I have the great gift to be in relationship with engaged and vital young adults.
Last night I was able to spend time with three daughters of ours. Each has passion for the world and the bettering of same.
The topic of patriarchy came up. The air shifted. Energy zinged.
There have been waves of feminism that have washed the soul of our culture. I am not sure what wave we are currently experiencing, but the rolling of the sea that is sexism is far from still.
Each of the young women could name experiences they had encountered that shook them up. Bright and talented and powerful, they had all encountered times when they have been shushed and silenced and shamed for being bright and talented and powerful.
They were angry and so frustrated. Patriarchy, the assumption that being male is the norm that ought guide and rule, is a real binder of possibility and soul. They are plenty tired of it.
In preparing to teach a class on poverty, the effects of this gender lopsidedness is so very clear. Women yet make nearly a quarter less than men. Women yet are assaulted and frightened in their homes and worlds. Women yet are often left to tend children sans financial and emotional support. Women yet are achingly vulnerable.
What does it mean to us as people of faith? What does it mean that those who gestate and birth are maligned and silenced? What does it mean to be a people of the incarnation when woman Word Made Flesh is clearly suspect, else our laws and culture would assure safety of body and being?
I’m saddened and oh yes, enraged that although this work has been going on for so long, the putrid elephant that is patriarchy lives seemingly unremarked and unchallenged smack dab in the midst of community.
And, I am moved and blessed to have sisters and brothers who pay attention, who allow the anger, who ask the questions and challenge the assumptions.
Hope and power. Let it be.