FEMINISTS ARE A DIVERSE GROUP

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


The emerging diversity within the feminist movement seems to me important for the mental health of our entire society. The thoughts and ideas now voiced by some spokeswomen seem much more valid to me (and to others) than what has been expressed in the past. Past feminist bashing of and nonstop anger at men has alienated most men and many women from those who have been voicing such angry ideas. Alienation does not lead to change; it leads to a backlash. A woman's ability to find a happier spiritual system (see Chapter 11) will provide her with much more happiness, self-esteem and contentment than will the conventional fight response advocated by many feminists. Such a fight response often leads to anger without end. Is that happy or healthy? Do you want that for yourself?


I think that Gloria Steinem in her Revolution From Within really hit the bull's-eye when she discussed the fact that men also suffer from lack of self-esteem. Low self-esteem is virtually a universal problem in this culture (in our problem areas, we all feel low self-esteem). It is a lack of self-esteem that propels a man to attempt to put down a woman or to be threatened by her as a boss. Men who feel good about themselves (i.e., have self-esteem) have no need to put down anyone. It is the perception of many women that men do have self-esteem. Instead, fragile bravado often accurately describes the actual situation, particularly in their relationships with women.


A few of the more controversial feminists in the early 1990s have voiced strong opinions concerning verbal harassment. They have said that there is no such thing as verbal harassment - that whatever words are voiced, we each have a choice to be the "victim" of such words or not. (For more, please see Chapter 8 under the heading, Sticks and Stones.) Such is a most politically-incorrect view. During the Hill-Thomas hearings, a female Member of Congress voiced the politically-correct view when she criticized a man for wanting the details of what had been said before he would accept a charge of harassment. The legislator's response was that if it felt like harassment, it was harassment. This criterion is popular with some, but seems to completely discount people's abilities to be in charge of their own emotional responses.


While there has been a skewed backlash against the women's movement, there has been a legitimate backlash as well, because of (1)bashing rhetoric, (2)inherent male-female differences and (3)feminist excesses. The rhetoric that blames only men and excuses women for the difficulties of women overlooks or totally excuses the roles our mothers (and other female figures such as teachers) played in our development. Such rhetoric often consigns its believers to perpetual trauma knots concerning their mothers. By the same logic that some feminists use to excuse their mothers from all blame, they could as easily use to excuse their fathers. (Didn't their fathers just learn what was taught them? How could a boy of three know that he was being messed up by the widespread training in chauvinism?) Of course, if all current blame were dropped, the feelings of the child within would remain. Those upsetting inner-child feelings are precisely what are being avoided by focusing solely on current-day blame of males.


I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world... Socrates c. 400 B.C.

The skewed backlash against women is composed of people with an inability to change significantly. When they reach their limits of change, they rebound (or backlash). The essence of the problem with men in this category is typically their problem with grief. They are unable to shed tears and therefore are unable to release their trauma knots. And they do have trauma knots such as "be strong, be a man, be strong for Mommy/ Daddy, big boys don't cry, women are weak to cry, physical strength is everything, size is related to the importance of the person." To permanently release many of these trauma knots, grief is needed (see Chapters 9 & 10). I believe that if the women's movement were to be forever vigilant and active trying to promote male tears, the neurotic backlash by men would dissipate. Similarly, the neurotic backlash by women seems to reflect inabilities in the area of anger and hatred (see Chapter 9), which contribute mightily to low self-esteem.


While the work of feminism is not complete, it is possible NOW to celebrate what has been accomplished.


FEMININE? MASCULINE? We might all be happier if the words feminine and masculine were banned. Few, if any of us, fit all the traits evidenced by the majority of our own sex. (Many women are aggressive and active. Many men hang out in the "non-masculine" side of the brain. Most of us have non-traditional activities/ times in our lives.) We all have abilities for intuition, logic, vulnerability, feeling, assertiveness, softness, harshness, competition and nurturing. To label any of these traits as masculine or feminine just causes unhappiness in our society.

More Excerpts This Chapter
   WOMEN & MEN: OUR MASCULINE-FEMININE MISCONCEPTIONS
   I WANT A CHEESE SANDWICH
   MEN DON'T LISTEN; MEN DON'T COMMUNICATE
   LEFT BRAIN - RIGHT BRAIN
   THE HOUSEWORK BATTLEFIELD
   FRIENDS BETTER KNOW THEIR ROLES
   SUPPORT MAY BE DANGEROUS TO RELATIONSHIPS
   THE INSENSITIVITY OF MEN
   THE SAGA OF JOHN DOE (white male, average guy)
   THE INSENSITIVITY OF WOMEN
   FEMINISTS ARE A DIVERSE GROUP


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