2012 – The Beginning of the Era of Women
We’re here – 2012 has arrived and so far we’re all still riding this little blue ball. If you’re a fan of science fiction, this is all rather surreal. 2012 was once the unimaginable future. Remember 2001, A Space Odyssey? 2010 was its sequel – the year the Earth realized there was other life in the universe and pulled back from the brink of destruction. We’re two years beyond that date and although we don’t have two suns in the sky to remind us to play nice, there are seismic shifts happening both on the planet and among its people.
The self-immolation of an unemployed man in Tunisia ignited a spark which toppled Arab governments. The Occupy Movement has emerged as the successor (and philosophical counterpoint) to the Tea Party movement. And conspiracy theorists and new age philosophers tell us that 2012 is where it all ends.
Birute Regine, the author of Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World, offers a different possibility. What if 2012 is when it all begins?
Her book is a collection of profiles of remarkable women, but it is also an eye-opening view of the story of women in society. The matriarchal society and the pagan goddess worship was overcome by a patriarchal, monotheistic society which gave Man dominion over all the earth and its creatures. Woman has been the weaker sex, in need of Man’s protection. She is an Eternal Child. But Woman was once a power in her own right, worshipped for her role in creating life and nurturing it.
Regine argues that 2012 marks the shift that creates a new paradigm – a society where men and women together hold power, appreciating the other’s unique strengths and encouraging the development of traits discouraged by the patriarchal society. Girls can be leaders. Boys can be sensitive. Empathy and compassion become strengths, their roles in building community and consensus acknowledged and employed in politics and business. Cooperation and collaboration become the models. Everyone can win. Self-actualization, rather than greed, is the motivating force.
Does it sound “pie in the sky?” I think the signs are all around us that it could, indeed, be coming. The political events in the Arab world are impossible to dismiss. People Power has toppled governments, one after the other. Do you think there’s nothing like it in the US? The Tea Party movement and the Occupy Movement might seem to have nothing in common, but there is a core similarity – the belief in the rights of the individual. And the force created by those movements is a strong signal that dissatisfaction with the status quo is reaching a tipping point.
For those who refuse to acknowledge that “the way it’s done” isn’t working, the Earth is cooperating with some disturbing protests. Storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and the warming of the poles are becoming more and more extreme. Climate change is reality. Just because we don’t want to admit it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Western culture has been the story of greed and recklessness. We’ve conquered, used and discarded. It’s been a very masculine system – we’re a society of hunters. But there is an alternative. Women are the gatherers, the growers. They tend to what’s theirs, they nurture their communities, they make connections. And that’s looking very attractive to a lot of people, both men and women, as the hunter system is increasingly seen as the unsustainable choice.
2012 might not be the end after all – perhaps it’s a new start.
To hear the entire interview with Birute Regine on 51%, go the show website.
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Barnett is the producer and host of 51%
The Women’s Perspective,
a weekly women’s issues radio show carried nationally on NPR,
ABC and Armed Forces Radio stations. 51% The Women’s Perspective
is part of WAMC
- Northeast Public Radio’s national productions. "The View From Outside," Susan Barnett’s new collection of short fiction, is available in eBook format at Amazon and Barnes and Noble through Hen House Press. You can connect with her on Facebook.
Photo by DB Leonard.