What is it to be a Woman in our time? What does the Feminine actually mean (or the definition of Feminine Power)? I am on a journey exploring what may be the Source of a woman’s power, the feminine spirit, which thrived in the more female oriented cultures, only to be superseded by the patriarchal way of life. I wonder how I/women can retain the true nature of our gender while navigating this predominantly masculine driven world – what does life look like from the Feminine point of view? I also refer to ‘masculine’ in the broader sense which refers more to the masculine principal: physical, active, linear, driven, goal achievement, independent, money, (external not necessarily just ‘male’). The feminine principal has been described as the contrast or opposite: internal, unconscious, intuitive, round, feeling, night, moon, receptive and more flowing. Women tend to approach life, nowadays, from the more masculine perspective, especially with our prevalent ‘superwoman’ tendencies which can often be in conflict with our deeper dreams and desires in life and especially when it comes to the process of pregnancy and birth. I have been on an exciting journey of self discovery and my passionate insights into ‘feminine sexuality’ creates the potential to unlock a whole other dimension in the wonderful domain of being a woman:
‘Aspects of female sexuality include issues pertaining to biological sex, body image, self-esteem, personality, sexual orientation, values & attitudes, gender roles, relationships, activity options, and communication’. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_female_sexuality) Interestingly it does not mention birth which is the most momentous event a woman can experience in her body/genitalia, mind and spirit!
Themes such as conception, birth, feminine sexuality and how this can be represented in the cycles of nature and life is also reflected in my personal art work.
My desire for women to become integrated in self knowledge, acceptance and love is paramount. We need to harness our feminine power and relinquish the victim consciousness that blames men or the patriarchy for ‘doing it to us’. This integration can happen when women live in choice, respecting their body and mind and avoid handing over their dreams to the constriction of accepted social mores.
The female reproductive system and genitalia are the most impressive parts of being a woman and yet they have been the most shamed, abused and violated. Women have become sexualised objects, where external features define a woman as ‘good enough’ for the male gaze and any natural bodily functions are suppressed or extensively sanitised. The vagina, in particular, is still seen as shameful, dirty or ‘looks wrong’ and the expectation that only a man can ignite its pleasure. Even language has encouraged negative connotations: vagina is the general anatomical term which suggests ‘clinical detachment’ (Camphausen, R. C., 1996 The Yoni. Inner Traditions: Rochester, Vermont) and the word cunt is the most derogatory word used today but has derived from the Greek fertility goddess Kunthus and the Indian nature/earth goddess Kunti. Cunt was the everyday factual word used in England instead of vagina or vulva which was brought over by the Anglo-Saxons. It was also normal, in the middle ages, for streets to be named after the trade that took place there and so a red light district became known as Gropecunt Lane. Gradually the word became associated with prostitution and as women and their sexuality as a source of power were feared by men, it is not surprising that cunt has become a derogatory expletive. Thankfully the Sanskrit word Yoni translates as Womb, Origin, Source and Vulva and is somewhat more appropriate in my opinion, albeit borrowed from an ancient culture. I, however, like to refer to the Yoni as a woman’s ‘Divine Source’ because it is the gateway to physical pleasure and the creation of new life.
Cultivating a positive relationship with the divine source, a woman may discover the power of her intuitive compass, as a way to navigate life. I want to raise awareness and show how unique, beautiful and sacred the divine source is and release the man made guilt and shame that has been attached to our most precious anatomical gem for centuries. I think the divine source is the symbol of the feminine spirit and where a woman holds her natural power.
If we see our sexuality or genitalia with guilt, shame, disgust or anger, then how is this going to affect our overall self esteem and the generally messy, physical, earthiness of giving birth? We all started life inside a woman’s body and entered the world via her genitalia. As more than half of all births require medical intervention and many are very traumatic I think this stresses the importance for a change in attitude to our genitalia and how we use our energy. I believe birth is another covert way of the predominantly masculine medical profession (aka the patriarchy which can include women) controlling, violating and abusing a woman’s body when she gives birth. The message is that a woman cannot give birth without the assistance of technology, drugs or surgery. Birth is the most natural thing in the world and the most powerful rite of passage we as women can experience but most of us have lost our intuitive inner compass which allows us to know exactly what to do and when to do it. We need to get into agreement with our bodies as being right, innocent, and beautiful and life giving. We must take back the baton of self-love and refrain from making pregnancy and birth a total inconvenience and our pursuit for outer physical perfection, or to please others, our primary goal. Pleasure is our birth right not our shame. The more we build a relationship with our body and listen to its messages, the easier it will be to self care, know our deepest desires, love and respect ourselves and open up to the act of giving birth. The symbol I like to use is the stunning Lotus flower as a symbol of utter innocence, beauty, sacred sexuality and openness. If we cultivate the qualities of our inner world, such as Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition – a co creative process of mind AND heart which is our divine right – then I believe women will truly change the world!