Arise, lionesses, and roar

Jes Kast Uncategorized 1 Comment

It is my pleasure to introduce to you my friend and colleague, Rev. Angie Mabry-Nauta, who is making a guest appearance on my post today. Rev. Angie Mabry-Nauta is a theologian, writer and an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Reformed Church in America (RCA). She served in congregational ministry for six years, and is presently without charge, pursing a career in writing while staying at home with her two daughters. She blogs on her own website “Woman, in Progress…” and for the RCA at the Church Herald Blogs; and is a new member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Angie enjoys new experiences, reading, college football, good friends, good wine,good food and good conversation.

I have experienced Rev. Mabry-Nauta as a woman who is full of life, knows the painstaking process of perseverance, joyful, intelligent, informed and formed by Reformed theology, beautiful, articulate, and thoughtful in her spiritual leadership and personal spiritual transformation. It seems like media often portrays women as backstabbing bitches who can’t get along with other women. This is so twisted! I don’t believe that is the plight of the female population. Thus I want to exhort and privilege another voice today whose I respect. Thank you for your thoughtful engagement with the world, Angie.

 


What on earth is going on?

There seems to be an outbreak of blatant misogyny. I feel as if I’m in a twilight zone of female dissing. In the past three months alone in the United States …

(Of course, this is just what has been going on in this country recently. If I listed all of the global injustices against women, I would probably crash the WordPress servers.)

Someone summon Lucretia Coffin Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to rise from the dead. Apparently we need a second Seneca Falls Convention and a modern-day Declaration of Sentiments. While we’re at it, bring back Harriet Tubman to remind us how brave and staunch in the face of risk women are; and Sojourner Truth to remind us how strong. “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, together women ought to be able to turn it rightside up again” (Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, on May 29, 1851).

And get Gloria Steinem on the phone to see if her schedule can be cleared for a massive round of rallies and speaking engagements. The ERA was not passed in the 1970s and it seems that the attitudes that brought about its felt need remain within American society.

Scratch that…of course they remain. I guess sexism has been more latent and insidious in the years since the 1970s as compared to its nasty head popping up in plain view presently.

Obviously I am raging. But even in the midst of my fury, I can see clearly. This is not an entirely bad thing. As a matter of fact, it might just serve quite well.

After Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 Japanese Admiral Isoroky Yamamoto was quoted as saying, “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack” (Hiroyki Agawa, The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy, trans. John Bester [Japan: Kodanasha International, 2000], 285).

And indeed we did…to the (horrific) tune of forcing the Japanese to surrender and finally end World War II.

I am certainly not advocating the violence and destruction of war. I use this moment in American history to suggest that perhaps metaphorically it is soon to be repeated. What is being done to women presently (still, to be more accurate) is shameful. I think (I hope), though, that all of this unveiled sexism has awoken an American public that has been sleeping.

We have allowed ourselves to slumber, feeling that “enough” progress (whatever that means) in the realm of equality for women has been made. (e.g., More women are in the workforce than ever before. This generation of fathers is participating more in the rearing of children and household duties than did their fathers.) But clearly, as recent news, events and social networking offerings have shown (see above), this is not the case. If we are moving at all, our direction is most certainly not forward.

Bottom line, I am thankful for this stuff. There isn’t anything about each of the above-bulleted scenarios that doesn’t stink, mind you. But the misogyny in the air as of late seems to have performed a much-needed function. Anger and outrage are already being expressed for American nuns. I certainly hope that this is not the end of the Equal Pay Measure. At the very least I have a feeling that we haven’t heard the last about the Senate’s shortsighted action. It is an election year, after all, and we do get the chance to express ourselves definitively about it in November.

What more is to come only time will tell. And I do believe that it will come. For women have (once again) been smitten.

 

Arise, lionesses, and roar.
You are the hunters;
you are the providers;
you are the mothers;
you are the keepers of this pride.
The desert forgets
your prowess and power,

and is haughty in its disrespect.

There is a rumbling in the depth of my spirit,
a growl of displeasure vibrating.
It is deep enough
that some may mistake it for a purr.
But there is fire in my eyes
and my ears are flat.
My sisters and I have caught scent.
You might steer clear of our path.

For when she bellows and bears her teeth,
all of the desert knows
the lioness is prone to attack.

And then it remembers
why it fears her.

“Lioness” from mfs.piccsy.com via Pinterest

Comments 1

  1. Thank you for articulating so much of a growing sense of anxiety I have been feeling over the last months. I am 49 years old, coming into my career seemingly well after the battle for equal rights was fought and won(?). That, however, has not been my experience as a mom, a student, a professor, a citizen or a Christian.

    As a student, I had very few female role models. I immediately gravitated to a female dissertation advisor in graduate school. I was thankful that she not only modeled excellence in science but was also a wife and mother. She never suggested that balancing it all was easy but she modeled that it could be done. Unfortunately, I also had people around me who told me that my career was over when it became obvious I was pregnant with our first child. The battle was not over.

    In 1995, when I interviewed for the tenure track position I know hold I was told proudly that the institution now had a maternity leave policy. A maternity leave policy? That was news? Wasn’t this 1995? During my third year as a faculty member I was expecting our third child. I was told by a departmental colleague, with a very meaningful look in his eye, he had a friend who just gave up her tenure track position when she learned she was expecting her child and he had SO much respect for her decision. Another colleague suggested a couple years later that any woman who felt called to anything other than or in addition to being a wife and mother had been improperly socialized because any woman who was properly socialized would be completely fulfilled in her role as wife and mother. Neither colleague is currently at my institution. I was one of the first 7 or so women who received promotion to full professor at my 125-year-old institution in 2007. The battle was not over.

    I’m grateful that I’m a member of an RCA church that has supported women in all positions of leadership since the 1970’s. However, as of July 1st, I will find myself as the only female elder on our consistory. Hopefully a blip in a fairly balanced recent history but I can’t help but wonder if this is a symptom of the current social and political climate Rev. Mabry-Nauta describes in her post.

    Clearly the battle my sisters and brothers fought in the 60’s and 70’s is not over. I must take the baton they have carried and work hard so my daughter and sons will enter a world that is less governed by white male privilege.

    So, Rev. Mabry-Nauta please continue to express your outrage. Your words are important ones for us to hear and act on. You are right – we may have become complacent – believing the work has been accomplished. However, as you point out the work is ongoing. The battle is not over.

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