By Caenisha Warren
There are times where disruption gives shape to perspectives that impact how we think and how we live. Some might see the #metoo movement as just a disruption, but there are plenty of perspectives to learn, should we choose to listen. The impact of the stories and empowerment of the #metoo movement brought me to reflect on the blind spots of many of our patriarchal structures and the disempowerment from male leadership. It begged me to ask questions of myself that centered myself not only as a woman, but as a woman of color. I asked, “Where have I let myself live as a woman of color?”
There are many areas where I find myself outside the dominant normative –being multiracial and multicultural (though gaining status quo as I get older), a divorced family base where extended family sustained me, lasting single past 35, childless but helped raise a teenage sibling, and working in predominantly white and male spaces. Yet, I didn’t imagine myself within an unconventional place amongst #metoo that would foster a deep understanding within me.
Having experienced predominantly male leadership as a women, I can see there may be a narrow scope of processes that lead to care and protection. And as a woman of color in predominantly white institutions, it feels as if there is less opportunity to speak out and fail. But what the #metoo movement has taught me goes further than the stories of pain. It has lifted up waves of voices of women speaking out and women being heard. It has called into question the processes and structures in place that may inadequately uncover truth and justice.
It is much like my blogmate Cathy Norman Peterson recommends within our current theme, that “Reframing narratives helps us see more clearly”. Thus, I would like to encourage us to reframe our listening. To hear the voices of the marginalized and to be shaped by the experiences of those in the minority. There is an importance in listening to and hearing from women that is significant for our development (or redevelopment) as a humanity and as a society. There is beauty and wholeness in this. But this is a disruption to a regularly male centered institutionalized perspective.
The power of disruption recalls us to lament around painful truths and calls us towards a need for unsilenced histories. Other influences drawing me to listen to women are the voices from former women staff within CCDA who have spoken out against spaces of toxic masculinity. There is the Covenant’s new wave of #fourmore championing for regular leading of women from the pulpit. In this theoloqui series, blogmates Leeann Shaw Younger spoke of stories of black women and Lenore Three Star shared stories of Native women.
In the last two years, I have interacted with more women and women of color. I have received encouragement and been empowered from listening to women and holding their solidarity and support while navigating hardship. For me too, it has been a sustaining place to allow these voices to walk with and lead me as I attune my soul, spirit, heart, body and mind to deeply learn how to unapologetically be the woman of color that I am.
I have discovered just how much strength God has given me in the women who came before me, who are behind me and who empower and surround me. And even when systems are inadequately structured to listen to injustice or to be accountable to processes of justice and reconciliation, listening to women can be a practice towards healing, wholeness and truth. Listening to women is a practice and a space I need to continue to give a presence in my life. It is also something that I would encourage for you and your story of becoming as well.
Links for the piece:
Peterson – https://theoloqui.net/2018/11/05/and-me-too/
Three Star – https://theoloqui.net/2018/11/26/andmetoo4/
- The women who have come forward have found strength in numbers in the #metoo movement. They have found solidarity and support. For this season we have asked each of our authors to write about the dark and uncomfortable places, not necessarily sexual assault, where they too wish for those same things; solidarity, support, love and hope for a better future. Thank you for joining our journey