This conversation has been introduced at an interesting time in my life. Much as I like to think of myself as progressive, awake and aware, I am looking back at a history of subtle, but aggressive misogyny that explains why some women have felt the need to be very careful around me.
I know that there are times that I have invited my wife to play the part of my mother, which she effectively avoids, but doesn’t tell me how she feels about what I am doing, at least some of the time. When I let myself know what I am doing, I don’t like it either. The recent emphasis on mansplaining has been very telling to me, since I recognized my participation in it and my discomfort with the basic sense of condescension behind it.
This comes, of course, as a response to my history with my mother and the other older women in my young life. I know this, but I don’t always know how it plays out in my aggression or my difficulty in being aware of when I am being criticized, since criticism was just the menu for the day.
I also wonder what the mechanism is that makes whole cultures afraid of women. What threat do they represent? This is true of many different countries, including the United States. What would we lose by being equal partners? So much to learn…