Sunny Liberti wrote:
Wow! Excellent posts, girls! It took 9 pages for us to get here, but I'm really glad we stuck it out!!Great points!!!
Dojo culture formed in a world entirely foreign to western female upbringing. A lot of what goes on and is required of us (what we must accomplish) is in direct opposition to behavior expected of me pre-training - for example, by my parents or in school. I think we begin training with our experiences of being told to always defer to elders and not bother anyone with our problems, etc... When we see the way things work in a dojo we may naturally assume the respect required of us is the repressive kind that we have worked so hard to buck. There are likely many more women who could be excellent students, but quit over this misunderstanding. Only few of us are willing or able to overcome this obstacle.
I think in general, different things make us feel respected than what makes men feel respected. Since dojo life was set up by and for men, it makes sense that it encourages them in their "native language". Perhaps the men feel we are "fragile" and "weak" when women complain only about feeling left out, because they understand that to mean we are complaining about feeling disrespected from hard training. We in turn get insulted at the idea that we can't handle hard training... And so it goes...
With all due respect, it sounds like you guys have been singled out for vicitmization by your parents, schools, men, dojo's, etc., your whole lives. I hadn't realized it was that bad. How about this as a practical solution to the constant problems you're pointing out. Why not form an all-female dojo? ALL the problems that other people have foisted on you will then be circumvented:
You can train just as hard as you want.
You can have only female visiting instructors.
Women will make their Aikido-dojo behaviour conform with what's most comfortable for women.
There will be no sexual banter that is offensive.
Since women won't feel fear about going into an all-female dojo, they will undoubtedly flock in untold numbers, thus assuring the financial survival of the dojo and the ability to put out women instructors equal or better to men instructors.
The dojo's will be more spiritual and full of harmony.
Child-rearing should be no problem because there's always women handy who can hold your baby while you do a smoothe roll.
The more I think of it, the better I like it. Is there already an all-female dojo someplace (probably like in Washington State, Oregon, Massachusetts or California, I would assume) ? I'd be interested to hear how they're doing, if there is such a place.