This is the transcription from an interview with Self Doubt done during a presentation at the Women’s Health Expo in Rochester NY on November 7th, 2009.
Personified Self Doubt, a tall character dressed all in black with penetrating eyes, began the exclusive interview with confidence.
The reporter from WOMAN, Jodi, sat across and began the interview.
Jodi: Thank you for agreeing to participate in this exclusive interview. There are many questions I have been eager to ask you due to your elusiveness. First of all, can you tell us what have you been up to in women’s lives?
Self Doubt: I start as a little voice of doubt, making women wonder if they are right and then, I get louder and louder sometimes. I can increase it to the point that I knock women off kilter, so they are not clear on what they know or even who they are. I undermine their ability to make decisions, confusing them so they can’t tell what they can do or what they want. I also affect their relationships trying to separate them from people who care about them.
Jodi: What are your intentions for doing these things?
Self Doubt: My intention is to strip women of power. I want to stall women, immobilizing them into inaction, so they feel even more lost to their own skills. It is then, I have them where I want them: isolated from others, always looking to me for support, even though I just confuse them more, until they are completely disempowered.
Jodi: Self doubt, what do you talk women into about themselves?
Self Doubt: I tell women that they are not good enough, smart enough. I slyly make them believe they are less than they think they are. I make my voice sound just like their voice so they can’t separate us. I tell them, ‘People will find out you’re not enough’. I tell them that people don’t like them. I talk them into not trusting their own skills.
Jodi: How come you are so good at that?
Self Doubt: I have been doing this for a long time. I have many years of undermining women. I have the help of the constructs of modern culture. In these constructs, society creates normative standards for people to measure themselves against to feel normal. These standards are not reasonable for everyone and when we don’t feel like we measure up, I swoop in and start whispering in their ears. Like I said, I make my voice sound like their own, so they don’t reject me and my message right away. Within minutes, I have them eating out of the palm of my hand.
Also, there are so many opportunities for women to feel a low sense of worth. Women are devalued in many contexts. This invalidation makes them vulnerable to my messages as well. This really helps my cause.
Jodi: So our culture helps you?
Self Doubt: Oh yeah, the media and advertisements promoting unrealistic beauty and thinness. They create these as standards, but they are much too high for most women. Then I enter.
Jodi: What effect do you have on self image, believe in self, etc?
Self Doubt: I make them dislike their image of themselves; I make them compare themselves to others. Basically I make it hard for them to believe in themselves.
Jodi: How do you know when to strike?
Self Doubt: There are many things that make women unsure, and I pounce fast. I make them question everything and try to give them self depreciated answers to those questions. For example, women are ripe to listen to me; after an argument, when they have been put down by someone, when they are around someone they think is better than them, when they look at skinny models or actresses.
Jodi: How do you get people to believe in you? What tactics do you use?
Self Doubt: I really have no trouble since culture puts these standards up. I work in families to sustain my power… Like, I just have daughters look at their doubting mothers and learn how to listen to my message.
Jodi: Who are your friends?
Self doubt: Depression, anxiety, conflicting relationships, guilt, low self esteem. They call on my services and I call on theirs.
“Worry is my middle name.”
Jodi: How do you affect motherhood or other significant relationships in women’s lives?
Self Doubt: I get in the middle of relationships! I’d like to have moms question themselves every minute of everyday. And it works a lot too. Mothers are my favorite prey. Guilt really helps me here! But I aim to have women questioning themselves in all relationships. I attempt to make people not trust each other and stop people from allowing themselves to feel loved and be loveable. Isolation only makes me stronger
Jodi: What do women do to weaken your influence?
Self Doubt: What kind of question is that? I do not like to think about women weakening my influence.
Jodi: But surely, some women do.
Self Doubt: Well yes. Some women stick together,
they learn more about themselves and know what makes them happy and know they know things. Then these women take action and they stay confident.
Jodi: What kind of action? What steps do they take?
Self Doubt: It pains me to say this but women do all sorts of things that frustrate me and make them less touchable to me. They go to counseling, they start voicing their opinion; they join communities for support, or get into supportive relationships. They trust, believe in themselves, have faith and follow their intuition. It’s horrible! The worst is when women talk about me. They recognize my presence. They know the voice is me and not them. It is so much harder to get them to listen to me when they see me for who I am. That is why I try to stay undercover so much.
Jodi: What might motivate women to stand against you?
Self Doubt: Hope, desire to be happy, spirituality. Some women decide that they are sick of me and want to like themselves. They believe they are worth it. Can you believe that? I go in the shadows for a bit and then try to be sneakier.
Jodi: Well, That’s all the time we have for today. Thank you for coming and offering some information at great risk to your undercover operations. I look forward to asking more questions, next time we talk.