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Portlandia can be disturbing, but they crack me up sometimes. This clip, this preview, called “I’m Not Bad, Right?” did not disappoint, in fact it’s pretty profound.

Click to watch it, it’s brief and somewhat funny, but basically this lady in a lawyer firm finally makes partner, the only lady, and she proceeds to try to communicate with the guys, all who must now be emotionally reassured, nurtured, comforted, told they aren’t bad.


strapsIt struck me as comical because this is something that happens quite often when we flip gender roles around and sow confusion. I’ve seen it, I’ve even done it myself. It’s funny because women, especially feminists, often don’t recognize it and we should because we’re smarter than that.

You simply cannot be “one of the guys” and a woman at the same time, one who enjoys the female privilege of…..not being “one of the guys.” You cannot be a powerful mothering avatar either, bound and determined to teach these guys something, without winding up with a pack of emotional dependents you didn’t even give birth too. You also cannot be cutesy, desiring male approval, without also inviting it and than feeling oddly disrespected, whether they remember to notice your eyes or not.

It’s quite the dilemma and a bit comical if you can just sit back detached and watch it all go down in front of you. I’ve sat through a few of these experiences and thought, “oh great, now the clowns really are running the asylum.” 

Biology matters. I say that all the time and this is a biology blog after all, so obviously observing how culture, especially feminism, attempts to totally disregard biology while endlessly trying to pound a square peg into a round hole is my thing. Sometimes this disconnect makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me cry, but mostly it makes me think I’m trapped on a penal colony run by crazy people.

This clip struck a nerve with me because I am a recovered codependent with that powerful mothering urge going on too, so I empathize.  I actually took it to a whole new level myself, so rather than even bothering to try to explain what’s going on with me, I’m five steps ahead of the game, I already see the “clean upon aisle six” that is coming just as soon as I totally overwhelm you with the truth of my experience. Then not only will I get to deal with my own emotions and stress, I’ll get to clean up all yours, too. Yay me.

I’m fine. Everything’s fine. Just as fine as can be.

That is how you trap yourself in a prison of your own making and start feeling bitter about the people around you and all these totally one sided-relationships you seem to be stuck in. Obviously what needs to change is the whole entire rest of the world ……and not you.

I mentioned this clip for another reason too, we people are not very good at multi- tasking our relationships. Our roles matter. Roles may shift and change a bit, but they cannot go in two directions at once, nor can they change hourly. A somewhat humorous consequence of our Portlandia lady’s confusion, is that she has completely destroyed all attraction cues between the sexes. Observe her face in this clip, she’s totally disgusted by all these weak men with so much emotional baggage, and they’re all rather scared and intimidated by her. Everybody is now insecure and unhappy.

If we take that same dynamic into marriage with us, it just sows havoc too. I get myself into trouble sometimes trying to speak of biblical gender roles, but there’s some real wisdom to be found there. Our emotional well being, our romantic well being, our relational well being, revolves around our ability to work within our own biological framework, something the bible has been whispering to us for thousands of years.

If you want to know what it looks like when you try to resist that whisper, well, just watch Portlandia.