***[I’m sipping virgin strawberry mojitos and writing about myself in the third person to understand and expose the purpose of a stereotypic privileged “spiritual” white woman in today’s world.]***
She’s young, beautiful and walks tall.
You can meet her almost anywhere on the planet, because she has total freedom to travel, although she’s more likely to pop up in places that don’t restrict that freedom. Although her presence and dress code unavoidably disturb the status quo everywhere beyond her native lands.
Like a glimmering item on the earth’s aisle, a supple single woman..
Her grandmother once commented:
“You have the neck of a swan – shows you haven’t worked
a hard day of labour in your life!”
She has the alluring ability to draw attention, simply by speaking her mind, or giving the busboy that look, you know, the head tilt, smile and look straight in the eyes.
Suddenly they feel baffled. And for her it’s just being nice. Not a huge effort, but with sometimes dire consequences: the attention will linger. The curiosity goes on.
A chat, a phone number request, a sexist comment, a sneaky touch and a barge out. Anywhere she goes, even before arriving, trust me, she knows, there’s going to be trouble.
Not the kind of trouble an economically challenged kid from the Nairobi slum looks out for. Not the kind of trouble a home returning Chinese exchange student prepares for. Not even the same ballpark of trouble that a mother of five selling corn by the side of the road in a tropical country might fear for.
The problems we have the rest of the world wishes they had.
Worst case scenario for the white female – injured, stuck on the road with no money, no phone etc. – she lifts up a thumb and within a minute – a car slows down.
*(Ironically this did not work in Sweden).
She is that girl in all those movies.
Put on another costume, travel to another continent, go pose in this exotic and wild location and come back to tell a profound story about it. Hollywood.
I had a very confronting look into my own previous journeys and stories…
We all just want her to show that smile and contentment. And yet her happiness disturbs me. There are parts of me that don’t identify with the image and horror people who ask me to pose for photos.
But we must understand where she’s coming from – that she is privileged by birth. She can’t help herself. She’s been bathed in pop culture, high speed internet, social relations and academic opportunities. Her parents have probably worked to provide her with the best in life though she hides it in her second hand gypsy clothes.
And she still feels a little displeased.
She will break away from parental expectations, perhaps even societal ones,
just because SHE CAN.
The top of the class Scandinavian blondes (like me) went to a completely free public school, grew up with secular values without much patriarchal shaming and received generally quality food, water, clothing and never suffered lack.
Maybe this lead so many teenage girls to cause harm on themselves, to take on some suffering, to contrast the good conditions.
The greatest tragedies of her life are the divorce of parents, the break up from a high school sweetheart and perhaps the passing away of a close friend or relative and that one secret she won’t tell anyone about…
An Italian guy once commented that scandinavian girls are the easiest to sleep with (proving the stereotype) simply because they weren’t indoctrined with shame and their culture is based on enforced equal rights (and slightly emasculinated men) – so why wouldn’t they go for pleasure!
Still, unless she is specifically asking for it – it is quite hard to determine what she wants. Here’s what I’d imagine a day to look like:
meditation and kundalini yoga class at 7.30,
then a smoothie with lime, avocado, date and cacao,
some work with passion towards an important cause (humanitarian or environmental), a chai latte and a superfood salad for lunch,
some more work with a creative edge (designing new logos for organic foods, developing songs with positive messages, writing love letters, tutoring underpriviledged kids), dinner with the most charming male lover or with other like-minded girlfriends
and off to bed with an inspiring book or a documentary.
Does anyone actually do that, or do we just all aspire to it?
What is the purpose of being a priviledged white woman?
The internalized belief is that the world doesn’t change much according to what she says – but it is nice to have the liberty to say what she thinks. Then again, look at the yoga movement, how it managed to reach every continent! The white women are predominantly responsible. Also for the vegetarian option in most places. Someone out there is thinking of us – most of the time. Where did the term eco-chic rise from? What about refill coffee cups? Count how many billboards you see on the highway with a happy blond chick in it and list what she is using. Most products right? We want what she’s having.
Back to me. I am disturbed by my own privilege.
To justify or to deflect it?
I feel ashamed and want to give it up – but can’t – as said, I was born into it and am frikkin grateful I have the life I do.
With the beautiful life blessed with incredible journeys and health and wealth, comes the almost-unavoidable urge to “help those people”. Partly based on guilt (which comes when privilege is realized), partly on desire to genuinely advance societies and individuals that are in other phases of evolution.
Originally I wanted to study to politics. I just quickly noticed I couldn’t stand being in a room full of (mainly) men only capable of hearing themselves talk. I found it annoying how they would try to impress me but failed to take me seriously (especially when outsmarted).
Here in lies the wound-to-be-poked-at…
Back in 2010, the Dalai Lama said western women will save the world.
So, without further ado, the world is the way it is and WE CAN CHOOSE how we want it to be. Time to scale it up.
Why aren’t we?
My fellow princesses, those who will inherit the kingdom, I hope you understand this very, very clearly: We are the FREE SPIRITS of the world. Our core value, our power and magnificence is this FREEDOM to choose what to cultivate in this life.
Smart, beautiful, educated, socially adaptful, we will get a job no matter what. YOU CAN CHOOSE whether you wait tables, make phone calls, work in a lab, debate politics, paint, dance, write, bake pies or become a mother – you can take on any role.
The uncomfort is that we DO have to choose, and we should do so wisely.
Playing in all these movie scripts isn’t really taking us anywhere.
See all those people in third world countries staring at you, ‘the extras’?
Just take some good time to look at how they look at you.
Feel those projections – money, sex, fame, independence, cultural freedom, religious freedom, financial freedom. The best of us find a way to earn money that doesn’t compromise our value system: teach yoga.
And yet, we struggle a bit, hit turbulence, let our emotions overrun us, think we don’t matter and can’t make a difference. There are still HUGE daddy-issues to be reckoned with. I am still trying to please the bigger boss instead of owning my own influence.
My greatest lessons have come from interactions with other social classes in various remote regions of the world.
That is my life’s true richness and I would spend all my money to go there.
To look at suffering, to cry and feel and acknowledge the state of the world.
And then what?
I cannot unsee what I have seen, or to shut myself out of the world’s suffering, although it doesn’t touch my life personally.
Even if I would end up penniless in the street or get injured in a car crash, some family funds would manifest to bring me back to relative ease of living.
This is the Brahmin cast. And yes, everyone should have what we have, eventually.
And the evolutionary path will take its time for everyone.
(If you want to go into this, I’ve been introduced to the spiral dynamics model of development, very interesting stuff!)
But our voice and vote counts – especially when it is wake to the fact that the rest of the world does not have the same opportunities.
The royal class is there to serve the people. Your voice represents millions. Don’t play small, demand MORE of an environmental standard, political justice, equal rights, for the sake of everyone.
How do we really feed the world with our abundance?
STOP using plastic. Buying organic – your purchasing power carries a vote. Notice also how your humanitarian cause might be run by shame or guilt. I’ve seen wealthy women burn out in giving of themselves – out of guilt instead of real abundant compassion.
How to move in the world from heart?
Beware of the trap of self obsession
I am writing about this to move out of it.
There is a greater purpose to my life than the stories I take part in.
My life will not be fulfilled until I make my voice heard, strive for the altruistic political power that I yearn to see in the world. Awaken the passion for the earth and campaign to make it better. For everyone to thrive as I have.
So best I can do is stop hiding and making small.
People do look at what I am doing and copy it.
If I am ignorant, rude, judgmental, it breeds. If I care, it shows.
With great freedom comes great influence. About time to use it with more power.
p.s. As a result of this I have decided to charge 50% less on therapeutic bodywork sessions for women and offer even bigger discounts for sex workers. Also, I dedicate to giving 10% of my income to an NGO or individual working to end female genital mutilation. This is just a first step. But it counts.