The archetype of Damsel in distress speaks of a young, beautiful woman affected by dreadful circumstances beyond her control. Damsel in distress is found in mythology, literature, art and film. In a world that wants everything here and now, and where romance seems to have lost its meaning, with the pass of time, her myth has been demoted to urban legend, the fairies of childhood grown up and unemployed; O Cinderella where art thou?
The misinterpretation of this figure comes when both, men and women believe that a modern Damsel in distress still needs to be rescued by someone else. No one can save anyone else unless they want to be, and in any case, one has to take responsibility for their lives and heal themselves. No one truly needs to be saved.
Patriarchal society had a powerful influence in how we view ourselves leading everyone to believe that the answer is always with someone else. Historically this was the father figure, now obsolete. Religion did the rest by making us believe that we all need salvation, and that this can never come in human form.
It is important to understand that Damsel is a woman who went through numerous, adverse experiences in which she experienced pain and suffering. These experiences against popular belief made her stronger, never weaker. She is not a woman that needs rescuing, even though her personal circumstances might invite to believe so. Weak is the one inflicting pain and suffering on others, never the survivor.
Such experiences and circumstances will lead her and others to believe that the answer is outside and with someone else. As the role of men has changed and we have lost the ability to embody the traditional roles imposed by patriarchal society, the figures of the hero, prince valiant or prince charming no longer exist. However, the energy that promotes such characters is still living in contemporary society causing an internal conflict in both, men and women.
What a man wanting to save Damsel really desires is to save his mother, but also himself; whereas every woman still believing that a man can save her has given away her true power, self-belief and independence. If love is not uplifting, it is not love.
Damsel in distress is every woman, but she also lives in the unexplored feminine of every man. The damage that patriarchal society has caused to women by suppressing expression of all things female invites to adapt and transform in order to survive. Not every woman wants to be saved. The number of women living independently, thus separating from the once powerful image of the male saviour and turning instead to the potential of the Divine Feminine is increasing. It is a way to assert themselves with a clear statement: love me as I am and take care of my real needs by opening your heart and then there might be a possibility. There's more love in a solitary life than in sharing it with someone standing on old beliefs and standards.
The move towards the feminine indicates a separation from the current flow of male energy that no longer recognises creativity, intuition and balance. While society does not like an independent woman and would find ways in which to increase pressure to set them back to the 'straight path', one in which they can be controlled, follow the standards and submit to what has been expected from them for centuries; setting a distance from the aggression and competitiveness of the male energy is good news for everyone.
This separation can be problematic and would only be solved in time by integrating the male and female energy in order to find balance. Women do have the power to change the world by setting stronger boundaries and demanding equality. However, many women have introduced aggressive and competitive patterns, so as to regain their ground. This is neither the right or wrong way and it has to be understood as the natural course of a process in this period of transition. It can never be a permanent solution, as it is be equally unbalanced.
The path to freedom of the collective is through being true to ourselves. Transformation of the collective is not different from personal transformation, and it needs an inner revolution before we can consider changing the world. In order to regain the equality that has been denied to all of us, both men and women, so as to balance male and female energy for a better society, the true power of women lies in exerting their natural abilities. By fighting the world with the already known weapons: aggressiveness, competition or a goal-directed assertiveness, we only enter a period where creativity, collaboration, empathy or creativity still remain pending subjects.
What the world needs is a wave of creativity, love, passion and emotional intelligence that sweeps what's already here and contributes to create a better and truly humane society that provides for the needs of all. The world already knows how to control aggression, competition or assertiveness and in fact, the more of it we have, the longer we will remain stuck in an unconscious society. What the world cannot fight is a colourful wave of love, dance, new rhythms. This is a new energy, that if propelled from all corners of the world would contribute to change the world.
We are what we do, and what we do creates an energy that changes a person first, and then their environment. By creating a new energy, we transform the old ones. In this way, we can achieve integration. There is still great remnants of religious thoughts and the energy of patriarchal society blinding collective consciousness that makes us believe that the world will change through a miracle brought by external forces. The truth is, we are those forces. We raise our voices sometimes in the hope of hope, but what we have to do is to believe by creating that belief in our every day actions. Should we continue watching TV or go out and love and dance?
Very often I come across a Damsel in distress. Most of them still believe in the idea of rescuing and my response to them is always the same, that you have to do it yourself even if that means a period of isolation, heartbreak and loneliness. Everything else would be manipulation, as I know that in everyone of us lies the most beautiful place in the world, still unseen, still untouched and that can only be discovered by taking the plunge within.
What Damsel wants is to follow her heart, so as to reconnect with the soul. It can only happen through being a woman, not in the traditional way, but by bringing a new expression and meaning to it. For centuries women have been the silent guardians of the soul. It is time to set it free if we want to change this world. By showing the true and beautiful expression of the Divine Feminine, women would be inviting the Divine Masculine to reappear and express its energy as what it was meant to be.
When the new creative energy emerges, the old ways of society will become obsolete and consequently abandoned. I can only wish that the cleavage vs no-cleavage debate is ended and women uplift other women instead of competing against each other. No one gains anything by competing. Competition is an illusion that has led the world to believe that salvation is in money and then more money.
Damsel in distress doesn't need to be saved. If you are a woman, know that you and her have the keys to wake up the Goddess. Know also that she's within you. If you're a man, there's one way in which we can 'save' our mothers and ourselves, and this is through love. Love them all and the right one will come to you.
Damsel in distress is a survivor, the strongest woman there is, a Goddess, how anyone could think she needs rescuing is beyond me. If anything, we do this together, no one has to do it alone. She has grown up now and might not be as young as she was, but still beautiful. She's always beautiful.
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Photo: Dani Glitter-Belle Pettit