Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Musawah is a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. Launched in Malaysia in February 2009, Musawah builds upon centuries of efforts to promote and protect equality and justice in the family and in society.

We live in an era in which women's rights have been recognised as part of international human rights standards, and guaranteed by national constitutions and laws. Vast socio-economic changes have transformed the daily lives of Muslim women whose tangible contributions to their families as providers and protectors are growing.

Yet in many countries, gains made through law reform are threatened by claims that these rights are against the teachings of Islam. The rise of political Islam has led to absolutist understandings of Islam, used to pressure communities and individuals to adhere to particular ways of life - often discriminating against women.

Increasingly, women are reclaiming the right to shape interpretations, norms and laws that affect their lives. Over the past few decades, women activists, scholars and rights groups in Muslim contexts have been pushing for the recognition of equality between women and men, and to protect positive legal provisions where they exists. Musawah emerged to highlight these efforts.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who Was Rachel Carson?

Each book in this series has been a very special read for me to enjoy with my daughter. The women come alive and we are sad to see their powerful lives come to an end. I am saddened that I never received HERstory lessons growing up, but delighted that my daughter has these rich resources more readily available.

"It's hard to calculate Rachel Carson's impact on the laws that protect our environment. She was just one person, but as a pioneering environmentalist she changed our country--and the world--for the better for generations to come."

Who Was Rachel Carson? by Sarah Fabiny / Illustrated by Dede Putra

"Though she grew up in rural Pennsylvania, Rachel Carson dreamed of the sea. In 1936 she began work with the Bureau of Fisheries and soon after published Under the Sea Wind, her first of many nature books. Her 1962 bestseller, Silent Spring, sent shockwaves through the country and warned of the dangers of DDT and other pesticides. A pioneering environmentalist, Rachel Carson helped awaken the global consciousness for conservation and preservation."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"I couldn't find myself in history. No one like me seemed to have ever existed." - Leslie Feinberg

"It had never occurred to me to search history for answers to my questions. I didn't do well in history classes in school. Actually, that's an understatement. I could never make sense out of history. I couldn't remember whether Greece or Rome came first. The Middle Ages were a monolithic boulder I couldn't chip. I always got confused about who were allies during which war.

I couldn't find myself in history. No one like me seemed to have ever existed.

But I had to know why I was so hated for being "different." What was the root cause of bigotry, and what was its driving force? (11)

-Leslie Feinberg, Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul
Description of book: "Feinberg examines use of language, perceptions of the body, the status of clothing, and the structures of societies that welcome or are threatened by gender variance, uncovering persuasive evidence that there have always been people who crossed the cultural boundaries of gender. The portrait gallery that closes the book contains photographs and capsule biographies of contemporary transgendered people."         

More quotes:

"...the material basis for women's oppression is precisely what today's ruling-class "fathers" do not want opened up to scrutiny. They seek to shape history in their own image. To hear the bible-thumpers, you'd think that the nuclear family, headed by men, has always existed. But I found that the existence of matrilineal societies on every continent has been abundantly documented. Up until the fifteenth century, a great majority of the world's population lived in communal, matrilineal societies. This was true throughout Africa, large parts of Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and the Americas. If all of human history were shrunk to the scale of one year, over 360 days of historical time belong to cooperative, matrilineal societies.

A deeper understanding of the roots of women's oppression had great meaning to me, particularly because of my experiences growing up as a girl in a woman-hating society. But my oppression was not just based on being "woman." Was there a material basis for transgender oppression? Surely transsexual women and men, or people like me who expressed their gender differently, were not merely products of a high-tech capitalist system in decline. I came to circle to one of my original questions as well: Have we always existed?" (17-18)

"What was responsible for the imposition of the present-day rigid sex/gender system in North America? It is not correct to simply blame patriarchy, Chrystos stressed to me. "The real word is 'colonization' and what it has done to the world. Patriarchy is a tool of colonization and exploitation of people and their lands for wealthy white people." (28)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who are the Guerrilla Girls?

"Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. The female activists wanted to bring to light the white male dominance that was harbored with in the art community. The group formed in New York City in 1985 with the mission of bringing gender and racial inequality within the fine arts to focus within the greater community. Members are known for the gorilla masks they wear to remain anonymous. They were the masks to conceal their identity because they believed that their identity is not what matters but it is the issue as GG1 explains in an interview "...mainly, we wanted the focus to be on the issues, not on our personalities or our own work."[1] Also, their identity is hidden to protect themselves from the backlash of prominent individuals within the art community.

Guerrilla Girls were formed by 7 women artists in the spring of 1985 in response to the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition "An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture", which opened in 1984. The exhibition was the inaugural show in the MoMA's newly renovated and expanded building, and was planned to be a survey of the most important contemporary artists.This exhibition was meant to show the most important contemporary art in the world.[2]

In total, the show featured works by 169 artists, of whom only 13 were female. Guerrilla Girls claimed that a comment by the show's curator, Kynaston McShine, further highlighted the gendered bias of the exhibition and of MoMA as an institution: “Kynaston McShine, gave interviews saying that any artist who wasn’t in the show should rethink ‘his’ career.”[3] In reaction to the exhibition and the prejudice McShine displayed and decided to protest in front of the museum. Thus, the Guerrilla Girls were born.

The protests yielded little success, however, and so the Guerrilla Girls embarked upon a postering campaign throughout New York City, particularly in the SoHo and East Village neighborhoods.[4]

Once better established, the group also started taking note of racism within the art world, incorporating artists of color into their fold. They also began working on projects outside of New York, commenting on sexism and racism nationally and internationally. Though the art world has remained the group's main focus, challenging sexism and racism in films, mass and popular culture, and politics has also been part of the Guerrilla Girl's agenda. Tokenism also represents a major group concern.[4]

When asked about the masks the girls answer "We were Guerrillas before we were Gorillas. From the beginning the press wanted publicity photos. We needed a disguise. No one remembers, for sure, how we got our fur, but one story is that at an early meeting, an original girl, a bad speller, wrote 'Gorilla' instead of 'Guerrilla.' It was an enlightened mistake. It gave us our 'mask-ulinity.'".[5] In an interview with Interview Magazine the Girls were quoted, "Anonymous free speech is protected by the Constitution. You'd be surprised what comes out of your mouth when you wear a mask."- via wikipedia

In their own words....

"We’re feminist masked avengers in the tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Wonder Woman and Batman. How do we expose sexism, racism and corruption in politics, art, film and pop culture? With facts, humor and outrageous visuals. We reveal the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair. Our work has been passed around the world by our tireless supporters. Just in the last several years, we’ve appeared at over 90 universities and museums, as well as The New York Times, Interview, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Bitch, and Artforum; on NPR, the BBC and CBC; and in many art and feminist texts. We are authors of stickers, billboards, many, many posters and street projects, and several books including The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art and Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls' Guide to Female Stereotypes. We’re part of Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign in the UK; we're brainstorming with Greenpeace. We've unveiled anti-film industry billboards in Hollywood just in time for the Oscars, and created a large scale installation for the Venice Biennale, and street projects for Krakow, Istanbul, Mexico City and Montreal. We dissed the Museum of Modern Art at its own Feminist Futures Symposium, examined the museums of Washington DC in a full page in the Washington Post, and exhibited large-scale posters and banners in London, Athens, Bilbao, Montreal, Rotterdam, Sarajevo and Shanghai.


More creative complaining! More facts, humor and fake fur!
More appearances, actions and artworks. We could be anyone; we are everywhere."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Thinking in Radical Terms - Ella Baker

“In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed. This means that we are going to have to think in radical terms.

I use the term “radical” in its original meaning – getting down to and understanding the root cause. It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system.

That is easier said than done. But one of the things that has to be faced is, in the process of wanting to change that system, how much have we got to do to find out who we are, where we have come from and where we are going….I am saying, as you must say too, that in order to see where we are going, we not only must remember where we have been, but we must understand where we have been.” – Ella Baker, 1969

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Iron Jawed Angels - Force Feeding Scene

Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) in Iron Jawed Angels is force fed after refusing to eat. The women singing "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" aresuffragettes who have been imprisoned for supporting the women's right to vote.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snapshots from a Life: Egyptian Novelist Radwa Ashour, 1946-2014

A 1993 photo in Ashour’s office at the Department of English at Ain Shams University. Via Lobna Ismail.
"On good-byes, from Spectres: “Her husband stands on one side of the divider, she stands with her son on the other. They call the passengers for boarding. Her husband holds out his hand to say goodbye, she clutches at his hand, beginning to weep. Weeping breaks into sobbing. Her husband entreats her to cancel her trip and go back home with him. ‘We can postpone the journey,’ he says. She shakes her head, dries her tears, and proceeds with her son onto the plane.”

A beautiful tribute to a remarkable woman via

"Ahour was born in El-Manial. She graduated from Cairo University with a BA in 1967, and MA. in 1972, and from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Ph.D. in African American Literature in 1975.[2] Her dissertation was titled: The search for a Black poetics: a study of Afro-American critical writings.[3] She teached at Ain Shams University, Cairo. She married Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti in 1970. She gave birth to her son, poet Tamim al-Barghouti, in 1977.
She won the 2007 Constantine Cavafy Prize for Literature.[4] She died on 30 November 2014"


  • 2010,الطنطوريه

As Editor

Encyclopaedia of Arab Women Writers, 1873-1999. American University in Cairo Press. 2008. ISBN 978-977-416-146-9.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Who is Jane Goodall?

This has been one of my (and my daughter's) favorites in this series.  Jane Goodall really comes alive - as do the chimps! We had a lot of fun learning about different animals and countries.

"Jane Goodall, born in London, England, always loved animals and wanted to study them in their natural habitats. So at age twenty-six, off she went to Africa! Goodall's up-close observations of chimpanzees changed what we know about them and paved the way for many female scientists who came after her. Now her story comes to life in this biography with black-and-white illustrations throughout."

A few of my own favorite Jane Goodall quotes (who turned 80 this year!!):
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”

“We can't leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world's people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.”

“We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place--or not to bother.”

Photo of Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace in the field. Photo courtesy of Gant by Morten Bjarnhof.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Images never meant to appear before female eyes again. The artwork of Monica Sjoo by Alice Walker.

"Monica Sjöö, the great artist whose work is timeless, has presented us with images of ancestors and of the ancient world that nourish and sustain. Searching from within her own heart out into the heart of nature and of memory, sitting with the ruins and that which has been paved over, peering into the abyss and holy well, she has created masterpiece after masterpiece of the human and female soul. Her work is astonishing. Arresting. So moving that, usually, one finds, upon examining it, no need of speech. It has a completeness, in that sense, that much art lacks. We stand before her canvases, often quite large, as before a field of yellow sunflowers or green corn, or the sea.

I think it is because she is painting that which has been silenced, hidden, almost thoroughly. I believe many of the images she reintroduces to us were meant never to appear before female eyes again. It is as if she is reintroducing us to our lost passions. Passions about the earth, about nature, about true worship, about our own strength and power in the face of the mystery that we, as humans and women, inhabit.

Her gift to us is measureless as is her integrity and implacable dedication to the tending of earth and the psychic health of awakening human beings."

-Alice Walker (2003)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Out tomorrow!!! - Merlin Stone Remembered: Her Life and Works

Discover the extraordinary life and profound contributions of Merlin Stone, the renowned feminist, author, artist, historian, and speaker. With unparalleled access to Merlin’s unpublished writings, photos, and personal stories, Merlin Stone Remembered is a significant contribution to women’s studies, spirituality, and the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

Known for her groundbreaking book When God Was a Woman, Merlin Stone was a pioneer of the Women’s Movement and the reclaiming of the Great Goddess tradition of the Western world. In this phenomenal book, new light is shed upon Merlin’s philosophy and methodology as you take a memorable journey through her life.

Includes over sixty photos and a twelve-page color insert.

Merlin Stone Remembered: Her Life and Works Paperback – December 8, 2014 by Lenny Schneir (Author), Merlin Stone (Author), Gloria Orenstein (Author), Carol F. Thomas (Author), David B. Axelrod (Author)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Montreal massacre: Today marks 25 years. by Julie Bindel

Students in shock at Montreal's École Polytechnique. Marc Lépine killed 14 women and injured 10 others on 6 December 1989. Photograph: Ponopresse Internationale/Rex Features
Shared from The Guardian

It was a cold, drizzly day on 6 December 1989 when a young man brandishing a firearm burst into a college classroom at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada. The 60 or so engineering students there had little time to react before the men were ordered from the room and the gunman began shooting the women. Six female students were killed instantly, while three more were left injured.

The killer, 25-year-old Marc Lépine, was armed with a legally obtained Mini-14 rifle and a hunting knife: he had earlier told a shopkeeper he was going after "small game". Lépine had previously been denied admission to the École Polytechnique and had been upset, it later transpired, about women working in positions traditionally occupied by men. Before he opened fire, Lépine shouted: "You're all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!" One student, Nathalie Provost, protested: "I'm not feminist, I have never fought against men." Lépine shot her anyway.

The gunman then moved through the college corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. By the time Lépine turned the gun on himself, 14 women were dead and another 10 were injured. Four men were hurt unintentionally in the crossfire.

Francine Pelletier, a feminist activist and newspaper columnist at Montreal's La Presse newspaper, describes feeling "totally floored" on hearing about the massacre, but nothing prepared her for the discovery that she was on a list found by police in the killer's pocket. "Nearly died today," it read. "The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive."

Immediately after the shootings, various media commentators and quasi-psychologists proclaimed that Lépine was a madman and that the women just happened to be in the way, as opposed to being specifically targeted. A psychiatrist at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Quebec was quoted in La Presse as saying that Lépine was "as innocent as his victims, and himself a victim of an increasingly merciless society". "This was a period of a significant growth in men's rights groups," says Martin Dufresne, founder of Men Against Sexism, a group active at the time of the massacre. "But the public felt too uncomfortable with the political explanation."

Police refused to go public with the killer's suicide note, arguing at a press conference that it might inspire copycat killings. It was this downplaying of Lépine's true motives that made Pelletier determined to get hold of it. Months later, she was sent a copy in the post, anonymously.

"Would you note that if I commit suicide today it is not for economic reasons … but for political reasons," it read. "Because I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker … I have decided to put an end to those viragos."

Mélissa Blais, a lecturer and doctoral student at the University of Quebec, is the country's leading scholar on the topic of the massacre and its anti-feminist context. She interviewed a number of women for her research who were active feminists in 1989 and found that many felt responsible for what happened at Montreal. "Afterwards, they chose to be silent to avoid further attack.

"When I became a feminist, around the year 2000, I was puzzled to see that some were still reluctant to talk in political terms about the attack. It seemed as though the most efficient way to dismiss the feminist explanation was to reduce everything to the psychology of a single mad man."

Pelletier agrees that Lépine's act was highly political and believes he knew exactly what he was doing that day. "I always felt those women died in my name. Some of them probably weren't even feminist," she says, "they just had the nerve to believe they were peers, not subordinates of their male classmates

The pro-choice movement was galvanising at the time of the massacre. Six months earlier, a Quebec woman, Chantale Daigle, had scored an important victory by overturning an injunction, obtained by her violent ex-partner, at the Canadian supreme court, preventing her from ending a pregnancy. More than 10,000 women demonstrated in Montreal streets in support of Daigle.

The massacre spurred many campaigns to end male violence and there was much international solidarity. I was part of a group that organised a vigil two days later at Trafalgar Square in London. But, says Pelletier, the effect on the women's movement in Canada was profound.

"I was one hell of a disillusioned little feminist on 6 December 1989. It had all been too easy," she says. "What we realised after the massacre was that there had been a quiet and growing resentment from many men towards feminists, and for us, a huge price to pay for all that we had achieved."

I recently spent some time in Montreal and found a vibrant and growing feminist movement, with older women determined to mentor younger generations and encourage a return to the radicalism that was typical of Canadian feminism before 1989, when the feminist movement was characterised by the formation of father's rights organisations and their refusal to accept that men had institutional power and privilege over women.

In Canada, 6 December is a Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and the 25th anniversary of the atrocity. There will be protests, celebrations and tears as the dead are remembered. As the late feminist writer Andrea Dworkin said: "It is incumbent upon each of us to be the woman that Marc Lépine wanted to kill. We must live with this honour, this courage. We must drive out fear. We must hold on. We must create. We must resist."

Read the full article here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Regarding Susan Sontag

"Susan Sontag was a controversial, larger-than-life figure: beautiful, compassionate, maddening, insightful, sometimes arrogant, and always utterly dedicated to her work. As her friend Gary Indiana wrote in a remembrance in The Village Voice, “she was the indispensable voice of moral responsibility, perceptual clarity, passionate advocacy…social justice. Sontag took it as a given that our duty as sentient beings is to rescue the world.” Susan Sontag was born in New York City in 1933, and raised in Arizona and Los Angeles. She was a second-generation Jewish American whose grandparents left Europe for the Lower East Side. Sontag’s parents were separated for long periods of time while her father, Jack Rosenblatt, ran a fur trading business in China. He died overseas of tuberculosis when Susan was only five. When her mother remarried seven years later, she took her stepfather’s name and became Susan Sontag. A precocious, bookish child, she graduated from North Hollywood High School at the age of 15, going on to Berkeley for a semester, and then to the University of Chicago. She received a master’s degree in philosophy from Harvard, also studying at Oxford and the Sorbonne. After teaching at Columbia and elsewhere, she eventually left academia to focus on her writing and creative projects. For more than 40 years, Sontag wrote with tremendous insight about the cultural and political forces shaping this country. In the 60s and 70s, her essays were efforts to expand what could be taken seriously in the arts. By being serious about subjects and art forms that had not been given their intellectual due, Sontag’s writings were a shock to the American system. That was never more true than in the aftermath of 9/11, when her brief comments in The New Yorker about the underlying causes of the tragedy unleashed a firestorm of anger. For her willingness to criticize American foreign policy, Sontag was labeled a traitor. At the very end of her life, she wrote Regarding the Pain of Others, a book examining our responses to images of war and torture. Even while she was dying of leukemia, Sontag continued to provide a moral compass through which to understand the issues of the day. “I’m interested in various kinds of passionate engagement,” she said. “All my work says ‘be serious, be passionate, wake up!’” Why should we care about Sontag, or watch a film about her? She was an enormously influential writer who sold millions of copies of her books, and yet the public knows very little about her. Sontag was often brilliant, frequently infuriating, and occasionally maddeningly obtuse, but she was invariably fascinating. Before her death, she hesitatingly admitted to being bisexual; her diaries are much more explicit. “My desire to write is connected to my homosexuality,” she confided in a 1959 journal entry. “I need the identity as a weapon to match the weapon that society has against me. I am just becoming aware of how guilty I feel being queer.”
Sontag did not shrink from political controversy, confounding her literary colleagues with political stands that changed radically over time. Reviewers such as Hilton Kramer and Walter Kendrick publicly called her inconsistent and elitist, while others made fun of her behind her back, nicknaming her “Old Skunk Head” in reference to the famous white streak in her hair. Yet even her enemies acknowledged her bravery. Sontag vehemently opposed the Vietnam War, notoriously claiming “the white race is the cancer of human history.” Demonstrating her beliefs through action, she famously visited Hanoi in 1968, in the midst of heavy American bombing, to show solidarity with the North Vietnamese. Sontag continued bearing witness to war after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, when she went to Israel to make Promised Lands, a film about the Palestinian situation in Israel. She supported writer Salman Rushdie when he was under the threat of death from a fundamentalist Islamic fatwah. In the 1990s, she made numerous trips to Sarajevo during the war there, eventually mounting a production of Waiting for Godot in the midst of siege. Sontag also survived a terminal breast cancer diagnosis and a mastectomy at the age of 40. She lived with other forms of cancer for the next 30 years, becoming a role model for all women who struggle with the disease. Sontag died on December 28, 2004 of acute mylogenous leukemia, after an intense struggle with the disease, her third form of cancer. While her eloquent voice has been silenced, she lives on in her books, essays, letters, and in the dramatic interviews and footage she left behind.

REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is an intimate and nuanced investigation into the life of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. Passionate and gracefully outspoken throughout her career, Susan Sontag became one of the most important literary, political and feminist icons of her generation. The documentary explores Sontag’s life through evocative experimental images, archival materials, accounts from friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, as well as her own words, read by actress Patricia Clarkson. From her early infatuation with books and her first experience in a gay bar; from her marriage in adolescence to her last lover, REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG is a fascinating look at a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, illness, and terrorism still resonate today. More than any other thinker of her day, Sontag was watched, viewed, photographed and stared at. She was gazed at, and she looked back, very carefully, particularly at language and metaphor and at photography and what she called “the ecology of images.” REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG gives viewers the chance to watch Sontag while she examines the world"

The Broadcast premiere is December 8th on HBO. View the trailer

Thursday, December 4, 2014

'All Indians Are Dead?' At Least That’s What Most Schools Teach Children

A staggering 87 percent of references to American Indians in all 50 states’ academic standards portray them in a pre-1900 context.

That means students are graduating from high school without even basic knowledge of contemporary Native challenges or culture, said Sarah Shear, associate professor of social studies education at Pennsylvania State University in Altoona. Shear, who this year earned a PhD in learning, teaching and curriculum from the University of Missouri, spent two years examining state-mandated U.S. history standards, coding each state six times in an effort to understand what students are learning about Natives.

The project began when Shear was teaching an undergraduate class in multi-cultural education. When she asked what students knew about America’s indigenous people, hands shot into the air.

“What they told me is that they learned about Thanksgiving and Columbus Day,” she said. “Every once in a while a student would mention something about the Trail of Tears. It was incredibly frustrating. They were coming to college believing that all Indians are dead.”

Shear partnered with other researchers to analyze states’ academic standards, lengthy documents that dictate what topics teachers should emphasize, including names of important people, dates, events and concepts. Textbook authors often tailor materials to meet those standards.

The study revealed a shameful lack of meaningful Native content, Shear said.

“All of the states are teaching that there were civil ways to end problems and that the Indian problem was dealt with nicely,” she said. “They’re teaching that this is what needed to happen in order for the United States to become the United States. The conflict had to be dealt with in order to manifest destiny. The relationship with Indians was a means to an end.”

The study also revealed that all 50 states lack any content about current Native events or challenges.

“Nothing about treaties, land rights, water rights,” Shear said. “Nothing about the fact that tribes are still fighting to be recognized and determine sovereignty.”

In some states, politics plays a huge role in determining academic standards, Shear said. Politicians, not educators, decide the “grand story” that teachers will tell students. In other states, standards may be simply—and shockingly—out of date. Either way, Shear said, the effect is a white-washing of history, a focus on the Euro-American story that is so narrow there’s no room for an indigenous narrative.

“This kind of curriculum, these misconceptions, all that has led to the invisibilization of indigenous people,” he [Tony Castro] said. “What we teach acts as a mirror to what we value and what we recognize as legitimate. These standards are perpetuating a misconception and are continuing to marginalize groups of people and minimize the concerns or issues those people have about being full citizens in the American democracy.”

An excerpt of an article by Alysa Landry


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Who Was Sacagawea?

"Sacagawea had made one of the mist remarkable journeys in American history. She had traveled 4,500 miles carrying her baby on her back. Without her, the expedition might have failed. Yet she wasn't paid one penny." 

"For nearly a century after the Lewis and Clark expedition, Sacagawea was largely forgotten. During the 1800s, Indians and whites fought many wars. White people did not want to honor any Native American.

By 1900, the fighting had ended. The country was getting ready to celebrate the expedition's 100th anniversary. That was when Americans "discovered" Bird Woman. Suddently, she became very well-known. Sacagawea has had more landmarks named for her and memorials built in her honor than any other American woman."

Who was Sacagawea? by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin, Illustrated by Val Paul Taylor

"Sacagawea was only sixteen when she made one of the most remarkable journeys in American history, traveling 4500 miles by foot, canoe, and horse-all while carrying a baby on her back! Without her, the Lewis and Clark expedition might have failed. Through this engaging book, kids will understand the reasons that today, 200 years later, she is still remembered and immortalized on a new golden dollar coin.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

"When Rosa Parks refused on the afternoon of Dec. 1, 1955, to give up her bus seat so that a white man could sit, it is unlikely that she fully realized the forces she had set into motion and the controversy that would soon swirl around her. "

via - an excellent source complete with pictures and biographies of Rosa Parks and others.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Censored: God Giving Birth

Monica Sjöö's most famous painting, God Giving Birth, (1968) depicts a woman giving birth, and has the title text painted in red capitalized letters.

It is an expression of Sjöö's spiritual journey at that time and represents her perception of the Great Mother as the universal creator of cosmic life.

The painting and its concept created much controversy and God Giving Birth was censored on several occasions; at a group show in London the painting led to Sjöö being reported to the police for blasphemy.

SOURCE : Wikipedia

Thursday, November 27, 2014

At your Thanksgiving table, remember the origin of such celebrations was to honor the Great Mother not the gynocide.

"Blood & Honey Secret Herstory - Thesmophoria.. where the original Thanksgiving was done in Paleolithic eras. Leaving the men to care for the children, the women gathered together for a period of 3 days bleeding together. Use of herbs was taken to perform the female solidarity in bleeding and for reduction of libido. In ancient Greek Agnus castus was used.

Thesmophoria was a SEX STRIKE... so as to have men learn to honor the Great Mother and daughters.

Roasting pigs in earthen pits and beer flowed freely, the bleeding and eating together was to honor the Mother. Later this flowed into a ritual for Demeter.

In Greek era it was to honor the birth of Athena who believed she was birthed from her fathers' forehead; patriarchy as an institution birthing patriarchal mothers and daughters.

Huge celebrations took place for Dionysia, Panathenaea and at the Thesmophoria. The gods were smothering out the Great Mother and her celebrations.

At your Thanksgiving table, remember the origin of such celebrations was to honor the Great Mother not the gynocide. How will you create oral memory traditions and practices that allow a learning environment for the Thanksgiving holiday that has lost meaningfulness?

Ask if a SEX STRIKE globally could possibly occur to oppose the violence against women and the moist mother earth. Thoughts?"

-Dr. Danica Anderson, Blood & Honey Secret Herstories

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Suffragettes, Black Friday and two types of window smashing.

"The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics’, declared suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst

A hundred years ago today (on Friday 18th November 1910) a suffragette deputation to the House of Commons met with a six hour onslaught of police brutality resulting in a the Suffragettes beginning a huge window smashing campaign in protest.

The attack was so horrendous, the Suffragettes remembered the day it happened as ‘Black Friday’.

The window smashing campaign and the suffragette attacks on property were in part a tactical response to police violence. Why let yourself be hurt and abused for hours before being arrested on a demonstration when you could shorten the whole process by smashing a window and obtaining instant arrest?

It was also a political statement. The suffragettes were exposing that the government cared more about a pane of glass than a woman’s life (force feeding for hunger striking suffragette prisoners had been introduced in 1909) or a woman’s political rights. If property was the government’s priority, then property was a target."


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The reconstruction of women’s ancient history has a revolutionary potential!

“Colonialism is a form of vampirism that empowers and bloats the self image of the colonizing empire by draining the life energies of the colonized people; just enough blood is left to allow the colonial subject to perform a day’s work for the objective empire. And these drained energies are not only of the present and future, but of the past, of memory itself: the continuity of identity of a people, and of each individual who is colonized.

No one should recognize this process better than women; for the female sex has functioned as a colony of organized patriarchal power for several thousand years now. Our brains have been emptied out of all memory of our own cultural history, and the colonizing power systematically denies such a history ever existed. The colonizing power mocks our attempts to rediscover and celebrate our ancient matriarchies as realities. In the past women have had to accept this enforced female amnesia as “normal”; and many contemporary women continue to believe the female sex has existed always and ab aeterno as an auxiliary to the male-dominated world order. But we continue to dig in the ruins, seeking the energy of memory; believing that the reconstruction of women’s ancient history has a revolutionary potential equal to that of any political movement today.” –Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother

Painting by Monica Sjoo