In my last post I shared a sketch which came to me while reading the book “Meeting the Madwoman”, by Linda Schierse Leonard. I’m still not far into the book…okay, I’m only up to chapter 2…but that’s not the point. There’s something about it that reached out to me the moment I saw it and even with as little as I’ve read, it’s definitely resonating with me. This is going to be a several part post because there are several different aspects of this character and I want to do them all justice. Sometimes we can see/be the madwoman in more than one way at a time, others just one. There is no right or wrong. I just want to try to keep this simple and palatable.
Before you all think that I’ve completely done Darth Vader, let me clarify a little. We all have a dark side, an inner madwoman. Most of us were taught that this part of ourselves is something to shun…to be embarrassed about. As women, we have been taught that we are supposed to be these loving, soft, nurturing creatures all the time and that if we deviate from that standard that we are somehow inferior or even crazy. Yes, women are slowly making a comeback to their true nature but there’s still a way to go. You heard me right, I said comeback.
There are many tales of bad ass women in the ancient world. Somewhere along the way though, much of the world made a switch to a patriarchal society. Listen, I’m not hating on the men…I love the men…but this is fact. Women are expected to suppress so much…our power, creativity, strength, opinions, and even our sensuality. Sure, there are women in positions of power but we’ve heard the whispers about them. ‘She’s too butch.’ ‘What a bitch’. ‘That one’s a real ball buster’. ‘Look at that slut’, etc. and just because they are being true to themselves and filling roles and acting in ways in which we’ve all been taught are only for men.
Women are nurturing and caring beings, but we are so much more. I can be a good girlfriend and be a hell raising activist. You can be a good mother and run a fortune 500 company. We can be faithful wives and free spirited artists. Why not?
It wasn’t that long ago that women were being institutionalized for not being obedient enough. It was acceptable for men to do so because a woman was supposed to act in a certain way and if she didn’t then it meant that there was something very wrong with her. Here is an great blog post about how it was. I just stumbled across this tonight while researching a little and couldn’t have worded it better myself. Women are still being looked down on and frowned upon for just being themselves and it isn’t fair. It can sometimes make us doubt ourselves or even question our sanity when we keep hearing that we aren’t acting ‘normal’.
There is nothing wrong with being female and being strong. Nothing wrong with letting your inner madwoman out to play sometimes…write that poem, paint that painting, sing that song as loud as you can, dance in the rain while everyone else dashes about under their umbrellas, go to that rally and speak your mind about the spoiling of our environment, apply for that loan to start your own business, state your opinion and stick by it if you believe in it, have a wild night of passion with the hottie you’ve been flirting with for weeks (don’t judge, having a sex drive is human nature)…whatever you can dream of. Of course there are right ways and wrong ways of exhibiting and owning your power. The above ways are good when done right…kicking your boss in the balls for calling you sweetheart…not so much. Embrace your madwoman and use her power to be the best you that you can be.
This ends the first installment of this series. In the next one I’ll be talking about the darker side within us. The one which we’re afraid of because the emotion is so powerful and base that it feels almost more animal than human. How do you feel about this so far?