Women at Adolf Koch’s socialist body culture school, which drew on Reich’s ideas.
As a child of the 70's, I grew up right along-side the feminist movement. Feminism was in its second wave at that time, a new enthusiasm for the politics of that generation's grandmothers. In the early sixties, however,
activists supporting women's rights were not so much standing on the shoulders suffragettes, who overturned legal obstacles making women's voting rights and property rights, as they were radicalizing their own ideals; namely reproductive rights and wage-equality in the workplace. In 1967, San Fransisco's Haight-Ashbury district was rushed by 100,000 hippies during what was referred to as, "The Summer of Love," a period of time that can only truly be measured by the amount of LSD-25 dissolved under the tongue and the number of sexual encounters enjoyed during the season of free love. Occurring alongside the hippie movement of the sixties, new attitudes towards sexuality created a climate of accepted sexual freedom within the overlap of the two groups, and many women and men entered into a new-found open-market for satiating the senses. Ahhhh, orgies. In for a penny, in for a pound, I always say.
My parents didn't meet in a joint-circle on the Haight, nor did either dance to keep the music out of their eyes at Woodstock. They met in small-town Kelso, Washington, right across the street from the old west Kelso brothel, where my father was protesting. He'd had his fill of filling his sexual appetites and of hallucinagens, and at that time was filled with a new high, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every day, he'd march, blazing a sign that read, "Where are YOU going to spend ETERNITY?" My mother tells me that every day when she drove past his one-man march, she'd roll her eyes and think, "God! I f***ing hate that guy!" At some point, they must have found common ground, because (as my mother tells it) the next thing she knew, she was pregnant with twin babies and married to my father and a living with a bunch of crazy Holy Roller in a Jesus Commune.
I started Naked Consciousness because I wanted to create a forum in which I could share my journey from living in an abusive relationship to freeing myself and finding healing.
I write from a Christian feminist perception... That may seem like a contradiction in terms, but nothing could be farther from the truth. God designed women to have shared value with men. When our Father created mankind, it was in His image. Just as the holy trinity is made up of three parts, existing simultaneously as separate individually and as a whole being, God poured not only his male, but female nature as well into Adam during his creation. In Jewish tradition, the Holy Spirit has always been referred to in the feminine form. As a co-existent being with the Father and the Son, the feminine nature of God is not cancelled out, but ratified as one of the beautiful facets of the Godhead. In the genesis of womankind, the Father put Adam into a deep sleep and pulled from him a rib (translated from the original Hebrew as meaning, more accurately half of him;) pulling out the feminine nature of Adam and creating the new, feminine gender. The female form was NOT a separate being, but was designed, like the Trinity, to co-exist as mankind. The female gender was pulled from Adam because God the Father saw that it was not good that Adam was alone.
THIS is what a feminist looks like! (Behold the spit bubble on his tongue... THAT'S a feminist guy thing.)
I had fun taking pictures of my little guy, Julian today. Its so great that at six, he's able to break feminism down to fit his child-size understanding: things should be FAIR. He takes his feminism to school with him on the playground when he takes turns pushing his best friend, Alexandra, on the swings. They play together every day at recess, because they share a mutual desire to be treated with kindness. When Alexandra first came into his life, he was enchanted. When I asked him to describe her to me, he went all dreamy, and said, “She has a very, very beautiful heart. And, oh! Mama, she’s so kind!”
Julian is starting to become aware that because his best friend is a girl, some of the boys talk over her or push past her to the front of the line, but they don’t do that to him. Its difficult for me as a feminist to avoid using phrases like, “male entitlement,” which, as a mama, leave a bad taste in my mouth; as if saying them in some way indicates an inherent evil in my sons. Instead, I let my son lead, giving him the opportunity to understand his feelings about how Alexandra is treated differently. I see him struggle with anger in defense of his female friend. He makes declarative statements about how he honors her as a woman-child; he stands straight as his resolve to protect her right to be equal… for things to be fair.
***WARNING- POSSIBLE TRIGGERS***
I just finished reading The Yellow Wallpaper for a discussion in a feminist book club I just joined. I thought it would be so easy; there was a link for a free, downloadable PDF available through the Gutenberg Project, so I wouldn’t even have to shell out a few bucks, or worse, have to special order it after waiting until the last minute. The next day, I walked into my local free book exchange, and found a copy. The pages were still crisp and everything. I thought, “Score!” Since it was very short, only thirty-six pages, (not counting the afterward) I was able to off reading it in favor of another book I was excited to start. Less than an hour after I optimistically turned the first pages, I had reached the end.
I HATED that book.
I wanted to throw it across the room. I might still do it. Every time the husband, John, dismissed the wife (did she even HAVE a name? I’m assuming her personal worth does not necessitate an identifying factor, like a NAME) I had to use my utmost self-control and not rip the damn thing in half. My self-control was ADMIRABLE, above all things. NOBODY. GOT. HURT.
I used to manage a quilting store, and I was fired for being a victim of domestic violence. WORSE, when I added my time with them to my employment experience on my resume when looking for a new job, the owner pretended she had no idea who I was when a prospective employer called for a reference. I helped build that store from the ground up, and the store's reputation fro being a fun, quirky place to shop was due to me. Its important to have laws that protect victims of domestic violence from job loss, but without the financial resources, family support, and a safe home environment free of abuse, taking legal action against a former employer who unlawfully fired a domestic violence victim is unlikely.