Respecting Yourself by Respecting Your Opposite
In the last article I talked about how women were not inferior to men and how throughout history there were many women warriors. Often times when a woman talks about women warriors many think that she believes that women are superior to men. This is not what I believe, so I hope this sets the record straight right now. The first thing a warrior goddess must learn is that male and female warriors are equal, absolutely and completely. Men and women are different sides of the same coin.
I have heard so many Pagan women talk about how females are superior to males. I often see the Goddess worshiped as superior over the God. Even some pagan men feel this way. They give me their reasoning which includes females reaction times being faster, female life spans being longer, females being more tolerant to pain, females creating life, etc. Spirituality aside, I get these email forwards from women that are supposed to be funny… they talk about how men are, saying things like “Because I’m a man, you don’t have to ask me if I liked the movie. Chances are, if you’re crying at the end of it, I didn’t.” These attitudes only promote inequality and gender issues. In the case of females thinking they are superior, it is promoting the same bigotry that the male dominated cultures do. This is not going to help empower us; it is going to help entrap us in the same conservative world we are trying to escape. We must stop thinking about our differences making us superior, we must think about them making us a perfect balance.
As warrior goddesses, when we think of our warrior gods, we must realize their importance and not subject them to the same degradation we have been subjected to. We need to not stereotype and we need to realize that each person is an individual and should not be judged based on their gender. We each possess projective and receptive traits.
Despite the fact that we should not make judgments based on gender, there are differences between warrior goddesses and warrior gods. Like in procreation, these differences are needed to make a balance. I am not going to pretend to fully understand the male mind, because I am not a male… but I do have opinions based on my observations and experiences.
Male warriors tend to be aggressive towards solving their problems. They go out and find what is wrong and they fix it. Males also tend to try and posture in their battles; this is not stupid, this is a natural instinct that works. If you look bigger and more threatening, the threat may well go away. Women, however, tend to be more subtle in their fights. They tend to leave things be unless they are directly threatening the things they care about. However, when they are provoked to fight they often do not posture; they usually just eradicate the problem.
Both of these approaches to “battle” are necessary. As is evident in the world today, if the male warriors dominate the world, things will be very aggressive. There will be problems made where there were none, making for almost constant warring. If female warriors were dominant, there would probably not be wars as frequently, but when they happened, they would be so terrible that very few would survive. This is why we need a balance of both males and females. Females would keep the males from being too aggressive and the males would keep the females from being too passive.
I want to take a brief moment to dispel a popular myth. I hear many women say that men are unfeeling and this is why they fight so much; they don’t think about who they hurt and they just don’t care as much as women. This is wholly untrue. I know many current and ex-soldiers and I will tell you, they are very feeling indeed. They have such deep feelings, in fact, that many of them have psychological problems because of many years of fighting and the horrible things they have seen. Men have the same deep emotions that women have, they just express them differently.
Now, I talk in examples of battle because I am speaking about warriors, but as mentioned in the last article, being a warrior does not mean you must be violent. These concepts can be used in every facet of life. A warrior goddess will give respect to herself and other women, but also to the men in her life. My husband and I have an equal partnership that has lasted for 11 years running now. We do not differentiate our jobs based on who is the man and who is the woman; we differentiate them based on who has what skills. He has a regular well paying job, I do not; this does not make me feel inferior. I hold a much higher rank in martial arts than he does, but this does not make him feel inferior. Because we are so equal and balanced, after 11 years of marriage we still are asked if we are newly weds.
So here is what I encourage each of you to do on the first step of your journey to becoming a warrior goddess. Look at the men in your life, whether they are friends, family or a mate. Erase all of your preconceived ideas and really pay attention to their differences; see how they compliment you. Look at the different types of men and decide what you like and dislike about those types.
After you are done with that, look at yourself and other women in your life. Look at the different types of women and see how they compliment you. Figure out what you like and dislike about the different types of women. Write notes down in a journal about both the men and women. Read it many times, meditate on it, ask your deities (if you have any) for guidance. Come to an understanding about who you are and what kind of woman you want to be. Understanding yourself and your differences from others is the first step to becoming a warrior goddess.
Athene comes from a family of Eclectics and has been practicing Paganism from a young age. Athene is an accomplished musician, swimmer, archer, artist, crafter and martial artist. She is active in teaching Pagan spirituality, magick and teaching and learning Judo and Jujitsu. She is also active in promoting equality and balance between genders and races, as well as environmentalism. Athene is well traveled and has been through much of the United States, as well as some traveling in Canada and France.
Athene has faced many challenges in her life, which fortunately she has over come. She tries to use these life experiences as examples to help others grow strong and sure of themselves. Athene’s current life goal is to help women become empowered through pagan spirituality; embracing themselves for who and what they are, overcoming social stigmas such as “thinner is more beautiful” and “women are victims”. She is willing to speak and teach at Pagan events and often will answer questions through email.