Monday, November 24, 2008

my beautiful disorder

For what seemed like the hundredth time, I was reading today about personality disorders, or PD's, as they are lovingly dubbed within the psycho-therapeutic community. More than anything else I fit the profile of a person "suffering" from Histrionic Personality Disorder. The word "histrionic" itself stems from a Latin word for "actor", and quite logically, this disorder is characterized by theatrical, animated behavior, the need for attention and acceptance, and inappropriate seductiveness and sexuality. Incidentally, this is a disorder apparently plaguing the female population... Meaning that any time a woman expresses any sexual tendency or extroverted behavior, she is abnormal. In the ancient world, it was referred to as "wandering womb". By the middle ages, any behavior perceived to be improper in women was blamed on witchcraft, moral weakness, and demonic possession. In the age of psychoanalysis, such great minds as Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich blamed women's "weak nervous systems" and "penis envy" for their troubles. Apparently it was strange to them that women that lived either as idle slaves (wives if the wealthy) or actual slaves (wives of the poor), were bored and unsatisfied with their lot in life.

As I read such garbage and reflect upon my life thus far, I realize just how deep-rooted and corrupt society's attitudes are towards women. Virtually every conflict I've ever experienced has stemmed from such thinking, perpetuated even by women themselves. We are taught to hate ourselves for our natural desires, our appearance, our mental flexibility. Even our brave new "modern" world offers no real solace. We question our every move, wondering if we'll be perceived as improper or too aggressive, or too passive, or just plain dull. Whether we are politicians or doctors or housewives, the stigma of weakness and being inherently flawed follows us everywhere.

It is prudent to note, too, that all the major world religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, help to instill this view of women in our collective psyche. This helps to explain why someone like Sarah Palin was so poorly received by most rational women. Her belief in a patriarchal religious system supercedes her empathy toward other women and their struggles.

In any case, I'm not sorry. My histrionics keep life fun.

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