The Mystery of Gender.

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Silk Allegory (Allegorie de soie 1950)
by Salvador Dali

This topic is not new to me, as I have been thinking about it since I was a young man. As you might know, I was born and grew up in a country in which Gender is an essential issue with the men ruling. Of course, Iranian women had many rights in the time of the Shah, but after the Islamic revolution, the Islamic rules have reduced almost all of them. Since I left Iran, I have given up any nationalism or ism at all, but maybe like James Joyce and his Irish feeling, I still have my Persian root. And now, it tears my heart apart when I see how the young girls are fighting and shedding blood to get their rights back.

Anyway, in my youth, I observed my body so often. My anatomy was more feminine than masculine. I wasn’t as hairy as a young man should be, and my skin was (or still is) soft and supple. It may be because of my mother’s wish to have a daughter. Of course, I had no desire for a man, but as I watched my body in the mirror, I missed a woman’s body near mine. Also, I am a man with all male and female feelings towards women. That caused me to think of it and have questions about these differences. And later, the theme of homosexuality and why it happens.

Some days ago, I watched a movie on TV (The Danish Girl from 2015), and I wondered why I had never heard about this one. It’s a well-made movie and touched me very much, not only because of its dramatic themes but also because it awakened my thoughts on the mysterious twilight of our Gender along the topic of Anima and Animus. I don’t know if any of you have seen this movie, but it is about transgender, based on the novel by David Ebershoff; it was a fictionalized account of the true story of Lili Elbe, one of the first trans women to undergo gender reassignment story.

You may watch this movie, though; I tell a summary; A married couple, both artists (painters), live happily together until the man discovers his inclination to be female. That shocked him initially, but the desire was much stronger than any appropriateness. (S)he decides to go towards his (or her) destiny, and the wife, though with a broken heart, decides to help.

I don’t want to discuss right and wrong or equality on this topic here, though it can always be essential. It only brought me back to my childhood and my own experiences with my own body.

The main question is: what is it about this nature failure? Why does a born masculine want to be feminine and vice versa? What has gone wrong? Especially the interesting thing is that this movie shows that a happy married man suddenly finds his (or her) true self to be a woman. If it is because of the hormones, they came very late, or is it because of the sudden awakened Anima? Are the hormones the same as Anima and Animus? Oh yes! There are a lot of questions which I can’t answer. Let’s look at what the master, Dr Jung, says.

We must also consider that we have two big problems to solve: first, to find the harmony between our body and soul, and second: to find the balance between our Anima and Animus. That is what Dr Jung calls wholeness, as the soul has and can’t have any gender! The main question might be this: have we forgotten something?

In “On the psychology of the child archetype”, Dr Jung talks about Child hermaphroditism, which I have translated from my book; Archetype.

He writes: It is a remarkable fact that perhaps the majority of the cosmogonic gods are bisexual in nature. The hermaphroditus means nothing other than a union of the strongest and most striking opposites. This union rejects the first and primitive spiritual constitution, in whose twilight differences and opposites are either only a little separated or blurred altogether. However, with the increasing sanctity of consciousness, the opposites become more distinct and irreconcilable. Therefore, if the hermaphrodite were only a product of a primitive and lack of differentiation, one would expect that it would soon have been eradicated with increasing culture. This is just not the case; on the contrary, the imagination of higher and highest levels of culture has always occupied itself with this idea, as we can see from Gnosticism’s Late Greek and syncretic philosophy. In the natural philosophy of the Middle Ages, the hermaphroditic Rebis plays an important role. And in very recent times, we still hear of the androgyny of Christ in Catholic mysticism. (Koepgen, Die Gnosis des Christentums, 1939, S. 315 ff.)

Here it can no longer be a matter of the still-existence of a primitive Phantasma, of the original contamination of opposites. Rather, the primal idea is as we can see from medieval works. (v. Lapis as mediator and medium; cf. Tractatus aureus cum scholiis, in Bibliotheca chemica, 1702, vol. 1 p. 408 b; and Artis auriferae, 1593, vol. 2, p. 641.)

It has become a symbol of the constructive union of opposites, a real “unifying symbol”. In its functional meaning, the symbol no longer points back but forwards to a goal that has not yet been reached. Regardless of its monstrosity, the hermaphroditus has gradually become a conflict-solving saviour, an importance which, incidentally, it already achieved at relatively earlier stages of culture. This vital importance explains why the image of the hermaphrodite did not die out in antiquity. Still, on the contrary, with the increasing deepening of the symbolic content, it could assert itself through the millennia.

That is, however, remained a mystery for us all. May we be able to find the answer and can solve the enigma of our existence. Amen!

Here s also a video about this somehow fascinating and, at the same time, tragic occurrence.

15 thoughts on “The Mystery of Gender.

  1. This is such a great post Aladin! Thank you so much for sharing it as you touch upon subjects that are dear to my heart, that of gender, androgyny and sexuality. Subjects I will be tentatively exploring in my new book by looking through a Jungian lens.

    I’ve watched “The Danish Girl” a few years ago now and enjoyed immensely. I very much enjoyed reading your review and making connections with the film, Jung and your own explorations into these areas. Deep gratitude. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, I have thought of you so often as I wrote this, and it is terrific that you intend to write about it with your wisdom. I am sure it will be an excellent read. Thank you, again, my lovely Deborah, for your inspiration.🙏💖🤗🦋💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you opened up the discussion of gender here. So many people mistake sex for gender. And they are so distinct!

    Also, femininity, in my opinion, can apply to all genders. It is a societal expectation for women to be the only ones to be feminine, which is a shame as being secure in one’s femininity across genders would surely be a positive light!

    As for The Danish Girl, I have not seen it. Yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are absolutely right! I even believe that the basics of our existence are feminine, as I’ve often written about the Anima in the masculine. I hope one day, the (stubborn and idiot) man will understand it, and finally, he will get the chance to develop himself.
      The film may be sad, but it is very instructive. Thank you, my dear Christy. 🤗💖

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The trailer is very piquing. I want to see the movie.
    You are an open mind, as I am.
    Iran must come to grips with women being women first. It seems a long way away from addressing this issue.
    Then, …. hopefully the tide might turn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen, my dear Resa. The problem is a considerable distance between the nation itself. There are many young open-minded people and a lot who have never used theirs! The movie is worth watching. Hugs. 💖🙏

      Like

  4. A fascinating and interesting article, Aladin. I teach in an all girls school and we had a number of transgender students. I understand the complexities of identity as an adolescent and how difficult it must be to reconcile with the gender in which one is born with. It takes a very brave individual to change their sex.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. elainemansfield

    Thank you, Aladin. This is an essential topic as women are being repressed or even killed for feminine views. As you know, in the US, we’re going backwards in terms of protecting women and girls, even in circumstances of rape and incest. I’m grateful to live in a more progressive part of my country. When I read about what’s happening in Iran, I remember you. May we all survive this assault on the feminine in both women and men.

    Liked by 1 person

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