I’ve never been a feminist. I’ve never been angry at men, nor felt the need to shout about my rights as a woman, nor wanted to prove myself to be in a “man’s world”. And I don’t particularly subscribe to the “Me Too” movement.
And neither have I been a goddess. I don’t see myself as the holder of wisdom that men don’t have access to, nor do I spiritualize my sexuality or glamorize my female body or dance my way to enlightenment. And neither am I an earth-mother.
The truth is, I don’t feel particularly female and I don’t particularly play the traditional female roles. I have no children and I do not enjoy feeding people. I prefer solitude to family gatherings, I prefer intellectual focus to emotional connectivity, and I prefer elegant simplicity to colorful displays.
But neither do I deny being born into a woman’s body and enjoying some of the womanly things. I enjoy cooking as an art. I enjoy beauty and harmony in all forms. I enjoy cleaning my home, wearing quality clothes, and cuddling cute puppies. I cannot help but know the openness that is woman’s nature, I cannot help but multi-task with ease, I cannot help but let the tears flow when they come.
Female or male, it is all the same to me. I am neither for nor against one or the other, there is no competition or war. Truth is deeper than gender.
But I also have come to recognize, that women have been silenced. My mother was imprisoned by her subservience to men, my mother’s mother was silenced by her illiteracy, and generations of women before her were nothing more than slaves in a culture of dowries and arranged marriages.
I see the women all around the world, silenced by their roles as child bearers and home-makers, their bodies and voices not their own, their freedom and intelligence dumbed down, their rights as human citizens secondary to those in the alpha position.
I see now —although I was oblivious to it then — the rampant patriarchy within institutions, the misogyny that ran like a dirty river through the echelons of academia. My twelve years of hard graft at university a waste of time, as the walls of male power kept me in the shadows and stole my research findings as their own. The few women then told me that and I chose to turn a blind eye, plowing ahead as if I’d gain recognition simply by hard work. Time and time again, I was proven wrong … until I gave up in an act of rebellion.
And I see it today, in the subtle trolling of women in the public eye, women who dare to stand up and be themselves. I see it in the spiritual world, when men think they can demean a female spiritual teacher by asking her how big is her butt, when men think they can make reference to her sexual appeal (or lack of) without respect or kindness. We don’t see this happening towards male spiritual teachers, do we? We don’t see women commenting in public about how they’d like to f*** Rupert Spira or Jeff Foster, do we?
To these men, I’d like to say … get back into your seat, back off and grow up. I’m old enough to be your mother, even old enough to be your grandmother … do you really think I’m offended or flattered by your comments? Take some time, my child, to learn respect, to learn humility, and to learn grace. Do you think what you give the world is useful or clever or amusing? Well, I can tell you it is none of these things. It simply reveals the lack of maturity in you, the deep unconsciousness in you.
To these men, I’d like to say … you can remain in the entitlement of your belief in superiority, you can belittle me if that is what tickles you or fires you up, you can attack me with your stupid words and lewd assumptions. But you cannot touch the invincibility of my true nature, you cannot possess the ever-present openness in which I stand, you cannot know the unbrokenness that is my freedom.
I speak for all women, those that came before and those that will come after. I speak for the women who cannot speak because they’ve forgotten who they are. I speak for my mother and all mothers.
And please, don’t tell me I’m on a rant and this isn’t something a spiritual teacher should do, that I should just shut up and focus on the absolute truth.
I am the voice of woman.
– Amoda Maa
(photo by Rupert Truman)