By Kimber Mayfield | Our Voice Contributor
1: social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
I married young, 18 years of age, had my first child at 20 and my second at 22 and was divorced at 23. It was discovered with my second pregnancy that my right ovary was riddled with cysts. After the birth of my daughter I was admitted to surgery in order to remove the offending ovary.
When I woke from surgery, I was told that the Dr. had discovered a few more cysts on my left ovary. Now, rather than waking me to ask what I wanted done with MY body, he consulted my husband who informed him we didn’t want any more children and to just “take everything”.
I woke up a 23 year old who had a radical hysterectomy, due to a man’s wishes.
That is when I divorced him.
As a returning adult student, with two children under the age of 5, I used the opportunity at my local university to take woman’s studies classes. I researched a question weighing on my mind: How could our modern society allow men to speak for us women as if we are their property?
I discovered a feminist author, Barbara Walker, and devoured her writings, particularly in the “Women’s encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”. She had such a different outlook on our societies ancient myths including biblical myths.
For example, Barbara G. Walker wrote the following about the Christian fish symbol:
“The fish symbol of the yonic Goddess was so revered throughout the Roman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings. Some claimed the fish represented Christ because Greek ichthys, “fish,” was an acronym for “Jesus Christ, Son of God.” But the Christian fish-sign was the same as that of the Goddess’s yoni or Pearly Gate: two crescent moons forming a vesica piscis. Sometimes the Christ child was portrayed inside the vesica, which was superimposed on Mary’s belly and obviously represented her womb, just as in the ancient symbolism of the Goddess.”
This fascinated me, and the more I discovered the more it strengthened my resolve that Christianity evolved in tandem with patriarchy as a way to subjugate women and their offspring.
You see women know when a child belongs to them, but men don’t have that proof. It is no wonder that so many men are against abortion and birth control. It means that they have no control.
Today, we are seeing a huge resurgence of an attempt at patriarchal values being imposed upon both women and men who are ripe for change. This theme is prevalent in many of the currently hot social topics; marriage equality, women’s right to choose, access to birth control, creationism in our schools. We even see it in the fanatical opposition to gun control, which overwhelmingly, are men clinging on to their weapons to “protect their family”. Considered “their duty” in this patriarchal society.
Not to mention the outrage I feel that it has been just over 90 years since the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced and we are still waiting on 3 more states at least to ratify this. What are they so scared of?
Do men in power think that women, if treated equally, won’t need them? Are they scared that women won’t want them?
Or could it possibly be that women would love even deeper a person that they walk beside and share with rather than being submissive to?
I troll Facebook trying to argue these points, knowing full well that the people I argue against will never GET it – will never change their minds. Maybe someone will read what we troll and get one of those “Ah Ha!” moments.
I firmly believe that the time has come to aid those that are working to fade patriarchy. As it fades, the fear of losing control is rearing its ugly head in people like Trump, Pence, and the entirety of those in charge of our government at this point in time. The fervent efforts of these scared men in power is fueled on by Breitbart, Fox News, and many more media outlets.
Don’t lose your hope in the wake of their fear.
Keep writing, engaging, and listening to each other!
Keep fighting for equality and perhaps our children will reap the rewards of our work to change our society to one of inclusion rather than exclusion. One of helping lift our fellow human rather than stomping on them as we climb to the top.
One of true equality.
It will be a fight on all fronts – but one well worth fighting.