You may know by now that I’m involved in attempting to right gender issues in my little corner of the planet, in the hope that this will help them be righted throughout the world.
So, when a colleague who has been desperately trying to buy housing for which she *can* afford to pay issued yet another plea for help, and in the ensuing conversation mentioned her realtor, not only mentioned but also made excuses for her realtor, I blew my stack.
This is such a girly thing to do – in a bad way – make excuses for others when one is not getting what one needs from them or even what one is paying for.
It’s certainly a strength as a writer, fitting into the other‘s shoes, but as a person?
Women wonder why we’re the doormats of our society when we’re the ones who provide the literally creative juice – oops, sorry, juice is the only procreational element that men provide. Male friends and colleagues, I am not putting men down, I’m stating a scientific fact about conception. Here’s another: Women live with a parasite for 9 months, x number of times, so that the human race can go on at all. Now that I’ve offended everyone equally, I’ll proceed.
Adolescents, fine, but adults? How does this happen? How do thinking, compassionate, empowered women cave in the face of male sniggering?
Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? We don’t have to. Even when we have managed to live through the internal and external hell that is adolescence, even when we have made and paid our own way through the world, lent a helping hand to others regardless of gender and accepted the occasional same, we, like the unfortunate writer linked above, crumple in the face of male taunting.
I recently blew up at a beloved friend because she is – and always has been – incapable of permitting me to “win” a conversation, even when I am correct. I’ve demurred, I’ve side-stepped, I’ve allowed for this behavior over many, many years because, well that’s private, let’s just agree that I’ve adapted in favor of her by choice. It’s not that our conversations are competitions, but that for whatever reason, she needs to feel empowered and I need to feel beloved, and that’s the exceedingly mistaken transaction I had been making, not insisting on being acknowledged on occasions when I manage to be right but rather, empowering her to make me wrong when I wasn’t.
Funny, I’ve just recalled another recent conversation in which I was smacked down for insisting that in that instance, I was correct. Smacked down by two other women. They agreed that I was correct, but scorned my need to be acknowledged as such.
Which leads me down a path I didn’t see when I began this article.
It’s not just men who keep women down. It’s other women as well.
I’ll backtrack, since this is a theater blog and I am, among other things, a playwright, and give you my new favorite analogy. It applies equally well to gender issues.
The world is in the business of making and selling apple pies, all the while discounting or dismissing THE APPLES. For playwrighting, the apples are the plays that theaters not only don’t want to pay royalties on, but also (some) require of the apple-growers submission fees for their apples even to be considered for the making of the pies that support, nourish, and enrich countless others, both those in the pie-making industry and the consumers of those pies.
Do your own extrapolating, please, I have plays to write and windmills at which to tilt.
*Mary Bray Pipher, Finding Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
©2012 all rights reserved