Tuesday, May 29, 2007


In his book Prehistoric Figurines (Routledge 2005), Dougy Bailey tells a story about a dude in Romania who was widening his garden when he stumbled across a stunning hoard of ancient clay figurines. Later, after archaeologists had torn up his entire yard, they decided it had once been a town belonging to the “A3 phase” of the Neolithic Cucuteni culture (2nd half of 5th millennium BC).

These figurines came in two sets of six each. Set #1 looked like the dude on the left: wide shoulders, legs apart, penises prominent, and just a dab of body d├ęcor.

The second set looked like the dudette on the right : narrow shoulders, legs hugged together, breasts, and barrel-loads of body beautification. This delightful dozen were all six- to eight inches high (14.0 – 20.0 cm).

But here’s the strange thing: all twelve have breasts. On all but one (the dudette in the picture) these breasts are little round, smushed pellets of clay stuck onto the chest. On the twelfth figure, however, the breasts are long, thin, and cut into the chest.

So Dougy Bailey (living in the daddy-god world he does), scratches his head and asks: “Why do the ‘male’ ones have the same size and shape of breasts as do the supposedly female ones?”

Answer: Because, Dougy, in Guiding-Goddess cultures, breasts are symbols of nurturance. And both males and females were expected to be nurturers. Both were raised to be nurturers, and rewarded for being nurturers.

So it’s only fitting, symbolically speaking, to show both men and women with breasts (symbolizing nurturing savvy) of the same size (= same capacity to be nurturingly savvy).

In Guiding-Goddess lands, oxytocin-high mamas were the role models – for men as well as for non-mother women. Boys learned not only to be studley macho men, but also to adore all men and women around them the sane way oxytocin-high mamas adore their infants.

Men learned to nurture, in other words, by watching mamas under the spell of the birthing hormone oxytocin.

And don’t you dare think this made Guiding-Goddess men into mama’s boys. After all, who could leap in a single bound over the backs of bulls? (I’ll give you a clue: it ain’t us).


lizz.duff said...

The statuette with the penis is truly delightful! It captures both female and male energy. Can you imagine any male today, naked except for a sexually-slung 'Guinevere belt' around her/his waist?

Which brings me to our androgyny, or better, our gynandry. Don't you think we each are both genders--and therefore neither exclusively? Making each of us a third gender? Defies the gender box, huh? Just like the statuette with the unmistakable penis PLUS the softly female sexy waist belt. And the other penis-wielding, breast-baring statuettes.

Consider our patriarchal language, insisting on "hers" or "his", "she" and "he..." Once the patriarchs succeeded in dividing the sexes, it was small work to elevate the males into dominance. The rest is sorrowful "his"story.

Try this on, if you really want to overthrow the patriarchy. Change the way we speak. Change our language. Change our pronouns.

I propose we drop gender-specific pronouns and adopt "xe, xa, xu" (pronounced 'zee, zah, zoo'). The "x" is chosen because it is primal, as in "X" marks the spot. Preliterate people can sign with their "x". Also, the crossing twin lines of the "x" symbol represent the female and the male axes. They cross in the middle, as in Sacred Sex, and equal more than the sum of their parts. Yea! for Sacred Sex, a fundamental Goddess Rite!

A bit outlandish? No more than trying to convert the world to life-saving Goddess worship by 2025. No more than Gloria Steinem, et al, inventing "MS." in 1971. Xe got the world to adopt xa idea. And now it is world practice.

So, waddaya think? What would xe say?

A last linguistic plea. The word 'androgyne' has no female equivalent. I propose "gynandro". Likewise, 'avuncular' has no female equivalent. Ideas? Rise up, you aunts of the world! Immerse xuselves in restoring Goddess energy.


Anne Johnson said...

I'm sorry, but those probably fell off the ark 4,000 years ago. Or maybe Noah threw them.

Athana said...

Duff, my first thought re: your idea was "Wow."

So “xe” means she, he, it, androgyne, gynandro and everything inbetween? Instead of ever again using the words “he” and “she” we’d use the word xe for both?


My next thought was “It’d never work. We have hes and shes and we’d die if we couldn’t distinguish between the two.”

Then: “No, that’s just your cultural brainwashing talking. Open up a bit.”

Then, for a snap of a second, I got a vague sense of a completely alien world. A bit scary. Hazy, smoky, foggy, but there. A world where we all loved each other, penis people, vagina people, penis/vagina people, mack-truck vagina people and slender-and-hushed-as-a-reed vagina people – we’re all the same. It’s just the way I’ve been taught that makes it seem so important that we force all of us to dive into one camp or the other – the way we force Americans to dive into the Dem or Rep parties, even though we’re really in 1000 different camps when it comes to looking at life, politics and America.


I like it duff, I like it.

Personally, I think you should start a blog around the idea.

I’ve read somewhere that the ancient Greeks had no separate words “heterosexual” and “homosexual.” They, however, were long patriarchal, and so naturally had words for “he” and “she.”

Davo said...

Drat. And here's skinny me without "man boobs".

Athana said...

anne, it's always nice to have someone play the part of the Radical Fundie, since for some reason we seem to get so few Fundies visiting here.

Davo said...

um, can't guarantee this, but methinks the Ancient Greeks didn't have much concept of "good" nor "evil" either. Thought about things in terms of "hubris".

Athana said...

I remember something along those lines too, davo. I think "evil" is an idea invented by the war-gods. I think the war-god inventors were the descendants of people who went mad from starvation on the deserts of the Old World.

We know from modern studies that long-term starvation causes people to enter into psychoses and to do 'evil' things like steal from their own mothers and sisters, and even eat their own children.

I think this psychosis eventually became codified into a new way of life, a new culture, and a new 'religion.'

Of course it's much more complicated than that. If you want, read other of my posts on the topic; just go to the search box and type in "Saharasia."

Davo said...

Have read most of yer posts, Athana.

Am I allowed to be "on yer side"?

Can't guarantee much in the way of support, per se, but whaddya expect? am just a dingbat male ..heh.

Athana said...

Hey, the more the merrier, davo.

lizz.duff said...

Oh, Athana! You got it, you really got it. Your Goddess soul embraced "xe". And, it seems, cracked you open for that 'smoky, hazy...scary moment'. Castaneda calls it the 'nagual', the Other Side. I am thrilled to be part of your shamanic/Goddess moment.

Goddess has seen fit to give me some of these, too. We are blessed to be vaulted free of this Ordinary Reality by Xa. For me, these times are saturated with ecstasy--a Goddess gift and a Goddess Right and a Goddess Rite. In Goddess cultures, accepting Ordinary Reality as the Only Reality was unthinkable. Xe endows us all with innate longings for Xa Exquisite Otherness. I have had such Wild Journeys with Xa to the Other Side.

As for "xe, xa and xu", welcome to the tiny cell of Goddess Radicals who plot to overthrow the patriarchy through language. Gloria Steinem does inspire me. Consider what xe and xa group did for us and the world. "Ms." changed the way we think and talk and experience. I remember how foreign "ms." felt on my tongue when xa magazine first came out. But, in a clap, xe extirpated the "r" from "Mrs.", shortened "Miss" and fused the two words forever into a "fuck you, patriarchy" and "hello, sacred sisters" two-letter whole that transformed us. I model "xe" after xa.

Re your blog suggestion: I am beaming that you would suggest it. But, I know nothing about blogs, except how to comment on yours. Maybe we could dialogue about "xe" on occasion here? It is a radical vision---vagina people and penis people living as innocently and perfectly together as "innies" and "outies". Let's keep that vision alive.

Love to you,