My last post, “Where do we go from here?” expressed my frustration
with the state of affairs with regard to women in our country.
At the end, I wondered where we go from here.
Some of the comments on my post spoke of how so often it is women who seem to be the hardest on women. Why do we do this?
Just yesterday, a friend clued me into an important article by Ashley Judd, in which she speaks out on the nature of the patriarchy, and specifically calls out both the media and women for much of what we experience:
“Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle,insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.” ~Ashley Judd
These last two lines are POWERFUL.
“…we have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly.”
“…unable to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other women.”
As is this:
“It is subtle,insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.”
Judd states that she does this. I know I surprise myself with my own callousness, and unconscious judgment and criticism. It seems to just pop up from somewhere, as if it has an energy all of its own. That energy is the pattern itself…the pattern that was internalized. It’s a thought, feelings sensations that all work together to create a habitual reaction. I am the only one that can unlearn this habit, the only one that can become aware of how much conditioning still functions through me and do what it takes to heal it.
We are all mightily conditioned in misogynistic ways.
Misogyny is the fear and hatred of women. While on the surface we may believe we don’t do either, we live in a culture that is saturated with misogynistic ways (and also ways of misandry, the fear and hatred of men). There is no way any of us could have avoided taking on these perspectives about women, and about the feminine in general.
For many of us, most of this is focused internally…meaning, we have patterns that cause us to fear and hate the woman in ourselves, the femaleness of our own being. But this is never just an internal thing. We also, in one way or another, focus it out there, even project it onto others.
Right now, this whole uprising of legislation and attention on women, women’s bodies, and our reproductive rights are just one piece in so much of what is tossing around in the world today. As Pema Chödrön writes,
”The whole globe is shook up, so what are you going to do when things are falling apart? You’re either going to become more fundamentalist and try to hold things together, or you’re going to forsake the old ambitions and goals and live life as an experiment, making it up as you go along.”
The whole world is shaking and we all react to this shaking in different ways.
Some react by digging in and holding on tightly to ‘the old ways’ through a kind of fundamentalism. We all probably experience fundamentalism in some place in our lives.
We could get caught and stuck in this story. We do need to be aware of what we do that causes pain, and there is a new way coming into being, a way that is about fundamentally loving the feminine in ourselves and all of life.
There’s also the possibility of living this life as a grand experiment. I’d love to begin our own experiment of women loving women.
This is what I’m holding out as a vision for women around the world…that we can awaken to the voices we’ve internalized, see them for what they are, and realize that our own feelings of fear and hatred for the feminine are learned. If they are learned, we can unlearn them.
The very thing that has triggered this hanging on to the olds ways is a mirror of how we each try to hang onto the ‘old ways’ within us.
Keeping women down out there is a mirror of how I keep myself, and other women, down with my thoughts, actions and statements.
Believing women are just playing the victim is a mirror of our own internal harshness toward ourselves.
It means it could be, and most likely will be, messy. I know the things that are coming up with my close friends are very messy. I don’t know how to do it, and I am learning.
It does mean that we come to see our own inner workings…and how those inner workings are showing up ‘out there’. It does mean that we come to see ourselves for who we really are, not who we’ve been taught to believe we are.
We are creative beings. Even if the illusion that causes us to fear and hate is powerful, our creativity is so much more powerful.
I know, deep in my heart and my beautiful female gut, that women can dive into the lies we’ve believed and come out the other side seeing what is rising…the new feminine consciousness…in ourselves, in each other, and in all of life.
So, as my good friend and speaking mentor, Gail Larsen says, “If you want to change the world, tell a better story.”
I’ve got a better story to tell.
I look forward to weaving this new world with you! Stay tuned…