Language, Societal Changes & We Women
AUTHOR LA FEMINA
Language invokes imagery. Likewise imagery invokes language. From language and imagery our perceptions of the world are created. We tend to take as a given what we are conditioned to believe through these dual arts. They are a dominant presence in our lives. But what if what if the language and the imagery are all lies?
What if some language and imagery are a means to convey a one world view by the patriarchal. A view that in order for men to feel ‘manly’ they must diminish women. Given the ongoing use of negative language and imagery depicting women, it seems the ego of those that ‘put down women’ and or seek to control under the auspices of religion, is under severe threat. One only needs to look at the rise in prostate cancer in men, to note this particular trend. Look up the metaphysical definition and you will see what I mean.
The formation of this blog came about in 2015 when I went to buy a Rhubarb
plant at Mitre 10 Crofton Downs situated in the town belt of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. I found the Rhubarb plant. Its embellishment – a label with a picture of a woman’s leg clad in fishnet stocking, and the words ‘Ruby Tart’ which to me insinuates that women who wear fishnet stockings are well ‘tarts’. That one should come across this type of branding on a Rhubarb plant at ones local hardware store sends a clear message to women that the culture of this particular store is disparaging to women. As long as We Women are compliant and take no stance either publicly or privately, then ingrained patterns of patriarchal behaviours continue, thereby ‘infecting’ societal thinking. Thus the attitudes that belittle women, attitudes that treat women as lessor than, are perpetuated generation after generation.
A potent example of how everyday language ‘blames’ women for their mere existence is highlighted in Julia Penelope’s research on the cognitive structure of language. I discovered Julia’s work through a bloke actually. A Teds Talk titled “Violence Against Women – it’s a men’s issue.” by Jackson Katz. I quote:
“Take this very simple sentence and note where is begins and ends.
“ John beat Mary
Mary was beaten by John – the focus has shifted from John to Mary
Mary was beaten – it’s all about Mary
Mary was battered
Mary is a battered woman.
The last sentence demonstrates clearly, what we often see in the media. The cognitive structure of the sentence has been set up to blame women. Asking questions about Mary won’t deal with Johns behaviour.”
So lets re-read the last statement – Asking Questions about Mary, won’t deal with JOHNS BEHAVIOUR.
A powerful example don’t your think? It’s one to share for the benefit of all really because blokes too have been conditioned by their ancestral continuum. Many men feel a ‘loss of place’ now that what was once customary in a wide range of areas and or acceptable, is now not. Perhaps by following Jackson Katz’s lead by taking up the mantle in support of the feminine, may be a tangible way of reinventing selves and demonstrating to both men and women that we have much to offer each other. Supporting others generates a more positive society – something that all of us at heart, yearn for. It takes one voice then another and another and another to facilitate a change of perception. Respect for one and other, thus rests with you dear reader –but it more than that – it is the responsibility of all of us. We are after all in this world together.
Societal change is however laboriously slow. I have come to see that by awaiting societal change one is handing over control of ones life to ‘nameless others’. Why vest another with your personal welfare? It is time We Women turned this around. Look within and strengthen your core for as we can clearly see, societal systems permit behaviours that are not conductive to supporting women. Let’s bypass the lot of them. Ignore the ‘out there’ and focus on your inner world – that’s where your power resides. Trying to change the ‘nameless others’ is fruitless. Let comments, looks, and attitude be like water sliding off a ducks back – irrelevant. Banish too the concept of blaming or changing others. Focus on inviting into your world imagery and language that enhances your experiences and let go of what serves you not. The Parisian’s were mistresses – oh another word that has been degenerated – but masters just wont do. Lets try again. The Parisians adopted a practice of sans regard (without a glance) such was their distain of what they liked not in their midst, during the occupation by Germany of Paris during the second world war. Seems a sound practice to moi. The Parisians have made life a work of art – Paris conjures up images of beauty and language of style. Thus it seems to moi a lovely mindset to replace images and mouths that serve we women not.
And remember, it is not to patriarchy’s advantage to support a women voice – we are too lippy and tend to cut to the chase – and that’s exactly what is not wanted – the truth and heart of a matter is best left alone – says patriarchy – behind closed doors, with the younger set in hiding behind faceless screens – is part of their modus operandi. And so the world sinks deeper into decline.
Having recognised that it is fruitless to battle a system I believe the way forward for We Women is to take up the mantle of the ‘idea’ for women to look to strengthen selves as a means to participating on ones own terms. That requires work – inner work to understand your personal sensitivities and thus what holds you back. Uncover your ‘unmet needs’ and work towards healing from which you discover your joy and your purpose.
This work imbues you with inner strength, the result of which your persona alludes a presence that shouts out to all – I brook no argument for my Being Me. The nameless others melt away, for they cease to matter.
Thus focussing on what you can do, is infinitely more powerful than focussing on what others are doing – this blog included. The noticing though of what I do not agree with has led me to developing the concept of ‘the idea’ that there are better ways for overcoming situations, than confronting others. I believe our first step is to confront our very selves. This takes work but it is doable and like any personal change one can slip back into patterns of old. Life is above all is a process, an internal process where each of us comes to grips with the various challenges that are presented. And life does not put before us any challenge we are not capable of resolving.
I say We Women must first look to self and to strengthen selves – your inner world. Train yourself to rise above the petty attitudes of others. Those women who want to strengthen selves are thus invited to actively seek out positive language and imagery that supports their endeavours and adopt a ‘sans regard’ approach towards those who take pleasure in belittling others. Their time will come and its not for us to judge for non of us are without fault. Concentrate on the good in the world and what you personally want to achieve.
Images Source Facing Beauty by Aileen Ribeiro, Nancy Wake Wikipedia, Rhubarb my photo of Plant Label, Charlotte Bronte handwriting “Tiny Verses on Envelope https://www.thealantic.com/entertainment /archive/2013/04