"Why?" Is the Most Important Question
My father called me "Y," which is the first letter in my first name, because I never stopped asking "why?" about everything I heard and saw. I was fortunate that my father was a brilliant thinker and scholar. Unfortunately, my mother was bound by a religion that saw questioning, especially by a female, as a sin. We were to mindlessly follow the rules laid down by our prophets, priests, brothers, and husbands.
I went directly from my parents home to marriage with a man who was approved by my parents as a good provider, but he was not a scholar. He had no answers to my questions and was increasingly threatened as I would ask them. He publicly, and to my children, ridiculed me.
Without any research on the subject, I agreed to have my infant son circumcised, as was his father before him. Is this less barbaric that having a female circumcised to have her like her mother? I don't know how necessary it is in communities to have the young look and act like the parents in order to be accepted by the "tribe." Change must be incremental, and well-thought out in order to succeed; otherwise, it causes fear that leads to its failure.
I took my son away from his father's home before he, too, was taught to disrespect me. My family is all paying a dear price to affect the changes that were so desperately needed in my society's view of marriage. Whether the price is worth the outcome still remains to be seen in future generations. It seems to be paying dividends in the cooperative parenting relationships that I see in my former husband's current marriage, and the marriages of both my children, a daughter and a son.
While it is true that much of the disrespect for the voices of women is promoted by religions, we must also realize that religions have formed the structures by which men aspire to be more than simply their animal selves. In the animal world, very few males are required to keep the population going. War is the way to weed out the competition among males. We humans seek to protect all of our progeny and their right to procreate in peace. We must assure our sons that we value them for other than procreation and protection.
Going forth, being fruitful and multiplying has come to mean more than physical procreation, and women are now able to control their animal instincts in that direction through conception control. We must stop manipulating men with our feminine wiles only to ridicule them when they succumb. This is the easy way to get one to take responsibility for another, but it leads to anger and abuse. We must use our brains to decide how we can be most productive as female individuals and choose partners who will help us succeed in our ordained missions.
Information is no longer only available through oral tradition. Information is the greatest tool we can possess. We must seek information and learn to sort it and process it. We must sort those with wisdom of the ages from those who are limited to their own community and religious traditions. Change goes forward to the youth, not backward to the elders. We must define and support ourselves before we bond with others in our efforts to lead.
Males are physically more powerful than we are. They have the power to destroy us and our progeny. If we aren't careful to include males as respected partners in parenting and other endeavors, we leave them no productive outlets for their physical and emotional energies. I do not look forward to a world of a few men anointed as pro-creators and protectors, or worse, a world of only women who are cloned.
We must honor the past while we plan for the future. Why were things done the way they were in the past? Old religious ways are often found to have become obsolete, even though they had a purpose in the past. Is circumcision required for hygiene or health, or simply a ritualistic tribal bonding practice? Is masturbation evil when a person has no procreative partner, or in a world that is overpopulated? At what age is it healthy for a woman to conceive in order to bear a healthy child?
We women now have voices that will be heard. Let's be responsible and respectful in how we question and in what we say.