Posted on:  Sep 9, 2013 @ 16:41 Posted in:  Everyday Magic

Deep Change and the Culture of Rape

Western society has made great progress in the last century in cleansing overt sexism and misogyny from our culture. But there is surface change and there is deep change.  Surface change is only a beginning.

A case in point is the furor this past week over freshman activities at many universities.  Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia was the center of a firestorm of publicity after a video was posted online showing students repeating the chant that included: “Saint Mary’s boys, we like them young,” and “Y is for your sister … U is for underage … N is for no consent.” This chant has apparently been around for some time and has been widely circulated at a number of institutions.  In the ensuing uproar, many universities are reviewing their policies about freshman activities.

While universities take steps to determine responsibility, and to screen and train those responsible for freshmen activities, the more important questions are: where do the attitudes, beliefs and values of young men and women that trivialize and condone rape originate?  And why do they persist?  After all, these students are the people who will form the backbone of our society, becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers.  It is deeply disturbing that significant numbers of them, when fueled by alcohol and adrenaline, seem to revert to attitudes right out of the dark ages.

I have spent most of my adult life exploring gender, power, change, feminism and women’s spirituality. It has become clear to me that we must go to the very core of our personal and societal deep structure to fully engage and heal the gendered tear in our collective human reality. This tear is thousands of years old, dating back to the time when Goddess based cultures and mythologies were conquered and destroyed. When women’s stature, power and innate beauty and qualities were systematically repressed and degraded. Sexual harassment and rape have always been the tools of a misogynist world order, to keep powerful, uppity women in their place. And to separate women, and men, from the life enhancing and evolutionary powers held within our sexuality, creativity and bodies. The roots of a freshman, rape condoning chant are that old, and that endemic to our culture.

But we are waking up, individually and collectively, women and men alike, and saying ‘no more’.  It is no longer acceptable to propagate sexist and misogynist beliefs.  Changing policies and sensitivity training are a start, yet these interventions only skate the surface of the real problem, and cannot, in themselves, end sexual discrimination and abuse of women.  This healing work must be done at the level of the individual soul, where we are split off from our inner feminine nature, bodies, and relationship to the feminine face of the Divine. We need to enter the very roots of our being, and rediscover our true connections to our bodies, sexuality, intuition, and the many profound aspects of our repressed and negated feminine souls.

In this work it is essential to realize that men and women are both wounded in a misogynist, sexist culture. We humans hobble as a crippled beast on the one leg of a truncated version of the masculine, while our feminine leg hangs limp and atrophied from its repressed and degraded stature.  In our true natures, we are big, beautiful and infinitely rich beings, woven of a matrix of the sacred masculine and sacred feminine. In true love for each other, we are meant to make love and beauty, from the differences within our nature, and the full expression of our bodies and spirits.  Sexual discrimination and rape have no holding ground within an ethos of cherishing and respecting the whole, holy expression of our deepest human nature. To make the change, we need to be the change.

Posted on:  Sep 5, 2013 @ 11:04 Posted in:  Path Basics

Can We Have It All?

The perennial debate over whether women can ‘have it all’- both equal career opportunity in the workplace and a fulfilling family life – came to prominence recently with an article by Ann-Marie Slaughter published in The Atlantic (‘Why Women Can’t Have It All’). For women, there is perhaps no more fitting question to ask on Labor Day than: ‘can we have it all?’

As the Guardian notes, this article sparked an uproar with some misinterpreting its message as saying women could never have it all, and should give up and get back to the kitchen, while others argued that work/family balance is also very difficult for men to achieve. An alternative view, expressed by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, was that women don’t ‘have it all’ because they lack the ambition and drive to “lean into” their careers.

Although dual career households have been the worldwide norm for decades, and women have made major inroads in academic and professional fields, engrained cultural values continue to place the primary role of child rearing on the shoulders of women, and workplace inequality hinders women’s career opportunities and advancement.  In reality, the cards are stacked against a woman who wants to be top in her career, and a dedicated mother – she still can’t have it all.

But do we really want it all? Do women, and men for that matter, really want the relentless, macho workplace competition, the seemingly ever longer work hours, the loss of control over priorities and schedules, and technology that transforms home and vacation into office hours?  Do we want to adopt encultured male modes of behavior to fit in and advance in the workplace, and restrict ourselves to male models of teamwork and leadership?  Do we want a ‘two ships passing in the night’ relationship with our mates? Do we want to hand over a large part of our parenting tasks to daycares and nannies? …read more