Sunday, August 16, 2009

Women! Own Your Tough Mind & Tender Heart

Just this past week Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her 7 country trip to Africa, has made statements which suggest she will make women's rights one of her signature platforms. I am joyous about this move, as women all over the globe, and right here in America, suffer horrendously and unjustly. Click here for the full story:

In an excerpt from Martin Luther King's book, "Strength To Love", published in 1963, he wrote:

"A French philosopher once said, No man is strong unless he bears within his character antitheses strongly marked." the strong man or woman holds in a living blend strongly marked opposites. The idealists are usually not realistic, and the realistic are usually not idealistic... Seldom are the humble self-assertive, or the self-assertive humble. But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony. The philosopher Hegel said that truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in an emergent synthesis which reconciles the two. He goes on to say that Jesus often spoke of needing to be as wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, as a woman and a leader of our country, could be said to exemplify having a "tough mind and a tender heart", especially as she brings much needed attention to the horrible conditions, violence, and wrongs perpetrated against women in the Congo, for example. She has stood her ground, risen to one of the highest leadership positions in our country, and is not forgetting that fellow women desperately need help, education, adequate health care, and most importantly, a voice.

Women are often berated for being "tough", as Hillary as been along her journey upward, yet men are exemplified for doing so. I believe women are ideally suited for high positions of leadership BECAUSE and not in spite of the fact that they are women, BECAUSE and not in spite of their backgrounds in multiple areas, including their trained profession, childbearing and rearing, and management of the home. Our unique backgrounds should not be a hindrance in rising to positions of importance in the business and political world, they should be a benefit. Women possess a unique ability to own a "tough mind and a tender heart", even more so than men.

Martin Luther King, Jr. used the word "softminded" as an opposite of the "tough minded" person, and describes that person as someone who "thinks", does not fear change, and is not swayed by "superstition, traditionalism, and the media." He says a "tender heart" is also necessary, because without it, a person comes to be a "cold, detached, crass utilitarian" who views people as "cogs in a perpetual turning wheel."

Women across the globe are joining together now, in what King called "nonviolent resistance", on their quest for freedom. King calls "nonviolent resistance" the ultimate combining of "toughmindedness and tenderheartedness" which will work to oppose injustice and at the same time "love the perpetrators of the system."

To support organizations who support and report about women's freedom, rights, and health, visit the following links:

The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women

Womens News
Mothers Center
Peace X Peace

Women can join arms, and act to claim their own freedom with King's "nonviolent resistance", which he used with success in his "walk for freedom" in Montgomery, Alabama, which resulted in desegregation of buses. Women everywhere must do this, to stand up against any and all injustice which is being perpetuated against women in our world today.

*image is a yoga session for young Afghan women I taught in December 2008; these women had suffered immensely under the Taliban rule, and for many of them, this was their first introduction to yoga. Many of the young ladies did not want to be photographed for security fears, so our photo was taken of only a few of the women.
the founder of IEAW (see above link), Paula Nirschel, is also included in the front row of this photograph

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