Whistles blew and orders were given as wwp members assembled for the last salon evening before the summer break, and explored their attitude towards obedience. Grappling with the question of whether we are rule-followers, "good girls" or unruly freedom-seekers, we countered traditional approaches to morality with the ideas of radical feminist theologian Mary Daly (pictured here), who died earlier this year. After Linnet introduced us to some concepts with which to better understand how women's relationship to obedience has been framed by male philosophers such as Aristotle, Kant, Confucius and Kohlberg, and then reworked by 18th and 19th Century female ethicists such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine Beecher and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, we applied these ideas to our own public and private lives, and asked if we are becoming more or less obedient as we grow older. We were lucky to gain insights into a life devoted to obedience as Pat spoke to us of her experiences as a postulate in a convent, and her decision to leave the Catholic Church because of the kinds of obediences being demanded of women in this context. And we drew on Mary Daly's ethics of freedom for women through questioning all authority, reclaiming names designed to insult us like hag and crone, and celebrating our creative "revolting" Selves, to put Pat's experience into perspective and question our own feelings towards disobeying.
One of the ongoing endeavours of wwp salon evenings is to experiment with different kinds of conversational forms, and this salon evening was no exception. Peripatetic philosophy (walking while you talk), the narrative interview, and open discussion were all part of last evening's energizing mix. A first-time guest commented on the incredible energy she felt as she walked into the salon...This is something we are incredibly proud of, and it really speaks to the kinds of women who are becoming wwp members. Thank you to Pat for sharing, with such eloquence, her story of joining and leaving life in the convent. And thank you to our terrific members and guests (some of whom are now new members!) for bringing their wisdom, enthusiasm, vulnerabilities and compassion to the event. We will be holding a welcome back potluck for all our membership friends at the end of the summer to herald in our Autumn Salon Series...So please mark Thursday, August 26th at 7:30 down in your diaries.
Wishing you all a great summer, and if you aren't participating in a wwp activity taking place over the next couple of months (check our website for details) we look forward to seeing you in August.