Thomas de Zengotita’s 2005 stealth bomb Mediated: How the Media Shapes Our World and the Way We Live in It leaves a permanent crater in your consciousness–after reading it, you awaken to a haunting perspective on the narcissistic self-referentiality of postmodern media culture. You know what I mean: the world where reality TV isn’t and yet is creating reality at the same time; or where authenticity is a brand for those who dare to be real… We pegged the book as an instant classic–time will tell, but at this point it is far too underappreciated. We have considered ourselves very fortunate to have Tom write for us on occasion (check here or read a review of Mediated.) We had followed his writing since the days that he wrote–crafted?–lengthy breakthrough pieces for Harper’s magazine before it joined the Political … Read More »
Today, the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, women in Egypt stepped into history by marching in Tahrir Square by the hundreds. They had optimistically called their action “The Million Women March” and although they were not joined on the streets by millions of women, the entire world watched as they moved forward for millions of their sisters in Egypt and across this awakening region. Men met them with abuse and violence, which only made the courage of their actions more apparent.
It’s extraordinary to see women rising up, being the instigators in the Revolutions that are toppling entrenched regimes. Young women are shaming their male peers by daring to speak out and take to the streets.
And while this is a wholly different reality from the one that those of us privileged postmoderns in the West live in, women … Read More »
As our sisters in Egypt risked their lives by marching in Tahrir Square today, it made me think about those of us in the West who have already won the right to walk where we please, say what we want, and pretty much do want we want with our lives. Even so, the changes here have been relatively recent, and the patterns in our psyches to take the subordinate position and to hold onto our sense of having been wronged, victimized, are still so strong. Somehow I can’t help but think that our sisters in Egypt would want us to step beyond these patterns and take up the responsibility that comes with opportunity. We are very much missing at the top.
So, while I find the video below very powerful–and realize that many women even in the West are struggling for … Read More »
“I do think there is an awakening happening among women,” Marianne Schnall, founder of feminist.com, said to me, “and it needs help and we need to support each other. We have so many choices now but if we don’t know who we are then we won’t know how to make those choices count.” I agree with Marianne. In the last few weeks, I’ve been interviewing a lot of women in preparation for the two seminars for women that I’m leading on November 13 & 14. Some women, like Marianne, think deeply about what’s going on with women; others are your average great women negotiating the complexity of their lives. Every one of them spoke about this deep longing for more–and simultaneously, a struggle to figure out how to make choices that will enable them to release the greater potential … Read More »
I’m writing a post on the spiritual awakening that seems to be stirring women today, and came across this cartoon–from 1915, when only the Western states of the US granted women the right to vote. I thought it would be great to post. The US elections are coming up very soon, and women are going to play a very significant role in the outcome. For decades women didn’t use their right to vote independently, and simply followed their husbands’ opinions. Today, the loudest voices of women in politics are not progressive, but those who call for a return to…well, what exactly isn’t clear. A throwback traditionalism cross dressing as a new, edgy feminism.
AND–women are awakening and have the potential to change culture at the roots…more on that in my next post. If you want to be part of the leading … Read More »
With the “new” atheism getting more and more publicity by the day, it seems important to amplify voices that recognize just how dangerous it is to lose touch with Spirit given the materialism and secularism of our postmodern era. Perhaps few have made this point more strongly or eloquently than Huston Smith in his epic 2001 book, Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief. I reviewed this book for a special EnlightenNext magazine supplement called WIE Extra (WIE for our former name What Is Enlightenment?). Since it was only distributed to a few thousand subscribers back then, I thought that it would make a good read for our online readers. I’m sure you’ll find that Smith’s message is as relevant today as it was when it was published. Enjoy!
Fourteen years ago, I was forty years old, had recently received my doctorate from Harvard where I’d worked with Carol Gilligan in a small research collective that was charting new developmental pathways for girls and women, and had co-authored a bestselling book about how to transform the mother-daughter relationship in the hopes that the next generations of women could grow into fullness and power. While I couldn’t say that it was consciously intentional, my life was an almost systematic search for the keys that would unleash new potentials in women, and between women and men, that would transform our culture. I started with feminist activism and consciousness raising, moved to psychotherapy, tried assertiveness and other forms of skill-building training, and then to the dynamics of human development. Where was the lynchpin? I asked. How could true partnership and equality between the sexes become a living reality? … Read More »
I just read a fascinating interview with Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. Apparently, just the title–and the suggestion of “settling” in a relationship–has made women go bonkers. Gottlieb says that women are angrily buzzing in the blogosphere about the book, even though many haven’t read it. It goes right up against the romantic fantasy that we women have been spoonfed since Disney’s The Little Mermaid: look, there’s a REAL PRINCE out there who will take one look at you and sweep you off your feet so that you will live in a castle happily ever after. Oh sure, we’re now too old and sophisticated to believe in that stuff…or are we?
Gottlieb mentions a study in which men and women were asked: if you could get 80% of the things that you want most … Read More »
The Super Bowl isn’t just the annual playoff of pro football’s league champions–a day of beer, betting, whistling, cheers, and potato chips. Every year, the commercials that run during football’s most frenzied fan space provide a glimpse into the current status of the war between the sexes. Years ago, in fact, rumors that Super Bowl Sunday caused the highest incidences of domestic violence of any day in the year led to commericals for women’s shelters and hotlines to be advertised during game time. The truth is that there is no such correlation. But the myth persisted for years because it simply fit neatly into our ideas of men who watch football and the women who serve them their beer and snacks. Super Bowl Sunday, we seem to say as a culture, doesn’t belong to God but to King Testosterone. While advertisers seem to forget that women watch … Read More »
I’ve been very remiss in not noting Mary Daly’s passing on January 6, 2009. The New York Times did a very respectful obituary, noting the significance of her contribution to feminist and religious thought. Daly, in case you don’t know her, was a powerful theologian. One of the first women to study theology and, from the inside of a Roman Catholic institution, to take apart the dominant idea of God as male. Her 1973 classic, “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation,” blew the Church doors off and sent a fresh wind through the old sacraments. I was actually surprised at the respect that the Times showed to her–because Daly, a radical lesbian feminist, pushed her points so far that she made it easy to be dismissed by the status quo. But that would be a mistake–anyone … Read More »