Monday, September 2, 2013

Gods above and below...please don't let me be weak!!

I am a woman. I do not usually like to draw attention to this fact on my blog, as it rarely seems pertinent to what I am discussing. This time, however, though it oughtn't to make a difference, it does.

I am beginning to wonder if many women now are … stupid. Why would I write something like this? And why would my own sex matter?

To answer the second question first, my sex matters because if I were a male, my words would be dismissed as those of a misogynist – and that without taking into consideration if I might have a point. Were I a man, my words would be dismissed unheard because of my sex. Ironic?

You have facial hair. Your argument is invalid.

As for why I would write this, it is because after one “maverick” heroine too many, I burst out in this diatribe. The heroines I see in fiction today are what make me suspect the stupidity of women. Not because the heroines themselves are stupid – they never are – but because of the attitudes held not only by the characters but presumably also by the readers who continue to purchase the books.

These heroines are always supposedly both “strong” and “independent”, needing no one's approval and doing exactly as they please. This is, also supposedly, what makes them “strong”. However, there is always one thing that the heroines seem to dread above all others: being perceived as weak. Surely that is all right, though?

Not exactly. Fearing being thought weak is … weak. If I care whether or not I am thought “weak”, if I adjust my behavior to avoid being thought weak by others, then I am weak, altering my actions to take account of others' opinions.

You're welcome.

This is without taking account of the definition of “strong” as “doing what I please”. Really? It's strong to do what I feel like doing? To seek my own desire ahead of anything else? Is that not the default of humans? Being selfish is not the same as being strong, and oftentimes the more difficult action, the one that would require more strength, is the sacrificial one, the one that places another ahead of oneself. But because selflessness has been accounted, rightly or wrongly, a feminine quality, it is now equally dismissed as “weak”. (This opens another whole issue, that of why feminine=weak in the minds of women, but that is a blog for another day.)

I cannot get away from the fact that fearing others' opinions, even if the opinion one fears is that of being considered weak, is weak. How is that the women reading these stories do not see this? What quality in their minds prevents them from seeing what is otherwise so evident?

However, in fairness, I must acknowledge that I don't know if men notice this, either. I dread the conclusions I must draw if no one can actually see an inherent contradiction.

“Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought.” – G.K. Chesterton

Have we gone so far as this?

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