RE: Owning as cultural baggage

From: altamira (
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 16:04:12 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> Here's one issue that is a tangent to the smartness issue, that I
> want to mention.
> My career path (passion) is in a field where there are mostly folks
> of the other gender. It's not something that I can do anything about,
> and it's not even something I notice. After the third week of working
> homework sets as a freshman with my male classmates, the fellows become
> simply classmates (or like "brothers"). After 20 years of working
> with mostly fellows, it's even less of an issue for me.

Kat (my daughter who, incidentally has given me permission to write about
her on this list) was just telling me a few days ago that she prefers
hanging out with guys rather than girls, because the guys usually do more
interesting things--eg. when the kids go to a nearby river, the guys go into
the water while the girls tend to sit around on the banks.

With a few notable exceptions, such as my cousin Lizzie (do I need to
apologize for bringing her up so often? I'm still grieving over her death
and missing her was exactly 4 years ago yesterday that she was
killed) I've generally preferred to hang out with guys for pretty much the
same reason as Kat. For a long time I denied my womanhood, spoke of other
women as "them." It's only been in the past 16 years or so, since I became
a mother, that I've been able to accept the feminine side of myself. I
mentioned the dream of the lioness offline to you, Amara--that dream was a
major turning point for me.

It began to get very confusing after I and my guy friends reached puberty,
and it still is confusing. I often find myself behaving in a cooler manner
than I naturally would, because I fear giving the wrong impression. There
have been too many times when I looked into a man's eyes and touched his
hand (sometimes even just by accident) and was misunderstood. Such
misunderstandings can be awkward at best and can sometimes spoil

I've always had a personal rule never to get romantically involved with
people I work with, and I still think it's a good rule. But for people who
spend most of their time at work, it can be a tough one. I think there must
be a way that inter-sex relationships could be defined so that they didn't
lead to such problems. But what might that definiation be? We're all so
heavily steeped in our culture that it's hard to see out.

> I've since learned that I can't do very much about other people's fears,
> and now looking back, the situation looks silly, (or maybe it's a good
> litmus test), but at the time, I know it was difficult for me. And I
> wonder if I would have had the same kind of insecurities if my partner
> worked in a female-dominated career field?

Ugh! The whole romantic thing makes me feel yucky. It's not the only way
to go. There's a book, _Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman_ by
Marjorie Shostak which is a transcription and English translation of a
series of interviews with a middle aged !Kung woman. This woman laughed in
amazement when she was told that in our culture women get angry and jealous
of each other over men. "Men!? They feel jealousy over *men*??" She
couldn't imagine! The glut of romantic comedies and other romantic stuff I
see at the video rental store saddens me. Oh! How I long for something more

> Artemis is by far my strongest archetype. It's persisted strongly
> over the last 25 years. I like my Athena and Aphrodite sides too
> though. A four-week-old homeless black kitten arrived out of nowhere
> on my doorstep this week. Irresistable and adorable. Now my Demeter
> side is kicking in.

I have a large slice of me that's Demeter! And *ofcourse* Pomona. But Inana
always has to come out and howl at the moon from time to time.


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