My fast was on Monday, but I didn’t want to post this until I thought it out more clearly, trying to give voice to my emotions on this matter:
This has been on my mind lately…
I dedicated this month’s fast to what I perceive as a rising tidal wave of danger to women. For reasons inexplicable to me there is a culture of violence and disrespect toward women today that is rapidly expanding . With every news day comes another story of an atrocity or the victimization of women. From Jacyee Dugard, to Jasmine Fiore to the local case of Kristi Cornwell, a brutal disregard for the well-being of women is on display. And these are the ones that get coverage. Every day many, many women suffer out of the spotlight and without a sense of hope or support.
Our television is full of crime shows that for “entertainment” delve with pornographic glee into the details of molestation, battery, rape and murder. The objectification of women is a commercial industry standard. Even from the pulpits of many churches, the subjugation of women is preached. Where does all this hate, disrespect, anger and violence come from?
I say it is the fault of men.
Not all men, but enough men who have never grown up and matured enough to be the responsible elements of society they should be. Men who are so intimidated by the strength, passion and wisdom of women that they have no other means of asserting themselves than by attacking that which they don’t understand and fear. Men whose maturity levels never surpassed that of 13-year old boys who have no concept of how to participate in an equal, loving, attentive, responsible relationship. Men who cannot stand not to be the center of attention. Men who view women as objects of sexual convenience and domestic servitude. Men who have evolved concepts of how to treat women based upon Batman movies, internet pornography and how Amber the stripper is always glad to see them. In that context, how boring to have a partner who does laundry, works and gets paid more than he does, gains weight, makes dinner every night, is sometimes sad for no reason, gives birth to and raises his children, won’t let him buy a Sega 3 gamestation because the rent is due…
I am not going to say that women have historically been well treated by civilized society. But there has been a definable shift in the world consciousness over the last century, and the roles of women have definitely changed. They are reclaiming their goddessness (if that is a word) and becoming stronger, more assertive, open, passionate about the world, and capable of handling their lives. The problem is that men have not stepped up in their godhood to match them. If anything men in general have retreated, letting the women in their lives become extended mothers who have to nurture and spoil them as they would their other children. This brings them into inevitable conflict with their most primitive driving forces: to fuck (procreate) and to kill (provide and defend). It is the nature of men to be violent, that is how we kept bears out of the caves and food on the fires 100,000 years ago. But we don’t live in caves now and our aggressiveness needs to find acceptable outlets (sports, WWF, foreign wars for oil). Somewhere in the last few decades, that aggressiveness has turned on the other half of our society in the most horrific and unapologetic ways.
Can we not patron music that debases and denigrates women? Can we not watch TV shows that feature violence against women and children as the center point of entertainment? Can we ban websites that host rape-porno and “fantasy molestation”? Can we not laugh at jokes that degrade roles of women? Can we look them in the face when we speak to them (instead of you know where)? Can we judge women by their spirits first rather than their figures? Can we not slaver over party-doll heiresses and their sexual missteps and instead acknowledge beautiful women who do good works (Eva Longoria, Melissa George, Gillian Anderson, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey… gorgeous women who give liberally to charities, even working hands on in the field)?
At a more immediate level, can we, as men, resume our partnership role in the lives of our women? Can we be good role models to our sons and daughters? Can we be good wage earners and provide equally in the support of our families? Can we tame our vices, not cheat, lie, be slothful or lazy, or inattentive, distant or sexually insensitive? Can we take care of our bodies, eat good food and exercise, so our mates enjoy our bodies, and know we are taking responsibility for our longevity? Can we listen before we answer, think before we react, try and see things from her point of view? Can we take it on the chin and accept that not winning every argument doesn’t diminish our masculinity? Can we be strong and suffer in silence, not complaining about every little bullshit thing that ripples our plane of inconvenience?
Can we be spiritual leaders, teachers, sages, wise men and seekers of knowledge and truth? Can we fill the void of soul between ourselves and our women? Can we offer compliments and be tender and not vulgar, be men of character, gentlemen and lovers?
Can we never, ever, ever, under any pretense or excuse, raise our hands against women we have professed to love, protect, tend to and support. Or against any woman, anywhere? Can we require the same of every man around us, and never dismiss or excuse such action?
Will we… can we … wake up from this brutal global nightmare?
I will be meditating on this during my fast, and for some time afterward. I will do what I can do… how much more can I do?