Submissive Women

It is unusual that I can make it to a tenant’s meeting in my apartment building due to the late hours I keep in my career. But having some time off from work I was able to make it. The man in charge, a very big man with a big voice led the discussion. Occasionally, though, a second man on the panel, spoke up. There were a few long-winded residents, particularly a woman who loved to argue yet could not come to a conclusion. Sprawling, inconclusive speech is both a passive-aggressive attack on the listener as well as a sign of inadequacy in the speaker.

What was extremely noticeable was that the elected women on the panel mostly said nothing. One questioned about the cost of some parts spoke about getting a low price on a construction job. For this she was complimented by the top man. She was the most outspoken of the women. But what it came to bringing up new matters, from the women, there was not a peep.

I found their silence very frustrating and very typical. Women do not take an independent position when men exert their power. Is this our training in our society (and in many societies)? If you speak up, you are labeled unfeminine, a bitch. If you do not speak up, you are labeled passive, unable to take a leadership position. It is your learned subservient role. On Nazi Germany under Hitler, it as the 3 K’s for women, Kirche, Kuche and Kinder (Church, cooking and children.)

How did this come about and why do we let it continue? Women are more than 50% of the population. Where do they put their power? Iceland threw out the bankers who were ruining the economy with their risky self-serving investments of their client’s money and put women in charge. You may not know it but Iceland is considered to have the most intelligent population in the world. It takes brain power to make independent decisions.

I know how to feel afraid that I don’t fit in. Women take the mike but do not make sense, who ramble aimlessly sounding incompetent are part of our learned role. We are supposed to sign in awe when Mr. Man fixes something. Women do not go for the sciences, to math, to physics or computers because these are in man’s world. Who decides? How do we distinguish between innate gifts and the role that was assigned us?

There is only 1 way. Go do the forbidden thing, read the topic, learn the skills your interest requires. Work until you get it. Giving in supports having an inadequate self-image. Abandon assigned roles. Don’t fit in with woman’s dodo image. Speak up but speak precisely to your point. Celebrate individual, creativity. Celebrate your life.

 

 

 

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Submissive Women

Went to a meeting in my apartment building the other day, unusual for me to be able to attend since my work outside the building usually keeps late hours. The man in charge, a very big man with a big voice generally led the discussion. Once in a while, a second man on the panel, spoke up. There were a few long-winded residents, particularly a woman who loved to argue and could not come-to- a conclusion. Inadequate speech is both a passive-aggressive attack on the listener as well as a sign of inadequacy.

What was extremely noticeable was that the elected women on the panel mostly said nothing. One questioned about the cost of some repairs. One spoke of getting a low price on some needed item or construction job. For this she was complimented by the top man. and it’s true she was the most outspoken of the women. But when it came to a discussion of affairs already way or bringing up new matters, from the women, not a peep.

I found their silence very frustrating and also very typical. Women do not take an independent position when men exert their power. It is in our training. In our society (and in many societies) f you speak up you are labeled unfeminine, castrating, a bitch. If you do not speak up, you are labeled passive, unable to take a leadership position. In your learned subservient role. In Nazi Germany under Hitler, it was the 2 K’s for women: Kirche, Kuche and Kinder (Church, cooking and children).

How did this insanity come about and why do we let it continue? Women are more than 50 % of the population. Where do they put their power? Iceland threw out the bankers who were ruining the economy with their risky, self-serving investments and put women in charge. You may not know it but Iceland is considered to have the most intelligent population in the world. It takes brain power to made independent decisions.

I know the feeling of fear, of being afraid you don’t fit in. I wonder at women who take the mike who do not make sense. Sounding incompetent is part of our learned role. We are supposed to sigh in awe when Mr. Man fixes something. Women do not go to the sciences, to math, to physics, to computers, because these are a man’s world. Who decided? How do we distinguish between our innate gifts and the role that was assigned to us?

There is only one way. Go do the forbidden thing, read the topic, learn the skills your interest requires. Work until you get it. Giving in supports having an inadequate image. Most people under estimate the time they take to learn to understand and do something. Don’t listen to anyone tell you how long a project takes. Work at it until it is done to your satisfaction. Abandon assigned roles. Don’t fit in with a woman as dodo image. Celebrate individuality, creativity. Celebrate your life.

The Family Bed – Misused

The family bed was conceived of as a way to make sleeping a togetherness experience with the parents. There was no age barrier to sharing, young and old alike. Usually, the older ones start wanting their own bed before the younger although they are always able to share if desired. The parents sometimes get a feeling of “enough” when their kids are in the 6th grade and beginning to want their own bed. However, usually high school kids so conscious of what their peers are doing and wanting to fit in, are more than ready for a bed and if possible, a room of their own!

The family bed becomes a creator of disturbance, sometimes lasting when it is allowed or prohibited as a reward or punishment, inevitably when one or more of the children is singled out. Then the “chosen one” learns some kind of destructive lesson whether it is as a reward or as a punishment. It becomes part of one’s self-labeling. You are the unloved excluded or the special included. On what basis? Who knows? It teaches distorted lessons about how to get loved or how to live without it.

Take the example of a mother who was unable to conceive after years of trying so adopted two dark-skinned babies from a less-developed country. The older one, a girl was favored for her beauty, but in some ways, was expected to restrain her emotions and speech, her likes and dislikes and needs. She had an adopted a negative label. The younger adopted child turned out to have a learning disability and was slow to speak, think and adapt. His parents did not respond to this with humor and acceptance, a simplification of tasks followed by a “you did it.” He was more actively rejected, put-down and ignored. Neither parent was aware of playing favorites. Parents play out the rejection they experienced as children, this time as doer rather than victim.

The older children sometimes slept with Mom and Dad but more readily moved away from them. The ted without the parent’s conscious knowing was not a welcoming place.

But as they say, S____ hits the fan and Mom suddenly conceived. This child was born white skinned and blond. She was clever as younger children are in picking up language, partly because they listen to their siblings, but also because the parents endlessly crooned, held, and talked to this child. She too had access to the Family Bed.

With all her favoritism, it would seem surprising that she was given to throwing tantrums, not an easy sleeper, needing to be held and coddled; out of infancy, she still was prone to ready tears, cries of helplessness and need. One would wonder where this came from since favor was heaped upon her. It came from her baby privilege.

And now that she is about twelve, she still has to start sleeping with Mom (Dad has departe to a more loving partner)and only in the morning departs for her bed. She still stages helpless tantrums, acting like a far younger child. She does this even though she is quite accurate in her understanding and description of other people. Her intelligence is not running the show. It is her view of herself  as a special baby. Exhibiting the behavior to which Mom favorably responded. She has seen older Sister and Brother rejected, scuttled to a demanding adulthood. Part of her clinging to baby hood is her being overweight. Brother is slim. Sister is very small and exquisitely formed but not an extra ounce of fat upon her. She lives with emotional rations.

But the third child is plump. She has a baby figure, no waist, no early breasts, like the pawn on a chess board. She is uncomfortable with her ungainliness but the child within accepts it as a necessity to remain Mom’s favorite. Early training, what gains love if nothing replaces it, remains with us for life.

It’s not true she can’t lose weight. She has sometimes dieted down only to regain it. It is the connection her inner child has with a Mother who only loves her as a baby, the one endlessly welcomed to the Family Bed which keeps her a fat child. It is only after seeing the baby love addiction and deciding  that a shaky childhood should not run us for life, that one can make up one’s mind to move on, lose the weight, act like a real adult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bimbo or Bitch

I was an intern at the Manhattan VA getting my first experience as a psychotherapist with troubled military veterans. Doing this earned required credits toward my PhD. I was one of several interns assigned to this VA Hospital but was the only female.

Quite casually, I seated myself at the far end of a large square wooden table with the other trainees and our supervisor. A coffee urn was on a side table near the front. We sat there when the men turned their heads and looked at me. I stared back. What was up?

Slowly, very slowly, it occurred to me that I was expected to pour and serve. Why me? Wasn’t I one of them? Yes and no. I was one in the same, yet I had a significant qualifying difference–I was female. Per their social training, the category of my genitalia put me in the role of server.

My background did not offer me advice about what to do about this. My father was a critical tyrant. I was never good enough for him. I did not learn self-defense or even a way to debate. My mother who was smashed by his words did the same to me. People who feel defeated often step on those they regard as more helpless than themselves. Children are great victims.

My mind whirled. Why should I accept this task? Why should I agree with this designation of female as one who serves the male?  Why should their quest for power, presumably caused by feelings of inferiority, be played out on me? Then came the message of fear: would they all be mad at me? Would resisting their pressure to serve appear on my evaluation in a way that made me look bad, so that I would lose my training credit?

I poured the coffee and served it, but I have never forgotten this moment. I accepted myself as a serving bimbo, as not to be called a bitch. I accepted the insanity of my demoted state. How many women do this? How often and under what conditions, and what is the price we pay for doing so?

If the bimbo charade puts us on a down escalator, how do we get onto the up? I have studied what makes me happy by comparing pluses and minuses of losing myself by fitting in. Now, I may attend a group, listen to what they have, but I do not join it. I do not surrender the right to make up my own mind and speak my truth. I can change my mind as well. My mind belongs to only me.

Remember the Greek play, Lysistrata, in which women withheld sex from their partners until the men accepted peace and unity. Hold onto your genitals and your power. Do not fall for the rewards of slavery. Demand, and only accept fair play.

State your goals without becoming hysterical, a behavior so easily dismissed. The hysterical female is a learned female role. Unlearn it. Reject as a group when an angry, needy bully demands something you do not wish to give. Women are great talkers. A bully saying “you have to do it” without stating why cannot hold the floor unless lethal weapons are drawn. We are not at that place yet.

Elan Golomb

Author of Unloved Again, now on sale via elangolomb@gmail.com ($16 for signed paperback.)