In Personal Praise and Honor of Women

Charles Dana Gibson drawings (from' The Gilded Age)
Charles Dana Gibson drawings (from' The Gilded Age)
Whistler Symphony In White No. 1, The White Girl, 1862
Whistler Symphony In White No. 1, The White Girl, 1862

“In Personal Praise and Honor of Women”

This is the title, and this is my story. For eons, women have taken more than their fair share of accusations, slurs, and abuse, both verbal and physical, for just being a woman. A woman who wanted to spread her wings and explore herself and her visions, not to undermine or attack her husband and even mankind. She just decided that it was her time. And why shouldn’t she take this bold chance comparable to daring a lightning bolt to strike her?

Since Mother Eve, women have been the most misunderstood creature that God ever created. For seemingly-endless spans of time, men have mastered and understood the ocean, skies, even the vastness of black space, but not once has he taken the time to understand (a) women. Women, I admit out of my male gender, can be a complex collection of sweet-smelling silken mysteries all wrapped in a tempting wink of the eye and a deadly smile from her soft lips. But I can speak for myself and my brethren in telling you that we men simply do not know how to understand females.

Edmund C. Tarbell, "The Breakfast Room, 1903."
Edmund C. Tarbell, "The Breakfast Room, 1903."
Lovely Southern Belle
Lovely Southern Belle

The "nightmare" started in times past

Prior to, and during such eras in our history as The Gilded Age, women were seen as objects of artwork that some cigar-smoking, brandy-drinking “lion” who owned his own stock investment firm, purchased at a secret auction held in his well-furnished den where he and his equally-arrogant pals were congregate weekly and tell each other tall tales on how they “kept their little woman” in line. “You have to do that sometimes,” an elderly retired millionaire would say at the end of each tale that was told—sharply-similar to a well-rehearsed Broadway play, everyone had a place and lines to say on cue. Ahhh, the poor beautiful wives, never allowed to speak their minds, and many times not permitted to speak at all.

This abuse irks me to the point of just daring these jerks in men’s disguises to put a collar around these women’s necks just like you did your yard dog? What you did to her, muffling her every word and thought hurt her self-esteem and shredded her dignity worse that you ever punished your dog.

I suppose now, with a lot of thinking and studying, those beautiful Southern Belles in gorgeous hoop skirts, hats with seductive brims and that silken parasol, loved their role as a non-thinking, non-speaking porcelain dolls who strolled underneath the mimosa’s sipping mint juleps living and existing in their real-life dream world due to their cotton-selling husbands in stylish coats and tails did all of the thinking and speaking for him and his wife.

Origin of The Southern Belle

The image of the Southern belle developed in the South during the Antebellum Period. It was based on the young, unmarried woman in the plantation-owning upper class of Southern society A Southern belle of that era was keenly aware of the popular fashion of that time, and the modern archetypal image still includes antebellum fashion. A Southern belle typically wore a hoop skirt, a corset, pantalettes, a wide-brimmed straw hat, and gloves. They also frequently carried parasol umbrellas and hand fans. As was fashion at the time, these young women shielded themselves carefully from the sun, as a sign of tanning was considered working-class and unfashionable. Southern belles were expected to marry respectable young men, and become ladies of society dedicated to the family and community.

Characteristics

An essential element of the Southern belle was social grace. They were always good-mannered and could make any guest feel welcome. The "Southern belle" epitomized Southern hospitality, a cultivation of beauty, and a flirtatious yet chaste demeanor.

The opening scene of the film Gone with the Wind is widely considered to depict a classic example of a Southern belle. In that scene, Scarlett O'Hara is on the porch entertaining the Tarleton Twins, and they are completely captivated by her. She is playful, delicate, and beautiful.

History of the archetype

During the Reconstruction Era in the South, the role of the plantation-owning upper class changed dramatically. The role of women changed dramatically as well, as did the clothing fashion from the antebellum era.

During the early 20th century, several things happened to revive the image of the antebellum young woman, and the archetype began to form. By far the most important event was the release of the film Gone with the Wind. Dick Pope, Sr., famed promoter of Florida tourism, played an important role in popularizing the archetypal image. He had a staff of Southern belles working as hostesses at his famed Cypress Gardens. He promoted their image in magazines photo-spreads and newsreels all over the world, in an effort to promote his theme park.

In a modern context, the term is used to describe graceful Southern-born females from any ethnic background. The term may also be used for a débutante from the southern United States. There is no single formula for what constitutes a Southern belle today, but they are certainly not all old money and triple-legacy sorority girls.

Source: WiKiPedia

This part really gets my blood to boiling

I love the south with a fiery-red passion, but I view this existence-by-beauty “only” for these Southern Belles as a direct filthy insult to these naïve girls who mastered charm, grace, and sharpened-social manners. How else can I or you see it? Even an extremely-wealthy cotton baron’s livestock had it better than his male-molded husband, for at least this man would visit the animal quarters and talk to the animals.

There has been this one reoccurring dream that has chased me in times past so much that I was once tempted to contact Stephen King, master of the written word about evil and the unexplained, to see if he might “take a crack,” at turning my dream into a best-seller or maybe a screenplay for a serious horror movie that just might open the eyes of what few remaining “good ol’ boys” who at one time, infiltrated and saturated the rural country churches in the Southland.

The dream goes like this: I see this humbly-sized rural church, built from concrete blocks with a shingle roof and cars and pick-up trucks are parked in random patterns. Some parked underneath the three huge Oak trees that give of their cool shade for relief to any of the church members smart enough to get inside the shade out of the unrelenting summer sun.

Inside the church building is purely a black and white area made up of men with mostly crew-cuts and wearing traditional white, long-sleeved shirts with narrow black ties. Their traditional 50’s-style hats are all hanging on a piece of smooth lumber with hooks tacked to the wall at the back of the building.

No individuality mixed with stern lives equals death

Only these men who are mostly dressed just alike line the pews from the front to almost the back of the church and on those pews sit their wives and families. Their wives are following suit by wearing dresses not above the knee and modest hats with veils to honor this social tradition for females in the church since the days of The Apostle Paul when he was teaching the people in Corinth. This scene looks almost mechanical and planned-out as the men do the singing with help from their wives and the only female to be placed toward the front of the church is the pastor’s old maid sister, “Gladys,” who is an excellent piano player.

The worship service goes as planned, one hour to the second. Pastor “Jeffreys,” also dressed in a white, long-sleeved shirt and black pleated pants as all of the male church members are dressed, dismisses his flock and the members begin shaking hands, talking, and milling to the outside of the church to talk a few minutes with each other before starting for home.

But on the north-side of the church building, the deacons are having an impromptu meeting. A serious meeting. The subject: “Bro. L.D. Taylor’s” wife, “Jaynelle,” has been “acting-up,” lately at home and inside the Piggly Wiggly in their modest hometown. It wasn’t her dress because she always dresses modestly in and out of the public eye. Nor was it her behavior. She is really a “poster child” for self-control. What it involves is her mouth. She has this problem of asking “L.D.,” too many questions about politics, theology, and the life itself—knowing almost from birth that she is to remain silent as a gesture of reverence to her husband.

Blond streaking to me, is very exciting
Blond streaking to me, is very exciting

Enough is enough of this "rebel" woman

“The camel’s back” was broken two Sundays ago when one of the deacons heard her speak openly in the singing service to her best friend, “Judie Clingan,” a first-cousin to the pastor, about why the congregation “must” sing the same hyms Sunday after Sunday. Pastor “Jeffreys,” is stern in his instructions to the deacons in wanting “this ugly tool of the devil cleaned-up at once.” This female rebel must be put back into her place.

“L.D.” nervously-confides, “I’ve tried to keep her in line by spatting her on the butt,” he says with his head hung low in shame. “But that only makes her upset at me and I do not get any supper that night.”

As “L.D.” finishes his statement, the group of “ol’ boys,” suddenly realize that I am standing near them and they gasp as they start shuffling right toward me chanting some scripture from the Book of Ezekiel. I cannot run or walk away in my dream. I am paralyzed. The angry men are getting closer and closer for the know now that “I” can cause trouble with the knowledge I have gained about “Taylor” slapping his wife on the butt and this ugly incident just may be the start of something bigger and much-more monsterous.

Keep your eyes on the ball, not the player
Keep your eyes on the ball, not the player

A poll for men only.

Do you share my opinions about how women are treated?

See results without voting
Today's woman
Today's woman

Same dream. Same ending

I awake with my heart pounding like a blacksmith molding a new horseshoe. I cannot explain this dream to anyone. But I know from my past that “all” dreams mean something and all things in life are not just random events, but have a purpose.

Could it be my sub-conscious appreciation for females? Could it be that I do not like for any female to be abused in any way? And do these ritualistically-prejudiced “ol’ boys,” represent the hidden abusers who hide in darkness entitled “Something Happened to Me When I Was a Boy,” and other flimsy excuses to beat and torment their wives?

I might answer, “Yes,” to all of my questions.

All in all, I am only one guy with one mind and opinion. And my opinion of women of all sizes, shapes, and dialects is they, the women, are all in a area way beyond special and we men need to re-learn “who” women are. Not “what” they are, as this old adage says, “Women are here for two things: To make men’s meals and have their kids.”

Maybe we men need to re-learn in reverse. Re-learn to hate the “demon,” abuse in any way and then re-learn respect and then “how” to talk to women and finally “how” to love them in the way that they need and deserve.

Then maybe this terrible reoccurring dream might stop.

J.S. Sargent Mrs. Fiskie Warren and Daughter, 1903
J.S. Sargent Mrs. Fiskie Warren and Daughter, 1903

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Comments 22 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

I never would have made it in the days of women (and children) being seen and not heard. Women are strong, spirited people. We're not difficult to understand at all. We're not aliens or monsters. We're people who simply will no longer put up with crap.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 2 years ago

You write many good hubs, mostly sincere and truthful even though the truth brings some pain it is what it is. But I try to view things as God would like me to see his point. Eve being a women was to complement Adam her mate. She was a helper as stated. Like you have two hands both are equal to function and both work together or can function without the other ,they complement the body ,is one greater then the other ? No they both can do the same thing. The point is society has molded the though as women being a less value . When God himself says different.


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 2 years ago from Nibiru

wow my friend, breath taking words. i do understand woman.....women are a complex mix of radioactive feelings. you just have to know when to with women. Beautiful Article


DeborahDian profile image

DeborahDian 2 years ago from Orange County, California

What a wonderful and beautifully written article ... and I love the artwork you chose to go with it. I have been fortunate to be married to a wonderful guy for 43 years. We raised four daughters and he has always been respectful of women and supportive of his independent thinking wife and daughters. More men would enjoy women if they had this attitude! Voted up ... this is awesome!


no body profile image

no body 2 years ago from Rochester, New York

Very good article Kenneth. I can see the frustration and have felt it so much myself as I see men striving with their women and women pushing back, their children crushed in the process. I voted up and interesting.

I agree Kiss and Tales, and I also think that women have had much power behind the scenes as an unseen power struggle was always ongoing behind closed doors.

In my own home, I know the importance of my wife's thoughts, desires and dreams to me. I also know the Scriptures that say a man that marries can be distracted by his mate. I can certainly understand this, because I love her and my reason for existence COULD easily be to serve her and protect her as my queen. BUT, God has said that He must come first, before my wife's desires and before my own. He has structured for the Christian marriage roles to play. I find myself unable to be both man and woman in my home. It is impossible for anyone, (even single people so God must take that role in the single person's life).

(I am retired and therefore do the majority of the housework, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) I do what the traditional "little woman" would do in our household. But I still am not Husband and Wife. I need her to compliment my role in the family, to help me in decisions for the family, to help me with problems we face. Men have always needed women for such things. That is why God said, "It is not good that man should be alone." In the infuriating old days when the rich little woman was just eye-candy to make other rich old men jealous of the man of the house, those folks were not living in accordance with the Scripture, which according to Proverbs 31 allows for women to do much of the things modern women do and to be encouraged and praised for it. Men found that they could feel power at the expense of women so being sinners, they wielded power. But the Scripture never intended it to be so. And in spiritual families honoring Scripture, throughout the ages women were treated with the respect that the Bible required. Great subject Kenneth. Bob.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

Thanks for writing this hub. I don't think it will change the minds of some men -and, yes, there are still men like that out there - but maybe a few of them will see the light. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think most men who treat women this way only do so because they're afraid if the woman speaks her mind they (the men) will find out they've been wrong about some things all along.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Once upon a time, way back in the dust-covered bins of time, women were revered as not only the font from which ALL men were born - and still are - but as the wisest of the wise. They were recognized as the natural leaders of tribes, both in war and peacetime. Then came the Romans with an overabundance of testosterone and a thirst for power by any means necessary. Got to put women "in their place". Burn "uppity" women at the stake, steal their property, teach them who's boss. And that's the way it stayed for thousands of years, but times are a changin'.

Ken, I applaud you for standing up for the "weaker" sex, and for writing this hub. Many young men today are catching on that women are NOT weak OR empty-headed, that women are just as smart or smarter than men. That women are much better at multi-tasking, much better at resolving disputes without violence or bloodshed.

Men historically are much less flexible when it comes to changes. Those who can't (or won't) accept women as equals and not merely arm candy or sperm repositories are DINOSAURS, and we know what happened to THEM! ;D


vkwok profile image

vkwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

Probably one of your best articles yet, Kenneth!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

vkwok,

Wow! I am without words at your nice comment. Thank you so much.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, JamaGenee,

I do enjoy comments such as yours, Bob's, Sheila's and well, ALL on this hub. You all could write novels easily. For me, I had to really reach-down inside of me to find just the right words and adjectives to come close to describing such lovely creations as women.

And I say that with complete honesty and respect.

To me, there are NO weaker sex. Just wiser.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear sheilamyers,

You are welcome for the hub, but without my work being accepted by you and my followers, it would only be a string of useless words.

There ARE men who are still living in the Stone Age at how they treat women and then the young men, they need mentoring as to not follow the destructive pathways of their troubled idols.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

no body/Bob,

I am very impressed and humbled by your comments. And I understand the scriptural/Biblical views and truths about women.

Fact: In old Israel, wives fought with their husbands when Israel went to run out the idolaters from their lands.

Fact: Women in these days were judges, merchants, and very strong. And yet so feminine they could, just by being seen with their husbands, bring him much honor. Proverbs 31.

So society itself, changed or has tried to change how a woman was to be treated by building upon a misunderstood box of scriptures.

I do appreciate your input. And wish you the very best. Come back to vist me often.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Deborah,

Thank you from my heart, for such a touching comment.

I cannot offer you any material reward except my heart felt "thank you."

I meant every word of this hub. And if it is the last one I write, I will pass happily.

God bless you.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

clive,

Many thanks to you for your sincere words. I loved them. They made me feel needed and worthwhile.

I was raised mostly by my mother when my dad stopped farming to work in factories when I was small.

I can see her influence in my words when I really go with a subject like this and I hope she smiles when she looks down from Heaven.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Kiss and Tales,

Oh how right you are in your analogy of the hands as compared to a man and woman.

I LOVED your comment.

I feel so much better now at reading your comments.

God bless you all and thank you all.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

BraveWarrior,

You are right. Women are people, not aliens. What a remark that you said, "people who are just fighting back."

So keep doing that, my dear friend. Fight back when hypocricy comes your way as well as males who try to lord over you.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting subject Kenneth. I think we would all be a lot happier if we all looked at the things we all have in common more often rather than fixating on our differences. We women are human beings first and foremost - one half of the human race - and as such deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect all humans deserve. We all have our differences and unique attributes and these should be celebrated, not pilloried.

If men don't understand women it's because either they can't be bothered to think about it long enough or are too scared. Much of the historical abuse of women such as the witchcraft trials was down to fear - even today powerful women get called insulting names and powerful men get praised.

Personally, I'm not prepared to be submissive, surrendered or anything else that gives my power away to any man, because I am the equal (not superior) of every man and woman on the planet. I believe that anyone who wants to own or control another human being, whether it is a wife, child, employee or slave, is probably very insecure and using their perceived power over another to shore up their own frail ego.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, CMHypno,

Wow, thank you for your insightful comment in which I am in agreement with you. You present some valid points in today's society about how a woman should be, and is in reality treated badly.

I get depressed and angry when I see a jerk of a man with a loud braggart mouth in public demeaning his wife or girlfriend.

In some parts of our world, did you know that a man can be whipped within an inch of his life or even executed for just talking vulgar to his mate? To this, I say bravo.

And thanks tor this comment and the following.

I cherish YOU and all of my followers.

Have a safe night.


WriterJanis profile image

WriterJanis 2 years ago from California

I would not be happy living like a second class citizen just because I'm female. You've written a great tribute here to honor women.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, WriterJanis,

"Thank you so much for the very kind remark."

"I meant every word of the hub." "I thought it was time for women to get some just-respect and honor for God only knows how much tripe and crap you all have endured over the years.

I love to call you my friend.

Kenneth


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Sadly, we are still not regarded as equal so the more articles like this, written by men, the better! My relationships with all the men within my family and friends are great but I know quite a few who don't enjoy the same. We are equal, some better than others for all sorts of reasons but not for the reason of gender.

You champion us well! Shame there aren't more men like you. I like the humour in your words too. Hope you get rid of that recurring dream soon!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dearest ann,

Words are hard to come by at this moment to justly thank you for such a sweet and moving comment. NO one, men or women, has ever said that part, "wish there were more men like you," to me on or off of HP. I shall cherish your comment until my life is a memory.

All of my text and comments/replies are from the heart and the truth.

One day, that dream will just vanish. That is what I pray.

Dear ann, have a safe night. And visit me anytime.

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