Goddess 2.0: Goddess Movement Beyond the Baby
can we do to make sure that the Goddess Movement lives beyond our generation?
I've asked myself this question many times. Recently I asked a room full
of Goddess Scholars
to consider: While some young girls are lucky enough to be invited to
rituals, and some are educated about the Goddess by their families, many
girls, young women, and nascent queens have yet to discover Goddess. If
they're not in our homes or attending our public rituals or our workshops,
where do we find them? Or perhaps the better question is this: Where do
they find us?
The Goddess Movement Yesterday, Today, and ... Tomorrow?
feminists have created an impressive body of scholarship about ancient
goddesses and about the practices, people, sites, and cultures associated
with them. Likewise, we've created contemporary practices and traditions
based on our needs, perceptions, and desires and also on the information
we've gathered about how, where, and when the Ancient Ones were worshipped.
We haven't done this alone, or in a vacuum. Women younger than the baby
boom, Pagans of many traditions, and non-pagan women and men have studied
folklore, folk magic, esoteric traditions and practices, findings from
archaeology and other sciences, and source materials from history, all
of which have contributed to knowledge of ancient goddesses, gods, and
Powerful waves of Goddess awareness and feminism do, historically, recede.
So asking what we can do to ensure the survival of the Goddess Movement
beyond my generation is not a naive question. It's a question that all
Goddess Women, of all generations, should be considering.
Technology, Goddess Studies, and Connecting Cross-Generationally
The 70 or so women at the Goddess Scholars Symposium covered all the named
generations except the very youngest, Generation Z, which has until recently
been lumped into Generation Y. My presentation, given as part of a panel
on "Technology and Goddess Studies," addressed the role of the
Web in the dissemination of information about the Goddess, Her scholars
and Her practitioners.
Generations on the Web
As of March 2009, 74.4% of the North American population uses the web.
That's the world's highest per capita use (Australia/Oceania is 2nd; Europe
is 3rd), but total North American web use is only 15.7% of worldwide use.
For younger users, the Web has become living room, media center, youth
center, library, and card catalog. Research makes it clear that if Goddess
Women (second- and third-wave both) want to connect with younger women,
we need to meet our virtual daughters and granddaughters on the Web. In
the U.S., age groups
commonly considered in studying the web are:
Gen Y †
WW2 / GI / Silent
under age 30
between 30 and 44
between 45 and 64
over 65 years old
currently about 74 million
currently about 49 million
currently about 77 million
currently about 55 million
views on community
-Free spending based on trends and social network recommendations,
but worried now about getting a job
-Respect expertise regardless of age
tools have become almost invisible
possibilities (until current downturn)
-Free spending (but worried now)
-Comfortable with technology
-Task oriented web use, but broader use (banking, shopping, in addition
to email, information)
-Free spenders, but stressed about retirement now
-Becoming familiar with technology
-Task oriented web use (email, health and travel information)
Depression and war
-Family, home, structure, loyalty are most important
-Older members of this group (75+) are least likely to use web
† includes "Generation
Z" - ages 14 and under - thought to be too young to characterize
in the ways the other generations have been
Generations in the Library
Among some women of the Baby Boom and WWII generations, there is a concern
that younger people are limiting their sources of information and inspiration
to what they can find on the Web. The Internet is sometimes seen as a
medium that is replacing the much older print technology. Are those concerns
well founded? According to a 2007 study
of American reading patterns (considering only print materials):
- One in four adults had not read a book
in the previous year.
- Excluding those nonreaders, the readers
averaged seven books that year.
- Women read more books than men, except
for history and biography.
- College graduates, Democrats, liberals,
and non-churchgoers read more than the contrasting groups.
- Analysts blamed the Internet, among other
things, for the low number of books read.
|Who Goes to the Library?
An average of 53% of U.S. adults
said they visited a library in 2007. Notice that after GenY, the
percentage goes steadily down.
% Who Visited Library
WW2 / GI / Silent
The Library/Web Connection
Internet users were more than twice as likely to patronize libraries
as non-Internet users. More than 2/3 of library visitors used computers
while at the library: 65% looked up information on the web; 62% checked
library resources online. "Scroll forward 10 years and [the GenYers]
younger brothers and sisters are now the most avid library users,"
said Lee Rainie, co-author of the study and director of the Pew project
(see endnote 6).
Those children are likely to go to the library expecting to use the
Internet even to find their way to relevant print materials.
For GenY and GenZ, the Web is a primary source for finding what books
they want to read.
Why Goddess Scholars and Practitioners Must Engage Online
The members of Generation Y, as described above, are savvy users of the
Web and also the largest group of library users. They expect more than
Goddess information on the Internet; they expect Goddess scholars and
practitioners to discuss, create, connect, promote change and community,
and respect expertise regardless of age. They are not passive consumers,
but co-creators. They know they have to read multiple sources and make
up their own minds about accuracy and bias. They have information
hunger (see endnote 9)
and theyre used to a complex, fast-moving, full-color, non-linear
web experience. They scan for what they want, and reject a page quickly
if they dont find it. They expect short paragraphs, bulleted lists,
and lots of headings, multimedia, and white space.
They use simplified spelling, but theyre highly skilled at setting
up a search. If the serious archeological, philosophical, and historical
Goddess work and the community of scholarship and shared discussion arent
happening on the Web, the members of GenY (and their younger siblings)
wont be likely to find their home in it.
Conundrum Answered: Using Social Media to Connect Across Generations
Five years ago, the doorway to the Web was up a steep flight of steps,
requiring tech skills and determination. Today, anyone who can type can
cross the threshold easily, thanks to Social Media. The now familiar tools
of Social Media are blogs, microblogs, and wikis (like Wikipedia), and
now social networks dominate the marketplace of shared experience and
ideas. The way to learn about these things is to visit them and set up
an account. The way to participate actively is to start contributing.
If you post it, they will come.
At its most basic, Social Media is a category of sites based on user
participation and user-generated content. But more fundamentally, it is
a shift in how people discover, read and share news, both personal and
professional. It's a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming
monologue into dialogue. It democratizes information, transforming people
from content readers into publishers. It's also a meritocracy of knowledge.
Anyone can say anything, but opinions converge as they do in face-to-face
conversation, based on the value of what is said.
List of Social Media Sites and Tools
- Blogs: Blogger,
- Micro-blogs (presence applications):
- Social networking: Bebo,
- Social network aggregation: NutshellMail,
- Events: Upcoming,
- Wikis: Wikipedia,
- Social bookmarking (or Social tagging):
- Social Cataloging: Books LibraryThing,
goodreads; Movies Flixster;
Scholarly Citations Bibster,
- Social news: Mashable,
- Opinion sites: epinions,
- Reviews and Opinions
- Symposium: Self and Goddess:
Personal, Political, Spiritual, May 14, 2009. Sponsored by the Association
for the Study of Women and Mythology.
- "Second-wave feminism",
Wikipedia. Accessed August 5, 2009 at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-wave_feminism>.
- "Third-wave feminism",
Wikipedia. Accessed August 5, 2009 at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-wave_feminism>.
- See "Christine de
Pizan," "Protofeminism," and "History of feminism,"
for example. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_de_pisan>,
all accessed August 3, 2009.
- This section consolidates
information from Mascarenas, Janelle “My Generation”, SME Toolkit.
Available 5/13/2009 at <http://us.smetoolkit.org/us/en/content/en/5175/My-Generation>;
Morrell, Roger W., Christopher B. Mayhorn, and Joan Bennett, “A Survey
of World Wide Web Use in Middle-Aged and Older Adults,” Human Factors:
The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Vol.
42, No. 2, 175-182 (2000). DOI: 10.1518/001872000779656444. Accessed
5/13/2009 at <http://hfs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/42/2/175>;
Susannah Fox and Mary Madden, Generations Online, Pew
Internet & American Life Project, 1/22/2006. Accessed as download
5/13/2009 at <http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2006/Generations-Online.aspx>.
- “Demographic Change and
Local Government: A Review of Issues,” Municipal Research and Services
Center of Washington. Accessed as of 5/13/2009 at <http://www.mrsc.org/Subjects/Governance/DemogOver.aspx>.
- Coined by blogger Josh
and Aaron Dignan.
- Poll: One in four
adults read no books last year, MSNBC.com,
8/21/2007, reporting on an Associated Press-lpsos poll. Accessed 5/13/2009
- “Generation Y biggest
user of libraries: survey”, Reuters, 12/30/2007, reporting a survey
by Pew Internet & American Lie Project.
- Agger, Michael. Lazy
Eyes, Slate, 6/13/2008. Accessed 5/13/2009 at <http://www.slate.com/id/2193552/>.
- Adapted from "Social
Media," Wikipedia, Accessed 8/6/2009 at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media>,
and the author's own list of social media sites.