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#696125 - 06/17/11 11:10 AM Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any?
Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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We had a discussion going in another thread where it was posited that all women are naturally soft / nurturing, implying that this was different from how all men are.

I'm enrolled in a college program at the moment and my minor is in sociology so there have been many courses, readings, and discussions on how different cultures view the role of women. Certainly there are some cultures which "train" their women to be meek, mild, and supportive. But there are also cultures which "train" their women to be strong and goal-oriented.

Studies done with adults and infants show that if you hand the average group of adults in the US a baby and say "this is a boy" that the adults - even ones who claim they treat boys and girls exactly the same - will be more energetic with the boy. They'll be more quiet and soft with the girl.

So certainly someone who grows up in a community with all "soft" women might come to believe that this is a natural state for all women around the globe. They have been trained in the role of women by their community and the women have all accepted that training.

However, I imagine that most of us also know of women who do not fall into this stereotype. They grew up in a different culture, or they rebelled against their current culture, or perhaps they had a role model in their life and chose to follow it.

So I'm curious what examples we can come up with! Think of women you've met or heard about who do *not* fit a stereotype of the 50s woman sitting at home waiting for her husband to get home, martini in one hand, duster in the other.

A woman who comes to mind to me is Betty Jo, a woman who was in her 20s as I was growing up. I adored her, she seemed amazing. She jumped out of airplanes, she was in the national guard, she did all sorts of the crawl-under-barbed-wire drills and loved it. She was intelligent, strong, and very much a go-getter. I would never use the words "soft" and "nurturing" as key words when describing her.
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#696137 - 06/17/11 11:52 AM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]
ExerciseEditor Offline
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Registered: 04/03/02
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I definitely don't fit the nurturing soft stereotype even though I am very nurturing and loving with my son. I love to exercise, hike, ride motorcyles, and shoot guns. I take aerial trapeze classes, hate school functions and love going on hiking adventure vacation without the kids every year.

I didn't know a whole lot of fun independent women when I was growing up except my favorite aunt M. She went to medical school in Guadalajara graduated with honors and then said forget all this and became a nun. I always admired her for doing her own thing. She gave up everything and dedicated herself to helping poor people every day. She definitely does not fit the mexican woman stereotype.


Edited by ExerciseEditor (06/17/11 11:53 AM)
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#696145 - 06/17/11 12:37 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: ExerciseEditor]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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I read not long ago on the internet that a young couple had decided to not tell anyone the gender of their baby. They did not want the child stereotyped. Interesting concept, but how long would they be able to keep the gender a secret?

I was raised to be a gentle, timid, proper little lady and I fought it tooth and nail every step of the way. I worked hard to outdo my brothers in tree climbing, swamp exploring, shooting rifles, anything they could do I wanted to do better -- and I often did.

Then I went through a very girly girl stage and loved it for the way it made people treat me more tenderly than when I was a tomboy. I finally mellowed out into what I feel is a good balance.

I think everyone has the attributes of masculine and femininity within them. We have the choice of bringing out one or both to create our own unique personality and outlook on life.

I can be very feminine when I need to dress up for special occasions, I can be very nurturing and caring and soft when someone needs my support. Yet, I can be every bit as strong as anyone in times when strength of mind and body is called for. After many years on Mother Earth, I have settled into a good balance and harmony.

This is a great topic, Lisa. Thanks for bringing it up.
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#696168 - 06/17/11 01:59 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Thinking more on this subject brings my mother to mind. She is 89 now and still a very feminine woman. When she was a young woman, she was the belle of the ball and her and my dad were the most envied couple on the dance floor.

Yet this very feminine woman helped out on the farms we grew up on. She roped cattle, she drove tractors, using her .22 she could pop a weasel in no time flat that got after her chickens, she could pitch hay faster than anyone, she worked as hard as the field hands at harvest time then cooked dinner for all of them.

After my dad passed away, Mom became the rock of strength in our family. She held us up, she nurtured us, she healed us, and she could give a pretty good "whupping" if we needed it.

She is a woman of many strengths.





Edited by Phyllis-Folk/Myth (06/17/11 01:59 PM)
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#696174 - 06/17/11 02:16 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]
GoodMorningSunshine Offline
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Registered: 03/21/11
Posts: 173
Interesting topic...

My connotation of the words, 'soft', 'nurturing', as personal attributes are-

Soft- (physical) delicate, non aggressive mannerisms - (emotional) open and accepting of others expression of true feelings - (intellectual) non-judgmental evaluation or interaction - ability to separate worth of a person from worth of a specific action or behavior.

Nurturing (Physical) physical affection; touch, hugs, kisses, and care for the body such as feeding, care giving when sick, etc - (emotional) validation of emotions, listening, promoting shared interaction of positive experiences - (intellectual) encouraging exchange of ideas and beliefs, providing a safe exchange for differences of ideas and concepts and challenging self and others with understanding outside of their/mine subjective experiences.

That is my spontaneous list, maybe not complete or as decisive as it could be at last moment but I felt I needed to share that before furthering my view on the conversation.

Men and women in history have had specific 'roles' as a parent, spouse, child, etc. Those are relational type roles set forth by or in combination of; religion, culture, sub culture, familial expectation, and generational traditions.

Here is what I am getting at. In this day and age, there are far more 'communicative words' and ways to describe someone other than their 'role' as a man or woman, mother or father etc, as we have done in history. In this day and age, we are not limited by 'roles' or 'specific attributes' to explain gender differences. For centuries, many were limited by expectation rather than true exploration of gender, personality, and intellectual qualities.

Looking at my list from above, if a man had all the qualities of my nurturing list above, he might be considered gay. We still have that type of generational thinking in part. But I know some hetero men that are that sensitive and nurturing. Today we can call it personality traits. Back then they might have only seen it as 'feminine' trait...again, going back to the gender roles.

I think we are breaking free from gender only associations and specific expectations although I do believe and also celebrate the differences of men and women beyond the differences in physical attributes.

Oh, and yes I knew some less than 'nurturing' and less than 'soft' women. My grandmother being one of them. My mom was the total opposite.




Edited by GoodMorningSunshine (06/17/11 02:20 PM)

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#696186 - 06/17/11 02:55 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: GoodMorningSunshine]
GoodMorningSunshine Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 03/21/11
Posts: 173
Quote:
I read not long ago on the internet that a young couple had decided to not tell anyone the gender of their baby. They did not want the child stereotyped. Interesting concept, but how long would they be able to keep the gender a secret?


Personally, I think that couple's decision was silly and over the top. Either gender is reason to celebrate and announce from the top of the roof a new life is born as he or she is, as the gender he or she is.

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#696213 - 06/17/11 04:43 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: GoodMorningSunshine]
Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames Offline
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I'll create a separate thread for the baby-gender discussion as I think that's a fascinating topic that deserves a thread of its own!

I'll also start a separate topic on the idea of men who nurture / touch / etc. - that seems equally intriguing.

On the topic of women who are strong / sharp / goal-oriented, we can even look back to Cleopatra -

"Well versed in the natural sciences and mathematics. She speaks seven languages proficiently. Were she not a woman one would consider her to be an intellectual."
-- Agrippa

I would venture to guess that most women are a fascinating mix of traits. My mother, for example. I could say she's goal oriented, she was a single mom, she pushed hard to get a good job and to earn her master's degree. She ran a large networking group for a while. She was very "sharp edged". She liked to hit.

But on the other hand, when I wanted to go to WPI and MIT she tried to dissuade me from going to a "male school." She made comments about the women who went there came home wearing (gasp) pants. This was in 1986 too, not the dark ages. She talked about the female students becoming too "male" as if certain traits were for men only and other traits for women only. Apparently pant wearing was something for males.

I imagine for everyone there is a mix of traits and if we tried to map those traits to cultural references that some might fall into a "male" category and some into "female".

At least in English we don't turn everything into male and female. How about the Spanish language where literally every single noun including the sun and moon is either male or female! How do you decide if a computer is male or female?
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#697626 - 06/24/11 05:53 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]
Jilly Offline
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I grew up in a loud, new york, italian-jewish, boisterous family. I have very little in the way of soft or nurturing skills, and that is pretty much how i like it. smile

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#697671 - 06/24/11 07:32 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: Jilly]
Connie - ADD/Sandwiches Offline
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In recent years I have gotten a reputation for being nurturing. I suppose. I don't see it.

In school, I do what needs to be done to help students succeed. I'm pretty pragmatic about it.


Edited by Connie - ADD/Sandwiches (06/24/11 07:32 PM)
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#697682 - 06/24/11 08:00 PM Re: Less-Than-Soft Women - Know Any? [Re: Connie - ADD/Sandwiches]
Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Quite awhile ago I did a lot of research to write an article on the Donner Party women. I was amazed to find out how strong, spiritually and emotionally, those women were. In many cases, they were stronger than the men emotionally and physically.

One theory for survival of those people is that the women lasted longer because they naturally have more body fat. But, they seemed to be more courageous and able to stay mentally and emotionally stronger than most of the men.

Would this be due to the fact that they had children to protect and make sure those little ones survived? Pioneer women were tough.

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