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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Max Dashu: Suppressed Histories Archives

"The work that Max is doing is crucial to the restoration of women to cultural memory. She founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970 to research and document women’s history from an international perspective. With over 15,000 slides and 100 slideshows on female power and heritages transhistorically, Max is bridging the gap between academia and grassroots education. She has presented at libraries, universities and conferences all over the world.

Max is also known for her expertise on ancient female iconography in world archaeology, goddess traditions, witches and witch hunts, and women shamans. She has done extensive research on mother-right cultures, patriarchies and the origins of domination. Her work foregrounds indigenous women passed over by standard histories and highlights female spheres of power retained even in patriarchal societies.

History has been largely written by men, for men; but it is women like Max who are dedicated, committed and passionate about women’s rights and issues who are helping to bring about the much needed changes and to also remind us of the physical, political, social and spiritual power we as women have held throughout history. This is certainly not the history you get taught at school. It’s essential that the history of women is reclaimed and remembered."

Jassy Watson wrote about some of Max's Australian tour on Feminism and Religion.

Max is planning a tour of the NW (Canada/U.S.) in March 2015 for Women's History Month.  Contact Max for more details.  I will post a schedule here when it has been finalized, but you can also follow her schedule and find out about online courses on her website.

And, please support the archives through a donation if you can.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Mother of Female Journalists

On this morning in 1889, Nellie Bly Set off.

Jules Verne did not believe that this pretty little woman could circle the globe by herself in less than eighty days.

But Nellie put her arms around the world in seventy-two, all the while publishing article after article about what she heard and observed.

This was not the young reporters first exploit, nor would it be the last.

To write about Mexico, she became so Mexican that the startled government of Mexico deported her.

To write about factories, she worked the assembly line.

To write about prisons, she got herself arrested for robbery.

To write about mental asylums, she feigned insanity so well that the doctors declared her certifiable. Then she went on to denounce the psychiatric treatments she endured, as reason enough for anyone to go crazy.

In Pittsburgh when Nellie was twenty, journalism was a man’s thing.

That was when she committed the insolence of publishing her first articles.

Thirty years later, she published her last, dodging bullets on the front lines of World War I."

~Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Andrea Dworkin's Obituary by Julie Bindel

Andrea Dworkin: Feminist writer and tireless campaigner against pornography and the violent oppression of women

Andrea Dworkin, who has died aged 58, was a feminist who came to represent the fierce debate on pornography and sexual violence. The author of 13 books of feminist theory, fiction and poetry, she was a formidable campaigner against violence towards women.

To the libertarians and pornographers, who argue that pornography is harmless, she was a man-hating misery. But for her admirers around the world, she was an inspiration and great political thinker.

Since the mid-1970s, Dworkin symbolised women's war against sexual violence. Heroine or hate figure, her name became an adjective, used and misused to describe the type of feminist we are supposed to strive not to be.

Although her previous books, including the notorious Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1981), were widely read in feminist circles, both in the US and Britain, Dworkin achieved fame when, in 1983 along with legal academic Catharine MacKinnon, she drafted and promoted the civil rights law recognising pornography as sex discrimination in Minneapolis.

In 1980 Andrea asked MacKinnon to help her bring a civil rights suit for Linda Marchiano, who as Linda Lovelace had been coerced into making the film Deep Throat. They discovered that, under current law, there was nothing they could do.

Three years later, Dworkin and MacKinnon were commissioned by the Minneapolis city council to draft a local ordinance that would embody the legal principle that pornography violates the civil rights of women, and is "hate speech". Public hearings on the ordinance were organised across the US, and it was the first time in history that victims of pornography testified directly before a government body.

This sent the pornographers wild. Shouting about "freedom of speech" and the first amendment. Al Goldstein, founder of Screw Magazine, said that he would "rather suck dick than have sex with Andrea Dworkin".

When Larry Flint published cartoons in Hustler magazine depicting Andrea in a sexually explicit way, she sued the publisher, but lost. After receiving anonymous death threats, she hired security whenever she spoke publicly.

Dworkin was born in New Jersey and had what she described as an idyllic childhood in many ways. She attended a progressive school and grew up to lead a bohemian life in the 1960s.

Her political career began when she was 18. While a student at Bennington College, Vermont, she was arrested at the United States Mission to the UN, protesting against the Vietnam war. Dworkin was sent to the Women's House of Detention in Greenwich, New York, where she endured several violent internal examinations.

Her testimony was reported in newspapers around the world and helped bring public pressure on the New York City government to close the detention centre down. It worked.

She graduated in literature from Bennington in 1968, and soon after moved to Amsterdam and married a Dutchman. Among the events that led her to the anti-violence movement was the abuse she endured in that relationship. "I was a battered wife," she said, "and pornography entered into it. Both of us read it, and it helped give me the wrong idea of what a woman was supposed to be for a man."

She left the marriage in 1971 aged 25, and fled the country, describing that time as her "living as a fugitive, sleeping on people's floors and having to prostitute for money to live."

Dworkin then met a feminist named Ricki Abrams, who took her in and proposed they write a book together entitled Woman Hating, but Abrams left it to Dworkin to write.

However, it took a sit-in, supported by feminist authors such as Phyllis Chesler at the office of the publishers to persuade them to bring out a paperback edition of Woman Hating in 1974.

That year she met the writer John Stoltenberg. They lived together for more than 30 years, with Dworkin encouraging John in his work to educate young men about rape and sexual assault.

In 1999 she wrote of being drugged and raped in a hotel room in Europe, the trauma of which led her to take heavy medication to enable her to sleep.

In recent years, she had become increasingly disabled. Operations to replace her knees, worn down by years of obesity, left her in constant pain.

Last year, during a visit to London, she made contact with the Guardian and was given commissions to write on topics such as the trial of Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his pregnant wife, and living with disability. In the past few years Dworkin had been, she believed, cast into the wilderness as a writer because of her stance against pornography.

"It's heartbreaking," she wrote to me, "to know I am censored in my own country."

But Dworkin was no feminist separatist or man-hater. She despised those men who choose to hurt women and children. In Heartbreak (2002) she described the deep sense of betrayal she felt from men in the political left who used pornography.

"I seemed to learn the lesson that pornography trumped political principle and honour," she says.

Although rarely described as such, Dworkin was an intellectual. The book she was working on when she died is Writing America: How Novelists Invented And Gendered A Nation, an exploration of the contribution that writers such as Hemingway and Faulkner have made to American identity.

She also had a brilliant, though wicked, sense of humour. Her kindness and humility surprised those who expected to meet a frothing Rottweiler.

The last time I spoke to her, a few weeks ago, we were talking about what it was that motivated her to carry on fighting for women, when she had suffered enough in her life. "Julie", she said in that famous, gravelly but soft voice, "I see it like this. All women are on a leash, because we are all oppressed. But those who get to adulthood without being raped or beaten have a longer leash than those who were. It should be that the ones with the longest leashes do more to help others. But it doesn't work that way, so we are the ones that fight the fight."

When asked in this newspaper how she would like to be remembered, she replied:

"In a museum, when male supremacy is dead. I'd like my work to be an anthropological artefact from an extinct, primitive society." She meant it.

Her partner, John Stoltenberg, survives her.

Andrea Dworkin, feminist and writer, born September 26 1946; died April 9 2005

Published in The Guardian April 12th, 2005

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who Was Emelia Earhart?

Amelia Earhart captured our hearts in this moving biography for young girls.

"Someday the remains of Amelia's plane may be found. Whether that happens or not, it doesn't change what Amelia Earhart did in her lifetime. She didn't just fly planes. She didn't just break records. She opened doors for women all over the world. She was the pioneer who said, "You can do anything you decide to do."

Who Was Amelia Earhart?
By Kate Boehm Jerome / Illustrated by David Cain

"Amelia Earhart was a woman of many "firsts." In 1932, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1935, she also became the first woman to fly across the Pacific. From her early years to her mysterious 1937 disappearance while attempting a flight around the world, readers will find Amelia Earhart's life a fascinating story."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Transforming Vision: Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston

"More than a decade after Zora Neale Hurston died penniless in a Florida welfare home, Alice Walker made a pilgrimage to the town where the anthropologist and novelist had lived, and placed a monument on her unmarked grave. Posing as a niece of the all-but-forgotten writer, Walker gathered what information she could about Hurston’s youth and final years in the state. For Walker, this journey was an act of filial piety toward the writer whom, above all others, she considers her literary foremother.

As she refused to let weeds and neglect obliterate Hurston’s grave, so Walker has fought to win recognition for Hurston’s work. Of Hurston’s 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Walker says that "it speaks to me as no novel, past or present, has ever done." That novel is only now receiving the wide reading and acclaim it deserves.

In Black Feminist Criticism: Perspectives on Black Women Writers, Barbara Christian points out that "a persistent and major theme throughout Afro-America women’s literature [is] our attempt to define and express our totality rather than being defined by others." In this attempt, Hurston was the pioneer in whose path black women writers of the ‘70s and ‘80s have followed. Though 45 years separate Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Color Purple, the two novels embody many similar concerns and methods, ones that characterize the black women’s literary tradition -- a tradition now in full flower through the work of such writers as Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Gloria Naylor, Toni Cade Bambara, Ntozake Shange and Audre Lorde.

Hurston and Walker reclaim two often territories: the language of black folk culture and the experience of uneducated rural southern women. They find in both a wisdom that can transform our communal relations and our spiritual lives. As Celie in The Color Purple says, referring to God: "If he ever listened to poor colored women the world would be a different place, I can tell you."

by Trudy Bush, published in CHRISTIAN CENTURY

Read the full article here.