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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Woman’s World


Woman’s World or Man’s Paradise?

Zuzka Burdanova

While travelling in Central America in early 2012, I passed through regions inhabited by Mayas. Since the notorious end of the world proclaimed for the 21st  of December 2012 was coming up, I was curious to find out what the Mayans still living today think of it.
This date marks the end of the Mayan calendar. The common joke has been that the Mayans probably just ran out of paper and were smirking about the idea that someone will be freaked out by that one day. As with a few ends of the world in the last few decades, nothing exciting happened. Once again. But what do the Mayans have to say about all this?
I went to search for some reliable sources of information in the Mayan villages of southern Mexico. Near San Cristobal de las Casas, there is a small village in which a lot of Mayan shamans still use their healing magic for living. I asked around and interviewed a few knowledgeable and well respected Mayans. They all shared the following view.
2012 is a year of transformation in human history. There will be a shift in human consciousness. Now this is something most of us heard before. It’s very vague and sounds like a new age bullshit. However, they all continued and said the same thing which caught my attention and which I’m going to talk about. The main transformation, according to the Mayas, will be happening in a form of a shift  from masculine into feminine energy governing the universe.
Hmmm, so the women will rule the world? Not exactly.
The masculine energy characterizes ego, war, competition, aggression…We’ve had quite a lot of this up until now. Think about the kings fighting for territories, dictators performing genocides, corporations fighting for market share… All these kingdoms, governments, corporations are usually run by men. What the Mayans believe is that this kind of functioning of the MANkind will be so destructive for the society that inevitably a new way of living needs to come out of a self-and planet preservation instinct. This is where the maternal instinct comes in. The female energy characterized by nurturing, caring, protecting…Very needed for the state of environment and affairs today. So the Mayans believe at least. To demonstrate their belief in his shift they have started to dress all the male heroic statues of warriors and gods in Mayan churches into women’s clothes.
It was only a year later that I discovered one of the last matriarchal societies in the world on the other side of the world, in China. I heard there was a tribe living in this way by a lake in the South of China close to the border with Tibet. Bearing in mind the Mayan prophecy, I was very curious to find out more about this society where the women run the show.
These people are called the Mosuo tribe, they are Tibetan Buddhists and they live around the Lugu Lake located between the Sichuan and Yunnan province of China. For thousands of years, the lake was inaccessible by road and it took more than 3 days of travel to get to the closest town. So the people around the lake lived in the way they always did undistorted by outside influences.  They are a matrilinear society which means that the property and finances pass from woman onto woman. The women never marry. They stay living with their mother and grandmother for all their life and the men in their lives are only allowed in their house after dark. This is called walking marriage. Men walk into women’s household only when the woman allows them to do so. They have to leave before the dawn. It might be woman’s world but it certainly is a man’s paradise.
They boys don’t really have any responsibility. They don’t have to take care of their children, neither support their women. All they have to cater for is that the woman is satisfied at nighttime. There are some manly tasks assigned to them which they are better suited to thanks to their physique. Construction, building, hunting for and killing animals, repairing stuff, fiddling and so forth. Women, on the other hand, manage the whole family which can sometimes be compared to a large corporation. From the distribution of daily tasks, ad-hoc operational problem-solving to long-term strategic planning, the assigned female CEO of the family makes sure all the generations will have enough to eat for a few decades.
When we arrived to the lake the first thing I noticed was the playfulness and carefreeness of people around. Men, women, boys, girls, grandmas and grandpas alike. They all had that glint in their eyes. Because of the walking marriage arrangement, the romance is kept alive in the relationships between people and it was evident to us at every corner. You could see well-groomed men hurrying to their loved one’s crib at sunset all excited and woman expecting their sweetheart after a day of work. The non-existence of marriage doesn’t mean that all the women are promiscuous. Many women stay with one partner all their life, just never live in one household. But they manage to keep the spark in their bond. The woman decides when she wants the guy there. If she doesn’t feel like it, she bans him out.
It might seem like the women’s world but it is really just an alternative way to organize a household/a community/a company/the planet. I do not think that one gender should be in more power than another. All I want to point out is that there are multiple ways in which the society can be organized and it works. And the Mayans believe that some gender responsibility and power structure reorganization is in order if we want to avoid the civilization to collapse in a few decades. Let’s see how it pans out.

About the Author

Zuzka Burdanova is an entrepreneur, a traveller, dancer and life examiner. In her spare time she is a skill researcher at Get Skills.