“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” ― Henry Ward Beecher
“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” ― W. Clement Stone
“Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” ― Oscar Wilde
“In fact men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth – often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.” –Hypatia
Lately I’ve been struggling with something and I don’t quite know how to resolve my feelings, or what action to take. Actually this is not a new struggle, but it’s resurfaced recently because of all the anti-women comments, attitudes, and events that have been taking place around the globe. We seem to be in a new era of witch-hunts, and women are being blamed for all the turmoil that’s going on in the world.
When some new attempt to curtail women’s rights occurs, I go through a kaleidoscope of emotions. Rage is the first thing I feel. What makes men think they can trample all over our rights, or accuse us of provoking them to rape us! Or as a guy who made a silly video I saw on Facebook said, “When dealing with a woman, you have to assume they are, on a scale of 1 to 10, a 4 on the crazy scale.” I wanted to yell at him and say, “You’re a 10 on the crazy scale if you think all women are a little bit crazy!” Just because he hasn’t taken the time to create a bridge of communication with women who have a different way of approaching the world, he thinks we’re crazy! Ahhhhh! How lazy and entitled can you get!
Okay, I have to take a break from my rage here to say that I have lots of wonderful men in my life. My first B.A. was in religious studies. I was the only woman in the program. Most of my fellow students were fantastic. I learned so much from them. I had a wonderful father, who was understanding and deeply spiritual. My husband is fantastic, my brother and brothers-in-law are all also great, as is my father-in-law. In fact, I haven’t met many men that I would call b-heads. However, when another woman has to suffer at the hands of men, I feel it like it’s happening to me, and rage comes bubbling to the surface.
The other day I saw a story about a football player who supposedly beat his girl friend unconscious in an elevator. The video only showed him pulling her out of the elevator like a sack of potatoes and laying her on the floor outside it. Jon Stewart had a whole segment on the injustice of that player getting suspended from playing two or three games for the incident, when if he’d been caught smoking pot, or some other violation of his contract, he’d have been suspended for many more games. What’s up with that? My rage came to the surface again. It’s okay to be violent toward women? But if a woman defends herself from a violent man, she’s locked away for a very long time? Again I say Ahhhh!
I knew that I wanted to write about this subject then. It had been coming up for me in the books I was reading, in the new book I’ve started writing, which deals partly with women’s suffrage. And, of course, women’s rights has been coming up in the news over and over again of late. Yet, how do I write something that will add positive energy to women’s rights rather than adding to the violence and disrespect? Two things came to mind. First, we women must find our power and stand up to the bullies. Second, we must look past men’s fear, and refusal to understand us to see the goodness within them.
The first one, finding our power and not backing down, might be a hard one for some of us. We have centuries of oppression to overcome. During all that time, women have developed certain behaviors and attitudes just to survive. We’ve had to find work arounds to accomplish the things we’ve wanted to do with our lives. Often times women who’ve displayed too much power, have been killed because they had the audacity to claim their power. I could name hundreds of women I’ve learned about over the years who’ve been killed because they violated the unwritten code that women are the weaker sex, but it would make this blog entry much too long.
Years ago I read a fantastic book called, The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler It’s a non-fiction book about archeological evidence that shows that pre-historic cultures had a female orientation. Ancient people worshiped the Goddess, women had vital leadership roles in their communities, and life was almost entirely free of war. So what happened?
I’ve asked myself, over and over throughout the years, what is it about women that makes men quake in their boots and feel the need to put us in our place or expunge our ideas? Why do they blame us for their lust, or need for control? The only thing I can come up with is that at some core level there is something about us they fear.
The thing is, when we feel fear about something, it’s usually an indictor that there is an issue or situation to which we need to pay attention. And that brings me to the second point I want to make. Some men, and even some women are afraid of women and men having an equal say in the changes we must make to sustain life in the world. Those of us who are awake must do what we can to turn the tide of intolerance in all it’s ugly forms.
The best ways we can help make the change, is to make reasoned, well thought out arguments. Screaming and complaining won’t help. This is no time to lay down and moan that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
We need to be persistent in asking, “What are you afraid of?” and not stop asking until fearful people stop and think. The issues we’re dealing with right now have come up over and over again. Each time they arise, we heal aspects of them, but they won’t go away completely until we’ve healed them completely.
I’m asking, what is it you’re afraid of? What is your fear trying to teach you? Only by facing our fears can we make this world a better place in which to live.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014
9 thoughts on “Dilemma”
All of this is crazy-making for me. And there is so, SO much!
Example: A woman was at a protest. From behind, someone grabbed her breast. Without even looking around, she elbowed him. Well, the man was a cop and SHE is going to prison for assault. Prison, for doing the most natural thing, for doing exactly what I and many other would have done.
I read recently that this current congress has introduced nearly 700 bills that would in some way affect or restrict women. None that would affect only men have been introduced.
I am so sick of it I could scream. Actually, sometimes I do.
Emilie, It’s crazy making for me too. I guess that’s why I wrote this post, but I still don’t know what to do about what’s happening. All I know is that everything that’s happening contributes to the next book I’m starting to write. I’ve never been one to just let guys walk all over me, but how to help women who find themselves in oppressive situations, that’s a different thing all together. I keep looking for ways to help. I’m not a joiner, but I’ve been checking out a few organizations where I might lend my services. One day, I hope to get some answers.
Thank you Lucinda for bringing this issue up and being so honest with your thoughts. For me, I see the world as miserable and amazing. There are without question predators in the world who for whatever reasons, must pursue dominance at any cost. There are also those who have lost their power and their voice and end up being victims of circumstance time and time again. Women are certainly not the only ones who have been and are currently the targets of rage and dominance. Children have and continue to be. We are not that far from “be seen and not heard”. Those with limitations have been disempowered for as long as our existence has been. Look no further than the Elizabethan Poor Laws and judgements of worthiness were made. If you were blind, you deserved help; if you were deaf, you were not.
Having been raised in a community with many Slavic and Sicilian immigrants, I saw power in women and it was clear there was a very thin line between power and abuse. Most of these women were less than 5 feet tall and yet they, without question, held power. My grandmother was a small woman in stature but still advocated for her children and was a strong voice in her family and community. Being culturally Jewish and non-religious was not an easy place for either gender to be, yet she walked that line with grace and strength.
I agree that we need to be accountable to ourselves. I was given a wonderful piece of guidance many years ago, if there is chaos then look to who may benefit from the fight and usually it’s not either side. I think there are many who would seek to profit from battles within groups be they gender, cultural, racial, spiritual, sexual, or religious.
I work on keeping spirituality as my greatest sense of power. I tend to agree with the sentiment that the more power one has, the more responsibility one has as well. I am very grateful to the women of the suffrage movement. Their sacrifices forever shifted our world. Maya Angelou was and continues to be an incredible influence in my life. One of my favorite women is Mae West. She was ahead of her time in so many ways. She didn’t apologize for her sexuality and she boldly lived her life and loved deeply. Grace Kelly is another one of my favorite women who stood up for what she believed in and held her power with a quiet elegance. To me, my grandmother and the immigrant grandmothers of my youth like the women I mentioned were not victims at their core. Their circumstances may have caused suffering but they did not choose victimhood.
Sue, I think we should be thankful to all those women who came before us, whether they stood up for themselves or not. Their experiences inform who we are now. It’s fantastic that you had great role models. I did too. My maternal grandmother worked in the ship yard in Portland, Oregon during WWII. She had to support her family, because her husband left her for another woman. She didn’t complain about it. She just went to work. That’s a good way to change things. Just go to work, just do what you feel called to do, and don’t apologize for it. Since I’m a writer, I write about how I feel about things that are going on in the world. And I send Reiki and love to places on the planet that need healing. It feels to me like we’re at a crucial juncture right now. I want to do my part in helping us evolve into more loving human beings. Often I feel like I should be doing more. I’m looking for ways to do more.
Thanks for your thoughtful response.
I think identifying the problem as fear was right on. Not sure what they fear, but it is pretty obvious this permeates all male/ female contact. Is this because we might just have a woman president soon???
Right on, my dear!
Debbie, I just don’t know what it is they fear. Through the years as I’ve read books about women and the horrific things that have happened to them at the hands of men, I just don’t get it. It seems like men have a feeling of superiority, like they know everything and we women know nothing. Then there’s the whole idea that Eve is the one who got humans thrown out of paradise because she ate from the tree of knowledge. What, she’s punished because she curious. Adam was merely obedient in that version of the creation story. Eve was the creative one.
Oh, and then there’s the perversion of a woman being created from man’s rib. Really? Give me a break. I don’t know who wrote that one down, but it’s an obvious bid for power over women. “God created man first, so we’re better.” Bah! The ancients worshipped a Goddess because of the miracle of women giving birth. Well, I could just go on forever, on this subject. It’s all a jumble in my mind, and I’m trying to make sense out of how we can stand up for ourselves while still maintaining respect for men and the struggles they face. Their world domination is crumbling. They’ve got to learn to adapt.
I would love it if we had a woman President.
It seems to me the Bible was written by men who clearly wanted me to be in charge. Like anyone actually remembered Adam and Eve and wrote it down? Creative fiction. Not to those who believe, and I do not wish to offend. But when I think of most of the Bible stories I learned as a child, I now wonder whose interest was served in the creation of those stories.
oops! delete “me” in that first sentence! They didn’t want ME to be in charge, THEY wanted to be in charge!
Emilie, I feel the same, but then I studies religion in college and know that most of the stories were written down many, many years after the events. Many of the stories are designed to teach, not be actual history.