"We have to rewrite the world."
- Ursula Le Guin
While Harvey Weinstein is the latest poster child for the systemic, misogynistic abuse of women, his story unfortunately, is neither exceptional nor unique. The story of men who use their power to coerce, intimidate and sexually assault women is a story that extends back to the beginnings of civilization. What is exceptional with regards to Weinstein is the number of women who are refusing to stay silent. The #metoo social media phenomena is giving all of us, men and women, the opportunity of seeing a world that has been hidden in plain sight for centuries.
Social scientists have documented the ways in which social myths support systemic power structures. If you want to topple misogyny, you must start with the mythologies that reinforce it. Thousands of women who are coming forward from every domain and discipline to share their stories of harassment and abuse are taking an ax to a social myth that has been a pillar of patriarchal cultures around the world. This is a social myth that promotes the belief that the sexual harassment and assault of women and girls is an exception, something that happens to a small percentage of the female population. What women and girls have always known is that sexual harassment and assault are an everyday part of the lived reality of being a woman. It is not the exception. It is the rule.
In Quantum physics there is something called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle that states that what is not measured does not need to exist. While we have statistics from the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and hundreds of NGO's around the world relative to gendered violence and rape, there are few if any global studies that measure the systemic harassment and sexually assaultive behaviors that girls and women tolerate everyday. It is critical to understand that what is dismissed as "locker room talk" is part of the same psychological root system that feeds rape culture. Yet this reality has not been measured. It has not been named, until now.
The Weinstein scandal is not limited to Harvey Weinstein or to the Hollywood star making industry. The #metoo movement is providing irrefutable evidence that there is an archetypal artery of feminine oppression and sexually assaultive behavior that has been silenced and normalized for centuries. It exists as a cultural complex. It exists as an internal oppressor. It will continue to exist unless and until we name it, we measure it and we begin to write a new story.
Women cannot heal themselves from the wounds of patriarchy with psychologies, theologies and mythologies rooted in the prejudice of patriarchy. Centuries of patriarchal cultures have not given all of us the soil for healthy ego development. To claim that they have indicates either an incredible lack of awareness for the lived reality of women and girls, or an intentional strategy to promote the systemic oppression of half of humanity.
Regardless of what happens to Harvey Weinstein, there is no quick fix for this. It will take more than a court sentence or even federal legislation to deal with centuries of oppression that are now a part of our individual and collective unconscious. A view of women as "less than" exists as part of the neuropsychological templates that each of us, men and women, see the world through. The less we are aware of it, the more we are engaged with it.
The radical hope lies in the degree to which each of us has the courage to see it, to name it, first and foremost in ourselves. The next step is to engage with the creative unconscious in identifying what psyche and soul are wanting to bring forward. It is this autonomous psychic energy that gives us a more expansive lens to see ourselves and our world. It is the creative unconscious that has enough momentum to shift our alignment to archetypal realities that have historically been seen through a patriarchal perspective.
The stories we tell, the pictures we paint, the dances we dance create worlds. This is the time for women and men to give creative expression to a new archetypal reality that no longer situates femininity and power as dualities. When half the world is crying #metoo it is time to rewrite the world.