—Heroine-in-waiting ... November 21, 2013
When I make reference to the American woman I am not speaking of her influence in the marketplace, or the workforce or her overall status in society. There are more than enough articles—all over the internet—on that subject.
What I am driving at is the soul of the American woman. Yes, it is her heart and soul that I wish to hold in my hand and simply observe, and of course muse upon it.
I do realize that women are women, no matter their ethnic backround, or other social and/or environmental factors that may have played a role in shaping them. And yet ...
I feel there is something different about the American woman, something very different.
I first began to form this impression when I was in the Air Force, which was right after high school. I couldn't help but notice that many men in the military had gone off to Japan, Guam or the Philippines and subsequently returned with a native wife.
Of course there was talk about this (a lot of talk), most of it centering around the tremendous differences between American women and those from Asia.
In essence, the conversations centered on the subject of docility. The Asian women were flat out more tame, and pliant, than their American counterparts. The American women, in other words, were simply bitches, while the feminine treasures from Asian were "real" women (and they truly were regarded as treasures).
I feel the need to digress here and mention that I strongly suspect (strictly on the basis of television shows) that the British women are virtually the same as their sisters in America. I watch a lot of Brit TV, and I honestly do not detect much difference at all between the soul of the British woman and the American.
In the essay, A Woman's Word, I cited a quote from Zane Grey's novel, Riders of the Purple Sage, that I felt supported my notion that American women have considerable clout in our culture. The words were spoken by the character Lassiter, a gunslinger, who had ridden into a situation wherein a woman and a group of men were contending over a young man who worked for the woman. The group of men wanted to apprehend the young man and hang him. The woman was vociferously defending him, insisting that he had done nothing wrong.
Lassiter interposed. And in doing so, offered the famous quote:
"Where I was raised a woman's word was law."
He cared not in the least for the argument that the men were presenting. He only cared that they were in contention with a woman. In his mind, they couldn't possibly be right.
I cannot help but wonder whether this story would ever work in any country other than America. Is it possible, for example, that there is a similar tale in Japan, wherein a Samurai comes across a Japanese woman contending with a group of men over some local matter in her village? I honestly do not know, but for some reason I am inclined to doubt it.
The much-hyped passivity of the Asian woman has no doubt considerably dissipated in the wake of Asia's impressive, and seemingly inexorable, rise to economic prominence on the world stage.
And on balance, the rather severe appraisal of the intrepid soul of the American woman, which seems anything but soft when compared with her Asian cousin, has a subtle, and highly beneficent, undercurrent to it that is not often, if ever, mentioned.
I refer to its indomitable power to shape the souls of their menfolk. The harsh women of the West literally drive their mates to succeed, to better themselves, something that a docile slave would not likely have the power to do, which is of course a validation of that old saying about a woman being—always—somewhere behind every great man. Yes indeed, behind him with a cattle prod in her hand.
Somehow we cannot even begin to imagine (at least in the classic sense) an Asian woman wielding a cattle prod on her husband. It just doesn't work, any more than a character like Lassiter works outside the American West.