So, let’s get it out of the way — all women are crazy. And all men are assholes, but that’s a subject for another time. We’re focusing on the female of the species here. In my six decades on this planet, I have closely observed, both individually and collectively, the madness of women. Both my mother and her sister, my godmother, were extreme enough examples to get my attention at an early age and keep a lookout for signs in other females whom I might run into. I soon came to the conclusion that this was an epidemic.
The syndrome has nothing to do with the revolution that took place in the home from the Sixties through the Seventies. The rise of feminism within the middle class actually helped, at first, reduce the level of insanity and focus it mostly on men. (Which is fine, because it’s what we’re here for — and why we’re leaving.) No, the condition upon which this psychotic nature emanates is from the beginning of time. Once a second woman enters a scene, conflict ensues. Even a benign presence such as the Good Witch of the North descends into Munchkin-land and immediately alters Dorothy’s worldview of where she’d landed and redefines her self-image. This is the Dorothy Syndrome. When women are alone in their universe, they operate under optimal conditions. They tend to blend in with the pack and sometimes end up at the head. But, put a second female in the picture and, depending upon their personalities, things start to get a little bouncy. We have all seen this happen. Nobody speaks of it. Even the males of the planet are infected.
The psychosis of the Dorothy Syndrome is rooted in feelings of jealousy and self-loathing. I can’t prove it without getting my face slapped repeatedly, but I feel pretty confident based on my own observations. You can read my notes, if I ever get around to writing them. There is both a history and a pre-history of physical abuse against women. The anxiety from it is vestige within them. Women judge themselves against other women to a much greater degree than men, because the competitiveness is a survival reflex. Women dress with the opinions of other women in mind. They don’t do it to impress but, rather, to intimidate other women and so increase their anxiety. Most men don’t understand any of it. Most men interpret female behavior to always be inspired by their presence. Most women know this and choose to ignore the effect, rather than confront and correct. Some women do finally confront the bad actors — one woman is taking selfies with cat-callers and then posting them online. This is known as free advertising for assholes. I’ve seen other women on LinkedIn posting indignant responses to online propositions. LinkedIn is the social media version of a golf or tennis club. Members represent their companies and their own business reputations. Yet they continue to misread situations and inflict themselves on others. These are the Business-Class assholes. All along, women continue to judge other women. In the workplace, at home, in church, community functions, you name it. Put more than one woman in the room and watch the walls start to fizz.
As with most of the woes of humankind, the Dorothy Syndrome is both self-inflicted and self-generating. It is reasonable to say the syndrome cannot be cured, but it is also reasonable to think it can be managed. So far, the only sure curb I know of is old age. More specifically, the self-awareness of being elderly. Old ladies stop being judgmental when they die. The difference is in the area of self-interest, which starts to wane with age and takes its anxieties with it. Without those anxieties, women begin to adopt an air of superiority. Nothing fazes them. Everything is beneath them. My grandmother was a very cool old lady when I knew her. But she was mother to my crazy mother and my crazy aunt and, by all accounts, the queen of crazy in her day. For women like my grandmother and my own mother and aunt, self-interest revolved around what they believed other women thought about them. As wives, mothers, people … the self-deception of trying to see ourselves through the eyes of another. I don’t know exactly how many beatings I sustained because something I did made Mom look bad in her imagination. More than a handful. I didn’t learn much from those punishments, except the true meaning of madness. And I’ve been studying it ever since. I wish I could conclude this essay with some words which offer solace to all who are stricken, but I’m fresh out of rainbows.
Addendum: Old age enlightenment doesn’t apply to men; being an asshole has no age limit.