Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dear women of Ireland, there is nothing wrong with you!

Dear women of Ireland,

There is nothing wrong with you. You are great, beautiful, friendly human beings who have no reason to feel bad about yourselves at all.
I recently joined a new women's group in Bandon. After a first visit I was very impressed with the average level of intelligence within the group, the discussions that were taking place were very interesting and I felt this was the place for me. I would make friends and I would look forward to the Thusrday morning meetings.

And indeed I did make friends, and I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions.

What puzzled me though, were the various women who came to do workshops with us.
The first woman was involved in the West Cork Centre for prevention of violence against women. She was a very determined Northern Ireland woman, of the kind that you would feel very safe with if you were in trouble and looking for a haven. She was coming to give us a workshop in women in leadership. A great idea, so I thought.

We were divided into groups and had to rewrite history through the lives of our mothers and grandmothers.
It was a nice and sometimes a little painful experience, but I just kept asking myself one question. If we are supposed to look at history through the lives of our mothers. If women's history is built from mother to mother, then what about the mothers of only boys, what about the childless mothers, by choice or not? What about my father's mother? Is their history not just as important? If you write women's history passed on from mother to daughter, then these women have no real place in our history? That seems very unfair.

I didn't want to bring a negative undertone to the workshop, so I just let it go.
During that meeting , a community worker from a nearby town had come over to observe what we were doing. She said she would come back to do some more workshops with us. More workshops? What do we need to work on, I wondered? Is something wrong with us? Why are we being observed? Aren't we just a bunch of women who want to meet up, help each other where we can and just enjoy each other's company, or is there something wrong with us?

A couple of weeks ago another person came, again to talk about women in leadership. She was a psychotherapist (?). I was curious to see what she had to tell us. She immediately started with a poem , talking about the Godess within us, and other strange things. Then she made us do group therapy. She passed godess cards around and a book of angels....Therapy for what? Goddess? Angels?? Give me a break!
According to her, all Irish women are opressed, submissive and in need of therapy because of living in a patriarch society. Really?
Find who you really are inside, find the new you, blahblahblah. This time I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
I find in this age of individualism, too many people go 'finding themselves' leaving a path of destruction behind in their own families. I have unfortunately become a victim of someone's individualism myself. I have seen the damage done to my children. I think it's time we take a step back. Sure, some of us could have been more than we are. But we have made choices, and sometimes, these include making some sacrifices. Such is life.

What occurred to me ever since I moved to Ireland , and especially in the country side is the power women have in these villages. The men are just doing the work on the land and discussing the GAA, while the women do all the rest. They take care of each other, they discuss the new arrivals in the village and make the decision to accept them or ostracise them,, they comfort and support each other in tragedy and in happiness , they are the pillars of rural society.
Why oh why would they need group therapy. Sure some husbands are bastards, some are alcoholics and some are violent. And that has to be dealt with. It certainly isn't the case with everyone, And if I was an Irish woman, I'd be very insulted if anyone told me group therapy was needed.

It pleased me to see that I was not the only one who didn't agree. In fact most women there didn't agree. We have decided not to let anyone come over and teach us about what kind of women they want us to be. We can chose if we want to be religious or not. We are a group of women who want to have fun, be friends and help each other out where we can, find causes to support and take action if needed. We are strong and we can do it alone, without therapists or observers, and if we chose to find a godess then we can do that aswell, if we really want to see angels, that is our own choice.

Women of Ireland, you are a great bunch. Time to start believing it.

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