While floating on this Sea of Despair, once in a while we come upon a shoreline which looks promising. We float closer and closer, ever straining our eyes to really see what the sands hold for us. There may be an occasional person on the shoreline too, shouting at us, trying to give us "knowledge". Sometimes we listen and hear. Sometimes we almost paddle our raft in that direction because the sight of land looks so good and we don't care what the person is saying to us, as long as we have a respite from the despair we are experiencing. At other times, another strong current grabs us and we are drawn into some other mind-set shore-line because of the strength of the current. We have no time or opportunity to steer our own raft and are drawn so close to the speaker on the beach that we are almost trapped by his mind-set.
A mind-set is the opinion of an individual, society, and/or nation which decides the traditional beliefs and symbol systems that govern the individual, society and/or nation. It has been these traditional beliefs, as mentioned earlier, that has decided the function and role of the female.
Humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him...woman is simply what man decrees.
The belief that woman is a mutilated or incomplete man...and that woman are colder and thus have less soul pervades even the bedroom when the man complains of how cold his wife's feet are, while ignoring the ice cold attributes of his own.
Aristotle stated "that a female is a female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities...we should regard the female nature as afflicted with natural defectiveness." I wonder if a woman is afflicted with "defectiveness" in HER lack of qualities which causes (forces) her to be a negative creature, etc., then man must also be afflicted with "defectiveness" in HIS fullness of qualities which eventually causes (forces) a woman to BE a negative creature. Unfortunately, while on the Sea of Despair though, one does not think of quick comeback's.
As mentioned earlier, mind-sets are transmitted by the system of symbols which govern the thought processes of individuals, societies, and nations. But it must be understood that a symbol's effect does not depend on rational ascent.
Symbols have psychological and political effects, because they create inner conditions, deep seated attitudes, and feelings. They lead people to feel comfortable with or accept social and political arrangements.
Geertz states that religious symbols shape a cultural ethos and define the deepest values of a society and the people in it.
Women have been sucked into believing the deepest value of society and its mind-set which tells the women will be happiest if they submit fully to the dictates of man in the guise of their husband, church father, brother, and/or father. Lacking these, she is believed to be an odd one out who foibles through life ever consistent in her errors of judgement, wrong turns, etc., etc.
This ever present tracking system of a woman's life through its symbols is not necessarily governed by the Church either.
Even people who no longer "believe in God"...are [affected by] the power of the symbolism of God the Father.
A father-figure has guided and tracked down women since possibly the hunting times of man. This father-figure appeared in the trappings of the belief that man should be the provider, the mighty hunter who brings home the much needed game of his hunting exploits. No matter that the gathering woman probably sustains the group with as much protein and sustenance. Of course, the reason that man had to go OUT and hunt was because the woman was in the evolutionary mode of birthing larger brained infants. This supposedly widened her hips and made her unsuitable for running and in turn, caused her to stay IN and care for her infant..
This whole subject then brings up another matter. Somehow in the transition period women's value was beginning to be associated with childbirth only. Their value to the tribes was associated with how many lives they could bring to the fold. Of course, this was only acceptable if there was enough food to go around.
Woman was not allowed to enjoy her "creation" of children because they were burdens to the traveling community =infanticide is common. Childbirth seemed useless, something to be passively resigned to in fate. Women have never set up female values in opposition to male values.
Simone de Beauvoir states that women are seen as being with only ovaries. We are not seen as being with a mind also. Our emotions supposedly result from our ovary secretions which results in the male conception of hell PMS, but never as the resultant expression of centuries of domination by the male sex.
1. The Second Sex Simone De Beauvoir. Introduction.
2. Aristotle. History of Ideas on Women
3. Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir.
5. Women's Spirit Rising.