Wives and mothers... and nothing more

Men seem to construct their identities out of their careers, the money they make, the things they own and build.  That's not true of all of us, but there's a cultural leaning in that direction.  Women are collectively more focused on their families in terms of relationships.  They nurture these things.  Societies are built out of these two dynamics.

Where it breaks down for women is when they have no identity except in conjunction with a social construct such as marriage or motherhood.  Getting married isn't something that happens in their life; it is an event that defines who they are as a person.  Sometimes they don't have a strong sense of self.  They can't see beyond the event and so need these family milestones to tell them who they are.

I similarly have it in for women for whom motherhood has subsumed their identity.  Some years ago I actually saw a MySpace profile with the tagline "Mommy is my name."  That's fucking scary.  When your social circle is so constricted that the only person who speaks to you in second-person is your offspring, you really need to get the fuck out of the house.

Big events and the family-building unions they represent are important features of life.  You experience them and grow from the paradigm-shifting that follows from them, but they aren't the totality of your existence.  I love my partner.  I even loved getting married.  When we married and leading up to the date, I spent months posting funny videos of wedding-related things I'd found on YouTube, pictures of the designs we came up with for the wedding dress, cake, music, etc.  And I love my kid.  When he was born and leading up to that, I posted lists of names under consideration, pics of him, etc.  But my profile name was always "Alexplorer."  I didn't change it to "D'n'A are tying the knot!!!1" or "Stan's dad!"  I'm a husband and a dad, but if I needed these labels to define me, then I probably wasn't anyone to begin with.

There's a mix of emotions I have when I see social networking profiles in which people like this can't help but fall back on someone else's connection to them to tell them who they are.  These girls have no foundation beyond the crutch of forming an identity out of their relationship with a man (now validated by jewelry and a paper) and child(ren) who they can't help but love and who are hardwired to love them in return.  And until they develop an identity separate from their family roles, they shouldn't get counted on any census because they don't qualify as a whole person.

Copyright 2009 Alexplorer.
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