reading Our Father, by Marilyn French

“I wanted to command attention the way he did, learned how to do it too, Clare said I had it down, but not the same, they don’t listen to me the same way, it’s different.  They liked listening, looking up to him, elder statesman.  They don’t like listening to me.”  p22

“Oh, why didn’t I go?  Nobody asked me.” p110

Because we’ve been taught from the beginning that we must not ask, we must wait.  Wait for a man to ask us to the prom, to ask us out for a drink, dinner, a date, marriage.  Along with the convention that those events are supposedly of utmost importance in a woman’s life, it’s no wonder we grow up waiting to be asked for — everything.  Jobs, membership on task forces and projects, raises, promotions, clients … all the things that put us on the ladder, and help us ascend, to status and income.

Imagine a world in which boys were reprimanded for asking, we taught they must wait—  Well, full stop there. 

And imagine, of course, that women seldom ask them for anything of importance because, well, men just aren’t that important, except as escorts in one way or another …

And it’s not just that.  The few of us who do ask are told ‘no’ (if our asking is indeed acknowledged, ‘heard’…).  (And note, we don’t respond to rejection with a shooting spree.) 

So often, we eventually stop.

“Is that all I am to him, a shudder in the loins?  Is that all fatherhood is?” p216

“Poor kid, what must that feel like, your own father doesn’t even have the interest to lay eyes on you.”  p216

“All I want is some answers. … I don’t care about the money.” p222

“You’re asking for something he doesn’t want to give.” p223

No, more likely, something he doesn’t have.  I dare say we impute too much self-awareness to men on issues like this.

“He was so powerful things just appeared before him when he wanted them.” p227

Right.  Men don’t even have to ask.  And women don’t ask.  Partly because they’ve been taught all their lives not to; we’re supposed to just wait … See above.  And partly because when we do ask, we don’t get what we’re asking for anyway.  See This is what happens, Chris Wind.

“… that you and generations of men before you felt that incest was their prerogative, their right—that fathers own the bodies of their daughters as they do those of their wives and slaves.  And that they believe they have the right to own other human beings, to control them, that indeed, they define manhood as the ability to control others.” p296 (my emphasis)

“… you [the father who raped her when she was a child, telling her the whole time that he loved her…] destroyed utterly my ability to discriminate love from power, sex from submission.  You ruined my emotional life.  Forever.”  p300

Does that explain the possibly increasing preference for ‘rough’ sex?

“This left me with a sense of helplessness and inferiority—a sense that I have no existence, don’t matter—that I will have to battle as long as I live.”  p302

Don’t need to rape your daughters to do that.  Just ignore and belittle them from the moment they’re born until they finally get the fuck out of your house.

“Even though I never harmed you—after all, I have no responsibility for my own existence, my ow birth—and never wished you ill, you have condemned me to eternal shadowhood and pain.”  p303

Indeed.  Men, why do you create something in order to ignore it, abandon it, to hurt it so?  Because perverse ‘masculinity’ requires it.  And you buy it.  Masculinity.

“I don’t have to have another husband.  The thought shocked her into utter stillness.”  p318

Pity more women don’t realize that at eighteen.  In our current society, we don’t need to marry a man.  End of story.  Take advantage of that! 

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