Women’s Rights and the Patriarchy

There is no missing the point that, even in today’s modern world, Women’s Rights are an issue which is not likely to be resolved soon. Women are still being oppressed and repressed in various parts of the world and this naturally leads to anger at the patriarchy.

Has Forgiveness a Role in Women’s Rights?

As women become more empowered, and find our voice, this naturally causes some social friction between men and women. This leads us to one of the biggest challenges of our times, which is how to resolve conflict peaceably. How to resolve differences of opinion, differences in values, and difference in beliefs without things degenerating into totally polarised positions, both of which are are equally unable to relate to the other’s point of view? Perhaps forgiveness can help.

Four Steps to Forgiveness imageA friend of mine went to join a Peace Camp some years ago, but came back not long after and said, “There was no peace in the Peace Camp.”   It turned out that nobody could agree about anything in that particular Peace Camp and it was chaotic and unproductive. I’m sure that other Peace Camps manage to find a common purpose and be able to act on it, but this example goes to show that even well-meaning people can get into conflict. Such unnecessary and unproductive conflicts weaken the efforts of those intending to create a better world for all of us to live in.

The search for justice and all to easily become about vengeance and wanting the other “get what the deserve”. This is a bit tricky when “the other” is a whole gender, many of whom lives we do not envy.

Patriarchic Values

Perhaps this is a clue to the way forward. What is our real intention? Is our intention “to create a better world for all of us to live in”, or is it something else? Are we wanting to assert our rights to the extent that others get hurt? If so, that usually means that we have designated a group of people as the enemy, they are now in the “them” category; in opposition to “us”. Now we have a “them” category we can go on to convince ourselves the rights of those in that category don’t matter and that they deserve whatever is coming to them. If this goes far enough we also start to ignore the rights of the innocent bystanders, they just become “collateral damage” and “cannon fodder” in the fight for “justice”. It’s an odd form of justice that disregards causing harm to the innocent. Such a callous and uncaring attitude is no longer about “a better world for all of us to live in”; it is about one group wanting to assert their rights no matter who gets hurt in the process. That is the type of attitude that can causes those initially on our side to baulk and decide that it is a step too far and they no longer give their support. Besides isn’t all this “us and them” and divisiveness not just the effect of the worst aspects of patriarchal values? Which after all, are said to be about dominance and control.

From Oppressed to Oppressor?

Is it is not easy to be at peace with those who we feel are oppressing us, denying us our rights and not giving us fair opportunities. There is a time and a place to boldly and even angrily assert our rights. Yet, anger and rage can make us blind, or at least narrow our vision, so that we don’t see the damage we might be doing. It is not easy to be patient with those we feel, “just don’t get it” or stubbornly refuse to “get it”. Yet, we need to take care that our liberation is not at the expense of us becoming an oppressor in our turn.

Inner Liberation

There is a type of liberation which happens within us. It comes from a change of attitude and a change of view about life. This liberation begins to happen when we actually commit ourselves to creating a better world for all of us to live in. This allow us to take part in something bigger, which is the liberation of the human spirit. One of the things we most need liberated from is the tendency to see things in terms of “us and them”, and to free ourselves from the tendency to become so polarized in our thinking that we turn others into an enemy.

It is particularly challenging to break out of this when others see us as their enemy or their potential enemy. Yet, this is the challenge of our times: to not resort to old outworn ways of trying to resolve conflict, but to find ways that we can work together to create a better world for all of us to live in. There can be no liberation without a liberation from the past. Yet to liberate from the past we need to be able to forgive and move on. There is no real way forward if we are dragging around the baggage of the past. We can’t just shame and blame our way into a better society. We need to offer something better. As well as being able to all for change, we need to change ourselves. We need to be able to forgive and move on. For immediate download of a free ebook, The Four Steps to Forgiveness, on how to forgive yourself or others, use any of the links on this page.

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Four Steps to Forgiveness

A powerful way to freedom, happiness and success.

William Fergus Martin