If I add lingerie in the title, I will get a lot more views.
This is the where we are at. Who we have been told we are, who we want to be and what we have to do and what we are prepared to do for change. It is no wonder that when I ask people what the matriarchy means, they are often confused or confined to the animal world.
It is no surprise that the definition of patriarchy and matriarchy are quite different. Actually, contemporary anthropologists agree that there is no known matriarchal society in which women were or are accorded political power or hierarchical dominance over men by virtue of being female. It is like comparing forbidden apples and oranges. Women have internalised patriarchy and formed unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive the existing norms of power.
If we no longer want to be co creators of that story, we have to do some inner work.
Pushing back or taking power over other women or men is not the solution. It might feel like the answer, it is what we have seen for so long but I believe there is a better way. Jung claimed the phrase, shadow work and encouraged people to bring the parts of the hidden self into light, understand, own and transform them. If that sounds too woo woo for you, that is because this work is hard. It is much easier to keep the repressed parts of who we are tucked away. We find ways of drowning them out- usually with work, drink or food. Doing the shadow work gives you your power. As Parker Palmer wrote;
“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”
As women, we haven’t been encouraged to claim our power in most settings. We think that others will judge us, think we are full of it or big headed. We are told to be small, take up less space, be seen not heard and know our place.
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door if you an old, old story, that is a door… If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés
But it is complicated.
Am I selling out when I use the word lingerie in the title? A quick keyword search of women, matriarchy power tells me they are all low ranking words and the top keyword is lingerie. Do I use the current system to grab attention and make change? Do I bring a man with me when pitching to investors? Perhaps there is no right or wrong, just be aware of the systems you are operating in and potentially perpetuating.
Why should women do the heavy lifting of shadow work for transforming power, we barely have any in the first place? I good questions and sometimes I feel too much rage about the history of power over women that is stops me (and I have benefited from all of the perks of whiteness). But this work is not for others- it is for you. Unexplored and unexpressed anger hurts you as well as others. If we do not accept parts of ourselves, we project that onto others and we can even end up colluding with the patriarchy. This can come in all types of forms. From putting other women down, keeping ourselves small, asking men to be vulnerable but then recoil when they show weakness. It is all part of the system to keep us less than.
As Elizabeth Lesser writes in her wonderful book, Cassandra Speaks,
“Human beings can change, but only if we want to, and only if we work at it. For the past one hundred plus years, women have been pushing hard for change. Why? Because we wanted to. We wanted to vote, we needed to work. We wanted to be safe in our homes and in the streets. To be strong in our bodies, to have our own voice. We wanted to dignify our true selves so we can make art, explore, invent, lead.”
I know I want change. For me, for my friends and family, my daughter, my son, my husband, for everyone. I am sick of the old ways and that motivates me.
What are your thoughts on the matriarchy? I would love to hear, drop me an email.
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