I really enjoyed watching a movie called Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons ... until its end. It's a fun, comedic takeoff on finding enlightenment and has a good message ... until its end. There it was: the gender oppression.
The plot: two demon hunters are in love with each other, but the male refuses the woman's love because he's trying to find enlightenment and believes that there is great love and small love. When she dies, his remorse brings him to enlightenment, and he realize that there is no "great and small love."
I am sick of plots in which a woman dies in order for a man to become enlightened. Or plots in which her death gives him the apparently requisite rage to finally conquer his enemy—who, of course, killed her.
Women's lives are not props for a man's story or his victory. A woman's death should mean more than its relationship to a man.Think for a moment about the results of a woman's death constantly portrayed in films as having no importance beyond its impact on a man.
This is a small part of my story, a small part of my experience of being female. This small piece of my story is a minuscule piece of all the different stories of billions of transgender and cisgender humans who self identify as women, or gender fluid folk who have their own rich and diverse experiences and stories around flowing through and holding woman as part of their identity, or some gender neutral folk (or trans men) who deal with being mis-identified and treated as girls and women despite their self identity. No, this part of my story is most certainly not the whole story, and in fact is even a small part of my story, and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why I’m sharing it now.
"Some decks may be stacked against us...but this deck is ours. Our Tarot."
Just came across this fabulous feminist Tarot deck on Kickstarter, highlighting 78 powerful women from history.
Emily Dickinson as The Hermit, Hildegard of Bingen as The High Priestess, Josephine Baker as the Queen of Wands, Joan of Arc as The Fool, Harriet Tubman as The Chariot, Abigail Williams (one of the primary initial accusers at the Salem Witch Trials) as The Devil--doesn't Our Tarot sound delicious?
Cynthia Eller in Living in the Lap of the Goddess notes that, “some spiritual feminists say that having a divine mother is a way of compensating for the frailties of human mothers, giving women a more perfect mother…” This is not actually true for me; I’m fortunate enough to have an excellent human mother. I am more liable to see myself as a mother reflected in the empowering imagery of the Goddess as mother than I am to feel “mothered” by Her—I feel like she affirms my worth and value in my own maternal role. She gives me strength and inspiration to be a better mother to my children. In this way, I then agree with the hope of spiritual feminists that, “this great mother goddess will have a transformative effect upon the social valuation of motherhood.” (Eller, p. 143)
Today was just a day like any other for me. I got up and put on a pair of jeans and a blouse that flatters my figure, tied my hair back in a ponytail, and left the house. I went to the bank and withdrew a significant sum of money from my account because I needed to replace my broken, battered old car with an unbroken, slightly less battered old car. We picked up and paid for the car, a little Hyundai hatchback that’s almost as old as my son, and then I spent the two hours or so I had before work arguing about politics and then watching sexy videos with my partner.
I drove my new-to-me car to work, then handed the keys to my hubby so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking and so that he could run his errands. I have a part time job at a bookstore (which I love) and then a couple of days a week I do Tarot readings there, which means I often have space between clients to snoop around the store (where I spend an amazing amount of my paycheque, but thankfully I have an employee discount,) and work on my blogging or other writing while I wait between clients. When I got there, my co-worker showed me pictures of her brand-new granddaughter on her cell phone, and then my boss told me she’d inventoried some Patrick O’Brian books, since I’m collecting them. I went into the back room, picked up the books and compared them to my list, and paid for the ones I needed.
I heard an interesting story on NPR about women and investing the other day. The points which jumped out at me were:
Women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing, and testosterone plays a part in the gender difference;
Fear of an impoverished old age -- women generally have more time as senior citizens -- adds a layer of paralysis which amplifies the hormonal factors;
In heteronormative relationships, women are more likely to let the man control the money, even women who are the primary wage earners; and
When they invest for themselves, women tend to be better at it than men.
More than a decade into the 21st century, we haven't reached gender parity in how we relate to money. How much of that difference is cultural and how much is biological isn't clear to me, but differences there certainly are.