The 20th Carnival of Radical Feminists was hosted at RadFemSpeak by Rain, Libby and Jennifer. It was hosted on a web page as opposed to a blog, so it isn’t possible for me to repost it here. It was a great carnival!
“From an early age I knew my ambition was to be in a plot. Or several plots–I thought of it as a career. But no plots came my way. You have to apply for them, a friend of mine had told me. He’d been around, though he hadn’t been in any plots himself, so I took his advice and went down to the plot factory. As for everything else, there was an interview. So, said the youngish bored man behind the desk, you think you’ve got what it takes to be in a plot. What sort of character did you have in mind? He was fiddling with a list, running his felt-tip pen down it. Character? I said. Yes, that’s what we do here. Plots and characters. Well, I said, I might as well try out for the main character. Or one of them–I suppose every plot needs more than one. You can’t be a main character, he said bluntly. Why not? I said. Look in the mirror, he said. You’re an exotic. What do you mean, an exotic? I’m a respectable person. I don’t do kinky dancing. Exotic, he said in his bored voice. Consult the dictionary, Alien, foreign, coming in from the outside.”
“Plots for Exotics,” Margaret Atwood
Maybe you’re curious like me. How do people get from place to place, idea to idea? What’s their story? I’ve fascinated with the details of people’s personal journeys ever since discovering online feminism. The idea for interviews this time around is nothing more than my curiosity given a voice. I’ve not set out to prove any major trends between radical feminist stories–rather the opposite. You will find some similarities, perhaps every 2 interviews, but nothing notably more conclusive than the words themselves.
This has been such an enjoyable process–I will say it again and again: thank you wimmin, of the time and mind, for coming forward and sharing these personal journeys. I did not expect a great response at the outset–I anticipated an introverted bunch, not used to talking about themselves, shying away from the idea their life story was of any value (doesn’t that sound mean?). There are probably still a lot of those out there (note for future hosts: I am happy to pass along the interview website admin info should you wish to reel these wonderful wimmin in for future carnivals).
However, I am happy to say 9 wimmin eventually tip-toed their way into my inbox! Their stories are linked here, laced in with the rest of the wonderful submissions. Enjoy!
I felt like being smart was all I had as a little fat girl who didn’t conform to femininity particularly well, who wasn’t attractive or charming or athletic. My attachment to book knowing is apparent on the website, although hopefully I’ve been able to transform loyalty to patriarchal knowledge into loyalty to feminist knowledge.
Radical feminism was a deep, long lasting kind of intellectual stimulation. Reading a couple points had my brain buzzing for days
Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes explains further why interpretations of drag (re: huge learning curve) under a patriarchy are not as subversive as some may like to believe.
Some people think drag subverts gender by bringing its performativity into the open. But parody works only if people get it. A straight man at a drag show does not necessarily think: “If that man can look and act like a woman, then that means my girlfriend and I are just performing gender.”
I’ve always been a radical feminist. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t see that there was serious dominance/submission issues in male/female relations.
Nine Deuce at Rage Against the Manchine takes an ice pick to the issues and concepts differentiating “rights” and “privileges” for porn use. She even later goes onto assert men in relationships who deceitfully use porn are being emotionally abusive. Daring!
Deciding what falls under the rubric of “rights” is a difficult task, and gaining any kind of universal consensus (even on the most basic of human rights) is nearly impossible because the discussion is landmined with the participants’ conflicting cultural and religious values. Fuck, we haven’t even reached the point where we can agree that we all have the right to not be murdered.
Well, that day I was feeling bad. I discovered that there was a dimension of this world that i hadn’t known about. It seemed ‘mechanical’ and ‘inhuman’ to me; these are the 2 words i remember thinking.
Amananta at Screaming into the Void shows off her songwriting chops in a political parody of South Park’s “Blame Canada.”
White guy 4: My son could’ve been a doctor or a lawyer rich as me,
But he flunked out when he saw Hillary’s ugly face on tv
Everyone: Should we blame his study habits?
Should we blame his ADD?
Or the teachers who didn’t do their jobs?
White guy 1: heck no!
Everyone: Blame Hillary!
When you’re in your anti-porn star shirt seriously discussing plans to humanure while ripping up old political placards into the compost pile for your organic garden, American affluenza seems more like slow suicide than a normal lifestyle.
They are black women and girls, they are indigenous women and girls, they are women and girls who have be fucked as children, they poor women and girls, they are homeless women and girls, they are addicted women and girls – mainly they are women and girls who have forgotten that they can hope.
Each time a man chooses to rape a prostitute, each time a man uses a prostitute as real-life porn, each a man batters a prostitute, each a man kills and throws away a prostitute – it is a slow destruction of all women rights to be fully human.
I am stubborn, strong-willed, and as my mother and father can attest to, if you tell me to drop it, I’m going to continue talking about it.
Dr. Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist scarily but beautifully recalls the day her once carefree hiking trips became a reminder of the inevitable: no woman lives free.
I turned back to the trail, deliberate-like, not running, trying not to be scared. Nothing very bad is happening here. I’m just going to continue on my hike. I will continue on my hike and I will drive home and I will make dinner. When I reached the trail I turned around. He was following me.
How did I bring feminism to the countries I lived in? By being a woman on her own doing what I wanted. Traveling alone in Brazil was very rare for a woman, so was hiking, running…
Sonia at el parador califas tells of her own experiences with domestic violence and how the silencing effects manifest as an epic erasure of it’s pervasiveness.
my self-esteem was at issue, but that’s a setup. women having low self-esteem doesn’t occur in a vaccuum, and it’s not resultant of pms, or high levels of emotion or just being chicks. low self-esteem in women is a requirement for the social status quo.
Although I guess I was always feminist, inside. I have never met a woman who believed that the world was fair to women. I suppose the difference is in how women handle that.
Marcella Chester at abyss2hope reveals yet another mindless imbecile who sees his self control astonishingly dependent on womens’ actions.
He wants to be seen as no more responsible for his behavior than a TV is when a woman uses a remote control device. Yet I doubt that he sat as still as a TV when women turned him on.
If something really offends me, others may think that my reaction is extreme, but it’s usually the culmination of dozens of slights that just can’t be ignored anymore.
And for a good dose of laughs we end with a little preherstory lesson presented by none other than the great Phemisaurus.
Posted on August 15, 2008 by spinningspinsters
Hello all! This month’s Carnival has turned out to be rather long again, but that’s okay. Just goes to show how much important work we’re all doing. There’s lots of great stuff here, so I hope you will all get busy reading. All the best to everyone, Dissenter.
I am going to open this month’s carnival with an extract from a book soon to be released in Australia called Trafficked by Kathleen Maltzahn, founding director of Project Respect. This is the first book length account of the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution in Australia, and an incredibly important resource in documenting and understanding the realities of trafficked women, and how they have often been unfairly and callously treated by the Australian legal system. The extract is called Trafficking: The First Breakthrough and is posted at Australian Policy Online: Reports. Particularly disturbing is the Australian government’s determination to treat trafficked women as “illegal immigrants”, placing them in detention centres and then deporting them, refusing to recognise them as the victims of crime:
At that time, despite the many crimes committed against the women, if they were found by the Department of Immigration to be in breach of their visa conditions they were put in detention and deported. No charges were laid: even leaving aside the federal sexual slavery legislation, crimes under state law – rape, battery and imprisonment – were going undetected by the authorities.
It doesn’t matter if women have mobile phones, it doesn’t matter if they are taken on outings, it doesn’t matter if they have food and drink. If a person’s agency is taken away, if their identity is stolen, if they cannot remove themselves from violence, and if they can be bought and sold at whim, they are slaves. This is the reality of many women on “contract” in Australia.
Whether or not we can see this present day form of slavery, and not just look for its past manifestation, is a test of our capacity to recognise a crime against humanity.
Posted at Heart’s Women’s Space, Suki Falconberg writes of the prostitution of Iraqi women and girls in Ms Iraq Comments on the Prostitution of Iraqi Women and Girls:
In my view, the story of the 10-year-old Iraqi girl, forced to have sex for money, this is war. All the rhetoric of politicians and journalists cannot excuse what has happened to her. All the fancy phrases about a war being “A Right War” or “A Just War” have no meaning for her. Is the woman who must walk the streets of Baghdad and sell her body to feed her children in any way aware of the politicians, sitting in their neat offices, making the decisions that have destroyed her life?
Lara, at her recently begun blog Rychousmama reproduces a disturbing article about the callous behaviour of Italian beach-goers who ignored the bodies of two drowned Roma girls in Italians Don’t Give a Crap About the Roma:
Italian newspapers, an archbishop and civil liberties campaigners expressed shock and revulsion on Monday after photographs were published of sunbathers apparently enjoying a day at the beach just meters from where the bodies of two drowned Roma girls were laid out on the sand.
GrrlScientist of Living the Scientific Life brings us The Handmaid’s Tale: Fact or Fiction? about a deeply concerning Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft document that seeks to drastically reduce women’s access to birth control in America:
This document proposes to redefine nearly all forms of birth control, especially birth control pills, as a form of abortion and allows any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman’s access to contraception.
Sparkle*Matrix brings attention to the plight of Prossy Kakooza, a Ugandan lesbian woman currently seeking asylum in the UK after being imprisoned, raped and nearly murdered in her own country, in her post Prossy Kakooza Must Not be Returned to Uganda, which reproduces an article telling Prossy’s story:
Prossy had been forced into an engagement when her family discovered her relationship with the girlfriend she met at university, Leah. Both women were marched two miles naked to the police station, where they were locked up.
Prossy’s inmates subjected her to gross acts of humiliation. She was violently raped by police officers who taunted her with derogatory comments like “we’ll show you what you’re missing” and “you’re only this way because you haven’t met a real man.” She was also scalded on her thighs with hot meat skewers.
Women who have expressed concern about Gardasil’s new cervical cancer vaccine have been roundly ridiculed and silenced by the malestream media, however, as increasing numbers of stories emerge about severe side-effects and even deaths resulting from the vaccine, it is pretty obvious there is something to be concerned about, whatever the men might like us to believe. One such story can be found at Gardasil: Women Hurt by Medicine, where Susan Edelman tells how her 17 year old daughter died after receiving the vaccine in My Girl Died as a ‘Guinea Pig’ For Gardasil:
She loved SpaghettiO’s, pepperoni, lilies, listening to her iPod and making her pals laugh.
In her senior yearbook, she wrote, “The best things in life aren’t things, they’re friends.”
Now that’s the quote chiseled into her gravestone.
This next post took me back for a (disturbing) minute to my own school days. When I was 11 (in grade 6) we too had a “special class” on make-up, which was of course only attended by the girls, and was given by some woman who turned up from goodness knows where to tell us all about how to make ourselves look “beautiful.” That was in 1993. And since then, it appears, things have only gotten worse, as Hell On Hairy Legs describes make-up courses currently being run for girls in Australian schools by Hillsong, an extreme right-wing Christian group, in her post Hillsong and the Shine Program:
Hillsong has been going to schools, teaching Australia’s daughters. In fact they’ve been to my school and taught my friends. I always got a bad vibe from the Shine program, which was pushed relentlessly at assemblies and year meetings until enough people joined up. It’s not nice to know that I was right.
They’ve taken a leaf from fun feminism, preaching about gaining self-esteem through the application of makeup. There must be something besides carcinogens in that crap, because I would have to get high to sit through two hours of etiquette and deportment lessons.
Maggie Hays has written an excellent post about the proliferation of pornography and its harms in I Blame The Porno-iarchy posted at her blog Against Pornography. This is a long post, though is has to be because she covers a lot of ground, and it is therefore difficult to pick out a single representative quote. However, I really like what she says about the way in which women’s oppression has been pushed into the private sphere and then co-opted as being sexy:
Women’s oppression is now been kept away from public eye and pushed into the private sphere, where women are most at risk of male violence. No wonder why few rapes end up in convictions. Sexual coercion has become “sexy” in this culture, and women & girls are being trained to submit to men, in just the same way I had been trained to submit to men. During all those years, I’d been consciously ignorant of pornography’s harms while however subconsciously I knew about those harms because I’d experienced them.
Demonista has also written an essay about the harms of pornography called “I’d Slice Her:” Feminism, Pornography, and Sex posted at Demonista. Neatly tying in with what Maggie says, Demonista writes about her personal experiences of pornography, and the damage it did:
The average age of first viewing pornography is eleven […] I was eight. I don’t remember the first image I saw, or my very first reaction, but I soon incorporated it into my sexuality […] One sticks in my memory in particular: a blonde, pornified, large breasted woman is on her hands and knees, head back, mouth open to admit a disjointed descending penis. When I was nine, I began self-harming, in junior high I struggled with disordered eating. Even when the conscious mind forgets, the subconscious and the body can’t.
I was raped in my flat. I was raped behind pubs. I was raped in clubs. I was raped on the street.
Only, it cannot be rape. It was just an exchange of goods.
It hard to write this.
I want that all men who think it is ok to buy women and girls to be judged.
I don’t care about their background. I don’t care if they are rich or poor. I don’t care if are locals or tourists.
Each man that pays money is paying into the sex trade that makes it ok to rape, tortures and even murder their product.
In the follow up to the above post, Rebecca writes of the emotional toll it takes to remember all the things that were done to her as a prostituted woman, and asks all of us to feel the sickness and anger we should at the abuse that so many prostituted women and girls are forced to endure in After Last Post:
Be sick as prostituted women and girls are being raped now.
Raped and told it is they [who] choose to be there.
Raped and not allow to feel grief.
Be sick as prostituted women and girls are tortured as you read this.
Tortured so often that they can no longer feel the pain.
Tortured so their mind refuses to know what is happening, so go into blank mode.
I feel that being sickened at the conditions that the majority of prostituted women and girls are living in is one way to grieve.
But use the sickness to build up an anger.
In On Hiding, Rebecca writes movingly about the difficulty of recognising her own reality as an abused and prostituted woman; a difficulty compounded by those in the world who do not want to recognise the harm that prostitution does:
I was tough-can’t-remember-won’t-remember. I refused to know what was done to me. I refused to remember how I got injuries. I refused to say how I got pregnant. I refused to be what I was.
Now I say it loud.
I was prostituted. I was beaten up. I was raped. I was forced to play porn games. I was brought close to death.
That reality is mine.
A lot of defenders of pornography like to pretend that the industry is harmless, or even beneficial, for women. However, when even women who have supposedly “succeeded” in the industry represent it as being harmful and full of predatory men and women, this idea is seriously challenged. Using Jenna Jameson’s own words from her autobiography, Antipornography Activist makes a powerful case against pornography in Jenna Jameson’s 25 Good Reasons Why No One Would Ever Want to Be a Porn Star posted at the Anti-Pornography Activist Blog:
“It’s not something that any parent would choose for their child.” – Jenna Jameson, speaking of the porn industry. Continue Reading »
Welcome to the 16th Carnival of the Radical Feminists. I’ve finally gotten it finished and it is LOOONG. Um, sorry about that. It couldn’t be helped. I blame all of the awesome women out there who write too damn eloquently and blog tirelessly for women. Thank you so much for all existing. Thank you so much for finding your voices. Putting together this carnival has opened up my eyes to the wholeness of what women have forged here on the internet. Together we are a brilliant and dazzling force. Our words shine strong. The few links I’ve collected here barely scratches the surface of the work that women are doing collectively online. As Renee from Womanist Musings put so beautifully, “we are the foundation of all that matters”. Believe it.
Reflections on Feminism
It really annoys me when some feminists distance themselves from other feminists, saying shit like, “not all feminists are hairy, man-hating lesbians”. I consider this distancing behaviour, and as such it is lesbophobic and woman-hating. Which is why I really appreciate Cellycel’s lastest post over at ‘Cause Knowledge is Power which she writes On Being a Good Feminist.
“You’re one of the few sane feminists” Or “You’re one of the good feminists” or “For a feminist you’re not so bad” and similar statements are not compliments. The first one is disabilist, and the whole thing is shitty anyway. Like “Your values are shitty, but you’re not so bad” or “I like you, but I don’t like most people who beleive the things you do.” or any other version of ‘your value system sucks’
Feminism is my value system. I use a lot of what I’ve learned from my feminism to guide my life. That means small things, like just trying not to be a jerk, trying to pay attention to people etc. For the most part. Other things too, like trying not to be a privileged ass, and such. You know.
These are my values. Stop insulting them.
Postfeminism doesn’t speak of living in a male-dominated world. It also seems to be a specifically ‘Western’ idea; it speaks of the equality granted to privileged women, failing to acknowledge the global condition of women, or the way in which women’s experiences are differentiated according to race, class, sexuality, ability etc. even in these privileged nation-states.
After reading Beloved and Michelle Cliff’s Free Enterprise – forget about fiction, let’s just look at history (and I certainly suggest you revisit my Black Herstory series) – after Harriet Tubman, do we really need to construct a patriarchal narrative about the Underground Railroad when this journey required the strength of both women and men, black and white? I did find it quite amusing, after this filmic introduction, that the tour guide – when describing one of these fugitive slave stories to us – kept getting one of the names wrong by mentioning the name of Mary Ellen. It finally dawned on the group: right across from the tour guide was a big old portrait of Mary Ellen Pleasant, looking all impressive and big-eyed and “angry” like how black women get when they cut their eyes at you (and, yes, that’s how she looked in the photo). Heh. I knew, when I gazed into her portrait, that Mrs. Pleasant was feeling the way I was since, ONCE AGAIN, she was being erased from this narrative. So, every time the tour guide kept inserting her name, I felt her spirit in tune with mine: if I could high-five her at that instant, you know I would.
Don’t you just love it when black women, dead or alive, refuse to be silent or forgotten?
Ruby Sales over at Something Within posts I Can’t Deal With Her: Black and White Women in the Movement.
In the Movement, I worked met and worked alongside white women who were just as fierce about democratizing the south and the rest of the country by breaking the backs of economic and racial injustice. Like black women, they took the body blows and the vicious name calling without backing down or finding easy ways out. We stretched each other’s lives! Thinking back on it now, had we gone through life without meeting each other our lives would be the poorer for it.
As a feminist I’m not going to dispute how women label themselves. I understand why some people might want to distance themselves with the racist, classist and ultimately unprogressive elements of the feminist movement. When people say feminist is about equality, I don’t see it as being equal with where man is right now. I see it as creating a world where all people are equal, regardless of genitalia. That world would not look anything like the world we have now.
I’m going to let you in on a little known secret, women matter. Despite the hegemonic role that men play globally, the labor of women is necessary to keep this little blue planet from going completely off kilter. I know that everywhere you turn women are minimized and reduced to accessories, but we are the foundation of all that matters*. It is on our shoulders that civilizations have risen and fallen, and it is from our wombs that life continues to be nurtured. [*quoted in post title: thanks, Renee!]
I talk about rape a lot, I know I do. It’s something that’s in my head a lot, so I talk about it. I have only just learned to talk about my own experience in that area, so I am not going to shut up now, not for anyone, not until every last nuance is dealt with, and even then I’ll probably still keep talking about it, because, well, it was 17 years ago for me, but for other women it’s today and tonight and tomorrow and next week, and on and on, until at some point some miracle happens and the men Stop Raping. I suppose, until then, which will be a long time after I die I should think, I’ll have to keep talking about it.
Documenting and Resisting Male Terrorism
Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff speaks out against the Quiverfull Movement in the documentary Quiverfull: Shunned from God’s Army. Watch the clip.
I’ve mentioned before that I disagree strongly with the idea of stem cell research. A large factor in this has to do with the fact that there are many, many reasons to be deeply distrustful of reproductive technologies. This is a link to a video about a woman who was seriously harmed by these technologies, her story is not an uncommon one: The Calla Papademas Story. From the awesome women over at Hands Off Our Ovaries.
The US military has a long history of not wanting women in the boys club. This case just goes to show what happens to countless numbers of women within that institution.
This Colonel will get a slap and life will go on, except for the fact that the women who were assaulted never got justice.
Now, get this: ABC NEWS IS CALLING THIS 14-YR-OLD RAPE VICTIM JACQUES’ “TEENAGE LOVER” AND “ACCOMPLICE”!!! Then, the author refers to Jacques and Brooke’s 40-year-old stepfather “having three-way sex” with the 14-yr-old girl. NO, THAT IS CALLED TWO MEN SIMULTANEOUSLY RAPING ONE GIRL!
The author is David Schoetz. I want his fingers fucking cut off so he can’t ever write again.
At one point I was relieved when my told them that she couldn’t do it. She said that she couldn’t make us go with him. Then Michael London grabbed me and pulled me out of my mother’s arms. I wouldn’t let go. I remember all these people prying my fingers loose from my mom’s dress. When Michael London had me, I kept kicking and screaming “MOMMY I WANT MY MOMMY.” I told Michael London “BUT HE HURTS ME AND HE HURTS MY BROTHER!” I still remember him saying “I know!” as he handed me to my father.
That was the worst day of my life!!!!!
Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff from Women’s Space writes in support of Jennifer’s mother in her post In Support of Holly Ann Collins, a Battered American Woman Granted Asylum in the Netherlands Because the U.S. Wouldn’t Protect Her.
Holly Collins’ adult daughter, Jennifer, has created a blog attempting to raise awareness of the family’s situation. She and her adult brother want to come home to the U.S. They want their mom and their younger brother to be able to come home, too. They are rightly horrified over the treatment they are receiving at the hands of officials in the United States. Their father continues to abuse them whenever he gets the chance. The one ray of hope is, they have a good attorney with lots of experience representing survivors of battering, “domestic violence,” so-called, male terrorism, really, plain and simple.
One of these days there will be women’s country, and women will have asylum, sanctuary, peace and safety. One of these days.
Rebecca Mott’s writing is always incredibly powerful. It is very hard to quote Rebecca, as every sentence she writes is full of truth. Her post Entitlement is no different, where she talks about the male-dominated left and their inexcusable attempts to justify prostitution.
Men that the left will “othered”. Say those men are bad, so when they do “bad things” to prostituted women and girls – the men in the left can ridiculed their behaviour.
But when men use prostituted women and girls, they come from all backgrounds.
Where is the criticism of poor men abusing prostitutes, men who called themselves left-wingers, then rape prostituted women.
When I was prostituted I was raped by students, unemployed, rich men, elderly, men from different cultures or counties. I was raped by men who it was their first time, men who may never do such a thing again, and men who who abuse prostitutes as a hobby.
A huge part of my grief and depression comes from that I know I will never get personal justice for all the tortures I was on the receiving end when I was prostituted.
All I can do is to use my experiences to help fight the battle to get justice for other prostituted women and girls.
This eases some of my grief and pain. It will never be a complete cure.
But that sense of frustration fuels my anger.
Professor Tracey from Aunt Jemima’s Revenge blogs about the murder of Sparkle Reid-Rae in her post Former Professor Convicted of Hiring Hitman to Murder his African-American Daughter in Law for “Cultural Reasons”.
Reid-Rai’s husband has since completely abandoned their child to be raised by her parents and has not seen the child in years. I do not envy those grandparents having to explain this horrific story to that child when she grows up. How do explain that your grandfather who has never seen you, hire people to murder your mother?
On Saturday, border agents were pulling over every Native person. Kahentinetha and Katenies were traveling in Akwesasne in the course of their regular activities and were caught up in the dragnet. Did Fantino set up a trap for the two outspoken, Mohawk grandmothers? We suspect that Kahentinetha would have been killed at a secret location had she not had a heart attack and been taken to hospital.
These two radio dildoes then began to wonder aloud what it must feel like to be Mr. Tarrant. The poor guy has to go to class with a bunch of people who know he’s been accused of rape. Aw, that really sucks, man. (Wait, why the fuck hasn’t he been suspended from classes at the school?) The radio hosts didn’t wonder what it might be like for the victim, who has, you know, been raped and all, and who has to go to school on a campus where people are more concerned with football stats than women’s human rights.
Nine Deuce again with How to End Rape: Deuce’s Law.
If I had my choice, we’d do away with rape by changing our cultural attitudes toward gender, toward sex, toward power, toward everything, thereby creating a world in which rape could not possibly occur. That would most certainly be ideal, and I believe it’s possible, but I think it might take an awfully long time, and I’m ready for rape to stop right now. Rape and other forms of sexual violence are hate crimes and are among the most heinous manifestations of the misogyny that characterizes our culture. As such, eradicating rape, in my opinion, is one of the most pressing feminist issues.
Sarah from Fort Worth Feminism writes about a christian minister’s justifications of male terrorism in the home with her post Theology Professor Connects Domestic Violence to Feminism.
Bruce Ware, a professor of Christian theology at a seminary in Kentucky, spoke from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church recently. His sermon focused on his belief that men abuse their wives because women rebel against the man’s God-given authority and because women “desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husband’s because of sin.
Marcella Chester from abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open examines the male apologist’s arguments for why men rape in her post Kathleen Parker: Save The Sexually Violent Males.
I’ve walked down many streets and I’ve seen attractive women with bared midriffs, but I’ve yet to see a bared midriff taunt men or boys into physical or sexual violence or into fear for their safety. Same goes for tattoos. I’ve seen plenty of them, but I’ve never seen one taunt men or boys. However, I have seen men and boys actually taunt girls and women based on a variety of excuses or for no reason other than gender.
Women akin to Esmin don’t matter, they never have, and I doubt that they ever will, in my lifetime. Really who cares about some mentally ill, poor black woman. If she cannot be exploited any longer, she might as well die and decrease the surplus population. It was with callousness, and disregard for the sanctity of life, that the hospital staff acted.
Debs from The Corvid Diaries has started a new project, Medical and Obstetrics Rape Awareness Group, to resist the invasion of women’s bodies by medical practitioners. It is a really fantastic project that everyone must check out.
The Medical and Obstetric Rape Awareness Group (MORAG) is an international project aiming to raise awareness of and get people talking about the terrible violation, and even rape, that some women experience at the hands of medical staff when giving birth or undergoing a gynaecological procedure.
I have read many stories of women suffering inhumane treatment from doctors, midwives and other medical staff in situations when they are at their most vulnerable and should be able to trust the medical staff to have their best interests at heart. Some of the stories have been harrowing to read, yet women all too often feel unable to tell their stories, or name what happened to them, as it is so frowned upon to say anything detrimental about the medical profession.
Anne Bartow over at Feminist Law Professors posts on Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Is Running A Misogynist Porn Site.
We all know that “pro-lifers” want to destroy everything relating to reproductive health care and limit the types of reproductive health care women seek and are given. We also know that pro-lifers hate hate hate Planned Parenthood because they are “baby killers” (even though not all Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions) and they distribute that evil poison-in-pill form known as birth control!
Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff from Women’s Space Publishes Suki Falconberg’s Open Letter to PBS: Why Didn’t You Film the “Carrier” Rape-Stops?
I would like to know what the women sailors aboard the ship think of this rape of their prostituted sisters—do they make the connection? High rates of sexual assault in the military are directly related to the time-honored rape of for-sale women by sailors. Train and allow men to rape one group of women, and they will rape others as well.
I read that the Nimitz is planning to dock in Hong Kong this month. Perhaps PBS could do some ‘postscript’ filming–follow the men into the brothels. As a woman who was raped and prostituted by the U.S. military, I would like my side of military history to be told. What is ‘fun’ for the sailors is life imprisonment in rape hell for us prostitutes. I wish women journalists and filmmakers would cover what happens to us.
I have spent much time writing this post not only because Betancourt is an amazing woman whose work and life may well be pivotal to the history of Colombia and for that matter, the world, but also because it so illuminates the experiences and difficulties of being a woman who aspires to political power, and ultimately wields it, in a male supremacist world.
Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Women’s Space draws attention to COINTELPRO 2008: New Justice Department Policy Will Authorize Racial Profiling.
For those unfamiliar with COINTELPRO, it is an acronym for the FBI’s notorious Counter Intelligence Program of the 50s, 60s and early 70s which targeted, infiltrated and destroyed individuals and groups it considered a “threat” — ”communists” (communism was illegal in the U.S. in the 50s), labor unions, leftists, Civil Rights movement leaders, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the American Indian Movement, radical feminist groups, the women’s liberation movement, Angela Davis and many others, including Viola Liuzzo, a Civil Rights worker who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and who was shot by a COINTELPRO informant who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff again, highlighting the highly disturbing medicalisation of birth and women’s resistance to this form of male terrorism in her post American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Launches Attack on Home Birth and Home Birthing Moms.
Since the earliest days of the women’s movement, women have been fighting for our right to birth our babies in our own way. For as long a time, patriarchal, allopathic medicine has attempted, in every conceivable way, to assert, establish and maintain control over our bodies and our lives. It has consistently attempted, often successfully, to establish policies and procedures, rules and regulations, which forbid home birth, birth with midwives, and unassisted birth.
Michelle Obama Watch is a very awesome website dedicated to calling out the media’s sexist and racist attacks on Michelle Obama.
Women Speaking Up and Stepping Out
So far, we have been losing this war horribly. Our dead litter the brothels and the crack houses, our prisoners of war are held captive by the porn industry, and our would-be warriors are enticed away to serve the destroyers of the souls of Black girls. Our survivors wander through a wasteland of damaged social standing, reduced life choices, and meager economic opportunity; many become locked in a cycle of self preservation.
Below is footage of a rally in defense of Karen Salazar, a teacher in the US who was fired, quite literally, for teaching her students.
In light of our history, and the sexual horrors and atrocities we have sustained and continue to endure at the hands of white and black men; standing against ANYONE that does not treat us respectfully is the only acceptable behavior. Black skin does not afford you impunity, even if you are suffering racism. We all are in black skin and suffering racism.
Abandonment is not murder. Certainly, men faced with the prospect of abandoning their daughters aren’t jumping to the frenzied conclusion that it’s exactly the same thing as just snapping their little necks. Men go on with their lives, generally never to consider their abandoned little girls again, except in some cases when men come back tired of life’s thrills expecting a little of the family time they missed out on. (And they’re generally obliged.) Yet, mothers so deeply identify with their little patriarchs that, at least at that forum, they immediately leap to exactly this conclusion.
Thus, motivation and strong will are other big challenges in a woman’s world. Many women think that whatever they can achieve is not worth being stoned for it. Therefore, they follow the safety instructions listed in their old grannies’ manuals, which they learned to trust and treasure so dearly. Wisdom is always good, you know. What they don’t know, however, is that wisdom never built anything or invented anything. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in this old wisdom safe box, we can never move a single step ahead. Stepping ahead has got its risks.. and you can never be able to take those risks unless you are a dreamer. If you dream, you dare take risks. Only then will you discover, and grow, and make a change.
See this? Yeah, that’s a broken record. I chose this image for this post because I sincerely believe that all the pro-porners, pro-prostitutionists, pro-sexploitation folks, pro-hate speech & pro-”sex work” activists (or whatever you rad fems wanna call them) sound like a fucking broken record with all their “same old shit” reactionary arguments that do nothing whatsoever to help women as a class, arguments that, on the contrary, bolster the patriarchal anti-woman status quo.
The video below is part of the We Are More: Empowerment campaign. I hope to see more like it. This one is called Ain’t I a Woman?
Anne Bissell’s Website is really fantastic and worth a visit. Anne Bissell is a survivor of prostitution and has written a book titled Memoirs of a Sex Industry Survivor. There is also a radio segment here that is worth listening to with interviews with survivors of prostitution: Wendy Barnes, Anne Bissell and Heather. The transcript is here.
Dissenter over at The Mermaid’s Garden does what she does best, literary analysis, in her post The Golden Compass, Billy Thunder and the Night Gate, Sabriel and Lirael: A Comparison.
Thus we have the usual patriarchal lies being perpetrated, in which women are presented as being controlling and power hungry, while men are presented as oppressed beings risking their lives for freedom. Tell me, how many women can you think of who have courageously given their lives in the pursuit of not only women’s freedom, but freedom for all, even the men who hate them? Who is it who is stopping these women, who murder them and put them in prison, who ridicule their books and their intellectual achievements, who viciously silence their voices? Men. Men are the ones who do these things to women. It is not women who do these things to men.
dredgirl at fuckthepostpolitical writes a great critique of The Gruen Transfer. (For non-aussies The Gruen Transfer is this cool, hip, new, aussie show that supposedly critiques advertising. There is a panel of four white men and one white woman and ah… not a whole lot of critique. But as a bonus we get lots of sexist jokes, as well as justifications and advocation of advertising. Yay!)
As a tutor in cultural studies, i spend plenty of time teaching students about the semotics of advertising; I teach them about the social politics of representation, often discussing the gendered and racialised aspects of media in general, and advertising in particular. In the courses I teach on, we ask students to unlearn, to defamiliarise themselves with the representations and experiences they may take as natural, normal or common. Unlearning is often experienced as uncomfortable, as an affront, or critique of privilege (whether it be race privilege, gender privilge, class privilege etc), but it can also be incredibly invigorating, allowing students to see the world differently.
I hear people say women are forced into marriage in those “other” cultures. Define forced. Do you think every married woman in the Islamic world is dragged in chains to her wedding? I mean – do you really think that? Are some marriages there forced? Sure. But as a young white Christian girl I knew of at least two forced marriages in my teen years – forced marriages of young girls who’d “gotten themselves knocked up”.
However, my dislike isn’t arbitrary or capricious. It has a very specific origin. I detest progressives who claim to be against unchecked capitalism, up until the issue of sexual exploitation is raised. These are the sort of people who mock Wal-Mart shoppers, McDonald’s workers, and other inferior beings in the liberal universe, only to turn around and celebrate the selling of sex as liberation itself. Some of these people are so far gone as to be in favor of human trafficking, if only because George W. Bush had the sense to be against it.
Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, constructed, cruel bull shit it is has some far-reaching implications. Re-worded: it changes the way we see everyone. For women, it changes a great deal of how we view ourselves.
I am not saying that light skinned sisters are not beautiful, I have a problem with the fact that they are commonly used as a representative of ALL black women. We come in many different shades, and to point to one as particularly more beautiful than another, is to reinforce a hierarchy based in skin tone. This is not a sign of loving ourselves, rather it is the internalization of black hate. The cruelty of slavery has left us with this terrible legacy.
Rainbow Girl over at Team Rainbow completely cracked me up with her post How to Victimize Yourself Before Others Victimize You!.
Trust your instincts. Women are very intuitive. Yes, actually women have magical animal instincts because they are genetically closer to vampires/bats than humans. That’s why we don’t allow them full human rights. You know how an ordinary flower looks different to a bee because the bee can see the ultraviolet colours? Women are like that. Bad men have RAPIST written in a colour called ultraviolator, which women can see if they look really hard.
Professor Tracey at Aunt Jemima’s Revenge asks Why Is Anyone Watching Or Debating About BET’s Hip Hop Vs. America Series?.
And if the discussion was supposed to be about women and hip hop, why wasn’t the discussion panel and host all female? What is exactly is the point of having men discuss women and their history and role in hip hop music and culture? Men, particularly black men have clearly already had more then enough say about women and hip hop.
People talk about abortion as if it’s this big moral thing. I don’t think it is. It’s a question of: do you want a kid or not? For some of us, that may be a hard decision. For others, it may be incredibly simple and easy. Now, I have never had an abortion, or been pregnant, so you can say “well buggle, easy for you to say! Just wait until you get pregnant and have to make that choice.” And, you have a point But to me, there is no moral issue. It’s not about murder, or killing babies. It’s just not about that at all. It’s about me, as a human being, being able to decide if I want to spend the rest of my life parenting, or not. And I choose not.
As Halima’s concept of racio-misogyny articulates, for some black men, sexism against black women is not merely a function of gender but also of race—resentment is derived as much from black women’s nappy hair, dark skin, broad features, “lack of femininity,” the way in which her blackness precludes her from being the trophy that Snipes describes (“the guys are like, `Oh man, you’ve got a great women.’ And the man says, `Yeah, I do. ”)–as it is from her being a woman. His words here remind me of the scene in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in which Tea Cake brags about the fair-skinned Janie’s susceptibility to bruising after a beating. Black equals strong, loud, unsusceptible to bruising–mule-like in toughness and resiliency. As Snipes notes, a man wants to be proud of his woman: he wants someone pleasing, someone compromising, someone compassionate—to him.
i have oftentimes conversed with brothers that date out and heard how much “easier” it is to “deal” with white, asian, hispanic, persian, armenian, and other women. of course, there never is consideration given as to why this might be the case. these brothers usually make these women out to be superior and us sisters inferior, deficient, lacking, and unworthy of love.
m Andrea over at miss Andrea’s chooses a fun, troll attracting topic in the second part of her deconstructing transgender posts: PART TWO: Deconstructing Transgenderism for non-radical feminists.
First, we have someone who claims to not feel comfortable in hiz own body. All well and good, many people are uncomfortable about some aspect of their physical appearance that they wish to change. This individual claims to be a different gender then hiz birth body indicates. Well we have a problem with that word gender. Because feminists keep saying that there is no gender. So if transgenderism is a valid medical condition, and transfolk really do need to change body parts, then the reason they need to change those body parts is because gender is real. Which automatically makes the favorite feminist theory invalid — yanno, the one where they screech that gender is a social construct. Yanno, the one theory which has formed the foundation for all other subsequent feminist theory for the last three centuries. Yanno, the one theory which if rendered invalid automatically reboots every other feminist theory in existence.
Yes that is from an official home office document (international readers, – the Home office is one of the most important central government departments). Men and women have different brains, understanding and thought processes. Men are naturally aggressive whilst women just love fluffy little kittens and know nothing about the gold standard. And what is to blame for this bizarre belief? Have they spent too long reading the Daily Male? No it’s gender – the new hallucinogen of choice.
Creative Feminist Resistance
My sweet CDBaby introduced me first to Ebony Washington and her “Revolutionary Kind of Girl” CD which I love. I love anyone who can work words like gentrification and patriarchy into music along with references to Rudy Guiliani. Ebony’s CD is my favorite of the surprise CDs. As many of you know, I’ve been wrestling with my whiteness and struggling to understand the dynamics of race in this country, and Ebony deals frankly with the subject. In her song, “Movin’ On Up,” she tells it plain as can be, “at the sight of color, you were quick to scatter.” In her moving tribute to global solidarity among women, she says, “I could have been right there with you, but instead I constructed new ways to create miracles and I’m asking Victoria to keep my secrets… I’m right here with you – a commodity, bought and sold.”
Naomi Downie from Sacred Beauty: Visionary art and Poetry is a woman-centred poet I had the pleasure of seeing perform recently. All of the poetry and artwork on her site is fantastic; beautiful and women-centred. I particularly recommend The Universal Mother.
My sister Dragort started writing when she was seven years old. Her stories have long been a source of strength, inspiration and women-centredness during some desperately bleak times. She has started writing a brilliant young adult novel, The Chosen, the first part of which has been published at Spinning Spinsters.
Tori Amos is one of my favourite songwriters. Here she performs Me and a Gun, one of her most intimate pieces, which deals with her experience of being raped by a man, at gunpoint.
Hello, my fine-feathered friends, and welcome to the Fifteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists. I’m Nine Deuce, and I’ll be your guide through this round-up of some of the best current radical feminist writing on the internet. I am, quite simply, stoked to be hosting this installment of the Carnival, and I’d like to thank all of the women who submitted these excellent posts, as well as Heart at Women’s Space for putting the whole thing together. I won’t bore you too much with corny platitudes, but I do want to say that I am thrilled that this Carnival exists to provide women around the world with a means to share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings in a free and supportive environment, and to allow us the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with each other in our efforts to make the world a safer and better place to be a woman. That’ll be enough from me. On to the posts…
L at Editorializing the Editors has written a series of posts on apologizing in which she discusses the gendered aspects of apology-making and of holding grudges. The first of the series (I recommend the other two as well), On apologizing and holdging grudges, explains the ways in which apologies and the act of forgiveness reduplicate social hierarchies, and the ways in which holding a grudge can be a feminist act:
Holding a grudge requires remembering what happened to you. Holding a grudge recognizes that apologies are often empty, fake, political, or disingenuous. Holding a grudge acknowledges reality, the reality of a harm done and the reality of what that harm means about the person who did it. Holding a grudge recognizes that sometimes — if not often — an apology just isn’t enough. Holding a grudge is a slap in the face to patriarchal asshats who would say that women’s memories of the harms done against them are wrong, lies, impossible, or not a big deal.
However, holding a grudge does not necessarily require that the wronged person seek revenge against the wrongdoer, nor that the grudge-bearer act or think in terms of violence, as these would be yet more incantations of the annoying, overdone Campbellian monomyth. Holding a grudge is another way of saying “I remember what you did, and it’s not okay, no matter how much you regret doing it.”
Holding a grudge is a way for the disempowered, the marginalized, the fringe-sitters, to draw a boundary and maintain it. And women are generally disempowered and marginalized.
My name is feminist no longer. I walk as a woman, just a woman, hand in hand with the Dark Mother. We walk together, as women, towards liberation.
I do not seek equality with those who wouldst rape. I do not seek equality to those who would plunder for the sake of pleasure, laugh at destruction. I do not seek equality with those that would murder, buy women as sex, wank to women’s dis-memberment, take pleasure from the destruction of Our Dark Mother.
I do not seek equality with killers, with those who hate my kind, my grandmother’s skin, my mother’s rage. If I name myself, if I am named, feminist, I am not whole. I must deny. That Dark part of me. I must deny/hide/pretendpretend… She does not exist. I do not exist.
Women’s liberation must not be measured in relation to men at all. One of the problems with the concept of equality with men is that, once again, men and male-centric ways of going about things are being used as the benchmark against which women’s rights or equality are measured, the idea being that once we measure up, have equal pay, no discrimination and all the rest, our battles are over and we can rest. And of course, this is ideal for patriarchal society. They would just love it if women won equality, and could be happy with that and stop whining. But when or if we ever achieve equality (and it won’t be any time soon, if at all), we will still not be free. Behind the concept of “equality”, in a feminist context, there seems to be the underlying idea that “man” is the ultimate a human can be, and we should all be aiming to be like “man,” or at least have the same rights as “man.” It just can’t work like that. Women do not want or need everything that “man” has. In a world of truly liberated women, why would there be any need for the nuclear capability to obliterate the whole of Europe several times over, as the UK currently has, for example? Everything “man” has is neither admirable or desirable, and women should not be working to get their hands on it. They should be working to get “man” to give it up, as many women are and have been in the past. The goal has to be literally “women’s liberation,” meaning liberation from the rule of men, the laws of men, the religions of men; liberation into a world where everything is not measured against “man” as though “man” is the goal. Women need to recreate the world in their own image.
Also from Debs, A choice between suicide and submission draws parallels between the growing number of Afghan women self-immolating in order to escape abuse at the hands of men, modern-day witch hunts taking place in India in which women are being burned to death, and the witch hunts of Medieval Europe:
The fire once used by men to dispatch the ‘wayward’ woman, the ‘other’, is now a viable option of the ‘other’ in dispatching herself. It is most notable that men do very little to prevent this. It is horrible to think it, but it is in my head anyway, that men are pleased at this outcome as the women, if driven far enough, and treated appallingly enough, will do it to themselves, thus preserving ‘man’ from the responsibility of the act. I have yet to hear it said, but surely it is only a matter of time before some learned male says the women are suffering some kind of “mania” or are all “hysterical” thus divorcing himself even further from any responsibility for the situation. Of course, if it were not for man’s law, religions, and hatred of women, this would not be happening at all.
In Women in the Workplace: Ask a Woman, Holly at Menstrual Poetry has posted a link to the Ask a Working Woman survey being carried out by AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees and Working America. Despite MRA attempts at skewing the data, we all know from experience that the working world is still a tough place to be a woman. Head over there and fill out the survey and make your concerns as a working woman known. The deadline is June 20.
Holly also wants you to know that The Emma Goldman Clinic Wants to Hear About Your Experience. The clinic is collecting stories form women who have faced financial obstacles to abortion services in the state of Iowa. If that includes you, check out Holly’s post for info on how to contribute your story to the project.
Renee at Womanist Musings, in Men Troubles, rebuts the interconnected claims that the route to happiness for black women is through landing a man and that the way to find a man is through learning to be submissive and “soft”:
Since black women were brought on this continent in chains we have never been given the luxury of being “soft”. We have been the ultimate un-woman. We lead because that is how we have been able to survive in a world that has proven to be predatory. The whole idea that gender can be split into one dominant and one submissive belies the fact that these are social constructions, and are not “natural” characteristics of either gender. We experience gender in a state of flux therefore each sex takes on characteristics of dominance, and submission. To request that black women submit in order to empower the black male patriarchy eschews the vitality of female agency. Yeah lets all stand and clap our hands, and celebrate that men will agree to lower themselves to marry. Of course they don’t benefit from marriage in anyway. They are only entering the institution (note: the fact that marriage is an institution should scare any sane person) out of a true desire to be magnanimous. They don’t live longer when they are married right? They don’t get a live in housekeeper, nanny, cook, and built in sexual release? How many damn buttons, and hems do we have to fix before we acknowledge that men benefit far more than women do from marriage?
Rebecca Mott of rmott62, in her post entitled Something That Makes Me Uncomfortable, discusses the Myra Hindley case and argues that feminists ought to hold women accountable for abusing others. It raises the issue of women’s agency in a patriarchy with regard to violent crimes:
I do believe the vast majority of women who use violence are pushed into it. I believe it understandable to kill a man who has battered you for long period. I understand girls joining gangs for identity and protection…
I would never make an excuse for any man who kidnapped and took part in the torture of children. I would not care if he claimed he was manipulated.
I would not take his word as the truth.
But I am told to believe the word of a women who kidnapped and take part in the torture of children.
I am told I should sorry for her.
But every day women and girls are mentally, physically and sexually tortured by men. The vast majority of those women and girls do not torture children.
Also from Rebecca is a post entitled It is Not the Same discussing the difference, from the standpoint of a survivor of both kinds of rape, between the experience of rape at the hands of a family member and the experience of a prostituted woman/girl who has been raped for pay:
One thing that I have from being raped by my stepdad and the men who pretended to my friends, is that I know them.
I can remember their faces. I can still hear their many words to convince me that they care about me. I see them in a clear light.
I have no image left with the men that rape in prostitution.
There was too many of them, they became a mass.
There is a difference.
The men I thought I knew I choose to look them in the eye before they had raped me. So, after the raping I could hold in my heart my hate at their betrayal.
I knew it was a crime. I knew I had not wanted it.
This was held in my heart, not expressed outwardly.
But with prostitution there was never that clarity.
I survived by refusing to see the men who paid to rape me. I refused to see their eyes.
But I could not think it was rape when I took the money. When I perform sometimes with a smile what they demanded.
I could not name that rape.
The men who rape me and rape prostituted women and girls do not think of it as rape.
I do believe that violent men will and do rape any woman or girl who is easy reach.
Prostituted women and girls are like a candy store for these men. They are so convenient.
Pisaquari over at Buried Alive, in her post entitled No More (Sexual Stigma p.2), delves into our cultural norms and stigmas with regard to sex and how these play into the idea of consent on the part of women:
At the intersection of power, stigma, and sexual socialization there has been made an incredibly thriving market to the tune of billions of dollars and, what’s more willing worldwide participants, in the celebration-the orgasmic celebration if you will-of no “No.”
And what I am talking about is not limited to rape and sexual assault though they, of course, are some of the darkest manifestations of this. No–I am talking about the ubiquitous, ever-existential, concept of sexuality and how much of our sexuality has been formed on the erasure and undermining of “no.”
In sexual stigma p.1 there were two main points that I wanted to make clear:
1. Consent and sexual readiness has been presented to us, through marketing and media, to be a look-a set of features-embodied by women/girls. Thus creating a situation wherein, if the “look” is present, the sexual meaning is implied. When sexual meaning is implied the first layer of consideration for the women’s interest in being considered sexual by another, as well as her legal ability to even be so, is removed. A layer of “no” is gone.
2. We are being conditioned to find people sexually attractive and ready in way that is supposed to be against our will. From early ages we are presented a set of sexual norms that we are supposed to want yet what we are supposed to *not* want is most sexualized. Thus our capitulation and lack of control is sexualized. Thus we perceive our own responsibility and agency as a bit of a continuum–vulnerable to change given how desirable we find the subject. As the stigmas normalize and mainstream our ability to achieve this same arousing effect diminishes. We are now searching out new sexual ways to breach our own will.
Exactly how many ways can one say Rape Culture?
Next we have two posts from Heart at Women’s Space. The first, Smackdown Time for Max Hardcore: Jury Finds Paul Little Guilty on 10 Counts of Criminal Obscenity, made my day when I read it.
In the second, Heart asks, Democrats, Why Should We Support You? She poses a very important question:
Can we count on your support for — or even acknowledgement of the importance of –- any of the following issues?
Punishing Women and Children Because Men Have Raped and Abused Them (Fundamentalist LDS)
New Jersey Four
Vigorous Pursuit of Sex Traffickers
Prostitution Legislation (Swedish Model/De-Criminalize Prostitution,Criminalize the Buying of Sex)
Cyberterrorism of Woman Bloggers
Sexism and Misogyny in the Media, as Exemplified in the Presidential Campaign
Rape of Women Employed by Defense Contractors Abroad, No Right to Pursue Criminal or Civil Charges Against Their Rapists
Recourse to Persons Harmed by Pornography and Pornographers
Rape and Pimping of Women in the U.S. Military
Also on the subject of politics, Violet over at Reclusive Leftist explains, in Why I will not vote for Obama even if he’s the nominee – and why you shouldn’t either, why feminists ought to consider not voting for the newly-nominated Democratic candidate, offering a bit of a switcheroo to highlight the misogyny in the media coverage of Clinton’s campaign:
Imagine this scenario:
The shoe is on the other foot, and Obama, not Hillary, is the punching bag of the media — a media that is blatantly and unapologetically racist. And I do mean blatant. Jokes every night on the cable news shows about Obama’s hair and his fondness for fried chicken. Pundits laughing about what a problem uppity Negroes are.
Across the country, racists openly ridicule Obama and his candidacy. In mainstream stores there are gag gifts playing on racist themes: maybe a (water)Melon Baller with Obama’s head on the handle, maybe a Barack Obama Shoeshine Set — you get the picture. 501c groups invoke the most grotesque racist slurs with their advertising; T-shirts say “Quit Running for President and Shine My Shoes!” Anybody who protests is branded a fool and a spoilsport
Maggie over at Meta Watershed might not agree that we should boycott Obama (she says she’d vote for Spongebob Squarepants, should he turn out to be the nominee, rather than a Republican, which I thought was a good one), but in her post What She Said, Maggie argues that we ought to remember who engaged in misogynistic bombast during the primary:
And I’ve been sick inside as I’ve watched the testosterone-fueled fist-pumping victory dance. Because for some of these guys, too many of them, it was not just Hillary who was going down in flames. It was all the uppity bitches who ever denied their male superiority. We really can tell the difference, you know. You asswipes fool NOBODY but each other. And your exalted candidate did not lift one fucking finger to interrupt it. Which means when it’s time to let YOUR values get assaulted, he’ll choose silence if it serves him in the long run there, too…
Also from Maggie, Women at the Start of Human Time discusses the work of Judy Grahn on the role of menstruation in the development of human consciousness:
The unanswered question is how did we cross the divide from primate consciousness into human consciousness: Who first made hatchmarks, and why?
Modern studies of how the brain works have revealed that all human learning involves metaphor. On a rudimentary level, when we encounter something new which needs interpretation, we do the equivalent of the Sesame Street singing game which goes “Which of these things is not like the other?” We compare and contrast, using metaphor. This occurs in at least three of the main languages used by humans — verbal, mathematical, and musical. When we find a similarity, we link the new thing to the old, a synapse is formed, and we have the basis for retaining memory of the new thing so we may continue learning about it.
We actually cannot take in information and render it as a retained abstract in any other way.
Thus, to understand how the first humans took such a strikingly different path from all other life on earth, we need to imagine what they were experiencing, seeing, contending with to make that first leap — and it needs to be common to every culture, every region, because this did not happen on one place only. Many different groups of humans were counting in prehistory.
One counting object does reliably appear in numerous early human cultures: Sticks, bones and stones marked with lines which add up to 29.5 days.
In another post from Maggie, The White Night Riot, 21 May 1979 and Lesbians Against Police Violence, we get a glimpse into the riot and into the Lesbians Against Police Violence, of which Maggie was a member:
At the LAPV meeting the following evening, we talked for hours about what we had seen and what it all meant. We agreed we were the inevitable target of any investigation–no one would believe we had tried to stop the riot, and by this time it wasn’t even a claim we wanted to make. We knew the first attack would come in the form of a grand jury. Enough of us had read Grand Jury Comix and followed the Susan Saxe case to know our greatest threat came if we refused to testify. But there was no way we were going to testify. If you refuse to testify to a grand jury, you do not have the right to claim the fifth amendment. Instead, you are granted immunity (meaning your testimony cannot be used to directly incriminate you) and if you still refuse to testify, you are declared in contempt of the court and thrown into jail. You can be kept in jail without recourse for the length of the grand jury, and if the grand jury reconvenes, you can be sent back to jail over and over again–no trial, no due process of law. It’s an excellent tool of reprisal used in this country against political dissidents.
There were around 30 of us involved in LAPV at that time. We sat in a big living room, most of us on the floor, and someone kept detailed minutes. One by one, we each talked about what we stood to lose personally by going to jail, and what we’d like to have done for us by the rest to keep our lives intact until the boys gave up and let us out of jail. Two of us were parents; after a long discussion, it was agreed that if, at all possible, we two would avoid grand jury summons, leaving town if necessary. Women talked about their jobs, their pets, their leases, their houseplants, and their bills. At every turn, one or more of us volunteered to cover for her if she was jailed, with no time limit. By the end of the night, we had a solid contingency plan, a sworn commitment to never break silence, and enough resources to cover the jailing of several (though not all) of us. I don’t know what would have happened to us if we had been sorely tried, but I remember believing every woman in the group with all my heart, and feeling ready to go down fighting for any one of us.
Sarojini Sahoo at Sense & Sensuality, in her post Is It Risky for a Woman to Deal with Female Sexuality in India, analyzes the cultural biases and restrictions that female fiction writers in India (and elsewhere) face:
In India most of the female writers either quit writing or make them more adjustable to male dominated values, after their marriage. You find shyness in their voice while relating the truth and exposing their innerself. Even their weaknesses or love relations are also not expressed clearly in fear of social scandal of their character. A typical womanish shyness prevents them to write their actual feelings towards sex and love. This is not only due to any restriction imposed by their family, but many times we find that an idea of being a good girl pursues them to hide their own feelings and experience.
Also from Sarojini Sahoo, Pleasure at Par argues against the prevailing idea that women in India’s classical period enjoyed more sexual freedoms than they currently do. She discusses the long-standing patriarchy-defined role of women within romantic relationships:
… this patriarchal society always tries to reject women’s sensibility towards love. The patriarchal concept of love between a man and woman actually means, how it is politicized, how it is socially and culturally manipulated with masculine view which is constructed by the idea how to love a man, and how to care for him not only by our instinct, but by the socially expected gender roles. A woman may totally love a man, and refuse to cook for him, but it would not be acceptable behaviour for a ‘woman in love’ according to our cultural codes. Social needs to sustain families on specifically prescribed gender roles also instruct us on how to love a man. There is a hidden code to exploit women in the whole cultural and social scheme of romantic love, mostly because the concept of romantic love has been authored by men, and is based on men’s fractured understanding of women as primarily sexual objects. The patriarchal concept always denies the individuality of a woman as a human being.
If giving information about the killing of babies (meaning fertilized eggs) is so important and these people want to ensure that potential parents know that their actions will lead to killing babies, why isn’t this group working to inform men that having sex with a fertile woman who are on birth control is a murder attempt?
If women on birth control can be considered killers the moment a sperm reaches an egg then those who inject the needed foreign ingredient for these deaths are actively and deliberately sending their children to their deaths. Except for cases where a girl or woman rapes a boy or man, the boy or man is making a deliberate decision prior to any egg being fertilized and therefore has made the decision to send his child to certain death unless he knows that the girl or woman isn’t using birth control and will not use birth control.
So what is the American Life League doing to prevent men from killing their own children?
Thanks again to everyone for these kick-ass submissions and for the opportunity to host the Carnival. I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every one of these posts and I hope everyone else will, too! The next edition of the Carnival will be at Allecto’s place, Gorgon Poisons, and you can submit posts by clicking here.
[Note: All images/graphics are credited at the end, and may be enlarged for easier viewing by clicking on them.]
From LaDoctorita at Unconventional Beauty, her essay “Cover Girls, Take 2″ picks up on the process started by Shakesville’s Impossibly Beautiful series and makes a grand tour of current magazine covers, explaining sexism, ageism, and fat oppression with blatant examples.
Favorite lines: “The next time somebody tries to tell you that men have to deal with just as many unhealthy stereotypes about their appearances as women do . . . just walk them over to the magazine aisle.”
Favorite lines: “…Because men deserve to have the last word when it comes to what women do with their bodies, right? Because you know, they know so much more about the bodies of women than actual women; I get it now.”
Favorite lines: “With their booklet of dance moves, a garter and 100 peekaboo dance dollars to reenact the real thing”
Also from Holly at Menstrual Poetry, her essay Anti-Choice Oklahoma reports on Oklahoma’s recently passed SB 1878 which, as Holly puts it, “takes all of the previously brought up anti-choice laws and combines them into one.”
Favorite line: “It may just be me, but if you are not able to you know, do your job, because of your religious beliefs and moral convictions, shouldn’t you find another line of work?”
[Note: Holly is a prolific blogger and has more terrific posts than could all be included in this particular Carnival. You should definitely add her to your daily check-in list.]
From Debs at The Burning Times, the essay When Does Kinky Sex Become Illegal? examines the confusing logic of a bill set to become law in the UK which outlaws the possession of “extreme porn” because it is “damaging” while other pornography is defined as not.
Favorite lines: “Keep in mind what most porn users would have you believe is the primary purpose of pornography, i.e. to ‘get off’ as one so-called ‘feminist’ once told me. (How on earth did people ‘get off’ before the existence of porn? She couldn’t answer that one…)”
From Jennifer Drew at At The Root (submitted by Debs, thanks), the essay How Male Violence Against Women and Children Continues to be Defined as ‘Isolated Incidents’ – whereas Female Violence is Interpreted as Deviancy examines the obfuscating language used in news reports about gendered violence.
Favorite lines: “Linking all these three stories or narratives is the central one wherein male sexual/physical violence against women and girls is part of what is supposedly normal and innate masculine behaviour. Women and girls are, however, held to a far higher and different standard wherein any deviation from their supposed ‘feminine role’ is reported as innate deviancy and madness.
From Nine Deuce at Rage Against The Man-chine, her essay The First Amendment is only sort of cool explores the contradictory logic of using a free speech defense or “community interest” argument to defend pornography which clearly does damage. [Particularly relevant right now with the mass frenzy over Grand Theft Auto II, which rewards "players" for the rape and murder of prostitutes.]
Favorite lines: “…As rapacious and lascivious as some of the patriarchs who founded this here nation were, I’m pretty sure none of them intended that the very first amendment they added to the republic’s founding sheet of parchment would be used as a pretext for defending the ‘right’ of motherfuckers with morals lower than whale shit in the Marianas Trench to create videos simulating the gang rape and sexualized murder of women, and the simulated rape of children.”
Also from Nine Deuce at Rage Against The Man-chine, her essay Porn Part 4: Half of the Big Picture continues her extraordinarily cogent, plain-speaking, and often hilarious series about pornography. (Parts 1 through 6 are available at her blog, and they are drawing links and praise from all over the blogosphere.)
Favorite lines: “There’s no other object that is both desired and hated in the way women in porn are.”
“Men are just as affected by our bizarre cultural expectations and prescriptions for female sexuality as women are.”
“I’m a liberal. I don’t want to ban anything, I just want to inform consumers about the impact of their choices, which is the only real way to effect change, in my view.”
From Kate/Cruella at Cruella-Blog, her essay Trouble in Comedy-Land reports on a recent incident in the UK where a female audience member was persuaded onstage by a male “comedian” and sexually molested as part of his “routine”, with no intervention from anyone watching.
Favorite lines: “Why is anyone asking what the boundaries of comedy are? Yes, it’s ok for comics to say offensive things – that’s because we all have freedom of speech…Personally I think we shouldn’t reward comics who make sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist jokes, and in some cases there may be a case to be made against them for inciting hatred or crime, but that’s a totally separate issue. None of us, including comedians, have the right to rape or sexually assault.”
From Heart at Women’s Space, her essay May Day: A Tribute to Lucy Parsons honors “this woman of color and a working-class revolutionary” who “spent her life struggling for the rights of the poor, unemployed, homeless, women, children, and minority groups, and for a future society based on free association of labor organizations.”
Favorite lines: “We [women] are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men…We [say] that the land shall belong to the landless, the tools to the toiler, and the products to the producers.”
Also from Heart at Women’s Space, her essay Rev. Jeremiah Wright for President offers an antidote to the unjustified media free-for-all at the expense of the better thinking coming from Jeremiah Wright and Black Liberation Theology. (This created a long, thoughtful discussion in Comments.)
Favorite line: “…White people and nonblack people have absolutely no idea of the role of the black church and black pastors in the journey towards liberation for all people in this country, not only black people, but all women and all human beings of good will and good faith.”
From Natasha at Homo Academicus, her essay Pick Your Battles uses the struggle she went through to legally change her last name to a shared one with her partner as a very useful primer for discussing the role and value of allies.
Favorite lines: “I’m not being oversensitive, I’m not too emotionally involved in the situation to judge whether or not I’m being treated unfairly. I don’t need an straight person to act as an ‘impartial’ observer to judge whether or not I’m rationally assessing the situation.”
“I live these battles moment-by-moment, day-by-day. I don’t have the energy to devote to combating it all, because I am more than just a homo, I am a person with a life.”
From Pisaquari at Buried Alive (submitted by Amy’s Brain Today, thanks), the essay Hot For Tots (Sexual Stigma, p.1) addresses the issue of child porn, offering an explanation as to why it is not simply out there but on the rise when “Being anti child porn is sorta like the ultimate DUH, isn’t it? Duh! Who the fuck says they are down with child porn? And yet, our country/world can’t keep its creepy hands off of them. So what’s the dealiyo?”
Also from Amy’s Brain Today at Feminist Reprise :: The Blog, her essay A Few Thoughts on Appropriation sheds some succinct light on why crediting sources (ALL sources) has been a feminist ethical standard for decades, and why sidestepping this practice is glove-in-hand with race, gender and class oppression.
Favorite lines: “What’s the goal? Pursuing patriarchal white supremacist ideas about success–being the lone explorer/savior, the authority, shedding brilliance and enlightenment? Or being part of something bigger, part of a network or a movement of people who want a different world and are working on building it in lots of different ways?”
Also from Amy’s Brain Today at Feminist Reprise: The Blog, in her essay The first periodic FR awards for boneheadedness begins a “best of” idiocy selection that I hope she continues. This post’s focus gave top “prize” to the Tulsa judge who ruled a 16-year-old girl could not protest a man photographing under her skirt without her consent at a Target store because “…[t]he person photographed was not in a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy”, and also took on the illogic of lesbians who travel to marry in another state because they cannot get married in their own then complaining that they cannot get divorced in their own state, either.
Favorite lines: “ALL YR BODEEZ, THEY ARE BELONG TO US” and
“Haven’t the heterosexuals given us plenty of evidence for the unreliability of conjugal bliss?“
From Renee at Womanist Musings, she describes her essay Is Planned Parenthood Racist? with “Planned parenthood has recently come under attack for the number of abortions obtained by WOC. In this post I attempt to explain why this is not a racist issue. I further go into the fact that this is just an attempt to reduce women’s access to abortion.”
[NOTE: Womanist Musings has a wealth of extremely well-written, well-researched, and thought-provoking posts published. Another essay of hers was not submitted for this Carnival but I still want to promote it here: The Doll Test: White = Good And Black = Bad concerns a follow-up to the "doll test" devised in 1940 by Kenneth and Mamie Clark to examine how black children were impacted by segregation. The video accompanying this illuminating essay reveals how "Black children have internalized the self-hatred that has been promoted by our social institutions." Racist conditioning destroys any hope of liberation for us. Please share this post out there.]
From Jessica Valenti at Feministing (submitted by Natasha Fairweather, thanks, Natasha), her post College student sexually assaulted while crowd cheers tells the story of a woman who was twice sexually assaulted on the University of Connecticut campus, the second time by male onlookers as punishment for her successfully fighting back against the first assault. [Note: There is a TRIGGER WARNING at the top of this story.]
Favorite lines: “What’s truly incredible about this story is how it really dismantles the idea that teaching women to protect themselves (via self-defense, specifically) is truly effective…This isn’t to say that I think women shouldn’t learn self-defense or fight back against assault – on the contrary, I think they should if that’s what’s best for them. But it’s not an answer to rape culture (in which a crowd of people can stand and fucking cheer as a woman is being assaulted) – and that’s what we need to be fighting back against.”
From kat at BitchCraft, her essay housework, gender, being a “wife” reports on two recent articles about the inequity in housework allocation between genders and links it to Judy Syfer’s classic 1970 essay “Why I Want A Wife”. [Note: In the interest of disclosure, my blog recently reprinted Judy Syfers essay as part of my weekly Feminism Unadulterated series, which is where kat read it.]
Favorite lines (from the Update to the original post): “Since this posted the first time, there has been a lot of publicity from the passing of laws making it easier for husbands to take the wife’s last name, and ‘allowing’ new parents to give their kids the mother’s name….While that’s encouraging, it does hammer home the point that marriage is completely patriarchal. These laws try to make it seem less so, and may placate the ‘I’m a progressive, but I’m still going to buy into all the bullshit’ set (you know, the ones with diamonds on their fingers and babies in yuppie-strollers who are stay at home moms and claim that they chose that in a totally un-pressured way), but I don’t buy it.”
Also from Rebecca Mott at RMott62, her essay Justify This responds to the media portrayal of male sexual violence as “one-off” instances, and affirms instead the reality of how the threat of male sexual violence imprisons women and children around the world.
Favorite lines: “The thing that makes me very angry, is when men justify their use of prostituted women and girls by saying that it prevents rape. Christ. That is saying that they are rapists, but it does not matter.”
“But for the men buying women is ‘adventurous’. They choose to believe that prostituted women and girls are not like other women.”
[We must ALL guard against that delusion, Rebecca. Thank you so much for writing personally. I want you to know, I heard you.]
From Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes, her essay If Clinton Gave a Speech on Gender imagines an “alternate universe” in which Hillary Clinton gives a speech on gender commensurate with Barack Obama’s speech on race.
Favorite lines: “In her speech, Clinton said our democracy was ‘stained by the original sin’ of patriarchy. She noted that it took many years before men granted women the right to their own wages, let them make decisions about their own bodies, enter into contracts without the permission of a male relative, etc. Although the Declaration of Independence declared ‘all men were created equal,’ the Constitution was later amended to specify men by gender. Men never went to war over women’s rights. Instead, women and men have waged what may be the largest and longest peaceful movement in history, even though women continue to face daily violence from men.”
Favorite lines: “I’m not a Bible-fearing woman. In fact, I fear people who fear the Bible. They’re the ones pushing this amendment to make sure that same-sex marriage becomes even more illegal that it already is. If they want to protect marriage, why stop there? Why not outlaw adultery, for example? Unlike same-sex marriage, the Bible has plenty to say against adultery. Even one of the commandments forbids it.”
Also from Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes, her essay Dividing feminists takes on an article by editor Betsy Reed in the “We Hate Hillary” issue of The Nation and demolishes her so-called logic, point by point.
Favorite lines: “No. 1, division doesn’t seem to be Reed’s real point. She wouldn’t want feminists to unite behind Clinton; she wants them to support Obama. Wanting everyone to support your candidate is not the same as disliking discord. Using her logic, couldn’t someone say Obama divided feminists because he appeals to some and not others? No. 2, you can’t have a rift unless you had unity before. Anyone who thinks the feminist movement ever marched in lock step needs to read some history.”
From Marcella at abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open her essay Defining Rape When Vulnerability Created By Others is “the first in a series of posts in response to a question about whether a boy who exploited a girl unable to consent, because someone else drugged her, is a rapist.”
Favorite lines: “Any erring must be on the side of protecting those around us…Rationalization is the tool which makes unethical and illegal actions into nothing more than providing comfort.”
From Dissenter at Mermaid’s Garden (submitted by allecto, thanks), her essay Coping Strategies as Opposed to Feminism explores coping strategies used by women to provide “(an appearance of) escape from real life, but often, unless watched with a critical eye, they can be trapping women deeper within the patriarchal mire.”
Favorite lines: “The patriarchal mainstream (malestream) is not feminist. It is very hostile to feminism, and it’s therefore not about to go around praising and promoting texts that show it up for what it is. It’s going to bury them and their creators (the real feminist women) in absolute obscurity.”
[Note: I want to take this opportunity to plug the other radical feminist blog where allecto posts, Gorgon Poisons.]
From Sue Katz at Sue Katz: Consenting Adult, her rant Let’s Take A Knife To Mommy takes on the recent publication of a children’s book aimed at promoting plastic surgery to little girls. (I won’t print the title here, there’s been enough publicity for this atrocity.)
Favorite lines: “The failures of our feminist vision seem to be right up in our faces of late – from these wretched wars and occupations to the mortifying bouffant hairdo’s that network newswomen seem expected to wear.”
“Seventies feminists tried to build a movement and a consciousness that would endure through the generations, but the forces of profit are so strong that they require each generation to build its own defenses.”
And, right at the deadline, one more entry from Holly at Menstrual Poetry is too good to hold over until next month. Her essay The Anti-Choice Agenda Gets Even More Ridiculous exposes the true agenda emerging from the anti-choice movement, which is to stop all forms of birth control. (See the post above from Amy’s Brain Today with its comment ALL YR BODEEZ, THEY ARE BELONG TO US.)
Favorite lines: “I plan on driving to my local Planned Parenthood on June 7 and seeing what the protest looks like there (even though the closest Planned Parenthood to me that I can even call local is about 40 miles away) and see if they’re really pushing the peaceful concept; I’m thinking no… I also plan on taking pictures and seeing how many of these people are willing to talk to me; could be a damn good time indeed.” You GO, Holly.
Our next Carnival will be hosted by Stacy at Rage Against the Man-Chine on Wednesday, June 18. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, June 11th. Submit your blog article to the 15th edition of Carnival of Radical Feminists using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Thanks, as ever, to Heart for beginning this Carnival and keeping it organized!
International Women’s Day, Trafalgar Square, London, photo © by
National Organization for Men cartoon was drawn by Drew and Natalie Dee. Their website, Toothpaste for Dinner
Pimp Tom Pimp is a poster available from a retro series at AllPosters
Pro Fucking Choice button came to me uncredited and I don’t know who the maker was.
Eleanor Roosevelt quote card from Stella Marrs
Muffled Screams card from Anne Taintor
Freedom of Speech dinosaur cartoon is from the magnificent site They Thought We Were Extinct
Republican lap dancer graphic is from an unknown source — I just pulled it off the web somewhere.
The girl wanting to join her mother in revolution graphic is also from an unknown source.
Lucy Parsons poster by Ricardo Levins Morales at
2000 Years of Patriarchy graffiti photographed in London, 1982 by Jill Posener
Audre Lorde quote card from Stella Marrs
June Jordan poster by Ricardo Levins Morales at
Feminist buttons photo from the archives of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union Herstory Project
Black lesbian family photo was found at G-Spot Magazine
Women performing Tae Kwon Do — Two members of Boston Female Liberation, Jayne West and Dana Densmore, from a photo essay about women’s liberation in Life magazine, 1969
Housework for guys graphic is from an unknown source.
Women Unite Take Back the Night poster is from the archival reprints available for sale at the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union Herstory Project
Fight Sexism (Lluitem Contra El Sexisme) graffiti photo is probably (I’m not certain) from the Fun with Feminist Flickr collection via Feministing
Birth control poster by Austin Cline
Back against the wall graffiti photographed in London by Jill Posener
Blame Rapists march banner is from an unknown source.
Women Unite graphic is from an unknown source.
Free of little pricks graffiti photographed in London by Jill Posener
Time-traveling lesbians graphic came from Monkey Fluids.