One of the problems I have in writing is that I am always tempted to write long and detailed explanations of my points of view. In doing this I often seek to re-enforce my positions with historical and theological analysis well beyond the toleration levels of most persons. The problem is that by succumbing to these temptations, my productively is greatly decreased, and furthermore I find that most persons simply are not that interested in either history or in my theological pondering. Thus within this post and hopefully in others I am going to attempt to keep my writings as short and sharp as possible and see what happens.
One of the preoccupations I have noticed within the broad Deanic community has been a preoccupation with the meaning of femininity. This is natural of course because Deanism has a matriarchal theology of God as Mother, Lady and Queen. But central aspects of the religion also center on the role of femininity in human lives as well. Again this is natural because most members of the religion are women and only a very few men have ever been involved.
Much of this interest in femininity lays in the traditional interest of many women in issues of fashion, dress and modesty and other aspects of the physical imagery of womanhood. These interests have of course been mainstream for women within most civilizations. However the interest in femininity also seems to be increasingly entering the area of Deanic theology particularly within the De’anic tumblrsphere. The “Femininity” which is discussed there seems to be not just the natural self assertion of persons who are female but it hearkens back to the theologies of the early Madrian community and to the Aristasian community which now refer to itself as the present day Daughters of Shining Harmony DoSH. These three consecutive communities have always seen femininity as being a central theological category tied intimately to the theological vision of Dea as God the Mother. These communities each holding a utopian, matriarchal, theocratic vision of a society dedicated to Dea have always assumed that normative human societies should be ruled by the Mothers, by Women. Men always within these communities were seen as having only a subordinate role within society under the authority of their wives and under the power of women generally. In fact the conception of society of the three communities has in general been the exact reverse of the Christian household codes supposedly derived from St Paul in which he exhorts wives, children and slaves to be submissive respectively to their husbands parents, and masters. But within the matriarchal community the roles are reversed with women and wives at the top of the hierarchies. It is also a reflection of Paul’s statement in first Corinthians that Man is made in the image of God while Woman is made in the image of Man. Again within the Madrian vision this hierarchy is turned upside down.
This hierarchical ordering of society is based on the following principles which have been restated and formulated in differing ways by each of the three communities. God = The Spirit = The Feminine = the Woman / Maid. On the other hand Man / the Masculine = matter and manifestation which has the proper role of submission to the Spirit. Not only is Masculinity as being derived from inferior matter / manifestation to be submissive to the Spirit, it is seen as being a decline from the Spirit. It is ontologically less. Thus Woman / Maid is as Spirit to Man / Matter. Man is as matter to Spirit. Thus he should be obedient and submissive to Woman / Spirit. This is official doctrine within the community of the Daughters of Shining harmony DoSH and is believed within Feminine Essentialist circles which in general accept DoSh doctrines as authoritative. BTY the Janite Clan on the other hand rejects doctrines of official male submission as it rejects many other of the doctrines of the three communities.
Now I have been an active member of the Independent Deanic tradition since 2012 and have been aware of Aristasian matriarchal thought from the beginning. But since the independent Deanic community in general has rejected many of these conceptions in general I have not been overly concerned by them. However recently several new persons have been entering the independent De’anic community and some seem to be drawn to the newly developing Feminine Essentialist tendency which in general accepts the theological positions of the old Madrians and the DoSh as authoritative. Thus I have recently been hearing about an idea called “toxic masculinity” which as it is formulated has negative consequences for men which wish to be fully a part of the movement without having a sense of shame in his own masculinity. As for myself I have had enough disappointments and failures in life without adding this one on as well.
The concept of “toxic masculinity” as I have heard it used is that when men do evil or simply misbehave in the world it is generally caused by their masculinity becoming unbalanced, gone bad, gone toxic. Thus warfare, all forms of male violence, anger fury, the abuse and oppression of others are examples of toxic masculinity. The reverse of this concept would seem to be a positive masculinity. Thus when men behave with patience, with humility, with bravery and protectiveness, behave as good fathers then logically they would be expressing a positive masculinity. However is not what I have heard. The one person who seems to have coined the term “toxic masculinity” has declared that when men behave positively they are in fact behaving femininely under the assumption that all forms of virtuous behavior are de facto feminine. According to another member of the Feminine Essentialist tendency masculinity itself should only be defined as such when it is toxic. Thus all of the types of behavior which the Christian prophet St. Paul described as being the fruit of the spirit: patience, long suffering, humility, truthfulness and love are in fact feminine virtues. Thus when males in fact behavior morally righteously they are in fact expressing their femininity and not the potential of their masculinity.
At this point I could of course go into all of the historical and theological background assumptions behind these positions. I ready do not want to bother about that in this post. I simply want to simply express my reaction to these kinds of thoughts. I have always rejected them and I have instead always embraced the egalitarian visions formulated effectively by the 18th Century European Enlightenment. It was as a teenager within the Protestant fundamentalist Church of Christ, that I first became aware of the patriarchal household codes of the New Testament which dictated that wives and slaves should respectively obey their husbands, and masters, as the Church should obey Christ. Those doctrines did not make sense to me and I rejected them as both repugnant and as unworthy of a loving God. Now I hear within certain Independent Deanic circles the same essential doctrines with of course the power relationships reversed. And I am supposed to believe this doctrine? I am an old man of 66 years of age now and I am supposed to now believe that my maleness is toxic and ultimately makes me a second class member of the Deanic community? I do not think so.
Now my articles in fact are seldom read. It is entirely possible that few of any of the parties involved in this discussion will in fact read this post. But some may and object that what they have been saying is in no way meant to enslave men. They may argue that men can be obedient contemplatives of Thea and that some men are in fact much more spiritually atoned then are many women in spite of their spiritually disadvantaged status of being born as men in this world. Well what can I say to this? I still reject the whole theology behind this worldview. Now I suspect that as a result of my modern worldview conditioned in many ways by socialist egalitarianism and modern ideals of scholarship a world view demonized as materialistic by early Madrians, I am not viewed as being a particularly spiritual person. Well so be it. I have my own problems with those who believe and talk about love, sweetness and such, but who proclaim that the proper role of the vast majority of humankind is to be bonded / enslaved by a so-called Aristocratic few who are considered to be their natural superiors. That is the ultimate consequence of anti-egalitarian thought.
P.S Within this post I have hardly said everything I have to say on this topic. But the post is too long as it is already. I will say more in latter posts.