February 9, 2019

{Against Feminine Nature} Book Excerpt

Excerpts from the "Against Feminine Nature" chapter of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled, A Memory of Love: The Spiritual Mission of a Princess. Enjoy....

Sarah Jennings Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
“‘Remember, you’re a Spencer!’” biographers claimed Diana would say to herself to strengthen her resolve during stressful times. Spencers had been established in England for 500 years, amassing great wealth and political power through the centuries (and therefore much more “British” than her husband’s Windsor family). Sarah Jennings, born in 1660, wife of the 1st Duke of Marlborough and grandmother of the first Diana Spencer, was “one of the most remarkable and difficult women of her day,” wrote biographer Sarah Bradford. “The Spencer tendency for falling out with members of the family—it is said Sarah changed her will fifty times—may well have been passed down from her.” Sarah Jennings’ pride, Bradford remarked, “led her to snub even her sovereign and former friend, Queen Anne.”
Over 250 years later, when another Diana Spencer was on the scene, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, told a friend that the Spencer women are “‘extremely unusual and difficult!’” According to Bradford, the Queen Mother’s friend, who happened to be a Spencer relation, agreed and also noted “‘an unforgiving side’” that seemed to run in the family; she was of the opinion that Princess Diana’s “‘inability to sustain friendships and relationships’” was also a family characteristic. She saw similar traits in her own Spencer mother with those of Diana, especially what she called Diana’s “‘manipulation of reality’” which took on a repetitious pattern of creating conflict, then calling for a dramatic reunion, only to stir things up once again. Whether it was an “inherited” family trait or not, this emotional roller coaster must have been exhausting for all involved.
From many accounts, the psychologically needy and acutely insecure Diana was full of unresolved anger from childhood; and as an adult, her volatile temper occasionally surfaced. Sometimes there was even a warning before the crash: “‘Stand by for a mood swing, boys,’” she’d say to her private secretary, explained biographer Tina Brown. Various conditions have been cited as possible reasons for Diana’s extremes: the frustrations of not being heard, much less not being allowed a voice; chemical imbalances brought on by her bulimia; misunderstood postpartum depression; living under the stress of so much suppressed emotion for so many years; perhaps some sort of personality disorder; even complications of her complex astrological chart. Or, as I read somewhere, “anger is nothing more than an outward expression of hurt, fear and frustration.” Whatever the causes, Diana could create a disconcerting battlefield-like, walking-on-eggshells environment for everyone around—including her “desperately unhappy” husband and his reserved family with their strict code-of-behavior.
Historically, many women had difficulty in expressing anger and if they did get angry, men found it difficult to deal with the volatility. Such emotional outbursts would not only have been discouraged, it could get the disruptive woman diagnosed with “hysteria” and locked up! No wonder a woman might express her anger silently by abusing her body and health, as Diana did. “How can she manifest her anger or her grief?” asked British writer Beatrix Campbell. “If the discovery of her own disappointment could not be revealed, because it could not be tolerated, then it made sense to keep screaming….” Or worse. 

Diana’s time in the spotlight, the 1980s and ‘90s, was a period of major change for women. What many considered the second wave of feminism was ending and the “grrls” of a post-modern generation were stirring a third wave—just as the long-anticipated “great shift in consciousness” was stirring the world. Looking back, Diana was a representative of eons of women’s rising collective anger. When the young princess began speaking up about feeling abandoned by mother, husband and monarchy, women were the first to lean in and really listen. What's more, when Diana spoke out, a whole kingdom of women revealed their discontent. “It was Diana’s treatment as a woman, and her sense that she was sustained by the sympathy and strength of women, that made her dangerous” to the patriarchal establishment, Campbell added. ~

[Sarah Jennings Churchill is the character in the 2018 awarding winning film "The Favourite" played by Rachel Weiss.] 
More book excerpts soon.....

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