Friday, June 9, 2017

Why I Called my first book The Girl GOD instead of The Girl GODDESS by Trista Hendren


Lately, I have received a lot of comments questioning the title of my book and subsequent publishing platform. This morning, someone went so far as to type in "the girl GODDESS" on every single Facebook post - going back at least 40 that I could see.

This is becoming tiring for me.

The Girl God is a book I wrote for my daughter when she was 5 years old. She couldn't not relate to the male god that was presented to her in our multi-faith household. Up to that point I had tried to raise her (and my son) in both the Christian and Muslim traditions with a broad interfaith perspective.

Although I had been a feminist for 15 years at that point, I still did not make the connection between my faith(s) and the suppression of females worldwide. Perhaps that seems stupid on my part, but when you spend 20 years in a fundamentalist church and another 15 or more in (even) a progressive mosque and church, you tend to be fairly indoctrinated. This is also a conversation that seems to be missing in a lot of feminist circles. It wasn't until I read Patricia Lynn Reilly's work that I began to understand it - and I have a minor in Women's Studies.

I was always scared of the word "Goddess" as a child and young adult - and I believe that many in those faith traditions (and others) still are.

While I have moved toward a more radical feminist perspective over the last 6 years of this work, I have not forgotten my Muslim and Christian sisters. And I never intend to.

The Girl God was the beginning of my own feminist awakening - and I believe many women and girls opened their eyes along with me.  It has never been my experience that treating people like they are stupid is helpful in any sort of a meaningful transformation. Nearly half the world is either Christian or Muslim - and that's largely because they were born in those faith traditions.

It would seem apparent from most of my posts and later publications that I do, in fact, embrace the word Goddess. That said, I also accept women wherever they are on their faith journey - and I often post things that would have been helpful to me as a Christian or a Muslim.  I also have come to believe that Goddess is alive and well in all faith traditions. We only need to open our eyes to see Her. And for me, that is the work to be done if we are to change the world before it collapses on itself. Because we need radical change - and we need it now.

While it is true that women would be better off without patriarchy - it is also true that most people never leave their faith of origin. There is no point in my opinion to "preach to the choir" - i.e. the women who have already left patriarchal religions or those who were fortunate enough to never have been indoctrinated in the first place. 

There are multitudes of Goddess-oriented pages. Some are quite excellent. Others, I would argue forget about the suffering of most of the world and emphasis highly sexualized images of Goddess. That is not the work I am called to do. I can only be true to myself. The Girl God Facebook page and my books do not appeal to everyone.

I am writing this blog post because I don't want to continue to explain myself or my work. Most of these comments are a detraction and they take away energy. I ask that you do the work you are called to do instead of criticizing mine. There is plenty of work to do - for all of us.

For those who continue to be annoyed with my wording, I ask you to consider Malcolm X's words - and then just move along.
“Don’t be in such a hurry to condemn a person because s/he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”

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