in Politics and Society, Storytelling

What Women Need

By Limor Shiponi

The generating event of this story happened today, while searching for an idea. Seeking advice from people that might have phrased the issue better, I found myself searching through TED talks and eventually landed on a rather rare piece about the performing arts. A lot of the talks are about tech, science, green, social and other considered-cool stuff. If it’s about the arts it’s rarely about the performing arts. You’ll find Ben Cameron’s very relevant talk at the bottom of this post.

After watching it I knew I was thinking about such an idea – the professional hybrid artist – hitting the streets in my vision – for quite a time. I also knew it had to do with women, just wasn’t sure about the focus. Now I know – I want to create a space for storytelling about what women need. Not about what women WANT but rather about what we NEED.

Next stop – Google search.

“What women want” top results:

  • The famous movie
  • What women want in bed
  • A show with glam and glitz
  • Something about men’s health connected to what women want from them
  • Something by Speedo
  • Free dating
  • An infographic about what the sexes want online

“What women need” top results:

  • What women need: everything you (men) need to know
  • Forget what women want, men need to give them what they NEED!
  • What women need to know – showed up several times around different issues
  • What women need to know about what a man wants
  • What a girl wants – AskMen
  • A holy experience – what women need to say to each other …
  • What women need to remember about Romney and the GOP

What looked a little more prominent ended up being that purple-pink stuff. Enough. I’ve found my focus. Right now, I really need your help – in getting as many women as possible to answer the question:

What do women need?

It’s not an easy question although nothing is wrong with it. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed many women feel uncomfortable answering it. I could get an anonymous form over here but I’d rather be sure women are answering my question. So please, in the comments or via the contact form:

What do women need? your age, and where abouts you are in the world.

Update 13/1/2013 Answering a question I’ve been asked about why my question is not about a specific “field”: I’ve realized that naming a “field” leads to seeking stories that empower. Those stories are not enough and they leave many others out of the telling. The picture isn’t truthfull and that truth is important. What is it? that’s what I’m trying to find out.

Update 14/1/2013 I have a better understanding around why ‘what women need’ is the question. What we want is also a result of the environment we live in, it’s a cultural thing; what we need relates to all women in all cultures. The reasoning for what we need is derived from the fact we are women, nothing else.

Second update 14/1/2013 Some women have written to me about their ideas being personal/private, therefore maybe not relevant to this ‘big’ question. They are relevant because there is no way to find out the ‘big’ needs without going through all the ‘little’ personal ones. If you want to send a comment and you’re not sure, write me through the contact form. I’m the only one who has access to it and I’m the only one reading that mail. I’ll add your comment under ‘anonymous’.

Gentlemen, you are welcome to forward this message to all the women around you. As promised, Ben Cameron’s talk:

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11 Comments

  1. גברים תמיד אמרו לי שנשים צריכות ביטחון וחשבתי על זה המון במהלך השנים האחרונות והבנתי שמאחר וביטחון הוא אשליה, זה לא משהו שאני צריכה, אני צריכה להרגיש מוגנת, בטוחה, זה העניין.
    כי גבר לא יודע מה זה להסתובב בפחד ולחיות כמו מטרה נעה, אז זה הדבר הראשון ברשימה מבחינתי.

    דבר נוסף, כשאני חושבת על מה שאני צריכה, מבחינתי זה משהו שהוא חיצוני. מה הכוונה?
    תכלס, נשים מסוגלות להכל, יש לנו כוחות ותעצומות אדירים וגם אלה שחושבות שהן חלשות, מזיזות הרים בסופו של דבר. לכן, מבחינתי כל מה שאני כביכול צריכה, אני יכולה להשיג בצורה זו או אחרת, עבודה יותר טובה, כסף, מראה יותר טוב, להרגיש שלמה עם עצמי ומסופקת. אלה לא דברים קלים להשגה מן הסתם אבל אנחנו יודעות איך להשיג אותם, לעשות עוד תואר, להפעיל קשרים, לעבוד יותר שעות, לעשות דיאטה, לעשות ספורט, ללכת לפסיכולוג, לעשות אומנות וכיו”ב

    אז מה שאני צריכה זה בעצם הדברים שאני לא יכולה להשיג לבד, שרק גורם חיצוני יכול לספק לי אותם. וכשחושבים על זה בעבודה למשל, אם אני צריכה יותר תמיכה מהבוס אני יכולה לדבר איתו/ה על זה ואו שנפתור את זה או שאני אעבור למקום אחר. אז מה אני לא יכולה לפתור בשיחה? מה רק בן אדם אחר יכול לספק לי שאני לא יכולה?

    אני מתחילה להגיע להבנה הזו בחודשים האחרונים, מתהליכים שאני עוברת עם עצמי ובשיחות עם נשים אחרות בגילי: כבר שנים שמוכרים לנו קלישאות של העצמה נשית וכמה את לא צריכה אף אחד כדי להרגיש האשה הכי שווה ביקום יאדה-יאדה-יאדה…
    ואני אומרת – בולשיט!

    אני יכולה להיות מאד מסופקת ממי שאני, ממה שהשגתי, להסתכל בראי ולדעת שאני נראית טוב אבל, רק גבר, אך ורק גבר, (ובמקרה של לסביות זו אשה אבל עדיין זה תמיד בן אדם חיצוני), יכול לגרום לי להרגיש כמו הדבר הכי מושך ביקום, כמו הכפילה האלילה של פמלה אנדרסון/ג’יזל/שקר כלשהו למרות שאני רק בת אנוש ממוצעת.
    זו התחושה שאני צריכה, להרגיש אלילה מהפנטת ולהרגיש מוגנת. בכל השאר, אני יכולה לטפל לבד.

        • Translation from Hebrew – with Tal’s permission:

          Men have always told me women need security and I’ve been thinking a lot about this during the last years. I’ve realized that since security in an illusion, it’s not something I need, I need to feel protected, safe, that’s the point. Because a man doesn’t know what it is like to go around with fear and live as a moving target, so that’s first thing on my list.

          Another thing, when I think about what I need, is something external. What do I mean? Bottom line, women are capable of anything. We have strength, courage, and even those who see themselves as week, Move Mountains eventually. Meaning, I can get anything I need one way or another – a better job, money, better looks, feel whole and content. Those things are not easy to achieve but we know how to – get another degree, work connections, work more hours, diet, do sports, go to a psychotherapist, do art etc.

          Therefore, what I actually need are things I can’t get on my own, that only someone from the outside can provide me with. When you think about it, if I need more support from the boss I can talk with him/her about it and we solve it or I move somewhere else. So what can’t I solve talking? What can only someone else give me that I can’t give myself?

          During the last months, processes I’m going through, talking with other women my age I’m starting to realize: They’ve been selling us those women empowerment clichés for years, about how you don’t need anyone to feel the most valuable woman in the universe, yada yada yada, and I say – bullshit.

          I can be very satisfied from who I am, from what I’ve achieved, to look in the mirror and know I look good. But only a man, only a man (or if you are a lesbian so a woman but it’s still someone on the outside), can make me feel like the most attractive being in the universe, like the goddess twin of Pamela Anderson/ Giselle/ some lie, although I’m an ordinary human being.

          Those are the feelings I need – feeling a hypnotizing goddess and being protected, secure. All the rest I can handle on my own.

  2. Anonymous

    60, Israel: In order to function well in life, be happy, energetic and active as I am, I need love, touch, and interest. I assume love contains estimation and recognition too. Touch is very important because it channels messages and it’s also how we are not alone. Interest, any interest, for it is what wakes us.

    37, Israel: The need is recognition, appreciation.

    46, Israel: The need is peace of mind and a sense of control over my life. The other need is help in the private domain (domestic) and I would rather receive the help from a woman because it’s a private space.

  3. 34, Israel: Recognition is the difficulty to function in all the domains women are involved with nowadays – home, family, relationship, society, income, career – sometimes in part of them, sometimes in all. Recognition in the difficulty to prioritize in face of the desire and sometimes the demand to succeed in all the above. Recognition in succeeding doing so.

    A need to be talked to and have a place to elicit and contain everything I need to process in conversation.

    Being secure about being me as I am. Including not hitting the mark, emotional reactions, and frustration. Positive reinforcement from the environment that will help me preserve the good feeling I have every time I succeed in something that for me is challenging.

    Respect to who I am, as I am, giving value and respect to my decisions.

    Touch. A hug, massage.

  4. 53-India
    a compassionate sense of self,
    to be ok with not having most answers for self and the world
    spaces that they honour and are honoured in
    lots of humour

    these are some of the random things that came to my woman/human mind.
    love
    erica

  5. A socio-economic context in which it is possible to make a living by means that are not destructive to body or soul, then: freedom to make fundamental choices in life; the support of some close friends. For most of us I think, partnership with an intimate for at least parts of our life. – Elizabeth, South Africa

Webmentions

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