what i've learned along the way
. . . people watching and perceptions
Published on June 23, 2008 By lobsterhunter In Personal Relationships

My husband and I recently took a family vacation to Disney World.

 

We spent an inordinate amount of time waiting for busses and standing in long lines. My two wonderful bonus children found this to be maddening, but I decided to use this time to observe a wide variety of human interactions. 

 

Now I realize that generalizations tell absolutely nothing about individuals, but from what I witnessed, there are a lot of unhappy women in the world. It seemed like every where we turned some lady was bitchin’ at her kids or her husband. There were scowls on their faces as they berated their loved ones in public. We started keeping a mental tally each time we encountered a “bitch-fest” scene, and the final count was astronomical. I think the most alarming part of these observations was the tone in the women’s voices. They addressed their spouses and children like a prison guard reprimanding an inmate.

 

Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I find this kind of behavior completely unacceptable. These ladies were at the most magical place on earth, and all they could do was groan and complain. They all seemed completely unaware of their hateful attitudes, and the saddest part was watching their children emulate the same kinds of undesirable behaviors.

 

I grew up in a home where the father figure was verbally and emotionally abusive. My grandmother was a saint who allowed this man to constantly put her down and criticize her. She had every reason to be a bitch, yet she always took the high road. Nora did the best she could, and I wish she had loved herself enough to leave, but circumstances prevented this from happening and rather than wallow in self pity, she chose to find the silver lining. She modeled graciousness and compassion in a way that ceases to amaze me.

 

Chris says that I am rare because I don’t nag and harass him. He expresses appreciation for my calm demeanor during difficult conversations. Perhaps this gratitude is born out of his experiences of living in an unhappy marriage for almost fifteen years. He married young, and the woman he chose had the emotional maturity of a twelve year old. After years of bitterness and resentment, he came to accept that the situation would never be different. He also came to grips with the consequences that would follow, and he decided to leave. Eventually he filed for divorce. Everyone involved in the divorce was wounded, and we continue to muddle our way through the healing process.

 

Chris has decided to chart a new course. He is purposeful about embracing the joy available to him. Our family is precious, and I could not ask for more loving, accepting bonus kids. The process of blending two families has been remarkably smooth, and I stand in awe of who he is as a father and a husband.

 

But despite our intentional efforts to think before reacting to situations that inevitably arise, and after numerous attempts at co-parenting, we still deal with the fallout that remains after divorce. His ex-wife is eaten alive with jealousy and anger. She represents all of the women we witnessed during our vacation, and as I consider the hurts she’s endured, I wonder why some people can move forward, and others refuse to grow. Why does one person opt to look past the pain and make the best of a situation, and another intentionally hurls barbs and inflicts punishment as a result of holding on to the past?

 

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not claiming to be perfect. The nasty bitch that lives inside of me has made her fair share of appearances, but I’d like to think Nora’s example helped shape me into a wife who is kind and loving. I do my best to guard against demanding and irrational behavior, and after watching so many miserable women during the last week, I am even more determined to rise above the fray.

 

So I leave you with this question . . .

 

What can we do to help the little girls in our lives avoid growing up to be bitches?

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comments (Page 2)
on Jun 24, 2008

(Applicable random Eminem lyric, haha)

It's censorship
And it's down right blasphomous...

I don't remember what I wrote (pregnancy brain)...did I use made up words? I do that sometimes. LOL.

  • misogynistic
  • misanthropic
  • extrapolate

Those are some BIG words...remember...

Cause I ain't got no legs!
Or no brain, nice to meet you
Hi, my name is...
I forgot my name!
My name was not to become what I became with this level of fame
My soul is possessed by this devil my new name is...
Rain Man.

 

 

on Jun 25, 2008

I think it's funny that you two used Disneyland as the place to observe the plethora of bitchiness.  I can't imagine a place where a parent (usually the mom who is supposed to do all the organizing and keeping track of everyone and their happiness) is more stressed out.  Ok, I can imagine earthquakes and other natural disasters would hike everyone's bitchometer.  I think Disneyland (world-sea-california) is even more stressful because it's supposed to be the happiest place on earth.  

 

It was good to see your interaction with Loca, because on first read I was thinking, "what kind of life filter are these people using?"

on Jun 25, 2008

CharlesCS


Well I have met my fair share of "b_tches" and I have to say they usually need to simply take a chill pill. This need to be stronger than men is actually quite annoying and very unappealing. I am not saying for women to give in to their mens demands and such, just that they don't always have to aproach every situation Full Metal Jacket style. I understand once upon a time women were not seen as equals but does that mean that for ever they need to make up for the many years of abuse and put downs their ancestors indured by serving it up back to men? Not that men are free of their mistakes but dam, we are not all dogs as some like to put it.You're husband is a lucky man to have a woman who can make a point without sticking one in him. My wife is so ditermined to win the argument even facing proof against her opinion she won't back down. But, we men are always told to let them win. Talk about stereotyping, generalizing and down right unequality. 

Maybe you should consider that some women are as strong (or stronger) than men to start with.  I don't like to put up with a lot of bull and I don't care what gender it is.  If it's bull, I'll probably call them on it.  In my experience, the kind of guy who can't take being called on their bull by a woman is the kind of guy who can't (or is barely able) to take it from his friends.  

The next stage is the guy to call the woman a bitch.  If that doesn't sufficiently cow the female (because we aren't supposed to be bitches so if we are we should mend our ways) then the next step is to call her a lesbian.

Generally, if someone (but especially a guy) calls me a bitch I stop listening to whatever they have to say.  Bitch is the default when people don't know how to address what is really going on.  If it ever gets to the lesbian stage, I actually laugh.  Total lack of creativity.

I have no idea where you fit into the scheme of that or if you do at all.

on Jun 25, 2008
Maybe you should consider that some women are as strong (or stronger) than men to start with.


I'm sensing you think I am some kind of chauvinistic pig when you got me all figured out wrong. I believe in equality, I say women should be able to do just about anything a man can a vis verse {with a few exceptions of course, pregnancy). What I don't like is the idea that because someone was abused in some way for so many years that once they have the power to level the plain field does that mean they should lower themselves to the same standards as the abuser? I figured most women would wanna show men how to truly be a decent person, not take advantage of the laws to screw men just because they were cruel to women some time ago. That's like saying Black people should be allowed to make slaves out of White people, an eye for an eye, as pay back for their suffering. I thought equality meant the same, not more.
on Jun 25, 2008

I've read both articles.

My husband and I recently took a family vacation to Disney World.

Now I realize that generalizations tell absolutely nothing about individuals, but from what I witnessed, there are a lot of unhappy women in the world.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the happiest of them all?

First, I note by this comment you are expanding those unhappy women in the Disney theme park to those in the world.

There is no doubt, there is a world of unhappy people, women as well as men.

Generally speaking, who are these unhappy people?

I just finished reading a review of a book on the subject of happiness entitled, Gross National Happiness by Arthur C.Brooks, a Syracuse professor of Business and Government Policy.

According to Brooks, it turns out that....

Optimists are happier than pessimists.

Those who have friends are happier than those who do not.

 Married people are happier than unmarried people.

Married people who are parents are happier than cohabitating couples with children.

Those who ascribe to the traditionalist understanding of morality are happier than those who reject it.

Religious people are happier than secularists.

Conservatives are happier than liberals.

Those who volunteer are happier than those who don't.

Those who are charitable are happier than those who are not.

Those who work are happier than those who don't.

Traditionalists are happier than "free spirits".

Wouldn't it be interesting to learn which of these categories those unhappy women you call 'bitches' fall under?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on Jun 25, 2008

I am going to answer short and simple.

 

NO

on Jun 25, 2008
Generally, if someone (but especially a guy) calls me a bitch I stop listening to whatever they have to say. Bitch is the default when people don't know how to address what is really going on. If it ever gets to the lesbian stage, I actually laugh. Total lack of creativity.


excellent - I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not a bitch just giftedly outspoken.   
on Jun 25, 2008
Do you think the feminist movement brought about this revolution? Fifty years ago women were expected to be submissive robots, which was highly unacceptable. Based on my observations the pendulum has swung.
I really don't know. The women in my family were always strong not submissive at all. They may have been perceived as bitches by strangers though. I think half of the issue is what is a bitch. If a bitch is just a strong women then fine call women bitches. If someone is being mentally and emotionally abusive then say that instead of slapping on the bitch label. (a new definition of bitch slapping)

Generally, if someone (but especially a guy) calls me a bitch I stop listening to whatever they have to say. Bitch is the default when people don't know how to address what is really going on. If it ever gets to the lesbian stage, I actually laugh. Total lack of creativity.


excellent - I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not a bitch just giftedly outspoken.   
on Jun 26, 2008

I can't stand a weak man.

In fact, the quickest way to bring out the ultra bitch in me, is when I have to deal  with a weak one.

It may not be right, good, whatever, but it IS.

As far as Disney goes....hahahahah...of all the places in the world, it has probably seen the most spankings. 

on Jun 26, 2008

For those of you who’ve previously read and revisited this blog site to review the comments, let me acknowledge that I took down my blog last night and offer insight as to why I opted to do so.

 

First, I did not do so because of the “flak” I received (as TW put it), but because of the constructive comments offered.

 

I did not write and point to any one individual, and I feel that this is perhaps where I went astray.

 

I appreciate TW’s comments regarding knowing me as an individual, and thus had the insight to know that I am not misogynistic. However, after the comment, I was reminded of an email communication I’d written to an individual some time ago in a professional setting which I wrote with one intent, and it was received with another. Had the communication has been presented verbally to him in that case; it would not have been misconstrued. I recognize that studies reveal that 93% of what we say is communicated through our nonverbal expression and tone and that only 7% of what is said is actually communicated in spoken words. Thus, in this particular piece of writing, I recognize how much of the intent was lost in expression.

 

Granted, I made a blatantly over generalized statement seeking feedback and perspective on my perception and insight from the outside.

 

And while some responses returned equally generalized comments… in this case, I’m referring to a couple of comments that offered equally blanket, generalized statements such as “moms handle the kids and dads get to be the fun guy, moms do all the planning and organizing,” etc.

 

But, understand that also fresh on my mind is a recent conversation I had with a few female co-workers regarding stereotypical remarks that were made to me stating that I wouldn’t understand about household chores because I was a male. One said her husband didn’t know there were dials on the washing machine or dryer. I sat on the other side of blanket generalizations that I didn’t receive so well either, because (and you can ask my wife), I not only know that those buttons exist, I know how to use them, and I do use them doing my fair share of the wash. I consistently help cook and clean the dishes afterwards. I do my part in cleaning our home, scrubbing toilets, vacuuming carpet, cleaning mirrors, dusting (okay, I’m not so good at dusting), etc. In fact, one evening while my wife was away celebrating the last day of school in a night out with the girls, I cleaned our entire home to prepare it for the company that was arriving the next day…without being asked. And, on the other side of that coin, I am blessed with a wife who does the same. When I came home from work yesterday, she had mowed the yard and straightened the house in time for the company that was to arrive later in the day. So, in our home, it is a two-way street; but I feel ostracized when blanket generalizations are made that I do not contribute to the household chores.

 

And perhaps I should take from my own experience not to turn and do the same by making blanket statements about others whom I know nothing. Thus, out of respect, I pulled what I wrote thankful for having posted and for the feedback that I was given both from the female perspective and the offerings of the males who voiced their feelings as well.


Some offered thoughtful wisdom, such as “If you're looking for something you will find it.” Perhaps you are right. Additionally, I was challenged to label the behaviors appropriately (i.e. “verbally/emotionally abusive” as opposed to using the term “b!+che$”). Insight was offered stating that it was inappropriate to judge others, which is NOT my place to do, for an “isolated incident.” I agree. Furthermore, the question was posed regarding the male behavior we witnessed. My wife answered this question when pointing out that the most “verbally/emotionally abusive” person we witnessed was a [grown] male in an all-out assault on a female (either his wife or girlfriend), and this led to an in-depth family conversation about how his actions were inappropriate for my son/daughter to ever display to a female/male, and how her actions were inappropriate for my daughter/son to ever take.

 

However, in our observations, at a place where we had an opportunity to witness a great number of families interacting with one another, the number of females on verbal tirades far outnumbered those by men. At the same time, there were many, many, many positive family interactions that surrounded us; but they were not the point of the observation hypothesis.

 

Some interesting dialogue also ensured about the semantics of the blogs (i.e. the definition of a b!+ch). I personally do not see a “strong” or outspoken woman and label her a b!+ch. I recognize this was lost in translation and subject to interpretation based solely on what was written and recorded. We should all be so strong to express our needs, but in a healthy way. My wife, for example, is a “strong” woman, and yet she is intentional in her reactions, carefully considering her actions and interactions with those whom she loves. Others I/we observed (and experienced) do not have such restraint, and thus crossed the line into “verbal/emotional abusive.” I could hypothesize that it is a pattern in these individuals’ lives (based upon their specific comments that were made to their loved ones), but I could not ever really know this for a fact as pointed out by those who offered comments to the posting.

 

So, in closing, I reiterate, I am thankful for the perspective you all have offered. If nothing else, I take with me the lesson to read and reread my postings and consider how the details that are behind the scenes and left out of a piece of writing can perceived differently from the initial intent. And out of respect for the number of females who I know far exceed the 10% I suggested, I’ve taken a step back, reminded myself that “feelings aren’t facts,” and I’ve taken down my initial diatribe, and I leave you with these final thoughts.

on Jun 26, 2008
So, in our home, it is a two-way street; but I feel ostracized when blanket generalizations are made that I do not contribute to the household chores.


That is awesome. I think people totally gender stereotype about housework and I hate it. I hate the fact that I am the only one judged by the condition of my home when there are five people living here. Somehow if it is not spotless that just seems to be a reflection on me.

Some offered thoughtful wisdom, such as “If you're looking for something you will find it.” Perhaps you are right.
Well if you notice a bitchfest then you start looking for more examples, you see them everywhere. I go through "baby crazy" stages and I will see pregnant women and babies everywhere I go. I'm sure they are always there but it's when I'm in that mode that I notice them.

And out of respect for the number of females who I know far exceed the 10% I suggested, I’ve taken a step back, reminded myself that “feelings aren’t facts,”


Excellent!



on Jun 27, 2008

Excellent!

Thank you, Locamama...excellent comments yourself...from beginning to end.

on Jun 27, 2008

Bitch is the new black!

Acknowledging that 93% of this comment will be lost in written communication...let me say I'm giggling as I write this and LOL...

So, I find this "old" blog written by someone I know that reads, "but because he's a guy."

"Ain't that the pot calling the kettle bitch?" 

Love, Slim Shady

PS: I've been waiting for YOU to write ME back after my lenghty retraction!!!

on Jun 27, 2008
First of all, I agree that we all over generalize (obviously I do, as you mentioned, haha). Certainly there are dads who do EVERYTHING while mom pays attention only to herself, and in fact the ranting bagel lady could have been exactly that type...or she could have been pissed about something else, I don't know. I was just throwing a possibility out there. I have actually had an argument with my spouse over an incorrect candy bar purchase, so...I'm just saying, maybe that bagel was really, really important to her. Or something.

From what (admittedly little) that I know of you, you have seemed to me like a very sensitive, sincere type of person. I was really happy to meet you and see how you and Tenille are together because you guys seem like such a great match. She is (IMO) the type of person who tries very hard to consider the feelings of others and will go far out of her way to show care and consideration for those around her. Anytime she feels she has made a mistake in her treatment of someone, she is quick to make amends. It seemed to me like she had found someone with that same gentle way about him. You guys seem to have fun together, but more than anything it seemed like you both had such respect for each other. Like you both realized what a special thing you'd found.

All that to say that it doesn't surprise me that you are sensitive to both sides of the equation and actually give a damn about pitching in on chores (and further are offended by the insinuation that men wouldn't know which buttons to push).

I appreciate your taking the time to think through everything everyone has said. A lot of times, I shut down and don't like to consider criticism or being told that I'm wrong, haha, so it's definitely admirable to me that you took the time to think about and address all the issues that were raised.

Maybe I overreacted to the whole thing, but man, it just rubbed me the wrong way and seemed so bizarre coming from you guys.




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