Man Bad, Woman Good


"The part I'm most interested in is how women came to be the witches of the world, when it is generally only men who engage in the witchiest behaviors." I lifted that statement by Christine from a post under "Some Basics" to try to introduce these two questions: How is it that women are viewed as the witches of the world? What are the behaviors that men engage in that women dislike so much? I hear this generally about men and believed it wholeheartedly myself as I was growing up among womankind. I've treated individual men as if this were true of all of them, and I've found myself treating my man very unfairly when he is kind and patient. I've found myself thrown across the room when I thought I was being kind and patient. I know there is a disconnect in the perception of WHAT IS between two people. How do we step back and get a real view and begin again to try to engage in meaningful conversation?

I would appreciate it if you would read "Some Basics" and then consider joining in some discussion with this new opportunity we have. I feel like some of you have had a right impression of me from the past and I'd love the chance to redeem myself here. From that, some of you may be immediately resistant to anything that has my name on it. I also think that there's a wrong impression of me as a one-track, judgmental religionist. That's not me and I've really been trying to express myself reasonably, but still realistically and frankly.

Fab and I have had our differences and I was mean to her, then apologized and was forgiven. Fab is outspoken and has a way of expressing herself that can be misunderstood, but she is helpful and harmless...and a little stubborn. I get this and like it about her....about you, Fab....because I identify with the way you express yourself. So many of you others have been kind and patient with me and I keep trying.

I'll be up front about my agenda with these questions. Why do we feel this way about men? Is it founded in fact in your personal relationships (fathers, brothers, husbands, friends) that most men in your lives are worse people than you are? Are the women in your life truly better people than the men? I would persuade you to judge (yes, judge....evaluate....decide...perceive truthfully) by individual behaviors both men and women. Otherwise, it's just another gender prejudice.

I'm not ready to say that men are better people, but I cannot at all say that women should be given the benefit of the doubt over men just because we're women. Why? Because I know myself and what I've been and done. I could tell you things and get all kinds of sympathy, but I'd have to leave out the fact that I've been a provocateur. You believe that, don't you?

The witch may be guilty of something or nothing, and then even then that something may not be what she is actually being persecuted for. The witch only needs to have given rise, in the observer, to some animosity and this will be enough. It appears to be a matter of people projecting outwards onto the witch an inner resisted desire or a resisting of some inner truth about themselves that they see manifested in or is invoked by the witch person. I don’t pretend to understand the dynamics of it but our present Prime Minister here in Australia, a known misogynist, was quite happy to stand outside Parliament House in Canberra with a mob who bandied signs which read ‘Ditch the Witch’ in reference to our then female Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Freud of course saw all these neuroses connected with sex and therefore to him the image of the witch riding the broomstick he saw as the symbol of the penis. For others, the witch signifies the negative aspects of women and so you had our female PM being criticised as a liar, a mismanager and profligate spendthrift; all very naughty female traits apparently (a man would never do such, he being too responsible, except statistics on our various leaders show otherwise). Now of course why do people go along with this? Because they have a deep psychological need to.

I like your explanation of projection, especially regarding both resisting an inner desire and resisting truth that has been made manifest or invoked. I've thought of it as being provoked (when I'm involved in it); and, if you think about it, that's like a double case of projection. The persecution of witches (as in the Salem witch trials) is a really good example of projection. I don't know what Christine meant by using the witch reference, but it may just be a happy accident that it brings up such a good example for us.

Is it fair to relate projection to mirroring (not that it's always two-way, but sometimes)? Do you think, then, that men and women are at odds with each other when we're projecting or mirroring each others' worst behaviors?

As to misogyny, do you know what the opposite term that describes hatred and distrust of men? Am I wrong to suppose there were also women in the political mob you described?

I believe you're right about the deep psychological need. I think the need is both a lack of something and a compulsion to satisfy it somehow. I wouldn't mind hearing more of what you think that need is.

About witchcraft, I believe in witches. That is, I believe that there are people who are able to persuade others that they have or can invoke supernatural powers and that people are really, actually affected inasmuch as they believe it. That anyone can invoke a supernatural power against me or on my behalf without my interaction in it, I don't believe. The point is that it's psychological manipulation. To institute it as a religion (Wicca) is fitting.

(Disclaimer. I'm not going to make any apologies to Wiccans. I worked in the religious studies department of a major university which embraced Wicca as one of it's subject areas. While I was there, some of my best friends were Wiccans. They allowed debate and disagreement, maybe because they were trying to manipulate me into agreement, but that's okay.)

Hope you don't mind my questions. I really appreciate your post. If I missed your drift, please educate me.

First off Bebe, we will assume this discussion to be an exchange of intellectual speculation, not me teaching anyone and not least of all yourself anything. Otherwise, I will not play and take my ball home with me.
Let’s take your first point. “Is it fair to relate projection to mirroring (not that it's always two-way, but sometimes)? Do you think, then, that men and women are at odds with each other when we're projecting or mirroring each others' worst behaviors?”
We all mirror and quite naturally. It is non-spoken communication. Someone can say something of their worry to you and you will often automatically frown, when someone smiles at you, you smile back. Milton Erickson mirrored patiences’ behaviour on occasion when he was helping someone who could not speak, could not show expression, could not communicate at all except their obvious distress and incapability of interaction with those around them. Milton sat with them and breathed in unison with them. It proved to be their first realisation that someone was trying to get through to them and it appears some did not altogether take the new situation they thereby found themselves in at all well to begin with.
So we might be talking of different things when using the term mirroring? If so let us know.
I definitely agree therefore that while men and women are projecting they will sometimes be at odds with each other, other times not. To take two extremes, if I am projecting the commanding characteristics of a major general onto a man outside of a military situation there are likely to be misunderstandings. And likewise, if he sees me as a witch with all the bad attributes of a woman combined, there will be possible sparks. However, if he saw me as the girl of his dreams, I could probably wear that quite comfortably for a while and even be disappointed after the honeymoon was over. In another situation the projection of the ideal loved one upon me could be bothersome and considered unwelcome and inappropriate.

My trying to connect a kind of mirroring to projecting blame (of 'witchery') isn't worth pursuing, but your comments on mirroring are helpful and interesting. I'm especially touched at the idea of being with someone in their very breath in order to find a way to communicate. It's not hard to imagine the discomfort of an exercise like that in someone who is not communicative, but there's no doubt it is effectual. I have found myself having to "let in" some uncomfortable and intimidating communications and found value it. Sometimes we have to let the "bad" in to get to the good.

I also appreciate your pointing out the projection of an ideal image. That's hard to live up to, especially if one has helped build that image deceitfully (playing it and making it believable). Otherwise, there's no particular need to live up to someone else's image. That creates big problems. We would do better to find our own best way to be and be it consistently.

At any rate, the original question was how is it that women came to be the witches of the world when it's generally only men who engage in the witchiest behaviors? My first idea was to identify the question (and the statement within it) as gender bias and then to defend men. I'm not very good at dialectic (leading the argument with questions) yet and I was trying to dance around it to avoid making an accusation. I have to say this: If someone questions or points to something for the sake of clarity and another feels accused, the accusation is within the hearer...not necessarily in the speaker. If we can accept that, we have a basis for the kind of projection that reflects back as accusation (as you said above regarding the response to inner things.

Here's something to consider in regard to the original question: Women in the US have the presumption of favor (the benefit of the doubt) in the law and public opinion, with police and in the courts. A woman can defraud a man of sex and affection, subvert the obedience of his children, provoke him to jealousy and anger, then accuse him of violence or infidelity (true or false) and with the favor of the court put him out of his home, separate him from his children, take over his investment in property, and cause him to be ordered to pay indefinitely or live as a fugitive. This happens every day as if striking a woman who has provoked it or committing adultery are unpardonable sins. A man can stand in the presence of his own family (mother included), his wife's family and his children providing (even if only a share) of the money needed to establish and maintain a house, living patiently with having to keep up this expectation while under the threat of public opinion and of accusation if he ever puts his foot down in his own house. Sure it can be reversed, but what I've described is the norm. This is marriage and family in America.

I asked you(all) above to consider your own experiences and personal knowledge of men (rather than the general opinion about men as Christine expressed it). I have observed what I have described above (in whole or in parts) in my father, father-in-law, "others-in-law", my own husband, and our neighbors. It has been rare to see a woman put out this way by the court, although I have to say I've seen one leave voluntarily in shame.

Re the projection of the ideal: There is one point of view that holds that young lovers do this when they fall in love; fall meaning to descend freely, drop, sink to a lower level and so on and so there is no deliberate deceit involved. We are talking about the subconscious here not the ego. But the projection of the ideal is often something we do to our children; and again a lot of it is subconscious. We have one estimation of who they are, or who they should be, which does not always tally with reality. This of course contributes, amongst other things, to the rebellion of youth which at one time although soundly condemned by society was considered to be a natural reaction of baby birds before leaving the nest. Presumption of favor, I take it is a legal term, and naturally only American lawyers would be able to comment on that type of thing and then in each specific case. I’m afraid I don’t quite know what you are getting at here. But I do get it that you are on the man’s side and believe there is some unfairness in treatment according to gender before the law.

You're so right about projecting the ideal onto our children. No, presumption of favor is not a legal term. It's just the phrase I used to describe the attitude of the courts in granting women an advantage in divorce court or child custody cases. In some states the law doesn't presume that women are the better parent in custody cases but gives precedence to the "primary caretaker" who is more often than in years past the father. Still, it happens that the law is applied more by prejudicial attitudes in such cases than by strict adherence to the ordinances.

I do defend men against the statement that that they are the only ones generally involved in witchy behavior. Sweeping statements like that continue to propagate the attitude of women and girls against men generation after generation. The same kind of statement regarding lesbian or gay women or men wouldn't be tolerated here. A sweeping racist statement wouldn't be tolerated. So I am compelled to retort, how is it that men get all the blame for the state of the world when women are holding up half of it? That's why I gave the example above. In fact, that is what I'm trying to get at. There shouldn't be a "side". That's all.

Freedom of speech exists, sweeping statements are made all the time. Just to take one of yours as an example: "Still, it happens that the law is applied more by prejudicial attitudes in such cases than by strict adherence to the ordinances." As I said the law is the law; any side taken is according to the interpretation of the evidence before the law otherwise you are talking about corruption. The law like politics is naturally adversarial. If there is a bad law it will soon be appealed. We live in a society where the law rules alongside many beliefs and codes of morality. It is an amalgam and for many of us we must let certain things pass. That does not mean that we lack a sense of what is wrong and what is right, but we tend to be rational beings and usually in the light of evidence come to some decisions, if this puts us on 'sides' then all that really means is that there is a divergence of opinion.

Hi Bebe,

Let me clarify that I come to gender issues from a European-American-female-heterosexual perspective. Women of color have their own experience, which often intersects mine, but I can only speak from a personal viewpoint.

All the points I have made on the subject refer to men and women being psychologically and sexually *different*. You have interpreted that as woman-good, man-bad. As I understand it, you have also articulated a deeply entrenched moral system in which power or control-over is the primary value, or truth, in male-female relationships. This extends, btw, throughout the social and natural order.

How is it so difficult to accept the highly studied and well-documented truth that in the U.S. men commit 95% of violent crimes? They commit most of the murders and almost all of the assaults. Men sexually assault, mutilate, kill, and eat human flesh, and I read a news article last year (just tried to search for it and got a warning from Google - scary!!) about a male porn ring sharing pictures of putting children into ovens. Is this not the “witchiest” of behaviors? Yet, since the time of the Brothers Grimm women have been the witches of the world.

How has this happened?

Consider that Woman has no place, no articulated position in most of recorded Western knowledge. Therefore, her suffering has always been inconsequential. I was reminded of this when you stated, “I could tell you things and get all kinds of sympathy, but…”

The profound cultural absence of Woman has disabled us in recognizing our dependence on each other for survival and support (we still have no child care for working mothers!) and also for understanding and believing ourselves and each other. My “truth” cannot inherently make sense to you because my deeper female person is unknown to you. You have precisely described the primary resistance to consciousness of this reality - by believing that your man is the exception and therefore you are the exception too. It’s like the hysterectomized woman who not only says hysterectomy was the best thing she ever did, but refuses to consider the negative effects the surgery has on most other women.

You assert that U.S. courts favor women and that “the law is applied more by prejudicial attitudes.” Shall we tell that to the 13 and 14 year-old Maryville rape victims, one of whom recently attempted suicide? A man rapes a woman every 15 minutes in this country, but I think you mentioned that you don't want to consider statistics.

Yes, a woman can “defraud a man of sex and affection”, and “subvert the obedience of his children”, but as soon as he “puts his foot down in his own home” he is somehow unfairly mistreated by a detrimental judicial system.

Bebe, serious and often fatal male violence against women and children has only been aggressively dealt with by our criminal justice system over the past 30 years or so. How can this be anything but vigorously celebrated considering where we have come from?

Under English common law, which was transplanted to America, a woman could not sue in her own right. If she was intentionally injured, her husband might decide to go to court and seek compensation *for her lost services to him*, but she had no right to seek damages for her injuries.

Your insinuation that my comments or perspectives are anti-male is not only cliche but seems rather deceptive to me. Male violence has brought not only women, but all of nature to the brink of extinction. How can labeling me, or any other woman, anti-male have any possible meaning in light of these truths? The problem is, there is huge imbalance in the world because Woman has not been admitted to reality.

Women were absent during the birth of both science and modern medicine - an essentially female-less dogma. The Inquisition recorded burning 30,000 women over 150 years. Other sources believe millions of women perished in the greatest crimes against humanity the world has ever known. “Some small towns were left with one woman or no women at all”, according to Jeanne Achterberg in Woman As Healer.

Our “civilization” may have survived, but we remain deeply scarred. Our greatest loss has been ourselves - our female society - so that now we have ladies against women and all sorts of rents and rifts that keep us suspicious of and divided from each other. I do not believe it was always so.

Your comments about wicca are a perfect example. I’m sure these groups can be anything, but the serious practitioners of wicca I’ve learned about are only concerned with easing suffering and healing all life on earth. The same deeply female pursuits that were wrenched from us long ago.


I purchased the first edition of Christine's book specifically to read the chapter called "Journeying" which was omitted from the second edition. Well worth it. She also touches on these themes in WWY2 which is probably my favorite dvd. Coming to understand this "big picture" at my stage of life is one of the things that has bonded me so closely to WW. - Surviving

Thanks for coming on with a defense of women. Your explanation makes far better sense to me than what seemed to me to be the stereotypical man-bashing that we're surely all familiar with. I apologize for putting you in that category. I'll reread your post and consider all you've said.

Thank you, Fab, for your responses. You're always able to bring something to the table that helps me and I do appreciate it.