I’ve been writing vignettes about my past, and there are more to come, as I try to reach a deeper understanding of myself and how I got to be the age I am without figuring out sooner that I’m not straight (in case, gentle reader, you hadn’t caught on to that part, on which there is more to come.) I thought I was pretty much the last girl raised with the post-Victorian genteel Southern attitudes I like to blame for my late epiphany, but I’m discovering that women considerably younger than I am and raised in very different social settings internalized the same ideas about how their value derived from the attention of men.
My friend,Lia, said it would be good to have a discussion about it, in longer phrases than the 140 character limit allowed by Twitter, so here we are.
Some questions to get us started:
- What was your socio-economic and geographic setting when you were growing up?
- What were the expectations for you?
- Who told you what value and success might look like for a woman?
- Was that success wrapped up in attention from men?
- Were there definitions of what kind of attention was appropriate?
- Was there cognitive dissonance? (In other words, did you hear one thing and see another?)
- Was there an a-ha moment suggesting there was something wrong with the whole social construction?
- And since I’m reading “The Purity Myth,” did virginity form part of the definition of your value?
- And how about marriage?
- Do your past and/or current understandings of sexual orientation (yours and others) form part of the subtext of this conversation?
- What’s your basis for valuing yourself now?