October 2, 2009
As I’ve said before, many Western women are functionally schizophrenic. If you are a man who has married a sweet, even-tempered woman only to find yourself living with a feral, foaming creature who needs medication or a strait-jacket, you are familiar with what I say. If you are a woman who in the aftermath of her wedding day feels as if she has undergone a form of demonic possession, you too know what I mean.
Here’s the reason for this prevalent psychiatric phenomenon. Everywhere she goes, a woman is told to pursue her native talents until she has converted them by hard work and sheer wizardry into some impressive professional feat, perhaps chief of brain surgery at a metropolitan hospital or, at the very least, third grade teacher. But she must not be just any third grade teacher. She must be a teacher who so dazzles a community with her energy that she is appointed Educational Curator of the World.
At the same time, in daily news reports, a woman is told the truth. And the truth is that her children will be unhealthy, stupid and unruly if she, or some very attentive and highly-paid servant, does not pay abundant attention to them. The truth is her home will be a mess and her marriage will be a war zone if she does not have a personal staff or devote a great deal of time to these things.
The media have no problem with feeding women this pack of contradictions. In fact, they love contradictions. These inconsistencies create anxiety and psychological dependence. People keep returning to the same sources of news to try to sort it all out and to ease the very anxieties the media have fostered.
Here’s a perfect example of what I mean. In this recent story in The New York Times, Jane Brody, a woman who spent years bragging about her ability to effortlessly juggle career and family, reports that is essential for mothers to talk to their babies from birth. I agree. It is important for mothers to talk to babies. Babies are not baggage. Babies are not toys. They are human beings, often filled with curiosity and the frustrated desire to communicate.