A friend loaned me a book last week that I can’t put down. It’s called Women and Desire: Beyond Wanting to be
Wanted by Polly Young-Eisendrath. Check this out:
…as successful as (many) women have become, they often feel “out of control” in their personal lives. Although they can speak openly and passionately about the values and principles they believe in, and defend others’ rights, they still resist claiming and asserting personal needs and desires, especially when these are in conflict with others’. They fear being seen as too bossy or too self-absorbed.
There is something in me that reacts to this (and not favorably), while another part of me that knows it all too well. I am good at speaking openly and passionately about ideas and concepts, but when it comes to things I’m passionate about on my own behalf – both professionally and
personally? Well, that becomes a different story altogether.
I’ve been working a lot on this – diligently (and even passionately) – and I believe I’m making progress. It’s a challenge, though, to unlearn such well-taught and well-honed skills.
What does it mean for women to speak boldly of our own desires? Not desire for desire’s sake, but professionally, relationally, systemically, culturally, theologically. What does it mean to continue to speak and name what we see? To willingly choose to use our god-
given gifts of perception, intellect, and experience to provide alternative perspectives on things that often go unnoticed which can then cause subtle (and sometimes blatant) harm. What does it mean to have the courage to continue to speak, period?
All of this and then some is what I want
so deeply to be true for me – and for those with whom I live, work, and love. That’s what they deserve. That’s what I deserve.
In a similar vein, I read an article last night by the author of Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender. Though I struggle a bit with both the title and the general idea of the book, there was one paragraph that caught my attention and has stuck with me the past couple of days:
[She] urges women not just to wait for a brighter day, but to speak up now, and particularly about the small things…She points out that repeated small slights constitute large-scale social patterns of repression–that mountains can, in fact, arise out of the accumulation of molehills. So women can and must do something to keep the pattern from being reinforced.
I want to speak. Not because I have something urgent that needs to be shouted out, time and again, until it’s heard (though that is true) but because I want to be seen and known fully for who I most truly am, not some censored, edited version.
Yep. That’s what I really want.