“I’m 64 years old and I’m STILL looking for a good man!” said Linda this morning, surprising me by speaking these words with no humor whatsoever. This was in response to my question, “Have you ever met one?” Which was in response to her assertion that there are, in fact, “good men.”
Continuing to look for a good man against all evidence to the contrary is evidence, to her, and to society, of HER goodness. In patriarchy, losing faith in men is the real crime. If there are no good men, it’s women’s fault for not believing in them. For not waiting long enough. For not looking hard enough. For not giving him a chance (or him, or how about him, over there! He’s a Buddhist/loves kids/loves his mother/loves cats/does volunteer work).
Irrationality and blind faith are highly prized traits in women, but also severely punished. They beat her, they rape her, they yell at her and call her names, they order her around like a servant, they treat her like a child, they treat her like a piece of property. They abuse her and lie about it to everyone, even to her face. She’s an idiot for going out with that jerk, but a bitch for giving up on him.
The focus must stay on her, always. She goes to church, prays to God, reads self-help books, sees a therapist. She quits church, gets a boob job, dyes her hair. Considers going back to church. “Yes, she says to herself, “I should definitely go back to church. That was surely where I went wrong.”
One day she marries a man she describes as “wonderful,” whose only observably wonderful characteristic is that he doesn’t beat her up. He is very selfish, a complete moron, and a total bore, but “at least he will never hit me,” she tells herself. He never does hit her, but she thinks of suicide every day for the rest of her life. She pushes away the thoughts and just focuses on being of service to him and his extended moronic family.
When she dies, her obituary praises her neverending love for her husband, father, brothers, uncles, sons, her charity work with the homeless. She lies in the casket, nails perfectly manicured, makeup flawless, the picture of goodness herself: a woman who never stopped believing in good men.