Bettye Johnson ©
History…tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me.
The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilence in every page;
The men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all –
It is very tiresome. Jane Austen (1775-1817)
We are at a critical point of evolution of not only the Earth but for humans as well. No longer can we women sit back and allow the men to continue as they have for the past eons. War seems to be their solution for greed, retaliation and conquest. The time is now for women to resurrect the feminine principle. As I understand it, the feminine principle is one of life-giving, nurturing, creativity and an ongoing evolutionary process. Mother Nature is considered the feminine principle. Another name for Earth is Gaia, the feminine.
In looking up the word ‘feminine’ in the New World Dictionary of American Language, I was astounded – yet why should I be – at the definition given. “Feminine: 1) female; of women; girls 2) having qualities regarded as characteristic of women and girls, as gentleness, weakness, delicacy, modesty, etc.” It really is a dichotomy in view of the feminine principle is action in Mother Nature. Nature is not weak nor is she delicate or modest. At times she is not gentle. Man may be able to harness Nature, but no one can tame Her. Now who made up the definition of feminine? Why of course, a man.
Is it any wonder that women have been thought to be powerless? The male history writers gave the few women in history that had power manly attributes. Males write history. This is why now women have to re-empower themselves. We look to Nature. A seed is planted in Her soil and nurtured until it sprouts and becomes.
Praying for peace will not work. All through the past, people have prayed for peace and it did not bring lasting peace. One side usually has been declared the victor with the winner writing the history. People from both sides were praying to the God they believed in. It makes one wonder, is one God more powerful than the other? The Dai Lama did not keep the Chinese out of Tibet. The Jews did not keep Hitler from sending many of them to the ovens. Germany did not win. The Civil War in the United States had brother pitted against brother, Christian against Christian with the South losing. Is God dead? No, it is humans acting out their greed, anger, hatred and fear. God is the observer - both loving and allowing.
Peace as this world knows it is tenuous. There has to be a more effective way for this world to evolve beyond war and strife. There must be a shift from a male dominated world to a world of women and men sharing as partners. It must be a partnership of respect with no suppression of either sex. Women must be given freedom from abuse, enslavement and prejudice. Men must be freed from their prison of being in charge, the breadwinner, along with being abusive. It is time for a change in the way we view our world. Women can impact the world by effectively coming together as a cohesive group and demanding change.
We are living in trying times. Today we are reeling from the shock of September 11, 2002. We have war in Iraq. Throughout history (his-story), there have been wars. For the most part women have had little or no say in the affairs of a country, a continent, or the world. With a few exceptions, men have ruled the world and women along with their children are swept up in the maelstrom of war sending their sons and now their daughters. Some never return home. Is this what motherhood is all about? Are we raising our children to be fodder for a war machine?
Women became dis-empowered five thousand years ago and before. We, the females, have become the largest group of people where there is tremendous bias and prejudice against. Women in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and most African nations are subjected to genital mutilation. They never know the pleasure of copulation. Women of Muslim countries such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even parts of India are enslaved by a belief system and treated no better than a slave. They have no rights.
It is interesting to note that these Muslim women for the most part wear black tents and the black color is known to enhance heat. Since it is very hot in these countries, these tents are like ovens. However, the men wear white, which is cooling.
In India, women were and are being burned on a pyre when the husband dies, because there is no room in the society for a widow. Even today widows go to a place where they can live together and wait until they die. Even though this is changing, there are still instances of a man or even his mother who will kill the wife by pouring boiling oil on her. This is done because the dowry has run out or the mother-in-law does not like her. The Washington Post ran an article regarding an Indian mother who killed her three small daughters and herself by jumping into a well. She did this to escape harassment from her husband and mother-in-law because the fan and television promised as part of the dowry by the young mother’s family had not been provided. There are many barbaric acts against women.
Women are stoned to death for adultery in Muslim societies. We can say that is terrible however Pat Robertson, of the Christian Right, is reported to have said in regard to our space program and the possibility of extraterrestrials that “…the threat is so serious that people who believe in space aliens should be put to death by stoning – according to “God’s word.” This was purportedly said in 1997. It is unfortunate this mentality is alive today.
Women have had little to say in the churches. There has been no female Pope or Dai Lama. In the Protestant churches some headway has been made like that of a snail. However, the sexual practices of priests and churchmen are being uncovered with their molestation of young children.
Even today we have women who work against the freedom of other women. I am speaking specifically of Phyllis Schlafly. In the 1970’s I worked for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment for women. This amendment was written in 1921 by suffragist (feminist) Alice Paul. It had been introduced in Congress every session since 1923. It passed Congress in 1972, but failed to be ratified by the necessary thirty-eight states by the deadline of July 1982. Thirty-five states ratified it. It failed by three states.
Schlafly was one of its outspoken critics stating it was not needed. Here was a woman who claimed to be pro-family. Her stand was that a woman’s place was in the home and women should not take jobs from men. The women on welfare and single mothers did not count. Not only was she a paid speaker and a writer of articles and books, it also, meant she was away from home quite a bit. That is the height of hypocrisy. Today she has a column on Internet and her latest is still bashing women. “Hooray for Hootie! At last we have a real man who can resist the histrionics of the pushy feminists. It’s so refreshing to know that somewhere there is an American man willing to stand his ground…”
It was these feminists nee suffragists who in the 1920’s worked hard to see that women had the right to vote and worked to get an amendment to the Constitution for no sex discrimination. Unfortunately many of our elected femaile government senators and representatives fully realize the sacrifice that women such as Alice Paul gave in order for them to have the vote and the privilege of holding offices.
Women have been subjected to just about every abomination that man can envision. In China it became the practice during the Latter Tang Dynasty (923-936 AD) to bind the feet of young girls beginning around age 3 so that their feet never grew. Big feet were considered alien to feudal virtues. It continued even when it was banned by the Manchuria who established the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In remote mountainous areas, women still had their feet bound even when the New China was founded in 1949. However, the last manufacturer of shoes for these feet closed its doors in the 1990’s.
Even today, in the twenty-first century we really have no freedom to partake in the running of this world. In every country, men are the decision makers. Few women in the past one hundred years have been the head of a government. Indira Gandhi of India was one and Golda Meier another. Queen Elizabeth II is a figurehead. She is not a decision maker for the government. There is a saying that ‘it is a man’s world’. And it has been.
Currently we have a woman running for the presidency and we also have a female as Speaker of the House of Representatives. These are small steps, but we should not expect them to carry the load. After all, they are operating in a man’s environment. We also have women on the picketing lines protesting the contrived war in Iraq and they are to be commended. Now is the time for the women to become vocal as well as visible.
No one can give another self esteem because it must come from the inside. Each woman should realize her worth from within and stop giving her power away. There are many avenues open for a woman to find her own worth and place in the scheme of life. Women can still do this and be a loving mother and wife. I know because I did it. It is up to the individual to take the first step. Ask and it shall be given. Knowledge is the greatest gift one can give to oneself. Knowledge is power. Seek and you will find. Life is a gift. Please treasure your life and you can make a difference.
Bettye Johnson ©