Dear Patriarchy, We Know That Our Vaginas Terrify You.
We know that our vaginas terrify you. We know that the utter power of our life-bringing vessel has left you quaking like a cornered animal, and that — like the sage grouse who puffs his wings to appear larger and more imposing when threatened — your only response is to try to assuage and disguise your own terror with bravado.
We know that your dedicated effort to desiccate and shame our bodies and souls comes not from your own sense of superiority, but in fact, from your deep fear of inferiority. We know that your relentless mission to strip away and disconnect us from our power stems from your deep fear of powerlessness.
Centuries of this charade have, in large part, had the desired effect: the 20th century saw you win the battle of waging women against themselves. We have become our own worst enemy, falling right into the trap that you set for us. We hate our bodies, we hate our periods, we hate birth, we hate breast milk. We absolutely hate our vaginas.
Anything that we can associate with our ability to create and nurture life — the very definition of being female — we hate.
It’s taken a shrewd plan indeed to get us here, and it’s obvious you have had the long game in mind. First you vilified our goddesses — archetypes of the Sacred Feminine — and then you took away our sovereignty. You made our vaginas your property, and the vaginas of our daughters were yours to dispense with as well.
In your attempt to disconnect us from generations of empowered embodiment, you sought out the women who connected us with our womb wisdom, who connected us with the healing wisdom of Mother Earth, and you burned them at the stake.
But you see, Patriarchy, there’s something you didn’t realize. When you took our midwives and healers to the fire, you actually ensured the genesis of the next wave of wise women.
To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Dinos Christianopoulos, You’ve done everything you could to bury us, but you did not realize we are seeds. Deep below the surface, our wisdom was kept safe in collective unconscious, planting roots and harnessing our potential. And now the dark winter of Patriarchy is giving way, as all seasons and cycles must.
The light of spring is on the horizon, beckoning the Awakened Feminine to arise once again.
And here’s something else you should probably know: Some seeds need to experience the heat of a wildfire to germinate. In a state of suspended animation until the heat cracks their outer chaff, these seeds open to their full potential only after they’ve been nearly destroyed. Because of you, Patriarchy, we have metamorphosed through the fire, and are now poised to blossom again.
You see this, and you know what it means. And as you have in the past, you will make every attempt to keep us down. We’ve learned, in no uncertain terms, that you will not let us rise without a fight.
When we began to demand our rights for equality, for example, you responded by demanding we take up less actual space. As our presence in the world got bigger, you tried to keep us physically small and psychologically contained. Contrary to thousands of years of art depicting the sacredness of women in their fullness, you told us that the smaller we are, the more we are valued.
You told us that our willingness to smash ourselves into the size and shape of pre-adolescent maidens is the price of our worth. You told us that taking up space is nearly the worst crime we can commit. And you told us that to be fully evolved — to be equal to men — we must disconnect from, disown, and disavow our vaginas.
And that worked for a while, I will admit. For a few decades, girls and women were willing to literally eat the party-line of Patriarchy, which told us that our vaginas are repulsive and shameful except when they were chosen by men for sex.
Our vaginas, you told us, are most certainly not for our own sexual enjoyment — lest we be identified as whores and sluts, of course — but should be ready and available and appropriately groomed at all times for the pleasure of Patriarchal domination.
And we believed it, so much so that we began to doubt our own ability to give birth through our vaginas without your supervision, and decided that ultimately, birth via major abdominal surgery was in fact preferable to doing anything that might decrease our vagina’s worth as defined by you, Patriarchy.
It was then that we began telling your lies for you — to ourselves, and to our daughters. It was at that point that you may have thought the war was won, and understandably so: the traitors in our ranks were us.
But even from those lies we have begun to awaken, stepping up recently in defense of our vaginas. Speaking about our vaginas, owning them. Refusing to be ignorant and disconnected from our power. Refusing to be the traitors, and instead welcoming our daughters — and ourselves — to an empowered and vagina-positive experience of womanhood.
And whoa, this really freaks you out! You are seriously losing your mind over the fact that we women may no longer act out our role in your vagina drama, Patriarchy! Rather than reading like automatons from the script that was passed down to us, we are connecting with our own inner wisdom and finding our voices.
No longer willing to fight each other or to make an enemy of whom we see in the mirror, we are naming the real enemy. And guess what, Patriarchy? The enemy is You.
So, like any desperate warrior whose cover is blown, you’re amping up your offense. You’re planting more weapons in the minefield, sending out your politicians to once again attempt to rein in our female-body sovereignty with laws made by men.
You’re redoubling the efforts of your propaganda machine, sending out music and books and movies and TV shows to the frontlines, reminding us of our role and our place. Reminding us to stay small, to not take up space. You’re making porn increasingly more violent, ensuring that you are also indoctrinating the next wave of infantry to believe it is their rightful duty to dominate us. To grab our pussies.
But here’s the thing, Patriarchy: The jig is up! We see you. We see your desperation, your fearful fury. And whatever attacks you may launch at us, we will stand here on the frontlines, shoulder to shoulder with the others who have awakened, amassing our ranks in the red tents we’ve raised on the battlefield.
We are calling in our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, our wives. Calling in our husbands and brothers and fathers and sons. Calling in all who are willing to step out of our tiny boxes, shred the scripts we were handed, and break through our fire-readied shells.
Calling in anyone, everyone, who is not terrified of our vaginas.
Amy Bammel Wilding is the creator of Red Tent :: Louisville, a sacred interfaith women’s community in Louisville, Kentucky. Amy has been leading sacred women’s circles, mother-daughter circles and retreats, and rite-of-passage ceremonies since 2006, just after her initiation to motherhood. Amy is a perpetual student of womanhood and spirituality, continually inspired by the place where the two realms overlap. Passionate about empowering girls and women, Amy is devoted to witnessing and inspiring the reawakening of the Sacred Feminine from the individual to the global level. Amy’s book, ‘Maiden’s Journey: A Coming of Age Circle for Mothers and Daughters’, will be published in 2017.