Love and Power

In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change

                                                                                                                      Audre Lorde


‘Nuff said. Seems like I can just wrap up this post right now and go.

Sadly, or perhaps not so sadly, I talk too much – so that seems impossible.

What isn’t impossible, however, is seeing how power as an abstract idea has been corrupted in American society and various other societies like it. In this country, power is often defined by money and domination – if you have neither of those things, then you have no power.

Simple, right?

Yes. Except for when it isn’t.

Power comes in so many forms, and often in spaces and places that don’t define money and domination as the alpha and omega of success. Recognizing power as empowerment, as a positive force that has the potential to uplift one another and foster unity, works to destroy the corruption and distortion that Lorde speaks of. When we recognize that our power emanates from within, that it comes from a place that no one can take from us (regardless of what they’d like us to believe), we take our power back.

Patricia Hill Collins describes love as one of those powers. And not just love as it exists between men and men, women and women, or women and men – but love for the self, for friends, love for the community and so on. I do think, however, that the self-affirming power of love begins with our ability to love and respect ourselves because when you love yourself, your ability to take people’s attempts to disempower you in stride fades into the background. And the power of oppressive systems to define power for you is diminished as well. Which, in turn, disempowers the system – because it loses the ability to limit our “energy for change.” 

Claiming the power that exists within our ability to love gives us the ability to define power on our own terms, and shake off the veil that perpetuates the myth of power as domination. 


~ by Kristen on March 24, 2013.

3 Responses to “Love and Power”

  1. We have very similar views on empowerment. We all have it, being empowered is innate to us all. It is more difficult for some to tap into their power, while it is just as difficult for others to ever feel that they are without power. Love and empowerment go hand in hand to build something great in each of us. One day it will be impossible for anyone not to know the power inside of them. Hopefully by then it will not be too little nor too late.

  2. Love the context of your post!!! Oppression can take away the power of love.. and it has a tendency to do so.. the ability that love has to empower people. make hate just as powerful as love… People DO crazy things in love.. But in a good way.. They love. it has power. it releases people it heals people it does things that causes people to feel empowered in a good way. and that can be deadly. to people who thrive and only work off of negative emotions.

  3. I really liked your post… power has so much to do with love and it can either be used in a positive or negative way. Love itself can have so much power, but we need to first respect and love ourselves before we can expect to love anyone else.

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