I have not been writing this blog for very long, but I’m sure it is no secret that I’m a feminist. Yup, the “F” word that so many women shy away from because it allegedly has a bad reputation and that feminists hate men and have no sense of humor and blah, blah and more blah. If you are a woman and not a feminist, I would ask you why. Feel free to respond in the comments – nicely, if you please. No cussing, no name-calling, or you will be deleted and banned.
Anyway, I just finished reading this book called “The Chalice and The Blade” by Riane Eisler. It’s a great book. You should all read it, whether you call yourself a feminist or not. If you don’t call yourself a feminist, maybe you will learn something important about what it is to be a woman, what we had and what we have lost.
Riane makes reference to a book called “Sex in History” by G. Rattray Taylor. In Taylor’s book, he states that history has swung between times of what Eisler calls “dominator” values, which are of a more patriarchal time, and “partnership” values, which are more “mother-identified” or “feminine” values. Eisler speaks of times throughout history when “mother-identified” or “feminine values” were ascendant; when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and the Renaissance are two such times. Women could own property, they had more freedom and could obtain higher education, well, if they were upper-class women, that is.
Eisler asserts that when times like this appear in history, “the violent reassertion of male control is already under way”. She believes that “the most telltale signs that the pendulum is about to swing back is the revival of misogynist dogmas”, and that a “more repressive …… period of …… regression is about to set in”.
Wow. Read those words again, slowly. Really take them in. I read them, and then re-read them several times and then bookmarked that page in my book, by which I mean I folded down the corner.
In the 1960’s, American was turned upside down – assassinations, an unjust war, civil rights, protests, sit-in, the second wave of feminists fighting for women’s rights (we’re still waiting for the ERA, by the way). The young folks of this country decided what they wanted and didn’t want and decided to fight for it; this included women.
Women began to go back to college and choose careers over marriage and children. We won the right to contraception and abortion, with Roe vs. Wade. They began to enter politics and they wanted to have a say in what was going on in the country and in the world. It seemed as if maybe, just maybe, equal rights were here. Ah, this was a time of more “feminine values”, and women jumped at it.
Now, here we are and what is again happening? Read it again, “the violent reassertion of male control is under way”, “misogynistic dogma”, “repressive period”. Here it is. We are living it AGAIN! Think back to some of the more inane comments from white, conservative men about how our bodies work during “legitimate” rape and how we can shut everything down, down there. These are statements by grown men who have power!! We are once again fighting for our rights to contraception because private corporations wants to shove their religious beliefs down our throats. We live in a secular world, one where there is supposed to be a separation between church and state; make no mistake, there are those out there that do not want that separation. Again, fighting for our rights to choose what we want to do with our own bodies. Those same said white conservative men who have no idea about female bodily creativity want to tell us what to do because they, of course, know better. Domestic violence, rape, stalking, street harassment, work place harassment – they are increasing on a daily basis. Women who speak out about these things are then stalked, harassed and bullied, threatened with rape and murder. Women still do not get equal pay for equal work (yup, same guys voted against it).
These are the misogynistic dogmas that Riane Eisler speaks of happening at different times in history. It is happening now – right now. Not just here, every where. We need to stop it. We need to say no. We need to never go back and if we have to take to the streets and protest, then we do that. There are those that think we are sitting back and taking it. We are not. There are feminists everywhere. Look around. The Interweb is where they are meeting, getting together, mapping out strategies, getting angry. Sisterhood is powerful. Never forget it.