Several years ago I spent some time with my good friend Jerome on his visit to my local community. Jerome is an African American, and quite unmissable in a crowd. He is large, tall and has a smile that breaks all rule books on smile dimensions. We were talking about how being black is still such a stigma in American society. It occurred to me while I was speaking to him that I had some awareness of being a marginalised citizen not for the colour of my skin, but for my being female. I had never thought about this before. I had never seen myself as specifically anything, other than human. I have, since that time, given this much more thought.
I have never been a ‘feminist.’ I am certainly not anti men. The history of my life demonstrates that I spend more time with men that women. I like so much about men, and as most people who know me would know, the masculine side of my personality is well developed. Finding the feminine has been the harder part of my journey.
At the same time, I have become increasingly aware of just how difficult and ‘unfair’ it is for women to succeed in a male dominated world. One of my colleagues, after struggling for seven years, took the drastic action of paying a retired ex CEO and entrenched member of the secret ‘boys club’ a high fee to get her in the door. She now has 7 of these guys on her pay roll around the world, and her business has gone through the roof. In order for her to succeed, she needed to hire the ‘front’, just to get in the door. Smart, but also very sad, and very telling of our corporate culture world wide.
And then of course you have the very serious cases of overt female repression ….the female genital mutilation, the rampant sex trade of very young girls, the large wealthy global institutions who still, to this day, will not recognise women as having equal status in their hierarchy (The Catholic Church, to name a few)…and I could go on and on. It is quite amazing to me that we have this issue still…and yet we do, and it is deeply entrenched.
As a marathon runner, it is stunning to me to know that it was only in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics that women were allowed to enter the marathon. I was 24 years old.
We have certainly made progress. However, what we are talking about it thousands of years of habit, culture, indoctrination, inbuilt genetics, cellular memory….deeply entrenched, even beyond the conscious awareness of most men and women.
So when Arjuna Ardagh and Gay Hendricks published their first iteration of the conscious man’s manifesto to women this last week, I sensed that something very significant was going on. This is one of those small gestures that will be likely to have a very significant ripple effect.
Reading the manifesto brought tears to eyes. I had a felt sense of such a deep sadness, a sadness that went beyond me as Christine. I felt a sadness for all of the women, past and present, who have been marginalised by being born a female. Of the millions of women who were, over the course of 600 years, burnt at the stake for being intuitive, or able to work with nature to formulate herbal remedies. If ever there was a holocaust (from Old French holocauste, via late Latin from Greek holokauston, from holos ‘whole’ + kaustos ‘burned’ (from kaiein ‘burn’ ) then this was one of the first of them. (I am told many men also were burned for supporting their women.)
When I look at the predicaments we face today, I wonder, as I am sure many of you do also, is there a trimtab that just may cause the shift we know is essential to effect the kind of change we need? I have always felt certain that this trimtab will be a black swan. The unexpected, left field, one in a million kind of event. Quite possibly it could be a gathering of enough men around the world, in a virtual way, to give their energy, interest and blessing to the manifesto of conscious men to women. History has shown time and again that to tip the scales, we do not need a majority. Instead a small minority, around 10% is enough.
The inspired people behind The Girl Effect also sense this path.
Just as I told my friend Jerome those many years ago, he needs to heal the part of himself that experiences his blackness as an issue for him; women, myself included, need to learn to love and embrace their feminine fully. Given that our culture has done a very good job of damaging/deleting/discrediting the divine feminine, for many of us women, this is an experience in unlearning and undoing…and then rediscovering what has been lying dormant for eons.
Only when we have healthy women, and healthy men and the beautiful partnering between them, will we step into the full power that is part of our human heritage. Not one, not the other, but both, together, in glorious worship of each other.