The lives of men and women are shaped in very distinct ways by an invisible force that is unavoidable. Betty Freidan called it "a problem without a name." I call it gender socialization. In this book, I will introduce a model for understanding how deeply "gendering" invades the inner life of women.
WHO IS THE "OLD BRIDE"
The "Old Bride" approaches relationships eagerly and intensely. She is poised to love without boundaries; to give without caring for herself; to be responsible without responding to her own needs; to love without being appreciated and to respect without having her own uniqueness acknowledged.
WHO IS THE "New BRIDE"
The "New Bride" approaches relationships realistically and with a healthy desire for equality. She wants to love and is willing to ask for the love she needs. She approaches conflict directly in order to establish trust and boundaries. Her positive self-perception demands respect and takes responsibility for her own personal development. She can openly acknowledge her accomplishments.
Story of a Black Woman
My mother spoke to me constantly about being free and, in the same breath, reminded me that I was a Black woman. I thought if I kept my life close to the black community I would be safe and unchallenged. In day care, all of my playmates were black children like me. But, when I entered kindergarten in an integrated school, I was faced by a different world. I was aware of "differences." But, were we supposed to stay in separate worlds because of our skin color?
Story of a Lesbian Woman
They sat on the beach watching each wave slap the shoreline in gentle motion. Neither of them felt a need to converse. Finally, they were as connected in their silence, as they were in conversation. They had both fought hard to reach this peaceful place. They watched their children, now nineteen and seventeen chase each other in playful competition. They are my children now, she thought, and Sara is my life. Her mind drifted back through time and memory of her own life and the life she now shared.
Story of a Married Woman
When the alarm clock went off with its familiar buzz, Nina leaned over and quickly turned it off. This was her usual morning ritual, one which allowed her husband some extra time to sleep. Ironically, her own body ached for more sleep, but the well-trained woman she was, wrapped herself in a robe and walked barefoot to the kitchen.
Story of a Woman Now Old
I am ninety-one years old now. As I reflect, it is hard for me to believe I have journeyed through so many years. My life has been full of family; ten brothers and sisters; family created from my marriage to John; and my family of friends that hover over me at this time in my life. Ninety-one years is a huge collection of memories. Where shall I begin?
Stage One- Waking Up
It is vital for us to understand that throughout our lives as women, each of us lost a
part of our self. Our personalities were influenced by a force few recognize. That
force is socialization. It permeates our inner and outer world at every stage of our
Stage One - How We Feel
Women have intense feelings about love. We believe in the power of love, have been confused by love, often believing that to love properly we have to totally surrender ourselves. We have dedicated our lives to our parents, families, friends and even to our employers.
Stage One - How We are With Others
There are many of groups like ALANON, Co-Dependents Anonymous, etc., attended by women, who've come to realize that, by trying again and again to "fix" their husbands or lovers, they were, in fact, "enabling them." The realization of enablement behavior is vastly different from stopping it. Many women enable their partners because they are unable to use their personal power to set healthy boundaries.