WOM4N: Juliet Butler

• Mar 20, 2018 •

What do you hope that life will be like for the women in your family in 50 years? Juliet Butler, author of The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep answers.

JB: I hope that all my female (and male) descendants will have a solid sense of self-worth and self-awareness.

So much unhappiness within relationships stems from an insecure relationship with oneself.

The phrases ‘coercive control,’ ‘sexual harassment,’ and ‘toxic masculinity’ have become an integral part of our language today but we are now witnessing the dawning of the next suffragette movement: a revolution is taking place among women under the banner of the #Metoo campaign. They are women who have a true sense of self and are inspiring their less confident sisters to find their voices too. They are ripping a plaster off a festering wound in order to finally begin a healing process. In 50 years’ time I hope that wound will be no more than a memory.

For centuries women have been surviving within a religious and political climate of capitalist patriarchy that proclaims the earth belongs to humans and women belong to men. We are still bringing up our children to think that girls are ‘pretty’ and gentle and boys are brave and tough. That girls are weak and boys are strong.

But now I see the dawning of a reconnection with our ancestral, spiritual and environmental roots – back to a time where women accepted their equal role in the community as an absolute right, not something to be fought for.

Hunter gatherer females provided 80% of the food consumed by the tribe through foraging and were highly revered for their life-giving abilities, and in turn respected men for their equally important role in tribal society.

Female empowerment in the long term is not just about being able to leave an abusive or manipulative relationship, but about enabling our children and grandchildren to develop a solid sense of self-worth so that they will never feel the need to control in order to be loved.

Toxic masculinity and female victimhood are passed down through generations like a virus and both are based on self-doubt.

I believe childhood trauma in all its many forms is the result of emotional neglect and that is the root cause of many insecurities in society today. Animals nurture their young naturally, but millennia of civilisation has progressively blocked this instinct in humans.

But after centuries of stumbling along in the dark, we are finally emerging into the healthy light of self-awareness, self-help and self-belief.

The Bahá’í Faith teaches that the world of humanity is possessed of two wings, the male and female. If they don’t have the same strength the bird will not fly.

My book The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep is based on the true life story of Russian conjoined twins who suffered terrible childhood abuse at the hands of Soviet scientists. The ‘stronger’ twin became the abuser and the ‘weaker’ one the victim. Instead of soaring on wings of equal power, they fluttered like a wounded bird – until Dasha, the kind, gentle but self-aware twin finally redressed the balance. Just as we are now doing in society.

In 50 years’ time I am sure that the women in my family will be soaring too.

Read more empowering pieces from our authors: Elizabeth Day, Angela Saini, Elizabeth Church, Valeria Luiselli, and Rachel Edwards.

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