Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Feminism ~ The Act of Feeling

We have become a nation of desensitized citizens, immune to the shock that should accompany visual stimuli.  Tonight while speaking at group therapy at a domestic violence shelter, a woman came in with eye eyebrow in stitches, a busted lip, bruises in the shape of fingers around her neck. 

No one else seemed to notice the results of her abuse. Not out of consideration but more lack of seeing it as disturbing. Yet when the woman hugged me after our meeting, a few of the other women looked on with questioning glances. 

When you work in an industry where reports of violence are the norm, you quickly become numb to that which might have previously repulsed or saddened you. And acts of affection or connection are seen as foreign. Our society has become like this. 

We see images of dead bodies, displays of the most grotesque of scenes, women lacking moral compasses or decorum, children behaving as heathens and we humor at it, find entertainment in the scenes. 

This trickles down even to our own personal relationships.  We start to excuse away our own actions as we see our own bad behavior as "less than" cruel or mean spirited based off of what we see glamorized elsewhere. And if you expect a certain level of decorum and kindness from those we encounter, you're perceived as being demanding or weak.  

I'm uncertain how to adjust to the demands of a world which expects you to just "deal with it" or a society that expects women to be pillars of strength on a constant basis.  For me, feminism isn't so much a desire for women to be treated as men, nor for them to be perceived as rough and masculine.  

Rather, it is the desire to have the freedom to be soft and yielding while still being afforded equality.  And to be regarded with respect not singly from our male counterparts in society, but as well from other females who have taken on the traits and rude actions and speech of the very men who have oppressed us all for generations.  

Until such time as we as women start expecting more from each other and stop quietly regarding other females as constant competition, we will continue to falter.  We can not see a battered woman and think to ourselves "she must like getting abuse."  We can not see women being assaulted, sexualized and demonized in the media and find it entertaining.  

Being desensitized isn't just a matter of visual imagery, but rather is an issue of all our senses.  We are sexually exploratory to the point that we must cross every boundary just to be stimulated.  We are so accustomed to violence that we excuse it away.  We are raising children that have little discipline and replace love with merchandising and material gifting.  

Women, the vessels of nurturing, love and comfort have become the things we have for so long fought against.  We are competitive, hostile, cruel, apathetic.  But this is by choice, not negative evolution and we can and should do better,

Until we recognize in ourselves the nature of our own actions, speech, thoughts and hearts, we can only expect for things to get worse.  As Michael Jackson sang "I'm starting with the man in the mirror.  I'm asking him to change his ways."  We must look in the mirror, see our true selves and realize that we have to start thinking and most importantly... feeling again.  


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