Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest Post - Some thoughts on healing our sexist culture at home

Today while doing a bit of research I was disturbed to be reminded of the pervasive sexism embedded in Wicca. Dividing the world into masculine and feminine, whether personality traits or the elements air (masculine) and water (feminine), does a disservice to both genders and to our world. Why should air or water have a gender? Why should the act of leadership which corresponds to air be masculine, are our women not leaders. Many in justifying this archaic gender role division might say that we all have both masculine and feminine and we must learn to integrate both. But I say that assigning the masculine with leadership or strength gives men and women the idea that it is natural in men and must learned to be embraced by women. These divisions are culturally taught gender roles not more innate to one sex over the other. Multiple studies have shown that equal numbers of 7 year old girls and boys want to be president but by middle school females have given up on this idea, possibly because girls are shown through our culture that they have a snowballs chance in hades.

Let us as Pagans lead the cultural revolution in transforming our sexist culture. Let’s empower our budding goddesses by doing away with gender stereotypes in our correspondences, ritual and magic and give all powers and all elements to all humans equally. We need both men and women and every other sex to stand together with all of the traits that make us human if we are to heal this world, our connection to nature and to each other. Honor the Goddess and give her back her power!

Blessed be. Melanie Venus Rose

Melanie Rose is a long time friend whom I have learned many lessons from, Thank You Melanie for allowing me to post this.



mesquitemoon said...

I wholeheartedly concur. The artificial assignment of gender seems to only reinforce gender disparity. We are all just people.

Adrian Monogue said...

I think this has to do with the basis of where the elements come from. The classical 4 elements comes from Alchemy and Hermetic Philosophy. There are seven principles or axioms that the basis of the teachings. Many of the sayings that are used in Paganism come from these teachings. The most popular of them is "As Above, So Below; As Below, So Above"
They are:
The Principle of Mentalism
The Principle of Correspondence
The Principle of Vibration
The Principle of Polarity
The Principle of Rhythm
The Principle of Cause and Effect
The Principle of Gender.

You can read more about them in the Kybalion.

In the Principle of Gender is probably the basis of these beleifs.

Here is an excerpt from it in regards to it.

"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes." — The Kybalion.

The great Seventh Hermetic Principle — the Principle of Gender embodies the truth that there is Gender manifested in everything — that the Masculine and Feminine principles are ever present and active in all phases of phenomena, on each and every plane of life. At this point we think it well to call your attention to the fact that Gender, in its Hermetic sense, and Sex in the ordinarily accepted use of the term, are not the same.

The word "Gender" is derived from the Latin root meaning "to beget; to pro-create; to generate; to create; to produce." A moment's consideration will show you that the word has a much broader and more general meaning than the term "Sex," the latter referring to the physical distinctions between male and female living things. Sex is merely a manifestation of Gender on a certain plane of the Great Physical Plane — the plane of organic life. We wish to impress this distinction upon your minds, for the reason that certain writers, who have acquired a smattering of the Hermetic Philosophy, have sought to identify this Seventh Hermetic Principle with wild and fanciful, and often reprehensible, theories and teachings regarding Sex."

I think that where people get confused is that we often equate gender to sex. Admittedly, I think we could simply find a better word for it to fit with our modern concepts of the word gender.

It goes one to say that Mental Gender is described as a Hermetic concept which relates to the masculine and feminine principles. It does not refer to the physical gender of someone, nor does it suggest that someone of a certain physical gender necessarily has the same mental gender. Ideally, one wants to have a balanced mental gender. This is a balance of both forces within themselves.

Anonymous said...

Is God male and Goddess female. They were (are) in the craft I learned.

RJW said...

Well as a wiccan, I tend to celebrate differences between the genders. The philosophy of wicca rests in large part upon the theory of polarity. Everything that exists has a polar opposite, and exists only by virtue of interaction by these polarities. Love yourself for what you are, and honor your other gender for being what your not. We're each Gods and Goddesses in our own right.

lise dyckman said...

Seems to me that our insistence in dressing up Divinity in Human form is foolish, an example of humans' narcissism and lack of imagination. Sure, the male-female gender polarity is of keen interest to most humans - but even we need more than just a binary to represent our species. (Are there 5 genders? 7? Ultimately, who cares, when the only real question is how does this particular individual relate to my individual self?)

Initially I was attracted to wicca because of the wiccans I knew, and for the fact that they envision Divinity as plural. That's a major step up from asserting that, at root, Divinity is One (reductio ad absurdum, imho). But increasingly I hear wiccans insist on a gender binary, with specific masculine / feminine associations ... and I want to yell "open your eyes to the magnificent multiples in this world!" If we truly believe in "as above, so below", then we have to acknowledge how narrow - and how sexist - the commonly held images of god & goddess are. There's so much more.

Anonymous said...

Another issue that is alluded to ("...and all other sexes..."), but not specifically addressed in the post, is that treating the elements, the deities, and the world at large as gender binary causes erasure of those who are neither male nor female. The Craft and Paganism can seem awfully unwelcoming to those who are intersex, gender neutral, agender, pangender, etc. When Facebook offers more gender options than are accepted in mainstream paganism, there may be an issue. Just something to think about.

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