Guess what? It’s not purely to exclude men.
So why are we a women’s collective, then?
We are stronger together? Yes, kind of. It is such a cliche, although not the worst cliche. It isn’t a bad concept to overuse by every company, organization, and movement. It’s not untrue.
Women are stronger together. Also true.
Women supporting women. Women empowering women. Nice hashtags. We even use them.
Is that why we are a collective? Because women are stronger together? Well, that’s part of it. Of course, it goes much deeper. At Medusa, everything we do and feel and write and touch goes deeper.
We are a collective because the patriarchy doesn’t like it. And when the patriarchy doesn’t like something, we want to do it more. Patriarchy has benefitted by keeping women apart, from denying women the opportunity to be a collective body or voice, by calling them witches or other things when they gather.
The women are talking to each other…burn them.
Something along those lines.
In 1486, the Malleus Maleficarum, inspired 2 centuries of witch-hunting hysteria and the subsequent torture of women and systematic destruction of their spiritual practices and health care in Europe and beyond. This oppression lasted 500 years and thanks to colonialism, it traveled to every corner of the Earth–anywhere women gathered.
And here’s the thing. Women gathered everywhere. They did because humans gather everywhere. It’s what we do. We are social beings. We share stories, learn together and from one another, support each other, laugh together and grieve together.
Women’s Collectives Takes Strength From the Patriarchy
The patriarchy maintains strength by denying women access to public spaces, keeping women isolated, by keeping us from sharing our stories, by keeping us suspicious of other women, by making us witches and “mean girls” or at least intimidated by “mean girls,” at least frightened enough to point fingers at other women to save ourselves. The patriarchy is stronger when we compete against each other rather than support each other.
I, and many of the women I know, have been each of these things: isolated, witch, mean girl and intimidated.
We have also been abused, gaslighted, manipulated and sexually assaulted by men. I’d venture to say that nearly all women have experienced some kind of violence, somewhere on the spectrum, at some point in their lives.
I don’t know when I became a feminist exactly. I certainly wasn’t raised this way. Nor do I remember when I started gathering with women in more intentional ways and spaces, with structure around sharing and processing and healing. But I do know that I felt my own life improve significantly when I started talking, sharing, being vulnerable, and actively circling with other women. I know that my life has become significantly richer, more open, more silly, and most importantly, more validated.
When we start sharing these experiences, they become real.
They aren’t just hidden away inside each of us as these solitary, unspoken, often doubted, heavy things. When we start sharing, and saying, hey me too, and that is fucked up–then we realize, how it is fucked up the way women have been and continue to be treated by patriarchal societies the world over.
We are a collective to share. To support women who want to share their stories. To receive and validate (and edit and polish) and honor the stories and voices of women, in their creative process and in their business.
We are a collective of women, not to exclude men, but to validate ourselves and our experiences.
Not only that, but we are a collective because it’s more fun. The women we work with are hilarious, loving, wild, gritty, and fun. And we really love to have fun.
We are a women’s collective to validate.
Your story is important, valuable, and beautiful. Your voice is powerful. Your messiness is perfect and charming. Your art is needed by the world. Your traumas hurt you, and still, you are strong and soft–a work in progress and a complete work of art at once.
And we are here for you.