Why the Milieux Project?

WASPsIt might not be transparent, so I’d like to write a little on the Milieux Project and our “why”.  To be sure, we are still defining it, but we definitely started with a desire to change how our culture thinks about flying and who can do it.  But it has become more than this.  I catch myself sometimes in the details trying to explain it, because that’s the easy part, the details.  But the Project is broad and ubiquitous- kind of like the word “milieux”.  And that’s exactly why we decided to use Milieux in our name.

milˈyo͞o,milˈyə(r)/
noun
plural noun: milieux
  1. a person’s social environment.
    “he grew up in a military milieu”
    synonyms: environment, sphere, background, backdrop, setting, context, atmosphere; More

That’s right, in Webster’s dictionary they use a reference to “he” and “military” to define it.  Its funny because we are women in the military.  Just another reason we exist. But back to the word.
Mary Magdalene
Artistic Rendition of Mary Magdalene Landing in Provence, France
The first thing that was appealing to us about using the word Milieux was the beauty of the word itself.  I kind of take pleasure in judging a word by its cover because it is so not “feminist”.  If you look at the word “Milieux” as if its a person and value it based on its beauty instead of its meaning, I think you will agree it is quite a sexy word.  First of all, it is French.  French is sexy and feminine.  The sounds roll off the tongue; “Meeluzze”, like eating chocolate or singing a song, enticing and melodic.  The word starts with an “M” , a reminder of the ultimate feminine- the mother and the biblical Marys- Mary the Virgin, Mary the sister and Mary Magdalene.  The “x” at the end makes the word plural, which is slightly inconvenient, but the “x” rounds it out, makes it feel complete and whole and interesting and finally, adds an “X” factor.  We liked it, its a beautiful word that means something bigger than us.
Okay, so that is just the surface of the word- what again is the “why” for Milieux?   It goes back to the word.  In modern history, several psychologists, like Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, have referred to society and the value of it when identifying psychological phenomenons, problems and therapies.  They believed a person’s social environment has enormous effect on how we define/understand them.  Alfred Adler believed social interest was the most important aspect of determining value or understanding, he called it gemeinschaftsgefühl.  This was anti-Freudian at the time (and anti sexualized), early psychologists rejected it.team
“Adler’s focus on this principle as the basis of all “true” meanings of life made it impossible for him to share Freud’s view of humankind as a collection of individual drives, with the libido—the sexual drive—forming the basis of all neuroses. Rather, to Adler, neuroses resulted from an unhealthy focus on perceived inferiorities and mistaken ideas of superiority. These mistaken meanings arise from a person’s interpretation of their biological and social limitations. People could free themselves from their self-imposed prisons only through well-practiced interest in the welfare of others. Love of neighbor was not simply a part of Adler’s psychology; Adler himself described it as the ultimate goal.  Adler was all for allowing people to fully express their personalities as long as their drives were focused in the direction of what he called Gemeinschaftsgefühl.”
freud joke

Its about loving our neighbor and ourselves.  But Gemeinschaftsgefuhl is not only hard to say, it’s not easy to remember or, let’s be honest, its not beautiful either.  Hence why we chose Milieux instead.  Milieux relates to connectedness, everyday life, context, environment.  Milieux surrounds us everyday, helps shape and contextualize our experiences, and the MP wants to show how we are affected by it. Our milieux shape and influence us, define us and either limit or challenge us.  And the Milieux is artistic-like us.  Artists using sculptures, paint, and text have captured our milieux throughout history, and we are thrilled to explore it in our own unique way.

We understand that the MP can be mistaken as “just another feminist blog”, and that’s an easy assumption to make.   Creating courage and faith in our young girls is honestly our immediate imperative, however, it is not the definition of or the the entirety of our purpose.  As we have learned in our military studies, a military objective is achieved through multiple lines of effort.  Those lines of efforts are sometimes iterative and not always transparently linked, but a common purpose remains.  Encouraging our girls to dream bigger is one of those lines of efforts, because it is an effort we think we can invest in immediately with tremendous effect, but there is so much more work we can do.

img_2003-2The Milieux Project is about changing perceptions, perspectives, finding new ways to think about and understand our world and ourselves while motivating others to follow us.  The MP is seeking something greater than instigating comparisons (though we will), greater than achieving statistics (there are a few we would like to change), greater than trying to prove something (we still like to prove things though), the Milieux Project seeks to redefine how we see ourselves and each other, how we understand our Milieux – our world.  And we are doing this by asking our readers to think more creatively about themselves and their own purpose.

vincent st marie
Seascape, Vincent Van Gogh painting from Provence, France

There are so many things that have influenced how we consider our world, its time to challenge some of those “sacred cows”.  In the swirl of #metoo, masculine aggression and female victimization, gender biases, patriarchy, racism, politics, and the sensationalism of all of it, we really think its possible to make a difference.  This is a vehicle for showing our readers something different- something unique, hopefully healing, maybe powerful but not subsuming, interesting and at least thought-provoking (like Wonder Woman history or Thoughts on being a leader).  In the Milieux Project – we aim to encourage creativity and individualism, and create a culture that embraces those qualities from every individual regardless of their race, gender or nationality.

We want to #bethechange

 

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