W>men and Change
By Deborah Diamond Hicks
"These courses are for women who want
to go beyond neighborhoods 77035 and
77096," says Marsha Elefant, director of
the Individual Development Center.
"We're going a step beyond consciousness
raising. We're emphasizing action and
The Individual Development Center is
co-sponsoring a six-week series of seminars
with the Bay Area Committee on Drug
Abuse during April and May. Area women,
experts in their fields, will lead the sessions. Their remarks appear below.
Sheila Sheinberg, Ph.D., Univeristy of
Houston, Dept. of Sociology, "A Woman
"Life cycles is a perspective, a new
paradigm for, interpreting sociological
behavior. We too often assume that we are
socialized one way in our youths and then
just live that out. But change is continuous.
Physical changes are most dramatic
through adolescence, but equally important sociological and psychological
changes are going on throughout life.
All the significant studies of life cycles
have been male-oriented - Shakespeare's
Seven Ages of Man, Erikson's Eight Stages
of Life, Levinsen's Four Seasons of Man.
The female life cycle is totally different.
—Take the success/motivation studies.
These are all based on a male model.
Competitive occupational/vocational success is the male dream; marriage and the
children, the female dream. When we
measure females against this male model
we are measuring the disparity, the conflict, between the socialized female and
the male dream. We need to look at motivation across the life cycle.
Nancy Gulanick, PhD., University of
Houston lecturer and counselling psychologist, "A Woman and Her Body"
"The media image does more than
show us our imperfections, it creates
them by promoting certain standards. We
try to mold our bodies to fit these images.
Look in the museums and see how women
tried to mold themselves in various ways..
It seems absurd, but it's the same thing
we're doing with support hose, high heels,
and tight waisted clothing that doesn't
even allow us room to eat.
We take an ugly part of ourselves and
project it on our whole being. We reinforce
it every day by looking at it, and then we
don't look any further. We need to break
out of the pattern. We need to be aware
of things that block an OK body image
- the media, the perfection ideal - to
start looking for what looks good and accept it, to set realistic goals for ourselves
and take steps in areas where we can
Dale Hill, PhD., practicing psychologist,
"A Woman and Male/Female Relationships" (May 9):
"Women in transition tend to go
through a four-stage process. We start out
with the 'sleeping beauty syndrome' -
living an unaware, passive existence, and
getting our affirmation from men. The
second stage is anger - when women become anti-male - a negative reaction in
which they are still defining themselves
in terms of men. The third stage is characterized by a redirection of energy. Women
Workshop participants (front row): KATHY WHITMIRE, NANCY GULANICK; (back row): CAROL WALSER, DR. DALE HILL, MARCIA
ELFANT, and SHEILA SHEINBERG.
find affirmation with women, and men are
irrelevant. The final stage is reconnection,
hooking back up with men in equal ways
if such men can be found. Self-affirmation
is the goal. At this point the woman is
ready to deal with herself, with social
issues, and with the community.
It takes an aware therapist to see the
stages. And the therapy should be action-
oriented toward a change goal, not just
Carol Walser, Director of Volunteer Services at TRIMS, "A Woman and Volun-
teerism" (May 16):
"Volunteerism is one of the action
choices a woman can make. This is an
opportunity to break out of the home
— a bridge between motherhood and paid
Volunteerism is not an end in itself. It's
an important stepping stone. Volunteers
create paid positions, not take them away.
They prove the need for a paid position."
Goldie Rappaport, M.S.W., social psychotherapist, "A Woman and Guilt"(May 23):
"Guilt often inhibits action. A large
portion of behavior is a response to the
shoulds, musts, and ought-tos in life. Guilt
can rob us of good feelings, detract from
our joy, and leave us feeling uncomfortable. But there can be a balance between
the immobility from too much guilt and
the amorality of too little."
Kathy Whitmire, City Controller, "A
Woman and Success"(May 30):
"Women can integrate their personal
style into a leadership/management situation. Since there are no role models,
women can make their own rules. Women
who break ground are on the spot all the
time as a representative of women. They
have an obligation on behalf of all other
women to succeed."
All sessions of this course will be at
7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at St. Paul's Catholic
Church, 18223 Point Lookout Drive,
Nassau Bay. Registration for the entire
series is $40, or $8 individually. For further information or registration call
776-0047 or 333-3111.
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