The Thinking 

Self-Esteem Myths

May 13, 2011


ALEX A. writes from England:

Your observations on masculine and feminine pronouns caused the following reflection to jump into my brain.

One of the crazy and patronizing feminist notions that’s taken hold is that women in general are “vulnerable” to an extensive array of psychic injuries. They are not. This idea is a ideological lever
intended to force radical sexual adjustments that would reduce the incidence of so-called injuries to the female psyche, and at the same time, to use a coarse expression, put women in the driving seat.

I’ll risk a generalisation and say that most women are, as a rule, mentally tough. What’s more, as your blog and its female readers illustrate all the time, the life of the mind that a thoughtful woman
enjoys is just as varied and intellectually stimulating as a man could hope for.

Laura writes:

This is one of the major contradictions in feminist writings. On the one hand, women deserve power and have been denied the chance for genius. On the other hand, women are so sensitive and prone to discouragement – even to the point, as Virginia Woolf put it, where they can’t possibly learn or think because they don’t have rooms of their own – that one must logically conclude that they couldn’t possibly handle the power feminists seek.

It’s true that women are somewhat more sensitive to the opinions of others than men, at least to the opinions of their women friends. This is all the more reason why history makes sense and why men have occupied public positions of leadership. Even so, women aren’t nearly half as sensitive as feminists portray them to be.

The hypersensitivity attributed to women is similar to the hypersensitivity whites frequently attribute to blacks. Supposedly, blacks cannot succeed because the history books are not filled with their accomplishments. They need their self-esteem constantly boosted and even the names used to refer to them changed to remove any stigma. Ironically, numerous studies show that blacks consistently experience higher levels of self-esteem than whites. As Michael Levin wrote in his book Why Race Matters, blacks have lower levels of suicide and are significantly more inclined to answer positively to the statements: “I am an important person” or “I am entirely self-confident.” (Levin, p. 76)


                                           — Comments —

A reader writes:

She seems pretty self-confident, what do you think?

Laura writes:

Incredibly sad.

Alex A. writes:

Just a few more speculations on the subject of women’s sensitivity.

I used to think that women tended to pay more attention to the opinions of men than to the opinions of other women. I also used to suppose that (most) women dressed to look attractive to men in
general, or in the case of a single woman to please one man in particular. But I was wrong on both counts. A woman wants to impress other women, and she can tune into and communicate through an exclusively feminine wavelength when it’s expedient.

On the subject of what women wear: how are the expensive mad hats and wacky frocks worn by some upper class women at the royal wedding to be explained? Did they want to be admired or laughed at by men? Hardly likely. I assume these costumes were chosen in order to “send a message” to other women: a message I don’t understand. Or maybe the best explanation is pure exhibitionism?

I still don’t believe that women will listen to what female politicians and media women have to say with any special empathy. I’d guess that many women dismiss the idea of having a Bureau of Women’s Affairs in a government as being preposterous. Being sensitive to what other women think doesn’t seem to interfere with a woman being the severest critic of her own sex.

Laura writes:

Yes, women are their own toughest critics. But I think it is too extreme to say women only want to impress other women. Women fear the criticism of their own sex and know that other women are more attentive to the fine points of dress than most men, but it seems safe to say that many women seek the admiration of men too – if they seek the admiration of anyone.

The outrageous hats at the wedding, especially those worn by the Queen’s grandaughters, amounted to narcissistic exhibitionism. They were attention-getting gestures, a way of thumbing their noses at the event.  

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