Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shakyamuni Buddha was a Feminist & the Buddha is your Mom (II): Hobby Lobby

If dropping off views is about identifying one's own biases in addition to meditation then I'd like to point out a couple biases articulated in the preceding post.

The concept or role of mother and the nurturing it represents has been biologically linked to the feminine even in circumstances where women are not functioning in that role. In fact, some of the most obvious discrimination I've faced has been in the role of teacher and the different expectations students have for the amount and type of attention they feel entitled to due to gender. (From my experience I'd say that women and men are equally biased in this regard at least in the U.S. education system.) Lately I've sometimes wondered if Shakyamuni wasn't being sneaky in suggesting a more nurturing path independent of biology and genetics, although that may depend on our definitions of notions such as freedom, happiness, compassion and metta. 

Another obvious bias in my preceding post is the suggestion that feminists are an angry bunch. I personally think most feminists today are humanitarians quietly walking their paths in life with compassion and equanimity until they're broad-sided by trouble, often due to an expectation they'll be treated with respect. I think that's true for most of us regardless of gender, although gender can cause complications.

I hope this week's Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby helps a few more 'feminists' wake up to the fact that gender equality is not a done deal even in first world countries like the U.S. In recent years women appear to be loosing ground. The loss might not be such a surprise to some in view of Justice Scalia's past remarks suggesting that the 14th and 15th amendments don't apply to women, remarks that carry the potential threat of leaving women hanging out to dry. 

The Hobby Lobby decision is problematic in that scientific fact doesn't support their argument, it furthers the rights of corporations over people, is hypocritical, and denies women equal rights to health care, an effect that will place further stresses on women and families at or below the poverty line who do not have a choice as to where they're employed. A commonly held bias that is reinforced by the mainstream media in the U.S. is that contraception is about promiscuity and sexual freedom, when it at least as much or more about the health of women and families. The decision is already affecting recommendations in numerous other cases more broadly affecting women's health.

I don't mind saying that I've signed a few petitions this week that I'll be writing about, and contributed to's efforts on more than one issue. 

At the moment I'm reflecting on my good karma living in a country in which I am free to speak up about these issues for my sisters and brothers that may feel similarly but may not be so free to speak for the benefit of all beings.

No comments: