Discussing Sensitive Issues through a Partnership Lens: A Conversation with My Teenaged Son
Keywords:androcracy, feminism, spiritual activism, tikkun olam, standpoint theory, misogyny, patriarchy, Partnership Parenting, gender-based violence, care work, Innate Divinity, Partnership/Respect Model, Domination/Control Model, Riane Eisler, intersectional oppression, Womanist Idea, Layli Maparyan, social location
This article explores parenting and the construction of masculinity through the lens of Partnership. Framed by the author’s conversation with her teenaged son, the paper opens with a definition, exploration, and cultural contextualization of androcracy. Fundamental intersections between the disciplines of the Partnership Model and Women’s Spirituality are then introduced, locating story and storytelling, spirit, and relationship as cornerstones for shifting from the Domination Model to a Partnership Model. Interconnected theories and praxes of feminism, radical feminism, womanism, and the Womanist Idea, as well as the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, are defined and proposed as tools for educating children about the Domination/Control and interlocking systems of oppression we live in, and how to enact Partnership/Respect principles in our relationships. The paper proposes that through sharing and enacting a multiplicity of counter narratives that reflect the tenets of Partnership, parents and care givers not only actively model for children Partnership values, but they also equip children with an explicit understanding of the harmful systems we live in and the means to challenge and shift them. Highlighting a multiplicity of traditions that share the same core values of empathy, compassion, and care for all living beings, the paper concludes with a set of tools for employing foundational precepts of Partnership Parenting, from sharing story to embodying and promoting ways to care for self, community, and the world.
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