Augustxxi, Saturday's Warrior


Mrs. Bishop sez "All Women Are Petty & Vindictive", 10/14/1999

I guess this is my day for theories, but I have another one.
Laura wants her Worriers to call in and tell her why they think women pick on people, gossip, and hold petty grudges and the like. I don't remember the exact wording she used.
I'm not sure it is true that women do this more than men.  However, if it is true, could it not be that traditionally women have had less say in the big picture, such as holding political office, religious office, running countries, etc.. and have been relegated to "smaller" dominions such as household duties and child rearing? 
Perhaps traditionally men have also held grudges and talked about each other, and sniped at each other, but they have done it on the larger scale provided to them (the political arena, wars, that sort of thing.)  While most of us do not hold high political office and do not run countries, we are brought up knowing that it is a possibility.
And men are taught also to face our problems head-on.  Women, I believe, are often taught to avoid most confrontations and to sublimate negative emotions, aren't they?
I realize I am generalizing, but I am doing it on purpose, to make a point, and anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong, here, this is just off the top of my head.
Although women these days are provided more access to positions of power over larger domains, they are still raised by men and women who did not, and many, many of the women who call Laura (who seem to fit her categorization of petty, back-stabbing bitches who live to make everyone miserable) live lives as stay-at-home moms, with no power in any arena other than their domiciles.
Women are also traditionally expected to be more demure, "nice," less aggressive, to fit the idea of what "femininity" is all about. And since women are actually human and are not always perfect creatures, they have to have some way to express their baser, more aggressive and negative emotions.  It is safer to express them in passive-aggressive, small ways like talking about someone behind their backs, making snide comments, holding petty grudges and getting your revenge by not going to wedding showers and so on.
Most of the women I deal with on a daily basis are no more petty or grudge-holding than the men, however.  But I am guessing that women who hold traditional positions, like Laura's Worriers, may fit her profile more often.
Again, just a theory.
Who pays a lot of attention to the role of women in our culture because I want my daughter to grow up with a sense of her own value, not bound by traditional constraints



Insane Teenagers, 11/14/1999

Wow, Cleo!  You're smart!  And your daughter is a lucky girl.
I'm scared to death of when my daughter hits her teen years.  I do my best to prepare her for everything I can think of, let her know I love her unconditionally, etc.  But there are some things I feel clueless about.
She's only seven, but she's already worried about her looks, her hair, etc.  It really bothers me that she is so appearance-conscious and worried about how others see her.  She has really wild, gorgeous, curly hair, and some other kid told her it was "ugly" so she's now obsessed with taming it.  At seven years old !! 
It's stuff like this that just breaks my heart as a dad.  I love her hair, and think she is the most beautiful girl on the planet, and she knows this, but there will come a time when nothing I say will make any difference, and only what her peers think will matter to her.
All I can do is try to give her the strength and confidence, and the knowledge that she is awesome and capable of taking-on life ... the rest is up to her at some point. But I do dread the inevitable horomonal surges and rebellion, even though I know it's natural.  I just hope she gets a big enough dose of self-esteem from us (her mom, me, and my partner)  that she doesn't pin all her hopes, dreams and self-worth on what boys think of her, and forget that she is a complete human without thinking she needs some guy running her life when she grows up.