A Bit More About Self-Censorship

I discovered a wonderful quote in agreement with my post about self-censorship (here’s that post).  Sue Monk Kidd wrote the following in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter,  and I hope she won’t mind me sharing it.

“Women themselves condition their daughters to serve the system of male primacy. If a daughter challenges it, the mother will generally defend the system rather than her daughter. These mothers, victims themselves, have unwittingly become wounded wounders. Women need to attack culture’s oppression of women, for there truly is a godlike socializing power that induces women to “buy in” or collude, but we also need to confront our own part in accepting male dominance and take responsibility where appropriate.”

During counseling sessions, I’ve heard this same story from many women.  They cried as they told me about sexual abuse. But their anger erupted when speaking of betrayal by their mothers.  Many times, when they told their mothers, they were not believed.  Who would want to believe such a horrid thing?! Thus, the daughters were not only injured by their abusers but also by those they went to for help. So, they stopped trying to get someone to listen; they stopped talking.

Rather than focusing on such terrible realities, I would like to speak as an elder to the younger people. At a time when politicians yell about the morality of using birth control, more and more US children slip into poverty every year— certainly that is a horribly immoral circumstance. Yet, we as adults are supposed to take care of the children.

Appreciate what you have, but be objective about society. It is time to break the cycle of abuse.  It is time to look at the world we have allowed to be created. If women and men are stigmatized by certain behaviors, such as staying at home to raise children, let’s change that.  If a minority population cannot enjoy the rights you have, notice that Turn against the status quo; turn against the injustice. If a company fires a woman for getting pregnant, for refusing to have sex with the boss, or for speaking out against working conditions, don’t ignore that. Support her. Don’t accept “it’s the way it’s always been done” as reason enough for inequality.

Look into the facts. Speak up. Think about how you want society to act. Think about  what happens if you take away one person’s rights or a certain group’s privileges. How will that influence your choices in the future? Realize that anything can be turned on others will hurt you. A law that limits one group can and will eventually impact you. 

You are the ones who will have to live with the outcome of losing the progress made by the Civil Rights and the Women’s Liberation Movements (and the Gay Rights Movement which also grew out of them).  You and your children. If privacy is being eroded (and it is), you are the ones who will be faced with the consequences of that. As an example, do you see politicians who attempt to erode the right of a woman (or a couple) to obtain and use birth control? I don’t care if you want to use birth control or not (or if you want an abortion or not). It’s important that you realize what it means if no one can use birth control. What if only a particular group had access to jobs? What if you could no longer own a car, drive a car, buy a house? What if no one could vote?

And it all does begin (or end) with the law. Sure, the system (whichever one you want to discuss) is broken. If enough of us get together, we can change the system. It happened in the Sixties. It may be harder now, but it could happen again. Look at how public opinion has changed about same-sex marriage.

Investigate the news. Don’t accept someone else’s opinion without checking out the facts. If you don’t like something, write the politicians. Do people write letters to the newspaper any more? Don’t forget the internet; after all, you’re on it right now. Start a petition — it’s easy to do that online. Talk to others about what you believe and why. Yes, maybe even march in the streets with signs.  Vote. Write blogs. Send emails.

But don’t sit mired in apathy. And don’t censure yourself. It’s your future.  If the politicians can take constitutional or human rights away from your mothers and grandmothers — especially those they won a few years ago through their determination — they won’t hesitate to take them away from you. We cannot change things without your help. Do you see how important it is to the future for you as young adults to have more  choices not fewer ones?


About Lillith ThreeFeathers

Lillith ThreeFeathers is a shamanic healer, author, medium, and priestess.
This entry was posted in Feminism, General Musings, Media Thoughts, Politics, Spirituality & Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Bit More About Self-Censorship

  1. I’ve raised three daughters and definitely disagree with your quote. Whenever my daughters have had any issues, I’ve stood firmly behind them. I taught them to physically, verbally, and emotionally defend themselves. This makes for three very strong women – now 31, 28, 26 – who speak their minds. While I see women like the quote describes, I haven’t lived that experience. In my family we have a number of strong women who speak their minds regardless of how it affects male counterparts. We’ve dealt with the good and bad that this brings. We fight for our various causes – literacy, birth control / body control rights, and a variety of others.

    I take it further than that though – I won’t read books about women who are passive and submissive. I find them annoying and irritating. When it comes to associations, I let people live their lives but encourage women to speak their minds and stand up for themselves.


  2. Thank you, Eileen, for your honest response. I congratulate you on raising your daughters to be brave and intelligent women, and for your own convictions. I respect and honor your commitment as a mother and a woman, and wish that more people would raise daughters and sons to question the status quo, especially when it is wrong. Sadly, many women have not been as fortunate as your children were. I believe many women have chosen to negotiate life with courage and integrity, making their own decisions and standing up for themselves when necessary. However, many of them did so in spite of their childhoods, not because of them. Although Ms. Kidd wrote the words I quoted in the Seventies, a time when women’s rights in the US were obviously limited, many parents still raise their children to accept and follow authority. Whether they do it out of fear or conviction, they take the easier road, even when it means doubting their own daughters. I look forward to the day when mothers all over the planet have the ability to raise their daughters (and sons) to think about human rights and oppression.

    I am thankful that you live by your convictions, that you are annoyed by portrayals of submissive, and that you speak your mind. I appreciate your response, but I do not know if you are a typical mother. I see women in the US, in churches, in PTAs and in the media, who speak against a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and life. I’d love to see hundreds of women tell me that I am wrong and you are right.

    The truth is that women are paid less than men who do the same job, particularly if they are minority women. Women are criticized if they stay home to raise children and if they work to earn the money to raise their children. They are caught between: expected to have children, society views them as wrong if they do not, but their employers rate them as poor employees if they do. Women are punished by lower wages and when they retire, they receive lower social security or pensions because of those lower wages and because they took time off to raise children. In the US we do not have 50% representation by women, and we’ve never had a woman president. Women still suffer sexual harassment and domestic violence. Women are raped and when the case goes to court, the women are questioned about their clothing and lifestyles. Often, they are victimized twice (once by the rapists and then by the court and society). Often the rapist goes free. In some countries of the world, the women is punished for being raped. Women are still told they asked for it, they wanted it, etc. We do not have a society where women are people first and women second.

    While some countries have made progress, and a number are farther along than the US, a vast area of the world continues to or has reverted to a time of subjugation of women. Do we have a world where women are defined by their abilities or are they pigeon-holed by their gender?


  3. Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this
    article. It was practical. Keep on posting!


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