Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014.03.09 Women Who Love Too Much?

Upskirting? Really! What the bejesus is this? Don’t they think we wear underwear? What do they expect to see? Or sell? Luckily, I hardly ever wear a skirt any more. But fear not, if you get arrested and jailed for upskirting I will come visit you in my skinny, no-peep jeans. I will not post bail, however.

Upskirting refers to the practice of taking secret photos under a woman’s skirt with a cell phone on the T (public transport). How the @$%? do you do that?  It’s a feat for a contortionist. 

Inspired by public outrage, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts criminalized such sexual surveillance, drafting their bill in just over 24 hours—a record. (Boston Globe, 3.7.14) 

Such action proves how fast the legislature can act if it is motivated. It also proves how much it dallies unless we cry out, and how much praise it gets from the media for alacrity. I’m not impressed.  Cartoonist Dan Wasserman says it with humor.Who are "they" really?


It got me thinking once again about the plight of women. Will we ever be free from whatever it is that makes people, mostly men, think that we women are objects to be exploited, mere skirts to be peeped under? Women shouldn’t be blamed, but if we want justice and equality we must be part of the solution. But no uptrousering!  I suggest a ban on skirts. 

A woman once wrote a book called Women Who Love Too Much about the pathological way in which women stay—and stay— in relationships that aren’t good for them. Such behavior was labeled co-dependency.

I’m not referring to obvious physical or emotional abuse, though many women hang in with that out of fear, but perhaps domestic neglect or some subtle demeaning that corrodes the soul over time. 

I once went to a workshop to “fix” myself. I felt neglected and helpless in a marriage troubled by a combination of workaholism and functional alcoholism, the hardest to confront. I drank to cope. It worked; I didn’t notice how I felt.

The workshop presenter ticked off a litany of self-defeating characteristics of co-dependent behavior. I had every single one. I felt lower than an inch worm. The lady with the answers that would “save” me made my inadequacy worse. Something wrong with me—or was it the book? 

Women who “loved too much” didn’t know how to love both the other and the self. That was a good point and helpful but something was still not right. How can you love too much? I was out of balance but I DID love.  Deep down I was moved by love.

I thought of Debbie, one of those “love-too-much” women who called herself a “dumb, stupid codependent” all the time.  As a child, she’d forced herself to stay awake until her father returned from his bar, light up a cigarette and then pass out in a chair. Then Debbie went to work, cleaning up and making sure his cigarette, teetering on the edge of the ashtray, was snuffed out so no fire could start. She lost sleep and her grades suffered but her love was real. One day I got so sick of her talk I blasted her: “Hey, stop with the stupid-me stuff, love-too-much crap, and listen up! You did what you did out of love, didn’t you? Well, didn’t you?”  Debbie grinned.  

I still think loving too much from a true heart is a spiritual motivation that sets us free. Just make sure you’re on your own love list though, and don’t label your ways of loving “sick.”  Will love stop upskirting and its ilk?  That will take several villages of women empowered and spiritually free. In the meantime, wear pants and let yourself off the self-blame hook.

Debbie calls me every Christmas. She is caring for her aging parents. Too damn much love again.