Kyle and I discuss the Me Too/Harvey Weinstein business quite a bit lately: what it might mean for us personally and for our society as a whole. Clearly a LOT of implications arise here. A compelling one that occurs to me, in terms of importance as a parent, a partner, a woman and a person, is the near-complete void in our culture of the Coming of Age ceremony.
While many cultures do retain meaningful Coming of Age ceremonies, as a mom of a 28 year old, I know for sure that in mainstream American culture, there simply IS no recognized ritual, ceremony or celebration marking the transition from child to adult. There just isn’t. Any rituals we do continue to enact are often reduced to nothing but gutted, half-assed, corporatized consumer events.
Even if your pops took you out when you turned 21 and slapped a drink into your hand (welcome to this kazillion dollar industry, son! Like you’d never had a drink before…) it probably didn’t include much of a “coming of age” discussion, but if it did, well, lucky you. At least you got that. When I got my period (which is the closest thing I can come up with to a coming of age thing for girls), I cringingly recall my mom cracking the bathroom door just enough to toss an outdated Kotex belt at me as I sat on the toilet, warning me not to change the pads too often because they were expensive. Gawd. Oh, and Deenie surreptitiously made the rounds in my 5th grade classroom. How often ragged, incomplete and pathetic, our initiations into adulthood.
What happens, as a man, when you didn’t individuate from your mother completely? What happens when, as a 35 year old woman, you’re still “daddy’s little girl”? What happens when this becomes inherent in the culture of an entire society?
Look, I’m no psychiatrist, but it seems pretty clear to me that when we omit consciously acknowledging and defining the period of time when the child becomes the adult, a LOT of issues might begin to manifest for both women and men. I’m just suggesting it might be worth taking a look at, at this particular juncture, as in my opinion, we’re getting bitten in our still-diapered asses by the repercussions of this right about now. At least, possibly, it might be a factor.
Could bringing back meaningful rituals to celebrate the passage from child to adult make a difference?
I’m well aware that the H. Weinstein situation comes about not by one or two factors alone, but because of generations upon generation of complex history and interactions between grazillions of multifaceted influences; it’s obviously anything but a clear and simple matter. For true healing and change, I imagine that all of those factors will need to be discovered, acknowledged, untangled and unpacked over time. But I think there’s something real and significant here in the “me too’s” for both genders. Time will tell, but maybe it’s a start, a hop forward, in a way, a kind of en masse ceremony of girls becoming women and of boys becoming men in a way that’s very much needed right now.
If sons were celebrated in a conscious and meaningful way when they became men, perhaps there would be a little less expectation on women to serve as salves for males in general. And maybe, if daughters were celebrated in a conscious and meaningful way when they became women, there would be a little less tendency to feel beholden or obligated to men or to ANYthing.
What if we gave ourselves these kind of honoring ceremonies/rituals as adults who didn’t get this at the critical times? Would it be healing? What if we, individually, remembered we were adults and acted on that? What would change for us in our lives? What difficulties would evaporate instantly? What obligatory feelings and actions would cease? What new, real inspiration would suddenly find freedom of expression? What would we step into?? What would we create???
I’m not talking about becoming super serious all the time, wearing a stiff suit, carrying a briefcase and saying things like “in accordance” all the time, I’m talking about owning the joy of our freedom as men and women to be ourselves and make our own decisions and follow our hearts. Think about it; this isn’t something that’s all that encouraged in our capitalist society. A big Why? Corporate power. Think about the implications of the population coming of age on corporate interests…
Each of us growing up (at whatever age we happen to be) and realizing who we are, even on that level, might actually turn things around, begin to heal every global issue and obliterate abuse in all forms. For real. Think about what would happen if we trusted our hearts, our bodies, our intellect and abilities. Think about what would happen if we remembered how to do that. It’s possible. At the very least, it wouldn’t be so easy for corporate interests to step in and “parent” us any of us anymore in such devastatingly harmful ways, convincing us what we need isn’t food, it’s (their) food “products”. That what we need isn’t nature, sunshine and movement, it’s (their) pharmaceuticals. And so on and so forth.
Oh yeah, and we wouldn’t be such easy prey (men and women alike) for ANYone who wanted to take advantage of us, Harvey Weinstein. Women are particularly vulnerable of course, due to the history of oppression (and the continuation of that in many forms), but men who remain children are also easy targets for culture vultures in their own way. Adults, it just turns out, are much less manipulable than children.
Maybe, just maybe, we can rediscover and create powerful and celebratory Coming of Age ceremonies for ourselves and our children. Maybe we can come into our own, Maybe we can finally grow up. LiveLove&BU
image credit allthatisinteresting.com