male gaze

The Male Gaze, Syntopical Reading, and Sleeping with Edibles

WELCOME TO MY BI-WEEKLY BLOG SERIES

edibles sleep

Through patriarchy, a system or government where men have all the power, women are so often thought of as objects who only exist within the male gaze, no will of their own, viewed as men’s helpers, no contributions unless they are in support of a man’s achievements. It’s no wonder we encounter men who won’t take no for an answer, tropes and ideas about where women belong and what they should be doing, and dogmatic enforcement of these roles backed by violence.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned to accept abuse and trauma as part of almost everything. Most often we don’t even see these patterns because they’ve become one with our collective consciousness. Many are often blind to the mess created by patriarchy, but our awareness, and our voices, are constantly becoming more vivid as we unite in support of one another.

Where could we be in ten, twenty years if we continue to speak truth to power? Can we wait that long, or can we expect some things to change immediately?

Interestingly, some of my readings this week converged on this topic giving me a larger idea of what needs to be transformed in my own life and in the collective consciousness. And on a happy note, I’m finally sleeping more soundly, which gives vital energy to the revolution stirring in my body, mind, and spirit.

Sex Pests and Down with Patriarchy

What the f*#k is up with Cuomo, and why didn’t we hear about it sooner? It’s complicated. It’s not easy speaking up to power, and often it’s done in a private setting where one person can easily be squashed by those enforcing the abusive culture. It’s when we speak up together, in public spaces, that others feel empowered to share their experience too.

This New York mag piece about Cuomo had a photo that sparked joy (or righteous rage/joy) for me. The photo shows a protest sign that says, “Cuomo is a Sex Pest.” This phrase gave me a framework for at least one of my sexual abuse/harassment stories that I didn’t have before.

To all of those Sex Pests out there who see themselves as subjects and all women as objects, when will you realize the non-duality in our world? When will you see our connectedness? Instead of viewing this world as something to be manipulated and used to serve your individual will or ego, we could all be thriving. Without this pathological need for power and control, we could all be living up to our potentials, healing from these individual and global traumas, evolving consciousness, experiencing true intimacy. There will never be a Utopia, but I believe in a world where abuse and domination are not the accepted norms.

Do We Respect Women Who Enjoy Being Alone?

I’m a total hermit, a woman, and I live in the forest. When I saw this article on becoming a hermit being the “ultimate feminist statement”, I jumped right in.

Studying justice in college, I know that Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau are the philosophers whose ideas helped shape our earliest concepts of the justice system. I always thought they were all a little too far off base, but Rousseau seemed like an Ok dude. This article changed my mind completely:

“Books on recluses are always quoting Rousseau: ‘Man is born pure, it is society that corrupts.’

And Rousseau’s plan for women? From Émile, or On Education (1762):

The women’s entire education should be planned in relation to men. To please men, to be useful to them, to win their love and respect, to raise them as children, care for them as adults… these are women’s duties in all ages and these are what they should be taught from childhood.’

‘Sad Lonely Woman Walking Alone Into the Woods’: if the hermit is always a man, if there’s nobility in his solitude, then what’s left for women? Old maid. Hag. There must be something wrong with her. Don’t pretend that these aren’t still true; today, we don’t burn witches, we just shame them.”

The article’s writer, Rhian Sasseen, goes on to say:

“To be alone, after all, is to admit to that rare quality: a contentment with one’s self.”

And “a contentment with one’s self” is what we must have to self-actualize in a world where the male gaze sees so little of who we are and yet projects itself on nearly every surface of society. Women who enjoy being alone can also enjoy the space to be their truest Self without the suffocation of the male gaze.

Reading to Understand and Grow

This week, while reading How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, I realized I mostly read syntopically.

Alder and Van Doren introduce us to syntopical reading by explaining:

“When reading syntopically, the reader reads many books, not just one, and places them in relation to one another and to a subject about which they all revolve. But mere comparison of texts is not enough. Syntopical reading involves more. With the help of the books read, the syntopical reader is able to construct an analysis of the subject that may not be in any of the books. It is obvious, therefore, that syntopical reading is the most active and effortful kind of reading.”

I didn’t even know this style of reading was an official thing. For me, this method of research was just the natural, common-sense approach to integrating and understanding the connectedness of all things, and specifically in reference to my passion topics. I wrote more about what it’s like to be an autodidact here.

I’m Eating Weed So I Can Sleep

Anxiety has kept me awake at night for centuries, or so it seems. While the light sleep gives me a landslide of dreams, easy enough to remember since I’m always on the brink of waking, I’d still trade these hypnopompic gems for a night-long journey to the land of the logs and Zzzzs.

Success!! I am happy, yet hesitant (you never know how long good sleep will last, in my experience) to report that a THC, CBN, CBD combo chocolate bar has helped ease me into sleep and kept me dozing all through the night for two weeks now!

The vanilla bean and sea salt dusted dark chocolate bar by Grön is my new nightly ritual. I’ve been sleeping so soundly that I’ve actually been able to establish a solid writing and reading routine with enough energy left over to up the intensity level of my daily exercise too!

While I’m not into any other consumption of THC, because of its dissociative effects on me (but I am a big fan of CBD in everything), the combo of THC and CBN in these edibles is said to increase sleepiness.

From squashing sex pests with our collective refusals to accept the dominant paradigm of abuse and trauma to finding our truest selves outside the male gaze, and self-actualizing through learning by discovery while using nature’s bounty to tend to the most vital aspects of self-care – this bi-weekly installment of This Changes Everything is about deeply rooting oneself in truth, justice, and healing. 

How do you feed your authentic Self? Let me know in the comments below. 

This is a bi-weekly list of things I learn that excite me and sometimes lead to the exclamation, “THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.” Whether I ditch my admiration for an old idol (of which I already have so few), or I alter my position or beliefs, these tidbits changed the winds in my sails. Check out the previous installment here.

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