Monday, August 07, 2006

Shame and women, continued further

Anyway, I was going to say something else entirely, but, as happens so often these days, got sidetracked.

What I was going to say was something that I had attempted to say in an earlier post, somewhere back there; I think it got tangled up with other shit (my bad) and so we lost the plot. So here's the gist, more or less, cleaned up:

I think there's another reason why women are more susceptible to shame; or at least another aspect of the same reason. Part of "female training" is that we're supposed to be in charge of all the emotional stuff; relationships, you see, are more important than anything. Feminism 101 says it's all about pleasing the Man, and that's there, certainly; but it also is true in other relationships. It happens among lesbians (they don't call it "dyke drama" for nothing). Mother-daughter. Female friends and colleagues and rivals. And, of course, in feminist collectives and organizations (RL and virtual).

In fact, in my experience at least, it feels that much more intense among women, sometimes.
I think this is because we're many of us trained to

1) seek out more intimacy and connection, to value the relationships more, and

2) not get angry.

As a matter of fact, women in this culture tend to get shamed for expressing anger. Sexual agency isn't the only taboo, you see. In fact I'd argue that for some the anger thing is an even bigger deal.

So when we *do* get angry, particularly with each other, it feels like the end of the world. It threatens the so-important relationships; and also there's this fear, I think, that the anger, fully expressed, might just do us in.

"Birds in their little nests agree..."

That's why the political stuff is both so important and so fraught, I think. especially wrt "the patriarchy." Because it allows for a safe outlet for all that pent-up anger: let's you and me unite against Him (It, Them). Damn, that feels nice. Empowering, one might say.

Even a hint that we might turn it on each other, though, and ahhhhhh.

You'd think that would mean there'd be less infighting, right? But I think instead what happens is that because it's so very fraught, sometimes, what could've been a nice knock-down argument wherein everyone goes for a beer afterward, instead becomes: well, disagreement=anger=OH MY GOD SHE WANTS TO ANNIHILATE ME ATTACK ATTACK...

...which at that point becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mutual Assured Drama.

Add to the mix some seriously painful shit--heavy abuse experiences, say--and, yeah. Community go boom.

I can't say I have any particular solution in mind at the moment. Except maybe a little more recognition that actually, it is possible to be angry as hell at someone and still like her; and still work together; and still not die. And even, eventually, just maybe, sometimes...get over it.


Natalia said...

What's most frightening to me is when mothers shame their daughters. For, like, the stupidest shit. For being victims of abuse. For being female. For being somewhat cute.

Of course, I'm biased. It happened to me.

My relationship with my mother is a whole lot better after years of therapy. Years and years.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, the mother-daughter thing is huge.

and right there with you on the therapy. different circumstances, but also...fraught.

Renegade Evolution said...

I actually ammended my "what the?" post from earlier because the author of said post then went and wrote something that can ALMOST give me hope in "getting along" at least on some issues...

RenEv and a Rad Fem agreeing? Is that Ice I hear forming in Hell?

'Tis a nice thought, anyway..

belledame222 said...

which author?

Renegade Evolution said...

yawning lion...she got me rattled earlier today, but gave me hope later, kinda refreshing actually...links to both posts are over on my "what the?" entry

belledame222 said...

yeah, I just commented on that over at your spot.

i...was less impressed. i said why at your place. i mean, if she comes out of the soul-searching with "goddam, maybe someone else might have a piece of the One True Way; maybe we could actually learn from each other," then groovy; but that isn't how that read to me.

i've stopped using the term "radfem" as shorthand for the feminists who are driving me crazy, simply because there are in fact a few women who ID as radical feminists that I've found willing to talk -to- rather than just -at-. and lord knows that there are other feminists who I might agree with 95% of their positions and they're still so damn my-way-or-the-highway that I don't want to even bother. feminists, hell--make that people.

but you know, at this point i don't much care what the damn ideology is. i'm sick of the evangelism and the martyrdom and the browbeating and the DWAMA and...

just frigging tired of it.

at this point I'm just thinking: either you're willing to learn as well as lecture or you're not. if you're not--not interested. if you are, i'm willing to at least give it a shot. that's it. that's all.

and for the love of CHRIST, people:

most of us do NOT "become" lesbians to avoid the icky menz. most of us already WERE lesbians; we are in it for the PUSSY.

...and it suddenly occurs to me: are -any- of the feminists who've been driving me up the wall actually interested in, you know, fucking women?

because if you're not, I gotta say, it takes quite a lot of ovaries to not only try to define feminism all to your very self but stake out how to be a -lesbian.-

Alex said...

You know, something about that post struck me:

I could give up teh menz. I mean, if I really wanted to. I could form only Incredibly Meaningful Relationships With Other Women.

But you know what? I really don't want to. That would entail giving up a whole ton of people that I love, that have supported me, and that have given me awesome orgasms.

Also, the idea that sexuality can be "changed"? Hurrrk. Behavior, maybe. Desires? Not so much. Let's not be confusing one with the other.

belledame222 said...

Desire? what's that?

antiprincess said...

belledame - I thought you were all about the pinkies.

I was wrong about you...pervert!

Amber said...

Also, the idea that sexuality can be "changed"? Hurrrk. Behavior, maybe. Desires? Not so much. Let's not be confusing one with the other.

Yeah. That kind of stuff makes me really uncomfortable, because it sounds a little too much like the "ex-gay" hoo-hah.

With support, therapy, and the love of Christ, you too can renounce your sinful, homosexshul ways!!


So, why does the BS stink any less if it's a radfem (or whatever your preferred terminology is) telling me that because of my love of cock, I'm furthering the agenda of Teh Patriarchy?

Guess what? it has nothing to do with politics, or patriarchy, and everything to do with loving a good hard fuck.

Spill The Beans said...

Good post.

One of the biggest issues I am working through in my current relationship with my boyfriend is the fact that I grew up ashamed. My mom (primarily my mom, rarely my dad) shamed me whenever I failed to live up to her arbitrary expectations.

Not unsurprisingly, I ran away (at age 23), moved halfway across the country, and married someone just like her.

So here I am, 40 years old, trying to learn to say no. To stand up for myself. To be who I WANT to be, rather than who I was FORCED to be so oh-too-many years.

It's fucking hard.

Boyfriend literally had to holler at me to STOP BENDING DOWN. He didn't want a shrinking violet. If I thought he was wrong, or felt I was being imposed on, HE WANTED ME TO SAY NO.

Fuck. It's hard.

And I will NOT let my daughter grow up that way, feeling shamed and "never good enough."

I wonder how many years of therapy and work it will take me to get through all of this. A long time, without question.