A new José Stevens Article

Upgrading Women and Men: Changing Conditions – Article 2 in a Series

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In this article about the phenomenon of “ME TOO” and all its ramifications I am going to begin conventionally enough just like in my last article. But as those of you who are familiar with my writing know I cannot limit myself to surface conventional understanding. Little by little I am going to dive into the more unconventional explanations of how life works because that is way more interesting to me as I hope it is for you. So I will begin this article conventionally enough but I won’t stay there.  For me the surface explanations for why events happen are just not very interesting and certainly not very satisfying. The deeper metaphysical influences are quite fascinating and certainly can change our perspective of why people do what they do.

The first article in this series laid out the foundations of the shift from matriarchy to patriarchy, the primary cause of the domination of men over women in the domestic arena, in religion, and in the workplace. So successful has been this trifecta of influences that many people hardly notice the engrained attitudes that lead to prejudice against and abuse of women even by many women themselves.

A number of conditions are now contributing to the explosive dismantling of the entire paradigm of patriarchy in place. Firstly, very gradually women have fought for and made significant gains in equality over the last couple of hundred years. Women fought for the vote in the United States and in other countries and gained it after much struggle. World War II created conditions that required millions of women to enter the workplace in roles that were traditionally dominated by or filled exclusively by men. Truck driving, welding, assembly line work, metallurgy, carpentry, and a whole host of jobs became available to women and at the end of the war those doors did not completely close because people got used to women being competent in a wide variety of roles. Women made gains in the fields of higher education and the professions and little by little people got used to women professionals as well. Very slowly Hollywood began to depict women in other than domestic roles of subservience. Although there is sill much work to be done, women around the world have made gains in literacy allowing them to enter fields of journalism, law, governance and the like. Even in countries with predominantly Muslim populations women have become heads of state. In the United States women have run for president and vice president, lagging behind many countries of the world that have embraced females as heads of government.

As the standard of living has gone up and technology has made huge advances possible, service jobs traditionally dominated by women, have increased in ratio to the hard labor jobs of the past. Forklifts driven by women now no longer require men to lift everything by hand. A woman working with a computer can do the job of a thousand men only fifty years ago.

All these gains have raised hope and ambition in the female population. The gains have also increased the frustration level that the changes are too slow and still too limited. There is a disconnect when a woman can see another woman as head of a major motion picture studio and then see that women actors are still subject to a casting couch. That is downright weird and becoming unacceptable today. In some countries where women have been prime minister other women are murdered in family honor killings. This is also a huge disconnect and crazy making.

In addition, after all these years, women still suffer huge penalties and bullying, especially in blue-collar jobs because of the presence of many baby souls in these industries (note: there are older souls in these industries too). Baby souls are notoriously fearful of change and baby soul men feel threatened by the presence of women in the work force. They are very insecure and cling to what they were taught about what it is to be a man in deeply conservative homes, religions, and communities. This is not to say they are evil or even bad. They are being faithful to their soul age just as a two year old sometimes throws tantrums. Women in construction, firefighting, police work, military, mining, trucking, and heavy industry continue to be harassed, bullied, and sometimes subjected to life threatening sabotage. Many are driven to quit in self-preservation.

So a firestorm of frustration and anger as well as pain from personal abuse has built up to the point where all the upset can no longer remain underground despite attempts to silence the women who complain, through lawyers, threats, and buyoffs.

Now couple all this with huge shifts in the world that are not always acknowledged by the population at large. Many indigenous prophecies from the Mayans to the Tibetans have announced that we are at a paradigm shift point exactly right now and that the feminine is arising to take its equal place alongside the masculine. The Tibetans know for example that their time of spiritual leadership on this planet is giving way to the New World, to the West, specifically to South America, in the region of Lake Titicaca, under the symbol of the condor, a highly feminine totem.

Qualified experts of different astrological systems agree that the times are now shifting away from patriarchy and more toward equality of the sexes. While these factors are largely dismissed by mainstream culture, hardly anyone can deny that what they have said is coming true and quite quickly now.  The Mayans predicted that by 2072 the world will be largely unrecognizable from how it is today in a very positive way if we don’t resist overly much. But first there are battles to be fought and cultural wars to be won. The Ojibwe people speak of their prophecy of the Seventh Fire, a time that corresponds with where we are right now on the planet, a time of choice between the destructive ways of a divorced patriarchy we have been following or a more unified creative way that includes honoring nature and the earth. These are just a very few examples of the many and varied prophecies that seem to converge on the present and what needs to be done to save ourselves from destruction.

Sometimes it only takes a few grains of sand shifting high up on a mountain to precipitate a major avalanche that changes the landscape dramatically down below. This is what we are witnessing now.  The direction of change is clear. There is always pushback to major change and that is what we are seeing and will be seeing in the current U.S. administration’s appointments of practically all men to positions of authority.

Now with all that said let us look at what we could call unfairness when a revolution takes place. When heads rolled as a result of the French Revolution you can bet that not every member of royalty that were executed were guilty of suppressing the masses. Yes, there were probably some fairly innocent individuals in the wrong place at the wrong time. When emotions run high and there is a powerful flow of energy sometimes there is no stopping it. There are some voices speaking out that discernment is needed and that not everyone accused of being a misogynist deserves to be thrown under the bus to lose their entire career and reputation. However those voices are largely drowned out and attacked because most people who support the revolution do not want to see it brought to a staggering halt by the cautious voices of reason and justice. There is too much to be gained by letting the energy change the landscape and too much to lose by worrying that a few men might get screwed in the process. When you blow up a damn there is going to be some damage downstream. So, how is this problem mitigated or resolved?

The fact is these things have a way of resolving themselves over time. After the initial burst of frustration and pent up energy is released, the fevered pitch starts to slow down and sort itself out. But first, at the risk of rationalizing, let us look at some aspects that may be overlooked. From a shamanic perspective there are no accidents and nothing is as it seems. In other words we should not necessarily accept surface appearances. Again from a more spiritual and Shakespearean perspective this life is a play acted out on a large stage and is not as real as it seems. Everyone is an actor playing out a role in the various dramas that human beings engage in. These actors volunteer for the roles they play from lowly motel maid to high heads of state.  There are volunteers who agree to make major sacrifices for the cause so to speak. This is not done at the personality level. This is done at the essence level and the personality may still suffer and pay a stiff price for what essence has agreed to do. So there are some men that will pay a price just as there have been many women who have paid an enormous price.

Many people, both men and women believe that there “is” a difference between a violent rape and someone trying to kiss a pretty woman or attractive man without asking after a couple of drinks. They would argue that there does appear to be orders of magnitude regarding inappropriate behavior.  There is boorish behavior that should earn a reprimand and there is criminal behavior that should cause someone to be removed from society for a long time. However there are some more activist people who don’t like these distinctions and argue against them. The tougher argument is that there should be a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate sexual behavior and that any and all of it should be called out. The problem is that this can be a very slippery slope. While it may get the message across loud and clear and may scare people into behaving, it can lead us into a different type of suppression where no one is ever comfortable with any sexual expression at all. Already there are many men who are afraid to touch their children or be affectionate with them in public for fear they will be misconstrued as a child molester. This is very unfortunate outcome. We could argue that this is a small price to pay for making the world safer for women and men especially in the workplace but the question of what should be done remains huge.

The range of sexual expression is big and what some people like, others hate, so how do we create a norm of public behavior that works for everyone? That will have to be sorted out. Perhaps it is not so silly to suggest that some kind of simple sign lets people know if they are open to attention or not. The gay population already does this to some extent.

In the meantime there are some men who will be caught up in the sweep and will take one for the team due to some karmic debt. These are the ones who have agreed on an essence level to do so. Like it or not, that is how it is for the time being.

In the next article we will begin to delve into the whole question of how past lives and spiritual maturity impacts the current changing dynamics.

 

José Stevens

José Stevens PhD is an international lecturer, corporate team builder and organizational coach, consultant and trainer. A psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and author of more than twenty books and numerous articles, he is also co-editor for A Journal of Contemporary Shamanism and a board member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners. He is the founder, with his wife Lena, of the Power Path School of Shamanism and The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth in indigenous cultures. He has completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol Maracame in Mexico and has studied with the Shipibos of the Amazon and the Paqos of the Andes for the last thirty years.