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Archetypal, Mythic Strong Women and Patriarchy -- A Conversation with Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD-- Transcript

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storycon.org H4'ed 12/14/15
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But first of all, to get back to what you're saying, I fully agree that what is considered stereotypical, probably is true for about two-thirds of each gender. And that has to do with the archetypes inside of them because, for example, there are a lot of nurturing men when they are allowed to be so and how happy they are to be the nurturers they naturally are. But if the culture doesn't allow them to do that, because it's considered unmanly, and there's no possibility of having enough time to be with your children, then that part of the man suffers. Men who are, who work with children and work with people....like I have many men over the years in my practice who've been psychotherapists, and many of them have a strong nurturing quality because you archetypes....I mean I say that it's...really I should have written 'Gods and Goddesses in Every Person' and not 'Goddesses in Every Woman'...by the time I wrote Gods in Every Man, I did say that most women will find at least one male archetype that's a strong one in her and the men I know who are nurturers, you know they have a...either a combination of the male archetypes that have been suppressed, that are feeling or they have a connection with Demeter, the mother archetype, in themselves. And when they get to live it out, everybody...I mean you're much happier if you get to be who you really are deeply, archetypally so. And yes, I think there are nurturing men and the example of Margaret Thatcher as a Zeus woman, who used power over -- shut down the mines, didn't care what happened to the people, declared war on the Falklands...I mean, yes, at least in her public persona, Margaret Thatcher was every bit a Zeus as any other alpha male.

Rob: So, let me digress in another weird kind of a way. You know, I'm going to go back into this whole interest I have of psychopaths and sociopaths. Where do they fit into the mythic realm? It sounds like Zeus could be certainly a narcissist, maybe a psychopath. Where would you see that...?

JSB: Any archetype, almost, but archetypes that naturally are attracted to power and in childhood never developed the capacity, you know... the Indigenous say before you understand somebody else you have to walk a mile in their moccasins. We have an education system that does wonders for its emphasis on IQ, intelligence, but there's a whole dimension of us that has been referred to as EQ, which is our emotional quotient. And the only way you're going to develop that, really, is to consider it important enough to teach it. And we learn empathic connections often through being with other people in honest communication so that when there are, like, circles of children that are well-facilitated and the understanding of what it's like to be in the other person's situation, is felt and taught, then that side of a person can be developed. So partly it's cultural bias to not develop it in boys and to allow the lord of the flies kind of boyhood....on the schoolyard in which a bullied boy, maybe one who's been held back and so is bigger, gets to do his alpha dominance on other boys and everybody sees what happens when he chooses a scapegoat and nobody wants to be the scapegoat. What you've got is a teaching experience that really makes the point, so, be narcissistic, look out for number one.

One of the reasons for appreciating Artemis as an archetype is that, in women, she is the archetype that says it's not fair, and who goes out and may, say, takes a stance to stop something that is harming vulnerable people. And men have this archetype too.

Rob: I couldn't hear the last thing you said. And then what?

JSB: And then some men have the same archetype, the same sort of sense of....I mean certainly, the men who are out there doing...saving rainforests and rescuing animals, and all are men who have this archetype that is Artemis and there's something indomitable in them that is willing to stand up for causes that other men might say 'What are you doing THAT for?'

Rob: Now you say in your book...and I call my radio show Bottom Up...and I tripled underlined and marked and starred this one line in your book, "Women gain rights in the world where power is held mostly by men, only when those at the top are motivated by feminist movements that come from the bottom up."

JSB: That's is true. And now we have research that went over 40 years, and I think, 80 countries...something like that. And they surveyed everything and what made governments change or heads of companies change policies that affected women? -- I t wasn't whether it was a liberal government, it wasn't whether it was a first world country....it all boiled down to whether there was a strong women's movement at the bottom making it an issue and making it possible for the men at the top to pay attention, or made it expedient for them, one or the other.

I think there are a number of men who want to do the right thing by women and they need to have an excuse to do so. And I think there are other men who don't get it at all, that there's a basic principle here, but only that it's expedient to so now that that group of potential voters will make it harder if you don't. So either way, when there are strong feminist movements, as in India right now, India has...the women in the streets in India are combatting the rape culture...had something to do with an election of someone who then comes in and gives in his first major talk, Prime Minister Modi, that we need to stop violence against women and that what a shame it is that India is a rape culture, or its become a rape culture....

Rob: You started to say when there are strong feminist women movements, as in India right now....finish that sentence.

JSB: Then the men at the top do the right thing. I mean, first there is often the getting the activist women who get a piece of legislation or principle through. So it's stated. For example, there are now anti-trafficking laws in a great many countries, including our own, and in India, but nobody enforces it until there are a sufficient bottom up energy that makes those, beginning with their first level of authority and going right up to the top, it's when there is strong energy organized at the bottom, the people at the top, the male...usually they are male people, the male people at the top start to do the right thing in reference to stopping violence against women, stopping trafficking of women, stopping child brides at ten. Well we can say, okay this is these other countries, it's not us. Still, trafficking happens in the United States too.

Rob: And what your book, because I want to support this book because it really pulls this together, describes is the mythic archetype in Artemis the goddess, and Atalanta the mythic person, who is a women or a man who stands out from the crowd, who doesn't do things as they're told, and who stands up for what is right.

JSB: And it also, the book also describes that each of us have shadows. Artemis has one as well, and the person who can aim for what is the negative, see it clearly and stop it, is part of this drama. It isn't just a drama that's lived out in the world, which our conversation would kind of assume it was going in that direction...but it's both in, it's what's going on in the world, but it's also what's going on in the individual who has a moment of choice or many moments of choice about will, for example, will silence be consent or will you speak up for the Artemis archetype in yourself that knows this is wrong, knows this is unfair. And in the moment you step up and speak out, you are embodying this archetype that in sufficient numbers, from the bottom up and with help from the top, can change the world.

Rob: Amen.

JSB: (Laughs) Amen.

Rob: You know, I love this book but one of the reasons I love it is because I fell in love with Joseph Campbell's A Hero's Journey, and before Campbell it was called the monomyth. I mean, to the extent that I've given presentations on how it applies to healing and personal growth and things like that. And what you present here with Artemis and the Artemis stories, which you really haven't told here in this interview, is a different way of being a hero that I love. And you've done a beautiful job of it. Do you think before we wrap that you should just give a brief overview of what the Artemis story is now that we've had all this conversation?

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