Monday, November 12, 2007

Empowered with Dignity

Another perhaps on-the-edge post - haven't had one of those in a while...

I was reading some erotic literature not too long ago, and I was disturbed by something. Even if women were the "strong" characters in a story, it was rare for the "weak" character to be male - where there was a strong female character giving orders, the one taking orders was usually also female. This made me wonder about two things. First, who is writing these stories? What is their point? Is whoever writes these stories trying to appeal to a certain audience (keeping in mind that this was a for-women forum)? Is he or she trying to send a message about roles in society - even a society like the one portrayed in erotic literature? Even when two women were portrayed, the strong one was the "butch" character. Is that built in because of social expectations/norms? Would it be true to say that in order for a woman to be "strong" she had to be more "male?"

Second - and related, perhaps this accurately reflects reality? Now, of course I know that erotic literature does not accurately reflect most people's reality. What I mean is that maybe women are actually writing these stories, and they are writing out their own fantasies - do they want to be dominated? Do they want to be told what to do? Do they want to be objectified? Yes, in the end, everyone gets their pleasure, but is that the route to pleasure for women? Or, at least, is that the route that these authors are telling us is their fantasy? And since people do read this, is this what appeals to the readers, as well?

Makes me think, do I want to be a strong woman? What is my fantasy, not only sexually, but in life - who am I aiming to become? What direction am I trying to take? I feel that strong woman emerging sometimes - will that be appreciated, both by myself and by those close to me? Because no matter how much my husband encourages me to be a strong woman, something in me resists this. Is it just me, or is it everyone?

I read this article yesterday, and though it's not exactly what I'm talking about, it raises a bigger, and possibly more subtle question for me. I feel that there is a difference between being a "strong woman," and the implications involved in that, and being empowered with dignity. Rabbi Boteach does not really address this in his article. He talks about being strong, and he talks about returning dignity to women, but he doesn't really explain what he's getting at, or even what he thinks would be ideal.

Personally, I do not think that I would want to be (like) Hillary Clinton. But, I would still like to be empowered, and therein lies the difference. Perhaps a woman who is empowered with dignity can choose when to shed that dignity, when to be strong and when to be weak. She can be in control, quietly. That is who I want to be. My husband always talks about how he likes that I am tz'nua (in a very encouraging and good way, not in a patronizing way), and that is who I want to be. I want to run the world from behind a curtain. I want to write anonymous bestsellers. I want to feel the love and admiration without being embarrassed by a showy public display. Sometimes I want to be in control and sometimes I don't. And I want to be able to call the shots. Empowered with dignity.


At 7:41 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Women who have powerful jobs..or have a more dominant role in life..tend to fantasize about more submissive sexual roles..
There are definitely different personalities and different dispositions..I don't know if its a question of what you want to be or not..

At 12:11 PM, Blogger SS said...

I don't get what you said at the end - I think it does have to do with what you want to do you know that women with dominant roles tend to fantasize about more submissive roles?


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