Freethought NOW!

Feminism shows the way to a better future

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A photo of a statue of a girl facing off a bull.
As we seek routes toward a kinder, gentler future, a new feminism seems a hopeful signpost.

In ancient societies where women created ethical and moral codes, people seem to have been more peaceable, contented and cooperative, better supported by the kinship structure, and less troubled by manufactured guilt. The natural desire of mothers to promote the health and happiness of their children seems to have been reflected in the social rules formulated by matrifocal groups, whereas patriarchies like our own engendered many oppressive restrictions aggressively imposed by violence and cruelty.

This is not to be interpreted as a simplistic reverse-sexist view that all men are mean and all women are sweetness and light. Obviously, that is not the case. The difference lies in the qualities generally emphasized, admired or rewarded by the culture as a whole.

Any viewer of television, movies, or videogames knows how much attention our culture pays to violent behavior patterns such as war, murder, assault, rape, intimidation, and “heroic” shoot-em-ups in general. Media moguls claim that this fare is what the public wants, though they may be suspected of deliberately building public tastes for their own profit. The fact is that humans — especially children — are enough like apes to imitate whatever they see, without passing it through any moral filters. If cruelty is their daily visual input, their behavioral output might copy it. Another fact is that women generally dislike gratuitous violence that masquerades as entertainment.

There are indications now that women are beginning to get in touch with their fundamental nature in ways that have been forbidden them by patriarchal traditions that were set up as the “only possible” moral system several thousand years ago and have kept civilization in thrall to a philosophy that derogates the feminine and the natural world. The all-male deity postulated by Western culture has proved enormously violent in all “his” incarnations, from the warlike Old Testament Yahweh to the familiar Christian deity of crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, and battlefield invocations the world over. There is a spreading tendency among women to reject this deity (whose churches probably can’t survive without women’s devoted input). Studies of the doleful history of Western religious sexism have made it clear that the god created in man’s image has promoted more male cruelty toward women than any other single cause.

To replace this deity with proper rehabilitation of the Mother Earth image, not as a transcendent deity but as a precious symbol, may be a significant trend showing the way toward a wiser future — where all human beings might live free from mindless violence, prejudice, and exploitation; where women and children can walk freely on all the streets of any city at any hour; where no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the job; where no child comes into the world unwanted, unloved or neglected.

Our Mother Earth desperately needs less quantity and more quality of human life. Let us hope that we, as one of her brainier species, will have brains enough to make it so before we allow ourselves to destroy what supports us. The effort will surely need to engage female brains and female authority figures — and the result may be well worth the effort.

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One Response

  1. All homo sapiens are created equal. And I’m not so sure that animals might not also be so entitled. I certainly hope enough sensible women will vote to remove the current danger to democracy which they have so recently begun to participate in and now hangs over our heads. Trump’s cult is pervasive among aggressive males in my part of the country (Montana and Idaho) and constitutes a real threat. Thank goodness for women. Especially thoughtful moral women.

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