I have been reading all of the news about Planned Parenthood and finding the situation very difficult to process. Yes, I am shocked. Yes, outraged. Yes, disgusted, angry, frustrated . . . all of that and more.
It is so easy to blame. To name-call. To meet negativity with double-down negativity.
But we all know the fruitlessness of meeting anger with anger.
It’s time for a new page, and new direction, and a new paradigm.
A new face of feminism.
What does that look like?
It’s a world where women stand together, not in anger, not in despair, not in mutual victimization, but in radiant, embodied, turned on sisterhood.
Women who have connected to the depth and breadth of their own divinity, who own their sensuality and take the revolutionary step of loving themselves for no reason.
Women who are plugged into their core source energy are lit up. Aware. Inclusive of other women. They stand in sisterhood for both a woman’s light, and her darkness; because they are on close loving terms with their own.
Right now, the patriarchy profits from women who do not know and own their own value. When our souls are filled with self-hatred, rather than self-love, not only do we sink our own ships, but we take other women down with us, and politicians can step in and roll back our hard won civil rights.
I am sure that many of you had the same experience I did, a few weeks ago, when Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, faced the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform defending the right of women to receive medical attention from planned parenthood. Republican lawmakers questioned why Planned Parenthood should continue to receive federal funding if many Americans don’t agree with abortions.
Cecile was grace under fire for over five hours as disrespectful and misogynist lawmakers attacked her and failed to listen to her, using this forum to further their agenda to chip away at a woman’s right to make her own choices about her reproductive health.
How do we find ourselves in this spot?
How do we find ourselves in the spot where a woman’s right to take care of and control her own body have been attacked and diminished?
I thought this conversation was resolved on January 22, 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision which recognized that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion without interference from politicians.
(Prior to that, ⅙ of all pregnancy-related deaths were a result of illegal abortions.)
But how is it possible that certain people are attempting to roll back the basic human rights that we earned over 40 years ago? Why can’t women retain the ground that we gained in our efforts towards equality?
It is so easy to throw daggers of blame in oh-so-many different directions.
Personally, I do not know whether to weep or rage or plot vengeance.
And worse – I want it all to go away.
I can barely stand to be in my skin as I listen to the recordings of Cecile Richards, responding intelligently and elegantly after hours of attacks at this hearing. I think back to her mother, the incredible Ann Richards, and wonder if we have made any strides at all, as a community of women in this country.
Why do some groups seem able to gain strength over time, but women seem to first gain and then, lose strength over time?
Every fall, the students in my Creation Course make a pilgrimage to Brooklyn. We visit the Judy Chicago exhibit in the Elizabeth Sackler Wing of the Brooklyn Museum.
Yes, we go to see The Dinner Party. But more than that, we go to stand in a room that pays tribute to the 1,038 women from history on whose shoulders we stand.
Who fought battles on our behalf that we know nothing about because the history of women has been vacuumed from American History and Global History in classrooms around the world.
Why is it a problem that our daughters will know more about George Washington than Susan B Anthony? Or Sojourner Truth? Because it means that every woman has to spend so much of her precious time, here on earth, fighting to find her purpose, her voice, her legacy.
As Gerda Lerner says, “Men develop ideas and systems of explanation by absorbing past knowledge and critiquing and superseding it. Women, ignorant of their own history do not know what women before them had thought and taught. So generation after generation they (struggle) for insights others had already had before them, (resulting in) the constant reinventing of the wheel.”
If we are constantly reinventing the wheel, we cannot roll the wheel forward.
We do not know that there have been 5,000 years of women fighting for freedom, celebrating the sensual, opening doors and breaking through ceilings since we first lost our Goddess and our power. We have no connection to where we were, who we are, and how we got here.
We do not realize that each step forward that a woman takes, on this planet, is a triumph for each woman on this planet.
And because we do not ever see or experience the tapestry of which we are each a thread, we feel alone. Not to mention suspicious of and competitive with other women.
Which leaves us vulnerable to hostile takeovers. It wasn’t just because women were afraid of Bill Cosby that none of the 30+ women stepped forward all of those years. They were afraid of being ostracized at disparaged by both the patriarchal legal system, and by other women.
How do we know that? Well, that is exactly what happened when the few women who were assaulted, did try to step forward, these past 40 years.
Thus far, the galvanization of women only comes from mutual victimization. When it gets really bad, we lurch forward, haltingly, and join forces, only to roll back, as soon as the crisis has passed. This is what we are watching now, as we lose ground, week by week, in the right to have dominion over our own bodies. (A question that men do not even have to consider.)
It’s time for a new wave of feminism. Where we as women stand together, united in conspiring for our greatness, not divided and pitted against each other, doomed to recreate the wheel and lose power slowly and surely.
Today, let us each celebrate, not only ourselves, but the accomplishment of women in this world today like Cecile Richards, or women in our lineage, or women in history.
Let us become conscious of the women on whose shoulders we stand, the women whose threads in our shared tapestry only make us stronger and more conscious of our innate strength, power and irrevocable sisterhood.
Join me in the comments, to celebrate and honor a woman who has inspired you, in a personal way, or a global way. Who is she? How has she taken you higher? Where has her courage, her inner poetry, her bad-assery, ignited yours?