Saturday, March 6, 2010

Not Victims

Why do I sometimes feel tentative and self-doubtful? Why do I silence my real self? Why do I fall into driven and perfectionistic patterns? Why do I occasionally lapse into passivity, afraid to rock the boat? Why do I work so hard to fulfill outward expectations? Why does it matter that I please everyone? Are these things emanating from the feminine wound? And how can I keep ignoring them

(Quoted from Sue Monk Kidd, in "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter" ~ and echoed by me!)

It's important for women (& men) to recognize the "feminine wound" that is our reality ... this wound is caused when we internalize the experiences and voices that tell us (overtly and covertly) that we are "less than" because we are female. Humans cannot hear negative messages, over and over, without believing them, to some degree.

I believe that no woman reaches adulthood without a significant sense of inherent inadequacy.

Not only do we feel the impact of what we've personally experienced, but we also carry the weight of the inherited wounds, those experienced by our mothers, grandmothers, ancestors. Sue Monk Kidd says, "thousands of years of feminine rejection reside there [in the collective consciousness], and it can rise up to do a dark dance with our conscious beliefs."

So, we must acknowledge this pain ... it exists, and it affects us. To deny it is to be complicit enablers -- and to allow the pain to encourage to do damage to us, and to successive generations (and we women *must* face that we have indeed been complicit in this! women actually condition their daughters to serve the system of patriarchy ... if a daughter questions it, the woman will usually defend the *system* rather than her own daughter -- we perpetuate the wounding by training our daughters to accept, and even embrace it!).

BUT - it's important to avoid the danger of victimization. Victimization paralyzes ... and perhaps it's unavoidable to feel the effect of the devastation that we've experienced as women ... it can be overwhelming when we first begin to see what we've long ignored.

This subjugation of women must be changed ... our survival as a species depends on it ... and we cannot change anything until we acknowledge and face it. We name the truth, so that we can see it ... so that we can move out of the victimization ... Kidd writes, "if women don't document and protest the harm done against us, who will?"

And yet ... as this is still operating as a "man's world" -- it will take enlightened and aware men, speaking out about this, in order for other men to hear (for they are predisposed to not listen to women in the first place).

I shared some of what I was learning on a discussion forum ... and I was told directly that I was "exaggerating" ... that I really needed to "get over it" ... one man said that I was a "Femi-Nazi."

Diminishing the pain of another, ridiculing the pain, and name-calling is just another form of discounting a person. Trivialization is yet another tool of patriarchy. It smacks of "you slaves don't know how good you've got it!" More of the same ... those who've put themselves in charge quelling those who would question their subservient status ...

BUT ~ it serves no one to blame the men in our lives (who are just as much at the mercy of patriarchy as are women). If men are resisting this awakening, it's because they are afraid that everything is going to change ... that we're competing, and if women "win" then they will "lose" ... they don't see that women "win" via collaboration, that women seek a win/win solution. If we are wise, we women will invite men *into* our struggle, and make them co-adventurers in our quest for truth & equality ... for then everyone truly *does* win...!

Seeing this truth, about how women have been wrongly side-lined, is dangerous. It's not prudent for us to see this ... it means that everything changes ... it means that all of our old, taken-for-granted securities are gone -- or at least that they seem to be, during the transition process.

The question, for any of us is: can we let go of security, in favor of courage...?

Until we've looked from the bottom-up, we've seen nothing.

Perhaps it's time that we, who have long-viewed from the bottom, be heard...?

Women -- we can no longer allow silence to be our "drug of choice." It's time to find our voice, to hear it, and to speak it ... the world may one day owe its survival to outspoken, subversive women.

Shalom, Dena

3 comments:

MysticBrit said...

This is another aspect of waking up from the egoic dream, waiting for the eyes to clear and then Really Living.

And it's a-comin', as sure as the sunrise.

Awake, O Sleeper, and rise from the dead! You are the Light of the World!

Thalia said...

This is an excellent post. But how could you ridicule the pain of another when popular discussion on books by authors are the largest ever. The world maybe come fascinated by the pain of others, as long as we don't try to this technique and hurt another person because of the way they look and were born that way...

~ Thalia

Lucinda said...

Skee emailed me a link to your post today. He knew I was dealing with the exact issue. I ran into head first about 3 weeks ago when I ask "the" question that had been banging around in my head for 5 years regarding the leadership structure of our church. I have been spending the past 3 weeks wondering if my response will be fight or flight. I'm getting closer to fight since I haven't fled yet and my "enlightened" husband is as outraged as I am. I'm so lucky to have him. Thanks for this reminder, this bit of encouragement that I have a responsibility here to my daughter no matter how insurmountable the task may seem.

And by fight I don't mean "take the man down!" kind of fight. I mean help my church to be more complete because I mourn for the hand s/he has cut off and how s/he injures her/himself in this manner.