Thanks to Masked Lilly, who recommended it, I found myself watching an amazing music clip. Again. And again. It gives me the chills. It heals me. The past few weeks I’ve been a hollowed out shell of the person I was before you-know-what happened. And today, watching this, I feel some of the old female power returning.
What strikes me is that the singer makes the same connections between women and nature that Mary Daly did: that women are nature and life and men are machines, metal, oil and death. Cement and stone walls symbolically represent men in the clip, as indeed they do in real life. Unmoving, single-minded, unchanging, halted, deadlocked, rigid. Men don’t budge. Their bodies neither.
Their bodies do not have the capacity to evolve, the way women’s do. Medical abuse of women by male doctors in infamous, the most unecessary interference being the episiotomy, where the doctor cuts a labouring woman’s perinium with scissors, believing that he’s helping the baby to come out. What he’s actually doing is damaging her pelvic floor muscles, creating third degree tears leading to incontinence and many more problems that I’m not going into now. The mark of a midwife’s professionalism, on the other hand, is the ability to deliver a baby with the perinium intact. It was Mary Daly who pointed out that the verb “to doctor” has roots in common with the verb “to butcher”.
The problem is, you see, that men’s reproductive organs are so very limited in the size they can expand to, which means they simply cannot imagine what women’s bodies are capable of. They refuse to understand that we are beautifully designed. What I mean is, men’s physical capacities are extremely finite, and they project these limitations onto women’s bodies.
Not every radical feminist agrees that women and nature share an affinity with each other. Some say it is an essentialist point of view. But from what I know about the wilderness of nature, and my own response to it, and the way I’m at peace only when I’m immersed in it; and what I know about men’s love of order, neatness, steel, machinery, contraptions; and what I feel when I see men’s machinery bulldozing nature to the ground and cementing over river basins and mountainsides, I would hazard a guess that she’s not wrong.
In the early seventies, Susan Griffin wrote a book called Women and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her, and it was totally about the connectedness of women and nature. And I have always emphasized that myself. But one of the horrible, self-censoring and destructive events within women’s studies and the so-called women’s community that happened—and I’m sure it was imbedded from some alien source—was that any woman who said that women have a special connection with nature, or that there’s anything like a “female nature,” was called an “essentialist,” and that was the “worst” thing you could possibly say. I have been accused of being an essentialist, and so has anyone else I respect.
But I’ll also argue that whether or not they’re inherent, the fact is that the differences between men and women are there, even if it’s just through millennia of conditioning. I, of course, think it’s inherent. But even if it were cultural, the fact is that this is the way to go if you’re biophilic. What I’m concerned with is the war between biophilia and necrophilia. It’s love of life versus hatred of life. Necrophilia translates strictly into love of death, or loving the dead—actually f—ing corpses. And in general, patriarchal culture is necrophilic, fixated on hatred of life and love of death.
Daly was a philosopher in the true sense of the word, because her words give me strength. I can open up a book of hers on any page and feel like I’ve come home to rest (the second passage of Gyn/Ecology excluded, due to the subject matter)
So here’s the clip. Women are nature: breeze, grass, flowers; men are civilization: walls, mortar, linear shadows, order
[And isn’t Tori Amos beautiful here. Her ancestors were celtic witches, I’m certain of it.]