Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Of Stereotypes and Archetypes
Over at The Den of The Biting Beaver a spirited discussion has taken place regarding the use of feminine pronouns.
One side states that terms like Maiden, Mother, Crone, and Virgin are negative stereotypes that define women in terms of her sexuality and fertility.
The other side (by that I mean me) claims that these archetypes are not inherently negative, but only become so when we choose to see the world through a patriarchal lens.
Many of the women involved in this debate were adamant in their stance that they do not fit traditional gender roles, and therefore do not connect to these particular archetypes.
The wonderful thing about archetypes and symbols is that there are so many of them, that we all have an opportunity to choose the ones we identify with as individuals.
Religion is the same way. There are thousands of sects out there to choose from, and each person must go on their own personal journey to find what works best for them.
The thing that disturbs me in all this, is the insistence that there is only ONE right way. This instance degrades respectful debate to the level of personal attacks. (Like the current Muhammad Cartoon Controversy.)
If I find the archetype of The Crone as a positive symbol of Wise Woman and Healer, The stereotype crowd says I am wrong, because there are people in the world who see the crone as a post menopausal douche bag.
I suspect they are leading their argument to the conclusion that all feminine pronouns should be banned, and that I should define women by using *superior* male pronouns, in the fight for equality.
Personally I feel that this just reinforces the idea that women are inferior. I believe that this approach does more harm to the feminist cause than the Patriachal Powers we stand against. I claim that we should use feminine pronouns with pride, and in doing so, we will create respect for women.
The only difference between a stereotype and an archetype is that one is used to degrade, while the other is used to inspire.
The group did not see it that way. I lost the debate.
Alas, each to their own. As for me, I choose to focus on the Positive.