Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reflecting on Conditioning

Last week, I was reading the book The Heroine's Journey by Maureen Murdock and I came across this paragraph that really talked to me "Unfortunately, in an effort not to be anything like their mothers, many young women did become like men. They measured their self-esteem, their self-definition, and their self-worth against male standards of production. In the beginning, their successes were exhilarating. But the more the succeeded, the more demands were made on their energy. Feminine values about relationship and caring took second place to the achievement of goals. And many women began to feel that they could never be "enough."" This phrase resonated with me because I feel for the first part of my life, I was playing that song. I was measuring myself by the male standards, but as time went by, and I connected with my true self, I realize that I am proud of being a woman. I am proud of my mother's lineage and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Society teaches us that women are weak, that women are dirty because they bleed, that women are less than men. Women are always conditioned to think we need to be like men to be worth it, we need to ignore our cycles just to be accepted, we need to have a man to provide for us, we need to wear make up and be pretty to have a man. You will not see a man looking for validation because he is born with that right, he is born feeling he is enough and no matter what he does, he is ok and he knows he is fine. Women, on the other hand, carry the original sin, carry the shame, carry the heavy weight of having to work extremely hard trying to balance life and career just to be able to play in the men's world and feel enough. Women try to be liked, they compete with other women so they are liked by men, they try to be sexy, they try to attrack the opposite sex so by being accepted or loved by men, they think they may be enough after all. I think this is not fair.

I also think that women are conditioned to live this way and we don't realize how much society has shaped our experiences. We don't realize when we see a commercial on TV saying have four periods a year, in our subconscious, that means, let's get rid of the one thing that makes you a woman, let's make you feel that if you don't bleed, you'll be ok.

Another example of societies conditioning is how women should be like girls who have not developed (yes, once again, girls who don't bleed) because the standard is that women are as thin as a toothpick and there is no way a woman can be like that. Women have curves and that's what society is again saying; it is not right. Or yes, be a barbie, skinny but with platic boobs, another example of impossible standards or unrealistic expectations.

Sometimes I can help but wonder how many women wear make up just because it is expected for them to do so. You know, be a women, wear make up, be pretty, be a lady. The list could keep going. Many times, I get the weird looks because I don't wear make up and that's my choice, it is not because I believe I am extremely beautiful and I don't need it. It's just because I know it is my choice and I will not follow what society says I should be. The same happens with clothes or career. It is time Sisters for us to discover who we are below all the layers that society has put over us. To question whether what you are doing is because you want it or because society wants you to do that? It's not wrong to wear make up, it is not wrong to dress pretty, it is just wrong if you do it for others and not for yourself. Things will not change unless we start the change. It is time to show society what real women are made of and that we do not need to be like men to be enough. It is time to claim our power, to claim our cycles, and to let go of the conditioning we have been living under for so long. Let's do it for our mothers, grandmothers, greatgrandmothers, and all our matriarchal family line. They deserve to see us evolve and reach the power they were not able to reach in their times.

Blessings )0(

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