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Violence, Killing, and Repression—The Stark Reminder of What It Costs to Be a Woman on Mother’s Day

May 12th, 2019

 

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love, and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”

~ Stevie Wonder

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Yet, for me, Mother’s Day is a time of reflection—a time of honoring the difficult path many women have, and continue, to tread; and a time to agitate for a better future for mother’s and their children.

In some cultures when a girl is born families curse. Not so long ago in China, during the one-child policy (introduced in 1979), daughter’s were murdered, drowned or aborted. It was initially meant to be a temporary measure and is estimated to have prevented up to 400 million births since it was instituted.

How many of these babies who were never born were girls—and future mother’s?

The impact of this policy has had a detrimental impact on the Chinese population. This was both intended and unintended.

In the end, the reason for ending the policy for all Chinese citizens was purely demographical: too many Chinese were heading into retirement and the nation’s population has too few younger people entering the labor force to provide for their retirement, healthcare, and continued economic growth.

One of the unintended side effects of the one-child policy is that China is now the most gender-imbalanced country in the world due to a cultural preference for male offspring.

Some researchers estimate that there will be approximately 30 million more young men than women in China by 2020. This means millions of Chinese men may not be able to find wives.

The People’s Republic of China and its predecessors have a history of female infanticide spanning 2000 years.

Yet, here in the West, and in other countries, we should be wary of throwing stones when we live in glass houses of splintering atrocities toward women.

Supposedly in 2019, we have advanced. Technologically perhaps, but we a horrific legacy of violence against women. New Zealand is a world loss-leader in that regard. Yet we are not alone.

Acid throwing, breast ironing, dating abuse, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, foot binding, forced abortion, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, marriage by abduction, witch trials—the list of shame goes on.

Add to this bride burning, dowry death, honor killing, femicide, infanticide matricide. Then layer sexual assault, campus sexual assault, mass sexual assault, sexual violence, child sexual initiation, rape and pregnancy, human trafficking, violence against prostitutes, widow cleansing.

During my research for this post, I became more and more saddened. What is wrong with humanity, I wondered? How did we stray so far from the unity of all as one? The divine masculine wedded to the divine feminine—if not physically, then spiritually.

MALE SUPERIORITY?

During the Renaissance, and earlier, the idea that genius was the province of the male was heralded. And the notion spread.

When a son is born in many cultures it is a time of celebration. The inference being that the male as heir is of more economic value. Perhaps all this imbalance stems from the mythology of Adam and Eve and the constant retelling of a story and the laying of blame at the feet of a female for the death knell of humanity.

I have yet to see any concrete evidence for the truth of this tale.

It has always perplexed me why daughters who grow up to be mothers and who nourish a child (be the babe be male or female) for nine months in the most intimate of sanctum—their womb—mother’s are, by some, devalued, disrespected and desecrated.

Buddhists wrote that the killing of young girls would bring bad karma—that certainly seems to be the future potential for the Chinese.

Conversely, those who saved a young girl’s life either through intervening (or through presents of money or food) would earn good karma leading to a prosperous life, as well as long life and success for their sons.

The current Dalia Lama once said, “All beings come from a mother’s womb. We should have a clear realization of the oneness of all humanity.”

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the feminine divine. It is the path of power. When we realize the power of what can happen when women, and in particular, mother’s, love and compassion for their children and how this makes a difference in their family’s life, we will value the ripple effect it can create within other families, and also an entire nation – and beyond.

It’s time to honor and value how mothers make an impact on the world, starting with our own family. Empower your kids to be kinder, more compassionate, more loving and make better choices in service of a more peaceful, prosperous and purposeful world.

As the Dalai Lama said, “The person who received maximum affection from mother, that person also sort of cultivated the potential showing affection to others.

Celebrate this Mother’s Day by valuing and taking care of yourself — and commit to continuing in this vein. It will have a ripple effect on your children’s health and wellbeing.

Teach your children to love and respect all peoples, regardless of gender or ethnicity. This is the way of power. This is the way of peace. This is the way it can, should, and must be.

  • I took this beautiful photo of Venus Verticordia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti while visiting an exhibition in Japan. Rossetti’s painting is a semi-nude depiction of the goddess Venus. Venus is also the goddess of love—as a Libran, Venus is also my ruling planet.In this painting, Venus is portrayed as a young woman with a golden halo and flowing auburn hair, surrounded by pink flowers in a dark, lush green garden. For me, this painting, complete with white and gold butterflies and the passionate pen, speaks of transformation—the retelling of the myth of Eve, the alchemy of telling new, more empowered stories in which the divinity of feminity is celebrated. Here’s to celebrating that this Mother’s Day—–and in those to come.

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