Women’s Adaptation to Living in Our Patriarchal Society

…her daughter said that she was angry at her mother because every time the mother and the father argue, the mother gave in.  The daughter is observing this. and she said to the mother, “I’m angry at you for always giving in,” and the mother said, “I felt so humiliated, so ashamed,” because the daughter was seeing what she was doing.

So then it could go one of two ways.  She could say to the daughter,  “Don’t see this, don’t say it, you know, and I’ll make a deal,” which I saw women and girls making all the time, in which,  “I won’t say what I see you doing and you don’t say what you see me doing.”

That was all about the adaptation to what it means to live as a woman in, basically, a patriarchal society.  But this woman teacher was very interesting, because she came—she was a seventh grade teacher and she had a man, charismatic man teacher and they were homeroom teachers together.  So one day the man says, teacher says there’s a new rule that nobody can leave lunch until everybody is finished.

So one day at lunch that week girls come late from orchestra, and other girls are finished [with their lunch] and this woman, carrying the voice of her eleven year old, she says, the woman teacher said, “I didn’t say anything when he said that [originally] because I relate to him the way I would relate to my husband.”

But then when the girls came late from orchestra, she turned to the other girls one day and said, “You may be excused.”  And the girls started to leave, and one of them turned and said, “Good for you, Mrs. Miller. We’re proud of you!”  And the thing is, they had observed the entire thing.  So when women realize that, you know, girls are observing all this, and there’s a lot of stuff that we don’t want, basically, seen.  We don’t want to have our adaptation commented on.

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Carol-GilliganSociety, Relationships and Pleasure

In this DVD, Dr. Carol Gilligan addresses a variety of topics including feminism, patriarchy, relationships, pleasure, parenting, and psychotherapy. She dispels myths regarding feminism that have pervaded both professional discourse and popular media for the past three decades, describing how “patriarchy creates a rift in the psyche, dividing everyone apart from themselves.” She discusses relationships and parenting, including the dynamics of mother-son and mother-daughter relationships. Finally, Dr. Gilligan addresses the dilemma of pleasure, stating that “pleasure is act one in a play that ends badly.” Emphasizing its importance, she describes how people often defend against pain by not feeling pleasure.


About the Author

Carol Gilligan, Ph.D. Carol Gilligan is best known as the author of In a Different Voice, described by Harvard University Press as "the little book that started a revolution."  Her pioneering work on women's psychology and girls' development led her to be named by Time magazine in 1996 as one of the 25 most significant Americans. Her books include: The Birth of Pleasure: A New Map of Love, The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy's Future (with David Richards), and most recently, Joining the Resistance. A member of the Harvard faculty for over 30 years, Gilligan held the university's first chair in gender studies; she is currently University Professor of Applied Psychology and the Humanities at New York University.ce.

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