The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is
‘What does a woman want?’
~ Sigmund Freud
I will be doing a weekly contest beginning April 12th (my granddaughter Amelia’s first birthday) through May 21st (my daughter Stephanie’s birthday). Two prizes will be awarded each week: One to my favorite comment and the other to the comment that receives the most likes. Just answer the question What do I want for myself? on my Facebook Fan page. The prize for this week is an autographed copy of my book Invite Joy into Your Life ~ Steps for Women Who Want to Rediscover the Simple Pleasures of Living.
Let the games begin…
What do women want? This is an answer many men would like to know. In my medical practice, it’s also an answer many women would like to know! I ask the question of my patients, what do you like to do, what did you like to do as a child? Many times I get a blank stare. Most can tell you what their family likes to do, but haven’t a clue what they like or want to do. I believe the answer to this question is unique to each woman and changes over her lifetime. I also believe there are some basic desires all women want. Two of these desires come from the story of The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell. The version of this story comes from Joan Borysenko in her tape set A Women’s Spiritual Retreat.
King Arthur was alone in the woods when he came upon a hostile knight. Because he had no weapon, and due to the laws of chivalry, the hostile knight could not kill the King as he would have liked. Instead he posed a question, with the answer to be given in one years’ time, or he would kill King Arthur. The question was, what do women want? King Arthur returned to the castle and discussed this with Sir Gawain. They set off in different directions to ask women and men the question, what do women want. They received many answers but did not feel they had found the right one. Then, one day while King Arthur was out hunting, an ugly hag named Dame Ragnell approached him. She told King Arthur she knew the answer to what women want and would tell him in exchange for marriage to Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain agreed and the answer to the question was revealed:
Women want to be seen in our innocence, as unspoiled.
We want you to see our essence of who we are in our heart and
we want sovereignty, like a knight, in all our affairs. We want power over our own life.
Joan Borysenko defines this further in another story by saying We cannot be in a relationship where we are not seen or valued.
The movie, What Women Want, with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, also explores this. Mel Gibson plays an ad exec, male chauvinist pig, who is struck by lightning and can hear what women are thinking. As the movie progresses, he begins to really listen to what the women are saying. Women connect with him because they feel heard and understood. Of course, he uses this skill to his own advantage in some cases.
I believe the basic essence of what women want is to be seen, heard, understood and to make decisions on how we want to live our lives. Underlying the basic needs of women, each woman has her own desires, which need to be considered as she lives her life.
In The Circle Continues: Women Respond to Circle of Stones, Mary Roberts writes in Asking For My Life, about her quest to find out what do you want for yourself? She too, had heard the story of Sir Gawain and Lady Ragnell and believed the answer to be true. She shared this story with a friend. He disagreed and believed the majority of women wanted a man to provide security and make decisions for them. Mary did not agree with her friend and set off on a quest to ask 100 women the question,what do you want for yourself? Mary Roberts spent two and a half years asking women the question and these are some of the answers:
- A distinguished elderly woman’s response: World peace
- A woman sweeping the floor at the airport: I most want to make life easier, to have enough and to save some, to not fall behind and to not have to struggle
- A divorced professional woman: I want to retain a sense of wonder, to feel content with and to be at peace with myself
- A young dentist with two toddlers: A reliable full time nanny. It is exhausting and disruptive to drive my children to daycare. I need help at home.
- A 26-year-old Greek pharmacist: I want to find power in my career and find a balance of power in a love relationship
- A waitress: I am a battered-woman survivor, raise three children, work three jobs, and go to school part-time. I want to be in my profession of choice in five years. I also want to be a force in my children’s lives as they make a difference in the world.
- Mary Robert’s answer: I want to be at home with myself in silence and in stillness, to honor my basic goodness, to believe I am worthy and whole, and to carry this inner peace with me when I am in the world.
What do you want for yourself?
- I see in the relationships I value… I am seen and heard. I am finding in those relationship where I am not seen and heard, I spend very little time.
- It is important for women to have power over their lives and make decisions about that which affects their lives.
Here’s an interesting side note regarding the changing face of society. The front cover headline onTime Magazine:
The Richer Sex ~ Women are Overtaking Men as America’s Breadwinners.
Why this is good for everyone by Liza Mundy
What do I want for myself? I want to feel love, kindness and respect for myself and for everyone I meet as I go through my day. I want more sleep. I want a clone so I have more time to do the things I choose to do.
Till next time ~ Mary
Mary’s Musings are a random thought. It may be a quote, a question, an idea, or something happening in the world. Enjoy a moment to yourself and contemplate this thought. Ask yourself how it feels and where it leads. Breathe . . . and see where her musings take you.