The Image of Woman

 

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If you were to construct one essential image of a woman, what would you choose?

Broadening Our views

This is such an interesting time in human history. There are so many possibilities. I’ll try to focus.

Our image of ourselves is changing and diverging. When I was a kid, Leave It To Beaver was on television and a show called Father Knows Best. These were all-American families with a central male character and the woman was the housewife. What else was there? We were to find out.

Gradually our view broadened. We learned we had single parent families and divorce became more and more prominent possibly because women had more options. Steadily diversity was recognized.

Fast Forward

I won’t try to follow all the twists and turns. Now we come to a new century and there was a stunning development. I remember the two “maiden ladies” down the street and the sad specter of the lifelong bachelor. We now have new thoughts about who they might have been. And then suddenly we had the recognition of LGBT and actually (over strenuous opposition) allowed gay marriage.

At the personal level the catalogue of options is steadily expanding. As a kid I loved science and liked to tinker with our television. If I had been a little older at the time I would have been a member of a rocket building club. Wernher von Braun was my hero. If I were a child today I would be one incredible geek. My computer would be my home. Some of these choices are easy and others are more difficult.

Back to Women

Women’s roles are diverging. We are pounding on the glass ceiling and maybe some day soon we will openly deal with income inequality and the right of women to make their own decisions. No doubt you have your own catalogue of complaints about that issue.

What I am finding fascinating are the efforts to build a pantheon of roles which a woman can maintain at her discretion. Yes, for some reason I want to call it a pantheon because there are glorious elevated choices. When we view a large celebration we see an interesting collection of people. Mostly the men look rather similar in dark suits of various kinds. Women are far more diverse and it hints at a more fundamental diversity.

It seems now a woman can display an allure in one setting and take on an image of power and competence of a different kind in another setting. And, again, I have to wonder if that isn’t part of the problem men are having with the empowerment of women.

Stepping Back

Posts in a blog are supposed to be relatively short and this subject doesn’t lend itself well to a blog post because the more you think about it, the more complex the issues become. Leadership by women can be explicit or implicit which is also true for men but in a different way. How do we define these differences and what do they mean and where will it lead us?

Women can be magnificent beauty objects of diverse sorts in one setting and a powerful leader in another. Women are adept at accessing and utilizing vastly different roles. And is that part of the problem? This diversity in image and setting seems troubling to us. We were more comfortable with Father Knows Best.

What do you think is going on and what are your thoughts?

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

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