Category Archives: Patriarchy

#MeToo: NOT just a Media Moment but our Past, Present, & (Hopefully not) Future

#MeToo. It’s daily life for the majority of women, boys, queer and trans people.

I was one of the thousands, if not millions of women, who posted #MeToo on my Facebook account last month. I was traveling back from my honeymoon and so was on my social media more than usual. (I tend to ignore crowds of people in airports and on planes by burrowing deep into my technology.) As someone who was molested by a girl as a child, raped by a man on my 21st birthday, and harmed by patriarchy and the neuroses of men numerous ways in life, I never thought I would ever mate for life. But here I was emerging from my honeymoon, deeply in love with my husband, and entering into the cacophony of my sisters cries.

What wasn’t posted on Facebook pages and tweets, are all the hours and days of processing via, chat, phone, zoom, you name it. We were listening to each other, hearing each others stories, crying together, empathizing, working through our triggers and supporting each other.

Until you have sat with a woman and heard her tell her story, you cannot believe that that things done to woman are true, because they are unspeakable. You need to have the experiencing of sitting with a woman and her telling you the story of being owned as a slave, being held in a room visited only by men who raped her. How she escaped, how a random man on the street helped her and bought her a bus ticket out of town. How a family took her in and got her back in school. Until you have heard this story from someone you know, someone you maybe see at work or at school. Survivors of intense violent sexual assault are all around us. Survivors of less offenses are right next to you, they are the women all around you. We have the generations of abused women in our bones, the pain of the histories of owning and subjugating women in our blood.

#MeToo is happening now, but the past is with us. Patriarchy has evolved and continues to evolve. We can never let another teenage girl or boy in Hollywood get raped on the casting couch. This is also about the future. Women and men hurt by patriarchy need to be able to name and heal from sexual violence and to do that, the abuse has to stop. This isn’t just a man problem, it’s going to take all of us to transform patriarchy.

There are paradoxes of this moment that aren’t lost on me. #MeToo is a moment but it’s also lifetimes of female and queer suffering. I am deeply in love with a good man who does the work with me of pulling the poison of patriarchy out, from ourselves, each other, and our lives.  And it’s this love that helps me recommit to pulling out the poison over and over again. Let’s keep working to transform our wounds into healed places and transform patriarchy into love.

How to be a Christian When Men Aren’t Safe

Jesus who Forgave the Oppressor. Jesus who sets free the Oppressed. Jesus who sets things right. Jesus who Forgave the Oppressor. Jesus who sets free the Oppressed. Jesus who sets things right. Painting by Bec Cranford-Smith

I’ve been doing yoga therapy lately. In simplistic terms it’s a kind of counseling that takes the body along for the ride.  In these sessions I have been uncovering beliefs that I have held about men. It’s pretty much all borne from an oppressive and abusive father. But in the journey it’s also uncovered mean boys from my youth, the man who raped me and the boyfriends who broke my heart. It all leads to the same kind of message; men aren’t safe.

So I’ve been wondering, how exactly do I give myself over to a kenotic path led and modeled by a man?  I don’t subscribe to a view of God as strictly gendered as male. This has never been something I have been comfortable doing. I have always been drawn to a father/mother view of God. So how does one, like me, who has constant programming running about how men aren’t safe, follow the lead of a spiritual embodiment of God who inhabited a male body.

Is my love of Jesus just a fairytale of what a man could be (and never has been in my actual life) and how could I follow the teachings of a man when men aren’t safe?  Is my love of Jesus a dream of a man without an ego, a longing for a human man that embodies a gentleness and a deep caring for the marginalized and oppressed? Is this just the dream of a little girl longing for the love of a father that could never be? Part of myself would say yes. But the mystic in me holds space for the possibility of something I’ve not yet experienced, the love of a man that is unconditional.

I want to believe that Jesus was a man with an ego who found a contemplative path that led him to surrendering egoic thought in favor of divine connection. And that divine connection was what made Jesus, the man, the savior the world believes him to be. I want to walk that path and I want to be like him. But this challenges my belief that men aren’t safe. If I choose a path emulating a spiritual teacher who was a man, how can I continue to believe men to be unsafe?

Maybe the distinction I need to make is that egoic thought is unsafe and perhaps I need to leave gender out of it? What do you think? I’d love your thoughts.