18 Nov 2013

Thoughts on Feminism and Feminine Power – Blog 33

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Dear Friends,

I trust you are all well and enjoying the wintery weather. As the nights draw in, we are invited to journey inwards and light the inner flame of self reflection. I too have begun to reflect on many things. One recent experience I have been mulling over was the Feminist conference in London a couple of weekends ago and I want to share my ‘thoughts’.

It goes something like this: If it wasn’t for Feminism, the world would still be in the dark ages! Women can achieve extraordinary things when they put their passion into something and thank goodness. I am grateful and thankful that I am able to have an education, receive a wage, vote, decide what contraception to use, what to do with my body, my relationships and generally be equal to men. This is all thanks to my Sisters who preceded me and I celebrate being a western woman every day and not held captive by patriarchal cultures that still undermine, abuse and control women. This conference was a ‘coming together’ of women from all walks of life to celebrate, learn, share and debate every aspect of being a woman in the 21st century. It was obvious that continuous activism is very prevalent as we campaign for the rights, equality, value and safety of women on this planet.

However, I was struck by an interesting observation. Although the conference was full of powerful, passionate, cleaver, talented women making a difference – or at least supporting the cause – anger, low self esteem and victimhood still pervaded the workshops and lecture halls. Let me quickly add that anger at injustice can be a good thing as it fuels action. We certainly wouldn’t be having our own conference if this anger at the way women were treated hadn’t erupted and changed the system. It is far from over, as many parts of the world are still in dire straits and sexual violence seems to be on the rise. Therefore, it is understandable that women still feel like the victims. Nevertheless, this fight for equality and justice is happening in the ‘domain of the masculine’ and there seems to be an absence, in my opinion, of true Feminine Power. True Feminine Power does not need approval from ‘out there’, because acceptance lies within. Perhaps women need to create their own ‘system’ which isn’t reliant on whether men ‘accept or approve’ of us or not?

I think there are many of us who are confused by what it means to be a woman today and we can see the contradictions everywhere. In a nutshell… on the one end of the spectrum, women are angry at how they are portrayed, particularly as sexual objects e.g. on page 3 of The Sun, pornography, or in the media etc and that we must end the ‘patriarchy doing it to us again’ mentality. On the other end of the spectrum, we have women thinking that being empowered is outdoing men on every front, including selling their body on page 3 of The Sun (for fame) or starring in the latest porn film, taking their clothes off for music videos, or having Labiaplasty so they can have the perfect ‘porn star’ vagina which they see as a positive ‘choice’ and their right!!! We have enforced FGM (female genital mutilation) on the one side and consensual Labiaplasty on the other. I think that is a really interesting point to ponder…

I personally feel it goes a step further. I think Feminine Power is about healing the patriarchal victim consciousness and replacing it with self love, respect and celebration. The only person who needs to validate my brilliance is ME! Healing this patriarchal wound can liberate us from the feeling that we are always the victims. If a woman does not love, value and respect herself then this will be reflected back to her and will leave her vulnerable.

For the record, I am totally against any form of exploitation or sexual violence towards women perpetrated by men. Women should be able to do whatever they like, go wherever they choose and whenever they want, wear what they desire without fearing any form of sexual harassment or violence from men. End of!

As we know, sexual violence, rape, harassment of any kind is not really about sex, it is about power. Feelings of impotence mixed with misogyny and a lack of self respect, a man may seek to exert power over a woman. Similar to a bully, he can feel like he has gained some kind of autonomy and power. I think it also comes down to low self esteem and lack of self respect and love. Surely a man who loves, respects and values himself does not need to rape, abuse or hurt a woman?

I think men need to begin to heal their own wound which is perhaps fear of the Feminine ‘invasion’. One possible fantasy is that the Feminine will usurp their potent autonomy and masculine power and make them impotent, dysfunctional and redundant. However, if men learn to love, value and respect their masculinity and value the positive aspects of the Feminine, then they might not need to silence women through any form of violence so their phallic ego’s won’t suffer.

What I really want to say is that, while Feminism is doing a magnificent job at changing all the bad stuff in the world towards women, simultaneously Feminine Power has to start within each and every Woman. We need to value, love, honour, indulge, celebrate, dine out on our individual fabulousness, take responsibility for our life, choose how we think about ourselves, our body, our sexuality, our thoughts and where to put our energy. We need to stop looking for approval and validation from ‘out there’ or from the ‘male gaze’, heal the so called ‘sins of Eve’ within us because we need to reclaim our innocence NOW. Innocence is ‘the essence of being pure and of good intent’ (Binnie A Dansby). Our being is innocent, we have done nothing wrong other than being a woman, therefore we have nothing to apologise for, or equality to reclaim!!! We are one half of the whole… Masculine and Feminine working in harmony together, not in competition and war.

As Ghandi said: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ and be the brilliant woman you ARE!

Have a self indulgent week!

Warm wishes,
Alex xxx


Follow Your Bliss

Painting merged with photograph by
Alex Florschutz

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