I'm not sure I understand what -- Bill: That much of the operation of women in these social groups is not a function of choice on their part. It's not satisfying their personal needs. It is a function of the role that society kinda forces them into. Please show yourself some compassion for your inadequacies. You're just being human. Incidentally, upon reviewing this self-criticism, my partner (and co-parent) commented that I'm being too hard on myself, exaggerating my disengagement. I suspect she may be right; Are you tough on yourself, too? HELPING GENDER-NONCONFORMING KIDS Gender-nonconforming kids are at a higher risk than the general population for being teased, bullied, and shamed. Caring parents, of course, don't want their kids victimized in this way. My parents knew that if I wore my brother's suit to my bat mitzvah, I'd be met with negative judgment and ridicule. Shaming me for gender nonconformity was their misguided way of trying to protect me (and themselves). TUNE YOUR ESTEEM AND RESPECT RADAR Esteem and respect are triggered by the thought that people think well of us. To increase the frequency of this emotion, you need to reorient your thinking so that you actively scan for the compliments, accolades, or appreciation you've received. Scan for Esteem and Respect Start with your positive intention. Say to yourself, I want to feel more esteem and respect.

That means I need to focus on times when others think well of me rather than on when I'm embarrassed. Make a list of when/by whom/where you have felt respected and esteemed. What do your spouse, significant other, friends, and children admire about you? When have your boss or colleagues complimented you? Leader: You are using that as an illustration of your original objection to the effect that we should attach certain values, positive or negative, to these interests and you object very strongly to doing that -- saying that one interest is of more social value than another one? Bill: It seemed to me that what we were essentially saying is that the things that the men wanted to do were not as good for them -- were not satisfying their needs -- as well as the things that men didn't want to do. And I just kinda didn't -- Cathy: If women get together to clean up the alleys, after all it's the women who have to sit and look at the alleys all day. The men are out working all day. They are not as concerned about the alleys as their wives. They should be. The fact that there isn't a playground for the children, by and large the mothers would be more concerned about that than the fathers. Questions of this sort wouldn't necessarily hit home to her husband. It seems to me they would be much more interested than their husbands might, who also because of our culture would say, Why, that's the mother's job. But of course, it didn't work. I fantasize about what they could have said that would have made my life a whole lot easier: We know that femininity isn't your thing and that you prefer to express yourself in a suit. We love you for that. We support you in all that you are. But we also want to help you understand that the world you are growing up in has judgments about gender and is going to be hostile toward you when you express your gender.

So we want to help you decide how to handle that. Do you want to wear your brother's suit to your bat mitzvah and face potentially hurtful reactions? Or would you rather wear a more socially acceptable dress? Or, perhaps we could work together to find some compromise. Where in your community are you held in high regard? Carry this list with you, and pull it out whenever you want to feel more respect and esteem. Those reminders will be an instant boost. Fully live the esteem and respect. Get to know what it feels like, in your body and mind, to feel esteem and respect. When you notice you're feeling that lift of esteem and respect, pause and really take it in. Do you feel a warm glow? Do your intellectual abilities feel clear and sharp? Are you inspired to take on new challenges? Take note with all your senses, and let it infuse you. Stu: Well, would you carry that further and say that social action interests in general are more natural to the woman? Cathy: They aren't more natural. I'd say that the culture sort of-- The leader here is attempting to understand the meaning and intent behind Bill's last three comments. This is especially important here, since in number 2 Don interrupts to defend himself and in number 6 Frank humorously objects. The group responds to Frank with laughter, thus in a sense rejecting Bill.

The leader does not understand the link between Bill's comments and the previous discussion. Here the leader is linking Bill's illustration to a previous objection of his, yet he does this in the tentative form of a question. Stu: Yeah, owing to our cultural situation, would you say in general that they are more politically active, and so forth? Leader: Are we really understanding Cathy? We love you and support you whatever you choose. It's too late to make that happen for me. But hey, we can make our parenting fantasies happen for the next generation, right? These strategies are important not just for parents, but also for teachers and other caregivers and influencers. All of us can cultivate space in a child's life where they can walk in and hang up their armor. Don't underestimate how valuable that is for a kid. You may not be able to change the conditions of their life, but it is still hugely important that kids feel seen and valued. One person can make a difference. I honor all teachers and caregivers who use their considerable power to positively influence the next generation and inspire a more just future, where all kids are valued and supported. INSTITUTIONALIZED TRAUMA TUNE YOUR LOVE RADAR Who doesn't want to feel more love in their life? The common denominator for all of us, though, is that love is a positive force. Love is triggered when we feel connected and committed to another person. To increase the frequency of this emotion, you need to reorient your thinking so that you focus on the enjoyable connections you have with others and your commitment to them. Scan for Love

Start with your positive intention. Say to yourself, I want to feel more love. That means I need to focus on the connections I have with others and my commitment to them rather than on when I feel lonely. Make a list of the important people in your life and your commitment to them. I'm not sure that I am. You see a basic difference here, Cathy, between the interests of men and the interests of women? Cathy: I see a great deal of difference when it comes to group discussion, yes. That it can be that there is more interest in a neighborhood group, particularly in the working class, that the wives and mothers would have a more neighborhood interest. Leader: In terms of leader behavior, this would -- you are simply saying that this would be a better diagnosis of women's needs and that we have to be careful in diagnosing women's needs versus men's. Cathy: I think we have to be very careful. Sam: I would like to rise to kind of a point of order and wonder are we trying to be a sociology class in this emphasis upon diagnosing needs. To me we keep wandering from what our primary job is. I just sort of pull that out -- Cathy: You're right. In a society organized around inequality and systemic oppression, it is inevitable that people will experience the powerlessness, violation, and suffering associated with trauma. Institutionalized trauma, also known as systemic trauma, refers to the ways people are harmed by systems such as the criminal justice system, educational system, health care system, etc In the United States and many other countries, these systems better serve people with dominant identities, at the expense of those with marginalized identities. Consider the school to prison pipeline: A low-income Black boy suffers from trauma in his home and community, which results in little time or support for studying or completing assignments and a short fuse. He then gets labeled as a troublemaker in school and is pushed on a trajectory that will most likely lead to juvenile detention center, jail, and prison. Or consider a non-neurotypical person who gets labeled as not bright at school, though the issue is really that they are processing information in a way that is not recognized by the school. The label gets internalized and they come to believe that there is something wrong with them.