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  • feedwordpress 00:09:44 on 2015/11/05 Permalink
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    is the enemy of creativity the culture of daily life? 

    The funny thing about being human is our flesh and blood packaging.

    You can’t exactly take us out of the box.

    We are subject to the quirks, delusions, eccentricities, desires and secret fantasies that make up the undertow of our lives, some of which we are aware of, most of which we are not.

    We try to fit concepts like ‘creativity’, ‘passion’ and ‘story’ into such neat little boxes: the five-step formulas, the slots in your calendar.

    But they draw from something much deeper within us: that mysterious, symbolic world known as the unconscious.

    The preverbal voices of the unconscious were once the voices of your daimon, your genie, your muse. They are not of the everyday world: checkmarks on the daily to-do list.

    They need to be invoked and received.

    We can’t create them; we create the conditions that invite and attract them.

    That requires a routine action of stepping off the beaten path. You need that room of your own, that magic circle, that man cave, or what Joseph Campbell called your bliss station. The din of the world fades away and you drop into the murmurings of your soul. You follow your obsessions and track the truth of your authentic self.

    You slow down when the world tells you to go faster; you open up when you’ve been taught to hunker down.

    You accept what wants to come through you without the judgment, self-shaming and fear that sent these parts of yourself so deeply underground in the first place.

    Can you do that?

    Do you want to do that?

     
  • feedwordpress 20:48:01 on 2015/08/27 Permalink
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    darling, it is time to be powerful. 

    Power is a neutral value.

    Love without power is anemic, as Martin Luther King Jr pointed out (and power without love is tyranny).

    You cannot protect what you love if you do not have power.

    You sure as hell can’t change the world.

    We *cannot* fall into the trap of accepting a very narrow, top-down, command-and-control definition as the essential nature of ‘power’, to the point where we dismiss the subject altogether because it is distasteful to us.

    The point is not to play the same old game, whether we’re buying into it or rebelling against it. Either way, you’re still letting the other person define the terms and set the rules

    (which will *not* be in your favor).

    The point is to keep your eye to the horizon, your ear to the ground, and channel the resources around you and the people on your side to discover a new game that embodies new values.

    It is to claim — and to share, to spread, to enable, to inspire — the power to do that.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:18:23 on 2015/08/25 Permalink
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    you are the power you don’t give away 

    Personal boundaries are the place where I AM transforms into I AM NOT.

    People can knock on your doors all they want; you are under no obligation to let them in.

    Your invitations are sacred.

    If you never invite anyone inside your walls, you will die of loneliness. If you invite everyone, you will also die of loneliness – or exhaustion, or disease, or violence.

    So there needs to be a velvet rope and a guest list.

    The enemy will smash your art and rewrite your manifesto. They will hollow you out into a puppet who might wear cool outfits, but gets no respect.

    A soul is not a static thing – it grows if you nurture it, and withers if you don’t. It glows with magic or disappears beneath layers of muck and graffiti and crusted blood. You can save your soul – but you must kick out the enemy. You must mark out a safety zone, so you can tend to the wounded, give your dead a proper burial, and rebirth your sense of self.

    The stronger and more powerful your I AM becomes, the lower the walls need to be.

    Yes is an invitation to merge. No is a declaration of self.

    You are the power you don’t give away.

     
  • feedwordpress 23:34:05 on 2015/07/27 Permalink
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    your second life starts when the world cracks you open 

    There’s a quote by Tom Hiddleston: “We all have two lives. The second life starts when we realize that we only have one.”

    Your second life starts when the world cracks you open — usually against your will.

    You learned a certain story about who you think you are and where you think you’re going. Maybe you weren’t fully conscious of what it was – we rarely are – but this story communicated itself to others through not just what you said (and didn’t say) but how you carried yourself and whom you loved (and hated) and what you wore, and what you moved toward (and crossed the street to avoid) and what you did (and didn’t do) when up against a wall.

    Others reflected that story back to you, and because they were older and seemed to speak from the bones of authority, you absorbed that story more deeply into yourself, and communicated it more vividly, and others reflected it back to you…

    But story truth is trickster truth. It shows itself as one thing and reveals itself as something else.

    Something more.

    Something that catches you – not to mention everybody else – by surprise.

    If the truth of a story could be captured in words, it wouldn’t need to be a story in the first place.

    your second life starts when the world breaks you open -- usually against your will.

    Stories operate on multiple levels of knowing. That is why they engage us in ways that make us feel more alive than the actual lives we are so often living. They reach us through the senses they invoke, the emotions they take us into, the characters they leave in our memory.

    Symbolism and metaphor and theme get a bad rap from high school English classes. But they are clues to the deeper life of soul, which is older than language and too complex and slippery for language to contain.

    To tell you what it is, a story has to show you. Words turn to images turn to symbols: epic meaning rips through the page like the Hulk through his Bruce Banner t-shirt.

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    Your first life, my friend, is like a coconut.

    Bear with me here.

    I was walking to the farmer’s market with my eleven year old son, and for reasons that I shall leave to your imagination my son started marveling over how this thing could just fall from a tree and into the water and buoy itself along until it washes up on a beach, digs in with its slightly pointy end, roots down and grows up and out into a forest of palm trees bearing coconuts of their own.

    Or else, enthused my son, some dude comes walking along the beach and says, “Oh, a coconut,” and carries it inland. He (or she) discovers that it’s food and water and dishware, all in one! Also, you can make stuff with it. Like, cool necklaces, or percussion instruments, or toys for your kids. You can use coconut timber to build houses and boats. You can make coconut oil to cook different foods. You can use coconuts to barter and trade, and develop relationships with other tribes on other islands. And no matter how many coconuts you crack open, they just keep falling and falling from the sky, no way you get them all. They keep growing, and falling, and traveling, and growing.

    “What a perfect example of the selfish gene theory,” I said, taking on that professorial tone of voice that cues my son to smile and nod and drift out and in and out again.

    I explained that the coconut is an excellent survival vehicle that a gene creates in partnership with other genes. These genes do not care about the coconut itself, or the joy and nourishment (not to mention the awesome accessorizing ability), it brings to people across the regions.

    All a gene wants to do is replicate itself, to keep winning one of nature’s limited survival slots.

    (It’s not unlike novelists competing to get on the list of a traditional publisher, with a process that is almost as brutal.)

    The brilliant genes, the mastermind coconut genes, are highly specialized to perform certain functions. They team up with other masterminds that can perform other functions, and together they devise a kick-ass traveling system. The more powerful the system, the better it seeks out — or inspires other traveling systems to carry it into — the conditions needed to achieve world domination.

    “Pretend that you are in a BMW,” I said to my son, “and you go up against someone in a Pinto.”

    “What’s a Pinto?”

    “Exactly,” I said, and felt wise.

    So what if a coconut – the high-end vehicle of the plant world – serves you, but only to preserve the spark of genius that pressed pedal to metal in the first place? Is a selfish thing always a bad thing?

    Life wants to live. Does it need a deeper reason?

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    I went to San Francisco to hear Neil Gaiman give a great talk in an overpacked theatre in the Castro. Neil opened with a description of trees that been on this planet for four thousand years. I can’t remember what they’re called, only that coconuts are not involved. He then recounted a dramatic story that has been in existence for as long as those trees.

    The moral was this:

    If you have information to send out through space and time, you must build it a story that knows how to motor.

    You want people to stay away from the edge of town because there’s poison in the soil. You don’t present an academic essay. You tell about demons rising from the dirt to eat your children; and the daughter of a friend of a friend who rode her bike there on a dare and failed to return – alive and in one piece, that is.

    The story grows around the unit of info like the shell of a coconut, or the gloss of your persona. We call those units memes.

    The best memes win, and by best I don’t mean smartest or most factually accurate. (Some memes aren’t “true” at all: Catherine and the horse, Richard and the gerbil.) They’re in the best cars: whatever compels us to tell and retell them, pass them around, post on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr or Instagram.

    The best of the best create a sense of awe. They convey wisdom that resonates in flesh and bone.

    Facts belong to surface life. The surface shifts and ripples. It goes through periodic upheavals. It reshapes into new landscapes.

    We describe myths as “false on the outside, true on the inside”; we describe art as “a lie that tells the truth”; we refer to someone’s misleading statements as “emotionally true” or refer to their “reality distortion field”.

    We sense, feel or imagine our way into what they’re trying to tell us, even when the words don’t align with the facts as we know them. If I describe myself as a wounded orphan when you know that I am a) in perfect health and b) so are my parents, you still ‘know’ — through the image I create in your mind — a below-the-surface truth about my childhood, my relationship to family, perhaps even the sacred wound that informs my sense of self.

    Then again, I might be messing with you.

    It is not ok to tell lies. We relate to each other through art partly so that we don’t have to lie, when what seems true on the surface proves false underneath.

    Story truth is trickster truth.

    It messes with us, but for all the right reasons.

    People don’t pass around urban legends because they feel dishonest. Catherine the Great never had sex with a horse, and Richard Gere never inserted a gerbil through a cardboard tube into a place where the sun don’t shine. Sometimes the truth of the story is about the one telling it, the state of the culture and boundaries transgressed: the powerful woman who wants what she wants, the beautiful man who is wanted.

    It seems fitting that the word ‘coconut’ goes back to the 15th century, originating from the word ‘coco’, which is Spanish and Portuguese for ‘grin’ or ‘monkey face’. There was something uncanny about the coconut. It was familiar enough to remind you of a head – if the head was the head of a boogeyman.

    Boogeyman: a menacing version of the trickster figure who gets in your face to disrupt time and space.

    He shows up to mess you up, to let you know that your coconut isn’t working anymore. Your traveling system is broken, and you must destroy it before it destroys you.

    Because the purpose of your first story – the reason you co-create it with your caretakers and your culture – isn’t about truth.

    It’s about survival.

    It rolled you through dangerous neighborhoods, through icefields and deserts and stretches of wasteland, through mountains and forests and deepest suburbia.

    You thought it was an SUV, or a Volvo, or a Mini Cooper, or a sexy Porsche, or a family camper…You see where I’m going with this. If you’re lucky, the story had some alignment with the essence of you known as psyche or soul.

    But that wasn’t up to you.

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    The point in your life when you crack open – the why and where and how – isn’t up to you either. It happens early for some and later for others.

    You move from your head to your heart.

    Beneath the story you needed to live, is the other, deeper story that needs to live through you. When you’re ready (you won’t feel ready), it steps out of the shadows with love and joy — to make your life hell.

    (Change is hard.)

    You discover that to save yourself, you must save others.

    You discover that to save others, you must save yourself.

    You start to remember who you are.

    From time to time you wonder at the mystery of it all. Then someone or something comes along to teach you this:

    If the truth of your story could be captured in words, it wouldn’t need to be a story in the first place.

    Life wants to live. Does it need a deeper reason?

     
  • feedwordpress 23:14:32 on 2015/04/20 Permalink
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    at some point you learn that your passion is not your bliss. or your bitch. 

    Passion isn’t nice.

    We forget that.

    We try to find “our passion” like it’s some cute and feisty pet.

    At some point you learn that your passion is not your bliss. (Or your bitch.) It’s not anything so tame as what you might like or enjoy. It might bring no enjoyment at all — which doesn’t make it less compelling.

    Passion is subversive.

    It is your willingness to suffer for something (or someone), to risk the sacrifice: stability, peace of mind, happiness itself.

    The color of passion is the color of blood. It marks the lovers and the rebels. It steps out of culture, jumps class, overturns tradition. It puts your house at risk.

    It might lean in —

    — to burn it down.

    It strips you in winter. It picks at your scars and leaves you to shiver.

    Passion won’t listen to reason. It transforms. It is hellbent.

    It alienates you from those who no longer know who you think you are or where the hell you think you’re going.

    (Do you know where you’re going?)

    It knocks you off the path. (It was the wrong path.)

    It makes you start again: the friendless city, the salary cut.

    Passion has an edge of war. It points to what we want so much that we’re afraid to want it. The ambiguity of hope. The fear of not getting. The fear of getting.

    It requires us to change when we’re so far from ready.

    It returns you to your wounded place, the trauma you try to deny. It is the injustice that calls you to crusade. It is the loved one you lost, and now must save through saving others: from cancer or violence or addiction or corruption.

    Passion lifts you high and drops you. It strands you on a rocky coastline, in a country whose name you can never pronounce.

    It breaks up the stories you pretended weren’t broken.

    It doesn’t care that you’re unprepared.

    Passion stands behind you with a mirror. It wants to show you who you are.

    All you need to do is turn around.

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  • feedwordpress 03:29:20 on 2015/03/15 Permalink
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    selfhood isn’t selfish 

    Lantern

    Sometimes the self-loving thing is to do what you fear. It is to make your own soul and pursue your own growth.

    Growth is hard.

    Growth is anxiety, mess, mistakes, discomfort and an edge. It is pain you must work through instead of shutting down or medicating away.

    Self-love is about selfhood: identifying your gifts and cultivating your talents and learning to put them in service to the world, in response to a call of the time, in a way that lights you up instead of grinding you into despair. It’s the courage to show yourself to others, to be vulnerable, to create the authentic relationships so vital to well-being. It’s treating yourself with kindness and compassion while holding to a higher standard: getting to the appointment on time because you respect your time, going on a hike instead of to the movies because you respect your health, and your need to be in nature.

    We give ourselves away in all the wrong ways.

    We don’t develop a self to sacrifice.

    Self-love is to serve yourself through serving others – and to serve others through serving yourself – in a way that sustains you. It is to be compassionate, to make sacrifices for who and what you believe in enough to make sacred. It’s learning to be in the world and not just one room, with candles lit and Bach on the stereo. It’s mastering the art of healthy boundaries. It’s knowing when to throw open your doors, to let in the world, and the people you desire in yours.

    Self-love is about love of your self, and that includes all of your self, all of the time, everywhere you go, because there is never a moment when you are not in your self, even when pretending to be someone else.

     
  • feedwordpress 02:25:01 on 2015/03/12 Permalink
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    I tried to buy self-love + all I got was Gucci. 

    Young woman with shopping bags

    I was wandering through the first floor of Barney’s in Beverly Hills, looking for a birthday present for a friend.

    I used to come here a lot, back in my previous life. Beverly Hills was my stomping ground. I would drive up Rodeo behind a sightseeing bus and look at the tourists looking out at the locals who were looking at each other, or their reflections in store windows.

    The mannequins at Barney’s are decked out in elaborate outfits that suggest the flowerchildren of the ‘70s: lots of fringe, prairie skirts, denim shirts knotted at the waist or cinched with a thin leather belt. A clique of them stands near the grand curving staircase as if waiting for the bus that will take them to Woodstock. Except this wouldn’t be a bus, but a stretch limousine — painted over with peace symbols — that costs about as much as their fabulous outfits.

    How interesting, I found myself thinking, to see overpriced luxury items used to suggest the mood and values of a subculture that rejected overpriced luxury items.

    Just behind the mannequins was a big, can’t miss sign.

    It urged you to LOVE YOURSELF.

    The way to do that, it would seem, is to splurge on that handbag, that fringed suede vest — an awesome vest, and I did kind of want it – or those gold ballet flats.

    If you crave authenticity and character, perhaps a vintage Rolex is more to your liking!

    You are what you buy!

    If you can buy it, you can be it!

    This is not love, of self or otherwise. This is consumption as a substitute for love. It used to be – as Jean Kilbourne laid bare in her groundbreaking work KILLING US SOFTLY – that advertising would tantalize us with promises of connection and community. What we bought, however, was a relationship with the product.

    Products can be awesome, but they can’t love you back.

    Now, consumer culture encourages us to buy our way into a relationship with — wait for it — ourselves. Just slap down the American Express.

    Because we deserve it.

    Because we’re special, and if we walk down the street in that designer vest, everybody will see that we’re special.

    (I post a selfie to Instagram, therefore I am.)

    We conflate the depth work of identity with the construction of an image. We don’t chase the carrot but the image of a carrot.

    No wonder we’re always so hungry…but at least we’re losing weight, right?

    When that Amex bill comes due – with interest – will we still be special, and deserving, and filled with that self-loving feeling?

    It’s bullshit, of course, and deep down we know that.

    There’s a difference between loving ourselves, and getting hooked on some fantasy image that we struggle to make reality through The Buying of The Stuff – and then, when that doesn’t work, The Buying of Yet More Stuff.

    It’s the ultimate bait and switch.

    We reach for love and meaning. We reach for selfhood.

    We end up with dissatisfaction, emptiness, and self-loathing.

    Whatever seals you more deeply into the World of You is not love, and can never be love. Only narcissism.

    Love moves you out of your self, and out of your head, and out of your closet.

    Love connects you to what is not-you: people, nature, a social cause, an art form or creative endeavor.

    Love connects you to yourself — your Self — when you have the courage and discipline to see through what you want to what you need, especially when you’re pretending not to need it.

    A nap. A visit to a comedy club. Good music. Live music. A romp on the beach with the dog. A trip to the shelter to get a friend for the dog. A long deep chat, face-to-face instead of on Facebook. A salad. A stroll through an art gallery to kickstart inspiration. A day away from the fucking computer. A yoga class. A salsa dancing class. A morning in the sun. A surprise party for a loved one. A close, hard look at your finances. A clean break from a toxic relationship. A plan for the future, and a commitment to that plan, and an end to the fear of ending up a bag lady.

    Love is hard.

    Self-love is harder.

    Buying shit is easy, even when we can’t afford it.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:00:26 on 2014/11/17 Permalink
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    sometimes happiness can only emerge from periods of unhappiness. 

    What we think we want: to be happy.

    What we don’t know we want: to be whole.

    We have turned the pursuit of happiness into big business. The irony is that striving to be happy often makes us unhappy, partly because we don’t know what to want. We miswant, which is the word psychologists use when we want things that we mistakenly think will make us happy (winning the lottery) or know will ultimately make us less happy (feeding an addiction).

    The pursuit of happiness also keeps us focused on our own damn selves, which dovetails nicely with a culture fueled by hyperconsumerism and narcissism. It brings us temporary pleasures, but no real joy, and leaves us disconnected and miserable. Even spirituality can turn into “spiritual materialism” when it becomes what Chogyam Trungpa calls “an ego building and confusion creating endeavor” (the main purpose of which is to feel good and escape suffering).

    How is this working out for us?

    Healthline reports that depression rates rise by 20 percent every year. When you think about the things we do to feel better (eating, shopping, cruising the Internet, sex, gambling) the soaring rates of obesity, addiction and consumer debt underscore the fact that we are not a happy people, no matter how many blog posts we consume or seminars and workshops we attend.

    What if we accepted the fact that we are not meant to be happy all the time? Or even that, sometimes, happiness must emerge from periods of unhappiness?

    What if we recognized the dark times as a process of initiation into a deeper wisdom, that can serve to heal others as well as ourselves?

    The hero and heroine’s journeys are not quests to be happy.

    They seek to restore what was lost.

    The hero ventures out into the world, and returns with a boon to heal a wounded community. In so doing, he heals himself, through learning how to lose or sacrifice that self for his community.

    The heroine ventures deep within herself to confront psychological darkness, heal a split in her psyche, and turn her wounds to light. In so doing, she gains a sense of self independent of community. Her transformation inspires that community to alter the beliefs and values that no longer serve them (or serve to wound them).

    Versions of these journeys compel us in story after story after story, whether it’s the hero’s journey made famous in Star Wars or the heroine’s story in films like FROZEN or the upcoming WILD (based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir). Since the best stories also serve as emotionally charged delivery systems of timeless wisdom, I can’t help but wonder at our refusal as a culture to apply that wisdom to ourselves, to move through the tough stuff instead of slowly killing ourselves as we seek to deny and avoid it.

    I keep coming back to Jung’s observation that the great wound of modern life is the absence of soul.

    That’s what the journeys are:

    A call to soul.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:49:09 on 2014/11/16 Permalink
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    voice/vision/soul. do you have an authentic, creative vision for your life? 

    Creativity is a state of mind, a way of being. It’s the world we create inside us, and then struggle and struggle and eventually figure out how to share with the world around us.

    I have a special interest in the female creative greats, the women who stood against their time and place and delivered what I would call soul. And by soul, I mean:

    a bold and singular point of view, stamped so deeply with the essence of who that person is, her uniqueness, that it compels you to open up and feel those points of resonance.

    (The irony: the more specific something is, the more universal it becomes.)

    Her vision weaves its influence through your own.

    Coco Chanel. Frieda Kahlo. Georgia O’Keefe. Sylvia Plath. Margaret Atwood. Patti Smith. Twyla Tharpe. Others.

    I was recently asked in an interview: As someone who has possibly interacted with some of the biggest business moguls, what are some big things you’ve noticed as an observer? What comes to mind, mainly, is how different they are from each other — as well as everyone else — because they are so completely themselves.

    They’re smart enough not to reinvent the wheel – I remember one man lecturing me about the advantages of not being the innovator, let the other guy blaze the trail and make the big mistakes – but they didn’t exactly enslave themselves to someone else’s best practices.

    There’s that saying in the self-help and female-empowerment world, You have to see it to be it, but what these people saw, or sensed, was in their heads.

    Vision.

    Vision is not some distant speck on the horizon, not some fancy daydream to distract yourself with in your cubicle, not some badly written mission statement that nobody bothers to read. To hold a vision is to constantly shift between the reality of what-is and what-will-be, and to do it with such certainty that you might even confuse the two.

    Your vision isn’t your imagined future but a context for your present: the decisions you make, the actions you take, step by step, day by day, small wins consistently over time, adding up.

    Authentic, creative vision is your soul’s way of finding expression in the world. There are two parts to it: what it is (being) and how you communicate it (doing).

    It is a living thing, it grows or diminishes according to how well you nurture it.

    It requires the strength to pull yourself away from the lights and noise on a regular basis, so that you can turn inward, and listen.

    It requires self-acceptance, so that you don’t reject aspects of it out-of-hand.

    It requires a confidence, sometimes even an arrogance, so that you believe in your right to bring it to the cosmic table — even when that same vision seems to be breaking in bits all around you.

    It requires constant learning – of the world, of yourself, of your tools and materials – so that you can continue to develop it and keep it relevant.

    When we talk about finding your voice, we also mean finding your vision – or, more to the point, reconnecting with it, since it’s been there, deep inside you, all along. Name it and claim it.

     
  • feedwordpress 00:17:16 on 2014/11/14 Permalink
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    the audacity of Aphrodite women ( + why we love to hate “idiot bimbos”) 

    I didn’t care so much that Kim Kardashian was supposedly “blowing up the Internet” with artfully shot naked photographs. Say what you want about Kim – and the woman does not lack for people saying things about her – she breaks a mold. She is no longer, at age 34, what Hollywood considers ‘young’ (for a woman), and she is also – to the horror of much of the Twitterverse compelled to comment on such matters – a mother.

    Posing naked.

    The audacity.

    Then my friend Joanna linked to this article in Elite Daily (written by a woman). Joanna acknowledged that that there may be valid reasons to criticize Kim, but not in such a “sexist, fat-shaming, sexuality-shaming bullshit” kind of way.

    This reminded her of another woman, who was also dismissed as a no-talent, flash-in-the-pan brainless bimbo soon to disappear into the ether from which she had recently emerged: Madonna.

    And I started thinking about archetypes.

    About Aphrodite.

    We love to watch Aphrodite, celebrate Aphrodite, and we love to judge, hate and despise her.

    She’s been stomped into a stereotype and restricted to a limited range of acceptable behaviors.

    You can dismiss – as the Elite Daily article does – the culture’s fascination with “idiot bimbos” as the sign of a depraved and intellectually deficient pop culture. I would argue something that Hollywood has long understood: we are fascinated by people who represent archetypes, those primal patterns of behavior that form the structure of the human psyche. Whether it’s done consciously or not – and an icon like Marilyn Monroe constructed her persona very consciously — certain people have a talent that goes beyond what we recognize as talent (acting, singing, dancing) and is all about invoking an archetype in the collective mind of the public.

    Monroe, for example, began her career as a ‘girl next door’ ‘sweetheart’ Everywoman. When the studio dropped her and her career seemed a dead end, Monroe realized that this position had been locked up by actresses like Doris Day. What America lacked was its own, homegrown answer to the European sirens (Brigitte Bardot) making such an impression on audiences.

    Monroe took note, and leaned into an archetype that probably came more naturally to her anyway.

    She turned herself into the epitome of the Aphrodite woman.

    Aphrodite: goddess of passion, desire, womanly beauty, pleasure, joy, impeccable taste. Scholars have argued that before she became known as Aphrodite to the ancient Greeks (and Venus to the Romans), she was — in earlier incarnations in unconquered civilizations — Ishtar (to the Egyptians) and Inanna (to the Sumerians).

    Inanna was no ‘idiot bimbo’. She was the goddess of love and fertility – and warfare (all is fair in love and war!). She was independent, self-determined, brilliant, powerful and unabashedly sexual, crying out lines like, “Who will plow my vulva?” The first hero’s journey ever recorded was the heroine’s journey featuring Inanna’s ambitious descent into the Underworld. She had complicated relationships with men, especially her younger lover Dumuzi. Temples were built in her honor. Kings established their legitimacy by invoking a ritual sexual act that united their image with hers.

    As the system we now recognize as patriarchy gained power, it revised the prevailing mythology to reflect and justify a changing world.

    Inanna – and the sexual confidence that she represented – got demoted.

    Recently, someone asked Mark Zuckerberg in a public forum why he wore the same shirt everyday. Zuckerberg responded that he didn’t want to waste time and mental energy on “frivolous” decisions. Zuck, within the hypermasculine context of Silicon Valley, is dismissing the Aphrodite values of style, design and beauty. Of course, they are only frivolous when you apply them to your appearance or your environment, which is what women do. Apply them to objects such as cars, smartphones or computers, and they become deep and important (“game changing”).

    What if female sexuality was regarded as deep and important, even when it expresses itself in unconventional ways? What if we understood it as something other than a systematic objectification of women, but a living, electric force that connects to art, creativity, self-esteem and spirituality? What if we understood sexual confidence as something that does not promote ‘slutty’ behavior, but protects girls with a strong sense of worth and instinctive, healthy boundaries? What if we understood deep sex appeal as something more than a one-size-fits-all media representation, but complex and interesting that engages the mind as well as the eye?

    If Kim K was a guy, I have the feeling we’d be writing articles about her branding, marketing and business savvy that enabled her to get – and maintain – such a grip on the public imagination.

    But she isn’t.

     
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