The Next Women’s Liberation

Submitted by Dorothy Lander

American feminist theorist Elizabeth Debold guides us through this 5-minute YouTube presentation of “The Next Women’s Liberation,” affiliated with spiritual leader Andrew Cohen of EnlightenNext ( and its magazine, formerly What is Enlightment (WIE) and now called EnlightenNext: The Magazine for Evolutionaries.

The video begins with Debold’s voice over a montage of striking and evocative images of women through history, declaring that in the 21st century women have social equity, sexual freedom, and equity in the workplace, but do not have spiritual equity.

I was dismayed with the absolute tone of her declarations, which the experience of many women — especially in the majority world — challenges. And I was uneasy with such a simple/simplistic separation of social equity and spiritual equity. The images and commentary on the oppression of women spiritual leaders fails to recognize faith-based organizations as workplaces that have not achieved social equity. My reaction was much like the blog respondents who noted:  

Self-titled guru Andrew Cohen refers to Elizabeth Debold as WIE’s “resident feminist.” That tells me something right there. Cohen and his buddy Ken Wilbur claim that patriarchy was “co-created” by men and women. The last issue of WIE featured the “New Man,” a wimpy, feminized, confused half-a-man who’s lost his identity because postmodern feminists have squashed his manly nature. Debold, Cohen, Wilbur and WIE fail to speak to me as a woman or feminist.


You are now speaking of “women’s nature.” That sounds like regression on your intellectual path. I liked your edges in the material analysis of women in society. Culture, capitalism, materialism. Do you say that “men’s nature” is better designed but women’s nature is a bar to female power? Women “naturally” want to undermine one another? Ask spiritually advanced women.


I came across this YouTube on the same day as Johanna Schneller’s (Dec. 12, 2009) article in The Globe and Mail, entitled “Leading men? That’s what the ladies are doing.”  Schneller lists four diverse American movies, Up in the Air, It’s Complicated, The Blind Side and Nine, in which “fellas are opening up and breaking down, while hard-charging women drive their lives” (p. R3). When men like George Clooney and Alec Baldwin are playing “the woman” in a relationship, it does suggest “there’s something in the zeitgeist.”  Unlike the WIE position that postmodern feminists have squashed the manly nature, I’m with Schneller and her statement posed as a “maybe” that “after 40 years of feminism, we’re finally seeing onscreen what equality really looks like — a shared sense of human befuddlement that knows, or needs, no gender” (p. R3).


~ by artpoped on December 14, 2009.

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