I have chosen a painting by Mary Bassett for today’s post. A mother and her child, a scene made immortal in Christian churches around the world with a baby suckling at the breast of his mother. In these scenes, the child in nude, a sinless nudity. In the scene, the mother’s breast is exposed while the baby drinks of her milk. It is all good. Well, that is not exactly what so many offended and angry people believe once the step outside of their churches. There is a righteous anger targeted at women in general, breast-feeding mothers who dare to not hide the fact of their being both female and mother.
That same Christian society rails at the Muslim world for Burkas, Niqabs and Hijabs. Oppressors of women, are the charges; fear of the unknown lurking behind these coverings is the real reason. We just don’t trust women at tall. After all, it was a woman who got us tossed out of the Garden of Eden. It isn’t about logic at all; it isn’t about women being evil; it isn’t even about the woman’s body. It’s about the fear men have about the power of the feminine.
Men intuitively know that from their first moments of life, they are at the mercy of the feminine, the mother. In adulthood, their brains shut down when the image of the feminine activates a desire to crawl back into mother, to enter her, to drink from her. They find themselves victims of an inner lust and thirst that no amount of sexual satiation can ever fill. There is no acceptance that it is something within themselves that needs to be addressed, a dialogue with their own psyche that must happen so that they can escape the power of a mother-complex.
Men fear women, fear their power. She becomes a goddess and a demon, a creator and a destroyer. Images that rival that of Kali, a Hindu goddess, that have men as trophies, the heads and hands of men chopped off illustrate that absolute inner, unconscious terror. Yet Kali, that force of the feminine, isn’t about being a force of evil. Rather, she is a force against evil, an evil that resides within each of us. She challenges us to take ownership of our inner darkness, to behead the monsters that rage within us rather than project those monsters onto others. Only then can we tame the rage and anger and fears that breed destructive relationships.