“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.”
-Muriel Rukeyser. (Poet, Feminist, Activist)
To avoid the passing reader having to wade through this post, I propose my thesis up front –
That if what is being considered for a New World ‘Order’ is even vaguely reminiscent of some form of ‘Benevolent Patriarchy’, then….
Thanks, But No Thanks.
There is some aura I can detect even among the aspirants to ‘Illumination’ that leadership is essentially a faculty that resides primarily within the male preserve, and that the laydeees may aspire only to some sort of insipid role-playing as the Goddess. Newsflash – I own no flowing frocks, nor any pretty artifacts of incantation. (Some dear friends own such garb, and more power to them, but it’s not my bag, baby.) I will not be role-playing Sophia or Isis or Ishtar, and then be simpering away to prepare the feast. Nor will I ever become some traditionalist goddess in the kitchen – unless that’s the mood I’m in….. Just in case that was what some had in mind for the women to come……..
It’s EQUIARCHY, or nothing.
My Goddess wears a hard hat and carries a sword!
Among other things, I was inspired to put this post together because of an interview I happened upon yesterday on France 24 News, where an Egyptian woman and a Tunisian woman spoke about the reality of life for women in these post-revolutionary societies. While women played an extraordinary role in these upheavals, what has ensued has been far from beneficial for them as a gender.
Might such a scenario unfold for the women of an ‘Illuminist’ Revolution?
It never ceases to amaze me how we as a species continue to get this issue of gender equality so very wrong, time and again, throughout the ages. Not just in what we in the West might ascribe as being the traditionally misogynistic countries , but here also in the so-called liberal West.
But I’ll get to that later……
I hardly know where to start – the subject is too big – after all there are whole faculties of Universities devoted to Women’s Studies and they are still only hitting the ground in spots.
But I will start briefly with the women in Egypt because they came to my attention yesterday and deserve support and acknowledgement. At this present moment many women in Cairo are engaged in a campaign against the proposed new Constitution of Egypt, in particular Article 36.
They claim ”Islamists are seeking to enshrine in Egypt’s long-awaited new constitution a number of articles that secularists and liberals fear would bring theocratic rule and severely set back civil liberties, including provisions that could empower clerics to review laws and would stipulate that women’s rights cannot violate Shariah law or “family duties.”……One rights activist at the gathering, warned of “a constitution that only sees women as tasked to make babies,” saying the Islamists’ provisions would open the door to dramatically lowering the marriage age for women and ending restrictions on female genital mutilation”.
ON Female Genital Mutilation
140 million women world wide have been mutilated in this fashion, and this hideous practice is increasing worldwide.
ON Child Marriage
Child marriages lead to children giving birth, increasing maternal mortality rates. Women under 15 (girls) are 5 times more likely to die in childbirth than women over 20. The girls in child marriages are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse.
So, how has life been in general for women in the newly liberated countries after the Arab Spring? Difficult to say. While Women played a very influential role in the uprisings, breaking free in many cases from traditional taboos to come out in vast numbers on the streets, there has been a rise since then in fundamental Islamism which threatens to erode all and any advances.
Shirin Ebadi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirin_Ebadi) says….
“the true ‘Arab Spring’ will only dawn when democracy takes
root in countries that have ousted their dictatorships, and when women in those
countries are allowed to take part in civic life.”
In both Egypt and Libya Islamist pressure has led to the axing of quotas for women’s participation in political bodies. Tunisia has fared somewhat better, having been initially perhaps the most liberal of the affected countries, although there has been a rise in fundamentalism and a self-appointed morality police have been patrolling the cities. As usual it is women who are the primary targets of such groups. It is not looking, in general, as if there has been an Arab Spring for females…….plus ca change, eh?
But what have we got here in the West, having supposedly gone through the second and third waves of modern Feminism? Have things improved?
Yeah, we can vote..Gee.Thanks. The women of Saudi Arabia are still waiting, but at least the women of Switzerland can…as of 1971. Whew.
Supposedly we can earn equally..although the Income Tables tell a different story
A wide ranging meta-analysis by Weichselbaumer and Winter-Ebmer (2005) of more than 260
published adjusted pay gap studies for over 60 countries has found that, from the 1960s to the 1990s, raw wage differentials worldwide have fallen substantially from around 65 to 30%. The bulk of this decline, however, was due to better labour market endowments of women. The 260 published
estimates show that the unexplained or discriminatory component of the gap has not declined over
The average global participation percentage of women in politics is 19.5%, tending towards about 40% in Europe, but much less in America- 16.8% !!!. What’s up with that?
But far more insidious, in my opinion anyway, has been the subtle backlash against the female gender that can be perceived creeping through society. Not just the obvious gross stuff like the pornographication of society, the fact that the sex-trade in women and children is worth more to criminals than trading in drugs or arms, or the ridiculous encouragement of a ‘ladette’ culture, or the ‘bitches and hoes’ caricature, or the hyper-sexualisation of women, so that very many women feel that things like botox and silicon implants and life-long self-hatred is some kind of normal way of being. Or even the hyper-sexualisation of young girls with idiotic merchandising and so on. But also, and something I find particularly offensive, is this wide-spread idea that women are out to ensnare men, to bleed them of their wealth, and then to cast them out in the dump and ruin them. It is really a pernicious form of sexism that such opinions are widely promoted in social media and accepted by many as true. I don’t know any women like this. They may exist, but anecdotes don’t make good sociological theories. I am even cross that one of the preppy cheerleaders of so-called modern feminism was inspired to write a silly book about her vagina. There are so many issues at this time of the world that are deeply insulting to women, in this culture and globally, that it feels as if we have been pedalling very fast – backwards.
I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be an intelligent man viewing what has happened to women in society, locally and globally. I know things are not all roses for guys either, I’m not saying they are…but still, I even ask, as did one of the women on France 24 debate (it was in response to that Republican senator’s remark on ‘legitimate rape’) – why is it that so many men seem to hate women so much? I ask how can men accept such horrific treatment of women as is promoted under quite widespread interpretations of Shariah Law – these are their mothers and sisters and daughters they are talking about! How could the men of Afghanistan ever have permitted their loved ones, their beautiful daughters, to walk about only in slippers so that they could not be heard? Why do certain western faiths insist on putting their women in long smocks and pigtails and preaching that they find their bliss only within the domestic realms? It is too common an archetype for there not to be some deeper malaise which causes men in such large numbers to feel the need to exercise such a degree of control….particularly in the name of religion.
I could go on. I probably will. Later.
Be warned. If it’s a domesticated Goddess ye are looking for, I’ve got ye in my sights.