Huffpost Healthy Living
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Deborah King Headshot

Stand by your man . . . no matter who he kills or beats up?

Posted: Updated:

What exactly was Megan McAllister thinking when she said, "I love my fiancé and will continue to support him throughout this legal process"? Or more accurately, what was her state of denial as she watched officers retrieve the panties of Philip Markoff's victims and the gun used to shoot one of them from the hollowed out "Grey's Anatomy" book he kept under the bed they slept in? This was the "loving and caring person" who kept duct tape, plastic zip handcuffs, and a semiautomatic weapon in his home. Just how blind can love be?

Megan's predicament echoes another in the news--there are hints that Rihanna is spending time with Chris Brown. What makes her believe his apologies and promises never to beat her bloody again? Is it simply youthful folly, or is she, like Megan, living out the cultural programming that all women unconsciously carry inside?

Why, one wonders, did smart-as-a-whip Silda Spitzer stick with her hubby, Client No. 9, . . . and forgive him? Here was a woman with a law degree from Harvard holding the hand of the man who spent $15 grand with high-priced hookers.

Because that's what women are trained to do. Oh, the training doesn't have a textbook, or a course at Harvard. It's in both men and women from the moment we emerge from the womb. It's the wallpaper of our lives, and blends into the background of our subconscious to the point where we don't recognize the patriarchal myths that we all believe without thinking, that we learn without words. We're not aware of how deeply patriarchal ideals are ingrained in our cellular memory until we run smack into them.

We modern women are kidding ourselves if we think we're free of these old myths. Before you wonder how Megan McAllister can be in such denial, or are horrified at the thought of Rihanna going back to Chris Brown, think about it. How do you succumb to the old myths? Do you think you'll never catch a guy if you're too fat or too smart? Do you live your life based on what your husband wants or demands? Do you befriend the powerful guys you work with and snub the girls' lunches? Do you think YOU did something wrong when your guy sleeps with someone else or slaps you around?

And men, do you make remarks to your friends about your "little woman" at home? Are you afraid to show your feminine side? Be soft and vulnerable? Even cry? Do you expect your woman to defer to you? Serve you?

Wake up! The legacy of patriarchy is all around us. And the sooner we become aware of it, the sooner we can find the balance we all seek within ourselves and in the masculine-feminine dance of life.

From Our Partners