Question of the week: Female Power

Today is International Women’s Day.

So, the question of the week, naturally, is, What (if anything) are you doing for it?

In her often-quoted 1979 essay “Why Women Need the Goddess“, Carol Christ said:


Religious symbol systems focused around the exclusively male images of divinity create the impression that female power can never be fully legitimate or wholly beneficent…

The simplest and most basic meaning of the symbol of Goddess is the acknowledgment of the legitimacy of female power as beneficent and independant power.

My question for this week – and I mean this question with honest curiosity – concerns female power: political, economic, social, personal, spiritual. Is female power just the same as any kind of power, but that it happens to be wielded by women? Is it the case that the whole Goddess movement has a mainly political point, namely, the shifting of power into the hands of women, and the symbol of the Goddess is only a political device intended to achieve that result? Upon reading Carol Christ’s essay, that is the impression that I get, at least in the first few pages. Or, is there something distinct and different about female power? Does power wielded by women do different things, or aim for different purposes? Is it exercised in a distinct kind of way? CC’s essay says that power in a Goddess-centered context is “exercised in harmony with the energies and wills of other beings“. This suggests that female power is more collaborative and cooperative. Is she right? Is there something distinctly “female” about cooperation?

Or, is it really obvious from these questions that I haven’t studied much feminist thought, and that I’m asking entirely the wrong questions about female power?

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