There is a wound in the world that is specific to women and girls. Many of us take a lifetime to figure out what it is. In my case, giving birth to a daughter was a bridge to my own healing and prompted me to find a new path for both of us.
I did not realize how deeply my upbringing in the Church had tainted and still suppressed my core being until I read Patricia Lynn Reilly’s book, A God Who Looks Like Me.
Everyone is born of a woman, but somehow the patriarchal creation myth reversed this. Women are secondary, if not cursed, via this tradition.
The textbooks that our children read are still almost entirely male-dominated filled with male-accomplishments. Our spiritual communities are still mostly male-led and refer to God as “He.”
Religious thought seeps in early and is very damaging to girls. If God is a man, and “He” is everything that is good and superior, it is easy to conclude that we as women are, in fact, beneath men. Whether you practice a religion or not, this still has a profound effect on our collective thinking.
Despite 15 years as a feminist, it never dawned on me to question my family and religious upbringing. We were, by all accounts, “normal”. Compared to many other people, I really didn’t have much to complain about. So while I learned about and rallied against the systematic oppression of women, I did not correlate my family and faith to the roots of my own.
I now believe that it is these much engrained patriarchal systems that continue to keep women as a whole down. This is a very hard thing to face. It is painful to think that your own family was complicit in holding you back.
I thought I was ‘over’ my conditioning to be quiet, submissive and subservient. Giving birth to my own daughter made me realize that was not the case. I have raised my daughter the opposite way of my patriarchal upbringing. It is often she who reminds me of my true essence. In her, I get a glimpse of what was squelched during my own childhood.
Excerpt from the Bridges edition of Aluna Temple Magazine. Read the rest here.
Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes