Monday, August 20, 2007
Sophia Rant Part 2
For my part, I opt to understand that although my linguistic tools to express ineffable concepts are necessarily sketchy, limiting myself to a clearly historically patriarchal toolbox is even moreso. Therefore, although I speak of Sophia, I also speak of mythological traditions cross-culturally and work to create my own stories. I look to the diversity of real women both historically and cross-culturally for inspiration of what is possible both in the divine and in myself. I look beyond anthropomorphic expressions by viewing divinity in pantheistic terms. I move beyon nouns and experiment with the notion, as Daly famously suggested, that "God is a verb." In this way, through a proliferation of metaphors, including a healthy amount of gynocentric versions, I prevent, to some degree, stagnating in my God-talk into a gendered, culturally specific version of femaleness, maleness and holiness.We can already see in this group the legacy of limiting the vision of female particpation in the God-image to acceptable "feminine" qualities. I see it when I'm teaching as well. Women feel excluded from intellectual discourse because they doubt that such work is appropriate for women. Because intellect is considered masculine, and emotion is considered feminine (and this is only one example of dualistic thinking that I could cite here) a thinking woman is considered masculine. And a masculine woman is considered at best exceptional and at worst, monstrous. When we think "like men" and play "the boys' game, " we are derivative and inferior or, if we're lucky, pretty smart "for a woman." When we opt to think our own thoughts dissimilar to the patriarchal pattern, we are dismissed as "emotional, " "strident, " "irrational." Limiting the Goddess to a traditional maternal role or to that of primeval helpmeet sends a message to women that our role, as those made in the image of the consort of God, is to help...not to do the job ourselves, not to develop as humans not for our children, or our society or our families and religions....BUT FOR OURSELVES. Dualism marginalizes us, makes us supplemental reading in the human story. No. I don't have time for that crap. When such dualism is projected skyward into an all-powerful God and a consort of limited feminized role, the notion that women are here to "help" and "serve" and "nurture" is reinforced.Additionally, Sophia is a pretty tepid goddess to begin with since she lacks much in the earthier, lustier categories and therefore cannot speak to me as a mother. (Mothers don't necessarily view ourselves in the same way way our offspring view us which explains why gynocentric goddesses are often more more bloody and more sexy than patriarchal goddesses). I would also point out that creating a goddess of wisdom does not mean that men think women are wise any more than 19th century men celebrating the new Statue of Liberty felt that women should have the vote.