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When you limit others you limit yourself. (long)

Dec 19, 1996 11:44 AM
by April Joy

>I see no evidence of my being upset about anything. All I did was ask a
>question which reflected my opinion about you as being sexist, which you
>confirmed. I do not see how it is logical of you to imply that you believe
>that men and women are equal, and then criticize men far more than you
>criticize women, and then say that I, who have criticized and praised them
>oughly equally, am sexist.

When have you praised women in your messages that wasn't demeaning or insulting.

>It is natural for men to dominate women since they are stronger, both physically and
>volitionally. Most women want this, preferring men to be the leaders.

That wasn't a compliment, it is demeaning and it not totally true. Women are just starting to learn that they can take care of themselves.
We have a long way to go before centuries of conditioning of "we are the weaker sex" is overturned and all women are standing up for
themselves, fighting for themselves and taking care of themselves. But everyday another woman learns she is a capable person and doesn't
need a man's strength or care to survive. If she chooses to live with a man it is out of choice, not necessity or meeting a social

But some women don't do that because their parents, churches, cultures have taught them that they are incapable of protecting themselves
and are so conditioned that it seems natural to them. They are shocked when they find out a woman has protected themselves in an assault,
hauled the garbage out by themselves or changed a tire on a car. But every time a woman accomplishes something that women haven't done
before it opens new avenues, creates a greater, deeper life for women. We will one day reach a point when the majority of women realize
their worth and their capabilities regardless of male sexism/domination.

I include a story of a person who was conditioned to a self limiting handicap. It is a long story but I will try to paraphrase it.

A congenitally blind woman with cerebral palsy had received care throughout her life by her family she was admitted to a hospital in NY in
1980, she was sixty years old. She was intelligent, literate, eloquent woman. She could not use her hands, for her they were completely
useless. "They don't even feel part of me." she had told her doctor. The doctor was puzzled for cerebral palsy does not make the hands
useless, just weak or spastic, but still of use. As he tested her he found that she had the full sensation in her hands, touch, pain,
temperature, passive movement. Yet she was incapable of recognizing or identifying any item by touch alone. She did not use her hands to
explore anything put in her hands. Her hands were totally foreign, alien, lifeless to her. After researching her past the doctor
discovered that family members and all people throughout her life had been her hands. They fed her, bathed her, read to her, they told her
from infancy that her hands were of no use, that they were crippled, they discouraged the use of her hands until she became totally
alienated to them. She had been told and brought up to believe her hands were useless. In order to help her the doctor needed to let the
woman discover her hands, he had to construct a thought pattern she hand never had in the first place and make it a physical reality. The
woman was totally surprised to hear from the doctor that her hands were perfectly normal and had purpose and were of use to her. That she
didn't have to wait until someone fed her, she could do it herself. That she comb her own hair, turn the TV channel, play the piano. The
first thing she touched voluntarily was a bagel, then a glass of water. She was 60 years old before she learned that her hands were more
than lifeless, dough. We take it for granted when we reach out for an object, feel its smoothness, roughness, move it form place to place.
Dress ourselves, feed ourselves are hold a flower to our noses to smell. All these things she learned at 60 years of age.

This woman believed in her handicapped because every influential person she knew before her 60th year treated her like she had no hands.
All those people saw a  a totally handicapped person. They then prececded to treat her like a totally handicapped person enforcing the
believe that she was totally crippled and that her hands were totally useless.  This was a lie that she lived for 60 years until someone
informed her and proved to her that her hands were not only useable but had purpose. This opened up a new life and made her more


Now turn this around an place not hands but identity, capability, in the place of lifeless hands. Have everyone you know, father, mother,
teacher, preacher, doctor, friend tell you from birth that you are weak, unintelligent, incapable, that your body, mind and soul are not
your own. That you have no or little value. That your purpose is to belong to another and give up your identity, your dreams, your purpose
in life to another.That you are only to please your father, bed your husband and bear his children and take care of him and them in your
old age. Because of the limited capability of your gender, you can not work, attend school, you are not to read certain books or even
refused the opportunity to learn. That you can not make decisions so you must turn to the other gender for all advice, financial affairs,
you can not own property, have a bank account. Because of your weakness, you can not go anywhere alone you need a chaperone or your
husband, father, brother in attendance. If all your relatives die, you must devote yourself to the church, be a nun, or work at the lowest
jobs that pay the least, like maid, cook, or in desperation for income a prostitute. Basically you are handicapped by a weak mind, weak
limbs, weak spirit, that you are week in health, and strength. Now make this teaching centuries old, where mother, father, teacher,
preacher, doctor, friend pushes this belief for centuries.

Then have a woman learn she can do more, she is capable of walking down the street alone, she is capable of reading a book, that she can
complete school, that she can live alone, that she does not have to have children. Then another woman gets brave and tries something new
like not getting married and having children and just have a job and live alone. The another woman sees that accomplishment and then
decides to marry, have children and hold a job, successfully. Then have another woman learn to fly, like Amelia Earhart. Basically
discovering for the first time that these so called gender limitations are not true, that being a woman doesn't make her a useless piece
of dough. That centuries of teachings women handicaps has alienated woman from who she really is and her capabilities as a woman. Undoing
the damage of false handicaps will take time. Not all women will see that they are not limited by their gender.

All the things that men do they take for granted. Reading a book, walking down the street alone, changing a tire. Men have always been
taught that they are strong, capable of living alone or with another. That they can do any job, have any social position and be whatever
they choose to be. They can own property, have a bank account.. They can have an opinion, they can make decisions. They are intelligent.
In other words their capabilities are not hidden from them and they are not discouraged from using them to the fullest. They have not been
indoctrinated with false handicaps.

Women have been alienated from their true idenity and capabiites, and we have to relearn the truth. After all the progress woman have made
this last century, there are still women brought up to believe the old myths and limitations. They are so suprised to learn they are
untrue or even scared by this knowledge. What is scary is that some countries are going backwards and are limiting women to the old
stereotypes by laws enforced by punishments ranging from beatings to death.
Women should not quit trying or not try new things because a man says they are too emotional and unsuited to a job, a task, a way of life.
Each woman should have an equal opportunity to fight in wars, be head of state, to be CEO in a company or to stay home and raise children.
They should not be penalized, demeaned or refused equal chances to advance in life because of their sex or the way women think. The way
women function, think, and physical capabilities does not make them ill suited for any task, job, position in life. All these things that
were kept from women by men for centuries because of a belief that women are inferior or not as capable as a man.

We women will not give up or emotions for you men. It is our strength, our weakness, our soul. I as woman have worked in the "mans" world
but I refuse to give up that which makes me different from men. I also refuse to except limitations because of these differences. These
differences do not inhibit my abilities, I will do a job different from most men, but still do it as well. Women need to "relearn" the
basic nature of women and not the nature "taught" to us for centuries.

Being a woman means
she has been prey,
she can be the huntress,
she is creative,
she is intuitive,
she is a listener,
she is a storyteller,
she is a inventor,
she is a student and
she is a teacher,
she is a fighter,
she is wild,
she is tame,
she is a peace keeper,
she is has great beauty
and can be as ugly as she is beautiful,
she is sexual,
she is industrious,
she is playful,
she is the daughter
she is the friend
she is the lover
she is the wife
she is the mother
she is the healer
she is the crone

Women are just realizing what  being a natural woman means, she is not limited  to false pictures of womanhood and femininity.   This
natural self is so strong and capable, that having a man in ones life is a choice not a necessity for survival.

Men also need to find their true selves quit allowing culture, society, churches tell you what a man is and don't let yourself be limited
by false pictures. Men can be lover, father, friend, and caregiver as much as any woman. Men will do these things differently but equally.
Men do not have to be father, worker, husband, warrior only. Those are too limiting. Allow yourselves to feel emotion, to feel total love,
hate, jealousy, emotional pains. Logic alone is limiting in scope and depth. Emotions is far reaching and soul cleansing. If you wish to
stay home and take care of babies go for it. If you wish to be single for life fine, you are not required to marry (just don't father kids
and not take care of them). Men can be more than they have allowed themselves to be, they don't have to limit women to be all they are, by
trying to limit others they limit themselves. By saying only a woman can give care to a child limits a mans contact with their children.
By refusing to allow a woman to help with the finances, he has taken the burden on himself when it can be spread between the two of them.
By refusing to have emotions man has created a situation where he has no release from stress, or emotional pain. To put maleness in to a
box of strength, dominance and no weaknesses, is self defeating because all people need to be able to be weak, to at times allow someone
else to take over, to allow someone to pull the reins and give him a break and chance to rest in spirit and physically. To not allow
emotion and only logic, means situations are view only from one view point and is slanted and often uncaring decisions are made. If a man
allows emotion into decision making he has allowed himself to view situations from all view points.

In other words people should not be placed in a box according to gender. For when you limit a person to box A and another person to box B.
They can never have the full life that living outside of boxes gives.

April Joy

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