Misogyny means the hatred of women and the word as we know it in the English language is derived from the Greek ‘misos’ meaning hatred and ‘gyny’ relating to women, and can also be related to the female physicality expressed through the ovaries, womb (uterus) and cervix.
There is a culture of misogyny that runs deep and wide across our globe. It can be expressed differently depending on the location or nationality, but essentially women the world over are abused on a moment to moment basis which displays this clear hatred and complete lack of love, decency and respect. How and why does this abuse occur?
The abuse of women in many arenas has been present for seeming aeons, but this has not always been the case. For example, there were Ancient Egyptian and Persian civilisations that honoured deeply the female expression and leadership role women played on a day to day basis in relationships, community and family life. There was no harshness, judgment or compromise to females in this role, and men were allowed equally to live more naturally from their tenderness and sensitivity, thus much of the conflict we see today – whether it be in climbing the corporate ladder or fighting in the home, was not required. Of course there has never been perfection, but the way we lived together as man and woman – and even woman to woman was vastly different and more harmonious to what is observed and felt today.
Today we have the situation where not only do men abuse women, but women abuse women, and women abuse themselves. How did we get to this point? With women allowing themselves to become devalued and submitting to less than the absolutely honouring expression that could otherwise be lived, combined with systems that stop women from living truly as women at every turn, it has been a quick downward spiral.
Today we live in a world where women’s bodies are mutilated from direct physical abuse, but also from the perhaps more subtle but equally devastating exhaustion related to how we have allowed ourselves to live as women. Running ourselves ragged to compete with men and submitting our bodies to myriad of ideals and beliefs about how we should look, feel and behave leaves us at the mercy of external factors. A ‘new normal’ has been adopted that is very clearly wreaking havoc on our bodies and lives. The many and varied conditions experienced by women the world over display that we are not living in a way that is honouring of who we innately are, and the quality we could otherwise be living.
So what is this quality, and how do we know if we are living it?
Some may relate to the quality of a delicate flower, such as a newly opened rosebud. The light fragrance and fragility of the petals, yet equally amazing presence as they unfold is symbolic of us as women.
How would we treat a rosebud left in our care?
Would we allow it to become crushed, crumpled or deformed in the way we live everyday life? This deformation could be in running a marathon or training ‘hard’ at the expense of our bodies, or in the seemingly simple nuance of how we may slam our car door, turn on a tap or plonk ourselves in our seat.
There is a way for us to live as women and honour our innate delicateness, but it will require major change at the system level too for this to be allowed consistently once more.
There are ways for us to start living more of this quality now, and it is as simple as allowing ourselves to feel as delicate as the rosebud described above. When we walk, when we talk, when we engage in any of the work that we do – how does this affect our quality? When we start to realise more of the behaviours we engage in that are not honouring of us, we can gradually make changes to support. See my blog on Self-Nurturing for more related to this.
Another important note is to consider how we interact in our relationships as women. The quality of these interactions also dictates what is allowed to perpetuate for women the world over. When we allow ourselves to compare, display jealousy – or even have these thoughts – we are showing that it is ok and normal for women, and ourselves, to be treated in this way. If we are unable to interact in a deeply respectful and honouring way of the essence of the woman standing in front of us, equal to ours – how can we expect this from men?