All my life I had hated my body. It was
not beautiful enough. It was not thin
enough. I had driven it, starved it,
stuffed it, cursed it, and even now
kicked it, and there it still was, trying
to breathe, convinced I would come
back and take it with me, too dumb to
die (p. 178).
From Science to…
• Emily Martin (1997) in Writing on Female
• Textbook passages describing female reproduction
– “lack, degenerate, leak, deteriorate, discharge,
• Textbook passages describing male reproduction“remarkable, amazing, sheer magnitude”
Fear and Loathing…
• How long does a woman have before she begins
to hate her body?
• A decade? Maybe?
• In describing the process of female children
growing up, and becoming aware of themselves,
Woodman (1985) writes, “…but at bottom feeling
rejected in her own personhood, blaming her
‘ugly’ body for making her ‘unlovable’” (p. 58).
Voices and Visions
Bone and Blood: A Woman’s Space
The Vagina: Passageway of Transformation
Clitoral Power: Desire for the Self
Uterine Cauldron: Manifesting Power
Suckle, Swallow, Speak: Expression and Relation
• Women are
for being skeletal,
NOT for having a
which to engage
• At what cost?
• Clarissa Pinkola Estes
– Women Who Run with the Wolves
– La Loba
• Kay Cordell Whitaker
– Sacred Link
– Fleshing of the Bones
Yes, I lie within the
My Spirit Scoured Clean
by Desert Wind
I want to burn to Ashes
Others Stand By
Afraid to let me
The Unifying Principle
Unifying Principle With IN
Where you were One, now
you are Two.
Unifying Principle With OUT
Connection with the world
Cyclical nature, potential
• Passage through which most
• Adaptable- able to pleasure a
penis and accommodate a
• Marker of a woman’s own
passages through life menarche, childbirth, and
• Esoterically serves as
reminder of the
we each enter long past our
To Be One’s Own
To Move Beyond
Looking back with cold
To Move Up
Of My Own
Through the Birth
When I was 40
I lost myself
On the Wall
She rinsed my skeleton
The smile broke and
the tear fell
Spoke and said I never
I dreamed a large
At this place
“oh this is where we
get the River
of her making
She cradled my skeletal
in her giant arms
Peace-filled smile upon
I wanted to bear
Instead I bore Man
I knew she knew the
At life of difference.
• Only structure in men or
women designed solely
• Applause, please!
• Represents woman’s
desire for self
• A woman’s hungers and
expression of these
Above all else….
• “Don’t eat too much, don’t talk too loudly,
don’t take up too much space, don’t take from
the world. Be pleasant or crazy, but don’t
seem hungry” (p. 110).
– Chernik (2001)
• Although others will accompany us for portions of
our journey, it is a personal undertaking at the end of
• The clitoris reveals that actions taken with only the
self in mind are needed in life.
Would you like me moreNeedless-
Or with needs, however smallExpressionless
You could belt my mouth
Tie my hands
Wrap chastity around
No self-creation then
I have always been the type
Who heard the call of chastity and
Opened my legs
FreelyMy mouth did the same
An act of volition
Corseted until fainted
Has always been
The desirable type for some.
The Tissue that Must-Not-BeNamed
(2000) in The Whole
the perception of the
womb as a “hollow
space”, a space
usurped by the
abdomen (p. 42).
Women are more
likely to declare
abdominal pain than
Even if we refer to
pain signals, rather
than the organ with
which they are truly
associated - the
uterus or womb.
Remains the tissue
Manifestation is not cost free.
The implanted fetus needs
nutrients and it will take them from
the mother, no matter if the mother
has the surplus to give or not.
The husband, kids, lovers, family
members may all love us, but do not
necessarily always replace what we
have manifested for them.
We are not simply walking wombs
of creation with an endless supply.
We must ask the hard questions
about what we want to manifest,
invest in, and bring to birth.
Mistake Number One
She thought everyone
Should be Happy
Mistake Number Two
She thought it possible
To make everyone Happy
Mistake Number Three
She saw possibility as
No one bothered to tell her otherwise.
They thought she wore it well.
Suckle, Swallow, Speak:
Expression and Relation
The chest and throat area of a woman houses the heart,
breasts, voice box, and survival reflexes.
The structures in this area represent a balancing act that
will challenge most women throughout their lives. How
does a woman sustain herself? How does she balance her
sense of self in relation to others? How willing is she to
express her own truth?
From where in life does a woman
gain sustenance, physically and
It can not always be in the act of
serving others that a woman gains
some semblance of purpose or sense of
Symbolically, a woman must
determine from which breasts she will
obtain her nourishment – it may take
the form of a supportive group of
friends, a wonderful coworker, or a
powerful series of books. Whatever the
shape, she must find it in her life.
But, it is not enough to simply find a place to suckle. A woman must be
strong and aware enough to not only suckle but to relax and open throat to
receive and swallow.
• Women’s Way of Knowing (1997)
• “What we had not anticipated was that ‘voice’ was more than
academic shorthand for a person’s point of view. Well after
we were into our interviews with women, we became aware
that it is metaphor that can apply to many aspects of
women’s development….We found that women repeatedly
used the metaphor of voice to depict their intellectual and
ethical development; and that the development of voice,
mind, and self were intricately connected” (p. 18).
We stood fully
You in white coat with name tagsingular identity
Me script in hand- identifying
Unknown to me
You corralled a white collar
And attached moral to your authority
We gazed one to another
I became blank to you
No longer name on paper
But Paper identified
In your vision
I had become Eve
Wanton woman, fallen and sinned again
The rage shattered my bones
And I transformed it – a woman since EveTo A smile and Thank You
Below I seethed
To an identity that was never mine
SHE is PRESENT
“When women are fully in touch with the
experience of their own bodies, they can
reclaim that full power within and use that
power not to manipulate, not to self-obsess,
but to reveal the mystery it is, to transform
themselves and our culture” (Woodman, 1982,
Having transformed the world once already,
we know enough to do it again.