Girl Talk: Women at war (what's it good for?)

Girl Talk: Women at war (what's it good for?)

Excellent column by Angela Mollard c/o Sunday magazine
One of the biggest frustrations about being a woman, and more particularly where we find ourselves in the progression of feminism to full equality with men, is our tragic propensity to be our own worst, and each other's, enemy. As if the odds weren't already stacked against us, we are further curtailed in our development as full and flourishing human beings by our capacity for hate.

Jesus would be so disappointed – especially after he made such a special effort to rally with women against the pharisees and oppressive religious types to ensure that they would have dignity. Who did Christ appear to FIRST after rising to life? Mary Magdelene, a woman who was said to have seven "demons" driven out from her. The fact that she claims this amazing place in the history of Christianity speaks volumes about the significance of women; more particularly the subordination, persecution and marginalisation of women. Christ wanted to elevate them to positions of significance; to restore dignity; to embellish their lives with hope. And yet, here we are, belittling each other, cutting each other down, doing things that keep us in positions of hopelessness, powerlessness, fear. Enough!

All the nastiness, the self-doubts projected onto each other, the comparisons, the endless judgement, drags us further away from God, which must make him go, "Okay, so, instead of a perfectly excellent relationship with me, you are choosing the lesser path. Carry on, if you will, but don't come crying to me when your house of cards comes crashing down."

Not only does all this negative behaviour (reflective of our negative self-talk, as well as the negatively geared media culture we live in) inhibit us from being all we can be, for fear of being judged by other women, but it stops us from being all God created us to be, too – thriving, not just surviving; loving, not hating. And why do we find it sooooo hard to be supportive of each other? Because of fear; fear of not being loved and validated and accepted and a bit special (admit it, you want to feel special).

Well, what I've come to realise is, hey, the world isn't going to give you that; not always. Not even with a Tracy Anderson honed body (see: Gwyneth Paltrow). No, no. And not through your boyfriend or husband – whose affections may be fleeting – nor through your work, which is not a guarantee, but realising who you were created to be. A lady loving God and him reciprocating by freeing you from all the shitty stuff that holds you back; that keeps you in that place of submission to the world.

Do I have that all sorted? Nope. BUT I have seen how wonderful, how harmonious, how good life can be when you're treading that path; and how gracious and merciful God is when you stumble and fall; and how easy it is to sleep at night knowing you've done things in sinc with God's good and perfect will instead of doing your own thing...which usually leads to the garbage tip of the mind, and the outpouring of that garbage tip onto others' nice clean carpet. It is our responsibility to ensure we don't have dog poo on our shoes when we tread into someone else's life.

It's been a discordant week in the world of glossy magazines, more particularly in the Aussie industry, with lots of angst felt over the chatter at mamamia following Mia Freedman's Paper Giants post. GWAS is Switzerland in many ways. I admire and respect many – if not all – the women (and men) who work in the glossy magazine industry, as I do Freedman and other outspoken proponents of women's issues, such as Melinda Tankard Reist. It's really important that those voices are out there.

Are glossy magazines on the way out? If they don't do enough to maintain the interests and respect of women, maybe. But not yet. And there will always be room for gorgeous publications on the coffee table. Should the glossy magazine industry accountable for the messages and images it perpetuates? Yes it should. Are women fed up with being fed ideas and images that make them feel crappy? Clearly.

Will there be a glossy renaissance? If the industry gets a second wind off the back of Paper Giants, there may very well be, but I have listed here and here this week other reasons why that will be challenging. Is the industry – and the women who work in it – responsible for all our hang-ups? No. Each of us has a responsibility for our own happiness, and for what we (and our daughters) consume. But I do think the industry needs a reality check: it's 2011, not 1991. It's time to take more of a "do no harm" approach; we're done being fooled. Will that sell?!! Only time and fearlessness will tell.

Are we all trying to do something good and positive for the world despite the challenges we all face? I like to think so. And now, jumping off the soapbox/pulpit, I'm off to celebrate Easter and what Christ did for me (wheeee!) on a mini road-trip to Toowoomba with a girlfriend. No angst allowed.

Girl With a Satchel


joy said...

interesting post erica... though it's good to remember that God will ALWAYS be there to catch us when the house of cards we build comes crashing down. we walk away from Him, but He will never walk away from His children, even the especially shitty ones! happy easter!

She Talks Too Much said...

Great read!!