My friend’s kid got roofied at a bar in Santa Monica on Halloween. She spent the night in the E.R. I told my mother who snapped,
“What was she doing in a bar? Girls don’t go to bars to stay out of trouble!”
“WHAT!” She’s a quiet girl, a delicate girl who mostly stays home with her dog and worries about everything. I ask my mother why she isn’t supposed to go to a bar and why it’s her fault someone put something in her drink. She was having a glass of wine with a girlfriend. They were in costumes to celebrate Halloween. Did they have to stay home in Burkas? “She should have known better says my mother. Everyone knows what people are doing these days. It’s all over the news.”
This is the attitude of someone born in an era when men were in charge and women were taught to use female skills to manipulate, deflect and manage them. My mother was taught that men will be men and it is a women’s job to be smart enough to navigate that world. It was a weird combination of male worship and a testament to women’s superior wit
Why were men worshiped? Because they had the power. Men have been in power since God was declared a man.
In a pre-feminist world where the men were in power, a smart woman would be wise to tether herself to one of them like a lobster crate to a buoy. Getting that man was a competitive field and more than that; every women knew what another woman was capable of because all women were taught to be manipulative. Women were taught implicitly or directly that worth was tied to seduction and seduction was a competitive art. The enemy wasn’t an aggressive man. Aggression in men indicated courage. The enemy was the siren who was after him when you’d already planted your flag. That woman’s aggression made her a hussy.
That was the case in the socio-economic metropolitan New York I was raised in. Things may have been different in diverse cultures around this country but I doubt there wasn’t some provocation for women to sharpen their skills.
Here in Nashville Bible Belt values aren’t exclusively chauvinistic I guess but many faiths are a memorandum to women to please and place their men first. If you really believe it is God’s will won’t you resent the woman who tows another line? I mean that woman could be trouble.
Even sister wives fight for the head seat at the polygamist husband’s table. Being favorite is fleeting and you don’t get a say but an ambitious sister wife isn’t going to roll over so fast.
On the other hand, a friend who describes her family as Appalachian American tells me that the women did all the work and the men were shiftless. There was no competition among women to win a man. Who would want one?
Me too applies to most women to some extent. Most women have had men prevail upon them at least once in a way that was unsavory. On the other hand almost every woman I know has purposely made herself attractive to get the attention of men. I remember the first time I realized that no man even glanced at me as I crossed the room and I felt like part of me had died. I was no longer desirable. And then what was I? I am aware that even though my husband loves me and probably will forever that he has been proud of having a woman who turned men’s heads. Will I seem less valuable?
Women stronger than me, women who run the world, no nonsense women will say you are as valuable as you believe. Your worth is not defined by others. Well, yes and no. Personally, no, my worth is not defined by you. But in the marketplace hire me world where we are selling ourselves for profit so to speak………
Oh I can hear the gasps of horror but tell me this. Why did the women who hated Hillary scream, “How dare she” when clearly Trump was a hundred times more a criminal than she could ever be.
How dare she
And then they’d go after her pants suits.
You know what that sentiment indicates? It indicates a competitive bias as if life is a game of duck duck goose and some woman is not going to have a chair and it’s not going to be you. It’s a sense of paucity. How dare she think she can get to the head of the line? We’re not even in the line why should she be? Who does she think she is?!
It is perhaps jealousy. We know our places who does she think she is. To some extent sexism. She’s a conniving manipulator. But Trump the man who made a fortune as such, who stole and preyed on the poor and bragged about prevailing on a system that let others take the fall for his greedy mistakes? Nope, no how dare he for Trump. He is Trump. She is Hillary. See?
He’s a man doing what men do. He’s a fighter and a fighter is a hero and a fighting woman is a screamer.
What woman has not been accused of screaming at a man when speaking emphatically to a man who is screaming his head off?
But men have been allowed to be bullies and bosses since God was declared a man and it’s time they were called on that. That’s more than sexual transgressions. It’s a transgression of power.
Sexuality and attractiveness play a huge part of our market value. There are calls for change and from my industry there are plenty but look at the yoga community. Even the damn Yoga Journal couldn’t keep up its attempt to be a beacon of change by celebrating “regular” bodies. Back to the bendy babes because people want to buy a promise of the future that is better than their present. In a buyer’s world where magazine pictures are for the imagination more than reality it makes sense that there are only a sprinkle of average bodies to placate the P.C. police. And just shoot me but I don’t really give a damn because I don’t expect us all to wear olive green uniforms and greet one another as comrade. That’s not in this country’s DNA. I think our mission it to disabuse the abusers of their right to abuse the power of the louder or the luckier or the most ambitious.
In a country where continuous “progress” is the goal, even the human body is expected to step it up and up and up. It’s not my dream. Was it dreamed of by men only? Capitalism? I wonder. Is that entrepreneurial spirit also the spirit that qualifies us and frightens us that we will be left behind? Is that responsible for men’s power over women?
We are not the same. We will be assessed and even willfully suspending judgment we will be judged. Men and women will hopefully not be the same but preserve the best of our differences for a glorious attraction, a synchronized dance to prolong the species.
I’m here in an upscale resort. La Costa has been the home of the well tanned and well healed for decades which now includes the douche bag poser Deepak Chopra who’s made his yoga center here.
I come to see my folks whose home is on the grounds adjacent. They keep a membership to the place so I make use of the fitness center. I don’t generally enjoy other people’s yoga classes so I disregard the wealth of yoga offerings and spin instead as Toli, the Greek god of a spin coach brings playlists of dance trance mash ups that give an hour of sweat and effort purpose.
He’s talking to a member when I walk in and hear, “I’m sick of all this political correctness. Men are dogs. We’ll always be dogs. We’re animals. Look at nature. You can’t change nature and women are who they are too.” I stick my nose in like an uninvited puppy and notice the irony.
But we’re not animals, we’re people, I say. No difference, he counters.
There is difference of course and other than facts of specific limitations of species I can say with certainty that the thing that separates us is manners. And I in fact have taught my dog manners as well.
Manners are a funny thing, perceived as stuffy and superficial now by many but I was raised and continue to believe that manners are kindness. Manners are respect. Manners mean self control and concern for others. Manners require sensitivity. Slow down passing someone walking a dog. Don’t use your cell phone when you’re with other people. Return phone calls. Purposefully show appreciation. Hold the door for the next person. Use your blinker. Make way for other cars on the road. Ask me if I’d like some of what you’re having and offer a drink to the guy working outside your house on a hot day. Elbows off the table? O.K., so what. Leave the toilet seat up? Hell no.
And you don’t get to act like an ape in heat when you feel like it. You manage that shit. Manners are management.
But it’s not all on men.
I’ve come to the class again. It’s a different group today. All women. All middle aged women who seem to know each other and they know Toli too.
He takes his sweat shirt off as class begins and the women confirm their approval with cat calls. They carry on for much of the class in what you’d call innocent flirting but it’s kind of obnoxious. He doesn’t seem to mind. Then the door opens and a woman rushes in with a mad grin on her face. I have seen her do this before. It’s her thing. Hard stocky muscles strain her lycra costume to its breaking point. She could offer any one of the bird like women on the bikes half her bottom and have plenty left. She’s aping a hip hop routine to the pounding music flinging her ass in Toli’s face like Angel Food McSpade to Mr. Natural.
She looks like a woman you’d never notice among the pickup line moms, the woman ignored by the clique who talks loudly and constantly anyway in her attempt to be noticed. The aerobics teacher from the studio she escaped from rushes in and hauls her out. She’s dancing all the while. (I am a writer and my job is description. Don’t discredit me for the above unless you want a world where people go unnoticed just to avoid harsh depiction.)
Class is winding down and Toli trades the rave music for a slow soul George Michaels. “I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet ain’t got no rhythm.
“OOOOOOh Toli,you want to make out?” They all giggle and join in the jeers. I picture crows baiting a hawk.
So what’s going on with women? Is this the new female bonding? I don’t trust it. Is the power of women the sorrow of feminism gone awry? Because feminism was a wake up call for both women and men but there were some short sighted back fires as is natural in any effort of collaboration of a body greater than one.
For years women didn’t speak out because they were as afraid of being attacked by other women as they were of being dismissed by the men. You might be familiar with the term slut shaming. Those oppressed have a history of siding with the oppressor over the victim if they think it will save them. It’s not all and not always but we’ve seen that side of our humanity made famous by Nazi collaborators.
Adherence to fascism continues today in other regimes and one can see it clearly in the present by studying the forgotten American who stands by Trump. And of course that’s not just the “weaker sex”. It’s the weaker mind. Look at the Republican lapdogs that are an example of the coward crawling under the shrouds of the totalitarian to save their skins. Still, they are mostly men and the men still rule the nation and what woman feels powerful enough to fight that alone? Better to stand with the powerful.
Many of Trump’s followers are women who hated another woman so much they threw in with the guy who got drunk, fucked them on a one night stand and then pretended he didn’t know them when he saw them on the street. Yes, that’s Trump, the entitled celebrity pussy grabber, the guy bringing back Christmas.
A common behavior of abused dogs is to crawl into the lap of the perpetrator in an effort to win favor. It’s a trait humans share. Enter Omarosa.
A woman who considered herself no one’s lap dog fell at the feet of the man she possessively called Donald when others called him Mr. Trump. Omarosa was relegated to presidential pit bull after displaying, stanch loyalty and a sociopathic level of ruthlessness in his show The Apprentice. She was a symbol of the worst qualities of the “weaker sex”. There was no one she wouldn’t destroy to make her way to the feet of the dictator. I watched that show the season she was on and my interest in low brow television as I’ve told you before makes me a reliable source for sociological studies on the worst of us.
I don’t know what messages mothers are sending these days. Our kids have grown up online. They are depressed and neurotic. Relationships have new rules for many of them, modern rules. I don’t think there is a real clear idea of what a man should be to a woman or a woman to a man. The lines are blurred and maybe that was the idea.
My sons are in their late twenties. They tell me that most women don’t ask them out but wait to be asked. They say they like a confident woman who isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants. They aren’t intimidated by someone making a good living and they like the small percent of girls who take the initiative. They tell me these are the girls who might be considered hippies and feminists. My oldest tells me that women he meets don’t seem capable of loving relationships because they don’t believe they are worthy of love. They are then suspicious of anyone loving them. After all, it’s got to be insincere. What messages are girls getting today that makes them feel so unworthy?
How should a girl, a woman act? How will she trust anything in this power worshiping world? Will she go from one called victim to one called bitch? What would I tell a daughter? There’s always a game whether you realize it or not, whether you want that or not. Life is a series of calculations and relationships in which you are only in charge of your part. Find good friends and be a good friend. As for the mate she looks for? She needs a hero. And so does her man.