Chin up, lipstick on

Why can’t a woman be more like a man?

Gospel of Thomas, saying 114:

Simon Peter said to Him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are
not worthy of Life.”
Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her
male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you
males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the
Kingdom of Heaven.”

I saw the truth before I started my first job. I went down from the University of Aberdeen to a small solicitors’ office in Aberatholl, Perthshire, and wrote in my diary, “I cannot endure this job. I have to enjoy it.” Then I Endured. Strap down the emotions, stop feeling, get on with it. That has been my pattern for working since, a recipe for building fear and anger to intolerable levels.

J does not think of hers as a “woman’s blog”, but here she is discussing creativity with Julia Fehrenbacher, and a lot of what they say is about transcending the “I’m not good enough” thoughts, overcoming doubt, stopping the need for control and letting creativity flow: achieving these things, actually, but with the doubting criticising voices behind. That post led me to Soul Speak, another blog where most of the commenters are women, and another post on going into the creative space, away from the dark places of the doubting thoughts.

I am struck that the steps forward I imagine can feel both too small- inadequate, insufficient, not good enough- and at the same time too big, too frightening, requiring too much courage. Both these thoughts are illusion, both feel so real.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s concerns are different:

What are the habits and practices that will educate our passions and allow us to shape a credible narrative of the self, understood against the backdrop of some idea of what the “excellence” of human nature might consist in?

The basic question is how we most seriously and honestly turn our scrutiny on ourselves and how we become able to bear that scrutiny. In more traditional words, we need some vocabulary that evokes both repentance and absolution.

It is not generally true that men bullshit, but they do seem able clearly and forcefully to present their case and their ability and their recommendations. So, for Rowan, the question is how to get the person (man) to criticise himself, not how to get him to stop. Professor?

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!
There heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!
They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating,
vacillating, calculating, agitating,
Maddening and infuriating hags!

Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historic’ly fair;
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Well, why can’t a woman be like that?
Why does ev’ryone do what the others do?
Can’t a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do ev’rything their mothers do?
Why don’t they grow up- well, like their father instead?

-etc, etc. From My fair lady.


Beth, who is 57 and writes so movingly about caring for her elderly mother and end of life issues wishes to interview, and share the stories of care givers. Contact her at her blog.

The American Psychological Association has opposed the Defence of Marriage Act in court.

9 thoughts on “Chin up, lipstick on

  1. we are just so different and awesome in being different that it a shame when a few weirdos try to put everybody in boxes with labels on them. And it is all because they are a bit confused and maybe do not understand their own existence.


    • Hello. Welcome.

      I have been wrestling with labels recently. For example, if I say that U and I each thought the other butch, when both of us are femme, and sought to control the other that seems hopelessly reductionist, and yet I think it has a grain of truth in it, and is a useful perspective- as long as I do not see it as the Whole Truth.


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