Certain textbooks call the art of manipulation “power for the powerless” but this is reactionary; a fear-induced (male) judgment against something as natural as can be. Only a culture that values brute force could consider the art of subtle guidance insidious. It’s been offered that men speak to communicate information and women speak to create intimacy; I would have to offer that women are as much preoccupied by moving the show along as they are by weaving social threads. We’ve places to be, tasks to complete, and the reality of the task sometimes requires carefully crafting our message to achieve our ends. Men accuse women of being “manipulative” as if it were anything but a compliment on a perfected art form. A wise woman I knew once reframed the act of manipulation as “helping people understand the right choice to make” and a truer synopsis I cannot produce.
Men in particular are stubbornly resistant to guidance. They’d rather believe that they are self-made, an island, solely responsible for their triumphs but anyone (any woman) with an ounce of awareness knows this is a delusion. The saying about behind every great man there is a great woman is true in a literal sense. On every ‘male accomplishment’ there are female fingerprints ; female supremacy evidenced by their inability to thrive without us. It has never been merely the thankless labor women have provided for men, we have been gently pushing them in the right direction since the beginning of time. The fragile male ego has historically required delicacy to handle- it is too flimsy and uncertain to accept counsel graciously, especially from a woman. Men do require handling, at all turns. Male decision-making is usually rash, motivated by childish impulses or, most basely, the dangling appendage that seems to monopolize so much blood and thus- thinking power.
I discovered early on that I could see more than a few steps ahead. I knew I could maneuver the pieces around the chessboard to reflect the most advantageous course. I could discover as much about my players in record time as they may ever discover about themselves and move them on to victory- or into my well-laid trap.
But this is somehow a negative trait? Is brute force and fear a better alternative? Maybe manipulation is a considered female because it requires intuition, subtly, tact that most men just can’t manage with their stunted social skills. If that’s the case being made then I have no qualms about claiming the art for my gender. I’ll smile with relish the next time some ham-fisted wallet levels it at me like an insult- I’ll take the compliment and what I came for, whatever that may be. Make no mistake, I will always get what I came for and leave with everything I want.