From Olympus to Westminster- The cost to women in power.

At the centre of Conservative party rule is a tiered structure rooted in the English private school system, and the misogynistic mindset of 19th century rationalism. With only 29% of female MPs represented in the House of Commons, and a mere 24% female representation in the House of Lords, British politics still has some way to go in fairly representing women.

I am aware as I write this that being a biological woman does not automatically announce the embodiment of feminine values. I would be curious to know how many women in seats of power are freely expressing their feminine nature, and how many repress it in order to be accepted in their field.

In an article in the Guardian on 25 July 2019, it was revealed that two-thirds of Boris Johnson’s cabinet went to private schools, compared to only 7 % of the general population.

Nick Duffel, a psychotherapist for boarding school survivors says the political implications of this syndrome are huge – because it’s the children inside the men running the country who are effectively in charge.

From the description of Duffel’s book, ‘Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion’ –

“This specific culture of elitism, protected by financial interests and the “It never did me any harm” syndrome, means that Britain is unlikely to foster the kind of leadership necessary in our world of increasing complexity, which needs a communal mindset and cooperative global solutions. But worse, new scientific evidence shows that this hyper-rational training leaves its devotees trapped within the confines of an inflexible mind, beset with functional defects, presented here as the Entitled Brain.”

Boys who go through this system are separated form their families at the tender age of 7, ensuring no, or little, feminine influence and are instead indoctrinated into a culture of ‘It didn’t do me any harm’, designed to close the heart and give primacy to the overly rational, emotionally detached and uncaring mentality evident in Conservative values.

In a system where the so-called enlightened mind of rationalism calls the shots, everyone is forced to endorse the prevailing paradigm. Women, children and any ‘Other’ comes under the sway of the agenda being either appropriated, corrected, or rejected.

These dynamics are nothing new and can be traced back to Greek mythology which show that in changing from matrilineal and lunar-based consciousness to the reign of the solar hero, women were acceptable only if they renounced their femininity and came under male rule. The priestesses were ousted form the temples and replaced with male priest who proclaimed themselves divinely appointed agents of the one true god.

Here is the Faustian bargain imposed upon Athena, goddess of wisdom: in order to claim her place among the Olympians she became detached from her original essence, and even punished expressions of instinctual or other apparently female identified qualities in other women. This dynamic is seen in the myth of Medusa where, as a punishment for a sexual tryst with the sea god Poseidon, Medusa is turned, by Athena, into a monstrous Gorgon with a hissing head of serpents, capable of turning men to stone with one glance.

It is not only men who sanction and impose misogynists’ values, it is the women who are embedded in this system who uphold them too…and herein lies the double betrayal of the feminine- a wound that surfaces in many of the women whom I work with.

Of course, at the heart of many of these myths as well as current socio-political and cultural structures is the fear of the feminine.

What will it take for a genuinely female-based consciousness to find its place in the halls of power? When the elites ruling the country are forced to separate from and belittle feminine values from a tender age, how can mature adult, social, political and intimate relationships based on equality of the sexes be possible?

These are old issues going way back into the vaults of time… to believe that the darkness at the core of androcentric institutions such as medicine, politics, education, military, and finance has been exposed and healed is misguided.
While it may be comforting to believe that in our post feminist world, the ‘old boy network’ no longer holds the power it used to, there is clearly much work still to be done.
I have huge admiration for anyone- man or woman- who is stepping forward as agents of change in whatever way they are called.

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