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Why do women equate self-denial with being 'good'?
We congratulate ourselves when we resist the donut in the office breakroom. We celebrate our restraint when we hold back from sending an email in anger. We put others' needs ahead of our own and believe this makes us exemplary. Journalist and podcast host Elise Loehnen explains that these impulses – often lauded as distinctly feminine instincts – are actually ingrained in us by a culture that reaps the benefits, via an extraordinarily effective collection of social mores:
Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Pride.
These so-called 'deadly sins' have been used by the patriarchy to control women throughout our history. For instance, a fear of gluttony drives us to ignore our appetites and an aversion to greed prevents us from negotiating a better salary at work.
So, what would happen if we stopped trying to be 'good'?
Provocative and bold, On Our Best Behaviour is a probing analysis of history and contemporary culture that explains how women have internalised the patriarchy, and how they unwittingly reinforce it. By sharing her own story and the spiritual wisdom of other traditions, Elise Loehnen shows how we can break free and discover a path toward a more balanced, fulfilled way to live.