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As we strive to bring balance to our history and present situation, it seems some people are having strong reactions.
I have been noticing a huge backlash towards feminism, predominantly from men who identify as white, but also from white women.
Those who have worked with the Council of Elders DNA or Freedom CD from Here On Earth will have a deeper grasp of this perhaps, but just knowing a bit about world history can bring some light to the situation I am addressing here.
Women, especially white women, have some serious work to do.
Like many cultures who have been colonized, European women lost their rights to power under the new administration of Roman Patriarchy as imposed through Christianity.
They were told they were non-people, with no soul and no rights to their own bodies, which was a huge contrast to the egalitarian systems that had been in place in tribal Europe.
Under this new regime, women could no longer own property and were indeed property of their husbands, fathers, or uncles.
If they were from families of privilege they were used as barter; trade for family alliances, power, and position. A woman had to "marry well" to survive. If she went against her husband or father, she could be cast out of the family with no money or decent means of survival. Widowed women could be forced to remarry if lands or title were involved and there were no male heirs old enough to defend them. Sometimes their male children were killed or "given away" and replaced by male heirs of the new husband/owner.
Poor women could be used as pawns by any male and unprotected women were hunted and preyed upon, seen as "fair game" by men of means and could be conscripted to "service" the military men.
Sex trade was the way many survived and even if you worked as a milkmaid or laundress, if a wealthy man wanted to have sex with you, he could. You belong to men and were expected to obey and please them. Your life and well being and that of your children depended on it.
White women come from generations of keeping quiet and subservient for mere survival, yet many women also learned how to achieve power through their alliances and associations with men, competing with each other for favour of the alpha males. These same patterns of competition continue to this day amoung women seeking power in this era, putting down other women for being "too female," not having thick enough skin, too emotional, taking things too personally, and such accusations of being not male enough for the position.
I witness these imprinted patterns also in the fear so many white women have of "being alone," the desperation I see in women hanging on to unhappy relationships just for the sake of "having a man" and the competitive behaviours, body shaming and put downs between white women. I see it in how many women from marginalized groupings end up in sex trade work, and how many disempowered women are taken advantage of by men in power. These patterns, imprinted through generations of fear and shame, have become so embedded in the descendants of European systems that we cannot even see them to address or heal their repercussions.
Then there were the witch hunts.
With the onslaught of Christianity, midwives were banned in many places as "women were meant to suffer in childbirth." It was their punishment according to the new Roman religion. Healers, seers, mystics, wild women, women of power or wealth, in fact any woman who disagreed with the new church could be charged with witchcraft or sorcery. An estimated 50,000 in some reckonings and up to 13 million in other accounts were put to death from the 1500’s to the 1800’s. This also in North America as witnessed in Salem NY as Europe and their ways migrated over here.
When the witch hunts started, any woman of power could be and often was accused of sorcery, punishable by death. Many times her children were put to death with her, and sometimes her husband was co-accused. There were punishments and public humiliations for men who could not "keep their woman under control."
The terror of survival for women in many parts of Europe was so intense that girl children had to be raised to stay within the "proper" channels of class and situation behaviours for mere survival. Fathers and mothers raised their daughters to be safe, which meant bending in servitude to male authoritative figures as gods.
This imprint is huge amoung white women and I think explains why so many white American women voted for Trump! He portrays the epitome of white male supremacist wealth and power, and is an easy trigger for the European woman’s imprint.
Where else do I see that imprint playing out today?
I have personally noticed, especially in my age group and older, when women are together talking, their behaviour, voices, postures, and conversations change when a male person joins the group. All the attention goes to him and even if a woman is mid sentence, she will be ignored BY OTHER WOMEN in favour of the newly arriving male person. I have observed this for years, watching these patterns play out amoung groups of predominantly white women.
I have noticed the squirming and discomfort of other women if I do not play the game and intentionally continue whatever conversation we had going before the male person arrived. Women are horrified if I mention menstruation, breasts, or any complaints women often make amoung themselves in front of men. They are even more upset if I challenge the status quo of male-female work expectations such as handing a dish drying towel to a man heading to the living room after a meal. It is the women who get upset, not the men.
I have noticed this in public schools where girls speak much quieter than the boys when presenting in a classroom, where girls hesitate before answering questions so as not to look too smart or eager.
I have noticed it in the subtle put downs from women for my passion and outspoken attitudes, telling me to "calm down," and "you get more flies with honey," and "that’s just the way it is dear, get used to it." I see it in women acting all distressed if other women speak honestly when men are in the conversation.
I see it all in the little comments on appearance women give each other. Women habitually greeting each other with comments on how they look is a symptom of this dysfunctional system. Ask any women and they will tell you it is other women they fear in the body shaming competition that is out there! “How are you, you look good, have you lost weight?” is supposed to be a friendly greeting but when you look at it, it really is a put down!
I have noticed it in the imprints I also carry to jump up when a man needs something, taking the small piece or the burnt cookie, noticing the male persons needs first, physically and emotionally, putting self last, doubting our own understanding, asking for and allowing "mansplaining."
I have not noticed this as much amoung women of colour, Latino, Asian, or First Nations women. I expect it is a European imprint and not that other women don’t also have cultural imprints, but this is a dangerous one that affects everyone as so much power and control is wielded by white men, aided and abetted by white women.
How do we change this within ourselves?
We start by noticing it. Find your knee jerk reactions and strive to counter them with compassion and logic. Generational imprints are really tough to curb and blaming or shaming ourselves for what we unconsciously carry is just another road to disempowerment.
Find the traces, notice what they are and how they have been carried on through the generations. Notice the fear that comes up when you "speak out of line" or stand up for yourself. Notice how often you belittle and shame yourself and other women. Notice how much attention you put on different aspects of self, looks, attitudes, work, mental awareness, spiritual awareness, emotional maturity, family; these are all places that hold these old tough patterns.
Forgive your ancestors for imposing these traits by understanding they were doing the best they could to keep your ancestresses alive! If imposing strict dress codes and behaviour on the girls could protect them from rape, kidnapping, ostracizing, and murder, then of course that is what they did!
Forgive yourself for carrying on these patterns and strive to gently tackle them when they come up.
Refuse to engage in old patterns of behaviour once you recognize them and strive to free yourself from the shackles of colonial history.
Once you have freed yourself you may find you are more compassionate and understanding of others.