Conditioning is the process of consciously and unconsciously drip feeding a set of beliefs. I live in the west in 21st Century. It may feel like some things we have been led to believe are ‘the truth’ but change time or change location and you’ll see a different set of beliefs that totally contradict what we have been taught.
These are the things I was conditioned to believe about being a woman from my family of origin, my faith tradition, and my culture.
1) Women are supposed to be beautiful.
2) Beautiful means thin and smooth and young and generally tiny.
3) Women are supposed to follow the status quo. Questioners have their femininity brought into question.
4) Women are supposed to be all things to all people. Allegedly it’s what we fought for, the freedom to choose. Strangely, men have always had the freedom to choose, but tend to not be all things to all people.
5) Only beautiful women are allowed to be proud of their bodies (see#2 for the only women this applies to).
6) Only beautiful women deserve sex and are considered ‘sexy’. If a women feels attractive and doesn’t fit the bill, it’s okay to mock her and say rude things about her.
7) Beautiful women may succeed, however they will probably be accused of various things including using their beauty to get where they are. Beautiful women have doors open to them by men, as long as they play by the rules.
8) Women are still considered to have done better if they marry and have children. Being single and without children is ‘lesser’, like something broken to be fixed.
9)Taking medicine to ease the pain of child birth is ‘cheating’. Giving a child formula milk is also cheating. Getting help with children is cheating. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable.
10) Not looking like you did before having a child is a failure. Being proud of your post baby body is wrong (see #5).
11) Our bodies belong to men – they decide if we fit in or don’t, if we’re attractive or not, if we can stay at home with children or not, if we are worthy of sex or not, or must have sex. In some cases they even get to decide if we are allowed to make decisions about our bodies such as carrying children, and in the worst cases men get to decide if a woman lives or dies.
12) Women should look after the house, the children and the husband. Whether they work or not.
13) Women should not want to have sex more than men, or over initiate sex. Or talk about sex – this is crass. Let’s not even get to enjoying sex…
14) Women should sacrifice. All. The. Time. Also, they shouldn’t complain about this. It is their role.
15) Women should not leave marriages. Unless her husband has sex with someone else.
16) Women are lesser than men. They are expected to submit.
17) Women who argue with these rules are ‘feminists’. That is not a positive word in many circles. It means argumentative and difficult and faithless and unattractive.
18) Women do not need to be thanked for all they do. It is simply expected. It is almost impossible to over achieve – because doing full whole days of looking after everyone is simply expected. Under achievement is easy.
19) Women should not be in authority to men.
20) Women cannot be trusted with certain jobs and roles because theur female-ness precludes them. This is usually because they are considered less strong and capable, but more emotional and woo-woo. Emotions and woo-woo are bad.
21) Women should stay home whilst their men provide for them. They do not need independence or autonomy. An autonomous woman is not to be trusted.
25) God is a man. This means men are more like God than women. Women screwed up (literally) early on in the bible. They deserve to be seen as dangerous and likely to cause trouble, especially when they are not covered by a male ‘head’.
The number of these actively at play in my world: 23/25
The number of these I am actively questioning or in total disagreement with: 25/25
This is a heads up. I am breaking the rules.