Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 14

In the moment of our birth, patriarchy imposes particular shape and form that is deeply prob- itself on us before we are even aware of a “me” lematic, regardless of who holds seats of power. separate from the mother that birthed us. This There are some things that limit the capac- is true whether or not your parents or caretak- ity of transformation and one of those is how ers are intimately familiar with and challeng- systems and structures are created in the first ing the influences of patriarchy in their lives or place. So, when using a table as the metaphor, yours. Why? Because patriarchy is not some- we must ask, who created the table? How does thing that is enacted and performed solely on it confine what is possible and determine the an individual level but also on a societal level. possibilities for our future? The table is con- It is a system and structure of power, domi- stricted by its shape. If it’s square or rectangle, nance, and control that manifests throughout it has sharp edges. The only way to include all facets of our society and the world. Added more people is by increasing its size, but that onto the layers of patriarchy is capitalism with results in people around the table being more its systems and structures that are buttressed separated from others at the table, except for by and built upon the foundation of patriarchy those sitting immediately on their right or left. but with additional forms A table, regardless of its of oppression and alien- We must ask more fundamental shape, is hard and rigid, it ation that are not inherent does not fluctuate and move questions to be able to truly to patriarchy itself. easily to meet the needs of “ reshape, reform, recreate, and those around the table. It is There are many efforts to also not a living, breathing challenge patriarchy and rebuild our society. organism but rather a dead capitalism. One common ap- tree or artificial product. proach is to fight for a place at the proverbial ‘table.’ The argument goes: if Instead of fighting for a place at a table that women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and was created by others to fit their understand- other marginalized groups are given a place at ings and comfort zone of their times, we need the table (i.e., a seat of power), then our society to metaphorically smash the table and create a (and the world) would fundamentally change. new metaphor in its place. The metaphor that Yet we know this simply is not true—while it is I like to use is that of a womb—to nurture the a necessary condition for transformation, it is world to wholeness/holiness. I draw on the im- by no means a sufficient condition. There are age of a womb because the womb is the source women, people of color, LGBTQ people and of all life. It is not created by human beings others from marginalized groups sitting on and thus is not limited by human imagination boards of large companies, in seats of govern- and capabilities. It holds within it the possibil- ment, including the presidency of the U.S. and ity of life and the unfolding of life itself. It is in other countries as well, and still patriarchy expansive. It holds conflicting needs and joins and capitalism thrive. That is because sim- them together to help ensure the well-being ply having diverse people at the table is not of all. It is full of life’s energy and blood. It is enough. We must ask more fundamental ques- simultaneously compassionate and strong. It tions to be able to truly reshape, reform, recre- expands to meet the needs of those it holds. As ate, and rebuild our society. it expands, there is room for those within it to connect to one another because there is noth- The first question I want to ask is: why a table?!! In other words, what is it about this ing separating one from the other. It recognizes 14 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G ” WINTER 2019