The Infantilization of Adult, Professional Women
This article is fairly recent; 2017. My intuition tells me we may be reaching the apex of patriarchal definitions of women’s power as I’m noticing the younger women and men are not exactly absorbing the definition of roles the way we did in the hippie generation. That is to be expected and welcome. I’d rather get on to other issues in our culture but this one does not seem to be dying just yet. In addition, fertility and reproduction rates are going down which is a necessary slow down for the genders to equalize power. Nature is taking its course.
I’m experiencing this attempted “needy chick” projection onto me right now in a friendship that is almost two years old and has been a roller coaster of unstable behaviors from my friend. I’m done with this part of it now and it feels right to have stricter boundaries in place. I understand that men’s role in the world is being taken to task right now but that’s a good thing. The testosterone-induced inclination to blow stuff up and support the military is a true oppression for the planet and all the life forms that want to reproduce in peace.
While we hopefully are moving toward the end of the line here with projecting infantile behavior onto women (and men) due to dysfunctional, co-dependent programming from the home, we are still seeing;
“Ambitious women are treated with particular suspicion as if there’s something dubious and undesirable about women who pursue greatness, power, prominence, or even just success in their field. Men who compete with other men are unremarkable; male competition is the natural course of things, and given that men have long dominated electoral politics and many workplaces, competitions for power in politics or the workplace have long been male-only fights. That’s no longer the case. Now, women who pursue power, whether that’s elected office or a managerial role at work, are often competing with men, too. This co-ed competition touches on some of our deepest assumptions and biases about what women are supposed to be. It touches on some of the men’s deepest fears about what they stand to lose.”
“And so women who challenge the status quo must be put in their place. Sometimes, those women come across as so powerful and commanding that it’s tough to cast them as hapless children, and so detractors attack them for being too ambitious, suggesting that they must have gotten where they are through the stereotypical evil-female traits of deception and manipulation. These women are ball-busting bitches, cunning liars, and power-hungry harpies (see, for example, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Michelle Obama). Other times, women’s power itself is undercut, and this is where treating you like a child comes in. Often, detractors use both tactics against the same women – infantilizing them as princesses or crybabies, and also smearing them as craven or crazy (just ask Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi).”
“Women who have crossed some ever-changing threshold of what’s young enough to be considered attractive are supposed to drag their sagging carcasses off into the bushes and with dignity (or at least disappear from public view). Few things make misogynists angrier, and a lot of the public more uncomfortable, than the ones who keep talking in public anyway.”