Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Have a Question for You

I've been asked, in reference to spousal murder, "Why do women persist in marrying these guys?"

I referred to the "Cinderella Syndrome." All the stories we are told from a very young age end with the prince and princess living happily ever after, and those who oppose the marriage dancing in red hot shoes until they die, or some such. That, and the fact that we are supplied with an endless number of baby dolls, from the time our little hands can grasp them. I have noticed that Latinas call their tiny girls, "Mama," or "Mamacita," as a nickname or term of endearment. The brainwashing starts early.

Then, there's that whole "Ophelia" thing (can't remember the title or author, but it was required reading for teachers a few years ago), which explored the problems that occur when girls hit puberty and hormones kick in, totally messing up the well-grounded understanding that parents have worked on through the childhood years. Suddenly, it's more important to have cleavage than good grades. Parents take second place to peer pressure.

It becomes important to a girl's self-image to be able to out-stubborn her parents, and the battleground is frequently a boy.

People, we have GOT to find a way to get around this. More and more of our daughters are dying at the hands of the ones who promised to love, honour and cherish them.

Boys lie; girls cry.

Any and all ideas, insights and suggestions are welcome.


  1. Sexuality and fertility are a young girl's only tools of power. At the same time, it is a virgin who tames the (ine-rigid-horned) unicorn.

    Is it possible that girls who do not possess overwhelming beauty, remarkable talents, or are not born into wealth and social acceptance want at least ONE day in which they are Queen? I see women talk about the wedding day as "the most important day of your life." I never saw it that way myself.

    I have been in homes where there are wedding photos EVERYWHERE, along with the guest book, a sampler on the wall, framed invitations, portraits of bride and groom. Now, I know these aren't up there because the guy wants them there. What gives? I have seen at least two homes that I recall, and I must say I felt a little oppressed by all the pictures of the . . . beaming bride.

    (This was several years after the ceremony took place, you understand.)

  2. Absolutely, Driver.

    The girls with beauty, talents and wealth are only marginally less likely to marry the wrong guy. Have you ever known a person who is anorexic? They see anything on their form, other than skin and bone, as evidence that they are "fat." A beautiful girl will scrutinize her face for hours, magnifying any little flaw into total ugliness.

    A wedding definitely has "Queen for a Day" connotations. I never understood the emphasis brides put on it either. SSS's sister got married in 1972, and, as SSS had long(ish) hair at that time, she would not allow him to be in the wedding party. Her only brother and only sibling. I often wonder if she regrets that. It was all about how it would look. There was no getting dressed at home--there is a room at the church where brides dress, these days. The important thing is how it will look in the pictures.

    Vanessa used to watch those "Bridezilla" shows, and I could not believe the tantrums those girls could throw, over a misplaced flower, or badly aligned curl.

  3. Of course, the importance is a holdover from a time when a woman's major accomplishment was snagging the right man.


  4. If we have female holdovers, then the male holdover is the conquest-oriented acquisition of female chattel. Is one holdover less harmful than another? It is an interesting juxtaposition: men chase women until women catch them. Booty chasers chasing booty chasers.

    I think women tend to give their own hormonal urges a pass--because women's urges are about bonding and creating, and who doesn't love babies and mommies?

    But men have bad hormonal urges--urges toward war and destruction, conquest and rapine. One set of urges we like and want, and the other we call Bad Hormones, "testosterone poisoning."

    But if you say "estrogen poisoning," then you edge toward non-PC territory.

  5. I think we have to learn to discuss hormones and their power, in order for out teens to understand what is happening to them. We do tend to gloss over them in talks with the teen. I totally embarrassed my daughters by touting masturbation as a safe means of taking the edge off of nature...

    We have totally screwed everything up. During the feminism years, we never thought of the backlash we would get. That was naive. We are now suffering that backlash. Now we are expected to pull our weight vis-a-vis paying the bills, and still do all (or most) of the traditional "women's work." Our role in the home is still denigrated.

    Ticks me off.

  6. I believe in some cases women recognize certain red flags, but don't realize just how serious the warnings are. They also see what appear to be good things in those men, so the naive young ladies believe that with enough love and tenderness they can change the men and drive away the bad traits.

    In other words, the women are "rescuers," without realizing that it is they themselves who need rescuing.

  7. Ronni:

    You pose an interesting question.
    One thing you did not mention is the magnetism of the "bad boy".

    Through the media--we have loved the rugged mischief-driven men. Marlboro man, Richard Gere, Steve McQueen, John Mellemcamp, Heath Ledger, etc.

    Unfortunately it appears that some of these rugged guys are also a little rougher than a bit of mischief.


  8. In my case I think it was a Daddy issue. My first Dad died when I was 4. I spent the next 4 years looking for the perfect man for my mother (and I DID in fact find him), they have been married for more than 30 years now. And I was the one who introduced them at a party. I thought he was cute which is kind of gross now that I think about it because he is in fact my Dad now.

    I had lingering Daddy issues however and pent up anger over my first fathers death. I was quite naive (sic) when I got into my first relationship at 15 to a guy who was 21. He was such an asshole. He beat me many times. I finally broke up with him after he landed me in the hospital. Weird story, when I called (not him) an ambulance the cop that came was a stalker of mine. (who got fired a couple of years later for having sex with a 16 year old in his police car). He beat the crap out of my boyfriend and was actually the person who took me to my friends house after I was dischared from the hospital with a broken nose and seriously black eyes.

    I met my second boyfriend who became my husband while my eyes were still black! He was very protective. At the time I thought that was great. When he became a cop and tailed me at my every move, it became scary.

    He turned out to be the same guy as my first boyfriend. He never really beat me, but he did hit me, smack me and ridicule me.

    He also gave me an STD because he screwed a hooker at his bachelor party without a condom. In front of my brother who didnt tell me. My brother did tell my Dad however, who also didnt tell me.

    He did talk to my soon to be husband and forbade him to touch me until he was checked out by a doctor. Apparently my Dad took him at his word that he did.

    Now... I totally have trust issues. As you might imagine.

  9. Ah, yes. The magnetism of the bad boy. I wonder if we are genetically inclined to choose what we consider to be an alpha male. And, on that instinctive level, the alpha male is the one we perceive as being most likely to be able to provide and protect from (other) predators.

    Melissa, the way we allow men to treat us is definitely related to how our fathers treat us. However, my father was very "there," and the only flaw I remember was that he was maybe a tad too strict. He never treated me or my mother badly.

  10. I think the problem remains that women only see themselves as fully functioning if they are attached to a man. Whether it's as muse, seductress, helpmeet, socializer, educator, religious water-carrier, soulmate, or little angel on my shoulder, women do what they do in relation to others, and perhaps this is why we will always connect--even with the bad ones. The biggest sinners, the toughest challenge, the baddest bad: He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good, he's a rebel and he'll never ever do what he should. The woman who tames that is UltraWoman SuperDeluxe. What the guys call A Real Lady.

    We don't openly seek a death grip--but we do seek connection. And seek to express ourselves through other people. Our strength, we would even claim, comes from our natural connection to . . . Life!

    Since Life and its nurturers are so all-encompassing, there is no one who can be immune to Life, to Love, to Forgiveness--and no one had better be, either.

    The healing power of love and forgiveness is a woman's stock in trade as much as her uterus and divine tatas are. We wouldn't relinquish such power and status. Like, who wants to be on the side of Death? Duh!

    There's only one or two death goddesses. Kali is the only one I can think of.

    As long as we claim to be Loving Individuals, we have to Love them all. And if it is the womanly thing to do, to Love All, then the doors are open and unlocked to thieves in the night. But we won't lock them, that's not our way. A door or window of Love must always remain open. That is most definitely women's work.

  11. Some 15 years ago I was in a group therapy session. One woman, an exceedingly chic and slender brunette in her fifties, with thigh-high boots and a Dynasty hairdo and a proud upright bosom, related the story of her husband, her husband's homewrecker girlfriend (now pregnant), and the various forms of verbal abuse he leveled at her in the marriage: calling her fat, calling her a pig, calling her stupid, calling her flat as a pancake.

    I don't know if I popped the question or someone else did, i.e., "Why would you stay with someone who was so critical of you?"

    "Oh, he's my best friend," she hastened to reply.

    I never understood that answer.

  12. I have to wonder how much of that is nature, and how much, nurture.

  13. Is it nature that we cannot choose wisely? Is it nurture that we see harsh insulting criticism as loving and helpful? Even while she complained about his treatment she still characterized him as a "best friend." How does someone get to that status while being so awful? Is the woman just naturally stupid, or is her self-esteem so low that insults feel "right" to her? Or do women expect that from men, but would resent it from a female? and do we give guys a pass just 'cause they're, you know, men and you can't expect better, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em, men will always be men, blah blah blah.

    Women get nervous if you take the inquiry any further. They start to titter and throw the conversation off to another topic.+

  14. The one thing I do know is that it is not stupidity. I think it's partly low self-esteem, and partly, as Driver says, the nurturing gene. We want to fix them, and make them better.

    It has been a long time since God was a woman, and we have had thousands of years to be "beat down" emotionally.

    Many of these guys start in on a wonderful, independent woman, and can reduce her to somebody who asks permission to leave the house.

    It is a puzzlement.