Thursday, February 27, 2014

How can we pass the torch when we don’t even know who we are?

"In January, 1969, on a trip to Washington, D.C., Firestone and a couple of other women knocked on the door of Alice Paul, who had written the original Equal Rights Amendment, in 1921, and who was then in her eighties. She ushered them into a dark parlor, where old National Woman’s Party literature was spread out on the tabletops. “She was very suspicious of us,” Barbara Mehrhof, one of the visitors, recalled. Paul pointed to a wall of framed oil portraits of formidable-looking women—all suffragist leaders—and demanded that they identify them. “We didn’t have any idea,” Mehrhof said. “Which was just emblematic of the whole problem: how can we pass the torch when we don’t even know who we are?”"


Firestone was buried, in a traditional Orthodox funeral, in a Long Island cemetery, where her maternal grandparents are interred. Ten male relatives made up a minyan. None of her feminist comrades were invited. “At the end of the day, the old-time religion asserted itself,” Tirzah said. Ezra gave a eulogy. He lives in Brooklyn, where he works as an insurance salesman, but he hadn’t spoken to Shulamith in years, and he broke down several times as he told how she, more than anyone else in the family, had tended to him as a child and taught him compassion. He recalled a story she told him when he was a boy, about a man on a train who realized that he had dropped a glove on the platform and, as the train left the station, dropped the other glove from the window, so that someone could have a pair. Then he lamented Shulamith’s “tragic” failure to make a “good marriage” and have children “who would be devoted to her.”

When Tirzah’s turn came to give a eulogy, she addressed Ezra. “I said to him, ‘Excuse me, but with all due respect, Shulie was a model for Jewish women and girls everywhere, for women and girls everywhere. She had children—she influenced thousands of women to have new thoughts, to lead new lives. I am who I am, and a lot of women are who they are, because of Shulie.’ ”

- Susan Faludi: "Death of a Revolutionary: Shulamith Firestone helped to create a new society. But she couldn’t live in it"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sisters in Spirit Women: Transforming the World

History is a tale told by the winners. How then can we reclaim the voices of those who have been historically written out - silenced through the ages? Perhaps as women write “herstory” into history, we’ll see clearly the eternal power, brilliance and unique value of women’s contributions.

Listen to this 30-minute program here

Monday, February 24, 2014

When Rape was no longer socially permissible

“Most probably, it was this recognition of a woman’s rights to sexual fulfillment and choice that made rape no longer socially permissible, even for kings, as it had been even in the Buddhist period. Rapists were regarded with scorn and mistrust. Men were warned against rape, and historical figures, such as kings and nobles who used it as weapons of power but eventually met with tragic ends, were held up as examples of the calamity that struck rapists. Through marriage by social management or abduction was still recognized as valid, the kama sutras focused on courtship—a relatively new concept. Now if a man was interested in a woman, he had to learn to woo her by understanding her, observing her personality as well as her likes and dislikes and watching for signs of interest and consent on her part.” – RitaBanerji on the Golden Period in India from AD 100 to AD 1500, Sex and Power:Defining History, Shaping Societies

This is a fascinating read!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Changing perceptions about Native Americans

More than a century has passed since a photographic journey explored Native Americans with such a broad scope and in this amount of detail. In 1906, photographer Edward S. Curtis was commissioned by J.P. Morgan to capture the “disappearing” race.

In 2014, to change perceptions about Native Americans, photographer Matika Wilbur believes we have to update the kind of imagery we're looking at when we think of her race. It's a beautiful — and important — idea.

Watch her inspiring video on Upworthy and follow her travel blog as she captures Native Americans throughout the United States.

And please donate if you are able to help fund her efforts.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lou Xiaoying: Story of Chinese woman who saved 30 abandoned babies

A woman has been hailed a hero after details of her astonishing work with abandoned children has emerged.

Lou Xiaoying, now 88 and suffering from kidney failure, found and raised more than 30 abandoned Chinese babies from the streets of Jinhua, in the eastern Zhejiang province where she managed to make a living by recycling rubbish.

She and her late husband Li Zin, who died 17 years ago, kept four of the children and passed the others onto friends and family to start new lives.

Her youngest son Zhang Qilin - now aged just seven - was found in a dustbin by Lou when she was 82.

'Even though I was already getting old I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me,' she said.

'I took him back to our home, which is a very small modest house in the countryside and nursed him to health. He is now a thriving little boy, who is happy and healthy.

'My older children all help look after Zhang Qilin, he is very special to all of us. I named him after the Chinese word for rare and precious.

'The whole thing started when I found the first baby, a little girl back in 1972 when I was out collecting rubbish. She was just lying amongst the junk on the street, abandoned. She would have died had we not rescued her and taken her in.

'Watching her grow and become stronger gave us such happiness and I realised I had a real love of caring for children.

'I realised if we had strength enough to collect garbage how could we not recycle something as important as human lives,' she explained.

Lou, who has one biological daughter, Zhang Caiying and now aged 49, devoted her life to looking after the abandoned babies.

Word of her kind-hearted gestures has now spread in China, where thousands of babies are abandoned on the streets by their poverty stricken parents.

One fan explained: 'She is shaming to governments, schools and people who stand by and do nothing. She has no money or power but she saved children from death or worse.'

'In the local community she is well known and well respected for her work with the abandoned babies. She does her best. She is a local hero. But unfortunately there are far too many abandoned babies in China who have no hope of survival.

Read more.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sharing our Energy!

I have a vision entailing the coming together of women and young girls from all walks of life to share their gifts and energy. There would be birth-workers; midwives, doulas and mothers to change the way birth is viewed in this country. We would know that birth does not equal fear or a distrust in our abilities, we would embrace the wisdom of something that has been taking place since the beginning of time. There would be storytellers, dream-weavers, and healers to share their mystical visions with us all. Allowing our voices to be heard, our dreams to be shared in a sacred space and our deepest feelings to be nurtured. There would be herbalists, gardeners, and women who could show us all how to use the bounty of Gaia's resources to strengthen our minds, bodies and spirits. Musicians, artists, architects, photographers, dancers, and those who leave an imprint in our hearts through what we see and hear would be in the circle. We would learn from each other and young girls present would start a new pathway for their peers, one without fear. How beautiful would it be to spend sacred time together, reconnecting to our source as women? And to be encouraged by not one but many sisters as we walk together along this pathway called life. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nina Simone on Black History

"To me black people have a culture that is surpassed by no other civilization but we don't know anything about it." - Nina Simone

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Biblical Archaeology: The Wife of God | BBC Documentary

Monotheism brought with it a terrible consequence: God is exclusively male. And so to be male is to be like God. And this has colored attitudes towards women for centuries and centuries. ~Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory

"He-Yin Zhen (ca. 1884-ca.1920) was a theorist who figured centrally in the birth of Chinese feminism. Unlike her contemporaries, she was concerned less with China’s fate as a nation and more with the relationship among patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism, and gender subjugation as global historical problems. This volume, the first translation and study of He-Yin’s work in English, critically reconstructs early twentieth-century Chinese feminist thought in a transnational context by juxtaposing He-Yin Zhen’s writing against works by two better-known male interlocutors of her time.

The editors begin with a detailed analysis of He-Yin Zhen’s life and thought. They then present annotated translations of six of her major essays, as well as two foundational tracts by her male contemporaries, Jin Tianhe (1874-1947) and Liang Qichao (1873–1929), to which He-Yin’s work responds and with which it engages. Jin, a poet and educator, and Liang, a philosopher and journalist, understood feminism as a paternalistic cause that liberals like themselves should defend. He-Yin presents an alternative conception that draws upon anarchism and other radical trends. Ahead of her time, He-Yin Zhen complicates conventional accounts of feminism and China’s history, offering original perspectives on sex, gender, labor, and power that remain relevant today. "

—Columbia University Press

Watch the video here.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Black Women Goddesses in African Mythology

"Unlike Christian teachings is it not uncommon in African religion and mythology for black women to play a great and powerful role in both the origins and orientation of creation and elements within. In this first series we look at five of the most well-known goddess in African mythology and religion."

This is a tremendous resource from All Black Woman!

Black Women Goddesses in African Mythology Part I

Black Women Goddesses in African Mythology Part II

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy Black History Month!!

"Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history." -Carter G. Woodson, the "Father of Black History" who founded the Black History Week back in 1926: