I was sitting at a table last week with five men in suits from all over the world.  Their diplomatic titles ranges from past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Ambassador amongst various nations.  How did I get a seat at this table? I was there as arm candy.  Or, I was there with a man I was dating.  For the first time in many years, I felt the fact that I was a woman typecast me into a role of minimized appreciation for my thoughts and feelings and maximized expectation for my appearance and ability to acquiesce. No one said a word to me at the table except to tell me how beautiful my dress was and to ask if I liked my dinner.

photo-45My ego was wounded.  I was so embarrassed.  I thought of the countless blogs, classes, workshops, retreats, conversations and meditations I have done on one main topic: the divine feminine. The exploration and embodiment and empowerment of WOMEN! And there I was with my make up done, high heels on, smiling politely even though I was raging inside (see photo.) To state the obvious, the lack of conversation headed my way could have had more to do with my limited experience in nation building and less to do with that I was a woman.  However, it was the role in which I was there and the social expectation for me to sit pretty and stay quiet that triggered a collective wound of feminine angst for not being recognized or given an opportunity to share one's contribution to the round table discussion.  It was less about me being individually uncomfortable and more about that collectively we are still living in, as James Brown sings, "A man's world."

Some statistics I shared in my Huffington Post blog last summer while setting out on a pilgrimage to reclaim the divine feminine came back to my memory.

Politics: 83.2 percent of U.S. Congress are men, and 76.4 percent in the state legislatures are men.

Business488 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are men (that's almost 98 percent).

Art: In a recent survey out of 400 works of art in the Museum of Modern Art, 386 were by men (97 percent).

Media: In a 2009 study based on G, PG and PG-13 movies, 93 percent of directors, 87 percent of writers, and 80 percent of producers were men.

Religion: Unfortunately, the statistics on this topic are few and scattered. It looks as if the percentage of men in leadership roles for most organized religions is somewhere around 85 percent.

I have spent the last seven years of my life as a voracious student and passionate teacher of embodying the divine feminine.  I created a movement system, Qoya, based on the idea that through movement we remember.  We remember our essence, as women, is wise, wild and free.  We remember our deepest truths and the physical sensation of our own intuition.  I believe the most important evolution for our individual, societal and global communities is the empowerment of women and taking a stand for feminine values.  I personally believe the easiest way to accomplish this goal is to connect women to their intuition, have them feel the physical sensation of their deepest truths and create community of like-minded and like-hearted women to be supported by as each woman courageously finds her voice and stretches to share her gifts with this world.  In this way, I am proudly a feminist.

 

I am also aware that to use the title of being a feminist may lead me to being misunderstood and putting me in a man-hating, victimized, angry at the world, pity party box.  Said or unsaid, this stigma still dances around the word feminist and it's ridiculous, untrue and in desperate need for some rebranding.  With an ocean of gratitude for all of the men and women who have used their voice and stood for feminism up to this point and filled with inspiration for evolving the conversation for our children's children, I wonder...

What if we saw Feminist issues not just belonging to women, but that they belong to people as a collective and men are an integral part of this community?

What if Feminism is not a movement of seclusion, separation, competition or comparison. Rather it is all things celebratory, inclusive and desirable?

What if Feminism is about elevating the inherently female attributes that are essential to moving progress, power and the entire leadership conversation forward?

What if Feminism was not a sidebar discussion, but seen as central to all that’s relevant from pop culture to politics to international development?

In my mind, what if feminism = love.

Thank Goddess, some of my dearest friends, Kassidy Brown and Allison Rapson, were already on the case.  Today is the launch of We Are the XX.

And the questions above are their new feminist manifesto.

WearetheXX3We are the xx is a media campaign to brand feminism for this generation.  It's about starting a new conversation, a new manifesto and a new forum that is inclusive, celebratory and aligned with the highest good of all.  Want to join the movement?

The beauty of this campaign is that anyone with a computer or smart phone, anywhere from around the world can get on board.  Draw an xx on your body and take a photo.  Then post on Instagram and Twitter with @WearetheXX and #Weare.  The goal is that in a little less than six months, on International Women's Day, we can gather a million photos of people who are on board with this feminist manifesto and see the diverse and evolving face of feminism.

Kassidy and Allison are so committed to this cause, they got xx tattoos!!!! (See photo above and live tattoo footage in their launch video below!) Get inspired and show your support by writing your xx, taking a photo and remember to tag #weare and @wearethexx.

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are the XX had their soft launch in Las Vegas as part of the Downtown Project and Catalyst Week in March of this year where they invited women across varying platforms to share their stories and thoughts on rebranding feminism.  Here is the video of my talk that I gave about my dance with feminism and some of the markers of being on a feminine inspired spiritual path.   I hope you enjoy!

Catalyst Week presents Rochelle Schieck 3.22.13 Talk from Fremont East Studios LV on Vimeo.

For opportunities to embody the divine feminine with Qoya, check out our upcoming offerings with:

Qoya classes in NYC Tuesday, October 1st and Tuesday, October 8th, 7-8pm

The Yoga Collective 135 W. 29th Street #603 between 6th and 7th Ave. in NYC
All classes are by donation and proceeds will be given to GEMS.  www.gems-girls.org
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential.

Qoya Classes and Intro to Qoya Teacher Training in Austin, Texas

Join us during the weekend of Austin City Limits, October 12 & 13, 2013 for Qoya classes, a gratitude despacho ceremony and an Intro to Qoya Teacher Training perfect for developing your own home practice, going deeper into the philosophy or Qoya or learning how to teach to share with your community.

Qoya and Dolce Yoga Pleasure Retreat in Tuscany, Italy November 16-22, 2013

We've rented a private villa amongst the hills of Tuscany to explore the Italian daydream of poetry salons, learning to speak Italian phrases and cook Italian food, going on a spiritual pilgrimage to Assisi, and doing daily Qoya and Yoga sessions.  There is something magical that happens when we allow ourselves the luxury of time and space to enjoy our lives. May the seeds of pleasure we plant fuel us for our creative and sacred work in the world.  Various housing options are available from a private room and bath to bunk beds! Read more here: http://www.rochelleschieck.com/qoya-in-person/qoya-and-dulce-yoga-pleasure-retreat-in-tuscany-italy-nov-16-22nd/

Qoya and House of Loveness Service Retreat in Zimbabwe November 23-30, 2013

This first week is sold out, but we are dancing with the possibility of offering a second week, so if you are interested, please look at the information below and reach out to let us know.  http://www.rochelleschieck.com/qoya-in-person/zimbabwe-qoya-service-retreat/

5th Annual Qoya Retreat in Costa Rica March 29-April 5, 2014

Join us for my favorite retreat of the year.  Blue Spirit retreat center is perfectly created for you to go deep into your body with 3 hour daily Qoya classes, evening rituals, nutritious and healthy meals, afternoon adventures to surf, zipline, hike, kayak or rest by taking a nap, getting a massage with some of the best therapists in the world or enjoy some down time to read by the pool or have a great conversation while on a beach walk.  Almost half of the people on this retreat are people doing it for a second or third time.  Read here for more information: http://www.rochelleschieck.com/qoya-in-person/retreats/

 

I am so grateful for your desire to dance with Qoya and encourage you to support this initiative to rebrand feminism with We are the XX.

 

XX,
Rochelle
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