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Strange thoughts on women & men …

According to Yvonne Roberts, society has not shaken off stereotypes of mothers, homemakers or tarts :

“It is striking how a number of recent events have revealed the enduring power of traditional stereotypes – not least the bad girl and the good mother, now defined by the Vatican as showing the traits of “listening, welcoming, humility, fruitfulness, praise and waiting”. The bad girl is, for instance, the underlying theme of the sagas around the sex lives of the famous, such as England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. The idea is that it’s natural for men to want to have their cake and eat it, while women are invariably cast as the tarts.”
Source: “Why a man can’t see the other woman“, Sydney Morning Herald, August 4, 2004

Hmmm, of course there are no negative stereotypes associated with men. That’s why they are so happy that they are killing themselves at a higher rate than women (suicide has been a commoner cause of male death than road crashes since about 1990, see here for report).

Then later Yvonne comments :

“Women, against the odds, are attempting to balance autonomy and dependence; self-fulfilment with a desire and obligation to care for others. In the present climate, as hurdle after hurdle remain in their way, they are encouraged to blame themselves – instead of examining how and why the hurdles were constructed in the first place.”

Funny way of thinking – is the assumption here that men do not do this too?

I am annoyed by this article – again portraying women as victims. In reality, all people have problems balancing autonomy and connectedness, self-centred desire and obligation to care for others. As Freud explained so well, we all face these dilemmas. They are part of the human condition.

Stereotypes too are part of the human condition. Jung wrote of the power of archetypes in human life. The power of archetypes can be a driving force for good or evil in a society. It all comes down to what individuals do.

Deeds, or what we actually do with our lives in spite of the human dilemmas and stereoptypes are important. As George Eliot (1819 – 1880) put it

“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”