Women and Creative Power
Let's talk about women and creative power.
Anyone who follows me knows that I advocate for the importance of reconnecting with our creative selves in order to make a more just society. I believe in the power of both individual and collaborative creative acts to change the world.
Why? Because creativity is innate--we all have the capacity to access it. It is a muscle, a tool, a skill, and most importantly:
Creativity is something that authoritarian governments fear!
You might be thinking that creativity seems unimportant given the GOPs attack on bodily autonomy, women's rights, LBGTQ rights, and even our right to worship as we please.
I believe that they are deeply intertwined.
Allow me to explain. But first, a warning.
Defining My Terms
Given the complexity of gender and biological identity, I want to start with a few definitions as I am using them in this piece.
[efn_note]These are not dictionary definitions. They are my way of making meaning in an ever-shifting world. Language itself has historically been defined by men. For a fascinating fictional exploration of this read The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.[/efn_note]
- Woman/Women (or girls): inclusive of cis-gendered, non binary, trans, people with uteruses, people who menstruate, and anyone who identifies in any way with being a woman. (Apologies if I have missed any terms, I am still learning).
- Man/Men: In this situation I am mostly referring to cis-gendered (mostly white) males who built and fight to maintain a patriarchal society that was intentionally designed to keep others down. In other words, the men who hold either political or religious power so tightly its like they've put super glue on their hand to hold onto their shafts (or their guns). If this definition does not fit you, then consider yourself an ally, as I define next.
- Ally: A person who makes every effort to support marginalized groups, recognizes their own privilege, works to let go of ingrained patriarchy, and is unafraid to cede power over to those who don't normally hold it.
- Gender Traitor: Here I refer to cis-gendered (mostly white) women who have betrayed every other woman because of their own perception of power--and will ultimately screw themselves over when they realize that that power will eventually be taken away as they become nothing but vessels to be used by men.
Creativity: A Feminine Term
Look at this image found in blog post called "Masculinity and Femininity" on the website Voices of Youth.
I share it here because it is an excellent example of the traditional ways we define what it means to be masculine and feminine. Now, of course, lists like this harm us all, because it restricts behavior in so many ways. However, its important to note where creativity lies on this false dichotomy.
Creativity is seen as a feminine trait. Collaboration is seen as a feminine trait.
Is there no wonder, then, that these two traits are controlled and minimized in a patriarchal society?
Of course, there have been arguments throughout history to prove that men are more creative than women. But the evidence for that really only lies in the fact that men receive more accolades and rewards for creative acts. Accolades and rewards that are--of course--designed by men to reinforce the superiority of men.
Recent research, however, suggests that the perception of men being more creative is a result of social factors:
Fear of Creative Power
I'll repeat that I believe everyone is creative. We've been taught from an early age to disconnect from our creativity.
Why? Because people in power fear creativity. Actually, as I explored this list of masculine vs. feminine traits, I realized that most of the traits that fall on the feminine side of this chart are things that threaten the ability to control others. Many of the traits that fall on the masculine side are things that are more easily controlled.
Think about it, if you embrace things like unconditional love, flow, kindness, ease, intuition, and creativity then you are probably more likely to be flexible and willing to try new things and bend (if not break) the rules.
If your focus is on things like stability, direction, clarity, boundaries, and discipline than you are more likely to follow the rules.
When you look at it this way, it suggests that men are both the makers of the rules and the ones most easily controlled by them.
The Mysteries of Creativity and Procreativity
I have a theory. I don't know if it has been studied by scientists. I am not claiming expertise. But, I think the evidence of the world around us supports this theory.
What is my theory?
That men in power fear those who can create something in ways they don't understand. They fear artists and activists, they fear thinkers and doers, and yes, they fear women (or any person that possibly might be able to procreate).
Now, of course I acknowledge that not all women can have children, and that there are people who identify as male or nonbinary, who can have children. But this is deeper, in a way, than the physical ability to have children. I think that creativity and procreativity are intertwined.
I am absolutely not saying that creativity is only accessible to people who can procreate. I am suggesting that both creativity and procreativity are about: possibility, generation, fecundity, fertility, productivity, transformation, authenticity, collaboration, imagination, and so on.
Those are all things that people in power cannot control.
Of course, men have a role to play in procreation, but they cannot experience it in the same way as a woman. For those men who have suppressed their own creativity to the "norms" of society, they don't experience the joys and mystery of what it means to be creative.
When people don't understand something, and think its dangerous, they become afraid. This leads to trying to control and regulate anything different, anything that they fear.
That leads us to the current climate in the USA--one where men and the female gender traitors who fear their own loss of power are trying to control everything that they don't understand.
Discovering New Possibilities with Collaborative Creativity
Now we come back to women and creative power.
I don't know what the solution is. I fear that we are heading toward violence and the complete destruction of our society. But, I refuse give up hope.
There is too much creative energy and love that connects us all, for me to give up hope.
My voice is small, but my creative power is huge. I will use it in collaboration with others to fight against the fascist nightmare that wants to sweep all beauty, light, and freedom from our world.
If you are ready, it starts with with your voice, your heart, and your creativity.
Join me by adding your voice, you art, your passion, and your anger. If you want to collaborate and find new ideas, join a creative, supportive community at www.sparkcollaborative.org.
Let's fight with all of our creative power.