The Force of the Feminine
Allen & Unwin, 208 pp
A phrase like ‘And God so loved the world, she …’ has a radical impact on that most deeply ingrained convention; the contract underlying and validating much of Western culture that the logos is masculine and the power behind the logos is designated, generically, as ‘he’. Our culture is patriarchal; patriarchal power derives from God and that power is symbolically inscribed in language.
The Force of the Feminine presents a critique of these assumptions, through a series of essays generated from a different power base, using a different force, the force of the feminine. As a publication, it’s a typically attractive Allen & Unwin production, manageable, clearly printed, with a comprehensive introduction, notes on contributors, an index and a terrific cover. It shows a female deity, clad in a deep red robe (invitingly ovular and labial), both feet on a vanquished green snake, against a blue background, head surrounded by a golden globe and holding a motif that unites woman and Christianity. An upturned version of the sign for woman, it’s also a cross, topping a red-centred sphere. A working bibliography on the subject of women and Christianity, and/or feminism and theology, would I feel have been a useful addition to this volume.