It used to be said, “a large woman makes people feel uncomfortable.” I phrased it “used to” because those words put the responsibility of someone else’s discomfort onto someone else. She should take no responsibility for how others feel.
But listen to a group of women. Talking amongst themselves, they will have their own thing going. Then have anyone drift into that group’s personal space, just passing by a little too close, brushing up against a shoulder enough to drop a phone, or maybe even have a man barge right in like parting the Red Sea. Unless they are a biker gang or a gathering of Cosplay grabbing lunch at the mall, the women will most likely accommodate the intruder and pick up the phone for him, as the phrase “I’m sorry” escapes the women’s mouths like sweater moths out of a winter storage box. I notice this even mtn biking too, in social settings that involve a group riding single file, even if its all these tough women. There might be a technical feature that slows a rider, perhaps a log or hole where no one gets hurt, and a spectator standing there will hear, “Sorry.” ‘sorry.” “I’m sorry” Sorr-ry.” “sorry!” chirping from most of the women as the line rides by. Please prove me wrong.
Many women habitually apologize for their very existence. Not the quiet, unobtrusive existence, the one that’s socially acceptable since the only thing she says is “I’m sorry.” Those words are ok. Unless other people want her to be assertive, then the modest one isn’t ok. No Apologies Necessary.
In these modern days, women don’t have to apologize for exhibiting the assertive confident existence anymore, thank goodness. That one’s ok, unless she should sit down and shut up when the assertive one isn’t ok. We don’t need facts when they are just her opinion; she’s too Intense.
Girls learn to apologize for the existence that disappoints others (making mistakes defined by someone else), or gets in the way (of someone else), slows down (other people), or rushes (other people), eats too much (of other people’s food) doesn’t clean enough (leave it better than we found it), or just generally all around not fulfilling expectations … In other words, women learn to apologize for being human. “I’m sorry,” repeated so often, a woman will apologize for that too. This is not her fault.
Like my mtn biking friends, many women habitually apologize without even a thought. Somehow we learned it is diplomatically polite to believe inconvenience is our fault. If there are dirty dishes on the counter, or a diaper rash appears, whose fault is it? (hint: Men “help” with the housework.)
Oprah spent years holding her own in a culture that focused on her appearance. She once said in response to the daily attention her weight drew, that a woman’s size represents her presence.
Her size represented her confidence, because she wore it confidently. Her size was threatening to the patriarchy, because a woman just can’t have all that confident presence all on her own. People focused on her dress size instead of the empowering messages she was lofting through suburban doors, past the broom closet, and over the din of soap operas. She came on the tv schedule at 4:00, when housewives should have been in the kitchen preparing dinner to the irritation of their husbands. “Quit watching Oprah,” my first husband used to tell me with a sneer, the union sheet metal worker from the midwest who said he would never touch dishwater. Oprah woke me up. In a culture where a woman’s large presence would be something to be ashamed of, she was the example of a sizable woman confident with herself with no apologizes. She had more.
This isn’t fair. She should have had to earn positive self-esteem. She shouldn’t have just been able to declare her own positive self-esteem, Was it justified? Why is she so confident; what are the reasons she felt good about herself? Because its society’s business to tell her if she deserved it or not. Apparently, metabolism and genetics have become some sort of self-control issue, and we certainly couldn’t trust a powerful woman with self-control issues. Just think, with that much money and that much influence, she might just spontaneously give stuff away, to whoever she wants to.
Just like Kenyetta Wilbourn-Snapp provided for her students, but then got indicted for Tax evasion. On the surface of things, a Mazeratti might seem over the top, but that car meant a particular something to those students, and you would have to grow up in a Detroit ghetto to know. At the time, Mazerattti Rick was a dealer, flamboyant with his wealth and influence, drawing kids into the business as the only option they could even see. Kenyetta was given reins to one of the most dangerous, poorly funded school districts in the nation. How else was she to be an example to those kids, to show the smart ones that an education from such a place wouldn’t be a waste of time? When a young couple would need transportation to the Prom, she let them borrow the Mazeratti, instilling trust in the bargain.
A woman’s size represents her presence? Petite and feisty, she patrolled that high school with a baseball bat. She didnt need a gun.
Has our culture come to this, standing Everywoman onto her own 1″ high-heel pedestal, examining her “assets,” parceling out a woman’s presence from her body?
A woman’s body REPRESENTS her presence.
as if her body could STAND IN FOR HER self.
As if her body was not even hers. Which means the space her body occupies was not hers either, because it is merely representing the best she could be. She is representing cultural expectations, her parent’s expectations, her future man’s expectations, her man’s expectations… She would have to be an angel to live up to that. And I mean both kinds, obedient and or fallen, depending on those very expectations.
Lets consider that she have her own expectations, by and of herself, if she would even be allowed that. Would a young girl be a disappointment if she didn’t have particular, typically unselfish, expectations of herself? Disappointing to whom? Where has she learned that she isn’t good enough on her own, if not from her parents? TV? At least my generation had Mr Rogers. Now they have what, Tiaras for Toddlers? Why should it matter? Can a girl just ever be “good enough.”
As she is maturing, if under unrealistic expectations, how will a girl know what traits should fill that space? If she does not even know herself by just being herself, what traits would impress her enough to model herself after, or ask to be a mentor? Who TF knows? She certainly doesn’t, and hopefully no man. If she doesnt know herself, would she then feel like an eternal fraud?
At this point, only a God could know who she really is. And one should hope that God is an infinitely caring God like a Father type God, yes? I apologize, my faith digresses into imagination.
I’m speaking of how most girls are being raised today. This is reality. With so many Pink Barbie Princess Angel Baby Personas to choose from in every aisle, what more could a girl aspire to be?
Enter Shame imprinting into her psyche, with guilt associated with her human failings, into her shadow-self being, allowed to speak in the form of an apology. Her justified self, the identity that has permission to exist, survives with a voice and without shame only through validation from others.
Who is not encouraged to represent that girl’s body-shaped space? Her independent, undefinable, natural, human, ineffable Self.
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Hey Good Father, who am I? Haven’t we had enough of shame? Its a rather useless emotion after all. Is it even an emotion in the first place?
Dear, this article from Psychology Today says Shame is A Concealed, Contagious, and Dangerous Emotion.
“As a self-conscious emotion, shame informs us of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, regret, or disconnection. Shame is a clear signal that our positive feelings have been interrupted. Another person or a circumstance can trigger shame in us, but so can a failure to meet our own ideals or standards. Given that shame can lead us to feel as though our whole self is flawed, bad, or subject to exclusion, it motivates us to hide or to do something to save face. So it is no wonder that shame avoidance can lead to withdrawal or to addictions that attempt to mask its impact.
In fact, we’ll most likely conceal what we feel because…
shame does not make a distinction between an action and the self.
Therefore, with shame, “bad” behavior is not separate from a “bad” self as it is with guilt. Shame is often confused with guilt–an emotion when we feel remorseful and wish to make amends. Where we will likely have an urge to admit guilt, or talk with others about a situation that left us with guilty feelings, it is much less likely that we will broadcast our shame.”
Why would I have to “broadcast” shame? Someone else projected that. Why agree with an accuser? I’m done with that word. Shame is out. I’m an artist anyway. I have creative license.
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I read a while ago that the original Greek meaning of the word “apology” is basically an explanation. Cut and dried. Thats it. No regret, no guilt, and no shame involved. “This is what happened.”
So how did that old word come to mean the following?
noun: apology; plural noun: apologies
1. a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.
“we owe you an apology”
synonyms: expression of regret, one’s regrets “I owe you an apology”
used to express formally one’s regret at being unable to attend a meeting or social function.
“apologies for absence were received from Miss Brown”
2.a very poor or inadequate example of.
“we were shown into an apology for a bedroom”
Regardless of gender, it seems as if even “defending oneself” has taken on an air of guilt… As in, why do you need your own space? or privacy? What do you have to hide? Paranoia? Here’s a tape of your phone conversations tapped by the father of your two young daughters, as he tells you, “I don’t like who you’re talking with or what you’re saying about me. If you leave, I will tell everyone you’re crazy and take your children away.”
Would you be paranoid? Defend yourself now.
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Its a H-ll of a Day in the Neighborhood.
(A puppet show performed by a kind, intelligent, confident woman, in a set however the reader wishes to imagine. Hopefully, the reader’s imagination is inspired.)
The word Apology has grown old believing it must say its sorry, habitually defending itself by shouldering blame. It appears even the act of apologizing has been thrown in the corner, like a used up Peter Pan finally getting disciplined and his shadow tossed right with him.
Shame has been accusing Apology of being bad, before it could even have its say.
Apology, the author is taking you out of the corner now, so don’t feel sorry. What has happened to your confidence in the past two thousand years?
If Apology was treated with respect, it wouldn’t have to grow old feeling guilty.
If Apology didn’t have to avoid a painful punishment, it wouldn’t feel defensive all the time, in Fight or Flight mode that doesnt allow contentment. Apologies wouldn’t have to be in the position of reacting before being allowed to have a voice. Explaining one’s self could be assertive instead of defensive.
In other words:
If a girl’s failures under unrealistic expectations require her to apologize, but exceeding them doesn’t, then merely expressing her self implies guilt. A shadow self develops from self-protection. As shame is instilled with defensiveness into her being, a girl would have have difficulty developing the maturity to be assertive instead of defensive.
When her body represents her presence, then she would have difficulty developing the maturity to protect her body as well.
(This Poem is dedicated to Dr Rogers, Commanding Officer of the psyche ward that tried to keep me safe for 8 months, after a concussion left me with what the Dr. said was the emotional maturity of a three year old in a 19 year old body. Btw, whatever happened to that Corpsman on the ward who took me out on a “date.” What kind of protection was that? Yeah, even in the hospital, MeToo.)
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here’s the third part of Apology’s definition, the part that doesn’t tote guilt along:
3. a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.
“a specious apology for capitalism”
synonyms: defense of, explanation of, justification of, vindication of, apologia for
“an apology for capitalism”
Whoa. An Apology doesn’t have to feel guilty when its explaining a religion?
And when apologies are in order, capitalism is just a theory, and gets a free ride from guilt too?
So let me get this straight. When people apologize, we’ve been taught to feel guilty. Plus, women have somehow grown accustomed to feeling sorry for their presence, for just being human instead of embodying some imaginary angel, or devil, or C-cup Superhero, … Where would people learn this method of indoctrination? From a book where the punishment for a minor virgin girl being raped is that her body is quartered and scattered to four corners of the wilderness, as far as the Earth goes? Isn’t this obvious?
And now religious doctrines get a free ride from feeling guilt? The very same doctrines that have been teaching women for the past two thousand years that the shame of all humanity is our fault, from the time of woman’s first curiosity?
Who thinks up these words?