Conditioning goes very deep...
A few weeks ago I read about one of our political figures, and how his behavior towards women was tolerated as ‘it’s just what it is…he always does that. He means no harm.’
And what was brought to light is that sometimes he would say things about women to men (among several other reported inappropriate behaviors), that assumed that men needed to ‘take care of the women in their lives’ because obviously the women were ‘so beautiful’ that other men would descend upon these beautiful, helpless women. And someone needed to protect the women—that would be the big ‘bad’ burly men in their lives.
As I read the article, I made the realization that conditioning goes very very deep, and sometimes we (me) are unaware of it, until a light goes off.
So a light went off. A HUGE light! (Yes, I was sitting here—stunned at myself.)
I have often seen photos of my friend’s kids on Facebook. It is always the little girls, young girls, and teens, that people make the most comments about. I found myself thinking the same thoughts as this political figure (!!!).
Yep, I too was conditioned, as a child, to think that men were needed in order to take care of girls and women. And that was why you married a man. He was supposed to ‘take care of you.’ And never even a consideration or mention if you happened to be non-straight. It was just assumed that women married men and men married women. (Again, conditioning).
And if you were a woman, of course, you were to provide ‘the man’ all the comforts of home, and he had a right to have sex when ever he wanted—(of course this one never fit for me…lol), and neither did the home stuff. And I learned to take care of myself too. I learned to fight in my 20’s. I wanted to be able to defend myself. I wasn’t interested in competition, tournaments, the ring, etc., although I did a small amount of competition because my teachers thought it would be a good idea. Never really interested me. And that is another story for another time.
Thus, why would I still have this deep belief about women needing men to protect us? I lived my life independently, even when I had a male partner. I never followed the norms set forth for women by old-school thinkers. This is California after all. And the West Coast to boot! We are independent women, coming out of the 60’s movement of freeing ourselves from all the constraints of society. Making our own rules. Living the lives we want to live.
And here I am (and have been my entire adult life), teaching self-defense, teaching women to stand up for ourselves, to be strong, we-can-take-care-of-ourselves-thank you very much, and basically being our own badass bosses of our lives. Why in the world did I think that young girls would need protection from their dads and other men in their lives? WHOA!
Did I really believe this? Where was this coming from? This reaction came so quick and automatic. Trying to be funny? Saying what others thought? Speaking as if I was clueless about women’s empowerment, and girls power? I responded that way on FB a couple times, but even two times is too much. It shows that somewhere I still held this old outdated belief. But where?! It came from a place of wanting to say that these young girls and women were cute, beautiful, or whatever, and I suppose attempting to be funny on some level.
Not funny. At all. I failed girls and women both of these times. I did. Many others might not see this, or realize it. I do. I see it—failure, and I own it.
Instead, I should have said, ‘she better learn how to fight.’ Why, because it is a way of thinking and being in the world. I was saying things that were defeating to women’s power and girls power. How dare I?! How dare I?!! Yes, that is conditioning. I was so conditioned to think this way from the time I was a little girl. It was deep in my subconscious. Now, it’s no excuse.
I’m telling you this because everyone has room for improvement, continuously. When someone says to me “I’m not racist” or “I’m not homophobic” or “I’m not…xyz,” I automatically say to myself, yes you are. Now I will also have to add, ‘and let me check in.’ What’s there? What’s really there? How deep am I willing to see.
Contact me if you want to have a closer glimpse of how I can help you transform your beliefs about your own strength, power, and confidence to be who you want to me in this world.
Clara E Minor
MINORSAN Self-Defense & Fitness