It has been a month where two cousins, 14 and 15 years old, where hanged from a mango tree after being gang-raped in India. A Sudanese woman gave birth in shackles and sentenced to die once her baby is weaned, because she married a christian. In Pakistan, a pregnant woman is beaten to death outside a high court by her own male relatives for marrying without their permission. (as read in the guardian weekly)
It is still a truly dangerous world to be a female. And the way both men and women think about the female position has changed over the years, but still not enough. We still frame ourselves, and are being framed in a way we have been doing for centuries. And that frame is starting to be too tight.
I really felt it for the first time when I got married. Out of love and out of free will.
The moment of our wedding ceremony I felt the gravity of the ritual. I felt how ancient and deeply human the act of bounding men and women is. Ever since I feel that kind of gravity in my life on different places. Making a fire or killing the rooster. How I am with my children, our marriage, and my role as a woman. I deeply feel the frame of what a woman is by tradition, by culture, by our communal consciousness . Not just by media that is, but by being a human being connected to all those other human beings before me.
And that frame that I feel, and that many many other women with me must feel, is not designed for modern life. It is clashing everywhere. We are being asked to step out of the frame. And that hurts. It is scary. We don’t know how because we’ve never learned. Because maybe no one who ever stepped out of the frame was taken seriously.
We need a new role model. We need one desperately. Millions and millions of women around the world are being crushed by our old frame. The one we don’t get out of, and the one men still see us in. Whether it’s being crushed in the small sense by feeling exhausted and overwhelmed in the developed world or in the big sense by being worthless to men and society in the big sense. We need someone who shows us what the next step is. How we can reach our full potential and step out of al what is keeping us small.
Jeanne d’Arc, Coco Chanel, Simone de Beauvoire (all french..) Someone who shows us something new! No complaining, no hanging in there, not wanting men to change. Just let us feel the full extend of who we are and what we are capable of.
As a woman I can feel that full extend, but how to realize it in my daily life: I have no idea. I can find no form. The first step I took is leaving the grid of the city behind, because I felt it was holding me and my family in a headlock of who was who and who did what. Now, in a place with no shops, no offices, no fashion and little modernity we find a new grid that is more balanced. But it still isn’t radically different enough. I’m still making the shopping lists, my husband is still complaining if I buy a dress. I want out of the frame and out of the grid.
So I am on the lookout for this new role model. I am looking for her everywhere. And the day I find her, I am going to make her big.Bigger than life. Bigger than all we ever knew. I promise you.