This exercise was written by Theodora Wells, a feminist and a business
communications and training consultant working in Los Angeles, California,
who has written a book called "Breakthrough: Women into Management" (Van
Nostrand Reinhold, cloth). Her exercise is designed to help a woman imagine
a world without the myth of male superiority as a working premise. It could
be a powerful exercise to use in a consciousness raising group or to start
people thinking about their female self-image and its practical effects on
We need to protect and nurture our connections with other women. Female
alienation is encouraged by male chauvinism. I need to watch for places
where my own attitude is altered by cultural prejudices which distort my
self-image and my perception of other women. How much of the social
feminine stereotype do I accept and take part in?
"Woman - Which Includes Man, Of Course: An Experience in Awareness"
There is much concern today about the future of man, which means, of course,
both men and women -- generic Man. For a woman to take exception to this
use of the term "man" is often seen as defensive hair-splitting by an
The following experience is an invitation to awareness in which you are
asked to feel into, and stay with, your feelings through each step, letting
them absorb you. If you start intellectualizing, try to turn it down and
let your feelings again surface to your awareness.
* Consider reversing the generic term Man. Think of the future of Woman
which, of course, includes both women and men. Feel into that, sense its
meaning to you -- as a woman -- as a man.
* Think of it always being that way, every day of your life. Feel the
everpresence of woman and feel the nonpresence of man. Absorb what it tells
you about the importance and value of being woman -- of being man.
* Recall that everything you have ever read all your life uses only female
pronouns -- she, her -- meaning both girls and boys, both women and men.
Recall that most of the voices on radio and most of the faces on TV are
women's -- when important events are covered -- on commercials -- and on the
late talk shows. Recall that you have no male senator representing you in
* Feel into the fact that women are the leaders, the power-centers, the
prime-movers. Man, whose natural role is husband and father, fulfills
himself through nurturing children and making the home a refuge for woman.
This is only natural to balance the biological role of woman who devotes
her entire body to the race during pregnancy.
* Then feel further into the obvious biological explanation for woman as the
ideal -- her genital construction. By design, female genitals are compact
and internal, protected by her body. Male genitals are so exposed that he
must be protected from outside attack to assure the perpetuation of the
race. His vulnerability clearly requires sheltering.
* Thus, by nature, males are more passive than females, and have a desire in
sexual relations to be symbolically engulfed by the protective body of the
woman. males psychologically yearn for this protection, fully realizing
their mascuilinity at this time -- feeling exposed and vulnerable at other
times. The male is not fully adult until he has overcome his infantile
tendency to penis orgasm and has achieved the mature surrender of the
testicle orgasm. He then feels himself a "whole man" when engulfed by the
* If the male denies these feelings, he is unconsciously rejecting his
macsculinity. Therapy is thus indicated to help him adjust to his own
nature. Of course, therapy is administered by a woman, who has the
education and wisdom to facilitate openness leading to the male's growth and
* To help him feel into his defensive emotionality, he is invited to get in
touch with the "child" in him. He remembers his sister's jeering at his
primitive genitals that "flop around foolishly." She can run, climb and
ride horseback unencumbered. Obviously, since she is free to move, she is
encouraged to develop her body and mind in preparation for her active
responsibilities of adult womanhood. The male vulnerability needs female
protection, so he is taught the less active, caring, virtues of homemaking.
* Because of his clitoris-envy, he learns to strap up his genitals, and
learns to feel ashamed and unclean because of his nocturnal emissions.
Instead, he is encouraged to keep his body lean and dream of getting
married, waiting for the time of his fulfillment -- when "his woman" gives
him a girl-child to carry on the family name. He knows that if it is a
boy-child he has failed somehow -- but they can try again.
In getting to your feelings on being a woman -- on being a man -- stay with
the sensing you are now experiencing. As the words begin to surface, say
what you feel from inside you.http://www.csee.umbc.edu/~mariedj/browse/serious/imagine