Are you sure you’re “All Women”?

Bonefire

As I wrote the other day, I recently attended the Gaea Goddess Gathering. One of the exciting things leading up to the festivals was their tagline, “a festival for ALL women”. And that is indeed exciting with things like the The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, which excludes women who don’t have vaginas. And even the “womyn” tends to denote that. Ugh. Just very icky.

But as I went through the weekend, I noticed that the weekend wasn’t for all women.

With performers who praised Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, it wasn’t for all women. With passages of life being tied to fertility, it wasn’t for all women. With people praising the amount of estrogen there, it wasn’t for all women.

All women would be a program for women who didn’t have uteruses. All women would be understanding that not every women is dripping in estrogen. All women would be supporting women who dislike or even loathe their periods. All women would be marking womanhood by things other than reproductive value. All women would be for all women–for any and all women who identify as such.

And I didn’t get that vibe from the festival.

I wouldn’t recommend the festival to my women friends who lost their uteruses due to surgery. I wouldn’t recommend the festival to my women friends who were triggered or loathed their periods. I wouldn’t recommend this festival to my women friends who never want children. And I definitely wouldn’t recommend this festival to my women friends who have penises.

How should they become more accepting to all women? Losing the life passages tied to the reproductive organs would be a start, but I wonder if that could happen with how vital it seemed to the festival. Otherwise, bringing awareness to other aspects of womanhood that isn’t reproductive would be useful. Talking about how not all women have periods would be helpful. Talking about how all women don’t want or need children would be helpful. Which it’s starting to do, so that’s good. I have hopes for this festival to grow and become better. It can be. It just needs to reexamine how it views women.

If you identify as a woman and went to an all women’s pagan festival, what other ways could it work towards being inclusive towards all women?

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4 thoughts on “Are you sure you’re “All Women”?

  1. Great article, for me… Much of this is a given. I’m sure there are still issues with certain groups. But I wonder…. Some circles are based on feminine physiology and its direct connection to fertility, harvest, and goddess worship. Other groups not. Instead of ‘white washing’ in the need to make it all the ‘same’ or ‘PC’ why not let each find their own expression as there is a need. And we know there is a need for all this and more. There’s a great deal of ‘over thinking’ that happens, and I tbeloeve that when people are just comfortable in their own skin,.. What happens around them doesn’t effect upon them. In a world that is becoming increasingly complicated and disconnected Im getting over focusing on the ‘differences’, yes ironic that i make that call with this article. So what if this was a circle based on women who celebrate their femininity? So what if it wasn’t? It is what it is and just because it didn’t suit you or your judgement doesn’t mean other women (with or without a uterus, period, or penis) won’t find it useful

    • There’s a few points of your response I think you are missing.

      For starters, not all women have an uterus. The assumption that all women do actively erases women who don’t, which is invalidating and hurtful–especially since women without uteri tend to face oppression. And not just trans women. My aunt doesn’t have a uterus because of cancer. There are other women who are infertile for various reasons. They matter too and aren’t invalidated as women for their infertility.

      So let’s say this is for women WITH uteri who want to celebrate their fertility. Then say so. I have nothing wrong with groups who are upfront about uterus-focused worship. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the fertility of bodies with uteri.

      Also, I have no problem with it being an aspect of the ceremonies since you’re completely correct in that a lot of women do find it meaningful to find spirituality through their bodies. But what irked me was that it seemed to only focus on the uterus, as though the rest of the body and spirit weren’t important.

      All in all, I do think that the festival is meaningful for a lot of people. Not for me. And I don’t like it advertising it’s about “ALL women” when it’s not.

      • “And I don’t like it advertising it’s about “ALL women” when it’s not.”

        This. There’s a difference between a festival that celebrates [segment of womanhood] and one that celebrates ALL women. And it’s okay to celebrate segments sometimes. Not everything has to be all-inclusive. It just has to be honest about it and critical about why it feels the need to exclude the others. There are legitimate reasons to be exclusive- but a critical eye is warranted nonetheless.

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