Irrational Control

 

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

Women and Our Future Pt. 3

 

Memories and History

It’s curious how simply discussing the topic of women and their place in our society is stirring memories. And at the same time I mesh them with a review of history.

There are Demarkations

World War II was not just a monumental struggle but also opened doors by necessity. We had been mired in the Great Depression and the necessity of the war brought the depression to an end. But the effects were not just economic but also social. As the men were drawn into the conflict, women were drawn into another kind of service. We got to know Rosie the Riveter as women entered factories to work for defense on the home front. Naturally I was too young to make comparisons to before the war but I saw a pride and celebration.

At the end of the war the men came home not to return to the farms but to industry and to found families. Now the women returned home from the factories to bring children and tend the children as we moved into a new era of prosperity. But there was a clock ticking. It ticked off a new “breath of freedom”, yes in quotation marks, for women. It took some time to flower but it did.

A Country Sweeping Us Forward

We rose into prosperity and a new future. The culture forged ahead. I remember my parents commenting on changes such as whole towns suddenly being constructed. Levittown was amazing.

By the 1960s we were to look at a diverse form of revolution. The Vietnam War was prominent and it did not have the caché of the fight against the Nazis. The need for the war was questioned. Was there, indeed, a monumental communist conspiracy we needed to confront?

Suddenly effective birth control became available, we fought for civil rights of our people and women sought equality and liberation. This was a world and a set of issues many people simply didn’t understand. But it opened fronts of conflict and demanded attention to issues with which we still struggle.

One of the Most enduring Issues

As a young man I was intrigued by what I saw women insisting upon. It felt right. At the time a woman who had sex before marriage was considered despoiled. She was not worthy of respect. But improvements in birth control began to suggest, even force, a change. It was a curious change but it seemed that if a woman might not become pregnant she might somehow not be subject to such a negative assessment. Not all agreed but it was then a possibility. Men could have sex whenever they pleased but now women just might be able to have the same rights.

Accepting and Changing Viewpoints

I can’t answer why I was sympathetic or inclined to support a new viewpoint regarding wowen. My household had been traditional. My mother was the doctor’s wife and tended to home and their two sons. But she never spoke against the changes which were coming.

And, no, I did not see the new freedom for women as despoiling them if they chose to have a relationship before marriage. It was OK for men, why not women?

I will never understand why I rebelled at the degradation of respect for women but I did. I immediately resonated to the women’s liberation movement. Equality seemed attractive and I chose to support it.

The Battles Continue

But here we are decades later and we are still fighting the same battles even as women have made substantial gains. But it seems, for many men, women should not be independent and shape their own destinies. And why is that? The rationales forceful and empty. The assertion of power hollow of justification. And it seems at times there are no hints of the wonder of true partnership. There is something much deeper, yes, at root.

Focusing on these issues is having a curious effect on me. I find myself scanning history and there are sudden memories and recollections of events surfacing. Clearly I will be reporting more on these themes.

What are your reactions and recollections?

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

Finding Benefits in Our Lives

How would you assess your benefits?

So much of the time we deal with problems and fraught issues. I thought this time I would share something about my life which relates to the issue of women that has been a focus. My position on the empowerment of women is clear. I am delighted with what I see happening. When I turn on the news channels I see women of all ages taking on effective and essential positions. I won’t spend a lot of time discussing the obvious. At last more and more of the talent of women is being fostered and recognized.

Partnership

And another theme which I feel is essential is that we are not talking about men being replaced in seats of power. There is a much larger issue and that is of equality and partnership. We have so much to offer each other and so many talents to share. And I’ve had the great good fortune of marrying a smart, creative and tenacious woman. I have felt lucky through the entire time from when we were raising our four children, her era as a hippie jeweler and then when she joined me in my practice as a clinical social worker. And now in our later years she has further enhanced our lives with her efforts at our home.

When we arrived at our current home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore we saw a property with potential and that included its settling. The outside was a blank slate and my wife chose it as her canvas.

This is my wife and Shield Maiden

This was her blank canvas

The Oasis She Has Created

                        

 

And then there is the lovingly cared for vegetable garden.

Yes, we have choices but also good fortune plays a role. This post is dedicated to my wife and Shield Maiden who is my partner in dealing with life as it has been, is and becomes.

(In case you missed the series The Vikings, Shield Maiden refers to the women who fought alongside their men. My wife’s mother was Norwegian.)

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

Commentary on Women and Our Future

Comment from Seregon O’Dassey (Goodreads reviewer)

“I agree with everything you said. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Believe me, I’ve actually said everything you said, and in return I get “faminazi”, “found the feminist” – as if being feminist is a bad thing – , or “man hater”.

In addition, I’ll add that a HUGE part of the opposition isn’t men – it’s other women! Women put down women a significant amount of the time. A big part of this are the women that hate on other women who feel empowered by exposing skin. All too often models – especially those in Playboy or who dance for a living – are called “whores” and “asking for it”. Meanwhile, those same women love to drool over shirtless men with muscles on book covers. Why do men get to chose to be half naked, but women don’t? Nudity is the SAME as birth control/abortion: You’re right when you say it’s not about the birth control or the abortion – it’s about women making the choice for themselves. The same thing can be said about clothing/nudity. The common denominator is that men have choices women do not. Because society looks down upon women making their own clothing choices.”

Response to Seregon’s commentary
Seregon’s comment added value. Yes, the word “feminist” has been used as a pejorative. Isn’t it curious that the word feminazi would even be created. Women have been working for their justifiable rights for a long time. What a travesty to refer to it as fascist. I, for one, am very clear that feminism and empowering women is not about domination. I believe strongly that what we are seeking is equality and productive partnership. Otherwise what a waste. There is enough which should be demanding our attention which is truly threatening.

I’ll admit I hadn’t focused on the opposition to the movement on the part of some women. Certainly I had heard some complaints by women but I took them to be from extremist “nutcases” to put it nicely.

As to skin, it is all rather bizarre. Certainly there are issues of decorum depending upon the place and time. But choice should be ours in many regards. Men do indeed seem to have more choice without criticism. But I must admit I’m amused at the beach when I see women in bikinis and men going to swim in what I call floods. That means full length pants a boy had outgrown.

And then there was France. After World War II when we were in France my older brother was delighted to take pictures of women in bikinis on the beach. When the film was developed Kodak had placed big black marks over the women.

Cruising in France recently we passed beaches with signs saying “plage sans vêtements”, meaning beach without clothes. When we pulled up at another beach two young women were unloading summer clothes for sale. Then they removed their tops. No one batted an eyelash. The culture is different and they were not degrading themselves.

It is clearly a mixture of custom and choice. But the underlying troubling issue is about women’s rights and suppression. We are having a discussion at last and the dividends are already coming in. More on these issues to come in future posts.

Join us and enter for an opportunity to win a free autographed paperback copy of Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power
To enter, email rogerbburt@gmail.com . Drawing every two weeks. Each person entering will receive the first two chapters of the book by return email.

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

Women and Our Future

 

Today Women and Our Future begins a new series. A major theme on this blog and an implicit theme in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is the empowerment of women. I support the empowerment but also am utterly intrigued with the potential and where it may lead us. I’m going to begin with a reprise of a recent post and move from there to a number of topics.

Your commentary is welcomed and I would like to see us open an active exchange of views and explorations.

Join us and enter for an opportunity to win a free autographed paperback copy of Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power
To enter, email rogerbburt@gmail.com . Drawing every two weeks. Each person entering will receive the first two chapters of the book by return email.

The Not So Loyal Opposition

For you, what are the implications of the movement to empower women?

Opposing Empowerment

From history it is clear that there are very many people opposed to women being empowered. It was not so long ago that women did not have the right to vote. They had to be brave, march in the streets and insist that they should have such a right. In the 1960s came the women’s liberation movement. In some ways it was not an easy time for women. I recall women dressing in what amounted to men’s suits with ties. That form of dress was (thankfully) abandoned shortly. But we were all finding our way.

There were questions about who would support women being liberated and that included some women. At times it was all so tentative. I recall being at a convention and hearing there was to be a meeting of women about the issues. I showed up wanting to hear what they had to say and a stricken woman politely told me it was for women only. In retrospect I can see how they wanted to consider where they stood and what needed to be done without some male making possibly unwanted input, possibly in the form of “mansplaining”.

Male Subterfuges

And lets face it, whether men will say so out loud, many of them are opposed to women being empowered. And, of course, the question is why they should feel so threatened. Of course, they almost never put it that way. There were simple statements that a woman’s place was in the home, that it was unseemly what women were asking and on and on. Oh please, can we be honest?

Actually, I’m not so sure we can be honest because I think the issues are so fundamental and deep in the human psyche that I’m not sure we can easily be honest.

Such Breadth of Opposition!

And then there are other matters which are related. Recently it has come out that men in football are suffering terrible brain injuries from the brain bouncing around in the skull and from twisting of the brain stem. Suggesting there is a problem seems to be tantamount to taking away their masculinity. But the real point here is something else that came up in one discussion I heard. A couple of former players raised the issue of a player who came out and said he was gay. To put it mildly he was not treated well by his brother players. And then both of the former players commented that they thought the homophobia was simply another form of being antiwomen. I simply can’t respond to that thought in a simple fashion.

Expecting a Backlash

The bottom line here is that there is a lot more than meets the eye. Presently we have a war on women going on in the United States. Efforts are being made to restrict women’s reproductive rights which also relates to fundamental issues of health care. The talk is about opposition to abortion but, not for a second do I believe that is the issue. Women are not supposed to be empowered.

And I fully expect that I’m going to get some nastiness for supporting the movement and I think it will be disguised and, in fact, the men objecting may actually believe what they are saying. This is a very, very deep issue which will require exploration. And this issue is fundamentally underlying my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

I’ll have much more to say and some thoughts about the underlying issues.

How are you expecting the movement for empowerment will play out?

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

The Not So Loyal Opposition

For you, what are the implications of the movement to empower women?

Opposing Empowerment

From history it is clear that there are very many people opposed to women being empowered. It was not so long ago that women did not have the right to vote. They had to be brave, march in the streets and insist that they should have such a right. In the 1960s came the women’s liberation movement. In some ways it was not an easy time for women. I recall women dressing in what amounted to men’s suits with ties. That form of dress was (thankfully) abandoned shortly. But we were all finding our way.

There were questions about who would support women being liberated and that included some women. At times it was all so tentative. I recall being at a convention and hearing there was to be a meeting of women about the issues. I showed up wanting to hear what they had to say and a stricken woman politely told me it was for women only. In retrospect I can see how they wanted to consider where they stood and what needed to be done without some male making possibly unwanted input, possibly in the form of “mansplaining”.

Male Subterfuges

And lets face it, whether men will say so out loud, many of them are opposed to women being empowered. And, of course, the question is why they should feel so threatened. Of course, they almost never put it that way. There were simple statements that a woman’s place was in the home, that it was unseemly what women were asking and on and on. Oh please, can we be honest?

Actually, I’m not so sure we can be honest because I think the issues are so fundamental and deep in the human psyche that I’m not sure we can easily be honest.

Such Breadth of Opposition!

And then there are other matters which are related. Recently it has come out that men in football are suffering terrible brain injuries from the brain bouncing around in the skull and from twisting of the brain stem. Suggesting there is a problem seems to be tantamount to taking away their masculinity. But the real point here is something else that came up in one discussion I heard. A couple of former players raised the issue of a player who came out and said he was gay. To put it mildly he was not treated well by his brother players. And then both of the former players commented that they thought the homophobia was simply another form of being antiwomen. I simply can’t respond to that thought in a simple fashion.

Expecting a Backlash

The bottom line here is that there is a lot more than meets the eye. Presently we have a war on women going on in the United States. Efforts are being made to restrict women’s reproductive rights which also relates to fundamental issues of health care. The talk is about opposition to abortion but, not for a second do I believe that is the issue. Women are not supposed to be empowered.

And I fully expect that I’m going to get some nastiness for supporting the movement and I think it will be disguised and, in fact, the men objecting may actually believe what they are saying. This is a very, very deep issue which will require exploration. And this issue is fundamentally underlying my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

I’ll have much more to say and some thoughts about the underlying issues.

How are you expecting the movement for empowerment will play out?

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

Dedication

The Sources of Inspiration

In writing we often get so focused on the work at hand that we forget that our inspiration requires a statement of dedication. I find that defining the dedication may not be simple and may require attention to the diversity. Our inspiration may be somewhere close at hand or may involve much larger players or forces.

Dedication To Women

Yes, in our love stories men celebrate the women they come to love. But there is a larger context to which we often don’t attend. For the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I wish to propose a dedication to women in general. They are a creative force in all regards, through their activities and through the children they bear for our future. For too long they have been subjugated. And now, at last, their empowerment is gaining force. They are to be celebrated in their diversity in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy and just now in the publication of the first book of the trilogy, Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power.

A Specific Dedication

And then I must make a specific dedication to the woman who is especially inspirational to me. Together we enjoyed the television series The Vikings partly because we both have viking blood and fight life’s battles in partnership. We were amazed and delighted to see the women called Shield Maidens who fought side by side with their men. And so I am dedicating Gaia’s Majesty:Mission Called to my wife Mala, my love and Shield Maiden.

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

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt