Meribeth Deen on Patriarchy and Being Robbed of Our Stories

At a recent event that could best be described as a women’s circle, the women participating were asked two questions in order to kick off the evening’s dialogue. First, introduce yourself not only by your name, but also by the names of your mother and grandmothers. Second, state something you’ve done in your life that you feel proud of – in particular, what you’ve done to “fight the patriarchy” (those were not the words, but that was the jist of what was being asked.

I honestly felt stumped on both counts. Now partly that has to do with the fact that I absolutely freeze in any situation where I’m put on the spot and am asked to talk about myself (helloooo…. job interviews). Also, I couldn’t even name my paternal grandmother. Never mind the fact that I never met her… I should at least know her name. I should know more than the fact that she had A WHOLE BUNCH of kids and even adopted one or two, and that she was both short and stubborn. Really though I don’t know much more about my maternal grandmother even though she lived until I was 21 and yes I did know her name, oh it still shameful how little I know about her life.

My grandfathers, on the other hand, their stories shine. Stories of heroics, intelligence, ingenuity, determination and yes, a few less praiseworthy traits as well – but still, with all of those, stories, the memory of these men evoke a much more complete picture of the lives they lived.

It’s a great assignment, digging up the details of these women’s lives. And I am sure that by taking it on, so many of us women could end up revealing stories that would blow us away. Shedding light on the lives of women whose voices were so diminished compared to ours, we could start to see that we come from a long line of heroes.

We’ve been robbed of their stories, and we can reclaim them.

From their lack of stories, we can also begin to understand the value of our own stories. Our predecessors have fought hard for so many rights we now take for granted, and having a voice and the power to make our stories heard is one of them.

Which brings me to the second question, you know, the fighting patriarchy one. It’s been really hard for me – putting myself, my thoughts, out there publicly; and I am growing into the role. But now I realize, speaking up and trying to be heard and listened to, well that’s simply a woman’s responsibility.

Our stories matter. Your story matters. Take the leap and write it, your granddaughters will thank you.

If you are ready to position yourself as an expert, become a unique voice for your industry and build a residual income, it’s time to write your book so you can grow your audience, reach new markets, and fill your calendar with speaking gigs. It’s time for impact. It’s not about writing a story, it’s about writing yours. Welcome to PUBLISH, a three phase book writing program that brings your story from concept to publish ready.

Every Wednesday we host a Publish Ready Master Session at 3pm (pacific time). We hope you’ll join us on any of these following days: 

March 15, 22, 29 and April 5

 

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Meribeth Deen is a Journalist and a Story Producer. She’s a program director of PUBLISH on The Leap Learning Lab. She’s produced radio documentaries all over the world and brought the stories of whistle-blowers at Guantanamo Bay to the screen. She goes to where the truth lives. She’s kind, process oriented and believes that when writing, you need to get lost in order to find the point.