September 25, 2008

Sisters, unite! Sisters unite.

This piece by Marianne Schnall is moving, inspirational and a powerful example of the collective spirit of women.

Marianne Schall’s intention in writing this piece is as follows:

“As a woman, I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and shaken by this election season, the highs and lows of it all. On the one hand, I have been feeling powerful — everyone is talking about women and our decisive influence in this election. Even the cover of the September 22nd issue of Newsweek is asking, “What do women want?” It’s a good question. So many important themes and dialogues have been raised during this election season — about identity politics, what we expect from a woman leader, sexism in the media, diversity in the feminist movement, what masculine and feminine values are, and about Sarah Palin and the “Palin effect.” It all made me want to talk to other women, to get clarity, to gain insight. I tried to think about what I, personally, could do to contribute to this dialogue.

I realized that, through my many years as a writer and as founder of the women’s website and non-profit organization,, I possessed extensive contacts with a diverse cross-section of well-known and respected women. So, I decided to pose identical questions by e-mail to some of these dynamic women and just see what came in. Some of the responses I got were by e-mail, some by impromptu phone interviews, but, it was clear that people felt the urge to talk and vent their thoughts.”

One of my favorite (of many) quotes:

Isabel Allende:
“Sisters, look at the issues, not color, gender or age of the candidates. Obama represents hope and change, he has ideals, he brings light and intelligence to a stagnant political situation that has lasted too long and has left the country economically bankrupt, trapped in a never ending war and divided. Sisters, be informed, work for the best candidate, vote and make sure that everybody around you votes too. Show up or we will all regret it. Obama is the girls in the race.”

I just spent a weekend in the glorious land of Big Sur with 14 phenomenal women from a broad array of backgrounds.  Heterosexual. Lesbian. Bi. Mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Lovers. Single. Married. Formally educated.  Educated by personal experience. Comfortable.  Working class. Extroverted.  Shy and introspective. Young. Mature. Timeless.

I’ve been  a member of this particular community for three years and a consciously identified feminist for 17 years.  I am still confronted by my own internalized sexism and suspicion when I circle or gather with women.  I am still prone to judgment and competition.  As a young girls, we are socialized to see other girls as a source of competition.  Very often, our best friends are our most intense rivals. As an educator, I constantly hear young women referring to other women as “skinny bitches,” “sluts,” “bitches” and “hos.”

Who’s surprised?  Growing up in a patriarchal culture, girls/women understand from an early age that we will be measured according to the patriarchal standard.  We are measured by the male gaze.  We vie for attention and resources are limited.

In the vein of consciousness-raising groups of second wave feminism, these communities are invaluable to me, specifically, because they bring these deeply entrenched feelings to the surface and allow them to evaporate in an environment of support. Something remarkably different emerges when women gather with intention and purpose.

As I gathered with these beautiful women over the course of three days last weekend, I was given the incredible gift of insight, wisdom and solidarity.  I can not deny the power of this kind of company or the inspiration this type of community provides.

When I read the piece by Marianne Schnall, I was given pause to reflect and cherish the multiple communities of women I am bound to.  I was and am in deep gratitude.  When I read the voices of the remarkable women Schnall featured in her article, I was and am in deep gratitude for their ability to reach thousands of other women. Each of these women weave in and out of their own communities and collectively we embody a solid mass of women.

We are all remarkable and we all have the power to use our voice.  I am in deep gratitide for women all across the globe that, seen or unseen, commune and strive for social and political change that is equitable and just.

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  1. This is a really moving post, and I feel really privileged to have read it and felt so connected and inspired by it. Thank you.

    Comment by culturevixen — September 25, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  2. Thank you Melanie for sharing your gratitude and wisdom. As women, when we circle with intention, we have a unique opportunity remember who we really are. When we as women are in our divinely empowered space, we hold the energy needed to propel this planet toward wholeness.

    Comment by Lumenaria — September 26, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  3. Here is a relevant excerpt from one of my websites

    It is imperative that we facilitate the remembrance of Women’s Power. We are at a turning point for the energy that has dominated women for millennia. As women we have long chosen repression and been part of the collective disdain for our power and magnificence. The nightmates of this pattern in its most extreme forms are fading away. At the initiation of this lifetime we began a new cycle as women, with the capacity to move forward in full empowerment and alignment with our Essential Feminine Nature. We hold within our bodies – these feminine forms – the mystery of life itself and the magic of creation. We have the capacity for immense spiritual connection within the context of our physical experience of life.

    However, many of us have lingered a bit long in the difficult, old patters of disempowerment. We have been unsure, due to collective fears and inhibitions, about whether and how we should take the plunge and move forward into our birthright! We have been in midst of a cosmic pause, literally reconsidering and reorganizing our energy in support of our magic and capacity to balance the spiritual and material planes of existence within our bodies. In this space we have seen our capacity for Grace, Expansion, Fortune, and Beauty, although we may have a difficult time fully believing what we seem to know. We have positive expectations and others see our abundant nature. We feel a new power arising within us, or at least wanting to arise, that has yet to be fully realized and ‘proven’ on the material plane. We are being roused into awakening our Divine Feminine Nature.

    Here is what a powerful voice for women’s health has to say about the power held within the female body…

    Chrisine Northrup, M.D. Quoted from Louise Hay’s full Interview for You Can Heal Your Life Movie:

    “What I want all women to know is that within their biology they have the code for enhancing all of Life. The egg can take a defective sperm and heal the genetics (the DNA) of that sperm. The egg contains the nourishment that the new fetus needs before it gets to the stage where it reaches the placenta and implants. Every time a woman is in her power, she up-grades everyone and everything around her. This is not a zero sum model. When a woman is doing better and she is healthier and happier, she raises me up. Whenever a woman gets healthier and happier, she heals the Earth. The woman’s body is a reflection of the Earth and everything we do to take care of ourselves, to feel pleasure, to be orgasmicaly joyous heals the ENTIRE planet!” (Slight grammatical errors of speech corrected for print by Lumenaria E. Goyer).

    Comment by Lumenaria — September 26, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  4. […] wrote about this in September 2008 after I returned from one of the many women-centered retreats I have […]

    Pingback by Feminist Fatale » She’s probably a bitch… — February 9, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

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