Tear Down That Wall… of Patriarchy!

As an American feminist, a woman rabbi and the mother of a teenage girl, I want to extend a sincere thank you to President Trump for all his recent tweets about Professor Christine Blasey Ford. Thank you, President Trump, for depicting in the most stunning and concrete way exactly what it is that we are up against and what we have been up against for 3000 years:

The Wall of Patriarchy.

Think about the first story of a woman that we are all taught in Sunday School: The Myth of Eve. Here is a naked, innocent, gorgeous young woman whose “sin” is listening to her instincts. It’s absolutely absurd and the location of the tree is a dead giveaway.

If God really did not want Eve to eat from the tree, where would be the best place for the tree to be located in the garden? Maybe way over to one side or tucked behind some gigantic spread of poisonous ivy? But no! The tree was planted right in the middle of the garden.

I have a love/ hate relationship with Oreos. I love them before I to eat them. I hate them after. If God put an Oreo tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden and told me that I was forbidden to eat from it? I’d give myself a 50% chance- on a good day.

It was a setup. It was never about having faith in God. It was always about silencing women. The myth of Eve was constructed as a warning message to any woman- any person- who dare challenge patriarchy. And the message is this: If you do, we will destroy you.

I think this is what Professor Blasey Ford is trying to avoid.

In 1991, well before Anita Hill uttered a word, she was Eve. A hollow vestige of sin taken from a man’s body, she was seen as actually incapable of telling the truth.  So it didn’t matter what she said. No one was going to believe her.

But it’s 2018.

How wildly ironic that the fate of the most powerful democracy on planet earth is bound up with the question of whether or not we believe that a woman is fundamentally capable of knowing what is real and telling the truth.

I remember meeting Veryl Goodnight, the American artist whose sculpture of five horses crashing through the rubble of the Berlin Wall now stands at the site where the wall used to be. It is titled The Day The Wall Came Down and weighs 14,000 lbs. She described to me how she watched on television as the people of East Germany dissembled the wall that had locked them inside for decades. That night she went to sleep and dreamt of wild horses.

We are living in the era of #metoo in which women and men are joining forces to break through all the walls of shame and silence that that perpetrators of sexual assault depended upon to commit their crimes. Their secrets just aren’t safe anymore. Nor is their mythology.

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