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Woman Being

2,929 words

[1]“The source of all life and knowledge is in man and woman, and the source of all living is in the interchange and the meeting and mingling of these two: man-life and woman-life, man-knowledge and woman-knowledge, man-being and woman-being.” — D. H. Lawrence, letter written June 1914.[1]

“Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose our femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get much more accomplished by being charming than we would by flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they’re wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one.”[2]

Don’t get me wrong, fellas, like Tasha Tudor (who stated the above), I love you all dearly, but I have found it to be nothing short of infuriating to be expected to be the best woman I can be by being the best ersatz man I can be. It is so exhausting being around people who expect me to want to be something I have no interest in being (a man). I find it crippling to the true feminine spirit that so much of what makes the male and female sexes unique and distinct has been sacrificed at the altar of equality. There is nothing equal about us—equivalent, assuredly, but equal? Equal implies that we are interchangeable, that we can be substituted for each other, that we are not different from each other, that we are the same.

Looking back, it’s been years—all my life really—that I’ve been dealing with this issue. (I’m going to assume I’m not alone—there were lots of women born when I was born, and raised like I was raised—but I’ll be speaking of only myself and for only myself throughout this essay. I might not be alone, but it would be . . . shall we say . . . imprecise to give the world the impression that I’m the rule, when, looking at numbers of working moms alone, I’m very much not.)

As a child, I wasn’t dissatisfied with being a girl. I wasn’t threatened by boyness. Maybe it bothered the proto-bully-feminists (the ones who used to mutter about male chauvinist pigs when men politely held doors open for them), but it never bothered me that I wasn’t a boy. No, wait, I take that back—I was bothered by not being a boy, but only because I was forever being taken to task for not wanting to be just like one.

Assumedly it would have made my young life a whole lot smoother if I had been born a boy, then I wouldn’t have had to fight my natural disinclinations toward boyishness. I would have loved (I guess) team sports, martial arts, math classes, competitive swimming, running hurdles, playing with cars and Tinker Toys, fishing, throwing snow balls and thinking about what previously-male-dominated career I would commandeer.

As it was, I didn’t like any of those things—the closest would have been fishing, but even then I felt so sorry for both the fish and the bait that I didn’t get a lot out of it—yet I was expected (sometimes actually forced) to participate in them anyway, and then was shamed for not enjoying them or being particularly good at them.

Needless to write, no one praised my perfectly set up doll house, my staggering collection of nail polishes (I later would become an Avon Representative in high school), my alphabetized Nancy Drews and Trixie Beldens, or my polite and sincere “thank you” said to the gallant men who held doors open for young ladies (they still did, back then). My abilities/sensibilities weren’t worth much to the “We Can Do It” hairy armpitted rankers of human-worth because what I was interested in wasn’t directly aimed at displacing the specialness of people with Y chromosomes. I wasn’t out to out do men.

The schools were the radical front for all of this gender-melding . . . regardless of personal inclination or chromosomal pair, we had to play the same game on the same leveled playing field. Literally, when it came to PE: either we all played basketball (non-contact basketball, you can’t have all those tall muscularly built teenage boys knocking over the girls while lunging for the ball . . . that just wouldn’t be fair) in the blazing sun in stupid blue unisex shorts and off-white unisex converse sneakers or we all played flag football (the big tank like muscular boys weren’t allowed to play real football with all those girls out there . . . that wouldn’t be fair) on a flat green oval surrounded by empty risers with heat shimmers that laid across both ends of the thing.

The sole equality in those sport moments, the only melding of interest was that, in the end, both genders suffered. The boys were forced to deal with a crippling non-boy presence in the midst of their formerly rough and tumble activities and the girls were forced to try to be better at strategically physical maneuvers then the boys naturally were. Only non-boy boys and non-girl girls thrived in that world—the ones who were destined to grow up and become softly male and feministic.

The marginalized rest of us—the (to use Jack Donovan’s definition) Alpha Males and (to use my definition) the Self-Assured Females—had to go through the motions; we spent a lot of energy not letting all the equality that surrounded us warp our sense of who and what we were. That type of effort takes a toll, but like any sort of initiation, it separates the men from the boys. In this case it also separates the men from the girls who think they are just-like-boys.

It’s them—the soft males and the feministic females (I’d call them hard females except that I can’t bring myself to use that ridiculous term, as much as it fits) that lie at the root of what is happening to society. They blur the lines between manhood and womanhood—lines that used to be very clear and understandable.

The old gallant phrase “Ladies first” wasn’t demeaning, as “Ladies and Gentlemen” wasn’t demeaning, and “women and children first” wasn’t demeaning. How could they possibly be demeaning when the end result of them is recognition of the differences and gallantries accorded to our distinct genders. I can’t hoist 100 pound sacks all day, and I am smart to be a little wary of men, who are naturally stronger, and who could use their strength for less than altruistic purposes on my behalf.

In a healthy society, decent men don’t use their strength to overpower and control women. The basic outward expression of this, a token if you will, is the old gallant gesture. The holding the door open, the giving up of the last seat, the helping with the packages—all acts designed to prove that, while any real man is strong enough to do pretty much what he wants in any given female/male situation, this particular man is not an animal . . . and woman is not his prey. Our society isn’t a healthy society, we ditched social graces at our peril. And many did. Still do.

Of course this gallant sort of thinking is based on the ancient notion that women are different and distinct than men. Our strengths are different, our abilities are different. We are not the same in outlook or in physique. Not lesser, not greater. Different—and, fellas, let’s not quibble about the notion of real diversity. It’s good to be different. Nature’s — and thus, our — strength lies in diversity—no mono culture is good, no homogeneousness thrives. Two heads are really better than one, especially if one has a beard and one has face powder.

It is not so easy, now, to spot the difference between the sexes. And, really, on a practical level, who really needs to these days. Or rather, when it comes to sexes, who really needs two these days. It doesn’t make much difference what sex the person behind a computer screen, or the person behind a cash register, or the person behind a desk is . . . it’s all equal opportunity. Humanity is now interchangeable—we all buy the same foods, wear pretty much the same clothes, watch the same movies, read the same books, do the same jobs. Color, age, race, gender—they constitute non-issues in the modern world.

Girls are not taught to be women. Boys are not taught to be men. Children are raised—often by outsourced care givers of different races and cultures than the parents’—to become adult worker/consumers. Consumers of everything. Actual makers of very little, but consumers all the same. It’s the biggest crime, really, of the modern Western world. This robbing of every aspect of making . . . for that was what made us who we were, what made us great, what made us—each and every one of us—actually matter and have a purpose. A purpose that had, at the heart of it, a firm foundation of gender self awareness that is all but gone now.

Men don’t know which tools are used for what these days. Go to any estate sale in any older neighborhood in America and see for yourself. There will be some older men looking at the vintage tools, but the 50 and under guy crowd? They’re looking for collectables for their metrosexual midcentury homes, preferably things they recognize from episodes of Mad Men or Man Caves. If they do purchase a tool, it’ll be to decorate with, not to use, not to make anything with.

Time was, men could fix a toaster after supper, build a chicken coop on the weekend, do their own plumbing work, make bookcases, make flowerboxes, plaster walls—heck, make the walls and then plaster them—whatever it took to protect and provide for a family of anywhere from a couple to a dozen of kids single-handedly . . . and they would be rightly appreciated for these talents that they possessed.

Now, we can toss the broken toaster and pick up a new cheap Chinese model virtually anytime day or night, we don’t need a coop when we can buy ready-made rotisserie chicken and glaringly white eggs (again anytime day or night)—plumbers drive trucks right over (day and night once again), Amazon.com and eBay deliver everything from bookcases to flowerboxes, changes or creations of walls are arranged for by the decorator, contractor or subcontractor of our choice and security comes from an alarm system, two paychecks and a decent day care situation. Who needs real men?

In the past decade or so, the women’s magazines have taken to running home-handyperson articles suggesting that women can learn to fix things just as well as men. These articles are apparently based on the ludicrous assumption that men know how to fix things, when in fact all they know how to do is look at things in a certain squinty-eyed manner, which they learned in Wood Shop; eventually, when enough things in the home are broken, they take a job requiring them to transfer to another home.[3]

Of course, no one needs real women either. Anyone can pick up that ready to eat rotisserie chicken, anyone can toss those eggs in a microwave safe bowl, anyone one can drop the two kids off at the daycare center. Gone are the days when it was an advantage to a family to have a woman in it. Time was, it was important to be a woman—not an ersatz man—and know how to take care of chickens—from gathering eggs to plucking stew-hens—how to grow a flourishing kitchen garden, how to fold a cloth baby diaper, how to make bread to put in that toaster you husband knew how to fix, how to sew all the clothing and make the ones you have sewn last, how to manage a household budget on one salary, and how to successfully raise boys and girls to become men and women. There was a science to it, an art to (hence the terms domestic science and domestic arts), and done well, it served our ancestors for thousands of generations . . .

I am very sad that I was denied the chance to learn how to do these things from the real mistresses of real kitchens. I have taught myself a lot, and have gleaned priceless moments of hands-on learning with old women (very old women now) who were still very much in touch with their feminine value and so passed on much more than mere knowledge when they showed me how to make the few things the much younger me wanted to learn: jams, cakes, cookies. . . . They passed from this world before their entire domestic arcana passed to this generation. What a loss to womanhood, to lose our grand dames before we realized what it truly was we needed to learn from them. It’s almost as if it were part of some agenda we girls were happily glued to the after-school television sitcom versions of life, while the real source of our lives withered to the root. Nobody told me that I should pay attention to what my last great aunt was saying, but, boy, they sure told me not to misplace the TV Guide . . .

It’s not to their credit, but it’s not entirely their fault if these 3rd or 4th wave feminists think/realize that they are capable of being exactly like the modern man is, because they are doing everything the modern man does. Is there anything particularly gender specific in working at Intel or Walmart? How about being a professor? Or a banker? Ad agent? Modern soldier? Even the warehouses have mechanized forklifts for lifting the heavy stuff. We, as a modern Western cultured people, have been thoroughly gender blended for a long enough time now that it seems like a hateful and oppressive fact that one upon a time women raised children and sewed clothes. A crime against the PC order of things. A waste of a viable life. A sin.

Well, perhaps not a sin. There’s that whole Christian “women are naturally inferior to men” mindset that has been the springboard for Feminist recruitment since the get go. Ruining the ancient balance of the genders by placing one up and one down is as unnatural as our folk getting down on bended knee and praying to a desert god. Both are wholly and completely incompatible with our folkways. As Alain de Benoist says: “. . . the conversion of Europe to Christianity and the more or less complete integration of the European mind into the Christian mentality, was one of the most catastrophic events in world history—a catastrophe in the proper sense of the word . . .”[4] Still, there is no stepping over the fact that Christian thought molded Western minds, and Christians thought “What else is a woman but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colors!”[5]

I’d rather be burnt for a witch then have to put up with that sort of ridiculousness. But, that said . . . the vile yoke of Christianity still didn’t do as much damage to essential femininity, to the essential woman, than feminism or modern gender-denial/gender blending has. It might chaff and rankle to be called inferior and evil (I still get that all the time, and not from Christians . . . from the liberals) but it doesn’t ruin the essence, the soul, the very fabric of real womanhood. Our folkways were not lost inside Christianity, only buried (see my other essay on this site for more on that line of thought). We weren’t lost as women then, like we are lost now—we weren’t incapacitated by this whole-cloth denial of our true selves. We weren’t re-created and re-cast as not-women, as widgets and gender-as-incidental humans. We weren’t expected to lose our inner light, to lose our place in this world or our intrinsic right to be who and what we were, through and through. Once, in a revolting heyday of Christian fervor, strong women may have indeed been burnt as Lucifer’s handmaidens but they were never burnt as just his hand-people. A interestingly vital feminine point to an otherwise horrific moment in the Abrahamic downfall of our folk.

I don’t like anti-woman sentiment. I don’t like it from men. I don’t like it from women. I don’t like it in a box. I don’t like it with a fox. I don’t want to be a man. I don’t want my life to be judged on criteria set up to measure anything but feminine life. Not male, and certainly not genderless. I am not a man. I am not just a person. I am a woman. And with this knowledge, with this awareness of my essential way of looking at and interacting with the world, I am whole and I am unshakable.

Men cannot be my equal, and I will not be equal to them either, but we can exist as we are designed to exist: purposefully equivalent to one another. As Swami Muktananda extolls: “Honor your Self. Understand your Self. God dwells within you as you.”[6]


[1] George Zyturak and James T. Boulton, eds., The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, vol. 2, 1913–1916 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 181.

[2] Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown, The Private World of Tasha Tudor (Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1992), p. 63.

[3] http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/2510

[4] Alain de Benoist, On Being a Pagan, ed. Greg Johnson, trans. Jon Graham (Atlanta: Ultra, 2004), p. 5.

[5] Selma Williams, Riding the Nightmare, Women and Witchcraft from the Old World to Colonial Salem (New Yoek: Harper Perennial, 1978), p. 35.

[6] Swami Muktananda, Meditate, Happiness Lies Within You (South Fallsburg, N.Y.: SYDA Foundation: 1999), p. 37.