February brings its own set of seasonal hazards – snow, rain and the onset of the Women’s Day planning committee phone calls – ‘It’s almost 8th March. Let’s do something – a story around domestic violence or something!’
This last one annoys me no end. Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not the idea of Women’s Day that annoys me or doing a story. What gets on my nerves is that we automatically want to do a story on the violence that women suffer. I have been banging on for years about changing the stories that we tell – the stories that we tell shape our lives and define our identities so if we want to create change we NEED to change the stories that we tell. Let’s tell a story of empowerment, a story of strength that will enter the atmosphere and get repeated and begin that wave of change.
During the king cobra mating season the male, picking up the scent of musk, goes off, hormones raging to look for the female. But he has to approach the female king cobra (and yes the female is also called king cobra) with extreme caution. Just because she has let off her musky ‘I’m ready to mate’ scent it doesn’t mean that she willing to be taken at any time by any snake. She may well not be in the mood for company and if she gets irritated (not furious or livid or even simply angry – just irritated) she will eat the male king cobra alive! The mating dance can last for several hours while the male slowly shows her that he can do things to her that will give her more pleasure than eating him alive….
Now that’s what I call an empowering story. No one messes with the female king cobra. She is in charge. Just because she has led him on by putting out her musky ‘I’m ready’ scent does not give him the right to jump her. He approaches, she decides and that’s all there is to it.
I want to tell empowering stories. I am fed up of repeating stories of disempowerment and disenfranchisement. Yes I know they exist, I know they cannot be swept under the carpet but they do not have to deified with constant chanting. My prayer beads need to sing a different song!