Portrait of a Lady?

“A woman’s natural mission is to be where she’s most appreciated.”  Henry James “The Portrait of a Lady”

I recently reread PoaL for book club.  As it’s been about 30 years since I last opened this book, there were many things I did not remember (including how longggggg it actually is), and honestly, I didn’t even notice this particular quote on the reread, a fellow book clubber remarked on it, but I am so glad she did.

Powerful quote, right?

Written in 1881.

What do you think of this quote?

Apparently true in 1881.

Is it still true today?

I know.  I’ve given you a lot of questions.  I know.  I’m usually the talkative one.  What?  You want my opinion?  Ok.  I’ll try…

Sometimes, women undermine themselves.  Sometimes women want to be everything to everybody.  Sometimes women want it all.  Sometimes women want it all, at the same time.  Is it just an innate trait?  Are women just hardwired this way?

Personal anecdote.  My daughter is stressed out for what her high school refers to as “hell”.  Her teacher told them the other day “Remember Freshman year, when we read Dante?  Well, that was not hell.  The last eight weeks of Junior year- well, that’s hell.”  My Husband is stressed out at work- he’s a corporate tax accountant working for a large bank and trying to deal with tax reform.

Fun times at my house.

I try to emotionally support both of them.  I listen to them talk about the challenges they are both facing.  I give them practical advice as needed.  I help my daughter clean her room, and I pick up the slack of household things that my husband normally does.  Yes, it’s part of the pact you make when you sign up to be part of a family- you help each other as needed.

But do women do this more than men?  Would my Husband jump in if the roles were reversed?

But, lets get to the next part.  Am I doing these things because I want to help my family?  Or am I really looking for a thank you?  Am I looking for appreciation?

I know plenty of people who only do things because they want to be “owed”.  They’re looking for the quid quo pro.  My in-laws are like this:  they will say “Don’t forget I did X for you, so you have to do Y for me.”  I learned early on that I did not want to ask my MIL for help, because the attached strings were too much.  They were only around for the appreciation and adulation.

So, back to my original thought: Do women seek out situations where they can be appreciated?  Is this really the portrait of a lady?

Remember:  it’s write my blog Thursday….

 

 

 

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Them too

Ok-many of you will find this controversial…..

Many of the women I know posted “me too” on their social media platforms.  This is logical, because every woman I have ever met has been a victim of sexual harassment or assault at some point in their life.  It borders from disrespected to horrific in the terms of experience and none of these stories should be taken lightly.  We are all victims.  We should rally around one another and know that we are not alone- whether or not you want to publically share your story.  Everyone has the right to discuss, or not to discuss anything they want.  I applaud those able to share, and I silently commiserate and nod to the ones who don’t want to share.  It’s personal choice.

But……

Women have just exposed themselves.  Again.

When are the men going to take responsibility for their actions?

When?

When we women make them.

So here’s my plan.  I think every women goes to her husband, her father, her son, her uncle, her brother and makes sure that they all know what harassment and assault are- because chances are, they have all harassed/assaulted a women in their lives.  The men in the news did not harass/assault every women in the world.  This was done by fathers, brothers, uncles and sons.  I think the definition should be loud and clear.  Cat calling is harassment.  Saying nice ass at a bar is harassment.  looking down at a woman at work is harassment.  Anything other than yes, what we are doing is acceptable, is assault. No is no- end of discussion. I don’t think men get the definition.  I don’t think they understand that we are not dolls that can be manipulated and over powered.  They don’t get it.

We must make them understand.

We must make sure the definition is loud and clear.

And we should make them pay for their actions. My original thought was that every man should post on social media “I harass” or “I assault” or “I abuse my power as a man”.  My husband pointed out that no man is going to do this out of fear of getting sued.  So I was up all night revising my plan.  (not really- I thought of it before I went to bed)  Make men pay.

Pay.

Have every man you know (because let’s face it- if every woman has been involved, I’m going with every man has too- let’s me fair and equal about this) donate money to a cause for women.

Have every man make a donation to a charity that helps women in crisis.  Because when you donate money, it becomes real.  It becomes a tangible, tactile thing.  As they are writing a check or entering a credit card or putting bills into a collection- they are owning their misdeeds.  They are admitting that they are part of the problem.   We must figure out how to make everyone part of the solution.   And maybe with the money, we can help some women in need.

Man up.