When I was growing up, I always felt sympathy for the disadvantaged and those weaker then me, for as long as I can remember. That is why as I entered my teens I adopted a feminist philosophy naturally. I felt sorry for women and girls, who were stuck in a world that valued them less, and made them powerless. And to add insult to injury, after the world took away their rights, paid them less and beat them up, it gave them exacting standards about how they can look and how they should act, and then said they were worthless if they were less then perfect.
I don't know where I got this idea, perhaps from a mixture of general 60's rhetoric about the wretched of the earth and from reading YM and Seventeen and their descriptions of meaness and sex hungry, insensitive boyfriends.
Anyway, this ideology was so deeply ingrained in me that I didn't seem to consider the fact that I didn't notice any women who seemed to be chronically beat down and self-loathing. There was a few who suffered from bouts of depression from what was actual mental illness, most of the woman I knew seemed to be well adjusted, happy and succesful.
Now that I am well past my high school years and most of the women my age are either in college or graduate school, I have to say that the idea of women being somehow in a constant state of fear and depression is ridiculous. Most of the women I know are interested in getting a good job or getting into a good graduate school, or pursuing some worthy interest. I don't know many women who are more then trivially concerned with their weight, their clothing or whether or not they have a boyfriend. None of them seem to be haunted by some kind of notion that they are worthless or inferior.
So, my question is, where did this myth that women are prone to depression and low self esteem and that they are socially powerless get started? Is it totally a myth created by a half dozen womens magazines because they needed some pathos to move copies? Is it a remainder from the past years of an agricultural based economy, when men an economic neccesity, strength-in-the-fields, as it were?
Or perhaps all the bright, succesful seemingly happy women that I know are secretly falling apart inside, crying themselves to bed everynight because they can't be Liv Tyler? And that perhaps they don't try to seek help or sympathy from men because they know that we are the predators that we are?