Free Women

To be born female and raised under the teachings of patriarchy is to be programmed to worship an absent but dominant father figure who may or may not provide for you but to whom your service is bound.  In this system, every representative of the male/father figure is recognized as authority and become the de facto last word of every argument – obedience is compulsory and reinforced by iconic speech (prayer and oath).

Where did these figures come from? According to Greek mythology, Zeus was able to give birth through his forehead to Athena, the goddess of war, fully grown and already in armor.  He swallowed his pregnant wife because he was told she would birth a son who’d steal his throne from him, the way he stole his from his father Cronus.

These great myths and tales echo forward into our history and are reinforced in the stories of men and their great inventions.  No doubt, technology has made daily labors easier for all and have afforded equitable access and opportunity for so many. Far more of us can reach the promised land of self-agency through the battles we’ve fought for liberty, (from the Roman goddess Libertas).

My question is this, having been born female:  why must I constantly compare my worth to that of my two brothers?  This leads me to wonder why my two brothers, each a year younger or older, find employment and compensation far more readily than I.  Why were my brothers encouraged to explore, invent, attempt and achieve while I am still cautioned against appearing too aggressive in my ambitions?  Ambition – another word women must mute so as not to appear threatening or insubordinate to the idea of male authority.

Post women’s movement of the 1970’s which followed in the wake of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, feminism has fought and won so many battles to even the playfield for all. That’s right: feminism aimed for the “equality of the sexes.”

It’s always a fight and I’m growing weary of the stance. Yet, if I don’t demand equal pay and equal opportunity, the next generation will have to fight even harder because they’ll be carrying my load.  I am a direct beneficiary of the work women journalists like Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pittman Hughes achieved when creating Ms. Magazine.

This cry for inclusion has transformed to a demand that is recognized as true justice.  Our social system of interdependence will not stand and is toppling under the weight of concentrated wealth and power.  The accessibility of women in the workplace, on stages, in pulpits, at rallies, through mediums of broadcasting and social platforms has proven one thing: women’s inclusion is the correct and most effective strategy at sharing the weight of humanity’s load.

6 thoughts on “Free Women

  1. Thank you for thoughtful words, it has been a battle growing up. But I see progress and I hope the next generation benefits from the fight today. Thank you

    1. You are welcome and thank you for confirming your experience of the battle to grow up in this system. Because of previous generations efforts, there is progress however, the need to continue is the call to action.

  2. It is up to parent and educator to break the stereotypical beliefs and ideologies that perpetuate these inequities over time. All children (male or female) must be raised “masculine” as well as “feminine.” Being ladylike or feminine should not be viewed as weak. Breaking gender roles in the allow every child to try and achieve in whatever they want to be. Women can encourage other women and young girls to reach for the stars and support them on their journey.
    Thank you for your blog.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Your observation of raising both sons and daughters as both “masculine” and “feminine” is such a viable course of action. This would activate these principles in people aiming for and operating toward wholeness – which sounds like the call of feminism: “equality of the sexes.” Please read this week’s blog about feminism written by Helen Egwu, our graduate student employee who is Nigerian. You will find a similar perspective to yours in expanding what “feminism means.”

    1. Thank you for your comment and for expressing yourself. Happy International Women’s Day on March 8 and Happy Women’s Month!

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