Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Whereby Dr. Neave "proves" that women are programmed to be dependent on men

Here is an excerpt:

At the risk of sounding extraordinarily sexist, I'm convinced that women, even in the happiest of relationships, are programmed to worry their men are going to abandon them.

That is probably true. In fact, we've all been programmed to believe we cannot be alone for 24 hours. What this "expert" forgets to mention, though, is that men must be programmed to do the same thing because--in my experience--they are much more invested in such worrying. I do not say this casually, but as a career-long observer and listener. Most women have a tight network of emotional support, and most men do not. That is why I think man men marry again so soon after divorce; they are dependent on their spouses or partners as the only strong emotional support in their lives.

Actually, the article blunders (in an intro not written by Neave) in its very first line: "We live in an age in which women have earned complete independence." Oh? That would mean that women are paid the same as men for doing the same job, that women are given the same opportunities for hiring and promotion, that women are free to pursue their careers without fearing sexual harrassment and gender discrimination, that women are not expected to shoulder most, if not all, of the burden of child care.

One of the points Neave makes is that very young women are more interested in marrying doctors and such than they are in assessing the attractiveness of potential mates. And I do believe there is programming involved in this pitiful phenomenon, as well as the one the author describes about women who resent that their husbands do not make as much money as they do. It is social programming, which results in lack of consciousness and internalized sexism. Of course young women think they are supposed to earn less money than their husbands--they still think they are supposed to sit by the phone and wait for men to ask them out, too.

The question is: Can females be "deprogrammed?" I am beginning to doubt that they can. The powers of sexism are so strong that--despite the Second Wave campaign to raise the consciousness of both women and men--we are, in many ways, back where we were in the 60s. And since women are still not given equal pay and equal opportunity and they are still bearing children, of course they are worried about their financial security. But worrying about being abandoned? That's men's work.


Somehow this programming has failed to display itself in my life. I have a blissful marriage, but right now I'm bringing in the dough while he finishes a degree. I know lots of women who have never married and probably never will. They own their own homes and are doing just fine. Dr. Neave needs to get out more.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 PM  

I agree with anonymous, but I'll go one further. I am single by choice, and also childless by choice, I have supported myself since age 17 and I have a happy and fulfilling life. I have never been "dependent" on a man. Maybe my parents did something right, but I think it's just my nature. I saw this article and thought it grotesquely naive. Like Anon says, maybe he needs to get out more. My point is - and I digressed - while I might be someone who's considered to have an alternative lifestyle, not because I'm gay but because I've chosen to be single, I know MANY women who are doing the same thing. Then Neave conveniently forgets that many women really flourish after divorces or being widowed. I also read a study about 2 years ago which claimed that married women are more depressed than single women and single men are more depressed than married ones. What does that tell you? I wish I still had a link to that study.

By Blogger Helen Wheels, at 12:42 PM  

I remember that study. The results tell volumes.

While I'm not defending Neave's suspicious "programming" ideas about anthropology, I do believe women and girls continue to be heavily programmed by the society.

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