“We let them vote and it all went downhill from there”

April 12, 2008

I had a pizza dinner last night with some friends. They were all of the “sterner sex”, which is, as it will turn out, an important fact to mention. We all sat around a table chatting in a light, friendly manner, skipping from subject to subject. At some point the enslavement of women over the ages came under discussion, for a second or two. One of them (friends) said something about how “We let them vote and it all went downhill from there”. I smiled amiably, no reaction rose in me, no reaction seemed needed – they all happened to be conscious and intelligent men and it was quite obvious that they were joking. But I noticed that, while the remarks about women were being made, one of them watched me. It was a curious, almost expectant look, as though he was waiting for me to react somehow, to respond. I did not, and the conversation moved away towards other topics, but the look stayed with me and made me consider: what would I say? If it was not a joke? If a response was needed – what would it be? If there was a need to respond I would say: there was, a long, long time ago, a balance between men and women. Thousands of years ago a Woman was the queen of her people, the mother of the tribe. She held space for everyone to grow, develop, expand. She had a consort, a war duke, who would take command in the time of war – but she was the queen. There was a balance between male and female, each sex was fully autonomous in their own right, in their own unique way. They completed and reflected each other. Then things changed. Men, war dukes, took a full command of reality, and promptly turned it into the battlefield. Women’s power got lost, forgotten, denied, to the point where woman became a little more than a cattle, an animal for sale. The balance had been ruined, the reality changed – it got restructured solely from male point of view. Male prerogatives and values became right, good, important. What was once recognized as female authority is now the sign of weakness, dependency, incompetency. This is, more or less, the state of reality at the moment. In current reality it is of the greatest importance and value to be smart, resourceful, to work hard and to provide, to achieve. A woman who becomes an honored executive is admired, a woman who spends her life on raising children and taking care of her family is considered little more than a maid. Winning the war is of the greatest value, nourishing life is considered wasting of time, wasting of ones life and potential. So where do we go from here? Men “let us” vote. Women demanded freedom from oppression, equality, and, for the most part, they got it. What is this freedom and equality really about though? It seems to me that it is a permission to enter the male game. In a world run and structured by men women can now play along, they can compete with men in their game, they can outplay them. They can become better men than men are. And … what changes? Not much. If I was asked about what I think about feminism, about women fight for their rights, I would say: it is not enough that we get to play the game as it is. It is not enough that we demand from men to recognize us and acknowledge us as equal partners inside of their paradigm, their reality. Women have to take responsibility for regaining their power, for regaining their authority as who they are, in the unique female way. Then the balance will be restored, then the reality will be changed. This is not something that men can do for us, it isn’t something that we can get as a compensation for al the years of oppression. It is our responsibility, because no one else can do it for us. If we want men to be our consorts – we have to become queens. How? I have no idea, but I’m taking a workshop with Brooks next week which will concentrate on this very subject, so I’ll find out and let you know 🙂

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