464: Being Southern and Female

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Southern women are a chaotic blend of practicality and helplessness. Our problems often stem from being successful at both concurrently. Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, understood this dichotomy quite well and clearly, baldly described it for the rest of the world (not living or raised in the South) in her character description of Scarlett O’Hara, villainess/heroine (whichever view you take, both are equally valid) of that splendiferous novel.

Scarlett had a helpless streak that she used every time a man was around, because, of course, that was what a southern belle was supposed to do – depend on her man. SHE is too feminine to be subject to distasteful things such as bad language, financial difficulties, boorish manners, or anything else she wants to avoid. She gets a pass, solely based on possessing ovaries. Every southern man knows women are delicate magnolia blossoms that bruise at a firm touch. This view is pervasive in the south even today. You can still be publicly castigated by all and sundry for using foul language in the presence of ladies. Even if no one is willing to speak up and say anything about your public display of boorishness, you’ll get dirty looks for abusing feminine sensibilities. Imagine. This puts a lot of pressure on southern ladies, too. We know we are not supposed to swear, even when the situation warrants it, which occasionally does happen. We are also not supposed to sweat. Hello. The south is not noted for temperate climate. It gets freaking hot, especially in summer. There is an old saying about how horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies “glow.” WTF is “glow?” ??

Scarlett also had a ruthless streak of practicality, when her men were not falling into line with what she had predetermined she wanted them to do. She did it herself, by God, and damn the consequences. I personally like and prefer this aspect of femme fatale Scarlett’s dual personality. I can identify with it more easily than the helpless personna. It requires less acting on my part. It’s also a damn sight less embarrassing, too. And it permits discreet cussing, under the breath.

Works for me.



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