Monday, November 07, 2005

Oh, Mo.

I know, I know, I have been so darned chatty lately that y'all can barely keep up. I'll try to lower the frequency. To something slightly above coma, okay?

So there has been alot of hubub lately (for example here and here) about the Maureen Dowd article in the New York Times. (Yes I realize that the story is over a week old, an aeon in our information age, but I feel the need to So most likely y'all have read it by now, and are familiar with her finer points. If not, go ahead, I'll wait.

So basically, my take on her article is this. The sexual revolution failed. And, though I come from a wildly different mindset, generation, and background from Maureen, I have to agree. Before you get your panties in a bunch, hear me out. Growing up, my wonderful parents taught me that I could do anything. Believing them, I went on to be interested in math, engineering, adventure sports, women's leadership, etc. Along with these wonderful things, I also believed that a woman had just as much right to show her interest in a man, as he did toward her. There in lies the rub. Because it just doesn't work that way. Being as hard headed as I am, it took me entirely too long to learn that.

A man is expected to make passes at a woman, heck numerous women if he's unsuccessful. Even in our "modern" society, if a woman dares to make her intentions clear to one man (whom she might be genuinely interested in), she is deemed any one of a load of nasty things; a slut, desperate, a tease. Persistence is charming in a man, frightening in a woman. Yes I understand that relationships must proceed slowly, but why is it assumed that the woman will always be the "braking" factor? And this is not just bitter personal experience that no one wants to hear about, I have had some explosive fights with male friends while defending the name of female friends who just happen to be damned tired of waiting around. "Oh, you just love the thrill of the chase, well I don't give a flying fig, I'm lonely now!" Sorry, I'm feeling a bit vitriolic about the entire debate.

I had been having some of these type of conversations with the Whippersnapper in the last few weeks (before she LEFT FOR THE SEASON!) and it is apparent that despite being 10 years my junior, the issues have not changed. I felt the need to help her fill her social schedule so that she wouldn't have to PLAY hard to get, since she would genuinely BE hard to get. And that is the only solution that I have ever come up with, a maniacally full schedule is sure to put you in high demand. Great, at least we don't have to play games anymore.

Now I need to bring it down here a bit in conclusion. I have a wonderful husband. I am a hair's breadth from receiving a Master's in environmental engineering. I love my life, and there's no place I'd rather be. (Well, maybe New Zealand, but that's beside the point.) I feel that I am a blessedly successful feminist. But less than a decade back in time, I had to learn to be the relationship boundary monitor, and not an active seeker. And I can't deny that THAT disappoints.

And in classic scientific paper style, I must now move into questions of the future. Do I try and spare my children some of the heartbreak that I experienced, and teach them that, yes, a woman must play hard to get? Or to I keep flogging my head against the wall of patriarchy, and try, despite culture, media, and a millennium of history, to pass on the mantra that "a woman can do what ever she wants"?

Hope I haven't harshed on your day. Thanks for stopping by.


Robert said...


Wow, from funky shoes to heavy issues. I say that you go ahead and teach your children equality in all things. If you have a daughter, teach her to be confident with her emotions and sexuality. Any fella wha' cannae' 'andle tha', well, 'e ain't roight fer me niece, anyway! Remember that anyone that tries to affect a social change, whether it be micro or macroscopic, is going to be met with some form of opposition. Assuming you raise a child half as stong as you and your sister are, they will be able to weather whatver storm comes their way.

I remember being very shocked, amazed and, well, gosh darn it, a little cheated when I came to the conclusion that women liked sex as much (or even more so) than men. I would like to spare future generations of fellows from having to overcome that particular hurdle. How great is it when a woman would hit on me? Better than free pie at the diner. How many great women did I not meet because I was too timid to "chase" them...all too many.

It is tough enough to find someone worthy of being in any kind of relationship with, it would be shame to do anything to encourage that anyone hide (even a little bit) the bright shining light that they are by playing hard to get or in somehow subservient to the other's "chase".

We arent' cavepeople anymore, time we acted like it.

Talley said...

Well, I just don't know how to feel about all this. It's worth noting that I lived about 1000 miles away from the man I eventually married (see above) when we started dating. Talk about hard to get! And I took his name, but that had more to do with a difficult relationship with my father (sorry Dad, but you know we haven't always gotten along super well), than any desire to advertise my marital status. I still use Ms., actually, on the rare occasions when anyone asks at this point.

But I do consider myself an ardent feminist! I DO think we can be anything we want to be, and any man who's intimidated by that is not WORTH marrying/dating/whatever anyway! Of course, it did take me 30+ years to figure out what it was I wanted to be, and I'm still in process, so I guess that couldn't have been too intimidating.

I have also been in those conversations with men about women who express a desire for or pleasure in sex. So keep defending your friends! The whole Brittney vs. Christina thing. . .yeech!

I think I'm babbling. In the end, I think it's just going to take longer than anyone thought to get to a point where women and men are free to be who they genuinely are. The final goal is equality, NOT identicalness. And we HAVE come a long way (to quote a cigarette ad). There are successfull professional and Olympic women's sports teams, and CEO's and hell, I may not love her but look at Condi! And Madleine Albright! These women shape(d) national policy, and that sure couldn't have happened in the '50's. So we have made progress. We just need to hang in there! or something. . .

Kathleen said...

what she said!!!! and you, too!
(i am so proud to be related to both of you!)

Aunt Kathi said...

I think what's important in this is to always be your authentic self. This can change as we change and grow, but striving to be authentic is what is important. To be your authentic self though one has to have good self-esteem. Once someone (or everyone if we dream) in a society has a healthy self esteem then we won't need to make others feel inferior or to elevate ourselves to make ourselves feel better. Just be your own beautiful selves and the rest will follow. Glad to be related to all 3 of you great ladies!!!

Stephen said...

OMG...are you telling me that you encouraged a girl to NOT pursue guys...are you INSANE!!! Give your self a noogie...right now young lady!!! ((=

I'm with Rob and company on this one...except that I didn't feel cheated to find out that girls liked sex as much as men...ha, that is a major part of my perfect world scenario, that I get to experience now...and right in line with girls picking up guys... ;)

I'd just like to add, that it takes a very, very, very...(theatrical pause)... very long time to change a culture, so Blogger...put your seatbelt back on...we're almost there, just around the NEXT turn... (=