his face and his sitter wiped it from his cheek with a tissue. Another tear came, and she wiped that one away as well. Another tear came and the young soldier laughed and remarked, ‘every time you touch my face another one comes.’
If you enjoy getting really emotional about the terrible and wonderful things men and women do to one another or are concerned with this sort of work in general this book will provide an enjoyable read.