Because to be born female is…

Because to be born female is to be of the very first, most fundamental Other (than the male.)

The primary shift in perception that I have lived through and pushed for in ways both intimate and public is being born female.  This change has all to do with women, beginning with my generation, being released from containment within a definition of woman as body, only.  That is, our function first and foremost defined and perceived as the vessel of human reproduction (and its running mate object of desire) to the exclusion & suppression of all our other potential narrative attributes.

About the meaning of women’s walking from R. Solnit’s “Wanderlust. A History of Walking” Penquin Books,2000.

What better symbol for this onus of carrying narrative responsibility for human sexuality than Original Sin.  That burden rests squarely on the female, if we’re to be honest about it.  But what if we break Eve’s generous offer to share that apple out of its ancient, arid containment within the male narrative? That tale of origins where the red fruit signifies the loss of innocence (being near to God) through a shocking recognition of the very physical nature of our sexuality?  What if we release that apple into a symbol of our separation from the “blissful unconsciousness” of the animal kingdom?  Then I’d have to say to that bold girl Eve, “Lead on, sister.”  Because evolving consciousness is our work to do here.  And a source of joy.  Besides, there’s no going back.

This shift, this release from being body, only, has been caused for the very first time, this very latest instant, by women having a choice – in a very real sense of the very real moment of decision and not hypothetical in the way of a man’s choice in it- about having babies, how many, or any at all. Sexual reproduction is, after all the disguises, repressions, dressing up fancy as desire (which is, yes, an essential part of it) how the species replicates; is how our energy of human life threads out into the future.

“…one ought rather to be surprised that a thing [sex] which plays throughout so important a part in human life has hitherto practically been disregarded by philosophers altogether, and lies before us as raw and untreated material.”  Arthur Schopenhauer

Because gender composes the two halves of the equation of life, gender leads everywhere, into every heart.  And now at last we can have an approximation of equal footing; that is women need no longer bear immeasurably more than men the consequences of the sexual act. This changes everything.  Because now more directly than ever before, in spite of all the sublimation, deflection, projection, appropriation, women are driving the twist of change in the social chromosomal.  And this change is, I maintain, causing a consequent twist in our narratives.

Woman’s containment inside a primary narrative attribute of being reproductive vessel, woman as body, only has been, at root, required by the greatest of male insecurities – assurance of paternity.  For this our science now has answers in its detangling of the genetic puzzle.  But this will not eliminate an other, brother insecurity in the male heart. IMDB production still from Blue ValentineOne I perceive more sympathetically now than I once did.

This is the insecurity caused by the ancient, aching inequality of the act of birth.  This inequality is at core, when you strip away all else, a fact of life as much as are death and illness and uncertainty.  Women make direct, physical Anton and the boys. Production still from In a Better Worldcontribution to the through thread of life by “simply” giving birth.  The brute & pleasurable reality of it have been glaringly front and center for women, no way around it.  With their distanced, abstracted view of a more or less equal biological contribution and 9 months past sense of consequence, men compensate with a narrative chock full of crazy business: stories of heroes and battles, conquerings and stealings and chest beating ad infinitum.  All for men to feel what they’re giving has more value than life itself, somehow.  And in the process the drama and danger of our birthing is debased, relegated to backstory.

Not so, of course, sexual desire which is always to be foregrounded because of the male narrative’s investment in a primary definition of malehood as always at the ready to reproduce.  This in turn requires a conception of femaleness as always in a heat to attract and inspire male readiness.   This is folded beneath, sublimated by an addiction to the tremendous energy to be mined from the contradiction and psychotic discord invested in the theme of the dissolution of the ego in the sexual act.  And all this bundle of subconscious wrangling is set in a narrative obsessed with the pursuit, reflection and aggrandizement of self.The midwiffery gals on a break from Call the Midwife

So now to our great relief and in the nick of time not only women but men too, are being set loose to wander the terrain of redefinition.  And it is a great joy that we can help each other in this.  Women’s release from the reproductive burden is matched by a release of men from their ancient, repressed guilt at the risk of “causing” our deaths by their desire of us; a fact of life (the chance of death in childbirth) repressed in the male narrative and now largely blown back to manageable possibility in my generation.  Again, thanks to our medical science.

The fact of the matter is, we’re all in it together, this life, while we’re here.  We could not do life without each other, men and women.  There is so much fine energy to be spun from the symbiosis of joining forces rather than the diminution of one at the expense of the other, a parasitic relation.  As if there were only so much light, a finite amount of energy to go around. That old torn tale of life portrayed as an eternal fight for survival upon a planet lashed and lacerated, all excused, given reason by apocalyptic prophesies of earthen stinginess – when in truth we have been given every resource.  Around that fire there is never enough warmth or food or territory or love to go around, or just enough to fight over.  In this new chapter, survival’s now more to do with helping each other recognize our tender, fleeting connectivity, our web of mammalian coat in float over the earth.

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