|Jokes are not oppression, and words are not violence. Just sayin'.|
Let's just unpack "to critique sexism in heathenry," for a minute, if we may.
The definition of sexism is "attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of gender roles." So isn't this a sexist remark on its face? Aren't Valkyries and witches a stereotypical gender role (in this case, a female gender role)? And of course there's the unspoken but completely obvious assumption that this is aimed at men; assuming men are somehow chauvinistic against women is in and of itself a gender stereotype.
So one post in and you've got two counts of hypocrisy against you. Well done.
Naturally, the Usual Suspects in the SJW crowd just love this (and the fact that Jade is trans plays into the SJW adoration), and their web outlets have been short-stroking this all over the place.
But it gets better. Let's look at the second half of that initial statement:
It references the fact in the Havamal there are some really sexist stanzas...
That's very true, when looked at through modern eyes. As we live in the West* the second decade of the 21st century, we live in a society that is vastly removed from that of 11th century Scandinavia. I personally think the author had just gone through a divorce or something. Check these passages out:
Like the love of women whose thoughts are lies
is the driving un-roughshod o'er slippery ice
of a two year old, ill-tamed and gay;
or in a wild wind steering a helmless ship,
or the lame catching reindeer in the rime-thawed fell.
Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
ice when 'tis crossed, and ale when 'tis drunk.
The speech of a maiden should no man trust
nor the words which a woman says;
for their hearts were shaped on a whirling wheel
and falsehood fixed in their breasts.
There are others, too. But since we're talking about "the witches the Hávamál warns you about", let's take a look at the passage that does warn about them:
Sickly calf or self-willed thrall, witch's flattery, new-slain foe,There are a couple other passages that have the word "witch" sometimes used in the translation, but they're not really warnings about witches per se. But you know what's weird about that passage? The Old Norse phrase that is translated by Olive Bray as "witch's flattery" is völu vilmæli, which literally means "a prophetess speaking well of a person."
brother's slayer, though seen on the highway,
half burned house, or horse too swift --
be never so trustful as these to trust.
So the only warning we get in Hávamál about witches tells us not to trust them when they say nice things about us.
No problem, guys. I think that's pretty much a moot point. Ain't gonna happen.
From there it gathered steam:
"Get out of our way"? "Join our shieldwall?" That sounds like some toxic masculinity right there.
See, now, here's where I'm going to start asking for citations. Or at least an example or three to justify the accusation. The assumption here is that at least some men in Asatru (or Heathenry, as Jade puts it) use the appellation of valkyrie as a way to objectify women and make sex jokes about them.
Could we get a link to a couple of examples on this, please? Because I've been doing this Heathenry thing for going on 30 years, and I've never seen it happen. In Normandy, the ale-wenches were called Valkyries for a while, but that went out of style, and it was never a sexual innuendo in and of itself (although ribaldry in general isn't sexism or objectification, and certainly went, and goes, both ways, in my experience).
This is a terribly phrased meme, because what it should say, if it is to actually convey the meaning that it seems to want to convey, is:
When it is assumed that
women and femmes know less
about the Gods because they aren't men
and have it mainspained to them (Emphasis added)
See the difference?
At the risk of sounding immodest (and let's not forget that bragging about one's abilities is actually considered a virtue in our religion), I know more about Heathenry than Jade does, or, frankly, is ever likely to. So yes. I assume that I know more about the Gods than Jade does. Because I've been studying the lore for 28 years, and performing rituals and Workings and running or help to run hearths/kindreds/theods/tribes/fellowships for most of that time.
But that has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a man. It has to do with ability. But, to take Jade's words at face value, none of the actual facts matter. It's all about gender. And if you're a male, you are on the bottom of the pile.
I'll grant there is probably something to this one, but it has to do more with demographics than prejudice. It's a simple fact that there are more men in Asatru than women. So when you see a women you don't know at an event, it's not chauvinism to assume they're there as someone else's plus-one. It's simply playing the odds.
Personally, I take that as a good thing. As in, it's an opportunity to grow Asatru. I'm all in favor of bringing more women into Asatru, but then again, I'm all in favor of bringing in more people into Asatru in general, so that by definition includes women.
Because, silly me, I'm interested in people as a whole. I don't exclude half of them because of their sex, or gender, or whatever I'm supposed to call it.
This one's interesting, because there's actually some meat rather than just a pithy but unsubstantiated one-line accusation. This time we have a four-paragraph unsubstantiated accusation. So we're making progress!
Grammar thing: I think what you meant to say in that first paragraph was "...and more are shedding light on sexisim within the Heathen community." Otherwise you're saying that Heathen women are mocking your assertion that there's widespread sexism in Heathenry, and I'm pretty sure that's not what you intend to say here.
Just trying to help. (Question: If help comes from a man, does that make it "manhelping"?)
But here's the interesting bit:
But to any men who wish to critique me... I am one of the witches the Hávamál warns you about.First off, if there was any "warning" in the passage to which you seem to be referring, it's not aimed at men. It's intended for humanity as a whole. And I know I include women in my own personal definition of humanity. Do you?
Not quite the model that I would hold up as some sort of feminist icon, but what do I know? People are also holding up a comic book character whose genesis was in female bondage and submission as a feminist icon. Expecting any internal logic from these people is the surest road to madness.
Again, a little context, or even a link, would be helpful here. Was this a Twitter thing? Who's saying Jade isn't Heathen? Sources, damnit! Sources!
And... I'm pretty sure using a hashtag doesn't qualify as "starting an international movement." Just sayin'.
So... women aren't different from men? We're all just interchangeable cogs in some vast corporate machine designed to get us to consume and produce and make babies who will go on to consume and produce?
News flash: only half the population is biologically equipped to bear those children. But it goes way beyond that. Even out brains are different. And that, naturally, leads to behavioral differences.
Men and women aren't just interchangeable cogs in the machine. And our ancestors knew this. There's nothing wrong or immoral in saying that women are better at some things, and men are better at others. Physiologically and psychologically, this is empirically true. And Germanic culture reflected these truths. Does that mean there weren't exceptions? Of course not. Does that mean we have a perfect understanding of those societal roles? Equally not so. In fact, I have a shrewd suspicion that women had a lot more to do with fighting in Germanic culture than is normally recognized (more on that in a future post).
But to say "women are different" than men is somehow an indictment? Stuff and nonsense. Of course they're different, both physically and psychologically, and biology makes that abundantly clear. "Different" doesn't carry with it any notions of "better" or "worse" that you don't bring into the meaning yourself. Are men inferior because we can't bear children? No, just as women aren't inferior for having less upper-body strength on average. Just different, and pre-Industrial society recognizes those differences and allows each sex to build on its strengths. That doesn't mean there aren't exceptions - certainly there were and are - but societal norms speak to society as a whole.
I daresay this might be one of the first instances where there's actually a substantive claim being made. That is, Heathenry needs to be "a more welcoming place" (for women, presumably). It would have been nice to have some examples of what Jade is talking about here (but of course that's a theme of this whole thing), but at least it's something.
Now obviously without any examples, one is left to one's imagination to figure out what exactly is "unwelcoming" to women in Asatru. I confess I have a difficult time seeing the issue, since the tribe to which I belong has about a third female membership. The same is true for most of the other groups in the area (with one notable exception), and on a national level both the AFA and the Troth (being charitable and including the Norse Neopagans here for the sake of example) always have very large representation among the fairer sex. So what could Jade be talking about here?
Of course, there is the vaunted Leftist tradition on display of being in favor of freedom of speech and being willing to engage with people who might disagree:
..if you are not supporting me... I am not going to be bother [sic] at spending my energy when you disagree with me.Ah, the true Enlightenment spirit of inquiry and the willingness to push one's intellectual boundaries through conversation with those who do not share one's values.
Again, citation needed, but honestly, what a disingenuous and condescending attitude, not to mention being completely over-the-top. "Injustice & oppression"? Again, no examples given at all, but I have to wonder what the Hel Jade is burbling about here. Is it the fact that Asatruar still look to the Hávamál as one of the primary sources for our religion? The fact that men and women aren't seen as some weirdly asexual interchangeable meeples that fit modern post-industrial society's needs?
Here's another hashtag for you:
* With all due apologies for using what is, apparently, a racist term. Which is, none at all.