Dear Patriarchy



Dear Patriarchy,*

You’re larger than I imagined you to be. Sitting here, sensing your hold, your spirit wide and so far-reaching, I am sad we’ve given you this much power.

I’m sad humanity has fed you, as we ate from your hand and your tightly binding words, demeaning and hurting women.

Put women in their place, you say.

I was just 12 when I heard your name and then instinctively shouted it. My fist was raised next to the kitchen table–so angry, but really it was because I felt powerless.

You looked like control. You sounded like superiority. You were so very different from Love. Even then, I sensed I was fighting against you. I just didn’t know who you were. I felt you everywhere, but I couldn’t pin you down. You were there, breathing down our necks and I wanted to reach out and grab you. You were elusive, like a vapor and yet thick, like fog on the Berg River.

You were always a coward, hiding.

You were visible only in how you played out through powermongers.

What is it about women that you hate so much?
Why keep women on the margins?
What would you gain by keeping women on the sidelines?

I think I understand more now. O, the power of women if we were fully unleashed. We would be women, with our same hearts, still serving, loving, nurturing, leading, teaching, but not from the sidelines. We would stand right in the center. This picture: male and female, working side by side.

It must be scary for you.

It seems like you are tightening the grip. There where you are welcomed, you have your fingers around the throat of every woman and you are squeezing all your hate and fear out. You laugh!

Keep women small, you say.

Tight. Small. Bound.

She doesn’t need school. What a waste!

Keep her uneducated.

This is how it should be, you say.

How it’s always been.

You even use the Bible–this liturgy of Love poured out—to twist and turn it into hierarchies, forever-and-ever-amen.

But, darling, I see a new day coming.

Be quiet, you say. You have nothing of worth to offer.

As if my light came from another.

This is good–to sit here and see your evil tactics.

Today I am examining your every manoeuvre to keep us down, small, silent. To hurt, in the name of authority.

Your world may still be large, but it’s also small and tight. And it’s shrinking.

You must be getting nervous, flapping your tail like that.

I see a world where women are equal, fully engaged, crucial to the conversation. I see a world where women lead from their strengths and listen with receptive hearts. I see a serving of each other. I see a serving this world together.

I see girls running, free and loved.
I see women, their full size. Not shrinking, not over-compensating. Not hiding.
Not cowering. Not covering.
I see women taking our place where we belong. Owning our power.

Not power at the cost of another. Not your kind of power.
Not your kind that takes, starves, cuts, diminishes, demeans, hates, wars, orders, chokes, enslaves.

I see a power that brings, enlarges, serves, sees and loves.

And the way I see it: Your days are counted.
Just you wait, Patriarchy. Just you wait.

Revolutions start in the margins.

And Love wins.

With Love, from a different world,

– literally means “the rule of the father”
– a social system in which males are the primary authority figures central to social organization, occupying roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property
– it says fathers hold authority over women and children
– it implies the institutions of male rule and privilege and entails female subordination.
– it’s an unjust social system that is oppressive to women


Hi SheLovelys,

I was rather nervous to launch our month with this post, because it’s not my usual sweet, loving, nurturing self. It’s a Mama Bear post and poured out of frustration. I wanted to clearly name some of what we are dealing with. I wanted to stand, unafraid. Not cocky, but strong. When we are part of repair work in our world, like rallying for girls’ education, I want to be mindful of the undercurrents that keep women globally from the centre of the conversation. These words flowed out of that place.

Our theme for November is MARGINS. We want to explore the edges and borders together. It’s a conversation that will take us many places—from standing and becoming more aware of who are in the margins, to living with more margin in our personal lives.

There is so much here, right?

Personally, we can think about our own margins, or boundaries. How do we create space for ourselves, and others, by setting margins?

How do we interact with edges and borders? (I sense our Myers-Briggs J’s might pipe up here!) : )

Do you live with margin in your life? Is it enough? I could certainly use more.

But then we are also aware of how society moves people to the margins. Together we want to think about those who live from the margins and how Jesus spent most of his time in the margins, de-centralizing power.

With this theme, I find I have more questions than answers: How do you relate to those who have been marginalized? Where you find yourself? Where are you in the picture?

As a woman, do you find yourself in the margins or in the center?

And: Do you have a story about meeting God in the margins?

This month, I will keep Rick McKinley’s book Jesus in the Margins: Finding God in the Places We Ignore (an oldie, but a goodie) close, as well as this lovely find, Soul Sisters: Women in Scripture Speak to Women Today that arrived in the mail just yesterday. I’d LOVE to hear which books you are reading that speak to you about margins.

However you participate in our month, we’d love to journey together, hear your comments and see how you process. Come link up with us to share your thoughts and perspective.

May Love meet us here,


Image Credit: flickr | Design: Tina Francis