Thursday, December 02, 2010

On Being a Woman and Getting What You Want

I just watched Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, and then found the main actress Noomi Rapace fascinating and watched an interview of her by Charlie Rose. She described her character as being something women want to see, and that she is great because she doesn't take shit from anybody and she gets what she wants. I agree, but the character has been victim of so much horror, I want to think about who the woman is who simply gets what she wants in the world. Who is the empowered woman who is neither victim nor vigilante?

One major obstacle women have to face, is that in order to succeed, there are certain people who can't find you threatening. I like to say exactly how I feel and what I want. It is my gut instinct that my when wants are reasonable and honest, they must be human and justified. I usually think carefully my motivations and desires, and feel that a person can clearly determine right from wrong. When there's a gray area, even then you can usually decipher exactly what is gray about it - and you can take in such a situation with its complexities. Either way - one knows when they are being good or bad - the sad cruel ones are those who choose bad and lie to themselves that it's good. That's at the heart of evil.

So, I often feel I know when I'm doing the right thing, so I want to go out and do it. But this isn't so easy. There are many individuals in society who are fearful and threatened by all sorts of odd things. Such individuals are usually bad communicators. They adore rules more than compassion, and have poor logic. These individuals often get in the way of people, themselves or others, achieving reasonable goals. These people are often in positions of power, and even more frequently just underneath the most powerful.

So that's a bit about getting what you want and the natural obstacles therein.

Back to being a woman.

Women have endless mythologies surrounding them that color their reception first and foremost by others. It's always surprising when a woman does something strong or competent, as though it is an anomaly. As though it's special for a woman to be a fully functioning human being beyond stereotype. Wow - a woman director, a woman computer technician, a woman police officer ... a woman anything other than teacher, nurse - you get it.

In order to be heard - just normally heard and listened to - in many situations, a woman must diffuse notions that she is threatening, and she must remind those she confronts that she is a fully capable human being. For some lesbians or masculine women, the butchy thing pays off. She may be taken seriously because she is like a man, and non threatening inasmuch as she is one of the guys. In some situations she is dismissed for being unattractive. So let's take attractive, feminine women. The attractive feminine woman is well received because she is attractive and that's just plain appealing. Such a woman can get attention. Such a woman has the opportunity to meet more people, get more phone numbers, open more doors of opportunity. However, it is assumed such a woman does not posses much beyond her looks, and therefore is incompetent, or only serves sexual purposes.

The opening of doors is great - but how does one get what they want when inside?

That's the magic of the modern woman who gets what she wants. There are beautiful women who succeed in real, socially relevant ways. There's no one way, and some women fight this fabulously, and it's never easy.
Sometimes you can be who you are and say what you want to say and still get what you want - but that's when you're of the company of good people who aren't threatened. A woman getting what she wants is like a man getting what he wants - as long as she can fight her first battle with everyone she meets.

That battle is the battle of perception. Sometimes it's fun to be a wolf in sheep's clothing, but often times it gets tiring when you already know you're a damn wolf.

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