To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
For so many woman, the sign of first blood evokes the feeling that something is wrong, the feeling of terror, the feeling of vulnerability, The feeling of being betrayed by their own body, the feeling that being a girl is a “problem”.
As women, when we have suffered at the hands of our own female-ness, it’s very hard to not project that onto younger girls. Because of trauma in their own lives, men stepped away from divine masculine and into their aspect of weakness, which was to become power hungry. The minute that happened, men began using brute force and then social control structures like religion and government to justify controlling women as property. The bible is beautiful evidence of this justification of victimizing and objectifying women. Now I’m about to get really aggressive with this next statement and tell you that just like any abuse victim, nothing that men ever did to us as a gender compared to what we did to ourselves. We abandoned ourselves. We abandoned the divine feminine within us. We bought into the stupid stories for the sake of our survival. I have compassion for the original women who did this, but it is natural to feel some level of betrayal relative to these women thousands of years ago who turned to each other and propagated the lies that men told us about ourselves. Lies like the one written in Genesis at the top of this page; lies that made womanhood a matter of shame. And now we wonder why modern women struggle so much with their femininity. We turned against our own femininity when we started being brutalized by men. The same way that a child that is being sexually abused, turns against themself and blames themself for what is done to them. We made our own womanhood the enemy, when our receptivity was seen as a weakness and vulnerability instead of strength because of what was being done with it.
Our mothers were at war with their womanhood. Our grandmothers were at war with their womanhood. This chain of war stretches backwards into history.
My grandmother was a mother in the forties and fifties. The fifties was an era where birth control was rare. You had no choice whether or not you got pregnant; even if your husband came home for a week and then went back to war or off on business. A woman was treated more like property than like a human being. Just take a look at the common advertisements from that day and age. Whilst trying to raise her first daughter while her husband was gone to war, she gave birth to still born twins alone. She struggled to fit into her girdle and stiletto high heels for years, in the name of being what women were supposed to be like back then.
My mother watched her and the pain she went through. My mother watched an era of lives destroyed all because of the fact that they were born as girls. My mother grew up, straight into the heart of the feminist movement. A movement that sought to liberate females, and to some degree it did. But it also destroyed our connection with what it means to be female. The women who were part of the 60s feminist movement had no idea what it meant to be a woman because most of what they were doing was resisting men. Instead of embodying feminism, they embodied masculinity. They took jobs dominated by men, they dressed like men, they burnt their bras etc. It was as if they wanted to end the subjugation by proving to the men in control “we can do it too”. The truth is, they still hated the fact that they were female. So much pain in their lives was subconsciously attributed to being born a girl (especially in my mother’s life because her dad wanted a son, not another daughter).
In today’s world, women like my mother are called “ugly feminists” because they did anything they could to not be seen as sexual objects. No makeup, masculine clothing, no bras, and a “women can do everything men can do” attitude. I could tell my mother was afraid of femininity because every step I took into womanhood elicited a fearful reaction from her. In hopes that I would not suffer at the hands of gender assignment like she and her mother did, my mother masculinized me and feminized my brother. She considered “girly girls” a disgrace to our gender. She used to hold drum circles for women only and I remember watching all of the women pile into the gathering area, all of them marred and broken in one way or another by the very womanhood that they were there to celebrate.
Expecting our mothers to teach us how to embrace femininity (period included) is like expecting them to pass a baton that they never held. The reality is, this is not something my mother did to me, or that her mother did to her mother, it is a collective struggle that we have all been facing and passing to one another like a virus for years. We see womanhood as more of a burden or a drawback than a thing to be celebrated. And who can blame woman? Guess what “reality” looks like? It looks like it’s a burden and a drawback to be a woman!
Even now, I know that writing about periods will elicit an embarrassment response from some readers, because we have been raised to feel like our periods are something to be ashamed of and something to be discreet about.
Women need to support each other in this process of integrating their trauma about womanhood. But this time, women need to do it without pushing against men and without the need to prove anything. Men of our era have a lot of pain too. They too are at war with themselves. The feminist movement unintentionally made manhood as shameful as it made womanhood. Men have not benefitted any more than we have by what has occurred between genders over the centuries. Now is the time for both men and women to share both their wounds and solutions. If anyone is willing, I’d like to hear about your personal experiences related to this subject, both positive and negative.