Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

The Help(less)

If you’ve seen the movie The Help, you know just how hardworking and able those women were. . . of course, I mean the domestics. The women they worked for, however, seemed rather helpless. Which brings me to today’s subject: helpless women. Pathetic, helpless women. Of course, I’m not implying that all women are helpless. Or even most. Far from it. Women are extremely adept at planning complex projects and organizations (think:  running a household, planning a wedding, leading the House of Representatives) and taking risks (think:  Mae West, Christaine Amanpour, anyone who has had a baby). So, why is it that so many of my sisters (metaphorically speaking) are afraid of their own shadows? Can’t make a decision on their own? Are afraid to drive on the Garden State Parkway? (Girlfriend, you know who I’m talking about. . . ). I can understand this in young women, but women over 40?

Women I know – who you’d think, after all these years, would realize they are just as capable as any man – quiver at the thought of driving somewhere they’d never been before. Or they need someone (read: a man) to explain the simplest concepts to them (after they’ve managed to follow a 4 page recipe to a tee).

I remember decades ago when, as a bank teller, the two “older” women teller (read: 35)  had to have Joey, the one male teller, help them carry their cash drawer to their teller windows. The same women who could easily hoist a basket of wet laundry from the basement to the roof – and did.

What is it that makes mothers complain that they “can’t” make their kids clean their rooms, fill out their college applications, do their homework, etc. etc. without Mommy’s help. . . which often includes just doing it for them? Why do we still encourage this culture of dependency?

For god’s sake, get a GPS app on your phone to find your way. Start watching Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer) and HE will show you how to take control of your kids. (Yes – kids respond just as well to rules, boundaries and limitations. . . and they usually don’t eat off the floor.)

Pretend there aren’t any men to help. Because someday, there won’t be.

Acting helpless is the worst lesson you can give your kids, especially your daughters. Do you want them to make $ .70 for every dollar that boy next door makes? Do you want them to live in a world where men make all the decisions – and send their sons to war over and over again? Or do you want them to grow up in a world where they have the power to have a real impact?

Do you want them to turn out better – or worse – than you?

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This entry was posted on Saturday, April 12th, 2014 at 1:06 PM and is filed under My Pet Peeves. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Judy Herring says:

    As the mother of two adult daughters, I say “hooray” to this subject! I was a single parent for ten years. My girls were 9 and 11 when their father and I divorced. I worked, took care of them and myself. They were old enough to understand why we divorced, and I think that made them realize women (or men) need to be treated with respect. I have always encouraged them to soar, try new things, travel and to do things by themselves. My daughter just called off a wedding three weeks prior to the date because she didn’t like the way she was being treated. She now lives alone and is loving her space and privacy. My other daughter is living in London pursuing her Master’s. She has traveled to other countries by herself. We all make mistakes and I try to learn lessons from every one I make. My girls go through issues and have imperfections, too. As a matter of fact, I am trying to help one of them realize how her actions affect other people’s feelings. So, the learning is constant.
    I know many women who are afraid to drive on certain highways, eat a meal at a restaurant by themselves,and would never even think of walking into Home Depot and ask how to replace a faucet. Yes, I did that because I couldn’t afford a plumber! BUT, I think some of that behavior stems from their upbringing. Maybe their parents were that way, or they have some fears from past experiences.
    The world was meant for those who dare and do. Even if you fall, pick yourself up and keep going. And, you may fall again, but you know you can always get back up!

  2. Buzzy Allen says:

    “The Help” remains one of my all-time favorites. Have seen it many times. I get your argument but I wonder if the same mechanisms that drove women in the 60s (read – traditions), are at work today or are some women just plain scared to death of life. “Women drivers,” for instance. What is it about “women drivers” that makes them “women drivers?” I don’t have that answer except to say that women just seem to be, on a whole, poor drivers. But then, men don’t have to put on eyeliner while driving to work, as seems to be the rule for many women drivers. Don’t get me wrong, there are a host of poor “men drivers.” But men seem to anticipate better than women when behind the wheel. I think you have raised the question, do we want women like the ones in the movie — raising the children, staying at home and fixing meals (although “The Help” did all that), or do we want women who work and (in some cases) act like men? My mom always says the world started going nuts when women started working. Granted, that is very old school (mom is almost 96), but she’s got a point. But that argument dies with Hillary Clinton, our next president. I wouldn’t want to tussle with her under any circumstance. I think the average guy likes to be needed around the house. But the average guy also knows his limits. If a plumber is needed, I’d call the plumber before attempting to fix a plumbing problem. And I ‘d appreciate it if the woman in the house saw things the same. Often they don’t though, and call me a lout for not at least attempting to fix the plumbing. Everyone should play their position, stay in their lane. Life would be so much simpler. I guess the question you raise is, what is that “position” for a man and a women in today’s age. Frankly, I don’t know any more. I really don’t even know what the heck my argument was here. But it’s fun reading your stuff!


    • Ah, Buzzy, there are SO many things I could respond to. . .but let’s just address the woman vs. man driver claims. Here is what one (of many studies) has found:
      “Men are 3.4 times more likely than women to get a ticket for reckless driving and 3.1 times as likely to be cited for drunk driving, according to a study by Quality Planning, a research firm that works for insurance companies. “Women are on average less aggressive and more law-abiding drivers — attributes that lead to fewer accidents,” the study says.”
      So, you guys may ANTICIPATE better, but it sure as hell doesn’t make you better drivers! 🙂

      • Buzzy Allen says:

        Babe!” (As in Babe-dom), that was a freebie. I purposely threw that one in there for the greanades to follow. And you’re correct. I am certainly an “assertive” driver.

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