So many of the women I speak to these days feel triggered, depressed, angry, tired, numb or heavy. The first thing you need to know is that right now upheaval is the norm rather than the exception. What is happening on a universal level is a stirring, a rising in energy which is bringing up old patterns to be released as we usher in a new age of being.
In the process of that release we are seeing the demons of our life, our society and culture flash before our eyes and nowhere is this more apparent than in the current election in the US. Consciously or unconsciously that can be very difficult to watch and weighs on each of us, especially women.
The word objectification has been thrown around for eons in relation to women. Let’s really take a look at that.. Treating a woman as an object… , a woman’s body as a “thing” to be owned, manipulated or governed.
There are the obvious ways– the ones we can readily identify and have been taught to look out for… beauty pageants, advertising, pornography, the seemingly endless fight over abortion, sex slavery….
Then there are the infinite more subtle ways in which we have been trained, in which we or our loved ones, despite the best of intentions, may be complicit.
Locker room talk is a great example of that. We can thank Mr. Trump for bringing that conversation to dinner tables everywhere. Is there such a thing as “just talk?”
Another prominent example is the use of the word vagina, overwhelmingly still thought of as the anatomically correct term for a woman’s genitalia.
Let’s be clear– the true meaning of vagina is sheath, as in the cover for a sword. Vagina only refers to our internal anatomy. The correct word for female genitalia is vulva and yet so many women that know that still teach their daughters to say “vagina” because that is what is culturally acceptable and understood.
We are complicit in our objectification whether we know it or not, whether we agree or disagree. The objectification of women’s bodies is woven like an invisible thread throughout the fabric of society and culture.
Our medical system is another powerful example of this.
A horrific fact: When a woman is put under for a gynecological treatment, it is common practice in teaching hospitals to invite students and residents in the room to practice doing internal exams on her unconscious body.
It boggles the mind that this could even be possible in this “day and age” and yet in so so many ways in relation to women’s bodies we are still in the dark ages.
Why have women been lying on their backs for decades to give birth? That position hinders the physiological process of birth, but allows for easy visibility and access by healthcare professionals.
Let’s take hope. The fact that we are even having this conversation is evidence of imminent change. As it comes into light, we are able to make different choices moving forward.
That change is already coming into fruition as more and more labor and delivery wards are adopting mother friendly birth practices to support better outcomes AND lower costs from interventions.
Of all the women I work with, the ones most likely to have empowering ecstatic experiences birthing their children are the ones who have had a prior traumatic experience. I hear this from birthworkers all the time as well. Why?
A woman who has had a traumatic experience is no longer willing to hand over full charge of her body to anyone.
Her full feminine ferocity has been triggered.
She will rely on her truth and her inner wisdom to care for and defend her body no matter what.
This guides her choice of practitioners and where and how she births over any external criteria or validation.
Healthcare is one area where we have overwhelmingly bought into the objectification of our bodies, handing over control to the Doctor or “expert.”
How could someone you consult with ever be an “expert” on the body you live with day in and day out every day of your life?
Yes, seek out and be grateful for practitioners and their experience in their field of specialty. Take in their wisdom and guidance, but keep in mind that you and your body are YOUR field of specialty.
In the training program I run for birthworkers, many practitioners share how heartbreaking it can be to hold space for a woman who is not taking responsibility for her own body and journey, how despite their best efforts they can not prevent a foreseeable negative outcome.
In the realm of childbirth and beyond, we women we must open our eyes and look at the ways in which we are complicit in our own objectification and begin to make different choices, ones that affirm our humanity and show respect for our bodies.
That discomfort we are collectively feeling..the unease, heaviness, anger, depression or numbness — that is the sensation of us waking up to these societal and cultural patterns that disrespect us and do not serve us.
We are collectively opening our eyes on a grand scale to those invisible threads that exist to perpetuate a sense of subjugation and victimhood amongst women, that keeps our relations to our bodies in a cycle of objectification.
The good news is that once we can see it, we can consciously change it. It’s time.