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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This was an interesting article in the NYT last week about confidence in women and men. Some interesting quotes from the story and my reactions:

“I firmly believe one of the unintended consequences of the feminist revolution has been that men in my generation are raised without a strong self-identity, and, in essence, grow up to be little more than boys looking for mothers.”

As much as I'd like to believe that, I'm not sure men weren't looking to marry a woman like their mom back in the day anyway. It was just accepted that it was that way. Now a man is expected to do many of those things himself. We don't like it, but we understand it.

One 58-year-old mom wrote that mothers “might as well have had, as a friend of mine puts it, ‘our vocal cords cut.’ We want to talk in nice voices and stay calm and sit down and have a heart-to-heart. Our children want the five-minute version — direct, to the point. They come back at anything we say with smart remarks that knock the wind out of our sails.”

Kids don't want the 5-minute version - they want the 5-second version.

More women wrote about conflicts with other women than about conflicts with men. One retired Army officer wrote, “Girls and women are highly critical of any other girl or woman who exhibits confidence. Men, on the whole, do not ‘shut down’ women who are intelligent and confident, but women do.”

This was my favorite part of the whole article. Women like to blame men for their lack of achievement in the workplace, but this suggests it is other women that play more of a role. Not sure that's true though, or won't be until women are in more positions of power to be in a position to have that power, but maybe it's truer in companies I've never worked for.

 “As a believer in Jesus Christ, I see myself as redeemed, forgiven and covered in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I believe that this is how God sees me, all the time and without exception. I believe that his smile and delight in me is unwavering. This view of myself is quite simple yet with profound implications. It allows me to accept criticism without self-condemnation and to accept affirmations without exalting myself. This is the ideal view of myself that I am always working at. It is a struggle, but a good one.”

Needless to say, I'm not the classic Christian she is, but I love her point anyway. What's wrong with having flaws, whether we realize them ourselves or others point them out to us, in either a constructive or sarcastic or attacking way. It's all okay. We're all flawed. The main point is to take those criticisms and analyze them to see if we see truth in the observation and try to do better.

(There is another blog post to come, if I remember, based on the idea that "It's all okay...all of it...everything." And it is as simple as it is profound.)

Anyway, I sent the entire article to the ya-ya's and yo-yo's and one of the two reactions to it was this:

Dear Jamie Louise (inside ya-yo humor), Thanks for the David Brooks article I really got a kick out of it because I was just talking to a young 30ths daughter of a friend about the differences in Men and women today.I believe women are no longer willing to put up with "the power over" good ole boy syndrome of the past several hundred years. They are remembering their feminine powers which include use of intuition as a way of knowing, and many old ways of healing,body, mind and spirit. Women also see life in a fuller spectrum of color and emotion,possibly because we give birth and have to be caregivers. Anyway, it's my opinion that throughout history men have found these powers threatening at different times and in certain ways and thus the use of Physical power over was used to control and contain.  History is not a pretty picture. We seemed doomed to repeating our mistakes and there has been continuous war on the planet since the beginning. Maybe" Herstory" could offer something new. Maybe men and women could not compete but work as partners where everyone gets to bring all there gifts to the table.Women wouldn't have to be like men in order to succeed. Love ,in other words could reign, instead of fear. If we look to the microcosm,  a marriage let's say. Where each is loved and respected and encourage to grow and develop and be in true team partnership. How great is that. And couldn't the macrocosm be just an expansion of those principles. I really also don't believe that if given a choice, any mother that birthed a baby wants to send that child to war. Women are on the rise and my prayer is that men will not be intimidated, but will support the movement and we can change the world side by side blowing wind beneath each others wings. These are just some of my thoughts. Love you Jamie and hope to see ya soon, Karen Louise

To which I responded:
J “Jamie Louise” J I love that.

I agree with everything you say here, but I would put it another way. I think women have far more power than men, but don't understand how to harness it…or, as you say, may need to remember how to use it. It’s kind of like Dorothy in the WoOz, with her ruby slippers. She had the power all along. All she had to do is use it.
Easier said than done, I know, but you’re right – Love is the most powerful tool of all! I love you too, Karen Louise and I hope to see you and Jack sometime soon too. – Jamie Louise!

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