Women Rising

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

“A Woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“I just want to say to women, ‘Be yourself – it’s the inner beauty that counts. You are your own best friend, the key to your own happiness, and as soon as you understand that – and it takes a few heartbreaks – you can be happy.’” ~ Cherie Lunghi

“No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” ~ Muhammad Ali Jinnah

My husband and I went to see Wonder Woman this past weekend. It’s been out three weeks, so we thought the theatre might be fairly empty since we go to the movie on a Sunday mornings when most people are in church. However, this time the theatre was almost completely full. Granted it was Father’s Day, but I think the crowd had more to do with the movie, than the holiday.

There are movies that I like because they are good fun, or they have a message that makes you feel good after you’ve seen it. Then there are movies that have universal themes, ones that goe beyond the special effects, the story and characters. Wonder Woman is that kind of movie. I’d like to tell you why I think so.

But first I have to share a bit of serendipity. I’m doing research for the sequel novel to The Space Between Time. Both Jenna in the present and Morgan in the past, are fighting for women’s rights. Because of the complex themes, I’ve been doing some research. The book I’m currently reading is A Brief History of Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice. by Jack Holland. I had just started reading the book the day before going to see Wonder Woman. The section I was reading was about what the author thought were the origins of misogyny. He says in the Western world it was ancient Greece, in the eighth century BC when the writer Hesiod wrote a poem about Pandora. In the poem he states that man was created before women, sound familiar and against nature, and that men were completely happy until Zeus decides to punish man for complicated reasons which involve Prometheus sharing the secret of fire with them. I’ll interrupt myself here to state, I’ve never liked most of the Greek gods, especially Zeus. To me he displays the worst of male qualities. But to continue, Zeus creates women as a temping but evil thing to punish man for having the gall to think they deserved better than to live like wild animals. Pandora is beautiful, but evil as she is the one who opens the box that unleashes evil into the world. I always thought that the hidden theme to that story was that man messed up the world and not wanting to take the blame, created the story about Pandora. “Yes, let’s blame women for the evil in the world.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, woman can be just as evil as men. In fact, in the movie there is an evil woman, Dr. Maru, who creates mustard gas. (In reality is was created by a colleague of Albert Einstein.) But, she’s a wounded woman. Her face has been disfigured, we don’t know how or by whom. Later we discover that the inspiration for the mustard gas formula was whispered to her by Ares, the real antagonist of the story.

The mythology of the movie doesn’t mention Pandora, what it does do is show us a community of confident, strong, capable, intelligent, compassionate women who live together in peace. They don’t always agree, but when they don’t they listen to each other, discuss and work things out.

When Steve Trevor arrives followed by German WW I seamen, they fight and defeat the men, but though they acknowledge the help Steve gave during the battle, they also use the lasso to get to the truth of the situation from him. It seems that they don’t hate men, but they’ve had enough experience to know that they need to be wary. So the old, battle of the sexes theme is a part of the movie, but the way Steve and Diana relate to each other is not combative.

That’s another thing I love about the movie. It shows the way women are treated without beating the audience over the head with it. The island of Themyscira, where the Amazons live, is hidden from the world in which the rest of humanity lives. So, when Diana decides to go with Steve back to his world to find and defeat Ares, god of war, she is puzzled by the way the men treat her. They ignore her advice about battle plans, they treat her as if she’s invisible. They talk over her and tell her she can’t be involved in their plans.

And there is the central relationship between Diana and Steve Trevor. She asks him questions about the way things work in his world that he has trouble answering. Her questions make him think in a new way. He sees her battle skills, but has been indoctrinated that women are to be protected. At one point he says to her, “I can’t let you do this,” to which she replies, “What I do is not up to you.” They also have discussions about honor, and doing the right thing. Both have a strong desire to make the world a better place. At one point Steve says, “My father said, ‘When you see there’s something wrong with the world, you can do nothing or something.’ And I’ve already tried nothing, so I’m doing something.” At another point Diana says, “I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” Because they share similar values, they find a deep connection with each other.

I know that in the recent past there have been lots of strong women characters on TV, in movies, and books. They’re not all perfect, they have flaws but most of them have a strong honor code. Love is extremely important to them. That’s a good thing. We need strong women role models. I hope to see more of this kind of entertainment. Not all strong women need to be warriors like Diana, but they do need to stand up for themselves and for what’s right.

Once at a Comicon conference, Joss Whedon, who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other stories with fascinating women, was asked why he wrote such strong women characters. His answer says it all, “Because you’re still asking me that question.” We have a long way to go before men and women enjoy equality.

If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman I highly recommend it because it says that hope and love are what will save our future.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a paranormal, historical, time travel novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and at most other fine ebook stores. It will soon be available for kindle and print-on-demand on Amazon.

Snippet #2 The Space Between Time

August Sunset

August Sunset

No quotes today since this post is long.

Today I’ll share a segment from Chapter 4 of The Space BetweenTime, the novel I’m currently working on. Jenna has merged with Morgan’s consciousness a second time. It is early spring, 1859. This is the day of Morgan’s father, Thomas’, funeral. In this scene, Morgan is facing her Aunt Veronica who has always tried to control her life. Now that Morgan is an orphan, her aunt thinks she can gain the upper hand once and for all but Morgan stands up to her.

For those who didn’t get to read last week’s segment, Jenna has found Morgan’s journals and when she reads, she merges with Morgan’s consciousness.

“So, you and your father decided to deceive me,” Veronica said with malice. “How do you think this will look when my friends back in Boston hear that you did not tell me of Thomas illness? Don’t you think I had a right to know? After all, I am family.”

Morgan felt a shiver run down her spine. Jenna understood very well how she felt. It had been the same for her when interacting with Fletcher and Mr. Dayton, but they weren’t family, and she didn’t have to associate with them any longer.

Morgan squared her shoulders. “Father wanted to be left in peace. He and I wanted to spend what time we had together uninterrupted by fussing nurses, which you no doubt would have insisted upon. We didn’t want that.”

“Your father never knew what was best for you. I’m sure he did this to spite me because I wanted to take you away when your mother died to give you every advantage he couldn’t.”

“Aunt Veronica, father was a good and kind man who loved me very deeply. He knew that I’d be just another bobble for you to polish and have admired as your crowning achievement.”

At this statement Veronica bristled and lost control of herself. “Morgan, you are too independent by half. I see now that your father has taught you too much and not had a thought for your future. If he’d cared about you, he never would have raised you to think like a man nor would he have involved you in this underground railroad nonsense.”

Morgan gasped. How had her aunt found out about that?

A malicious smile spread across Veronica’s face. “Ah, you’re surprised I knew about that. Your father exposed you to filthy, shiftless slaves who ran away shirking their duty to their masters. Any number of terrible things could have happened to you because of your father’s thoughtlessness. I intend to change your foolish notions by taking you back to Boston with me and see that you’re properly looked after by marrying the right sort of man. I will brook no refusals. You’re not getting any younger, you know. Go upstairs this instant and pack your things. We’re leaving on the evening train.”

Deep calm swept over Morgan, as she spoke softly to her aunt. “No, Aunt Veronica. I am not going with you.”

“How dare you refuse! You have no other relatives and no money to support yourself. No one to protect you if you get caught helping slaves. You must do as I say.”

“You’re wrong. Father has saved some money and there is also the money left me by mother. There is quite enough for me to live on until I decide how to support myself. If you don’t believe me, I can send for Mr. Bachman, father’s lawyer. He’s staying at the hotel.” Morgan stood looking at her aunt in defiance with an emotionless face waiting for her aunt’s reply. Emma, Mrs. Waller and Mrs. Carlsen came into the hallway to lend their support, though once they got there they realized they weren’t needed.

Veronica’s mouth was gaping open uncharacteristically. She’d thought it’d be easy to manipulate Morgan into doing as she dictated. She hadn’t made a plan for Morgan’s removal except to order her to pack her things and get her to Boston as quickly as possible.

She looked over and saw the three women stepping forward behind Morgan. “This is a family matter, ladies,” she said with a snarl of derision accompanied by the most withering look she could muster.

Mrs. Carlsen, who had not grown up in Rutland, broke the strained silence. “Mrs. Alistair, I’m new here, but I can tell you, you’ll not find anyone to take your side. If you try to force Morgan to go with you, we’ll stand in your way. We love her, as it is obvious you do not. She’s of age and will remain here to make up her own mind about her future.”

Just then there was a knock on the door. Emma went to answer it. When she came back, Dr. Waller, Mr. Bachman and Reverend Carlsen were with her.

Mr. Bachman, a short, portly, middle aged, well dressed gentleman, stepped forward. “Hello Madam. I’m Mr. Gregor Bachman, Mr. Carlyle’s lawyer. I’m very pleased to meet you. Your husband is quite well thought of in Boston.” He came forward extending his hand. Veronica looked at it as if it were a snake coiling in the grass. Mr. Bachman went on as if the snub had not happened. “I’ve got Mr. Carlyle’s will here. He wanted me to read it in your presence as you are mentioned. Shall we sit down?” He extended his hand to the sofa. Veronica, too dumbfounded to object, took the few steps to the sofa and plopped down as her knees gave out. “Please everyone, gather around. Reverend Carlyle wanted you all to be here.” Dr. Waller and Reverend Carlsen brought chairs from the kitchen table. Morgan sat in her father’s chair with Emma by her side. Mrs. Waller sat in a chair provided by her husband as did Mrs. Carlsen. The two men remained standing. Mr. Bachman took up a place near the table, opening his briefcase. He withdrew the will, which was backed with blue paper, and sat next to Morgan in what had been her chair. No one sat near Veronica.

“The will is short and to the point.” Clearing his throat, Mr. Bachman read, “I, Thomas Wendell Carlyle, being of sound mind, do hereby bequeath to my dear friend Dr. Joseph Waller the chess set that he so admired as we often played together. Thank you Joseph for sharing your wisdom with me over the years. I also bequeath the sum of $100.00 to you, Joseph …” Veronica took in a quick breath, which no one acknowledged, while Mr. Bachman continued on without missing a beat, “for you do not charge enough, and can use the money to support your family. To Reverend Martin Carlsen, I leave my concordance and other books pertaining to biblical criticism and church ministry. I also leave you the sum of $50.00 for the support of your family. In the few short months you’ve been here, I’ve seen that you are a wise man. You have given me good counsel. I know the congregation is in good hands. To Miss Emma Martell, I leave the cameo brooch that belonged to my dear wife. On her death bed she asked me to give it to you on your wedding day. Since I won’t be able to give it then, I leave it for you now. She said you had admired it, and since Morgan did not have an affinity for it herself, she wanted to give it to you, Morgan’s dear and devoted friend.

“To my dearest daughter Morgan Angela Carlyle, I leave all monies in my savings account, the rights to all the books I’ve written, and any future royalties they shall receive. I also leave you the remainder of my books, furniture, household goods, and the jewelry left by your mother upon her passing. In addition, I leave the small amount of money she left for you upon her death. Words can not say how much I have cherished being your father. I’ve watched you grow in wisdom and beauty. You are an intelligent and loving woman. I leave these things with all my love.

“Finally, to Veronica Masters Alistair, I leave you the rope of pearls left to my dear wife by your mother upon her death. The rope of pearls you wanted so desperately that you cut off all relations with my wife, your sister, because your mother did not give them to you. The pearls are yours now. I have taken legal steps to insure that you will not get anything else, nor be able to interfere with Morgan’s future. Take the pearls, and may they make you as happy as you thought possessing them would. Signed this day, December 30, 1858.”

Mr. Bachman folded the will and slowly placed it in its envelope and gave it to Morgan. No one moved, each alone with his or her thoughts. After a few moments. Veronica rose, breaking the spell and said with venom dripping from every word, “This is not over. You are a young single woman. You can’t inherit any amount of money. I’ll be back with my attorney.” She looked at Morgan with a cold stare and walked out of the room to get her own hat, coat and gloves. A moment later the door slammed shaking the windows.

Again, this is a work in progress. I hope you have enjoyed reading another small section of my novel. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-MIdgorden © 2015

Dilemma

Hypatia, Greek Alexandrian Philosopher

Hypatia, Greek Alexandrian Philosopher

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” ― Henry Ward Beecher

“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” ― W. Clement Stone

“Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone. Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” ― Oscar Wilde

“In fact men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth – often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.” –Hypatia

Lately I’ve been struggling with something and I don’t quite know how to resolve my feelings, or what action to take. Actually this is not a new struggle, but it’s resurfaced recently because of all the anti-women comments, attitudes, and events that have been taking place around the globe. We seem to be in a new era of witch-hunts, and women are being blamed for all the turmoil that’s going on in the world.

When some new attempt to curtail women’s rights occurs, I go through a kaleidoscope of emotions. Rage is the first thing I feel. What makes men think they can trample all over our rights, or accuse us of provoking them to rape us! Or as a guy who made a silly video I saw on Facebook said, “When dealing with a woman, you have to assume they are, on a scale of 1 to 10, a 4 on the crazy scale.” I wanted to yell at him and say, “You’re a 10 on the crazy scale if you think all women are a little bit crazy!” Just because he hasn’t taken the time to create a bridge of communication with women who have a different way of approaching the world, he thinks we’re crazy! Ahhhhh! How lazy and entitled can you get!

Okay, I have to take a break from my rage here to say that I have lots of wonderful men in my life. My first B.A. was in religious studies. I was the only woman in the program. Most of my fellow students were fantastic. I learned so much from them. I had a wonderful father, who was understanding and deeply spiritual. My husband is fantastic, my brother and brothers-in-law are all also great, as is my father-in-law. In fact, I haven’t met many men that I would call b-heads. However, when another woman has to suffer at the hands of men, I feel it like it’s happening to me, and rage comes bubbling to the surface.

The other day I saw a story about a football player who supposedly beat his girl friend unconscious in an elevator. The video only showed him pulling her out of the elevator like a sack of potatoes and laying her on the floor outside it. Jon Stewart had a whole segment on the injustice of that player getting suspended from playing two or three games for the incident, when if he’d been caught smoking pot, or some other violation of his contract, he’d have been suspended for many more games. What’s up with that? My rage came to the surface again. It’s okay to be violent toward women? But if a woman defends herself from a violent man, she’s locked away for a very long time? Again I say Ahhhh!

I knew that I wanted to write about this subject then. It had been coming up for me in the books I was reading, in the new book I’ve started writing, which deals partly with women’s suffrage. And, of course, women’s rights has been coming up in the news over and over again of late. Yet, how do I write something that will add positive energy to women’s rights rather than adding to the violence and disrespect? Two things came to mind. First, we women must find our power and stand up to the bullies. Second, we must look past men’s fear, and refusal to understand us to see the goodness within them.

The first one, finding our power and not backing down, might be a hard one for some of us. We have centuries of oppression to overcome. During all that time, women have developed certain behaviors and attitudes just to survive. We’ve had to find work arounds to accomplish the things we’ve wanted to do with our lives. Often times women who’ve displayed too much power, have been killed because they had the audacity to claim their power. I could name hundreds of women I’ve learned about over the years who’ve been killed because they violated the unwritten code that women are the weaker sex, but it would make this blog entry much too long.

Years ago I read a fantastic book called, The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler It’s a non-fiction book about archeological evidence that shows that pre-historic cultures had a female orientation. Ancient people worshiped the Goddess, women had vital leadership roles in their communities, and life was almost entirely free of war. So what happened?

I’ve asked myself, over and over throughout the years, what is it about women that makes men quake in their boots and feel the need to put us in our place or expunge our ideas? Why do they blame us for their lust, or need for control? The only thing I can come up with is that at some core level there is something about us they fear.

The thing is, when we feel fear about something, it’s usually an indictor that there is an issue or situation to which we need to pay attention. And that brings me to the second point I want to make. Some men, and even some women are afraid of women and men having an equal say in the changes we must make to sustain life in the world. Those of us who are awake must do what we can to turn the tide of intolerance in all it’s ugly forms.

The best ways we can help make the change, is to make reasoned, well thought out arguments. Screaming and complaining won’t help. This is no time to lay down and moan that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

We need to be persistent in asking, “What are you afraid of?” and not stop asking until fearful people stop and think. The issues we’re dealing with right now have come up over and over again. Each time they arise, we heal aspects of them, but they won’t go away completely until we’ve healed them completely.

I’m asking, what is it you’re afraid of? What is your fear trying to teach you? Only by facing our fears can we make this world a better place in which to live.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Women Unite!

July Moonrise - 1“Out of 6 billion humans, the troublemakers are just a handful.” –Dalai Lama

“I think governments can’t do much.” –Dalai Lama

“Change in the world comes from individuals, from the inner peace in individual hearts. Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far reaching affects.” –Dalai Lama

Last week I wanted to scream! So many attacks of all kinds on women. I don’t say this often, but I was OUTRAGED by the kidnapping of the girls in Nigeria. There are so many incidents reported in the news where women are attacked in one way or another.

I was already fuming when I saw the link to this article on Facebook the other day, and I nearly lost it. The title of the article is: “Council of Islamic Ideology declares women’s existence anti-Islamic.” And here’s a quote from the article. “As the meeting concluded CII Chairman Maulana Huhammad Kan Shirani noted that women by existing defied the laws of nature, and to protect Islam and the Sharia women should be forced to stop existing as soon as possible.” Ahhhh! Good luck keeping the species going with that one guys. The article is completely unbelievable to me, as a Western woman.

As a disclaimer, I have to say that the CII may be an extremist group. I’m sure not all Islamic leaders hold to this drastic point of view.

It’s no secret that women suffer ill treatment world wide. Some men think we women are commodities to use as they see fit.

In this country women’s rights aren’t much better. The rights women worked so hard to obtain when I was growing up, are being threatened by ultra-conservative men. They think we can’t understand what kind of health care we need, that we don’t need wage equality, and if we complain about the fact that we’re not getting paid the same amount as men for doing the same job, we get fired. Take for example Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the New York Times.

If we women stand up for ourselves, we’re labeled as hard to work with, or overly emotional, irrational, illogical. We’re often characterized as hormonal bitches. We’ve been blamed for causing men to rape us, and I couldn’t believe this one: In an article on Care2 on April 29, 2014 titled “Is There Anything We Won’t Blame on Women?”, South Carolina Republican Senate candidate Det Bowers said we’re to blame if our husbands leave us for another woman. I guess men don’t have to take responsibility for their actions.

The thing is that we women are so much more than any description anyone can give of us. Human beings are complicated. It may be that women are more complicated than men, and that’s what baffles them so much. I will be bold and say, I believe women are what holds civilization together.

In 2009, the Dalai Lama is credited with saying that “The world will be saved by the western woman.” Well I’m a western woman, and I’m going to stand up and state in this blog, and anywhere I can, that I’ve had enough of this foolishness. I’m a human being created by God in Her image with a brain to think with, and a heart to love with. And if you’re such an insecure man, that you have to try to subjugate my gender because we scare the bejeezes out of you, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We’re getting sick and tired of your juvenile attitudes and treatment of us. And like we always do, we’re going to clean up this mess you immature guys have made.

Here’s one bit of encouraging news that happened just last week. Minnesota has a “safe harbor” law meant to treat girls who are kidnapped and trafficked as victims of a crime rather than criminals themselves. (It’s about time someone realized that!) It’s the inspiration for a new law being crafted by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Erik Paulsen to tackle sex trafficking in the United States. Yes, it happens here too. It’s just one good thing that’s happening to change the way women are treated.

I want to be clear, I’m not saying all men are bad, or think women are inferior. I am fortunate to be surrounded by great men in my family, and circle of friends. Most of the men I know, are mature, kind, and supportive. They’ve done their own personal work, and want to make the world a better place in which all people can live. But there are men out there, like the men who kidnapped those girls in Nigeria, who are delusional. Dare I say they’re sociopathic? Just what is it about women that frighten men so much? It seems to me that’s a key question we need to address.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I can do to help women find their power. Writing this blog, speaking out on the issues I think matter, is one thing I can do. Another is to support women in my local area in any way I can. What I feel is happening, is that women and men are seeing the faults in the way we’ve treated each other. They are forming a web of support for their fellow human beings. I want to be part of that web of support. I want to nurture others, and help turn the tide of human interactions from dog-eat-dog, to cooperation and collaboration. What about you?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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