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Something to think about.

April 3, 2010

On some Saturdays like this one, I find myself thinking.  This is always dangerous, because it usually precedes some sort of adventure.

Oh yeah.  You know you love it.

What got me thinking was a 3 hour night class spent on feminism, as well as a serious contemplation on my dating life and a viewing of the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

Something about a man who can be a sweaty boxer and still give off a cocky British aura… Delightful.

Anyway, I began my observations by considering whether or not I am indeed a feminist.  My initial response was an automatic yes, equality should be shared by the sexes, women and men are able to do most things equally (excepting of course the obvious, physical, sexual differences).  But then I thought again.  What particularly captured my notice was this character in the film played by Rachel McAdams:

Irene Adler.

A true femme fatale, this character embodies everything that a woman probably shouldn’t be by “normal” social standards in the real world.  As a fictional character her beauty, mystery, and power give her a sexual appeal which intrigues the viewer and compels him to watch.  In reality, however, this woman would be elusive and intimidating, making finding a real companion rather difficult.

It was at this moment when I realized the flaw in my reflections upon this character, and upon myself.  I had been thinking of myself and Irene in terms of our potential for compatibility with men.

Imagine my shock.

Immediately I began rethinking myself, my thought processes, my abilities, my actions and motives, and found much to be desired.  I felt suddenly torn between two versions of myself, the one I wished to be, and the one I feared I was.

Was I the businesswoman,

or the stepford wife?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Fortunately, I reined in my panic and remembered a couple of key ideas:  1) that I am an educated woman, working towards her degree, single and happy, with friends, and no plans for marriage anytime soon; and perhaps more importantly 2) even if I were to choose to be a wife and mother, that is a legitimate role in society that deserves no less respect than any other.  The question that remained was this:  Am I leading the kind of life I want?  Am I living up to the standards and expectations I generally advocate?  How could I be a good teacher if I could not live by example?

After a fairly thorough search of self, I naturally found a combination of quality and error, but with one flaw I found particularly ugly.

Intellectually, I am independent.  Physically, I am not.  I cannot defend myself.

I was raised watching the news, America’s Most Wanted, and basically any kind of Crime television that my dad could find on basic cable.  He always taught me to be careful, because the victims on the shows (was it just me, or were they always women??) are people just like me, and I could be one of them.   I always took from that a sort of victim mentality, that if I kept myself safe then I wouldn’t have to defend myself from harm.  I never developed my physical strength or stamina, depending instead on my intellect to keep me out of harms way rather than my body to defend me if I did.

This thinking has led me to determine that, although my mental capacities have heretofore protected me, I cannot live in fear.  I must take initiative and learn, somehow, to strengthen myself so that I can give myself a fighting chance.

This is the challenge I take on for myself.

I don’t know how successful I will be, but I think this is definitely worth trying.  Being able to assert yourself is an invaluable quality in a woman trying to survive in this world, and I want to do more than simply survive.  I want to thrive.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

So wish me luck.  If you have any suggestions about what kind of class I should take or a similar challenge that you have faced yourself, let me know!  I’d love another perspective.

In the meantime, whether you are a mother and wife, a professional MMA fighter, or a little of both, have a great day and be proud of who you are.  We are all valuable in our own way.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jenna permalink
    April 5, 2010 4:07 am

    nicely written : ) I can see an interesting conversation in our future.

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