The Art of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women

By Linda N. Edelstein | Go to book overview

5
"SHE MUST BRAID US ALL TOGETHER" The Psychology of Women

Freud is the father of psychoanalysis. It had no mother. -- Germaine Greer

If you are not wonder-working, Who will have you?

-- Joyce Carol Oates

Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry. -- Gloria Steinem

I attended a week-long workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The presenters, all accomplished men and women, spoke to a filled auditorium each morning. At the end of the week, the most powerful reaction I had was not to the subject matter but to how very differently the men and women presented their work. Some of it was gender style: women laughed more than men, women apologized for requesting lighting or overhead equipment adjustments, and women were generally self-effacing, whereas the men made polite demands for equipment and service and seemed more comfortable telling a large audience what they thought. More disturbing were the differences in their presentation of material. The men presented their ideas and talked about how they had formulated these thoughts, how distinct their ideas were from all that had come before, and what unique contributions their work made. They stressed the individualistic qualities of their work. When women presented material, they cited their references, alluded to other writers, thinkers, and psychologists, and generally each woman presented herself as being one individual in a series, building on ideas that had come before. Women acknowledged the connectedness to other work. The differences made me angry, but I still am not sure at whom. It is a dilemma I like many women, face all the time. I like the women's ways of relating; I identify with them and speak more like the women than the men, but I know that the men's style is valued more highly and that it certainly conveys

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