Thursday, March 1, 2007
They say art imitates life....
I sometimes find myself shaken and pondering a certain disturbing aspect of
life, after reading a particular book or seeing a certain movie or a play.
Last night was no exception; a friend of mine and I went to see a play in
New York, being led to believe it was a comedy - it turned out to be
In reality it was a play about women and the typical issues of every single
woman that has hit a certain age. It covered everything from marriage to
children, careers to sagging body parts, wrapping things up in a neat little
package with a slight dose of bra-burning rebellion in the end. I found it
sad and disconcerting.
It was a group of women mostly in their 40's, getting together in 1968 at a
tupperware party and ending up spilling their inner most secrets, concerns
and insecurities to one another. All except one were housewives trying to
come to terms with their sole existence being bound up to the whims of their
husbands and demands of their families as their youth, desirability and
potential for a more meaningful life were slipping away. There was such a
raw emotional vulnerability in these women not just because they had no
life, no identity outside of the home but because they depended on their men
for reassurance on all their emotional needs. Of course the villain at the
root of all their problems and heart aches were clearly noted as their
husbands who were making them feel useless, invisible or unwanted. I found
it painful to listen to their grievances due to things that were out of
their control like aging and their mate's lagging attention.
I didn't particularly care for the acting in the play but was thrilled at
the chance it afforded me to finally write about something I have been
contemplating for the past two months. I first started thinking about women
and their emotional dependence on men, after watching a romantic comedy over
the new year's holiday with my nieces. It was quite different from the play
we saw last night.
The female characters portrayed in the movie were younger, single,
independent, attractive, strong career women who had already made a life for
themselves. They each had a fulfilling job, a beautiful home, without an
obvious need for anyone; as the saying goes 'they had it all' ..... well
The image of perfection in their lives were shattered due to the emotional
upheaval they were going through because of the treatment they suffered at
the hands of the men they were involved with. They were so distraught over
what they were living through that they decided to change their surroundings
completely and swap houses with each other. As the movie progressed we
watched them go from pathetic, hysterical, broken hearted females back to
the strong women they really were. I wish they had ended the movie there
but since it was a fairy tale, it had the fantasy ending with each finding
new men to make their life worth living. And we all happily bought into the
idea of 'there is hope for everyone' - hope being in the form of a man to
share your life with.
Women have come a long way from having to burn their bras to declare their
independence from an assumption of their only rightful place as being in the
home to actually becoming Supreme Court Justices or the Speaker of the House
of Representatives, from the days of being so insignificant as not having
the right to vote to actually electing a female to the highest and most
powerful position in the world, from not having any financial independence
to providing for their families single handedly.
But what about emotional independence, are those so called modern women free
from dependence on men for reassurances about their femininity, their need
for attention and love? Even the woman who might be the next president of
the United States lived through her share of heartache in front of the whole
nation. I wonder if she will develop a certain taste for interns during her
time in office???
I was reading an interview with a renown French Gynecologist and sexologist
Dr. Sylvain Mimoun, where he stated that the difference between men and
women having affairs was that a man could make love to his mistress and then
come home and do the same with his wife where as most women in the same
situation could not do that because when they loved, they loved
wholeheartedly, all their love and passion focused on that one individual.
He argued that a woman would be willing to sacrifice everything for the love
of her life where men would be content to just continue as they were.
I don't know if it just isn't in men's nature to feel as we do or if it is
due to generations of suppressing their finer sensibilities but I've
observed them to be more detached somehow. In face of situations where
there seems to be an abundance of emotions they can shrug it off to hormones
and just walk away but when the roles are reversed they seem to expect
compassion and of course we give it to them.
At this day and age women literally don't need men for anything, including
procreating. For centuries men have referred to marriage as a trap,
something to be caught in involuntarily although studies show that marriage
is more beneficial for men then women; they seem to live happier, healthier,
more fulfilling lives. I wonder why that is... I've also read a study
where they researched how men and women coped with the loss of their spouse
and found that women coped much more easily than men. Hmm....
So where does this leave us? I guess at the cliché "You can't live with
them, you can't live without them" and maybe hoping for some form of
acceptable alternative to our unquenchable emotional needs.
- For those of you interested, the play I was referring to was "Sealed for
Freshness" and the movie was "Holiday."