This week my mind has been focused on three issues: reading Playing Big by Tara Mohr, reflecting on the thought-provoking movie “Women Talking,” and rehearsing for our Friday February 3rd event, HERstory Comes Alive The three of these are related.
Tara Mohr, in Playing Big speaks about her calling as, “Restoring women’s voices where they are missing.” This is a practical book for a woman who wants to play a bigger game, not just in the corporate world, but in life – making a difference, creating beauty, joy, safety, whatever. This book provides actionable suggestions to free women from thinking small, hiding, and talking themselves out of following a dream. I was hooked when she acknowledged, “at a deeper level, [the tools are] for unlearning the lessons that centuries of women’s marginalization have left in each of us.”
When discussing women’s need to be perceived as likeable, she again invokes history, stating “For most of history, likability and other’s approval was women’s lifeline. We couldn’t protect our own safety through physical, legal, or financial means. . . . .For millennia, we could ensure our survival by complying with what was approved of or desired by those with greater power.”
In the award-nominated film, Women Talking, I knew halfway through the film that the discussion the women were having was an allegory, and screenplay writer and director Sarah Polley describes it as a fable. With either term, this film is a discussion of a larger truth – that the women in the film are having an awakening and discuss freeing themselves, not just from the horrific actions of the men that control their colony, but for all women awakening to a feminist consciousness.
Awakening to a new reality for women was what Susan B. Anthony so beautifully articulated in 1872, when she questioned the status of women, and the practices that “ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects.” Jenny Grace Morris does an amazing recreation of Anthony’s argument that is a must-see performance.
Indeed, the 19th century saw the awakening of a core group of women, whose voices changed the nation and resonated around the world. I invite you at attend a rare public event on February 3 at 7 p.m. at Shrewsbury City Center and hear from three famous women in the 19th century who started talking, started playing bigger, and lit a spark that changed the world. We are asking $25 a ticket to help us fund HERstory Comes Alive in schools, but if you think that is too high for you (I pegged it at the cost of seeing a community theatre performance) contact me as I have some complimentary tickets available.