Women are amazing creations. Even before the Neolithic Ladies of Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories,” women were the givers of life, keepers of the home, protectors of the family, and sole providers for its survival in the absence of a partner. How sad it is that somewhere along the way we became confused about the capabilities of women.
I do not claim to know how this came about, but my suspicion is that a long time ago there must have been such a large population of men that they had to be given a list of jobs to do in order to keep them from running around with clubs and saber-tooth tiger teeth killing each other. Tasks were divided, and men left the dwelling ― the hope being, a day of “men’s work” would exhaust them so they had no energy left to be destructive. This practice evolved into the traditional role of men everywhere.
Of course, there were exceptions; they were called Thinkers. There were not many of them, and they were made fun of by the other men for not doing “real work” like tanning woolly mammoth carcasses or pounding large boulders into small round objects that could be used for all kinds of activities.
Some disastrous event (like an ice storm or woolly mammoth stampede) occurred and so many men were killed that women took up the tasks of hunting and gathering in order to sustain the survivors. There were some men who avoided the catastrophe (they had been in a cave somewhere pitching and tossing small, round objects). To them, the women’s assertiveness seemed like a threat and in a rare moment, something unexpected happened. The men stopped to ask the Thinkers for directions on how to prevent women from trying to take over their man territory.
The Thinkers were happy to finally be included and they came up with an ingenious caveman plan. They knew of a man who had recently started covering his feet with animal hides while working in the wilderness to keep them from being injured. The Thinkers thought this information should not be revealed to women ― the idea being, when women tried to do men’s work, their feet would become terribly sore and they would give up and go home where they belonged. The men agreed that keeping the invention a secret would solve their woman problem. The marvelous Thinkers also developed a set of best practices to ensure the creation of more men and prevent a shortage from ever happening again. Men eagerly got busy putting their new moves in play, and in no time at all, the population of men returned to an acceptable number.
Meanwhile back at the cave, women had to figure out what to do with all of those new people. Pleased with the success of their first strategy, the Thinkers (now calling themselves the Council) rolled out an education plan. Boys were taught to hunt, fish, build a fire, and a few other things. Girls were taught to cook, clean, nurse the sick, garden, preserve food for winter, make thread and cloth, sew the cloth together, chop firewood (so they could actually have a fire when they needed it), craft earthen containers in which they could store clean water, and hundreds of other things. Somewhere along the way it was also determined that girls needed to look good while doing all of these things. And so the cycle began.
Of course, the Thinkers’ plan backfired on the men. Footwear eventually became available to women.
In fact, women made their way out into the wilderness wearing some god-awful things men could not possibly have endured. It became common knowledge that women could in fact do “men’s work” and this realization freed the men up to go back to killing each other. There were some population explosions before women decided it was time for some control measures. By then, the men had completely given up asking for directions.
Yes, women are amazing creations. We love men. We give our support, our hearts, and our resources to them for even a hope that our love will be returned. One other thing ― It is disappointing to see women treating women badly. I was talking with a friend of mine about the passive-aggressive manipulating, condescending, controlling, and sometimes outright meanness we have both witnessed in organizations as employees and volunteers; not only by women in the ranks, but also by those in positions of leadership. We concluded that their behavior must be a learned self-preservation response to some form of abuse or neglect they have suffered. Otherwise, why would a person who is designed by nature to build relationships, demonstrate compassion, and value inclusion act like such a huge bitch?
6 thoughts on “Summoning The Strength: The Preface”
Wow some very astute, creative concepts here. How we came to be who we are as women and why women do that ridiculous “catty” thing to one another. Loved it, Honie.
Thanks Brigitte. That was one of two attempts to be Kiplingesk in the book. The other is the poem at the end. I wrote it for all of my sisters. Biological and otherwise.
Haha, if the history of everything and anything was written like this I’d be a history buff in no time. But I do share your confusion as to why women beat down other women. It’s weird to say the least. But for me it’s a jealousy thing, I guess? Or a competition/popularity thing. This is why I like hanging out with boys more than girls. I don’t get women, despite being one. The way my mind and personality works is more stereotypically male. (I don’t catch “hints”. I can’t multi-task. If you want something, freaking say it because if you try to be roundabout about it you’re going to lose me. My body language reading skills leave a lot to be desired).
In one way I’m thankful for the way I see the world, because it’s less complicated, and in another it makes me wish I wasn’t so I could at least understand people a little better.
Peaches, that means the world to me.