Archive for the ‘Effed-Up Fairy Tales’ Category

After twelve hours at work today, I’m feeling just a smidge arguably mentative.  It’s that time of year.  I might have to wear my horns tomorrow.

Oh, Sibylle.  Why must you vex me so?

I admit, I’m not far into The Mother: Archetypal Image in Fairy Tales.  But does that mean I can’t have an opinion?

Dearest darling Sibylle says:

“The father symbolizes the active, creating principle, the mother the receptive and nourishing one. Although, as we shall see, there is also a spirit mother, the mother principle is primarily on the side of nature in the sense of the instincts, the physical drives” (p. 14).

Okay, she’s a Jungian.  Which does not curdle my cheese nearly as much as if she had been a Freudian.  But upon this night, I say unto thee, I sure is tired of folks jumpin’ on the bandwagon!  So one bloke had a theory.  And he would just Not Shut Up About It.  (We’ve all known guys like that.  They usually end up alone at the bar and no one will talk to them.  But then there are the rare few who get an audience, for whatever reason, perhaps it is their charisma, or their evil mustache, or it’s to annoy your mother… and then John-Bob says, “Oh yeah, I know that guy,” even though he doesn’t, and suddenly it’s A Thing.)

To which I rise up tonight and say, Avoid The Thing!

That’s right!  You heard me!  You’ve got a head on your shoulders; why don’t you use it?

It is simple, dear readers; the head upon said shoulders is rarely used because my generation spent twenty years in classrooms being told that our opinions did not not matter, they were opinions, but when Freud said something, his was not an opinion but fact, and so stop arguing and purporting to have opinions.

I actually do sadly look back at the best minds I collected in my university, the ones who were enthusiastic and creative and Doing, and I watched Every Single One of them deteriorate into a sad pathetic lump that will never again make up primordial soup.  The soup doesn’t want them.  Not in their present states of disillusion.

And all because, like the writers of so many of these treatises of Thought, they jumped on someone elses’ bandwagon, and being on the bandwagon makes you invisible as it forces the entire world into that train of thought and no one gets out their own building blocks to build up a brand new idea.

No one can hear you on the bandwagon, even though you think that’s the best way.

And no one is ever going to listen if you have your own idea.

Because first you need a fan base.  You need an Influencer.  You need someone (other than your mother) who already has a Voice (although may not have anything much to say with it) to say, “Yesssss, people, that there is an Idea and I myself discovered it!  And so, people, you must buy it!”

Okay, enough disparaging poor old Sibylle for forcing the entire world to fit neatly into Jung’s idea.

Because now we get to the grit in my craw.

The male, the father, the man, is the Active one.  And the female, the mother, the woman, is fucking Receptive.

A nice polite way of saying she’s Passive.

Which is true of the rewritten and edited fairy tale versions, particularly of Grimm and Disney, which were mostly gathered by men in the 1800s and used to tell the world (and women) what they the men wanted… which appears to be some sort of necrophilia.  A passive nurturer who will never argue and will go out of her way to care for his every need.

You may say, But Dawn, this is no longer true.  Women are “liberated” and arguing against certain fairy stories nowadays is ridiculous.

But I am looking at four generations of women here. I’m looking at my entire generation in the Midwest.  And I’m seeing it.  All of it.

I see the passive girls.  I see the girls who purposefully get pregnant to trick men into marrying them and “taking care of them” so they don’t miss “that great opportunity” for a husband–at the age of 18.  I see the sexist men who won’t let their grown daughters go to college.  I see the girls who are belittled for having an opinion.  I see the Pink toys that are given to young girls which are nowhere near as complicated as the equivalent toys given to boys their same age and skill level.  I see the parents and grandparents perpetuating this when they call and demand to know if the unicorn comes in more “boy colors” than white.  I hear grandmothers (loving, saintly!) say (word-for-word), “We can’t give THAT to the girl; she ain’t as smart as the boy!”

Toddlers and preschoolers are just starting to come into an understanding of their lives and where they fit in our society, and they will do anything to be loved.  Their limited understanding of their positions is based on the stereotypes that adults force down their throats–and in order to “gain our love”, they go out of their way to try to act out those roles.  To “play house” and “princess” like they are “supposed” to.

We are self-perpetuating when we say that we buy pink toys for the girls because they want them.  They ask for what they think WE want them to want.

Finally, “the mother principle is primarily on the side of nature in the sense of the instincts“…

Do you know why this part of the Feminine stands out the most?  For the last thousand, two thousand, three thousand years, most women have been banned from formal learning.  Most were not taught to read nor write.  Most have been discouraged from thinking or stating an opinion to their husband.  Most just hoped to become the Property (which is exactly what marriage legally did to females) of a man who would not beat her, and one who would bring home food.

I look back at the previous two generations, at the “Gee, honey, I hope you buy this new vacuum cleaner for me to show me how much you love me”, at the women who dared not work after marriage, whose worlds were limited by the people their menfolk would drive them to visit, by the limited educations they were “allowed” to have by parents who believed girls should not be educated… and when one of these very Instinctual women tells me how much she wished she was smarter… is always, always telling me how dumb she feels… but who has a finely honed Unconscious, a mind that cannot process deeply learned theories but can look at a small group of people and explain all those interconnections… a woman who Hated so much of life and threw herself into several home arts just to have something to do with her very smart but very under-utilized brain…

I look at these woman, and I fully understand the dark depths of repression.

And here is Sibylle, a learned woman, just perpetuating them more by writing off a woman as receptive and a man as active… because that’s what was allowed… and because she bought a man’s blind theory… and never, not once, thought to argue with it.

Maybe because she thought that, by stroking the ego of all the Jungian Men, that she might just maybe earn their love.

Because preschoolers and toddlers and people with a limited view of social brainwashing (aka: cultural fitting-in-ness) will do Anything to make you love them.

And isn’t that cute?



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