Opinion: Goddess in Times of Horror

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 26, 2014 — 50 Comments

“My spirituality has always been linked to my feminism. Feminism is about challenging unequal power structures. So, it also means challenging inequalities in race, class, sexual preference. What we need to be doing is not just changing who holds power, but changing the way we conceive of power.”Starhawk

I first became a Pagan because it promised me enchantment, wonder, a break from the dull Midwestern monotheist underpinning of where I grew up. A world full of magic, and gods. A world that I was taught was long dead, a superstitious delusion by ancient ancestors too dim to conceive of the One God’s true nature and full expression (ie Christianity). However, I stayed a Pagan because it also promised me a world, a culture, remade. A world where multiplicity, diversity, was honored. A world where a singular, all-powerful, male-pronouned, deity was replaced with innumerable pantheons of powers. A world where there was Goddess. Not just one Goddess, but a million goddesses.

The goddess Isis.

The goddess Isis.

When I first embraced modern Paganism in 1990, I entered a religious movement that was already several decades into the project of changing the face of religion. After the first rush of basic instructional books, as religious Witchcraft crossed the pond from Britain to North America, the inherent radical nature of there simply being a living Goddess easily cross-pollinated with a still-vibrant second-wave feminism and influenced a generation of still-influential writers like Starhawk, Margot Adler, Carol Christ, and many more. Some scholars predicted that the rise of feminism within a religious context, both from within the dominant monotheisms, and from the rising “new” faiths, spelled the end of Patriarchy as a system of cultural control.

“The women’s movement will bring about religious changes on a massive scale. These changes will no be restricted to small numbers of individuals practicing nonsexist religions within a sexist society. Society itself will be transformed to the point that it will no longer be a patriarchy. For if men are no longer supreme rulers on earth, how could one expect them to retain sovereignty in heaven?” – Naomi R. Goldenberg, “Changing of the Gods: Feminism & The End of Traditional Religions”

Goldenberg, a professor of religious studies, wrote that in the late 1970s, at a time when it seemed like feminism really would permanently shift Western culture. However, while some important advances for women were made, the dismantling of patriarchy would hit a cultural and political backlash in the 1980s. Since then, the feminist movement was slurred as extremist, with the very term becoming contentious in some circles, and every further advance by women seemed to be met by an increasingly crazed and angry subculture of men. The more this culture of harassment and abuse was pointed out, the more the discussion turned to the reality of a rape culture, the more toxic the responses seemed to get.

It is within this current atmosphere that the horrific shooting massacre in Isla Vista, California, claiming six victims, plus the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, takes place. In online videos and a manifesto the alleged killer is very clear as to why he feels he must go out and kill women.

“The Second Phase will represent my War on Women. I will punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex. They have starved me of sex for my entire youth, and gave that pleasure to other men. In doing so, they took many years of my life away. I cannot kill every single female on earth, but I can deliver a devastating blow that will shake all of them to the core of their wicked hearts. I will attack the very girls who represent everything I hate in the female gender.”

As Dr. Jill McDevitt points out, this is a hate crime against a gender, carried out in a culture where “many men are socialized young to believe they are owed sex and attention from women.” 

“This was a hate crime. This was an act of violence committed against victims that were were, or were sympathetic to, a group of people (in this case, women) in which the motivation for the violence was simply that they were a part of that group. That’s a hate crime. A gender based hate crime.”

It all seems like a dark, twisted, verification of author Margaret Atwood’s assertion that “men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Here is the exposed underbelly of cultural control of women exposed at its most raw, its most violent. Here are the violent fruits of misogyny laid bare. This is not mere mental illness, as there are millions of people who live with mental disorders who do not murder, this burrows into something atavistic that we don’t like to talk about. The fear, violence, and scorn necessary to uphold a silent system of power-over. The churning core of woman-hate as a belief system

“We like to think that violent misogyny – not sexism, but misogyny, woman-hatred as ideology and practice, weaponised contempt for one half of the human race – isn’t something that really happens in the so-called West. No matter how many wives and girlfriends are murdered by their husbands, no matter how many rapists are let off because of their “promising careers”, violence against women is something that happens elsewhere, somewhere foreign, or historical, or both. So anxious are we to retain this convenient delusion that any person, particularly any female person, who attempts to raise a counter argument can expect to be harassed and shouted down.” – Laurie Penny, NewStatesman

Which returns me to the Goddess, to all goddesses. To deity with a multiplicity of genders and forms. In the face of such horror, is the only sane reaction a radical re-embrace of female divinity? In a time when hate towards women seems at a fever pitch, do we not need to answer with: that which you hate and try to destroy is sacred. That which you try to control is beyond your control. That which you try to define and shame is beyond your definition or judgement.

Pallas Athene by Gustav Klimt

Pallas Athene by Gustav Klimt

As our community absorbs the ramifications of this latest tragedy, I hope we can return to the roots-radical nature that sits at the very core of our faiths. That divinity is not limited in counting, form, gender, or role. That the numinous is all-embracing and anticipates our every shift and turn. That simply being who we are in this time of crisis can remake society, because who we are acknowledges that woman, in all permutations, can be divine. That the god with a woman’s face is worthy of worship and respect.

If I had a prayer, it would go out to all those affected by this violence, this murder, and it would be a prayer to my Goddess. Please, pray to yours.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Yvonne

    Thanks for writing this. This is the first article I read about this tragedy that called it a ‘hate crime’ – an eye opener for me, since indeed that’s exactly what it is.

  • http://anubisbard.blogspot.com Anubis Bard

    Thanks for that essay. I think there is something very toxic about using power-over. If you are a normal, empathetic human being you have to overcome very human discomfort – usually by making the dominated person seem less than you – even less than human – or creating the illusion somehow that they deserve the treatment you give them. When you add in the understanding of group privilege – that this power-over plays out based on the group you belong to versus the group they belong to (whether you individually will it or not!) you can get all sorts of defensiveness and denial. Male over female, straight over gay, White over Black, native-born over immigrant. After all, this unwelcome insight calls into question everything you have achieved and so many of the ways you have defined yourself. It’s understood as an assault on a person’s very sense of selfhood. If a person is not strong, this shattering of their identity can cause them to lash out at those they perceive as assaulting them – which in an ironic twist – is going to be the people they (or their group) have been victimizing.

  • http://therennaissancewoman.blogspot.com/ Michele Sauter Warch

    Thank you. As a practitioner of a Goddess orientation, I am delighted to see someone recognize the poison of misogyny and call it what it is — sexist hatred. I’m also thrilled that you are not relegating the incident to another ‘senseless tragedy’ or a function of ‘severe mental health.’ Beautifully written, meaningfully researched. Blessed be.

  • Diotima Mantineia

    Thank you, Jason, for making the salient points, and also for the links. And for being one of the men who not only gets that misogyny and patriarchy are huge problems, but speaks out about it as well.

  • Lori Dake

    It should be noted too, it wasn’t just women in general, but women he felt he deserved: Blonde, co-ed bombshells. I read some of his posts on bodybuilder.com (before they were taken down) that other posters were saying they had girlfriends and such, guys with similar heights and physique (he was short and not all that built), but he assumed they weren’t the /right/ kind of girlfriends – that they were less than desirable women the other posters were settling with.

    One of my favorite websites that throw comedy into serious discussion and sciency stuff, Cracked, had an article on why (some, my emphasis!) men behave like that – that they’ve been told since birth through media they deserve hot women as prizes for whatever reason:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

    The one caption under the pic says it all of a woman jumping out of a box:
    “Surprise! Just a little something for graduation.”

  • Swannie

    So many people are trying to make sense of this horrendous tragedy , I must speak out . Many will not hear me , becuase it is too easy to believe what they want , rather than the truth. I am a cottage witch who has been fortunate enough to know the Goddess and embrace Goddess Spirituality for decades , and everything said here about the damages of patriarchy is true . However , we must understand and seek the truth .If this killer had been sane , this would indeed be a hate crime , but he is not .

    These were the rantings of a psychotic , who was losing his grip on reality . He “framed it” in his manifesto as outward success with women , but in reality what he was experiencing had nothing to do with women . This is so sad,that so many are jumping on bandwagons regarding this case . People are picking out parts of this manifesto this very sick kid wrote , and ascribing some kind of sense to some part , while acknowledging that the rest is “crazy” Because one or more sentences prove a case in a manifesto of insanity? The pro and anti gun folks hop onto the phrase where he feels powerful owning a gun , feminists, point to all the vitriol directed at women , even though he killed four males, of the six that are deceased , and three of them with a knife .
    The guy wasn’t “trying to get laid ” and sex wouldn’t have solved his problem . He
    didn’t know how to” be” a human being , and CONNECT with other people , and live his life ,. Sex can be a metaphor for ” connecting” in a much broader sense . He was losing his grip on reality , slipping further and further into a psychotic world and he was angry . He should have been in the hospital, when he refused his medications . Many many people who suffer this illness , and especially young people , refuse their medications as he did . They are hospitalized by their caring family and Md for medication non compliance , because they become a danger to themselves and others .
    What the problem is is the STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS . it kept him out of the hospital , off his medications ,allowed his anger to escalate , and his illness to progress to the point where he was so disconnected he killed .

    I know that people who have no backgound in psych struggle to understand , but you would think someone would speak out . You do not address whatever ” issues ” a psychotic person is speaking about, you will get no results .You have to address the feeling content which is being expressed ,the underlying emotion and message , which is obviously anger , and feeling disconnected .
    I can’t help but wonder why he was not hospitalized , and why he was allowed to refuse medications . It is entirely possible the parents were in denial. Also , did the psychiatrist #1 fail to educate them regarding their sons illness , # 2 underestimate his patients potential for harm , or both .

    • Franklin_Evans

      Swannie puts this perspective very well, better I’m thinking than I might have put it, having still a feeling that a certain logical fallacy, once mentioned, will become a corollary of Godwin’s Law and derail the important discussion yet to be had.

      Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Elliot Rodger is not representative of patriarchy.

      I represent a group of men — solely on the basis of my age, not because I have any special attribute or view of wisdom — on the cusp between the prevailing patriarchy and the still growing feminism, after the end of World War II. The context included Rosie the Riveter, Gloria Steinem’s “A Bunny’s Tale”, and the rise of The League of Women Voters to mainstream legitimacy. I witnessed the debate about abortion, listened to women who’d experienced it in that dark alley, witnessed the backlash from many men over no-fault divorce and the criminalizing of domestic abuse.

      It is my assertion that the misogynistic “hate” attributed to Rodger has existed for decades. The public awareness of it has waxed and waned, for a variety of reasons. We are three or more generations removed from that cusp, and there is no direct evidence that it has increased or decreased in number other than to correlation-only number of police and media reports.

      I found Goddess before I was aware that I was looking for Her. I think back to those months and years of discovery, and remember a sense of rightness overwhelming any other possible feeling, including surprise. I also, moreso recently, look back at the span of time and I am reminded of what works and what is permanent: revolution breeds its own demise, and dies as quickly after it succeeds in proportion to how quickly it succeeded. Culture change takes time. We can see its progress during our lifetimes, but none of us will live long enough to see a world not dominated by patriarchy.

      We can only know, in faith and intuition, that it will change.

      If a crime must be labeled a hate crime, then all incidences of it must be so labeled, thereby destroying the intention of the qualifier. It hurts, I know better than some just how much, but if a crime is no longer its own reason for being tried, convicted and punished it loses its power to deter and teach. Criminal justice must be cold, heartless, objective. Our anger and grief cannot be the first criterion for justice. Its power justifies and dismisses accountability for its mistakes in judgment.

      • Roi de Guerre

        Well said.
        And thanks to Jason for an excellent and insightful editorial.

      • Swannie

        Franklin , we may at one point become privy to facts, as to why this young man was not hospitalized , but yes until then we do not know the reason . But I have spent too many hours admitting teen and young adult clients to units that were brought in by police by Emergency Petition , and almost just as many hours not admitting similar clients , because the “danger ” was not deemed immediate enough , or dangerous enough , by insurance companies , other doctors ,psychologists, families etc. Most of the time , if a client is not admitted they are eventually admitted later on under more emergent circumstances , but not as tragic as what happened in Santa Barbara .

        • Franklin_Evans

          I have several friends who are also trained professionals. Your perspective is shared by them without exception. I always defer to them — and to you here — while finding it important to keep the wider perspective in mind.

          I have no doubt that I and my siblings would have been much better off emotionally if that judge had committed our father. Maybe I’m pushing too hard in the other direction. I do know that we must have these discussions, and they must be balanced.

      • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

        “[shooter] is not representative of patriarchy.”

        Oh, but he’s totes representative of people with Asperger’s or those with mental illness. Cause, if we blame that, we still get away with the idea that ‘not all men are like that’. Or that men don’t actually have to do anything. It’s not patriarchy’s fault! It’s just those dang people with untreated mental illness.

        (Of course, if the shooter wasn’t white passing, the entire rhetoric would be quite different…)

        • Franklin_Evans

          The first “blame”, the first assignment of accountability, is to the criminal. We can debate or argue the larger forces at work ad nauseum, and it changes nothing about that accountability.

          • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

            How we debate those issues shows if we actually understand them.

            But if you’d rather plug your ears and act as if misogyny had nothing to do with this, go ahead.

          • Franklin_Evans

            It appears to me that you edit my posts as you read them. You will find my direct statements about this, and only putting words in my mouth (or ignoring my actual words) justifies your false conclusion about me.

            If you’d rather blame everything on misogyny, your only satisfaction is a total female dictatorship. Good luck with that.

    • Franklin_Evans

      Swannie, unless we are permitted to read the documents, we cannot know and must not guess about why he was not involuntarily committed and/or forced to take medication. I have one direct witness to that process, My father was clinically diagnosed paranoid — he refused treatment and a judge confirmed that no proof was offered about his immediate danger to those around him. If he’d gone on to be physically violent, my family would have been asking the same questions, and they’d have already been answered from that court proceeding: we do not incarcerate people who might commit a crime. It is that harshly simple.

    • http://quakerpagan.org Cat C-B

      I find it interesting how, despite the fact that women can also be psychotic, they don’t go on shooting sprees when that happens. And how, when a brown person goes on a shooting spree, it’s considered terrorism, whether or not they have a mental illness.

      But if the shooter is a white male, political considerations are irrelevant. Because white male norms _are_ normal, and white male Othering of women and minorities are never open to question when an offender is a white male. No, in those cases, it’s always individual pathology… because to consider it anything else might cause us to question the house of cards that our entire culture is built on. I’m not talking about All Men, my friend. I’m talking about patriarchy, and why so many Not All Men become defensive when I do that… well, that’s a painful question, I guess.

      I won’t be responding to any comments on this comment of mine, incidentally. The Not All Men backblow on this one is just too damned depressing for me to take right now.

      But thanks, Jason, for taking the feminist bull by the horns on this one. It’s nice having a male feminist voice speaking against the violence and misogyny, rather than against the identification of the phenomenon. I’m going to let that be the “not all men” that I walk away with, rather than whatever the forum churns up today.

      That… is just too depressing.

      • Franklin_Evans

        My suggestion is to re-examine the logic concerning the brown person. I find it to be just as flawed as the Not All Men blanket conclusion. We need to examine each case individually. We also need another cultural change: that these things take effort and time, and dismissing them quickly or with broad category assignments is as bad or worse than the behaviors or crimes themselves.

        • http://daoineile.com/ Aine

          That’s all nice and idealistic, but it kinda soars past reality.

          And…are you seriously saying that making ‘broad category assignments’ is worse than a bunch of people being shot and killed or injured?

          • Franklin_Evans

            US history is rife with “broad category assignments” being the worst possible action. Current and former slaves; various waves of immigrants (my parents included); the current irrational “debate” starting and ending with “all liberals are…” or “all conservatives are…” Need I mention the broad category you and I fall prey to constantly?

            “Not all men” is a fallacious excuse used to justify the status quo. He (or she) has “X, Y or Z” steps right over accountability as quickly and fallaciously as pointing to intoxication, or texting as excuses to devalue the victims of vehicular homicide. The list is endless, and our culture not only allows it but embraces it.

            The ideal I vainly target is that our laws are designed for and about the individual. The innocent deserve exoneration, the guilty deserve conviction and punishment. You bypass both commitments of our laws when you insist on categorizing first, whether it be in support of the patriarchal entitlement or the attempt to demolish it.

            Culture change requires effort and time.

      • http://www.osagame.net Beth Goldstein Huxen

        Cat, Your posts are always so thoughtful, humane and real. (perhaps because they come from you). I hope that, like me, you have taken hope in the conversation started by #YesAllWomen

        • http://www.myspace.com/kadynastar Khryseis_Astra

          I think everyone should take a moment to scroll through those tweets… and realize as they do just how many women can relate to each & every one of them. The “not all men are like that” response doesn’t help protect women from the men who *are* like that. It dismisses the fact that there is a very real problem going on.

          Yes, this shooter was likely mentally ill. But he was also clearly a misogynist, and our society needs to take this issue seriously and start putting out the message that those kinds of anti-woman behaviors/attitudes are not acceptable.

    • Lumina

      I am 100% with Swannie on this one. Having seen a loved one degenerate into full blown psychosis right before my very eyes, I can attest that nothing is outside the realm of possibility, including mass murder. There is nothing “mere” about untreated mental illness. :(

  • Sarah Sadie

    “In a time when hate towards women seems at a fever pitch, do we not need to answer with: that which you hate and try to destroy is sacred. That which you try to control is beyond your control. That which you try to define and shame is beyond your definition or judgement.” Thank you.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Thank you, Jason!

  • Mark

    Well spoken, as always.

  • http://www.walkofthefallen.com Labrys

    I, too, was drawn to paganism partially because I was seeking feminine divinity. I, too, recoiled in shock from the weekend’s events. Between misogyny and gun-craziness, we certainly need to get in touch with SOMEthing life affirmingly feminine.

  • bjreichman

    Thanks Jason. Could you please attribute that last quote? It’s brilliant and I’d like to share.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      I’ve added additional attribution to make it clear where the quote came from. Thanks for commenting!

  • PhaedraHPS

    I’ve been a second-wave feminist for fifty years, and while I delight in and celebrate the changes I’ve seen in the last half-century, this whole incident has stirred up so many feelings I thought I’d “processed” or “dealt with” long ago. There’s so much ugliness that we’d hoped, so sincerely, would be long gone by now.

    I think younger women have it worse in some ways. It’s no longer novel for a woman to drive a bus (unheard of when I was young), nor shocking for a woman to join the military. But we didn’t have “roofies,” or Purity Balls or MRA (Men’s Rights Activists) or the Pick-up Artist movement, the latter two amplified by the Internet, which is often nothing but a huge echo chamber where you never have to encounter an opposing opinion if you don’t want to.

    The proliferation of rape jokes and the causal use of the word “rape” in gaming and other contexts is scary. You don’t find that much in my age cohort, but what I see coming out of the mouths and keyboards of younger men chills me to the bone. I was profoundly disappointed when just a day or two ago, my own son posted pics of t-shirts he bought at a con; if you really thought about what was on them, they were subtly supportive of just the kind of misogyny we’re talking about. I asked him never to wear them in my presence, and at first he thought I was joking. Then he took down the pics. I haven’t had the heart to ask what he did with the shirts, though.

    I know I had a strong reaction to those shirts because this whole horrible incident has made me more than usually sensitive. At the same time, I’m horrified to realize how much I have had to desensitize myself, numb myself, in order to not be overwhelmed by this crap in everyday life. Yes, I know #notallmen are dangerous, or assholes or insensitive. I have met many wonderful men in my lifetime, and many of those were Pagans. But you wonderful men, have you ever been mugged coming home after a late-night ritual? I have. Have you ever worked out elaborate strategies to minimize the chance of that happening again? Because that, or similar planning, is part of every woman’s life.

    • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

      When I was single and living alone, I called the police when some man I didn’t recognize, and not in any obviously official capacity, showed up at my door shortly after I’d arrived home. I’d already had a peeping tom by that point, and a misogynist neighbor. Wasn’t interested in acquiring another problem.

    • Franklin_Evans

      I’ve never found an answer, good or bad, to the sensitivity aspect, Phaedra. Clearly, whenever I attempt to express certain ideas or opinions I come across as insensitive at best, dismissive at worst. I truly am grateful for your upvotes to my posts, but the dilemma remains and I don’t know what else to do or say.

      Asking men if they’ve had similar experiences, for me, is not going to be constructive. Those of us who sincerely want you to not live in fear will not have a good answer. Those men who still don’t care will dismiss you or worse. For me, the only correct answer is yes, I’ve been mugged twice, and there can be no comparison to any woman’s experience of it.

      I’m just left with a personal statement.

      Both of my older sisters were sexually assaulted, one of them twice. I have two daughters who’ve thankfully never had that happen. I know from my feelings about my sisters that should I witness such an assault, I’d stop it or die trying, and plead guilty to any crime I might commit in that trying. The rest is a combination of an ethical commitment to our justice system, as flawed and badly implemented as it is, and personal experience sitting on a jury for a criminal trial where the charges were rape and incest. There is no good thing about any of it except the commitment of citizens to do their best to make it work, one case at a time.

  • Charles Cosimano

    It is, of course, possible that men have reached the point where they really do hate women. This is going to be interesting.

    • Guest

      There have always been (IMHO) very many men who simply hate women as a
      class, and have done so since their puberty, if not before. I have met a
      fair number of them in my lifetime, and my women ancestors had to deal
      with several such men on a quite personal level. I don’t know why this
      should be so; I don’t think anyone knows why it should be so. I suspect
      that the only way to keep this form happening is to structure a
      society’s rites of passage through puberty in such a way that older men
      (men who do not share this hatred, I mean) guide pubescent boys through
      the difficulties of all that testosterone, and that these older men do
      this in close cooperation with older women. But I haven’t the faintest
      idea how this could be implemented under any modern political and social system.

    • Robert Mathiesen

      There have always been (IMHO) very many men who simply hate women as a class, and have done so since their puberty, if not before. I have met a
      fair number of them in my lifetime, and my women ancestors had to deal
      with several such men on a quite personal level. I don’t know why this
      should be so; I don’t think anyone knows why it should be so. I suspect
      that the only way to keep this form happening is to structure a
      society’s rites of passage through puberty in such a way that older men
      (men who do not share this hatred, I mean) guide pubescent boys through
      the difficulties of all that testosterone, and that these older men do
      this in close cooperation with older women. But I haven’t the faintest
      idea how this could be implemented under any modern political

      • Robert Mathiesen

        … under any modern political and social system.

      • Deborah Bender

        I’m going to expand on your comment, without any assumption that you agree with what I’m about to write.

        A number of changes set in motion in the middle of the twentieth century (the Sexual Revolution, feminism, secularization, economic shifts) have deprived young American men of any coherent moral framework for how to be a good man. The frameworks and narratives inherited from the soi-disant Greatest Generation, such as the Gentleman, the Heroic Soldier and the Working Class Breadwinner and Husband, were criticized for their patriarchal assumptions and also were becoming out of date for practical reasons. Our society is drifting in part because those outworn moral codes have been torn down without being replaced with another clear, simple set of rules or maxims about how to be a decent male person and take pride in your life.

        The frantic reactionary attacks by the Christian Right on liberal values contain one conservative critique that I agree with. People are not naturally good or naturally bad. The examples and instruction that society offers encourage people to be better or worse than they would be left to their own devices. Young men are buffeted by passions, and left to their own devices, don’t do very well.

        • Franklin_Evans

          I witnessed the beginning of that drift. Your description is perfectly accurate from my experience.

  • thinkingforyourself

    yes, its psychologically correct to rationalize insanity and find something to blame. Using a philosophical ideology as an explanation for his behavior is an unconscious rejection of the reality that his reason was meaningless, thus reassuring us that there are limits which can be set upon behavior in general that will act as a talisman against attack so we can translate fear into action. Those who are especially fearful or alarmed may even go so far as to single out a class in general to take action against, such as those who resemble the lunatic in some way…believing this will protect them from aggrievement, or punish those responsible… this is much the same as he, who in his ill mind thought he was punishing girls for their behavior. Obviously neither is correct, and he was simply insane. There is no-one and nothing to blame for what he did…. and that’s why we clutch at these ideological straws.. If we wish to look for institutionalized and socially accepted misogynism we need look no further for real issues; http://bulletinoftheoppressionofwomen.com/

  • Raksha38

    Thanks for writing this, Jason. Very well said.

  • http://walhydra.blogspot.com Michael Bright Crow

    When I was struggling to come out as a gay man in the early 1970s, it was feminists–most particularly Adrienne Rich and her book, Of Woman Born–that helped me to recognize homophobia as a special case of misogyny.
    During that decade, it was the possibility of speaking to Goddess rather than God which enabled me to embrace and affirm my homosexual maleness. For me, this happened in the context of willingly uplifting the sacred value of women, of rejecting any internalized fear of being thought “womanly” because of my love for men.
    Four decades later, I still long for men to understand where they came from. I long for them to trust that they do not lose manhood by honoring womanhood.
    Goddess, help us.

  • http://www.sablearadia.com/ Sable Aradia

    Thank you. This is outstanding. Shared on my blog (and therefore my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, etc.)

  • David Quinn

    My wife and I just got home from the Heartland Pagan Festival which is a clothing-optional event. After the first moments of culture shock coming out of our regular urban 9-5 lives, it just becomes a natural thing. Being naked isn’t about being sexual, it is about accepting our human bodies, of every shape, size, age, or ability, as natural. Modern society teaches so many wrong messages about “modesty” and sexuality. For 4 days we marvel at the openness of our community. Here is the proof that men are completely able to control themselves in the presence of a little bit of flesh. When you take away the fear of nudity, it becomes less pornographic. It makes me angry to return to a world where we have to teach our daughters how to avoid being raped. Why are we not teaching our sons to NOT RAPE? To not objectify, belittle, or manipulate?
    Even in the wonderfully open Pagan community, we still have to deal with this issue too. Monday morning as we packed up to leave, we started to hear the rumors. at least two young women were “Dosed”, had something added to a drink or were given drugs in order that they might be taken against their will. From what I heard, the organizers had an idea about who the attacker was, and if found, he will be dealt with SEVERELY. But how does punishment of the attacker heal the victims? How could we have prevented this in the first place?
    My daughter is upstairs crying because she started a new relationship and another male friend of hers is now giving her a bunch of guilt over “putting him in the Friendzone”. Why do young men believe that friendship if a transactional behavior, “I was nice to you, now you owe me sex.” ?!? I want to find him and ask him how he would feel if his sister were treated the same way. Or his mother? The saddest part is that it is likely that they HAVE been treated this way or worse by someone in their lives.
    Society needs to change, and fast.

    • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

      You ask:

      Why are we not teaching our sons to NOT RAPE? To not objectify, belittle, or manipulate?

      Well, we did. We’re one-and-done, but over the years, from us and from his mostly female teachers and current curriculum, he learned this very lesson. He’s also a very sensitive, caring and sympathetic person who stood up for other kids being bullied when he couldn’t do it for himself.

  • Merlyn7

    Thank you for this article, will add my prayers for the wisdom and intervention of the Divine Feminine in our world.

  • http://saffronrose.livejournal.com/ A. Marina Fournier

    Marc Lepine, the shooter of the (mostly female) students at l´Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, December 1989, immediately sprang to mind as I began hearing coverage of this awfulness.

    Similar psychological problems, physical abuse & abandonment from his father, who was openly contemptuous of Lepine’s mother–these helped form the twisted view of women generally, and women especially in ration to himself, along with the predominant culture of anti-female behavior in all parts of society.

    There hasn’t been any mention of abuse or early trauma in Rodgers’ case, and his parents were trying to get him the mental health care he needed.

    My prayers for those directly affected and those otherwise nearest the situation.

  • Mustangofold

    So a deranged individual goes out, kills 4 men and 2 women, attempts to kill a bunch of other people, then suicides and you take all that and filter it to see it as an indication of systemic mysogyny?
    I see a deranged person that was unable to live with themselves seeking for a solution from without that snapped and killed and used his deranged rantings as justification to hurt and kill others in an attempt to make them feel as miserable as he thought he was.
    You linked your spirituality to your feminism? I linked mine to my humanity. My spiritualism recognizes that others are different from me and should be treated with respect no matter what sex, sexuality, or appearance they have. Their actions are to be judged.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Re your first sentence, Mustang: it’s not being taken as an indication in the sense of proof that systemic misogyny exists. Rather (imho more plausibly) as an example of a systemic misogyny that trumpets itself on social media, in which this perpetrator participated. Feminists need no longer say sweeping (and, on occasion, overextensive) things about men. The thing speaks for itself. It doesn’t speak for me and I’m sure not for you, but there it is.I don’t accept any implication in your final paragraph that spirituality linked to feminism is in conflict with spirituality linked to humanity. I belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregation where the two coexist very nicely and disciples of both are regularly asked for presentations.

    • Merlyn7

      I think if you review the killer’s actual words you will find a good case for misogyny being a part of this crime.

  • http://themotherhouseofthegoddess.com/ MotherHouse of the Goddess

    Thank you and Bravo! As a daughter of the Goddess, I am pleased to join my hand in yours to raise them in prayer to Her.

  • Constance Tippett

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    AHHH! This is why I am a Pagan.
    Because there are MEN that actually understand Patriarchy and
    Misogyny. Patriarchy is a belief system that causes a psycho-
    logical disorder. If you believe that you are better than
    more that half of the population just because you are born a certain
    gender then your logic becomes psycho. If this guy would have written
    a like manifesto about Jews, African Americans, or any other group
    there would have been outrage! Even the Guardian’s comments had men
    dismissive of this misogyny saying “women do this too”. I have
    not read in the paper that 250 boys have been abducted by rebels to
    be sold into sexual slavery. No article on a man being stoned to
    death or put in jail for having sex with the wrong person. No story
    of Indonesia Muslims castrating 200 little boys so they will be pure.
    And worst of all mens fear, no “feminazi” going on a shooting
    rampage to kill all men. It has been a bad new month and I need to
    turn off the tube and go into the garden. Thank you Jason! Great
    work!