With the recent nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Sonia
Sotamayor, President Obama once again demonstrated his “audacity to
hope” as well as his ability to add fuel to an already raging right
wing fire. It is no surprise that the root of conservative outrage over
Obama’s choice is that Sotomayor violates the first tenet of
conservative ideology: that one should be both white and male to
acquire, maintain and systematically practice power, authority, and
control in any of this country’s institutions.
Sotomayor has made it clear that she is proud of her status as a woman
and a person of color and is depending on these qualities to help guide her in
her efforts to make fair, thoughtful, empathetic and balanced decisions as a
Supreme Court justice. Sotomayor’s statements have brought her
under fire and may, some say already have, come back to haunt her. But,
the question others have asked is why should she not be honest in
acknowledging that who and what she is will influence her
Why should the right wing be so up in arms over her comments when
who and what they are have been influencing public policy in this
country since its founding? What exactly is at the heart of their
vitriolic response to Sonia Sotomayor? Yes, they are upset that
Sotomayor is a minority, but I would argue that ultimately the greatest
problem the right wing has with Sotomayor is her gender, not her race.
The reality is that the greatest threat Sotomayor poses to the right
wing lies not in her race but in her open embrace of her feminine power
and her determination to stand-by her feminist principles.
Words like “Feminism” and “feminist” are singular in their ability
to generate an intense emotional response from both men and women. In
large part, this is due to the vast amount of misunderstanding
surrounding these terms. I’d like to explode a few of the myths about
Feminism and what it means to be a feminist and replace them with
Myth #1: Feminism is a cult that wants to brain-wash women.
Reality: Feminism is defined as the movement for
social, political and economic equality for women and men. On that
level, the primary goal of Feminism is to achieve mutual cooperation,
equality, and respect between the sexes. However, on a spiritual and
emotional level, Feminism is also a system to achieve balance and
wholeness for both men and women in all areas of their lives. Feminism
takes Divine Feminine principles, such as creativity, empathy, fairness
and connectivity, and elevates them to their proper status as equal to
and coinciding with Divine Masculine principles such as action,
initiative, movement and individualism. Feminism as a system recognizes
that men and women must embrace both their feminine and masculine
principles to live whole, balanced lives. When we attempt to deny any
one of these elements we live half-lives as broken souls.
Myth #2: Feminists are female.
Reality: Wrong. You are not automatically a
feminist if you’re a female; nor are you an anti-feminist if you’re a
male. There are many women who have so completely internalized the
patriarchy they have been historically and systematically controlled by
that they fear and misunderstand their feminine power and Feminism just
as much as some men do. Ultimately, Feminism is not a genderbased
ideology, it is a mindset and a worldview; both women and men can (and
should) embrace and practice Feminist principles. In fact, in using
phrases and terms like “Hope,” “Diplomacy,” “Empathetic leader,”
“peaceful resolution,” and “yes, we can!” without choking on them, even
President Obama is honoring and practicing his feminine principles.
Yes, Barack Obama is in my view – hold on to your seats – a Feminist.
Myth #3: Feminists are manhating male-bashers.
Reality: This is perhaps one of the greatest and
most frustrating misperceptions about Feminism. I often have to explain
to people (primarily men) that when I’m bashing men, I’m not being a
Feminist, I’m being a male-basher. Unlike patriarchy, Feminism is not a
“divide and conquer” ideology rooted in competition and the destruction
of others. As a feminist, I do not need to deny a man’s value to affirm
my own. In fact, by hating men or any population of people for that
matter, I would be going against—not with—my Feminist ideals.
Myth #4: Feminism is a threat to men.
Reality: Many men view Feminism as an insult or
threat to their sense of manhood because they have bought so completely
into the false notion that anything considered “feminine” is equal to
weakness and powerlessness. The reality is that men need not be afraid
of feminists or Feminism. Feminism is a threat to men and the broken
male-dominated value system we operate in if, and only if, you’re a man
who views the ultimate goals of mutual cooperation, equality, and
respect between the sexes as a threat. If you’re a man and the thought
of having to share or relinquish power, authority, or control to a
woman scares you to death, then that does not make Feminism a threat to
you, it makes you a man who is threatened by Feminism.
As she accepts the honor of being the first Latina on the Supreme
Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor will no doubt face enumerable challenges.
As we have already seen, these challenges will come in the form of
blatant bigotry and fear-based hate mongering, primarily from the right
wing but, sadly, also from men in general. My hope for her and for all
women struggling to reclaim our rightful place of equal value and worth
within a patriarchal system is that we will continue to practice our
feminist ideals without apology, speak our truths, and hold firm to our
hopes, wishes, and dreams for an egalitarian society that strives to
live life in balance.