Tuesday, August 02, 2005

so the most powerful woman went out

I've decided to avoid news and media coverage for the next month, a sort of self-imposed sabbatical from all that is wrong with the world. Besides my mother being glued to CNN's coverage of the high school flag core's missing blonde member, I've been pretty successful....but was sucked back in this morning noticing a new posting on Forbes.

Forbes' list, the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, features the usual suspects--from Condoleeza and Wu Yi to Oprah (maybe Tiffany's will get the message this time). Of course, what struck me is how power is measured--primarily in dollars, factored in with political power, which is also seemingly measured by dollars. The richest nations'/corporations' leaders make the top of the list, and it plays out from there. Now, besides the LUDICROUS poll that accompanies the article "Does Gender Still Hold Women Back?", a few thoughts have me riled up this morning.

Now, while the list does include eight humanitarians, these women still hold considerable political clout: Queen Rania of Jordan, for example, or Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (also notably attached to powerful man). Certainly to be an activist one must maintain voice within the political (and economic) systems at play, and not that Forbes is the definitive voice by any means, but this pushes the question--how much does power enable us to do good, while at the same time acknowledging that absolute power corrupts absolutely?

Furthermore, I am a bit disgruntled (although not surprised) that money is the root of power measurements here....while a large source of power for women seems to be ignored. Spirituality. I'm not speaking about the political and economic power held by the pope or within our corporate church institutions, but the historical appeal by women, usually mystics, to a higher power than earthly systems. Calling from God. Listening to the voice of the divine and wielding spiritual vision that allows women to break out of the socialized boundaries placed upon our gender, and accomplish many compassionate works along the way. Granted even some of these women, like Joan of Arc, also ended up influencing politics....but regardless of the end result, such power must not be ignored.

The funny thing is, while I highlight women's right to appeal to God/divine spirit as a source of power, neither am I sure that God is omnipotent as Christian theology asserts. I wrestle with this one, and also the notion of God's authority as greater than human systems, as I hope to deconstruct the need for power and authority altogether (unless such things could be distributed equally, which I admit seems pretty much impossible). Not power over, but power within, to do, to act, to be. I am and we are. But I'm still learning, and if anything, that suggests my need to tap into something greater, to carry on...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just wondering here... if failure to acknowlege or somehow perceive a power that one may be (perhaps)unknowingly subject to diminishes that power by any order of magnitude. In other words, can some powers be rendered impotent simply by ignoring them? Or, is that action of will just exerting a force greater than the power itself?
Always questions, hardly any answers...

Much love,
A wandering hermit

2:56 PM  

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