Tag Archives: equality

don’t treat me like a goddess!

It’s rather unpleasant up here. I can’t sit down comfortably or move much without fear of falling off, and there is no one else around. It’s boring too…there’s nothing to do, no challenges or intellectual stimulation. Worse of all, looking down from this height is giving me nausea and there’s no ginger ale. Take me down from this pedestal. Please and thank you.

At first, I couldn’t explain his behavior except to label it as “being in love.” Then I realized that he isn’t in love with me, he is idolizing me.  He is intimidated by my intelligence, awed by my beauty, amazed by my sense of humor, entranced by my smile, and on, and on… I can do no wrong. Now, I’m not going to lie, the self-esteem boost was nice for a little while, but that while turned out to be very little. I always thought I would enjoy being treated like a goddess, but when it actually happened, it just made me feel like I ate a bad batch of beans.

I have a friend who recently broke up with her boyfriend because of this very reason. There is, apparently, a fine line between being a gentleman and being a worshipful man-servant. Strong, confident, intelligent women do not want, nor need, to be worshiped by men. In the Middle Ages, this sort of woman-worship came in the form of chivalry, which I explain in a paper I wrote entitled “Courtly and Modern Love”:

Chivalric love developed into a highly ritualized and organized “game” with rules to follow and plays to make. Contrary to earlier views of love, here the lady was seen as a sort of goddess while the man who wanted her begged to be able to serve her. […]  Once accepted, the man commenced with wooing the woman with displays of affection such as songs, poetry, bouquets, etc […] Back in Europe’s Medieval period, love was a highly quixotic undertaking. Men fell head over heels for a woman at first sight and then spent their time bringing her gifts, doing her favors, going on quests in her name, and, of course, being highly jealous and thinking of her constantly.

Sounds great, right? It’s what so many women all across America yearn for! Yet, this type of love, too, is poisonous to feminist ideals. Putting women on such a high pedestal that they can do no wrong and have no flaws is actually detrimental to their self-perception and to their independence. For a woman, knowing that you have flaws and that you make mistakes, but being with someone who obstinately refuses to acknowledge them can be as confusing as it is uncomfortable. As a friend of mine put it, “It’s bad when a person is so blinded by this image he has of you that he can’t see who you really are.” All people want to be loved for who they really are and how they really are, not for how someone else distorts them in their mind.

The Worship of Aphrodite, manuscript of homilies of Gregory Nazianzus (the Theologian), 12th century.

The Worship of Aphrodite, manuscript of homilies of Gregory Nazianzus (the Theologian), 12th century.

Being idolized can also lead to a loss of independence. I know a woman who, before marrying her husband, was a very independent person and proud of it. Being treated like a queen constantly, however, changed her. Now it’s her husband who gets the car fixed, buys the groceries, cooks, washes the dishes, drives her around in the car… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with dating a man who is willing to cook and fix the car, but there is something wrong with dating a man who always needs to cook and fix the car and never let’s you do it because he wants to do everything for you. It’s a tough situation though, because I know that many men do genuinely do these things because they love their wives or girlfriends and think that it is what they want. But ladies, we need to remember that the precepts of feminism are to fight for equality. The aim is not to produce subservient men and lazy women.

So, please guys, take the woman you love down off that pedestal and give her the equality that you both deserve. And girls, if you’re standing up there and looking down on a man driveling over how perfect you are, do both of you a favor and get down, one way or another.

As for me, I am sick and tired of all those ads in women’s magazines about how to release your inner goddess and how every woman deserves to be treated like a princess. I’m fed up with the new fad (or should I say very old, Medieval fad?) of making women into virtual deities that deserve worship. Women have not struggled for equal rights and respect for hundreds of years just to run around like fragile, perfectly-manicured princesses and goddesses who let men do everything for them as a show of “love”. Chivalric gestures are appreciated, but real love means equality. So I say, “Don’t treat me like a goddess!”



Filed under Musings

will you marry me?

Recently, while watching a news report on domestic partnerships, I made the mistake of commenting to my parents about how I might consider a domestic partnership, but that I didn’t want to get married. This led to my mom immediately clicking off the television and commencing a sit-down discussion about my thoughts on marriage. Now, my parents, you must understand, are devout Christians and always have been. I was raised as a non-denominational Christian, but began to “falter in my faith” near the end of high school (I like to say I began “thinking for myself,” but that’s just terminology). I told my parents that I was no longer a Christian during my freshman year of college after taking a fantastic religion course called Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The class was remarkably unbiased — despite the fact that it was taught by a Christian minister — and it allowed me the chance to look at the information and consider it for myself without someone trying to use it as a means to an end. Anyway, I decided that organized religion wasn’t my cup of tea.

So, this year I got to thinking about marriage. Not because I am in a serious relationship, no, I’m very happily single; but because three of my best friends suddenly started telling me how they were thinking they might marry their current boyfriends. Weird to hear, but it got me thinking.

Merriam-Webster defines marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” As of now, I cannot see myself getting married. It just doesn’t jive with my scene, yo. I don’t feel the need to have my personal relationships validated by the government. Actually, my motto generally is the less government involvement in my life the better. I do not want children, but if (god forbid!) an accident happened, I would then consider getting married for the child’s sake, but that’s a different conversation. Also, I personally believe that it is immoral to deny homosexual couples the right to marry. I would rather not take part in something that is used to discriminate against my friends and fellow Americans.

I had a talk with my friend, Anita, about this, and she asked me, “Wouldn’t you be worried though? Wouldn’t you feel insecure knowing that he could just up and leave at anytime?” My reply was that it would actually make me feel more secure. I would know that Prince Charming was with me because he really wanted to be, and not just because a piece of paper was legally tying him to me and it would be a huge hassle for him to get out of it. If the man I was with wanted to leave, then he should. Why would I want to force someone to stay with me who didn’t want to?

My father pointed out that it was one of the biggest foundations of our society. How could I just throw that away? Well, easily. I’m not one to partake in tradition for tradition’s sake. I want to do what makes sense to me; what works for me.

My mom said that it was not about the government or the legal contract but that God marries people, and it’s a divine institution that needs to be upheld. My simple answer to this was: I don’t believe that, so it doesn’t apply to me.

Now, I want to make very clear that I am not condemning marriage. I think that marriage is a good idea for some people. For people who are religious, want children and want to make inheritance rights clear, want to uphold tradition, or feel more secure entering into a legally binding (sort of) contract, marriage makes sense. But for crazy rebels like me, well, not so much.

Also, the strength of the “binding” part of “legally binding” is kind of a joke with something like 50% of marriages ending in divorce. That doesn’t scream “divine union” or “till death do us part” to me. It seems like many people just get married because that’s just what you’re supposed to do when you’re seriously in love with someone. Again, not what I’m looking for. Maybe I’m just a silly college student whose liberal ideas shouldn’t even be given the time of day (as my father said), but if I ever hear those famous words, “Will you marry me?” my answer will have to be “No, and here’s the link to my blog, which explains why.”

I would be very interested to know your opinions on this topic, and I’m always open to hearing other points of view!


Filed under Musings