Me, too: Women and their Power emerge provoking a dynamic that is just now underway. Fifty-three years ago, women gained the right to engage, speak, represent themselves and their sisters for living life on their terms; In 1964, the Civil Rights Act gave the basis for Women’s Rights, and in 1964, Reproductive Rights were gained by women. The shift in consciousness that made for the sexual liberation to unfold has now hit a place of power as women speak. Sometimes decades ago, sometimes months ago, the abuse and insult of sexual exploitation is being revealed. We are watching the pillars fall from a building that remained impervious to change until these women spoke up. The transformation of men and women to achieve dignity and integrity around their sexuality has been a struggle hard won but has hit a wall that needed hitting, hurled a hall of mirrors to hypocrisy on a level that is not even come to its crest. It’s just the beginning of the tolerance and denial that held sexism, just as it has held racism, in place. Why now? We all sat through the assertions by women about Trump, we all watched Matt Lauer directly disrespect Hillary Clinton, we’ve tolerated as if it were someone else’s job to deal with it, the unfinished, rather repulsive tail of sexual behavior far from the goal of sexual liberation and sexual equality. This disruption of the status quo in many quarters previously denied is now full on. Me, too took us all from resignation to stirring what we always knew but never spoke of. The Power of women, to speak, to stand, to represent and to shoulder the burden women have endured is here.
Mary Beard, author of Women & Power: A Manifesto asks that we interrogate our notions of power, and look into why and how women are excluded, minimized. That power has been defined by how it is expressed by men is not how women can direct their power is suggested by her views given in NY Times Book Review by Parul Sehgal 12/6/27.
” By looking at the conceptions of how we hold authority, mastery and even knowledge is inflected by gender. You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure,” Beard writes. She points to the three women who founded Black Lives Matter: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi for their promoting “decentralized leadership” emphasizing the movement over personalities. “These three women are decoupling power from public prestige, transforming it from a possession one can seize to an attribute to be shared. ”
Women giving authority and trust to other women is one aspect of the transition that is being called for, and clearly Mary Beard has a contribution to make to women in recognizing what it is that gives a basis for power, and its expression in the world.