Rae's Not in Control of
Anyone, Including Herself
Rona Barrett's Daytimers, June 1981
by Seli Grooves
Article Provided By Wanda
Rae Woodard (Ryan's Hope) is one of the most fascinating females on daytime television. An avowed manipulator of men, she, curiously enough, gets loads of mail from male viewers who find themselves absolutely captivated. Women, too, write in, but unlike men who address mail to Ms. Rae, the ladies write directly to the blonde, beautiful and talented Louise Shaffer who plays Rae Woodard.
“I admit I was surprised,” Louise said “when I first looked at the mail. Apparently, while you and I and most women might agree that what Rae does may not be quite the thing to do in polite society, the men react quite differently. You’d think they would be the ones who would get angry about someone like her.”
“Our women viewers are intrigued by her and tell me so. They’ll also tell me why they defend her, or why they think that ‘this time,’ perhaps, she’s gone too far. They’ll also discuss her relationships with other characters, particularly with Kimberly, her sometimes difficult-to-deal-with daughter. But the men” Louise beamed, “many of them say they wouldn’t mind it one bit to be Rae’s next ‘object.’ Still, in spite of everything that’s said about her in a negative way, I find she’s probably more to be pitied than censored. She’s rather a tragic figure.”
Louise smiled at her husband Roger Crews. “One nice thing that’s happening for her these days thought,” she said, “is the relationship with a younger man. Roger is younger than I am and we’re quite happy about our so-called situation. There are people who still tend to look at a younger man and older woman relationship, whether it’s in marriage or not, as somewhat risky or not quite conventional, but fewer people who are involved in those situations bother to even defend their reasons for choosing their mates or lovers. Rae certainly wouldn’t defend herself, and so far as Roger and I are concerned, we know we’re the luckiest people in the world, involved in the happiest marriage in the world, and because we both care, everything will be even better and happier for us in the future."
“Age is no excuse for a marriage or affair that goes sour, nor is it an explanation for one that works. It’s simply one more factor in a very complex situation: a human relationship."
At that point Roger spoke: “There’s this to be said about Rae”, he smiled. “While you don’t have to agree with what she does, you have to admire the fact that she does what she believes in."
Even, Louise asked, “if it’s going to hurt her at the end? It always winds up hurting her!”
“Well,” he answered, “that’s one of the tragic aspects of her life. She’s that vulnerable.”
“Vulnerable? She’s more than vulnerable,” Louise reacted. “She’s sad. She’s bright, she’s intelligent, talented, full of ideas and energy. She can be just about anything she wants to be. Instead, she pours everything into a man giving him the benefit of her intelligence and brilliance. She gives him money and cars. She’ll send him to the finest tailors and pay his bills. Finally, he becomes what she wants him to be. For her, it’s important to wield power though that seems to be a powerful man. Maybe if things had been different in her past, she wouldn’t feel she has to manipulate others now. She’d be in control of herself.”
“Somewhere in her past,” Louise speculates, “perhaps with her mother, Rae learned to distrust men and she’s never been able to control this feeling, so it’s important for her to be in control of men. How better to do that than to create them. The implied threat that keeps them in line is there: the creator almost always has the power to destroy the creation.”
Why would an otherwise intelligent man with talents and ambition of his own become an object that Rae can shape to her own design?
“Because, Roger said, “those men may be more ambitious than talented. What they want is to reach the goal. If they can get there without going through the normal route, like taking risks, making some hard decisions, suffering setbacks and picking themselves up again - why not? If they’re not as talented or equipped for the position they want, someone like Rae can make it easy for them to bypass the tests other men must pass. For every Rae who stands ready to create a person, there’s a man willing to be the clay in her hands.”
“Seriously,” Louise said, “there are many women like Rae who don’t trust their own talents or who feel they must work through others. Perhaps they feel safer. If they don’t present a target, they’re less likely to be hurt.”
But she’s always going to be hurt nonetheless?
“Of course. These are always no-win situations. She knows that even when she starts, but for some reason she feels she can’t - or won’t - change the direction her life has taken. Her daughter, Kimberly, whom she saw only a few times during the girl’s growing years, is also a manipulator who plays games with men’s emotions. It’s enough to make one think that perhaps behavior is inherited!”
We can understand what make some women do what they do. Women have long been the ‘victims’ of society But what makes a man want to be ‘controlled’?
Roger spoke, “Some believe the end justifies the means. In otherwords, so long as they reach their goals, they don’t care how they got there. Besides, they don’t really believe they can be controlled by a woman. There’s still that macho attitude that a man is the superior creature regardless of a woman’s social, economic, or business position.”
"Many men might even come to see a woman like Rae as simply doing her duty - supporting, helping, building, giving with no assurance that they get anything in return."
Roger nodded. “I know a lot of women write to Louise and discuss Rae. I’d like to tell them that although she does one helluva great job playing Rae, she’s nothing like her.”
“I’m too ambitious,” Louise said. “And I’m too proud. I want my name on what I do. I want someone to point to me and say,’there she is, the woman who did this or did that.’ I could never hide behind someone and simply pull strings.”
The men whom Rae creates might be called her puppets, but they don’t believe that.
“Many men,” Louise said, “tend to believe that whatever rules a woman might make, men are the ones who will decide whether they follow them or not. Well, just consider Rae’s past. Marriage means entering into a situation with a certain set of rules. From what we know of her father, he didn’t play the game honorably. He simply walked out when he felt it was time to go. A lot of men think like that. And that’s why a lot of women like Rae distrust men even when they apparently don’t have any reason to.”
So that’s really what it’s all about then: distrust, fear of being hurt, a desperate need to control the situation to prevent or minimize the expected pain.
Louise and Roger nodded. “That’s how it seems to me” she said “Somewhere these people - both the men and the women - have forgotten that it’s perfectly right, proper, and natural to use people. We do use each other. Roger helps me, I help him. We have friends who use us, and we use them.” However, she said, “what isn’t right is to exploit people.”
The moral of the story then?
“Let’s be grateful for the fact,” Louise said, “that most of us can give freely and take gracefully. It’s a gift we tend to take for granted. But without it, we’d have many more Raes and many more men waiting to be rae-ded!”
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