Prejudice Against Women

Beatrice Bruteau is my favourite author. Before she died, Beatrice talked about unity consciousness, how we can awaken together rather than meditating alone for years. She called society’s current context a “domination paradigm”, where I try to get one up on you while you do the same to me. Plus my group is better than your group. As an alternative, Beatrice pointed to a “communion paradigm” – no ranking. We’re brothers and sisters.

I was reading The Holy Thursday Revolution this afternoon when Beatrice mentioned the Bible, specifically First Timothy 2: 11-12, verses in which “it is explicitly forbidden to regard women as equal to men.” Ouch. Now there’s domination.

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

How intensely sad that women throughout much of history have been considered less than. And the diminishment lingers.

Why, oh why, has the Catholic Church prevented women from becoming priests, from expressing in leadership their full spiritual being?

Pope Francis and the male priests at the Vatican have said repeatedly that the teaching against female priests comes from God and cannot be changed.

(Sigh)

And then there’s the issue of women being denied the vote for so many years. Here, from approximately 1915, are some reasons why male Canadians said no:

Religious leaders stressed that “natural law” — as stated in the Christian Bible — was clear about women being subordinate to men.

Women did not have the physical strength of men, and therefore could not hold their own in the rough and tumble of politics.

If a married woman had taken a vow to obey her husband, then she would vote as he directed. In effect, this would give her husband two votes.

Voting would drag women away from their domestic duties and their children. It was argued that voting would distract women from their roles as mothers and wives.

If women won the vote and other rights, they would be equals and no longer under men’s protection. Too weak to defend themselves, they would be depressed.

Women would be overexcited by politics and would have nervous breakdowns.

Women were — or should have been — far too busy with their home and community duties to take part in politics.

Women knew nothing of trade, commerce, science, finance, the military or the law, and therefore had nothing to contribute to politics.

Women would be hardened and sullied by politics and would become manly and unfeminine.

(A very big sigh)

The past was intensely damaging for women. The present, in some realms, isn’t so hot either:

The Cannes Film Festival has been accused of “tyrannical fashion policing” after reports emerged that a group of women were turned away from a red-carpet premiere for not wearing high heels. The women, some of whom had medical conditions and were in their 50’s, were wearing rhinestone flats to the opening of Cate Blanchett’s new film Carol when they were told they would not be allowed to enter, reports The Guardian.

(Yuck)

Right now, the United States is one of only three countries in the world that don’t make companies provide paid maternity leave. The other two are Papua New Guinea and Oman.

(Double yuck)

American women currently don’t have a legal basis to argue for upholding the rights they currently have or gaining the ones they lack because the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, first proposed almost a century ago in 1923, has yet to pass. Currently, the government is not allowed to pass laws or make rulings that treat citizens differently by race or religion, but they’re still allowed to do so with gender.

(Triple yuck)

I’m a white male. Translation: privileged. There are several powerful women in my life who no doubt have had to fight battles that are invisible to me. I’m sad for you, dear friends. I’m also happy to see your courage and your humanity on full display. The world needs all of us.

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