Monday, May 13, 2002

I don't know about esrogen but...

Did I see this here already? If so, I apologize for being redundant. But I thought it was interesting in light of Jeneane’s posting about women in the work place. It would seem that Phyllis Chestler has written a book about Women’s Inhumanity to Women.
Chestler begins with a run-through of the scientific and historical evidence on female violence. Among primates, evolutionary psychologists have found, females often bid for “alpha” status by trying to sabotage the reproductive cycles of their sisters. Mother lemurs and chimps have been known to kill and even cannibalize their competitors’ babies.”
She has a psychodynamic/mythic theory.
Some of this behavior, Chesler believes, can be explained by psychoanalytical theory. She speculates that women’s penchant for indirect aggression results from the frustrated romance of the mother-daughter bond. Longing for intimacy, girls may be enraged to find that their mothers reserve most of their affection for their husbands. To this Chesler adds a portrait of the “Demetrian” mother—named for the goddess Demeter, who kept her grown daughter Persephone in tow six months a year—who feels betrayed when her child shows signs of independence.”
And as for the work place…
This is not to suggest, Chesler hastens to add, that women alone are to blame for women’s inhumanity. Another culprit (needless to say) is the “patriarchy,” especially in today’s male-dominated workplace. She cites a study showing that female economists were more likely than their male counterparts to reject the proposals of women for National Science Foundation funding—a result, Chesler asserts, of women having to compete among themselves for a few token positions. Nor are things any better in office settings, where women obey the dictates of various dysfunctional “gender standards.” Thus, some female managers pretend to be caring mother figures in order to suppress dissent and demands for money, while others act, as one of Chesler’s subjects put it, like “male-impersonators.
More here.

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