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The Living Room Me and society Old age and women Ruling the world vs. changing it
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Old age and women

Ruling the world vs. changing it
I write this inspired by Emily's post in the main discussion about, among other things, directing energy towards change. I was reading an interesting article in the Atlantic about women's political power, and why consciousness-raising and improved self-esteem has not translated into political power (if anything, look at what's going on with abortion, with the inability of the American public to consider Hillary Clinton for president).

So what do you think, what is it that makes voices heard?
What's the difference between learning to speak aloud, and speaking in a way that the world hears?
And is the answer different for men and women, and at different points in our lives?

From the article "Should Women Rule?":
Today, the Barnes & Noble “Women’s Studies” shelves are thick with books on women’s self-esteem, on women’s bodies, on women and money. But to exert more true power in the world, we need to pay less attention to our feelings, our clitorises, and even our 401(k)s. Why in five decades of modern feminist writing have we never seen any serious consideration of, for instance, the PTA, a hugely powerful, 100-plus-year-old, women-founded and women-dominated organization, whose well-funded and effective lobbying arm can actually help push through legislation? [....We need to learn....] to build and direct our networks to do the work we value.
The answer is not difficult to "Why in five decades of modern feminist writing have we never seen any serious consideration of, ".....We need to learn....] to build and direct our networks to do the work we value. "
Postscript (December 15, 2011 at 12:01 PM):
[My reply was in the process of being written more fully when one of the more objectionable, less user-friendly habits of THINQon did it again! A message appeared saying "time is up" for writing, a few sentences were whisked away, "save draft" did not work even though I had clicked on the button several times, etc. Surely, the owners of this site could realize, as have Google and other somewhat better user-friendly sites, that saving drafts and working on them should be more in the hands of the participants and less controlled by them. Also, the need is apparent to make it possible to copy and save what has been written by the writer is it is desirable.In this case, I will try to reconstruct what I wrote originally because it is important, IMO.]]

Continuing the comments, I had begun with "The answer is not difficult..."

In the years beytween 1965 and the present, 2011, 46 years, I, personally, and many of my colleagues and friends have been founding women's centers, teaching in universities, practicing as physicians, counselors, psychotherapist, attornies, etc., organizing national associations and even a few international ones, speaking and writing wherever possible in newspapers, newsletters, anywhere we could gert our work published, writing and publishing books and articles, living the principles of feminism, extending:the knowledge of feminism [building what I have termed "Feminology"]. attempting to get every woman, man and child we know or could reach, our own families included, to hear us, let us be their role models and teachers, to join with places such as the Stone Centers at Wellesley, Barnard and the Karen Horney Clinic in NYC and a myriad of other activities.
There are so many ways to go with this I don't know where to start.
Emily states that the ambient culture tends not to hear other voices.  The culture we're in right now--in the States--ignores and then jeers and belittles.
Reasonable people, humans who lean toward openness, have to keep on keeping on in spite of the insults and ignorance.  We can't just throw up our hands and say to hell with it.
The voice doesn't always need to be loud but it does always need to be informed and relevant and sensible (vague word I know but it feels right to me.  Lord, I am such a girl.) and unrelenting.
As far as women go I don't think that we need to pay less attention to our feelings or our genitals.  Those things make us women and I beat my chest when I say that.
I'm proud to be a girl, dammit.
Steven Pinker says that the world is a better place now--that we lean less toward violence and domination. I like Dr. Pinker but I don't think I believe him on that.
I think that its gone underground--maybe the dominators of the world find its best to be stealthy these days. Pitiless in their production of mind worms.
So constancy is primary.  Keep beating the drum of inclusivity, equality, openness, transparency.  Never give up: I think Churchill came up with that but I believe it too.

Reading my post over tells me that I generalize too much.  Maybe all women do that and we need to be more direct and particular. 
"The voice doesn't always need to be loud but it does always need to be informed and relevant and sensible."  
I'm glad Linda has entered the discussion and makes the points she has about persistence and other principles of cooperation.

To continue what I had been trying to write and post originally:  For those of us who have been the latest wave of dedicted feminists in the past five decades, we have done many, many things which have opened the doors that are now open.  Hillary did not get elected, Solveig, primarily because of the lack of support of the majority of women. Many older women understood the importance of working to have her rather than now President Obama on the same ticket, she as President and he VP. That could have given us the benefits of all their combined talents for a possible 16 years and gone far to heal the virus-ridden triplets of RES [Racism-Elitism-Sexism expressed in the word from Latin which means "the Thing"]. You can't have one of those viruses without the other and U.S. culture has had them all since the Founding Fathers, despite pressure from the unacknowledged Founding Mothers, such as Abigail Adams, refused then as their successors are refusing now, to give up any power to those of a different gender, non-property owners and to abolish slavery. Therefore, they sowed the seeds of RES which have grown into toxic, diseased forests of problems and are about to bring our country to its knees. The tactics under patriarchy have for 5000+ years produced these seeds of destruction, inequality, warfare and violence. A main tactic is familiar to all those who study the workings of oppression tactics: DIVIDE AND CONQUER. Who, one must always ask, when people and groups begin to fight among themselves and with other groups in roughly similar positions, who is to gain from this diversion of attention? The answer is always the same, namely, the person or persons who are the oppressors [See Paulo Freiere's PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED and Tom Bokenkotter's REVOLUTION... in the chapters dealing with the relationship between Jacques Maritain and Saul Alinsky. Also, take a look at Hillary Swank's excellent portrayal of the struggles by women in this country to get the vote in 1920 and that are still at work today. [For the latter, see the 2004 book based on thirty years of research by the excellent feminist researcher Phyllis Chesler,     WOMAN'S INHUMANITY TO WOMAN. For the historical background, read Gerda Lerner's CREATION OF PATRIARCHY.]  Above all, remember that we do not benefit by the Queen Bee or Wannabee syndromes that can infect any woman or the "Joan of Arc" complex.

We women have many skills acquired as we internalized oppression that we must discard. We have many more that we need to learn, about accepting, studying, respecting and honoring our leaders-models-mentors, about collaboration and teamwork, about balancing our intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual skills and interests, about resource identification and usage. WE DO NOT HAVE TO REPEAT THE MISTAKES NOR IGNORE THE SUBSTANTIAL LEARNINGS AND MODELS THAT HAVE BEEN GENERATED DURING THE PAST FIVE DECADES!  WE DO HAVE TO STUDY AND LEARN TO KNOW WHAT FOUNDATION WE CAN BUILD UPON. In other words, the wheels are turning [especially with the work of Riane Eisler and Jean Shinoda Bolen among others at the United Nations and worldwide]. RE-INVENTING THOSE WHEELS WOULD BE WASTEFUL. We need to be about using the skills and knowledge that is already available as our foundation for doing what Jean SB wrote in her latest book: URGENT MESSAGE FROM MOTHER: GATHER THE WOMEN AND SAVE THE WORLD.

The Center I founded in 1977, with the kickoff help of Margaret Mead and Phyllis Chesler at the top of the list, with consultations with Jean Baker Miller, Theodora Wells, Riane Eisler and many others is still working. I am writing three books, which may become a trilogy. based on, respectively, my own life experiences, those of the women and men whom I have taught, counseled, worked with in psychotherapy, the data that has been accumulated at WoManways: A Partnership Center during the past 34 years and is still coming in.

We, in this discussion, the women and men willing to embrace for a try the above proposed model, could advance the cause of balancing power, moving away from Ruling to Changing, from "Chains of Authority" to "Chains of Cooperation." We have the basic principles already. Now, we must see HOW [perhaps one person at a time learning to "be the change that you want for the world," to learn the skills of participating as well as leading, of respecting as well as challenging (respectfully), of honoring as well as monitoring self-aggrandizement. Let's do it...or perhaps we have already begun?
Postscript (December 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM):
Hillary Swank's movie is IRON-JAWED MAIDENS.
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