Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Women's rights and their money: a timeline from Cleopatra to Lilly Ledbetter

Ancient Egypt
Women had plenty of financial rights in ancient Egypt, but it’s been a little woozy ever since. Photograph: Uncredited/AP

"When did women get the right to inherit property and open bank accounts? How long did it take until women won the legal right to be served in UK pubs? Our timeline traces women’s financial rights from ancient societies to the present day"

Read the full timeline here.

Interesting tidbit:

“Egyptian women were able to acquire, to own, and to dispose of property (both real and personal) in their own name. They could enter into contracts in their own name; they could initiate civil court cases and could, likewise, be sued; they could serve as witnesses in court cases; they could serve on juries; and they could witness legal documents.”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Epic Tale of Hiiakaikapoliopele

The Epic Tale of Hiiakaikapoliopele

This ancient saga begins with the goddess Pele’s migration to Kīlauea and her spirit’s search for a lover. The story then details the quest of Pele’s younger sister, Hi‘iakaikapoliopele, to find the handsome Lohi‘auipo, and bring him back to their crater home. It is a very human account of love and lust, jealousy and justice, peopled with deities, demons, chiefs and commoners.

This version by Ho‘oulumāhie-hie ran from 1905 to 1906 as a daily series in the Hawaiian-language newspaper Ka Na’i Aupuni. It is the most extensive form of the story ever documented, offering a wealth of detail and insights about social and religious practices, poetry and hula, healing arts, and many other Hawaiian customs.

Author: Ho‘oulumahiehie; Translator: Nogelmeier, M. Puakea; Illustrator: Enos, Solomon;

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Divine Feminine in Tibetan Buddhism

An introduction to a series of talks on the divine feminine in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. This talk looks at (1) the role of women in the early and later tradition, (2) introduction of tantra into Buddhism, and (3) the female principle in Tibetan Buddhist doctrine.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pornography Andrea Dworkin (1991) - Trigger Warning

"If you want to continue to believe that this is a matter for debate instead of an emergency and a time for action, I want to tell you how many women will die during the course of the debate that you would like to have." - Andrea Dworkin

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sign the Declaration of Rights for Women and Children

 Women and children have suffered severe violations of human and civil rights within the family for millennia, and we hereby demand these inalienable rights finally be enacted and enforced.

1. Women and Children demand the right to be free of discrimination and oppression in the family.

2. Women and Children demand the right to stay together and stay safe.

3. Women demand the right to primary custody when they are the children's primary bond.

4. Children demand the right to live primarily with their primary bond and not be treated as property, leverage or commodities.

5. Women and Children demand the right to protect and be protected from physical violence and sexual assault in the family.

6. Women and Children demand the right to the presumption of credibility when they report physical violence or sexual assault in the family.

7. Women and Children demand the right to thorough criminal investigations and adjudications of physical violence and sexual assault in the family.

8. Women and Children demand the right to freedom from intimidation, retaliation and coercive persuasion after they report abuse in the family.

9. Women demand the right to not be legally or financially liable for the protection of their children from physical violence or sexual assault in the family.

10. Women and Children demand the right to speak out freely and publicly if any of the aforementioned rights are violated.

Sign the Declaration here:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Israel: Whose Country is it Anyway? by Andrea Dworkin

"It's mine. We can put the question to rest. Israel belongs to me. Or so I was raised to believe. I've been planting trees there since I can remember. I have memories of my mother's breast--of hunger (she was sick and weak); of having my tonsils out when I was two and a half--of the fear and the wallpaper in the hospital; of infantile bad dreams; of early childhood abandonment; of planting trees in Israel. Understand: I've been planting trees in Israel since before I actually could recognize a real tree from life. In Camden where I grew up we had cement. I thought the huge and splendid telephone pole across the street from our brick row house was one--a tree; it just didn't have leaves. I wasn't deprived: the wires were awesome. If I think of "tree" now, I see that splintery dead piece of lumber stained an uneven brown with its wild black wires stretched out across the sky. I have to force myself to remember that a tree is frailer and greener, at least prototypically, at least in temperate zones. It takes an act of adult will to remember that a tree grows up into the sky, down into the ground, and a telephone pole, even a magnificent one, does not.

Israel, like Camden, didn't have any trees. We were cement; Israel was desert. They needed trees, we didn't. The logic was that we lived in the United States where there was an abundance of everything, even trees; in Israel there was nothing. So we had to get them trees. In synagogue we would be given folders: white paper, heavy, thick; blue ink, light, reminiscent of green but not green. White and blue were the colors of Israel. You opened the folder and inside there was a tree printed in light blue. The tree was full, round, almost swollen, a great arc, lush, branches coming from branches, each branch growing clusters of leaves. In each cluster of leaves, we had to put a dime. We could use our own dimes from lunch money or allowances, but they only went so far; so we had to ask relatives, strangers, the policeman at the school crossing, the janitor at school--anyone who might spare a dime, because you had to fill your folder and then you had to start another one and fill that too. Each dime was inserted into a little slit in the folder right in the cluster of leaves so each branch ended up being weighed down with shining dimes. When you had enough dimes, the tree on the folder looked as if it was growing dimes. This meant you had collected enough money to plant a tree in Israel, your own tree. You put your name on the folder and in Israel they would plant your tree and put your name on it. You also put another name on the folder. You dedicated the tree to someone who had died. This tree is dedicated to the memory of Jewish families were never short on dead people but in the years after my birth, after 1946, the dead overwhelmed the living. You touched the dead wherever you turned. You rubbed up against them; it didn't matter how young you were. Mass graves; bones; ash; ovens; numbers on forearms. If you were Jewish and alive, you were--well, almost--rare. You had a solitary feeling even as a child. Being alive felt wrong. Are you tired of hearing about it? Don't be tired of it in front of me. It was new then and I was a child. The adults wanted to keep us from becoming morbid, or anxious, or afraid, or different from other children. They told us and they didn't tell us. They told us and then they took it back. They whispered and let you overhear, then they denied it. Nothing's wrong. You're safe here, in the United States. Being a Jew is, well, like being an American: the best. It was a great secret they tried to keep and tried to tell at the same time. They were adults--they still didn't believe it really. You were a child; you did.

My Hebrew School teachers were of two kinds: bright-eyed Jewish men from New Jersey, the suburbs mostly, and Philadelphia, a center of culture--mediocre men, poor teachers, their aspirations more bourgeois than Talmudic; and survivors from ancient European ghettos by way of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen--multi-lingual, learned, spectral, walleyed. None, of course, could speak Hebrew. It was a dead language, like Latin. The new Israeli project of speaking Hebrew was regarded as an experiment that could only fail. English would be the language of Israel. It was only a matter of time. Israel was the size of New Jersey. Israel was a miracle, a great adventure, but it was also absolutely familiar.

The trick in dedicating your tree was to have an actual name to write on your folder and know who the person was to you. It was important to American Jews to seem normal and other people knew the names of their dead. We had too many dead to know their names; mass murder was erasure. Immigrants to the United States had left sisters, brothers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins behind, and they had been slaughtered. Where? When? It was all blank. My father's parents were Russian immigrants. My mother's were Hungarian. My grandparents always refused to talk about Europe. "Garbage," my father's father said to me, "they're all garbage." He meant all Europeans. He had run away from Russia at l5--from the Czar. He had brothers and sisters, seven; I never could find out anything else. They were dead, from pogroms, the Russian Revolution, Nazis; they were gone. My grandparents on each side ran away for their own reasons and came here. They didn't look back. Then there was this new genocide, new even to Jews, and they couldn't look back. There was no recovering what had been lost, or who. There couldn't be reconciliation with what couldn't be faced. They were alive because they were here; the rest were dead because they were there: who could face that? As a child I observed that Christian children had lots of relatives unfamiliar to me, very old, with honorifics unknown to me--great-aunt, great-great-grandmother. Our family began with my grandparents. No one came before them; no one stood next to them. It's an incomprehensible and disquieting amnesia. There was Eve; then there is a harrowing blank space, a tunnel of time and nothing with enormous murder; then there's us. We had whoever was in the room. Everyone who wasn't in the room was dead. All my mourning was for them--all my trees in the desert--but who were they? My ancestors aren't individual to me: I'm pulled into the mass grave for any sense of identity or sense of self. In the small world I lived in as a child, the consciousness was in three parts: (1) in Europe with those left behind, the dead, and how could one live with how they had died, even if why was old and familiar; (2) in the United States, the best of all possible worlds--being more-American-than-thou, more middle class however poor and struggling, more suburban however urban in origins, more normal, more conventional, more conformist; and (3) in Israel, in the desert, with the Jews who had been ash and now were planting trees. I never planted a tree in Camden or anywhere else for that matter. All my trees are in Israel. I was taught that they had my name on them and that they were dedicated to the memory of my dead."

Read the rest here.

First published in Ms. magazine,
Volume I, Number 2, September/October 1990.

Copyright © 1990 by Andrea Dworkin.
All rights reserved.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monica Sjöö: artist, author and pioneer feminist scholar

Monica Sjoo talking in front of her "Cromlech Goddess painting
Monica Sjöö (1938-2005) was one of the foremost artists of our times. She also was an author and pioneer feminist scholar, as well as a lifelong activist for peace, pagans, women, social justice, the environment and her beloved Mother Earth.

We have a huge Sjöö Art Gallery with 240 of her images, an auto-biography, a complete online book, a great variety of her articles, tributes and memories, photos and many other bits and pieces of interest.

Since her death Monica's work seems to be gaining more recognition in her home country of Sweden, where two recent exhibitions have been held in conjunction with a seminar about her life and work.

Read more http://www.monicasjoo.org/

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Power of Cherokee Women

"In February of 1757, the great Cherokee leader Attakullakulla came to South Carolina to negotiate trade agreements with the governor and was shocked to find that no white women were present. “Since the white man as well as the red was born of woman, did not the white man admit women to their council?” Attakullakulla asked the governor. Carolyn Johnston, professor at Eckerd College and author of Cherokee Women in Crisis; Trail of Tears, Civil War, and Allotment, 1838-1907, says in her book that the governor was so taken aback by the question that he took two or three days to come up with this milquetoast response: “The white men do place confidence in their women and share their councils with them when they know their hearts are good.” 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Native American Nations: 595 known indigenous tribes as they existed before European contact

An incredible map showing all 595 known indigenous tribes as they existed before European contact across what is now the United States. 150 of these nations now have no descendants.

"In general in the United states, Americans are very ignorant about Native American history... In my small way, making this map is to reinforce the true history of the injustice and the genocide that occurred," says Aaron Carapella, the map's creator.

Explore it at http://aaron-carapella.squarespace.com/

via Cultures Of Resistance

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shawnee Women and the Goddess

"The Shawnee, who lived in what is now Kentucky, believed that a deity they called "Our Grandmother" was the creator of the universe and everything in it. As the supreme goddess, her creations were always beneficial to the Shawnee directly and mankind in general. Our Grandmother, who looked like an old woman with grey hair, was mentioned in every religious rite, and the large annual ceremonials were performed specifically to worship her, thereby preserving mankind and the world.

Our Grandmother took particular care to watch out for the Shawnee women. She told the winds that they were to treat Indian women ad though they were the winds' own sisters, and she enjoined them not to stare at the women when they were naked. She also admonished the women to respect the winds. The goddess' words were not always followed by the women, however, who sometimes pulled their skirts up to their waists when the weather was cloudy in an effort to frighten the wind-borne clouds back I'm embarrassment so that the weather would be warm and sunny."

And here's the best part: a story, also from the Shawnee

The Return of the Corn Person

"A long time ago two old women lived with a man. One say the women went away and left the man home alone. After waiting all day he got hungry and went to find some roasting ears of corn. When he got to the field he began to take ears off the stalk and found an ear that had a part that looked just like a vagina. He remembered hearing something about that and said to himself, "I hear that the Corn Person, our mother, is a woman. If this is true she will be embarrassed now when I have intercourse with her." Then he pulled out his penis and stuck it in a hole in the corn. Then he went back to his house.

The next day the old women arose early and went to look for corn. When they got to the field it was empty - the corn had all vanished. The Corn Person had fled to Our Grandmother who had created her.

Someone went after her and had to cross four oceans to find her. Corn Person was persuaded to rerun to earth only when the rescuer argued that it was Our Grandmother's intention that she should benefit the Shawnee on earth."

-Carolyn Niethammer, Daughters of the Earth: The Lives and Legends of American Indian Women

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

God’s bomb

"In 1945, while this day was dawning, Hiroshima lost its life. The atomic bomb’s first appearance incinerated this city and its people in an instant.

The few survivors, mutilated sleepwalkers, wandered among the smoking ruins. The burns on their naked bodies carried the stamp of the clothing they were wearing when the explosion hit. On what remained of the walls, the atom bomb’s flash left silhouettes of what had been: a woman with her arm raised, a man, a tethered horse.

Three day later, President Harry Truman spoke about the bomb over the radio.

He said: “We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes."

~Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days