Friday, June 14, 2002

You Can't Have Love and Patriarchy
As RageBoy continues his mystery-shrouded evolution into ...well, we don't really know exactly "what" or "who" yet. But there is a definte pattern in his growing affinity for females of obvious power -- both silently mythic and vocally authentic.

His latest discovery is Carol Gilligan's new book, The Birth of Pleasure, and he links to an interview with her that is well-worth the read.

The research documented in Gilligan's landmark book, In A Different Voice, provided the foundations for a major project that I was assigned back in the 80s to analyze the exhibits in the New York State Museum in terms of the "voice" they gave -- or in this case, did not give -- to women in the history of the state. In Gilligan's own words, the "Voice" book shows how including women's voices changes the human conversation, makes it more expansive, more real in certain ways and that's not only for women; enlarging the conversation and changing the resonance can also encourage men to say things that they know but may have felt but they couldn't speak about. That book not only triggered major changes in the way the Museum's exhibit designers and curators were expected to do their work; it encouraged me to release my own voice, both in the workplace and in my personal life as well.

Interestingly enough, Gilligan used students at the Emma Willard School for much of her research interviews. I did "development" writing for that school several years ago during a series of events promoting "girls in Science." I even got to write a speech for Jane Fonda, a graduate of that school, who came in to do the opening presentation. Heh. She used about half of it; most of the time she promoted her exercise videos. But that's off the subject.

Carol Gilligan's new book takes her basic premises in a necessarily deeper direction, one that she believes is beginning to begin the end of patriarchy. I particulary like the following statement that she made in her interview: Once feminism is understood not as a battle between the sexes but a move to free both women and men from contraints that have limited their capacity to love and live fullly, it becomes clear that feminism is one of the great liberation movements in human history.

You can't have love and patriarchy, Gilligan asserts in her interview. I agree. But, personally, I don't think that most men are going to be willing to give up the power of hierarchy and patriarchy for such a simple thing as love. As Gilligan goes on to say, Love means.....being willing to change.
Into the silence, we leap.
With Andrea's Seven Memories piece added to the "power and protection" shield crafted for Mike Golby and his family, the ritual object is ready to be mailed out to Mike in South Africa tomorrow. This is the note that is going with it:

“Healing is the leap out of suffering into myth.” --Joseph Campbell

Native American shamans constructed “power shields” as part of healing ceremonies, often including or attaching images of sacred animals and representations of spirit folk to reinforce the protective capacities of the ritual object. The circle, itself, is a powerful symbol of wholeness, completeness, and the front of this shield is woven in concentric circles, an ancient symbol of the power of the feminine, the all-embracing, all forgiving, Great Mother. The colors and textures are like the fabric of life – unplanned, pieced together, varied and vibrant. The back of the shield symbolizes the power of what is often hidden deep in the great sea of memories, hopes, and dreams.

This gift, this prayer, this creative act carries with it the magic of friendship and opens a way to make the leap into the magic of healing.