RE: Owning as cultural baggage (was: Is Eugenics Really A Bad Thing?)

From: altamira (
Date: Thu Jul 06 2000 - 16:44:59 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:

> On an issue like "owning", I think it's many-layered, and one might
> want to try to separate the:
> * hardwired aspect
> * personal preference aspect
> * cultural aspect
> * government aspect
> (if the two have a legal arrangement i.e. legal marriage)
> and then see where the "owning" come from. I suspect the
> cultural aspect is very big.

The "owning" is not all on the part of the men, of course. Many women want
to "own" their spouses or SO's as well. The lesbian couples I know have
this same problem with owning each other. I've said that I prefer having
women as housemates, but this may well be because the women I've lived with
have been friends rather than lovers. Where I've had male housemates who
were not lovers, they were as pleasant to live with as women, except that
they didn't tend as much to do things like pick bouquets of flowers for the
house and make scones and trifle.

What I found difficult to bear about marriage, and why I bailed even though
my husband was a wonderful person, was the way in which it made
can I say this?...predictable? stable? These are things that many people
WANT in their lives, but I hated the feeling that I couldn't decide on the
spur of the moment to take off for a weekend in Mexico, and especially I
hated never being alone. I seem to have a requirement for a certain minimum
amount of solitude, but when I tried to go off by myself my husband would
think I was angry with him--which I soon would be when he kept pressing me
to be with him.

A lot of this is personal to me, and though it may have something to do with
the cultural position of women relative to men, it may have more to do with
my own greater than usual need for solitude and self-direction. When I left
my husband, I resolved never to inflict myself on another man ever again,
and I've pretty much held to that resolution. Sometimes, though, I wish it
didn't have to be so.

> It's hard to get past heavy cultural conditioning. Many younger
> girls (for example: teenage) are conditioned that one of their life
> goals "should" be to get married and raise a family.
> conditioning could be (and often is) at odds with the goal of
> building a career. The conditioning can go deep for the girl too, in
> this way: "I am not a whole person unless I have a husband." Or "His
> career is more important than my career."

Along these lines, I remember my mother saying to me when I was 12 or 13,
"You're probably going to have a hard time finding a husband. It'll be hard
for you to find a man who's smarter than you." At the time I thought, "Why
the heck would I want to find a man who's smarter than me?" but later, of
course, I realized it was because the man was supposed to be the boss, and
who wants to be bossed around by someone who's not as smart.

> I think that one can "de-condition" oneself in the cultural aspect
> of the gender-roles in living together relationships, but because
> the roles played are often played unconsciously, "de-conditioning"
> oneself is hard work. One has to be ultra-aware to catch oneself
> playing those roles. I know that I fell into a lot of traps where I
> was playing roles that were based on some cultural biases, and many
> of those roles were not beneficial to me.

Did you find yourself falling into the roles on your own, setting yourself
up, so to speak, or did your husband steer you into the roles? My husband
was never angry or violent, but he would try to make me feel guilty for not
spending enough time with him (and he often succeeded; in fact I feel guilty
at this very moment, for hurting him by leaving--and it's been 11 years)

> Some communities that I'm curious about for living together
> relationships are the gay and lesbian communities. Do specific roles
> exist for each person in those partnerships? What are they, and how
> are they defined?

I considered trying a lesbian lifestyle, and got to be friends with some
lesbians. But I found that their relationships tended to be every bit as
flawed along the same lines as their heterosexual counterparts. I also
found that I wasn't interested in being lovers with women; whether that's
something I was born with or whether it's purely from the cultural taboo, I
haven't figured out. From watching other animals, I would think that we all
have bisexual tendencies.

> I agree with you, but we should probably state the time periods. The
> matriarchal cultures existed some many thousands of years ago, and I
> read that it really flourished between 3000 and 1200 B.C. in Sumer,
> Egypt, and the Mediterranean basin. The patriarchal cultures, then
> began to dominate couple of thousand years ago.

I've read different theories about this. Even cultures which had
matrilineal descent reckoning often have male domination of females.
There's a very wonderful book called _In the Wake of the Goddesses_ that
examines how the Jewish attitude towards women changed over time and
discusses the other cultures which existed when the Jewish culture was
young. Very thoroughly research and well documented.

> And some of the mythical transformations were a little bit bizarre.
> Athena, the Old European Bird Goddess, was eventually transformed
> into a militarized figure carrying a shield and wearing a helmet,
> and in the later myths she was born from the head of Zeus. Other
> goddesses who, before, could create on their own without help from
> the male deities, gradually changed into brides, wives, and
> daughters who could only create after intercourse with a god.

I always fancied Artemis, goddess of hunt and moon. And Inana. "Inana,
great light, lioness."
I HAVE found the old myths empowering. It definitely makes a difference in
my outlook on life to realize that being a strong woman is not something
abnormal or "deformed." Once someone asked my daughter if she wasn't afraid
staying out in the woods with just her mother and no man to protect us. My
daughter answered, "No, I have complete confidence in my mother." She had a
nightmare once in which there was a monster that was killing people.
Everyone was afraid of the monster, but I went out and killed it and brought
the carcass in to cook and eat. I love that dream. It has mythical

See "Inana and Enki"

"I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter; may ...... not ......." Holy
Inana received heroism, power, wickedness, righteousness, the plundering of
cities, making lamentations, rejoicing. "In the name of my power, in the
name of my abzu, I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter; may ...... not

Holy Inana received deceit, the rebel lands, kindness, being on the move,
being sedentary. "In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will
give them to holy Inana, my daughter; may ...... not ......."

Holy Inana received the craft of the carpenter, the craft of the
coppersmith, the craft of the scribe, the craft of the smith, the craft of
the leather-worker, the craft of the fuller, the craft of the builder, the
craft of the reed-worker. "In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu,
I will give them to holy Inana, my daughter; may ...... not ......."

Holy Inana received wisdom, attentiveness, holy purification rites, the
shepherd's hut, piling up glowing charcoals, the sheepfold, respect, awe,
reverent silence. "In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will
give them to holy Inana, my daughter; may ...... not ......."

Holy Inana received the bitter-toothed (?) ......, the kindling of fire, the
extinguishing of fire, hard work, ......, the assembled family, descendants.
"In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will give them to holy
Inana, my daughter; may ...... not ......."

Holy Inana received strife, triumph, counselling, comforting, judging,
decision-making. "In the name of my power, in the name of my abzu, I will
give them to holy Inana, my daughter; may ...... not ......." Holy Inana
received ......, ......,
about 78 lines missing "


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