Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 73

SPECIAL : BEYOND PATRIARCHY Moving Beyond Patriarchal Trauma YASMEEN MJALLI How do we avoid the legacy of patriarchal trauma? How do we heal some of the wounds that patriarchy has inflicted on all of us, such as negativity, hostility, isolation, among others? M Y SISTER AND I WERE PULLING UP TO Zuwadeh, a hipster cafe/grocery store which probably charges too much for smoothies but is loved nonetheless by the locals of Beit Jalla. We hap- pened to stop in on a Friday evening so parking was nearly impossible. As we slowed to a crawl in search of a spot, a young woman crossed the street in front of us and my sister and I both turned our heads to watch her. She was stun- ning in a tight-fitted dress and long lustrous hair—even more so attractive for strutting so confidently in streets notorious for catcalling and the unsolicited male gaze. But before my conscious-self could exclaim “wow, she’s stun- ning and confident,” my instinct acted out first and said “I can’t believe she’s wearing that.” VOL. 34, NO. 1 This all took place in my head over the course of a few seconds before shame flooded my chest, making me question what just hap- pened. This wasn’t the first time my instinct had to be corrected by my character. Why was my instinct to judge a woman so confident in her body and its place in the world? In a so- ciety so quick to suppress a woman, her body, and her love for her body, this simple act of strutting in the streets is an act of bravery and rebellion. While I knew this, I had to start asking myself where this patriarchal instinct was coming from within me. I recognized how problematic and even dangerous it was. My mother is one of those women who was blessed with a childish sense of wonder, glow- ing with a youthful radiance both externally and internally. I’ve inherited a lot of things from her, both good and bad. She most defi- nitely passed on her sweet tooth, sense of ad- venture, and familial love. Recently, I’ve come to realize that she’s also passed on her legacy of patriarchal trauma; something that happened so subtly and subconsciously that I had never realized how it came to shape my own identity. Writer and doctor Meera Atkinson explains that in order to talk about the concept of © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 73