As Barbara Berg asserts in Sexism in America, “Sexism, it’s fair to say, is America’s default setting.”[i] The United States was established as a patriarchy: a society that is structured, via laws and customs, to give males more power and privileges than females. In addition to sexism, a patriarchy relies on other forms of discrimination, such as racism and homophobia, to maintain the legal and institutional power of an elite group of people. When Ms. Berg refers to sexism as a “default setting,” she is pointing out that whenever some people accomplish change, the country tends to adjust to ensure that sexism, along with racism and other forms of discrimination, remains the foundation of our social structure. Continue reading
I have often written of the work of undoing patriarchal thought—facing our assumptions, our fears, our wounds. While we all must do this inner work, to face patriarchal thought as a woman is to touch upon the core of the matter: to define and honor self in a society that degrades female self. Doing this work means opening yourself up to grief—to deep sadness, to fear and rage, to the contempt that culture holds for woman. It also means opening yourself up to great power and peace—a gift of grace that is your birthright as a human being. This work is a process, and at its core is self-knowledge: this is who I am, you must say. This is where I hurt, and where I dream. This is how I would spread my wings, if only I thought I could. I accept myself, and I love myself. Standing on the ground of self-love is a truly transformational experience. But you can’t do it alone—you need a guide, or more than one. Sometimes the guide is a professional, sometimes a friend or a sister. Sometimes the guide is a book that allows you to gently meet yourself in sacred recognition. New Love: a reprogramming toolbox for undoing the knots, by Trista Hendren and Arna Baartz, is just such a guide—this wonderful book will lead you straight to yourself, and to freedom.
[Note: She Rises Vol 1 has been published June Solstice, 2015.]
She Rises Book Reviews include the following:
“There are many contributors with names you may be familiar with, such as Carol Christ, Starhawk, Barbara Daughter, Vicki Noble, Max Dashu. Other excellent contributors will be new to you, but you may find yourself looking for more of their work. I feel honored to be included in such illustrious company. The articles are short, so they can be read over a long time period….though you might find it hard to put the book down. I was touched by how often the names Mary Daly, Merlin Stone, Marija Gimbutas, and Monica Sjoo appeared in this volume, and it seemed to me that these early pioneers were also contributing through other women.