Dear Madam President, a book by Hillary Clinton’s former Communications Director, Jennifer Palmieri, was at the top of the Amazon bestseller list. In it Palmieri argues that all the confusion, admiration, hate, love, acceptance, and rejection experienced by the Clinton campaign presents an opportunity to reimagine what it means for women to be in leadership roles – not by proving they can be “as tough as any man” but by embracing their unique strengths as women.
Is she right? Are we ready to acknowledge and respect the feminine qualities that for centuries have been suppressed, dismissed as “weak,” and denied a place in shaping the world in which we live?
Here are some excerpts where Osho speaks on the oppression of women down the ages, and how a balance must be struck, because unless women are truly liberated and empowered to be themselves, men will never be liberated either.
“If women had been respected in the past, humanity would not have been in such a mess as it is today – because women are half of humanity. Half of humanity has remained undignified, uneducated, deprived of all freedom, all movement. We have hampered, handicapped ourselves. We have destroyed half of ourselves, and if we are in misery then who is to be blamed?”1
“Man has ruled over women for millennia. He has been given every opportunity and chance and woman has been repressed continuously, has been crippled. She has not been allowed to compete with man shoulder to shoulder in life. That’s why we don’t know how many Gautam Buddhas on the women’s side did not get the opportunity to blossom. We don’t know how many Albert Einsteins have simply been denied any possibility for growth.”2
“It is a very strange thing that even dimensions like poetry, music, dance are dominated by men. The greatest dancers in the world have been men, not women. In fact, women should have been ahead of any male dancer. But one needs opportunity. One needs education, one needs training. If you bar the whole of womankind from education, training, discipline, you are making the whole society and the whole world poor, unnecessarily poor:2
“My emphasis is to give respect to women – and equality is not against men. It is a world which belongs to you both, and you both have to be together to make it as beautiful and as divine as possible. Man alone – you have been creating only wars. In three thousand years, five thousand wars… Is life just to fight? Is life just to kill, massacre, rape? Your whole history is full of murder and you call those murderers your great men.”2
“Most of the differences between men and women are because of thousands of years of conditioning. They are not fundamental to nature, but there are a few differences which give them unique beauty, individuality. Those differences can be counted very easily.”3
“One is that the woman is capable of producing life; man is not. In that way he is inferior, and that inferiority has played a great role in the domination of women by men. The inferiority complex works in this way: it pretends to be superior – to deceive oneself and to deceive the whole world. So man down the ages has been destroying the woman’s genius, talents, capacities, so that he can prove himself superior – to himself and to the world.”3
“Because the woman gives birth, for nine months or more she remains absolutely vulnerable, dependent on man. Men have exploited this in a very ugly way. And that is a physiological difference; it makes no difference at all.”3
“The psychology of the woman is corrupted by man telling her things which are not true, making her a slave to man, reducing her to a secondary citizen of the world. And the reason for that was that he is muscularly more powerful. But the muscular power is part of animality. If that is going to decide the superiority, then any animal is more muscular than a man.”3
“A woman is more centered than a man…. She is more serene, more silent, more patient, is capable of waiting. Perhaps because of these qualities she has more resistance to diseases and she lives longer than a man. Because of her serenity, her, she can fulfill a man’s life immensely. She can surround man’s life in a very soothing, cozy atmosphere.”3
“But the man is afraid – he does not want to be surrounded by the woman, he does not want to let her create a cozy warmth around him. He is afraid because that way he will become dependent. So for centuries he has been keeping her at a distance. And he is afraid because he knows deep down that the woman is more than he is. She can give birth to life. Nature has chosen her to reproduce, not man.”3
“Man’s function in reproduction is almost nil. This inferiority has created the greatest problem – man started cutting the woman’s wings. He started in every way reducing her, condemning her, so that he could at least believe that he is superior. He has treated women as cattle – even worse. In China, for thousands of years, the woman was not thought to have a soul, so the husband could kill her and the law would not interfere – she was his possession. If he wanted to destroy his furniture, it was not illegal. If he wanted to destroy his woman, it was not illegal. This is the ultimate insult – that the woman has no soul.”3
“The man has chosen the safest and the most shortcut way of life. The woman has chosen the most beautiful, but the most mountainous, dangerous path of emotions, sentiments, moods. And because up to now the world has been ruled by man, woman has suffered immensely. She has not been able to fit with the society that man has created because the society is created according to reason and logic.”4
“The woman wants a world of the heart.”4
“In the society created by man there is no place for heart. Man has to learn to be more heartful because reason has led the whole humanity toward a global suicide. Reason has destroyed the harmony of nature, the ecology. Reason has given beautiful machines, but it has destroyed the beautiful humanity. A little more heart is needed in everything.“4
“As far as I am concerned, the way to your innermost being is closer from the heart than from the mind. Mind is a shortcut if you are going outward, and heart is a very long way. If you are going inward, the whole thing changes into its opposite – heart is the shortcut to being, and mind is the longest way you can think of.”4
“That’s why I am all for love, because from love it is very easy to take you to meditation, to take you to the eternity of your life, to take you to your godliness; it is very difficult from the head. First the man has to come to the heart, and then only he can move toward the being.”4
“Women’s liberation is automatically men’s liberation. Women’s slavery is automatically men’s slavery. They go together.”
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1Socrates Poisoned Again after 25 Centuries, Talk #7
2Sat Chit Anand – Truth Consciousness Bliss, Talk #26
3The Sword and the Lotus, Talk #5
4Socrates Poisoned Again after 25 Centuries, Talk #21
Suggested reading: OSHO: The Book of Women, St. Martin’s Press, New York.