Why do you think women are controlled?
Breadth of Threat
To me the image I chose to go with this post is extraordinary! I chose it because it conveys power and threat. Both are at issue in the interactions of men and women and this image clearly has a mythological quality to it.
The Mysterium Tremendum alludes to something most often seen in the realm of the myth. As indicated, it is of interest in this context because I believe it relates to the apparent need to keep women “under control” but certainly with relatively less power. It seems that women pose extraordinary threat. The fair sex? How interesting!
Naturally it may be that the need to keep women controlled or contained may merely be a matter of men wanting to retain as much power as possible. Often the argument is made that the restriction of women’s rights and freedom relate to the issue of knowing the paternity of children. While there may be betrayals, it seems unlikely to be the complete reason. Again, it is hard to come up with a totally clear and complete reason because in so many ways it is irrational. It hints at some underlying force.
The Female Power
What might that force be? There is surely no one force but one of the number may be the extraordinary attraction to a woman felt by a man. We stress a woman’s appearance certainly more than that of a man. At celebratory gatherings the men are routinely dressed in dark suits or black formal attire. It is an entirely different matter for the women.
When we look back into mythology we see the men are often dynamic warriors but dangerous women take another form entirely. They do not classically attack as much as they use extraordinary powers. Certainly in the Odyssey there are examples of the dangers Odysseus faced. There was Scylla who was originally a sea nymph loved by the sea god Poseidon. His wife poisoned her bath water and created a creature with 12 feet and six heads on long snaky necks. Her loins were girded with the heads of baying dogs. Clearly a very dangerous woman. And there was Charybdis, also female, who was a dangerous whirlpool.
At a more generic level we see the contrast between witches and warlocks. Witches are generally more dangerous or are more often portrayed as so. We use the term bewitched to refer to the power of a woman over a man.
Real World Mythic Power
Again I have to come back to the point that it is unlikely we can rationally define the reason women are so controlled. We often make superficial analyses but my suspicion is that the root of the issue is the power of sex and sex is certainly powerful because it is related to reproduction and the continuity of our species. And this power takes on mythic proportions.
The reason for even discussing this issue is that we all suffer from this kind of discrimination and virtual imprisonment. It is clear that freeing women and empowering them is having remarkable benefits for everyone. If we detach ourselves from the prejudice and discrimination, then we can all benefit. Need I say it is also only fair but also need to stress the diversity and complexity of the issues.
What alternative explanations do you have?
Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt
Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page
Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt
Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership
Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt