Starving, collage by Licia Berry, 2006

Just had the opportunity to comment on a friend’s blog about women, oppression, and the Feminine.  I had to share this with you, and send you to her blog, where a lively and thoughtful conversation are going on.  Here was my input:

“I find the silence that comes with observation and discernment to be very useful in navigating through  a world where everyone is oppressed in some form or another.

I have been thinking about this a lot…for my whole life, since I was 3 years old and my father starting sexually abusing me in my southern white/indian home; since I was 4 years old in my Methodist preschool where I was told God was judging and vengeful (which was contrary to my direct experience); since I was a young woman with budding breasts and the black boys would feel me up as they passed me in the hall; since I was 12 years old and a black man high on crack broke into my family home, holding me a gun point and raping my mother; since I was 20 years old and dressed like a guy with a butch hair cut and was called a dyke by men passing in their cars.  I have asked this question, “WHY?”, so many times.  Why have I experienced these things, is it ME, is it being female, is it being in the south…WHY are they so unkind, why does it have to be so hard?

I guess I don’t find it useful to compare notes about the degrees of pain we all go through…I watch my priviledged white American teenaged sons (who have indian blood and all manner of “other” running through their veins) being oppressed in their schools because they feel their feelings, because they love the feminine, because they refuse to buy in to the popular culture.  Does it bring  them pain?  Absolutely.  Is it more pain, relatively speaking, than others experience?  How can I possibly guage that?

I have a friend, a woman in her 60’s who was one of the first female Episcopalian priests.  She fought hard to gain her position in the church, but after many years after her achievement, she got so tired of the oppression of the feminine in the church that she has left.  She told me something last year, when I was speaking of my support for gay marriage, that stopped me in my tracks.  She said, “There are many good causes in this world, many injustices to correct…but until women are seen and treated as equals, none of those other causes will be resolved.”  I tend to agree.

The Feminine within each of us, gay or straight, indian, black, asian, white, or purple, female or male, is what has been oppressed.  The part of us that is the Feeler, the Connector, the Meaning Maker, the Holder of the Space and the Silence.  If She is alive and well within each of us, we will feel our connection with one another, we will understand that we are all one, and that what we do to “the other” we do to ourselves.”

See this conversation at Julie’s blog:

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