Saturday, April 08, 2006

Women Birth So Many Different Things

I posted this on my new blog, but realized it needs to go here too. A bit of a femininst rant perhaps. Or maybe, just the truth.

Women Birth So Many Different Things.
Ideas, inspiration, babies, art, PEACE. Women are to be revered as peacemakers. Men can do this too, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Buddha, my husband, Troy, pictured above with our son. It takes strength to make peace happen in our homes, in the world, on this amazing planet.
Eve Ensler is my spirit mentor. I have followed her for years and look up to her. She gives me HOPE, she impassions me, she challenges me. I get so angry at Women who don't fight the good fight. I need more compassion in this area. I know about denying one's feelings, psychic numbing as a means of survival, denying other's pain because it triggers our own. But I really feel that I have a responsibility to face my own pain, which is terrifying and immobilizing at times, so I can be an anathema to apathy and complacency. I will never be complacent about violence, whether it is against Women, which it is for the most part, and children, the most susceptible victims, and what men do to each other. Why do men commit the majority of violence? Is it God, as some say, free will? That's bullshit. Testosterone? More crap. Do I have the answers? No. Does that mean I will give up my innate ability to think for myself, get angry at the injustices, and use my PERSONAL PAIN TO DO WHAT I CAN TO FIX THIS WORLD? Fuck NO.
Yes, I feel angry at the Women who choose to look the other way when their husband is sexually molesting their daughter or son, when men make up ridiculous and arcane rules and torture Women and abuse children in the name of God or the government. When Women deny their power and go along. There is a balance, I know it. An equal respect between Men and Women. I have it in my marriage. No one should be subservient to anyone. Men can be and should be tender, able to embrace their emotions, to express freely, which is our birthright as humans. It's about sharing, embracing what is masculine and feminine in ourselves and not being threatened by that. For those who use Christianity to dominate others, or the planet and her resources, I ask you, is that what Jesus would do? It seems we ignore his basic teachings when we retaliate in war, like Iraq, Mr. Bush. What ever happened to turning the other cheek. Doing unto others.
I guess some feel they can just adjust the interpretations as they see fit.
No one should be a slave, whether to Uncle Joe who molests you every Sunday after church, or for an African Woman who has to have her clitoris severed to serve some insane man made rule. Do I accept any religion that serves to keep Women submissive and dormant, NO. Because it does not have to be about anyone ruling anyone else. Would it be easier for me to assimilate, just join a church, "give it all to God", to numb myself and let another think for me? It seems that way sometimes.
But then I enslave myself.
It is a courageous act to stand up and say, hey, wait a minute, I disagree. I am going to live in a different way, and I will deal with other people's opinions of me for that. Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery.
We should all be free to be ourselves, to live in harmony and respect, to be safe, to care for our Earth, to be loved for who we are. I know this is what I am teaching my 2 children, two future men. This is how we change the world.
Here is her piece that is moving me to integrate more, to heal more even though it hurts, and to challenge myself to face the things I let fear tell me is unfaceable. Not only are these afflictions faceable, we can NAME them. And in doing so, we change the trajectory of this world.

The Power and Mystery of Naming Things by Eve Ensler
I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what's right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible.Think about the word vagina. I believe that by saying it 128 times each show, night after night, naming my shame, exorcising my secrets, revealing my longing, was how I came back into my self, into my body. By saying it often enough and loud enough in places where it was not supposed to be said, the saying of it became both political and mystical and gave birth to a worldwide movement to end violence against women. The public utterance of a banished word, which represented a buried, neglected, dishonored part of the body, was a door opening, an energy exploding, a story unraveling.When I was finally able as an adult to sit with my mother and name the specific sexual and physical violence my father had perpetrated on me as a child, it was an impossible moment. It was the naming, the saying of what had actually happened in her presence that lifted my 20-year depression. By remaining silent, I had muted my experience, denied it, pushed it down. This had flattened my entire life. I believe it was this moment of naming that allowed both my mother and I to eventually face our deepest demons and deceptions and become free.I think of women naming the atrocities committed against them by the Taliban in Afghanistan, or women telling of the systematic rapes during the Bosnian war, or just recently in Sri Lanka after the tsunami, women lining up in refugee camps to name their nightmares and losses and needs. I have traveled through this world and listened as woman after woman tells of being date raped or acid burned, genitally mutilated, beaten by her boyfriend or molested by her stepfather.Of course the stories are incredibly painful. But I believe as each woman tells her story for the first time, she breaks the silence, and by doing so breaks her isolation, begins to melt her shame and guilt, making her experience real, lifting her pain.
I believe one person's declaration sparks another and then another. Helen Caldicott naming the consequences of an escalating nuclear arms race, gave rise to an anti-nuclear movement. The brave soldier who came forward and named the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison was responsible for a sweeping investigation.Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying and crucial work. This has to happen in spite of political climates or coercions, in spite of careers being won or lost, in spite of the fear of being criticized, outcast or disliked. I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it.-

Eve EnslerEve wrote this essay for NPR “All Things Considered” This I Believe series. The piece aired on “All Things Considered” on March 20, 2006. To listen to the audio or to learn more about This I Believe, visit


Creatrix (aka Jennifer) said...

Eve Ensler is an inspiration indeed. I saw "Good Body" last month when she came to Seattle and it was phenomenal. The most interesting thing was how much nervous laughter came from the audience. Society as a whole seems to practice more avoidance than acceptance.

BohemeMama said...

I know, so true. In this climate of uber-violence, people still have an issue with words like vagina and molestation. Get over it already. Geez. we have women, children, and men to save!