Shame and Self Control

I had to read a book for my Latin American Lit class that got me thinking about how shame and guilt shapes society.  My first reaction is to be completely against the guilt and shame forced on women.  It's ridiculous how we were treated as weaker and dumber for so long.  Then I realized something else.  Men taught us how to have self control by oppressing us.

:: DISCLAIMER - don't bother with "not all men" or "not all women" statements because duh ::

Men are awful at self control.  They're never told to deny themselves any impulse.  The culture tells them to drink in excess, have sex with whomever they can, eat whatever they want, dress how they want, watch porn and go to strip clubs, pleasure themselves at any moment or any place.  Men get to be celebrated for taking naps on the couch with their hands down their pants.  If a man stays at home with the kids it's some huge event!  They know nothing about the kids' schooling or doctor's appointments... all Daddy needs to do is discipline.  Everything seems to be their "right" as men.  They're defended constantly like they are somehow less evolved.  The poor things can't help themselves.

Women are taught to be modest and demure.  We're told to keep our legs together and be picky about who we let into our beds.  We're bombarded with body images that require self denial and dieting.  We're told not to draw attention to ourselves, lest we invite rape.  The expectations of motherhood demand we sacrifice all our time and energy into teaching, cooking, cleaning, nurturing.  Our entire social structure was based on self denial, which is a constant practice in self control.  We're masters of our impulses.

So what do I see happening now?  Women aren't demure and silent anymore.  Men aren't slaves to the whims of testosterone anymore.  We are partners and we're teaching each other valuable lessons.  Men teach women how to be confident and give ourselves breaks and how to say yes to our impulses sometimes.  Women are teaching men self control and self sacrifice and how to let themselves feel emotion.  We're rewriting the social norms to fit our new lifestyles and parenting styles.  We are evolving together, which is the only real way feminism can be successful.  You can't remove women from traditional and vital roles in our culture without someone filling that gap.  Now we all are stepping up.  It's cool to see.

Society is in a constant state of evolution.  At any time YOU are part of amazing changes taking place.  Everyone is always a part of history.  We're all important :)
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