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Freedom From Sexual Violence? April 17, 2006

Posted by sybil in Phallocracy.
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I emerge from my cave to Blog Against. I look around my memory bank for what’s been prominent since I last wrote. This harpy is known to be shrewish, but it wasn’t her intent to have her only contribution into the atmosphere be as an Anti. But then, not much in my life has gone according to intention.

The things that are lodged in my craw this moon, post the South Dakota disaster: Black woman violated at Duke University; Rep. Cynthia McKinney trashed for choosing a different (more natural) hairstyle; Nigerian women bloggers being hounded and harassed and abused; Pakistani bloggers being denied their voice; boys being*broomed* by their caretakers; the obscenity that was compounded over and over again by the abuse of a drugged 16 year-old, the filming of that ghoulish act, and the equally heinous insistence that the young woman watch her own debasement, the perpetrators slapped on the wrists; African women infected with AIDS by men who may or may not be ignorant, that ignorance being fostered by the United States and it’s insistence on an AIDS campaign based on abstinence and nay-saying; a whole generation of African children raised by elderly grandmothers after their mothers succumb to deaths which are preventable.
What about the *human trafficking*, the politically correct term for slavery? What about the sexual violence of not giving kids real sex education?

After a lifetime of trying to prove that I wasn’t overly sensitive, I succumbed to an illness that is defined by my sensitivity, which defines me as utterly vulnerable, fragile. I recognize my genetic predisposition. And I have also had to acknowledge the toll of sexual violence in my white middle-class upbringing that marked my nervous system out for failure. Because I was, in fact, overly sensitive, even though not the victim of rape or incest, the level of sexual menace and male privilege imprinted itself deep within my brain and nervous system, leaving me with symptoms of both impaired circuitry, and post traumatic stress. I share this not to equate my suffering with the stories I highlighted above, but to note how easy it is to be damaged for life, how fragile the human psyche really is. And yet, we deny the damage inflicted by the horrors we visit upon people. Children raised in homes where they are not wanted, in refugee camps and detention centres; all manner of stigmatisation at an early age; generations of non-white citizens raised amidst dying hopes for racial equality and equity; the early sexualization of children, especially girls, to keep the capitalist machine profitable: the roots of sexual violence go deep and spread far.

blacklooks writes on Gendercide

In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, Somali/Dutch MP, Ayaan Hirsi Ali commented that the 200 million demographically missing women and the 2-3 million women who die annually as a direct result of gender based violence amounted to genocide. The article points out why and how women are dying and speaks powerfully about the work that needs to be done by us all.

How are women dying?

Domestic violence, abortion of female foetus, murder of female babies, neglect of female children in favour of male children, honour killings, dowry killings, death during child birth due to inadequate health care provision for women, female genital mutilation, rape, trafficking of women.

Why are women dying?

Because human rights do not apply to women; because culture and religious fundamentalists values take precedent over the rights of women. Because the women’s movement in the West has failed to support our sisters in the South. Because we sit by and ignore what we see in our families and communities. Because women collude with men in the oppression and murder of their sisters. Because we are not sufficiently OUTRAGED by the murder of 2-3 million women a year and the disappearance of 200 million.


Violet Socks:

Certainly there were racist and classist elements in the Duke incident. But men all over the world get together in packs to rape women, including women of their own social group. From Afghan tribesmen to Orange County high school students, gang rape is just something that men do.

Pam Spaulding comments,

It’s pretty sobering to see this anti-gay graffiti chalking at Michigan Tech University. There are more photos of such filth as “Shoot and kill every f*cking fag” and “Mutilate gay people.”

And,

Yavapai County prosecutor James Landis said his office never considered the “broomings” as sexual in nature. Rather, he described what happened as a form of punishment or discipline.

He has said his office could not prove Bennett and Wheeler had any sexual intent.

He said the case likely would have been treated differently if the victims were girls or if there was evidence that the defendants were homosexual .
d the disappearance of 200 million.

Ilona Jasiewicz asks,

what is the most common gender-related hate crime but rape?

She argues for re-classifying rape from a sex crime to a hate crime, to make clear that the motive of rape is power – not passion.

Hate crimes are seen as more serious and worse than sex crimes.

What’s universal? In every part of the globe, in all parts of the globe, women live in and with fear. Fear of their own sexuality, fear of men and boys, fear of transgressing mores and norms, many of which are enforced by other women. Fear that is now used as a weapon against us all, not only women, in these days of terrorists and so-called terrorists, fundamentalists of all persuasions persuading followers and would-be, wanna-be followers of the need to incite fear in others, hatred and suspicion of others. These are the universals we’re now elevating as pillars of globalism.

The true values being perpetrated by the patriarchal societies do not have women’s well-being in mind. We serve as baby factories. As such, we are commodities that must be protected from negative influences. Except rape and abuse. There, too, we are commodities, devalued in comparison with any male person.

Freedom From Sexual Violence?

Is freedom possible for women? Will the human female ever experience freedom of her own person? When every religion justifies its repression and suppression of women? When women the world over are struggling for acceptability within the confines of their social, cultural, religious structures, when women are denounced, the term feminist derided, because WE WANT OUR EQUALITY. I rage and weep; if I were conditioned differently I would pull out my hair, rip my clothing, eat dirt, sink into a coma. I rail against the patriarchy, its stranglehold on life, on the very essence and notions of life itself.

Journey to Conscious Femininity April 16, 2006

Posted by sybil in Wise Words.
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The eternal feminine is thrusting her way into contemporary consciousness. Shekinah, Kwan Yin, Sophia, whatever her name, she is the manifestation of the divine in matter. Among her many faces are the Black Madonna, White Buffalo Woman, Shakti, Kali, Aphrodite. Hers are the ways of peace, compassion, reverence for life and death in the oneness of nature. Knowing her has nothing to do with blindly stumbling toward a fate we think we cannot avoid. It has everything to do with developing consciousness until it is strong enough to hold tension as a creative energy. In the turmoil of our time, we are being called to a new order of reality. Working toward that consciousness, we suffer, but our suffering opens us to the wounds of the world and the love that can heal. It is our immediate task to relate to the emerging feminine whether she comes to us in dreams, in the loss of those we love, in body disease, or in ecological distress. Each of us in our own way is being brought face to face with Her challenge.

Conscious femininity is not bound to gender. It belongs to both men and women. Although in the history of the arts, men have articulated their femininity far more than women, women are now becoming custodians of their own feminine consciousness. For centuries, men have projected their inner image of femininity, raising it to a consciousness that left women who accepted the projection separated from their own reality. They became artifacts rather than people. The consciousness attributed to them was a consciousness projected onto them. That projection was sometimes an idealized image of beauty and truth, a sphinx or a dragon. Whatever it was, it could not be an incarnated woman. A man does not have a womb, and the embodiment of of his femininity is, therefore, different from a woman’s.

The fact remains, however, we are all human beings. We are all the children of patriarchy. While our culture depends upon three thousand years of cultural process focused through masculine eyes, it has been won at high cost. What began as masculine values has degenerated into lust for control. Power has bludgeoned both our femininity and our masculinity. We all function with these two different energies. As health and growth depend on both dark and light, so maturity depends on an inner balance between Yin and Yang, Shakti and Shiva, Being and Doing. I prefer to call these energies femininity and masculinity because their biological images appear in dreams and their interaction or lack of interaction reveals harmony or chaos in the psyche. For me, these words are not gender-bound.

Conscious Femininity…has to do with bringing the wisdom in nature to consciousness. For too long we have taken the instinctual Mother Goddess for granted. In our own bodies, in our Earth, we have assumed she would nourish and protect us. We have wallowed in sentimental images. Over centuries, we have forgotten her, reviled her, raped her. Now we will either integrate her laws into consciousness or we will die. There is an evolutionary process at work on our planet and we can only hope that out of this present death, sanity will come. Thus far in our history, the unconscious feminine has been associated with instinct; now the conscious feminine is bringing light to instinct, illuminating nature with new images that come to us in our dreams and in creative work.

The task of releasing the feminine from the tyrannical power of the driven, crazed masculine is long and arduous. The process is just as difficult inside as it is outside. Observing it abstractedly is one thing, experiencing it personally is quite another….

Our culture is riddled with the loss of feeling values because so many stories go on in the soul but are never heard. Many people have long since forgotten what they do value, and, if they do remember, they try to forget. They want to be successful in a competitive society. They want to be loved, whatever that means, when they are pretending to be someone they are not. They are so adolescent they dare not look at themselves. That would mean taking responsibility for who they are. They dare not reflect themselves to themselves; they dare not look at the tapestry of their lives spun every night in the images of their dreams. This is a tragic loss because these images shape our inner and outer lives. Without a conscious connection to them, life is lived unconsciously. With a conscious connection, life is connected to its creative source. And because these images are continually evolving–daily in analysis if the heat is hot enough–our close relationship to them assures a link between the conscious ego and the creative energy that keeps the story vital, whole, and holy.

In finding our own story, we assemble all the parts of ourselves. Whatever kind of mess we have made of it, we can somehow see the totality of who we are and recognize how our blunderings are related. We can own what we did and value who we are, not because of the outcome but because of the soul story that propelled us. that story is our individual myth.

Marion Woodman, Leaving My Father’s House: A Journey to Conscious Femininity, 1992 pp 1-2,6. emphasis added

Hetero Men Suck March 5, 2006

Posted by sybil in Phallocracy.
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Men are still asking, What does Woman want? And an awful lot of them believe they know the answer.

Even the most well-intentioned men I’ve known basically just want to understand what is the minimum they need to do to get by: Sex, communication, domestic duties: Give me a To-Do list and I’ll see how we go. I don’t know how we can change that. The prevailing attitude still seems to be something like, ok, tell me how much of these things I need to do to get you to have sex with me. On the positive side, more men are spending more time with children and enjoying it more, and more men call themselves feminists or pro-feminist.

All infants suck to survive. Girls are conditioned to transmute sucking into nurturing, to become involved in the care and feeding of men. Men, by and large, to greater and lesser degrees, continue sucking.

There is a near-universal phenomenon that a post-adolescent male will dominate any public space. That is, he sucks. When women do the non-paid home work, without an equitable trade-off, she is having her very self sucked dry. (And often what looks equitable at the time, turns into the nightmare of the struggling divorced woman.) When women invest the majority of their energy in attracting and pleasing and caring for men, what is left for the self?

To attack sexism is to attack the foundations of society. To be radical is to go to the root cause of the matter. Wiktionary helps us here:

Radical: Of or pertaining to the root or root cause of the matter;
Thorough- going or fundamental. Favouring fundamental change, or change at the root cause of the matter. His beliefs are radical.
The spread of the cancer required radical surgery, and the entire organ was removed.
Slang: Extremely, incredible: That was a radical jump!

We call people fundamentalist because they want fundamental, radical changes. While even many of those who call themselves Feminist distance themselves from the term ‘radical’, the other polarity are ecstatic to be able to wrap themselves in their varied colored flags of fundamentalism. And we are brainwashed into finding this palatable. When in fact it’s disgusting, putrefying, and sickening. To all living things.

How do we attack it at its roots? When we can’t even get well-meaning (so-called) liberal women to get behind women’s rights? Women’s rights are human rights.

This damn accommodation to being polite is getting us nowhere. The current climate is way too close to the energy of Germany in the 30’s. People don’t want to entertain that idea, just as there has been major resistance to likening this war to Vietnam.

Fundamentally, we need to observe and analyze the overwhelming effects of the patriarchy. It is sucking the air out of the planet and out of our daily lives. And the approach needs to be radical, to go to the heart of the matter.

Does that mean I think once we label it we can attack and kill this terrorist organism? As I believe neither in fairies nor god, I doubt it. But it does mean that we can and must stop burying our heads in the sand and looking the other way and putting our fingers in our ears, going, lalalalala-I-can’t-hear-you. We can come out of denial. Maybe we apply some of the 12-step principles. I’m not the person with the answer, but I do suggest we all keep questioning. And learn to question.

Blaming the patriarchy is just the beginning of the process for those who are pro-women’s rights. Until we recognize and label the omnipresent atmosphere in which we live, we cannot do anything to free ourselves. Just as, not until we recognize that the environment is seriously compromised can we begin to remedy it.

Once a person can see the all-pervasiveness of patriarchal beliefs and structures, then it is possible to look within and see what can be done to strengthen inner resources and to not contribute to this ism which is sucking the life out of societies around the globe. The dominance of the 3 monotheistic religions has endangered life for all the rest of us. And, just as ultimately no one escapes global warming, from greenie to industrialist, no men or women are safe from the ravages of patriarchal thinking. This is the thinking that forces women to bear children so that the state can turn those children into products and means of production. Serving as soldiers or merely over-worked units of production (zombies), these are the rewards to us of the patriarchy.

This might be approaching the reality of a Clash of Civilizations: Monotheists vs. the rest of the world. Ever was it, Jews, Christians and Muslims making war upon those who believed and worshipped differently. Around the world men are fanning the fires of fear. The old versions of hell, damnation, devils and evil women have been dressed up in quasi-modern garb.

We are being wound back, and drugged into complacency by ritalin, prozac, viagra, television, porn, consumerism and lies.

Sexism is the air we breathe, the atmosphere we live in. And woe to the women of color, facing down the double barrels of racism plus sexism.

If I examine the depths of my sorrow as a 2nd Wave Feminist in the current climate, it has to do with so many women refusing to ask questions. When we are identified with a belief or personality trait we cling to it as if it is our very definition. Buddhist practice focuses in part on dis-identifying, being able to see that I am not my thoughts or emotions or beliefs. Awareness is the first step.

As people all over the blogosphere note, once they identified some particular illness or handicap, the relief is usually enormous. Now that the thing’s labeled, treatment and inner resources can be used. Once we acknowledge the overwhelming nature of the patriarchy, we can begin to educate ourselves and grow inner resources. No, it isn’t easy and it isn’t overnight. But just like The Chimp’s Long War, just like the War on Drugs, just like the War on Women and Homosexuals, we can equip ourselves for the struggle.

In the same way the monotheists are marshalling their followers with enticements for chastity, conformity, modesty, activism, those supporting human rights for women must arm ourselves with the willingness for a gentle discipline. To be disciplined enough, to be interested enough, to recognize the ways the patriarchy has affected you today. Every day. To start noticing it, to start talking about it. Maybe in addition to Friday cat and dog blogging, Friday becomes, how the patriarchy messed up my life this week. Although I have to say, most of the sites I visit do that daily. How about sidebars with stats, me vs. Patriarchy.

We can either be complacent, smug, safe, or we can at the very least, in the comfort of our own homes, look within, look outside, apply a bit of disciplined self-examination. We’ve moved beyond pursuing years of psychoanalysis, but learning the art of self-examination, making a habit of growing consciousness, are tools of the new millennium.

Why does a phrase like “I blame the patriarchy” so offend NewFems? Why is it still such a radical position to say, look, this is what this system does to Us All? Of course, it is radical, it does go to the root.

I’ve been a witness and participant in some very intense conversations about feminism during the last weeks. Who gets to call herself a Feminist; who is disallowed; what is good feminist, pseudo-feminist, sex-positive feminist (implying the rest are anti-sex)?

One of the epithets thrown around can be summed up as, “oh, that’s such 70′s feminism.”

What does this mean? I’m here shaking my head, feeling sad and bewildered. What was it about ’70s feminism that’s so bad? I could try to make my own list based on the same old media vox pops. List must include: lesbian. hairy. ugly. hairy. fat. hairy. birkenstocks. hairy. angry. man-hating. hairy. separatist. hairy.

One of the themes that’s constantly humming in the background is that We 70′s feminists somehow messed up life for you of the “3rd wave” We should’ve known that work and family would never be an easy path. We should’ve known that healthy human eggs don’t last forever. We shouldn’t have started all the trouble that led to the backlash that’s flogging us now.

Shoes, clothing, make-up, hair color, surgical enhancement, pornchic, BDSM…I’ve been riveted by the correspondence. What’s The Position on these things? Who’s making the rules? And now I hear the new trend is to be called Mrs. Hubby after marriage (I’m unclear whether those taking this choice identify as feminist or not).

Many women respondents to blogs write, “I like doing things for my man. I like making him happy, taking care of him”. I have never seen even a single reference in contemporary blogging to Radical Separatist Feminism. The suggestion that feminists hate men, and are urging women to abandon men absolutely warps the message of feminists. Beware: Serious Brainwashing in Progress. The patriarchal institutions will always distort feminist messages, and too many women, in the same way that they look into their mirrors and see a distorted reality, accept this perversion as truth. Feminists. Do. Not. Hate. All. Men.

What saddens me is that we are still so mired in Lookism. Strange word, but there isn’t really a better one to describe the degree to which physical appearance dominates our lives, our conversations, our waking and sleeping moments. There seems to be plenty of evidence that human infants innately respond more positively to certain arrangements of facial features, that we recognize and react to ethnicities different from our own with apprehension.

Everyone wants to look attractive. The first art was body art, and never has it been more in vogue. Yet in the growing trend it is as if female bodies have been sucked of souls and replaced by the Consumerist ethic. In the belief that each new trend makes her more desireable and juicy, the woman is sucked dry by the need to pander to achieving looks and status. Innate self-confidence is replaced by insecurity, anxiety, self-loathing, and identifying with the oppressor (ah, such a 70’s phrase).

These sorts of arguments are not new. Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, Germaine Greer and Andrea Dworkin were 4 of the most prominent faces of 2nd Wave feminism. When we remember those faces, we cannot escape recognizing that the most conventionally pretty of these women had greater acceptability and public trajectory.

I started blogsploring when the world was making me feel more and more depressed. But the laughing, ridiculing, sniggering, guffawing, snorting commentary, amidst the moans and groans and frustrated weeping, made me feel alive again. I began to feel engaged instead of overwhelmed. For the first time in many years I’ve felt supported in my being as a woman, when I log onto feminist websites.

I have no doubt that we’re at a transformative moment in human evolution. Let us not go the way of The Chimp. Let’s push forward this human experiment into some fresh air. I believe blogging is at the forefront of organizing, sharing voices, cross-fertilizing, learning how to frame and deconstruct arguments. I’m daily amazed by the quality of writing.

Scorn, ridicule, satire, visual puns: Bloggers are nourishing our souls, letting us laugh and smirk instead of fester, offering us the opportunity to morph into a new organism, to somehow create a new, more conscious paradigm.

[all credit to gentleman farmer t.faster for raising the patriarchy-blaming banner; and the pithy dr.socks for lalalalala-I-can't-hear-you]

welcome home March 5, 2006

Posted by sybil in Wise Words.
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Occasional postings of a human bean anthropologist taking seriously the game of Being in the Body.

re-considering, re-membering, re-calling, and re-fusing
the realities we call consensual.

The words of a living language are like creatures: they are alive. Each word has a physical character, a look and a personality, an ancestry, an expectation of life and death, a hope of posterity. Some words strike us as beautiful, some ugly, some evil….there are magic words, spells to open gates and safes, summon spirits, put an end to the world. What are magic spells but magic spellings? (morris bishop,american heritage dictionary of the english language 1976)

Magic: the space between the moments.

presently, many, many moments spent in developing embryonic shrewdness with WordPress and html. credits for the look to Binary Moon, linked below.

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