All women are created equal.
One small step for woman; one giant step for womankind.
Women are expected to include themselves in the following and not complain.
All men are created equal.
One small step for man; one giant step for mankind.
In a StarTribune article analyzing the New York Times “1619 Project,” Katherine Kersten wrote,
Man’s seemingly boundless capacity for inhumanity to his fellow man
is one of history’s indelible lessons.It’s typical male-centered language using “man” to mean “also women.” For centuries women have been expected to swallow this without minding it. I mind it. So I revised it:
Humanity’s seemingly boundless capacity for inhumanity to fellow humans
is one of history’s indelible lessons.
I’m pleased that the StarTribune published my letter with this revision. It has published my other feminist letters.
Sexist backlash almost did in the word “feminist,” which simply means in favor of equality for women. I know many feminist men.
The following passages come from a book that I find thoughtful and nourishing, but irritatingly full of he-man language. I revised it and challenge men to include themselves in the woman-centered language:
The soul represents that part of womankind
that forms and cushions her living
and brings her extraordinary information.
In her experiences, woman is reminded of non-physical reality,
which impinges on the most intimate portions of her life.
In The Varieties of Religious Experience (73), William James quotes people who say they know God exists. I changed the pronouns:
God surrounds me like the physical atmosphere.
She is closer to me than my own breath.
In her literally I live and move and have my being.
There are times when I seem to stand in her very presence,
to talk with her.
Answers to prayer have come,
sometimes direct and overwhelming in their revelation
of her presence and powers.
There are times when she seems far off,
but this is always my fault.”
Here are more passages to test your ability to adjust to feminine God-talk. I adapted these from a novel by Lorraine Snelling:
Lady, I give up. This is too much.
If you have a plan for my life, let me know it.
Our Heavenly Mother knows our needs. She is protecting us.
I believe She is opening my eyes to Her plan for me.
Lady, give me the wisdom to know what’s right in this challenging situation.
Spirit has amazing ways of working everything out for the best, doesn’t She?
Spirit, help thou my unbelief.
I hope these examples are ways for readers to retrain their minds. My purposes are to raise awareness of sexist talk and awareness of the damage it causes.
*** I should have seen it coming and explained the following immediately. An email comment tells me I'm misunderstood as advocating a female image of what is called "God" to replace the male image.
I do not pray to or think of the Source/Creator as having a gender. My purpose here is to raise awareness of male-dominant God-talk, to provoke understanding of how minds are trained.
In Beyond Parochial Faith, I give this list of
possible synonyms for the word “God.” My list includes Energy, Source, Transcendence, Divinity, Infinity, Vastness, Creator, Force, Mystery, and Consciousness.
None of these alone completely satisfies me. Lao Tzu said, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.”