By Carolina S. Ruiz Austria

The word "Heresy"

was used by Irenaeus in Contra Haereses to discredit his opponents in the early Christian Church. It has no purely objective meaning without an authoritative system of dogma.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Irrational: A Rationale

When I first heard that they invented a birth control pill to deal with (do away with?) the monthly "mood swings" I had my doubts.[Read about it here]

After all, it isn't everyday that a happy, healthy, about- to-be-menstruating again (about to be gorging on potato chips) woman can readily give up her Godess given right to go flip, get wacky and yes, lose it, one a month.

Not all women have it so bad (or so good)though. PMS just as the discomforts of menstruating (dismenorrhea etc.)are different for many women. A friend I know can barely walk and stand when it is that time of the month. Other more active women are less bothered by cramps and headaches (apparently they say physical exercise is a major factor).

The new pill may not be all that bad though. Anticipating a deadline, tons of work and a major event, women may opt to forgo the right to go ballistic for that month and take it. I however, don't look forward to it.Let's just say, I have a different order of priorities. :-)

I have though, learned to deal with my PMS and have in fact been more observant about my mood swings. I'm not advocating it so much as an excuse to do mean things to people (and claim PMS in defense) but it would help if people would also take time to understand it (that is meet me, however horrific my mood swing is, half way).

After all, part of the ways women are boxed into social expectations and modes of behavior has a lot to do with what we define as "normal" and acceptable. Indeed, normalcy is itself a gendered norm. The movie "Girl Interrupted" tackled how in the sixties, various behaviors of women were considered psychological disorders. Many years later, we call them parts of what make up "personality." (No, having sex and wanting sex (whether with the opposite or the same sex) is no longer considered a psychological disorder this day and age, that is medically speaking!)

At the risk of offending a lot more people, I tend to have a different take of our own dear Senator Miriam Defensor's pronouncements. 99 percent of the time, Miriam (the brilliant intellectual that she is), makes good sense. If you really listen to what she says, she is usually on to something brilliant because she chooses (often enough) to speak truthfully.Who else but a crazy person would speak the truth after all? (Remember Rizal's wise man Pilosopo Tasio? Wasn't he considered STIR CRAZY?)

Yet media likes it best when Miriam comes on strong and in so saying, "loses" her temper. They also set it up in a way as to focus on and magnify what they think/frame as classic "MIRIAMESQUE." What are we then saying? An angry man is JUST in his anger, an angry woman is just crazy?

Sure, she is not exactly the epitome of clean politics (she used to be at one time though). She unabashedly also attacks the "powers that be" even if they are the hands that happen to feed her (at the moment) so if you ask me, this makes her absolutely consistent and saner than most politicos in my book.

I find societies are cruel to women in more ways than one. Not acknowledging our right to emotional expression (not the least of them outbursts) can be dammn right CRUEL. Likewise, boxing women in and expecting us to ALWAYS be emotional (more than men)also sucks.

The binary between emotion/reason is also a hierarchy.It isn't just a "his" and "hers" categorization of "nature" or "essence." Strong women have been characterized as "masculine," "having balls" and for all intents and purposes, NOT like a woman all throughout history.

On the other side of this, men and boys do also have it bad with all of society's expectations for them not to cry (and sometimes even not to dance! tough guys?)But I won't deal with that here now.

As much as societal norms and codes of proper behaviour do restrict women's emotional outbursts, or even dictate only what is acceptable emotion (i.e. hysterical break-downs seem to be the preferred/sanctioned/expected "female" reaction to sexual violations --- woe to the woman who doesn't respond this way especially during a trial), women's anger has always been characterized (and apparently acknowledged) as powerful.Hell hath no fury? How about how they used to name typhoons?

But societies in general nor "patriarchal institutions" aren't the only ones with issues about women's strength, women's power, and yes, women's anger (let alone, women's crankiness).

In fact, our own cheating President's "anger management" issues have been the subject of so much speculation and debate (with her joining the fray, blaming pills she took in the past for it), we tend to lose sight of the important issue of what has made her angry each and every time. Unlike Miriam, who has gotten riled up about LYING power companies and oil company dealing politicos over alleged losses in the face of billion dollar profits, our President, has elected (pun intended) to get MAD at the truthful statements of her officials (classroom shortage,OWWA funds for repatriation etc.)

If you recall, one of the President's foremost critics, herself a woman (the widow of FPJ), Susan Roces, displayed "righteous" anger at the height of the election cheating scandal. (Who can forget: "Madam President, YOU STOLE THE PRESIDENCY!) As much as I respect that outburst in every sense (because it was truthful), it was also disappointing (though not surprising) to hear that in her heart, Susan thinks the country needs a MALE President and that it (the presidency) is not a woman's place.(And no, I'm not rooting for HER candidacy in particular)

In so doing, many of us have ended up making the cranky President's crankiness, just another story about an "irrational" woman. More likely its just another story about a crooked politician. Unfortunately, they haven't invented a pill for inducing ethical and moral behavior.


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