A Theory

What is a theory? I went to the dictionary and found six different definitions, but all of them similar. So, I chose two to use here:

A wordy one: “proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”

And a simpler one: “contemplation or speculation.”

Unaware, I have been building a personal theory about a set of particular circumstances being played out, here in the U.S., as well as in other places around the world. Although I have written about the Matriarchal and Patriarchal realities in past posts here, I wasn’t really aware of how much that writing was affecting my own sense of things. In affect, changing the way I viewed what was happening right in front of me. So much so that I have been hesitant about coming here and writing about all of it. Until a few days ago, when I ran into the word theoretical.

That’s when I realized that I was creating a theory about certain present day occurrences. One that at first surprised me, but then began to make a whole lot of sense. A year ago, I wrote several essays about the Patriarchy and its need to discredit any notion that a Matriarchal system might be a better way, thereby doing a disservice to both genders, never really allowing them an equal partnership. And let me be very clear at this point. I do not think a Matriarchy would be better. Power does have a tendency to corrupt.

What I do prefer to consider is that both genders be given equal rights under a law that clearly states they are, in fact, equal. Yes, I know that we “say” they are equal, but nowhere does that prove more false than in the matter of sexual abuse, assault, and rape. I grew up knowing that I was prey, that my body was up for grabs, simply because I was female.

When, as a child, I complained about a family member touching me, at first I was not believed. Not until my younger sister, by thirteen months, stepped forward and said that she didn’t like it either. But then, we were taken aside and told two things: we were never to allow that to happen again, and we were never to speak about it. In other words, we were on our own, and it was our (at the ages of 9 and 10) responsibility. The man continued to be welcome in our home and it was totally up to us to prevent further contact.

Many years later, I learned that my Mother had been through the same type of situation and was only repeating what she had been taught. With three daughters of my own, I let them know they could talk to me about anything. And they did. We spoke openly about sexuality and body responses, and about the freedom to choose what they wanted. Eventually, that led to my becoming a divorced, single-parent advocate for abuse and incest victims. I wasn’t officially “trained” to do such a thing, but life as a curious female individual had taught me a great number of things. At the age of 45, I graduated college with two degrees: one in History, the other in English with a concentration in Creative Writing.

One of the most important lessons I learned was that life, for a female living in a Patriarchal society, no matter how democratic it proclaims itself to be, is never easy or simple. There are rules (silent rules), one set for men, another set for women. Men are encouraged to go out and have ‘experiences’ that will help them in later life. Women, on the other hand, are told  that they must restrain themselves, especially in the sexual sense, so that they can ‘give’ themselves ‘purely’ to one man for life.

Does that even begin to sound “equal” in any sense? What is most chilling about all of this, is that it is done for only one reason. It is meant to allow men to know that her body is his sexual turf, and only his. And it has been handed down through the centuries in numerous ways. If the Patriarchy can control her body, he retains ultimate control.

Please take the time to watch this very simple video about how myths can and do sometimes work, or not. I found it when I first decided to write this essay. I am a sucker for synchronicity. A myth can be mistaken for a theory, or even become just another reason for unjust actions that soon become a cruel and senseless inequality.

 

 

 

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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5 Responses to A Theory

  1. An excellent article, Elizabeth. I would add that the man wants his wife to belong to only him, but so many of them have no qualms about taking girl children’s innocence away. What is happening now around the efforts to control women’s reproductive rights astounds me, those rights having been so hard-won. It is hard to believe it is all happening again. Patriarchy has now gone pathological, at least among those in power on the right, and if it doesnt end soon, if they get in for a second term, we are most assuredly screwed, in every sense of the word. Gah.

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    • 1sojournal says:

      I so agree with you Sherry. This is the first in a series I am thinking about writing. It wasn’t an easy write, but then I haven’t felt this strongly about anything for a long time. And writing about it does relieve some of the tension. Thanks for stopping in and thanks so much for the ‘chat’. That seems to be going well.

      Elizabeth

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  2. annell4 says:

    A wonderful write, I realize it was not easy to write or to anticipate the howls in the background. No nothing is assured, but maybe, just maybe a world run by women just might be better, more equal, and perhaps more thoughtful?

    Thanks Annell, but as I said above, I'm not after a world run by women, but one in which there is a true lawful equality, especially in the arena of the female body. There is none in a state where a girl child can be raped and impregnated by her father and then forced to give birth and raise that child, or given a life sentence. Isn't that one and the same thing?

    Elizabeth

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  3. KT Workman says:

    I agree with you, Elizabeth—women are not truly equal to men. There still exists a double standard, but I don’t think most men see it, older ones in particular. I think things are getting better, though we still have a long way to go.
    I do disagree with the first commenter regarding controlling “women’s reproductive rights”, another term for abortion on demand. When I was younger, I saw nothing wrong with abortion, but as I grew older, I began to wonder when life begins: at the moment of conception, at birth, or somewhere in between? I came to realize there is no way of knowing, so I decided that, for me, life begins at conception. I still believe it’s a moral choice, up to the individual woman whether or not to abort, but I believe with all my heart that abortion is the taking of an innocent life. I’m not a Christian or belong to the far right, but I believe in the unborn child’s right to life. And I don’t see this as men trying to control our bodies. In other ways—sometimes unconsciously—they do.
    One thing that will never be equal between the sexes is the carrying a child; as women, we shoulder that burden alone. But as women, shouldn’t we care more about those lives we carry?

    Thanks for responding Kathy. I do agree with much of what you have to say. Actually most of it. The part I disagree with is that one about the laws concerning reproductive rights. We fought long and hard for those rights and for very good reasons. Yes, you are correct when you say that a woman is alone in shouldering the responsibility to carry a child. Shouldn’t she then also have the right to say no. When we take away that right, we are leaping backward. What we are really saying is that she, as an individual, isn’t capable of making that decision. Yet, on the same level, many men found guilty of sexual assault and rape are given light sentencing. Why is that? And many women learn at a very young age that we should not speak of inappropriate behavior by the males around us. The woman in such a matter as rape, is for more closely investigated than the man. Not necessarily by the police, but more so by the citizenry and community around her. Her behavior is scrutinized far more thoroughly than the man’s is. The #Me Too movement went a long way toward creating a level of equality than any law has done. And, I also believe, that the current attempts to repeal the laws of reproductive rights, is a direct response to that movement. After centuries of learned silence, women came out of the woodwork to share their own individual experiences. I do believe that we are being punished for finally speaking out. For daring to tell our story. I do believe it’s called His/tory for a reason.

    Elizabeth

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    • KT Workman says:

      Yes, it is his story and not her story. Should be their story.
      And for the record, I don’t believe that a woman’s right to choose should be struck down; but I do think that something needs to be done to cut down on the number of abortions, maybe through early education, better than what we have now. And just like children are given immunizations, maybe it would be a good idea to automatically start a girl on birth control when she begins her period. It wouldn’t stop all the bad things that can happen to a female, but could at least prevent most unwanted pregnancies.
      On that note, I think we need male birth control. I know they are supposedly working on it, but is it ever going to happen? 🙄

      Hi Kathy, I just recently read an article about why they haven’t successfully created such male birth control. Reality is that such chemicals, over time, interfere with a man’s ability to perform. They often result in erectile dysfunction. What has not been clearly communicated, is that those chemicals are the same, or similar to women’s birth control methods. And I can personally attest to the reality that, over time, those chemicals do affect a woman’s body as well. They can, and are, very detrimental to her physical well being, as well as her ability to “perform”. Just another aspect of his story, versus their story. I believe it would be very harmful to put young girls on birth control for any extended period of time. And that doesn’t address the fact that doing so, most certainly puts the burden on her shoulders only, and alone. I do agree with you that younger men seem to more fully comprehend the position of women in a Patriarchal system. The problem with that being, that it isn’t those younger men who are creating and making the laws that govern all of us. When a politician, in gleeful triumph, grins into a camera and says, “Okay, ladies, I guess it’s back to the coat hangers for you,” I am totally repulsed and feel a need to take a shower, a very long and careful one. Or another different religious politician carefully and slowly explains to “we” female members of society that a baby as a result of rape, is really a gift from God, I have to object. Yes, on some levels I agree that an abortion should never be entered into without a great deal of thought and care. And that it might be addressed at a young age, not the reality of abortion, but definitely the subject of personal responsibility and simple human compassion. Thus, when it comes time to discuss sexuality, there is a wider base for true understanding.

      Elizabeth

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