Gloria Steinem speaking in Seattle recently reminded us the definition of Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. At some point, likely the 1970’s, feminism became a bad word. As a society we need to bring it back to its original intent and practice it.
In 2009 feminist and role model Jimmy Carter wrote an article “Losing my religion for equality”. The article describes his struggle and brake from the Southern Baptist church in support of human rights and equality. In it he writes:
“The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions – all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.”
With feminism there is no extremism, no racism, no sexism.
Our most violent societies are ones that don’t support feminism and actively oppress women. We are in the midst of a third world war with 65 countries involved including 667 Militias-guerrillas and separatist groups, leaving a numbing trail of death, destruction and millions of refugees without a nation or place. Clearly it will take more than feminism to bring about peace, although peace won’t happen without it.
The UN has a policy to include women in their peace keeping efforts believing “women and men experience conflict differently and therefore understand peace differently. Recognizing and integrating these differences – known as gender perspectives – into all aspects of UN peace operations, is essential for the success of the UN’s peacekeeping efforts”. When women have an equal say at the table along with other diversities we all benefit.
Please, when you see anti-feminism in action… call it out, respectfully. Without feminism there cannot be peace.
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
These are first draft stories that touch in some way on my experiences with leading and being led, our conduct, how we act and with what intent.
Seattle is high on activism and not so much on being neighborly. As a plugged in and global society it’s easy to overlook the people where we physically live. Not to say that we are consciously overlooking them, it’s that our attention is often elsewhere.
An elderly neighbor of mine was hobbling around on a fractured hip for a month before she asked for help; clearly it was not easy for her to ask. Had we paid better attention perhaps we could have helped earlier.
Healthcare::: Cost, access, for profit systems… We need to take better care of our ill.
Education::: Archaic systems, cultural irrelevancy, cost, accessibility, differing expectations…
Overpopulation:: Too many people eating up too few resources.
Distraction::: Our 24/7 access to digital life and non-life, obscures our focus and diverts our attention from the physical here and now.
Fear::: Fear is a strategy and tactic. Fear takes us off course.
A lot of these problems could be solved if we consistently acted from love and compassion. We need to act on #2 immediately, but it won’t happen without #1. The guardian has an idea, keep it in the ground.