Yoga is a fairly recent development in my life, but I’ve been striking a pose since at least middle school. Not Downward Facing dog or Triangle pose – no, my girlfriends and I would strike a pose, Vogue style. At sleepovers, we would blast Madonna’s song, frame our face with our hands, and let our bodies mooooove to the muuuusic. It wasn’t very zen, but it was a lovely bonding ritual.
Fast forward 20-some years and I found myself with other women striking another kind of pose that was neither yoga nor Madonna. I was one of the thousands holding up signs, wearing a pink hat, and progressing en masse to the White House in the 2017 Women’s March.
We’d all had bad times with the patriarchy, some much more than others. But for the first time in our lifetimes, we were facing the fact that our leader had admitted to assault, was known for demeaning women. Joining together to do something about that perverse reality was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had. We made a statement, and I think we struck quite a pose.
It got tiring holding that sign up, and even more tiring trying to keep the corners from poking people. At times we got a lost and there was a lot of just trying to find each other (and a port a potty.)
But despite the exhaustion, it was exhilarating. My favorite moment was when we reached the White House chanting, “we’re not going away, welcome to your first day!” We felt powerful in the face of oppression. We were snowflakes indeed, but snowflakes that came together to make a blizzard.
Since then so much more has happened. And we have learned so much more of what this current administration is capable of in terms of cruelty and casual disregard for our values.
Nevertheless, as they say, we have persisted. Women have learned how strong we are, not despite being women, but because of being women. The things we are derided for are our chief assets. We use our emotions for empathy, we use our understanding to build community. We use our bodies to carry, to push, to grow life.
It’s no wonder that Wonder Woman was such a successful movie this year. Gal Gadot’s version is simultaneously sweet and strong, caring and courageous. She’s everything we hope we can be. And she strikes some truly terrific poses, with her arm bands crossed or her lasso of truth raised. Every detail about her, from her crown to her outfit to her boots, exudes grace and power befitting the goddess environment where she was raised.
That Wonder Woman spirit was strong at the Women’s March, and it’s still strong today – in women speaking up in the “me too” movement, in teenagers crafting a new set of assumptions about gender, in little kids dressing up like her (I myself had some fantastic Underoos.) Madonna was fun but this is a whole other step in the evolution of our pose and our poise.
I feel the Wonder Woman spirit when I am in Goddess pose. Your feet are spread and you crouch into a squat with arms at right angles (“cactus” arms). Does it look like you just might birth a baby? Maybe. But why not own that? It’s one of the most incredible things a female body can do. Remember your own birthing experiences or imagine what it’s like – there’s nothing to be ashamed of here, quite the contrary.
Of course, having babies is by no means the extent of the capacity of the female body. With your arms spread, you can consider the wonders your arms can create, as well. Who might you hug? What might you build?
We are all Wonder Women, whether we do yoga or we march or we write or we read or we give birth or we stand on our own two feet. Together with our allies, we can give that patriarchy a smashing – and hopefully make a new system good for gods and goddesses both.