Hi. Today I’m posting an extract from another book informed by a deep deminist approach on waking up, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. The extract refers to victimization and victimhood, which is relevant to the previous post and what I have been re-exploring recently.
‘There’s always the danger, though, that as we open our eyes to the social, physical, psychological, and spiritual violence done to women throughout history, not to mention the wounding in our own personal histories, we will become paralyzed by a sense of victimization. For me, opening my eyes to the feminine wound was rather like getting hit by a stun gun. I felt knocked down by the force of it, and for a short while I didn’t get up. On some level, I felt overwhelmed by the depth of the feminine wound, which I was uncovering, not only in myself, but all around. The danger of getting stuck in feelings of victimization is real, but nevertheless, recognizing the feminine wound is important because in the end it’s the only way we can stop being victims. We can’t change anything until we acknowledge the problem. I’d been an unconscious victim before my awakening began. Discovering the truth was waking me up to my victimization, but it was also making it possible for me to move beyond it. Feminist writer Naomi Wolf has especially cautioned women not to shape our identity as victims. Yet shaping our identity as victims is quite different from naming the truth of our victimization in order to work against it and live into our power. If women don’t document and protest the harm done to us, who will? As Wolf says, “Women are not natural victims, but they sure are victimized.” While holding onto the awareness, then, that we must not fall into shaping our identity as victims, we have to tell ourselves the “flat-out truth’…….. we have come into a world, into a church or faith tradition, that for millennia has believed us inferior. It is a tradition permeated by an authoritarian attitude that devalues, diminishes, rejects, and limits women and the feminine. But seeing such truth can be dangerous. Philosopher Mary Daly reminds us, “It isn’t prudent for women to see all of this. Seeing means that everything changes: the old identifications and the old securities are gone.” The question, she says, is whether women can forgo prudence in favor of courage. That was the question that followed me.’