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.