Chakra Discussions

'Mataji' Must Never Mean Contempt

by Stritama dasi (Hawaii)

Posted August 5, 2008

Hypocrisy and misogyny are alive and well at this year's Kuli Mela just concluded at Radhadesh in Belgium. The misogyny from the first generation has been passed down to the second and third generations. I ask: when will it end?

My daughter, an excellent football (soccer) player, having played since she was 7 years old, was literally run off the field by her 'godbrothers' at the Kuli Mela, all the while being called 'mataji'. What hypocrisy! Who would treat their mother in this manner?

To avoid completely falling on her head after having being slammed, she had grasped a young man's jersey. He then had the audacity to curse at her for this minor infraction. The real tragedy was that not one male on her team nor on the sidelines, although I was told there were many older devotees present, stepped in to defend her or to reprimand the offender. So much for the protection of women. Unfortunately for him, I wasn't there to blast him into the proper consciousness. I assume that their false egos couldn't handle the idea of a girl not only playing football but playing better than them.

This is shameful. Shame on all of the males present there that did not act appropriately, shame on the offender and shame on his parents for raising him with this denigrating attitude towards jiva souls in the female form.

Like other women, I -- as any female will share with you -- endured misogyny and mistreatment in the early days in the brahmacarini ashram, but it is now 2008, and it is time for this mentality to stop. How do we do that? We act accordingly and take responsibility to help our devotee family learn to act properly. Otherwise, according to Bhagavad-Gita, we are creating violence.

How will ISKCON ever heal and survive if this mentality is allowed to continue? How will our children want to stay in the movement to carry on the great legacy of Srila Prabhupada? How can we encourage the youth, who have a taste for seva, to tolerate what we did?