Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

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On nonviolent struggle (2)

December 19, 2013

Interviewing Howard Clark – video 2
by Mujer Palabra (June 2013)

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Why did I become a pacifist? + On nonviolent struggle in the world (1)

December 19, 2013

Interviewing Howard Clark (Mujer Palabra June 2013)
Howard died last Dec 5, 2013

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Women and pleasure

June 29, 2013

Patriarchal societies have been brutal to women – in all kinds of things, from denying them a human intelligence to denying them their own sexuality. First of all, they have taught men there is a connection between their own sexual pleasure and physical torture to women (rape). Then they have forbidden women to develop their own sexuality.

Fortunately, we’re changing this obscure and brutal world. Pleasure is not a sin, it is healthy and pleasurable! You can do it for yourself or share it with others.

Our societies are always showing patriarchally sexualized women everywhere, but then they say talking about sex is a taboo, something we should not do. It’s hypocritical but also damaging our intelligence, and the quality of our everyday lives. What is dirty and violent is using women as patriarchy does. Sex and pleasure are good for us. And when they are connected to love, people can even feel better.

We need to educate people to learn to relate sexually to themselves and to others. And here is a very informative documentary:

G Spotting: A Story of Pleasure and Promise (you can watch it in French, O.V.)

Segolene Hanotaux, Gilles Boyon, Canada / France, 2011, color, HDcam, 52′

A documentary everybody should watch, on women’s sexuality: eyaculation/squirting, g-spot, orgasms without physical stimulation, sex and love…
See more at: http://www.idfa.nl/industry/tags/project.aspx?id=3d4bb728-e2cf-429d-9325-8f3edff5a06e#sthash.6dbV8nrA.dpuf
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Develop Feminist Curiosity, Learn about Women Thinkers!: bell hooks

June 16, 2013

About bell hooks

bellhooks

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Still today, making women invisible?! Women Rock Science

June 16, 2013

 

Let’s read about it and spread the word!

withoutwomen

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Women not getting justice ever, not even in mythology! and the water problem and…

June 15, 2013

Please, watch. “Dancing for a better world” by Mallika Sarabhai. Against violence!!!

HERE IS THE ENDING:

So, why is it, that if we think that we all agree that we need a better world, we need a more just world, why is it that we are not using the one language that has consistently showed us that we can break down barriers, that we can reach people? What I need to say to the planners of the world, the governments, the strategists is, “You have treated the arts as the cherry on the cake. It needs to be the yeast.” Because, any future planning, if 2048 is when we want to get there, unless the arts are put with the scientists, with the economists, with all those who prepare for the future, badly, we’re not going to get there. And unless this is actually internalized, it won’t happen.

So, what is it that we require? What is it that we need? We need to break down our vision of what planners are, of what the correct way of a path is. And to say all these years of trying to make a better world, and we have failed. There are more people being raped. There are more wars. There are more people dying of simple things. So, something has got to give. And that is what I want. Can I have my last audio track please?

Once there was a princess who whistled beautifully. (Whistling) Her father the king said, “Don’t whistle.” Her mother the queen said, “Hai, don’t whistle.” But the princess continued whistling. (Whistling)

The years went by and the princess grew up into a beautiful young woman, who whistled even more beautifully. (Whistling) Her father the king said, “Who will marry a whistling princess?” Her mother the queen said, “Who will marry a whistling princess?”

But the king had an idea. He announced a Swayamvara. He invited all the princes to come and defeat his daughter at whistling. “Whoever defeats my daughter shall have half my kingdom and her hand in marriage!” Soon the palace filled with princes whistling. (Whistling) Some whistled badly. Some whistled well. But nobody could defeat the princess.

“Now what shall we do?” said the king. “Now what shall we do?” said the queen. But the princess said, “Father, Mother, don’t worry. I have an idea. I am going to go to each of these young men and I am going to ask them if they defeated correctly. And if somebody answers, that shall be my wish.”

So she went up to each and said, “Do you accept that I have defeated you?” And they said, “Me? Defeated by a woman? No way, that’s impossible! No no no no no! That’s not possible.” Till finally one prince said, “Princess, I accept, you have defeated me.” “Uh-huh …” she said. “Father, mother, this man shall be my wife.” (Whistling)

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Epilogue to Thinking of loved ones, life & death

June 4, 2013

Some days ago I wrote I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know the people I love, in this post, and some people I love have reacted — disagreeing! My partner. He agrees we never know anyone, even ourselves, in some ways, but in relative terms he believes I know him! An old student of mine. She wrote to say she was surprised about me saying that because in her view I was one of the most receptive people she knew. She was often surprised in class at what things I knew about them!

So I’ve been mulling over this. Consequently, tonight I had a dream. My dream reminds me of a childhood chain of events: when I was a little girl, and because I was a girl and not a boy (I’m sure this would not have happened to me if I had been a boy, I mean), I used to inform my mother of who was a good person and who would hurt her. My mother was very generous and people used to use and abuse her in all kinds of ways (though she never saw it this way), so I was always trying to prevent this from happening. As it usually turned out, I was right with people — it’s really easy to detect love and kindness, or material interest in people’s approach to you, really, in my view. The irrational, illogical and unconsciously patriarchal conclusion (unconscious because my mum was a protofeminist) was that I was a witch, I could guess!, it was magic! — instead of “She can gather info and put it together and give it a useful interpretation!” The interpretation was not that I was especially intelligent or receptive in something. (Actually, the other trait of my intelligence, having a very developed imagination, was also distorted at school, of course: in boys it could be a sign of intelligence, in girls it was dangerous, always.)

Because I was a little girl “She’s a witch” was meant to be funny, but in the same way I knew that little girls have to be very careful when going on adventures on their own (I don’t mean careful about wolves, for instance, but about men and even boys), I knew that being “a witch” was a poisonous “gift”. I hated my mum saying that, especially because the focus would shift to ME and she would certainly ignore my advice. But now I can explain it: girls, little women, have been considered non-un-anti-intelligent for centuries in patriarchal societies, so if they were, it was something evil, really. Actually all patriarchal dogmas say women are inferior to men, lazy, evil, and that is why men have to control women. It’s very recent men have become real parents, fathers, and men and women have started to believe in human rights. And it’s very painful to realize how we, the species, have been able to believe that women were inferior for such a long time. This is just our beginning towards this kind of justice, of course. I mean, it’s still few of us women who can lead the kind of life I’m leading: chosing, deciding for myself, getting respect from people.

Anyway, going back to my topic. There’s something else I remembered. As a teenager I remember not wanting to look at portraits because I felt — in this adolescent radicality that later on makes us laugh in wonderment — I would learn intimate stuff about that person, when the fact was that that person was not wanting to tell me about it. 😀 Weird! But it seems somewhere in me, in that complex road to self-repression, I knew that if I contemplated the world I could find out stuff. As a teenager, I was still a girl, so this was no valuable trait I should work on. The result was that I spent my teenage in my own world, a non-stop daydreaming experience, isolated from people, not understanding anyone, not being understood by anyone, a total-exposure to the adolescent stage.

And after all that, I left my mum’s home, and started becoming my own person. It’s taken me over 30 years to realize that my problem was not that I was “a witch”, “had too much imagination”, “was in my own world”, and the things that teachers concluded when I was in primary, that I was a bit mentally retarded. My problem was that I was a girl in a patriarchal world, that is hostile and worse still, doesn’t allow people to see how hostile it is to the human beings who are born with a vagina. Hostile to their intelligences (the mind-heart), not only to their bodies. When I was thirty lots I realized far from being little intelligent, I was intelligent above the average. At least, I was someone who decided to use and develop her intelligence, which makes your intelligece richer, of course! But here — it’s now that I’m 50 I realize perhaps I had this complex, the complex of not knowing the people you love!

So — I have just realized that perhaps the feeling I didn’t know the people I loved came from a kind of trauma… ! 😀 Perhaps I’m just as able as anyone to know the people I love!! 😀

Wow! Can we really say we know ourselves?! 😉 Not as something definite, for sure. If your mind is open, you keep learning, if you keep learning, you keep evolving, changing…

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Campaign by a university in Zaragoza

May 25, 2013

bannerVerticalWhy people should include women when they name human beings. For unconscious sexist behaviors, mostly. (Conscious sexists simply do it on purpose!) In case ideological conditioning doesn’t allow to read or listen to feminists, here is a Spanish university transmitting the same ideas:

In Spanish (click on the banner)

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An open letter to facebook

May 22, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/an-open-letter-to-faceboo_1_b_3307394.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

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Improved version of the World Book Day video!

May 22, 2013

Please, spread the word. The more visits the video gets, the more people will want to see it, and the more we’ll be spreading good ideas for the classroom experience, linking academic learning with LiFE!! I included the pics of Cake Days!

If anyone appearing in the pics did not sign the permission, and doesn’t want to appear, I will downloaded and blur his or her face, OK? No problem!

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A video on World Book Day (Av 2&co)

May 17, 2013

Our second 5-minute video on the School’s YouTube channel!

I learned so much!!! I’ve learned to edit videos with iMovie!!!

If anyone wants any changes, I can download it and fix things, so just let me know.

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The Beauty Myth – audio excerpt + transcript

April 19, 2013

The Beauty Myth. How Images of Beauty Are Used against Women, by Naomi Wolf (1990). Here is an two-page excerpt from one of the books we will have on the raffle in class on May 6 & 7, World Book Day! Advanced level, C1.

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Oral Herstory at the British Library

April 14, 2013

http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/sisterhood/index.html?ns_campaign=What%27%27s+On+newsletter+-+April+2013&ns_mchannel=email&ns_source=newsletter&ns_linkname=sisterhood_image1&ns_fee=0

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Language is powerful! (audio)

March 18, 2013

Listen to this at Talking People Podcast episode

Here is the transcript

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Language is powerful! Metaphors we live by: Argument is war

March 17, 2013

Listen to this at Talking People Podcast episode

Feminists are people who have been able to question their own conceptual system, the language they use to express it and the way they relate to their own selves and other people. We have actually noticed how our minds liberated and expanded as we realized for instance the importance of language in conditioning our understanding. On top of that, many of us have read and listened to people doing all kinds of research, more theoretical research but essential for human knowledge. Still, the value of feminist work on language is astounding. Unfortunately, most people, unaware of how their own conceptual systems are built and how language works to construct culture — mostly tradition — being unable to develop any feminist curiosity or feminist intelligence, feel entitled to despise and criticize what they are totally ignorant of.

I’m excerpting some thinking by a non-feminist around language, which offers the same rich ground of thought and action feminists offer when we analyze language. I find these ideas really interesting and they bring about the resources of feminism and nonviolent struggle, too — sources we should all be exploring to learn to build a better world.

EFL students will also find value in these ideas for improving their oral work at speaking tests and their ability to hold rational discussions. (You can read my notes on Holding Rational Discussions on the Speaking – Discussions section on talkingpeople.net). Defending a position just means explaining your reasons to say something. Not agreeing should not mean fighting and repeating the same things over and over again. Agreeing on something is not One Winning The Other Losing, but both finding some constructive joint future action. If you collaborate, if you work together in your interaction or conversation, you will all win, so to say! If you don’t, you might all lose, to keep using this kind of violent language that has made us so violent when holding discussions!

It was not violence, but collaboration that developed the best in humanity in PreThemstory!

Metaphors We Live By, by George Lakoff & Mark Johnson (The University of Chicago Press, 1980)

Concepts We Live By. Chapter 1. Pages 3, 4, 5 [With my underlinings and comments]

Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination … a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. Moreover, metaphor is typically viewed as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.

The concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of the intellect. They also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.

But our conceptual system is not something we are normally aware of. In most of the little things we do every day, we simply think and act more or less automatically along certain lines. Just what these lines are is by no means obvious. One way to find out is by looking at language. Since communication is based on the same conceptual system that we use in thinking and acting, language is an important source of evidence for what the system is like.

Primarily on the basis of linguistic evidence, we have found that most of our ordinary conceptual system is metaphorical in nature. And we have found a way to begin to identify in detail just what the metaphors are that structure how we perceive, how we think, and what we do.

To give some idea of what it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday activity, let us start with the concept ARGUMENT and the conceptual metaphor ARGUMENT IS WAR. This metaphor is reflected in our everyday language by a wide variety of expresssions:

ARGUMENT IS WAR

[Notice how language has always used the masculine. Why was that? Women were banned from thinking and education. Traditionally, they’ve been considered unfit for rational thinking. Of course, this is not true. We should all be unfit now for exerting patriarchal reasoning and we should all be finding ways to think beyond the patriarchal frame of mind, so solidly based on violence and misogyny (considering women inferior in everything). We’re developing Empathetic Rationality, reasoning which includes love or solidarity, a concern for life, and this is kinder, wiser, and better for our living together!]

Your claims are indefensible.He attacked every weak point in my argument.His  criticisms were right on target.I demolished his argument.I’ve never won an argument with him.You disagree? OK, shoot!If you use that strategy, he’ll wipe you out.He shot down all of my arguments.

It is important to see that we do not just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguying with as an opponent. We attack his [sic] positions and defend our own. We gain and lose ground. We plan and use strategies. If we find a position indefensible, we can abandon it and take a new line of attack. Many of the things we DO in arguying are partially structured by the concept of war. Though there is no physical battle, there is a verbal battle, and the structure of an argument — attack, defend, counterattack, etc. — reflects this. It is in this sense that the ARGUMENT IS WAR metaphor is one that we live by in this culture; it structures the actions we perform in arguying.

Try to imagine a culture were arguments are not viewed in terms of war [but in terms of collaborating in joint thinking, or to learn, to know, to solve problems], where no one wins or loses [but everybody learns a bit more about itself, people and/or the world], where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground [but a sense of contributing ideas for joint analyses, and contributing experience for joint reflection]. …

Chapter 3. Page 10

… in the midst of a heated argument, when we are intent on attacking our opponent’s position and defending our own, we may lose sight of the cooperative aspects of arguing. Someone who is arguing with you can be viewed as giving you his [sic] time, a valued commodity, in an effort at mutual understanding [or joint pursuing of more knowledge and wisdom, or at problem-solving]. But when we are preoccupied with the battle aspects, we often lose sight of the cooperativeaspects [& knowledge building, problem-solving].

Well, I hope that you mull over all of these ideas, because we should really improve our way of viewing and performing discussions! In the same way we should learn to stop connecting love to obligation, for the latter degrades and distorts love!

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Two more interesting articles — and have a nice weekend!

March 16, 2013

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

The exclusionary language of inclusion

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Books people should read…

March 16, 2013

DelusionsofGender_therealdifferencebehindsexdifferences_byCordeliaFine

This book is a must read.

She’s brilliant (and funny), knowledgeable of neuroscientific research and of where we come from, in terms of scientific research before the 20th century. She has done thorough research on all the scam of neurosexism and all the attention its gets from the press. She also draws from her experiences as a mother. So this book is great for people relating to children, and adults who are interested in learning to sort out when scientific research is ill-interpreted. Briefly, neuroscience is not “proving there is a male and female brain”, but it’s striking how many people are saying that. (In Spanish, in case you want to give it as a present: Cuestión de sexos)

More interesting stuff, especially if you have daughters or are in contact with girls and young women: Living Dolls. The Return of Sexism, by Natasha Walter,  Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein (check out Riley, a 4-year-old thinker), The Beauty Myth. How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, by Naomi Wolf.

LivingDolls_Thereturnofsexism_NatashaWalterCinderellaAteMyDaughterTheBeautyMyth_Howimagesofwomenareusedagainstwomen_NaomiWolf

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The Guy’s Guide to Feminism

March 16, 2013

guys_guide_cover_medA book to get!

Read on

On Facebook

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How to be a feminist man

March 16, 2013

Posted: 16 March 2012  – Source

Recently a man friend asked me if I thought he was being a feminist in his behaviour, and if not, how he could improve. That conversation led to me writing this post. My ideas below are all indebted to conversations with feminists, including those at Feminist Action Cambridge. There are so many more we could add.

A note on gendered language. I use ‘men’ and ‘women’ here to refer to the cultural categories of gender, and not the biological categories of sex. By saying ‘men’ I do not mean biologically-born male people, but people who call themselves men and act as men in the world. This works for my use of the word ‘women’ too, and I explicitly include trans women under the umbrella term ‘women’. If my trans sisters and comrades can help me make this blog post less cis-centric in any way – please do.

Also, this list is pretty specific to the groups of people I know, many of whom are activists and/or academics, single or multipartnered and normally childless people, often queer, sadly mostly white and mostly middle-class. So the list needs extending and diversifying.

I would like to date feminist men. I would like to live with them and work with them and stand by their side in political struggle. I haven’t met that many feminist men, and neither of the men I have had relationships with has described himself as a feminist. They were hot but being feminists would have made them hotter. I also date women and gender-queer people, and I can’t remember ever dating a woman or a gender-queer person who has not been explicitly and actively a feminist before, during and after our relationship. This is, obviously, mind-blowingly hot.

A friend suggested that calling feminist men ‘hot’ was itself a patriarchal statement, because even if feminist men were not hot the moral imperative to be feminist would remain. I think the friend might also have been worried that my using categories of ‘hot’ or ‘not hot’ remains within the bounds of a normative discourse of ‘sexiness’ that feeds straight back into patriarchal practises. I both agree, and still find feminist men hot. They are counter-patriarchally hot.

How to be a feminist man:

1. starting the struggle

– we live in a patriarchy. Patriarchy and capitalism are close friends and it is important to fight both. The first step to being a feminist man is to fight patriarchy in your community and in your own behaviour. Because fighting the patriarchy is a high-energy struggle, this has to be an explicit goal and an ongoing priority.

– fighting capitalism will help here, but it is not enough. Therefore: feminist men should recognise that far left politics do not make them default feminists. Far left politics are a basic condition for hotness – but excluding feminism from these politics leads directly to manarchism. Feminist men avoid manarchism.

– I take it as given that feminist men are outspoken pro-choice activists, that they believe survivors of sexual violence, that they don’t even know any rape jokes let alone tell them. Feminist men are aware of feminist history and believe in the urgency of revolution.

2.  sex and relationships

– the personal is political. If you are not sure what this means, read ANY feminist book or blog and you will know. To be a feminist man, make your relationships a site of political struggle. Do not be an activist on the streets and a patriarch in the emotional world of your relationships.

– be good at consent. Be interested in consent and aware of how it works. I recommend reading this article. Consent is complicated and, as the writer of that article argues, it might only be possible to have more consensual sex, rather than fully consensual sex, under patriarchy. Be aware of this and check consent anyway, as often as you and your partners need and want to. In the words of a legendary Cambridge feminist activist, consent is sexy. Ask your partners how they like to do consent.

– if you have a penis and/or penetrative sex, be open to mutual penetration. This can be a radical feminist stance which asserts the potential for violence in all acts of sexual penetration. It can also be a queer feminist stance, asserting the shared vulnerability and jubilant changeability of all bodies. Both are hot.

3. feminist redistribution and the politics of care

– if you are a non-monogamous feminist man, be aware that patriarchy puts you in a position of power over your partners and metamours. Different kinds of power can come into play here, including economic power; if you are a man who works, you are likely to earn more than your women partners and metamours and so be able to afford different kinds of dates or properties. If this is the case, share your money as well as your bed. There are other power problems, such as the distribution of emotional labour in relationships (see my next point). I’m not sure how we non-monogamous feminists can solve the power problem without full-scale revolution, but being aware of it will help for now. I’ve found feminist men to be amazing metamours. Being a feminist man will make you better at polyamory and other kinds of consensual non-monogamy, and it will be hot.

– for this point I am indebted to of one of the members of FAC who told us that when she is upset she turns to feminist men friends to care for her, because she believes that women have done enough work in this area already. Under patriarchy, the large proportion of emotional work is carried out by women. Feminist men should actively address this. So to be a feminist man, seek out emotional labour tasks. Request them: ask the feminists around you how you can take care of them and support them in their struggles and their lives. Follow their lead enthusiastically. When you have found the emotional labour tasks that need doing, take them on at compensatory levels in relation to their uneven distribution under patriarchy. This is a Marxist-feminist analysis of emotional labour. I find it incredibly hot.

comrades, this is about redistribution. If you want children, do the childcare. When our loved ones are dying, do the palliative care. Take on these responsibilities and lead on them with the support of your partners and communities. Activists would call this bottom-lining. Feminist men bottom-line care.

– this is also about simple economic redistribution: feminist men demand to be paid at the same level as or less than their women colleagues.

4. doing your feminism and (not) talking about it

– know what mansplaining is and be allergic to it. If you think that you risk mansplaining then privilege women and trans people’s voices and expertise over your own. This is especially important in capitalist workplaces. Also at activist meetings and in theoretical discussions. And feminist potlucks. Mansplaining is the opposite of hot. Ask more questions and listen to the answers.

– as a feminist said to me this week, feminist men should not make a big deal about how you are both a man and a feminist as if other feminists are supposed to be impressed by that. Especially not if you are trying to get a feminist to have sex with you. That is mactivism. Instead, if you are a feminist, do your feminism. If you are an anti-objectification feminist, describe your objection to sexist images and remove them. If you are a queer feminist, campaign beside your trans sisters and comrades in their struggle for recognition and safety in our world. If you are a socialist feminist who feels solidarity with sex workers, do work that supports sex workers and their struggles. Just do it. There’s so much feminism that needs doing.

– be aware of your privilege and of the different positions and backgrounds of others. Feminist men should be ‘intersectional’ feminists, meaning that they support and fight for black, differently-abled, working class and queer feminisms among others. This is selfless feminism for men. It is hot.

Finally,

– found a men’s feminist group. Feminist men understand the need for women’s-only spaces, and they build their own groups where they educate one another in being feminist men, and train themselves up to stand beside their sisters in our struggle. You will be our allies.

Maybe if you do all of these things then other hot feminists, women or men, will want to have sex and conversations and do the revolution with you. Good luck comrades, and fuck the patriarchy.

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15 Things Feminism Has Done For Men

March 16, 2013

Katherine Klaus lists fifteen reasons men should be downright enthusiastic about the feminist movement.

Source

May I present, then, 15 upsides of feminism – for dudes. (And no, not one of them is ‘basic fairness’, although you can have that as a bonus #16 if you want.)

♦◊♦

At work

#1. Did you know that the minimum wage for men was originally set with reference to the fact that he was expected to support a wife and three children? That sounds like a lot of responsibility and stress. With equal pay resulting from feminism, your partner can support herself, and together you could have six children, or, more likely, buy a plasma screen!

#2. Hate opening doors for people, or standing awkwardly at the front of the lift while you wait for the women from the back (always so slow in their high heels) to exit? Feminism says you don’t have to because we’re all generally able to handle the strength of a door. I open doors when it’s convenient for others, and I’m grateful when others hold it open for me. With feminism, courtesy can be a thing for both/all sexes.

#3. With feminism, you earned that promotion by being the best person for the job, not because of societal oppression of others. Hello to a clear conscience! And getting the best people for the job is better for business, which is ultimately better for keeping you employed, or so the capitalists tell me.

#4. More women in the workplace means more of them to check out, while being treated as equals means the ladies may be checking you out too, instead of worrying that a lecherous boss is going to feel them up in the lift.

#5. Don’t want to work? Feminism says that your partner can be the breadwinner while you embrace your inner domestic god.

In the world at large

#6. Feminism doesn’t buy into the silly gender stereotyping of alcoholic drinks, so go ahead and buy that pink cocktail with an umbrella that you have always secretly wanted to try.

#7. Sick of men being normalised as nonstop horndogs (oh god, how dated does that sound) who will sleep with anything in a skirt? In an equal society, your sexuality has no bearing on your perceived “manliness”, whether you are gay, straight, bi, questioning, lacking libido or any combination of the above.

#8. Ever been denied entry to a bar because they “need” more women, even though you’re just trying to have a drink with your friends? When women aren’t used as a tool to sell more drinks, bouncers won’t be tools to you.

#9. As friend of the blog Jacky puts it, “The patriarchy is bad for EVERYONE – men, women and children. It robs women of their autonomy and humanity; devalues the lives and wellbeing of men; and places unnecessary stress on everyone in the process.” With feminism, it’s cool for you to be whoever you want to be, without having to try and perform your gender “correctly” 100% of the time. (That sound you can hear is a collective sigh of relief from every dude who doesn’t know how to change a tyre.)

In sex & relationships & everything in between

#10. Women who don’t believe in feminism can be so frustrating to date, amirite? While they may make the effort to look stunning on dates, they also have this idea that they need to be treated like princesses, which largely translates to “spend a lot of money on me and you might get laid”. Given, pre-marriage, these women often earn much the same as you, this might seem unfair. Feminists, on the other hand, will split the bill with you (or take turns paying) and will sleep with you when they god damn feels like it, not because you’ve approached some magical monetary figure. And this could very well be on the first date/a one night stand, because (sex-positive) feminists understand that sex isn’t shameful, or a transaction, or somehow devalues them.

#11. Feminism means better relationships for all – as proven by science! (via)

#12. Do you find your girlfriend sexy as hell, but find your mates are dicks about it because she doesn’t look like (Google’s “sexiest woman on earth”) Miranda Kerr? Maybe she complains about her looks, too, and whines that no one could ever find her attractive. Not only does that make you seem like a terrible judge of partner, but it means you have to have sex with the lights off. With feminism, your mates and your girlfriend would be exposed to a more diverse range of shapes and colours and levels of hairiness and even, god forbid, personality traits that are portrayed as “attractive”, giving your woman lights-on confidence, and stopping your mates from trying to make you feel as if your attraction to non-Miranda Kerrs is abnormal.

#13. A feminist girlfriend will go buy beers for both of you at a soccer match (see above re: not needing to be treated like a princess) and you will be the envy of other soccer-goers. (This has actually happened.)

#14. She will also teach herself the offside rule while you get to concentrate on the game.

#15. Finally, even if you’re a more traditional guy who wants his wife to stay at home, and have dinner on the table when you get there, you can still have that. It’s just with feminism, you’ll be able to find a woman who actually wants to do it, instead of one who resentfully does so because she wasn’t allowed to be an astronaut.

♦◊♦

So there you have it, a bunch of little reasons why feminism can make men’s lives more awesome. Sure, none of them are as groundbreaking as the movement can be for women, but I hope you will take away that feminism doesn’t hate you and won’t actually bring about the end of your sex life/career advancement/bro-ness as you know it.  Turns out, when everyone gets treated like people, everyone wins.

RESULT: Come over to the dark side. Actually, we’re definitely the Jedi, but regardless, you should come over because this side has drinks and I’m buying.

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Things Feminism Has Done For Men

March 16, 2013

By: Natalie123ariel Written on May 23rd, 2012

  1. Men are no longer expected to be the main provider for their entire working lives. They don’t have to be frightened that they and their family will starve if they’re diabled, injured or sick.
  2. They can choose to work in traditionally female jobs, as secretaries, nurses and homemakers, for example.
  3. It’s ok nowdays for men to talk about their feelings; obtain counselling support; admit that they’re emotionally unwell when those things happen.
  4. They can have sex without being expected to marry the woman; if both agree to that. They can choose to enter into a common law relationship and never get married; if that’s in accord with their personal beliefs.
  5. They can now dislcose rape and abuse without being as pressured as they used to be, by the prevailing masculine culture, to remain silent or be accused of being weak, gay and so on.
  6. They can spend more time with their children and be more involved in their daily care.
  7. They can refuse to go to war and sok. Nobody expects them to defend and protect if they don’t want to or they are just not cut out for that sort of role.
  8. They can take better care of themselves – be gentler with themselves. There is less pressure to be macho; macho is not admired anymore.
  9. They can charge an abusive partner with assault, stalking and any other behaviour that endangers them.
  10. No fault divorce means that they don’t have to have a reason to call it quits on an unhappy marriage. They don’t have to have infidelity exposed to obtain a divorce.
  11. They can know that when a woman is with them it’s because she wants to be and because she values all that he is; not because she has no alternative way to survive.

Men and women can choose what side to be on.

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When men are oppressed…

March 16, 2013

whenmenareoppressed

When men are oppressed it’s a tragedy.

When women are oppressed it’s tradition.

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An Optimist’s Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

March 13, 2013

In Redes, they’re showing today an interview with Mark Stevenson, the author of An Optimist’s Tour of the Future.

I have ordered two copies, one for the School in case people want to borrow it and one for myself. As I listen, he says some things that many people in social activism share — starting with a love to the scientific method, I mean, true research, not the kind of Science we had in the past, always used to show women’s inferiority and the like, to back up what religious leaders said of women. Still, there is something that makes me deeply sad – he totally ignores the existence of women on the planet. How can anyone explain all the positive change in the planet ignoring women’s participation? WE WOMEN ARE FUCKING CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION! We are not “helping men to do so”, we’re part of this on our own initiative! With no need of religious dogmas or political party ideologies! (meaning, in the name of human rights for all, and not in the name of God, the Fatherland, or any Political Party!)

If we had the time, we would apply a LANGUAGE NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION to the translation at Mujer Palabra! Yes, it’s been translated, and most probably by someone who had no issues wording the world for all in the masculine.

Anyway, there are things to learn from this book. And hopefully, I’ll be wrong about his men-only frame of mind! 🙂

Prueba documental – so you can see for yourselves if I’m misquoting

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On Social activism and Achievement

March 12, 2013

Today Rubén (Avanzado 2 Martes) asked me what had we achieved when I was volunteering as a pacifist in a project in a country at war. This question is complex and deserves and analysis I have no time or mind to make just now! And the answer is as complex!! It’s like a few galaxies put together!

So I’d like to hint at possible answers with an analogy: what does a teacher achieve in a school year? Do we measure their achievement in terms of number of students who pass their finals? The teaching-learning experience is like an amazing journey. Wouldn’t this kind of measurement be far too poor? The teacher-student relationship is a very particular and amazing kind of relationship, when it actually has chances of developing. Do you believe that people passing exams would mirror achievement?

Helping people pass an exam if a very small part in my work as a teacher. My work is precious, far more complex, and this does not mean I ignore “the problem” (exams), and it doesn’t mean either all I do is well done. So I cannot measure my achievement as a teacher just by thinking of how many students passed their finals. If you ask me, as a teacher, I mean, I have to say I don’t know how to measure it because teaching is a very complex activity. But I do have a guiding star — I always try to offer the best of what I’m capable of, and this does not exclude paying attention, interacting, listening, and making mistakes, for mistakes are opportunities for discovery and exploration — and therefore for unexpected learning! When the year comes to an end, as a teacher, I’m exhausted and heartbroken because all of those very rich connections you have enjoyed throughout the year end. But then, a new stage begins: the new learning that holidays bring about, and this time you’re not in charge! And next, a new exciting school year, full of people to meet, to work with!

As a social activist, the first area of my achievement is myself. I profit from all my work for society, because I dissent and give myself the chance to grow, to pursue ideals and learn to live inspired by them! And how can I measure the rest? Should I say, “In Guatemala, our work helped many people not be kidnapped by death squads, tortured and murdered, and these people in turn, worked their lives out to bring a betterment to their society.” As you can see it’s getting harder to nail down… I could also say, “In Guatemala I learned about how to work through nonviolence for the betterment of society in the face of Low Intensity Warfare.” Hard to nail down, right? I could say, “X is alive because we helped,” much more specific, but — is this a self-contained description of my (our) achievement? Is this it? No, it isn’t. There is so much more! But I simply cannot explain comprehensively!

Here there is / was my first attempt to think in terms of achievement, and as I can see, I totally failed anyway! (oh, and here is Asking Questions in Church, btw!)

In a nutshell, I am my only “achievement,” a human being in interaction with other human beings, and the struggle never ends! 🙂

AFTERTHOUGHT: Perhaps, the deep reason is that actions in social activism are not about “convincing people to follow a certain ideology”, but “helping us all to build a less violent and unfair world”!

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So who needs feminism?

March 10, 2013

So men can talk about women in horrible terms, as if they were rubber dolls, but women cannot analyze the rape problem, this war against women that is “biological and inevitable” in patriarchal societies…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290789/Men-talk-openly-rape-potential–vile-clever-women-like-Cambridge-undergraduate-tells-shocking-abuse-male-students-elite-university.html

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International Women’s Day

March 8, 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-21678554#FBM207731

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A little respect!

March 8, 2013

The bad thing about default ideologies — those which condition thought and language, and consequently, human relationships, the cultural default ideology people have without being aware that they have it — is that they expose its carriers’ inability to think freely and to look at the world around them with inocence.

These people who are unable to think independently feel annoyed, irritable, angry because we are celebrating on a particular date the existence of women on the planet. These people have never missed women as thinkers, artists, activists, in all those centuries in which male Historians deprived them of existence, and Men — the group ruling on human societies — had them locked up, exploited, and the rest, which is frightening and deserves attention.

WE ARE CELEBRATING THE FACT THAT WE ARE STRIVING EACH AND EVERY DAY FOR A BETTER WORLD, A WORLD THOSE UNTHINKING PEOPLE ALSO ENJOY AND BENEFIT FROM.

Just a little respect, please!

This year’s Mujer Palabra cyberpostcard says:

March 8
we are
celebrating feminism
burying patriarchal violence
planting the seeds of intelligent life!

8marzoestamos

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Stop the war on women

March 8, 2013

THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND WE’RE VERY HAPPY ABOUT IT!

(WE’RE CHANGING THE WORLD TO INCLUDE US AS HUMAN BEINGS, AND WE’RE THEREFORE CHANGING SOCIETY. PATRIARCHAL SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN FAR TOO VIOLENT FAR TOO LONG!)

ifyourenotoutraged

Women invite lawmakers to ‘Walk in My Shoes’

031312Legphoto06

stopwarangeladavis

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Who Needs Feminism?

March 8, 2013

http://www.whoneedsfeminism.com/about.html WNF – Start Your Own Guide 9-22

whoneedsfeminism_indiv

who-needs-feminism4

feminisim

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Celebrating March 8: what’s so good about the human rights concept?

March 8, 2013

I certainly believe that December 10 should be an international holiday. You have to consider that it’s taken us till the 20th century to understand that all human beings have the same rights. Before we managed this idea, some people were considered worthless and some others the representatives of God on the planet, or those who could exploit and abuse feeling totally entitled to do so. Obviously, reaching this understanding cannot wipe out all the harm that the parameters that built societies for centuries constructed. But this is just a beginning, the beginning of a better way to organize societies.

Before we coined “human rights” it was religion organizing societies and what men and women could do in life, their roles, what their hopes and dreams should be. Today most people understand that religion and spirituality should not organize society, for those are private issues, to share with like-minded people, but not to impose on the population. We are learning to respect non-believers and also different kinds of religions or spiritual options.

The genius of the human rights notion is that both believers and non-believers can be able to accept it and respect it.

It is true that patriarchal monotheist religions are having a harder time with this notion, because their dogmas have assigned gender roles to human beings, and women have always been seen and treated as inferior — intelectually, emotionally, spirituality — and a source of evil. But numerous people who believe in those religions are moving beyond those dogmas. They are refusing to believe that it was women who brought suffering to the world, they are refusing to believe that sexual intercourse should exclude pleasure, or that women should have as many children as God sends them. They’re challenging many religious impositions and they’re trying to build a kind of spirituality consistent with the human rights notion.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, as a feminist, as someone who understands human rights, I’d like to post this little thought of mine in celebration of it all!

Venus 21st century: “You understand women have human rights, but you don’t need to develop a feminist intelligence of world? How come? (What a sad violent and pointless war)”

venusfeministapostal

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A Letter from Eve Ensler, from Congo

March 7, 2013

http://www.vday.org/dearall

 

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Quvenzhane Wallis

March 2, 2013

give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right. – Warsan Shire

http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/on-quvenzhane-wallis.html

http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/2013/02/24/a-love-letter-to-quvenzhane-wallis/

http://poetry.newgreyhair.com/post/41290110631/in-preparation-for-war-warsan-shire

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Thank you for rocking the world!

February 22, 2013

ilovefeminismThe Biggest Mass Global Action To End Violence Against Women & Girls In The History Of Humankind

One Billion Rising is the beginning of the new world ignited by a new energy. It is not the end of a struggle but the escalation of it. NOW is the time to enact change. This is NOT an annual holiday, we are not waiting until 14 February 2014. NOW is the time to harness the power of your activism to change the world! We celebrate these victories, and we hope you do too. Now ask yourself WHAT CAN I DO IMMEDIATELY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS – and then go out and DO IT!

One Billion Rising was always conceived to be a catalyst and a wind rather than a new organization. So use it to fuel your next activities. Plan local actions for International Women’s Day, 8 March. Stay tuned for tips and actions!! If you want to know where to direct your energies right now, you can stage a V-Day benefit in your community – visit vday.org/our-work/college-community-campaigns today!

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Brought together people across movements and causes – mobilizing communities such as migrants, women in prison, domestic workers, urban poor, LGBTQI, farm workers, the disabled, and many more.
  • Created the opportunity for councils of indigenous women to participate in global problem solving.
  • Created global solidarity and strength cutting across borders, races, class, religions, sexual orientation, ages, genders. Reignited solidarity between women’s organizations in various countries. Rekindled the ethos of sisterhood amongst women on a global scale.
  • Brought to the surface the intersection of issues both causing and affecting violence against women: patriarchy, poverty, corporate greed, environmental plunder, imperialist policies, religion, militarization, interventions of outside countries, immigration, labor export policies, nationalization of industries, political repression.
  • Engaged masses on a deeper, more embodied level through dancing, poetry, singing, and art.
  • Produced massive media exposure, discourse, and advocacy on violence against women issues. It also created or was the catalyst for the development of millions of women citizen social media journalists telling their own narratives by picking up cameras.
  • Created solidarity and safe and free space, through our creativity and numbers, for violated women to tell their stories, many for the first time, and heal their trauma by dancing in public, communal open spaces.
  • Inspired millions of men to stand and rise as our allies, deconstructing patriarchy alongside us.
  • Galvanized and empowered legislators to generate legislation in support of ending violence against women and girls globally. Created an opportunity for globally linked women’s councils to lobby at all levels of government and UN.
  • Made violence against women impossible to ignore and never to be marginalized again. Reminded the world that women united will never be defeated.
  • Generated the best collection of worldwide dance videos ever!

GO TO ONE BILLION RISING 

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Dear all! Thanks for reading!

February 21, 2013

I’d like to thank your visits! It’s encouraging that the work we do in this little blog is helpful! I think some of my students are finally checking it out too, which is good news too! 😀

So here’s a little present. I’m trying to learn to paint, though I’ve got far too much on, with paid and unpaid work, and dealing with my own life! But well, I managed to finish my second gouache piece (kind of childish-looking, right?) and donated it to mujerpalabra.net, because on that site we share postcards we do to fill the world with good ideas! The idea in this postcard below is (translated from Spanish): “Venus Blues 21st.c: So you believe women have human rights but you don’t feel the need to develop a feminist intelligence? (Sad war, so sad.)”
I coined the phrase “feminist intelligence” to add to Cynthia Enloe’s phrase “feminist curiosity” and contribute in this way to try and make people aware that we need feminist curiosity and intelligence to uproot the sexism we’ve all been brought up in century after century and liberate ourselves from this very heavy and violent and distorting patriarchal gender system, that defines what a man and what a woman are in war-like binomies!, committing the crime of limiting our (people’s) human potential.

venusfeminista1

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Useful Ideas to Analyze Rape (edited)

February 16, 2013

Well, after this week’s pioneering attempt 😀 for us to analyze/analyse rape in an adult education classroom, I’d like to share a few ideas — for in feminism there has been in-depth analysis for quite a few decades now.  After reading these ideas, do you think it would be easier to come up with ideas on how each of us can contribute to striving to stop rape?

RAPE HAPPENS EXTENSIVELY IN PATRIARCHAL SOCIETIES and it is related to LIMITING WOMEN’S FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT — patriarchal societies accept as “natural” that women’s freedom of movement should be limited instead of tackling why they can’t and educate men to change that. The underlying ideology here also shows a belief that it is “natural” there exist men who rape (in “peace situations”, mostly because women provoke, when they comply with what patriarchal values establish as sexy or pretty; at war, because they need to “fight the enemy humilliating Him by raping His women”).

RAPE IS GENDER VIOLENCE, this is, a particular form of violence that “men” use against “women” and men they feel don’t “deserve” the honor of being a man. (Can there be other reasons why a man would get raped by… other men?, women?, a person?)

RAPE IS UNRELATED TO SEX (to having sex). It is a form of torture.

RAPING IS NOT A BIOLOGICAL NEED — It’s cultural. Women, for instance, do have sexual needs and they don’t rape. A lot of men also have sexual needs and they don’t rape. Rape has nothing to do with sexual needs.

WE NEED TO PROTEST THE MARKET SYSTEM THAT CONNECTS RAPE TO SEXUAL INTERCOURSE because rape is not about pleasure but about torture and power-over: this happens extensively in the underworld of prostitution, pornography, advertisements, movies and TV series, teens magazines (consider all the market addressing little and older girls), with their pop icons, etc.

WE SHOULD MAKE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WE FEEL, HOW WE VIEW RAPE SURVIVORS because they are victims of one of the most horrible crimes in humanity and should be listened to, treated with respect, and supported. We should also stop this silence around rape, because it traps these victims in a world of isolation and loneliness.

WE SHOULD LEARN FROM FEMINIST ANALYSES AND STOP SUSPECTING ANALYSES BY WOMEN WHO USE THEIR MINDS TO TRANSFORM INJUSTICE IN OUR SOCIETIES. We should stop obeying the patriarchal dogma that Women are Evil/Dangerous/Incapable of human intelligence. Also, intellectual activity cannot develop healthily without freedom of thought, without an openess to listen, without dialog/dialogue. We can learn from women, not only when they are transmitting patriarchal ideas.

—-

Thanks to the conversation we’re having in the comments posted here, I’m including another useful point:

WHEN YOU DISCUSS RAPE, be aware of this: are you bringing up topics that divert our attention from focusing on the proposoed analysis of why men rape women, of why it is widespread on this planet that men rape women — and not that ANY person rapes ANY person? Check if you have had enough of analyzing the most widespread gender problems, problems affecting most people and you can really move on to focusing on less widespread but connected problems.

Not in order to give them less importance, of course, but to be able to develop a rational analysis. For instance, it is terrible men rape men, too, but if we are speaking about an invisible widespread problem of men raping women, can we speak about this first? Then, we can analyse more things! It is very common when you bring this issue up that people react mentioning exceptions like: men raped by men, women raping men (??), women helping men to rape (but not men helping men to rape, which is one of the most widespread and terrifying realities women face in the world!)…

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Dear girls, we’re here, we’re listening!

February 14, 2013

Riley analyzes market from a gender perspective. She’s simply a brilliant thinker!

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How to organize/organise a flash mob & Ways to rise

February 6, 2013

OBR-twitterbgOne Billion Rising! From the Toolkit, because it’s new — it’s been updated on Feb 5, I think:

2 pages: FlashMobHowTo

Another new document in the kit is this 2-page Ways to Rise:

OBR-WaysToRise

They’ve included what we are doing too (see ideas for teachers), as an example of more ideas on rising!

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Next week: Feb 13, 14 – Taking a break to open a space!

February 5, 2013

iamrisingA teacher (public/state-run adult language education) kindly scanned the stories we will read in class on Feb 13 and 14, because we will be rising to strive for a better world, without all that “invisible” violence against women. People who have the book or the script “I am an emotional creature” are welcome to bring it to class. The cut-n-paste work here comes from copies of the book. I will take 15 classroom copies (you cannot keep them, because I’ll be using them with the 4 groups) so that two people can share one, in case people don’t have their own copies. It’s 10 pages in all (5 sheets of paper if they’re printed on both sides).

EC1 + EC2 + EC3 + EC4 + EC5 + EC6 + EC7 + EC8 + EC9 + EC10

It seems Val, an English teacher who was a student of mine years ago, will visit the Intermedio 2 group on the 14th I think, to present One Billion Rising. This means we might have a guest speaker who won’t be charging anything for her contribution!

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Girls’ & women’s issues are not “side issues”

February 4, 2013

EmotionalCreaturepicWe’re over half of the population on the planet! One Billion Rising! (Mil Millones en Pie de Paz!) – Getting Ready for Feb 14! Print the poster OBR-POSTER_8.5x11pink and put it up wherever you work or study! Next week we’ll be uploading the pack we’ll use in class so you can print it for our lesson (public education has no money for copies for this, either 😦 ), which is three stories from I Am an Emotional Creature.  (Read A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sexual Slavery. Get more info here.

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Stories for Feb 14: A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery (in 2 pages)

February 3, 2013

Foto 132Here is one of the stories in I Am an Emotional Creature, inspired in girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And this is one of the stories we can read in class on Feb 13 & 14. In case you are afraid to read it, please consider this: we need to listen to the people who know about violence and are never listened to, not only to the people who tell about “the victims” (and keep in mind this book is informed by girls). The difference is clear: when you listen to people who were subject to violence, you not only learn about violence — you learn how to survive violence, and with this lesson you become more human, so to say, and you also become more aware of what to do about it all.

The minimum respect people who have always been ignored by HiStory is to listen to the direct source, and here is a 2-page story, a good chance!

A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery, 2 Word pages: LessonPlan14Feb2013

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One Billion Rising

January 27, 2013

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Man Prayer

January 27, 2013

by Eve Ensler

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Nonviolent Resistance (edited on the next day – in italics)

January 16, 2013

(Written with a feminist intelligence, this is, not like Gandhi or Martin Luther King would have.)

In the Avanzado 2 textbook, unit 4 is devoted to Warfare. Being a pacifist feminist, I suppose I should try to balance things a bit, posting here about nonviolent resistance, because History books, until the 20th century, like Science, and so many other areas of knowledge, have always been populated by men and wars, and men’s wars against other men. To make matters worse, they have always silenced Man’s war against women, for instance, never including in the description of casualties in war the fact that women were always raped – trophies or rubber dolls for the men that prevailed.

Humankind has been much kinder, throughout its History, but not until the 20th century did we start trying to find out evidence of this. Universities started setting up Women Studies and Peace Studies, both doing research to restore what was obliterated by men in power – kings, people with tons of money or richess, warriors, the clergy or religious reps. And then, we got the Internet, where zillions of people are leaving track of their existence, which makes it harder for manipulators to keep tricking us all. Consumerism is the new war to divert our attention from real life and real people, but it is obvious we have options, we have innumerable sources of information. We, the Jane Doe’s and the John Doe’s in/on the planet, have access to information and means of communication that allow us to travel around the world.

Nonviolent resistance is a method of social change that employs strategies such as strikes, sit-ins, boycotts and civil disobedience. In unit 4 we find some info on famous movie scenes and Spartacus is mentioned. This is an example of one of the most empowering and powerful actions human beings can undertake together without replicating the violence that tries to annihilate them. In class, I mentioned a similar example, much closer to our times: nonviolent resistance against the nazi occupation in Western Europe. People are so beautiful and powerful when they use their imagination and kindness, which is to say their intelligence, to learn to solve conflicts without generating more violence and more injustice!

Women have used nonviolent resistance constantly. But women have always been invisible in patriarchy, so they have not been acknowledged as rolemodels (and certainly not as “people who struggle”). (I don’t believe women are “natural” pacifists. The fact that women cannot use violence is part of the patriarchal rationale. I believe that if we overcome the patriarchal gender role system, we’ll develop our intelligence more, in a good way, and any kind of person will then tend to use nonviolence.)

Fortunately, the time has come when we are finally realizing that any human being is capable of using their intelligence, and that any of them should be treated with respect. Human rights is as new a notion as 1945, so it’s taken us far too long to get to this good idea. But we made it. And if we uproot the patriarchal dogmas that we have been brought up in, if we overcome them, we’ll have a chance of developing more civilized societies.

Here’s a video, “Women, War and Peace,” linked to in this Peaceful Protest Lesson Proposal. It’s just an example of all the nonviolent struggle going on that is not considered “struggle”, because patriarchy has taught us that only violent struggle is struggle, and honorable. And this is false.

564393_289129831196530_26175878_n(1)With our social movement on the streets in Spain, which we call 15M (mostly, I suppose, because “indignados” yet again just made men visible and this was unfair and feminist women and also less machista men protested — not necessary feminist, but some starting to understand or develop a feminist intelligence), and which is called the Occupy movement in English speaking countries, we have a very clear example of how good it feels, how right it feels, how intelligent it is, to use nonviolent struggle. The means should be an example of what we strive for, of the ends. Nonviolent struggle is non-hierarchical, every one can take part, from kids to the elderly, men, women, intersex people, hets, homos, bis, trans, all kinds of people, believers and people who do not believe in any kind of god (it’s not only believers like Gandhi or Luther King the ones fighting for justice through nonviolence)… not only what happens in armies around the world, right? Haven’t you seen how many things are happening where people are helping each other to protest home evictions, and also using nonviolent direct action?, this is, occupying the house, to defend the people being evicted? Or the street markets set in many neighbourhoods, where people are going back / rescuing “trueque”, bartering!

There’s the Arab Spring, too — and I know women were raped in some demos in Egypt, for instance, and we have to denounce that, but women were there fighting, too, they were taking part in this revolution, called nowadays social change, or the social movement.

On TV, have you noticed that when the demonstrations are just by young men, they’re full of violence and that when there are women, and other kinds of men (not only the Brute Force type), and all kinds of ages, from kids to old people, demonstrations are very definitely nonviolent, in spite of provocation?

Do you think there has ever been a time before where so many millions of people are demanding a better world, with less violence and injustice, to “their leaders”?

And there are people in Africa devoting their lives to nonviolent struggle, in the midst of brutal poverty and terrifying violence. And we should all learn to appreciate that, the best options we have if we want to survive as a species.

There’s much to learn from nonviolent struggle and I encourage you all to look for information, to discuss it on/in the street, at home, in bars, anywhere you can! The Franquist dictatorship taught people that we should never talk about politics or religion, and that is still operating, in spite of the fact that it is a crazy idea for democracies. It’s in our cultural unconcious memory, and we have to fight it, because it is not right. Politics is about us people living together and that should be built in cooperation, and via nonviolent struggle.

More hints:

  • Lysistrata
  • The nonviolent theory was developed by Henry David Thoreau in his essay, Civil Disobedience (1849). Thoreau’s argument that it was morally justified to peacefully resist unjust laws inspired Americans involved in the struggle against slavery and the fight for trade union rights and women’s suffrage (see also third wave feminism).
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the USA, with Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, thousands of students doing Nonviolent Direct Action, NVDA).
  • Gandhi and the Salt March. (If you are interested in more ideas about nonviolent struggle and today, you might want to read Por qué no soy gandhiana (Why I’m not a Gandhian), written from an anarchist pacifist feminist approach.)
  • The movement of Insumisión (by MOC people, who openly rejected violent action because they were/are pacifists — thought they call themselves “antimilitarists” because the term “pacifist” is not cool.
  • Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and other pacifist feminist groups or networks, like Women in Black.
  • Indians in America (which is a continent, and not a country) have also used nonviolent struggle, against acculturization, too. And Mayan people were incredibly creative since the European invasions.
  • People’s demonstrations all over the world against the Iraq war in 2003. People all over telling their leaders: we don’t want more wars; solve conflicts differently!

There’s so much, people! Just look around you and learn to see it as valuable, empowering, powerful, intelligent! Because we’re extremely lucky to live in this extraordinary time, when people traditionally pushed to slavery and harship, like most women and a lot of men, have finally the chance to lead their own lives.

Oh my! I can’t possibly keep writing this! There are so many experiences, books, handbooks (how to do this and that), people, peoples… and I really got to relax now a bit! So mull over it! And if you’re interested, some other day I can keep posting on this! 😀

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How will you rise? (Getting ready for February)

January 7, 2013

vday

On February 14, the Vagina Warriors or V-Day activists — I am a member of this global network to end violence against women — are calling us all to join an international action called “One Billion Rising” (Mil millones en pie de paz, in my own translation). Check out their site to learn more about this: One Billion Rising!

ONE BILLION RISING * STRIKE - DANCE - RISE!

I joined this particular action at the beginning of the learning year in 2012 by helping spread the news, this is, helping people learn about this event — from mujerpalabra.net on social networks mainly.

As a teacher in adult state-run/public language education in Spain I will devote a lesson, on Feb 13 (Wednesday) for the Monday groups and on Feb 14 (Thursday) for the Tuesday groups, to learning about this movement and their activists — we might read a Vagina Monologue (TP website) and/or something from I Am an Emotional Creature (pdf file), or watch a video, or do a listening activity on the issue of violence against women on this planet plus, hopefully, something on students’ part — questions, a discussion, sharing info, dramatized reading of some part. It’ll depend on their initiatives.

vaginamonsTo my students, yes, I know that’s Exam Practice Week. I decided not to join the international strike and stay in class with you. Instead, I’ll be contributing to this hard and loving struggle doing something special in class: working on ideas that are helpful for the struggle against violence against women and respect towards their activists! So, don’t worry — we’ll do the first part of the Practice Exam on the first lesson that week (the Exam Practice Week), and then move the second part to the following week, its first lesson. No problem! The aim of Exam Practice week is for you to learn about exam format, not for you to pass an exam and get official marks! You’ll do that in June, not in February. February is just to learn about exam format and exam strategies and also to see if the techniques you’ve been practicing/practising are actually useful for your tests (For super extra mega preparation, I will publish here a Guide I wrote, so don’t fret — just be patient!) You can jot down your results, of course, and also tell me about them. But this is useless/pointless in terms of certificates, because in our system, the only mark that allows you or not to get your level certificate is the mark you get in June, when Certificate Exams are held.

i-am-an-emotional-creature-the-secret-life-of-girls-around-the-world

FAQ on EOI exams: This is not how exams work in the first years of a level — in your cases, Intermedio 1 and Avanzado 1. In those first years you had real exams now that could help you out if you failed any of the parts in the final exam. Those exams, unlike Certificate exams, are designed by teachers in your school and just allow you to pass to the second year of your level. In contrast, Certificate exams are designed by the local authorities and held every year for the second learning year in each level – as you know, we only have three levels: A2 (in Básico 2), B1 (in Intermedio 2) and B2 (in Avanzado 2). The exam is the same for all the schools in the Autonomous Community of Madrid and is therefore held the same day at the same time in all of the EOI schools.

Last, if you wish to contribute any kind of effort to this global event, you can count on me for info on materials (for instance, you can borrow one of the books and prepare the presentation of an activity!). But start by clicking on the images here and reading a bit, so you get the picture! 🙂

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Native Women in North America – campaigning

December 28, 2012

Native women experience triple discrimination from the time they are born: being a woman, being a woman of color, and living within a lower income (being poor). They want their dignity respected. They want to be heard, like any human being who has something to say to stop the violence exerted against Her-Self. (Native women in North America are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.)

http://www.causes.com/causes/610126-native-women-campaigning-for-human-rights-in-north-america

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Practice/Practise speaking about clothes and footwear

December 26, 2012

I put together this webpage,
http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/exercises/voc/clothingNfootwear.html, ages ago, when I was a secondary teacher and I didn’t have a podcast! It was material I designed for 1ºESO students! (the ones just out of primary!) They learned/learnt to use this language because then we would have a catwalk show! That was fun! They were so good at it!! Of course our catwalks had nothing to do with ordinary catwalks: everybody would walk down the corridor and be cheered. Because they were great at it!

Sadly, more on catwalks here:

Look at this picture: someone has deformed these women’s breasts. A dirty mind. Why should they do that?! It’s like when Fb people close down an account because you’ve uploaded a picture of breast-feeding, or one of nudists on a beach. The same people who are so alert on banning pictures of people who freely choose to be naked do not do anything about all the nudes of people who are forced into prostitution, human trade, pornography, or into eating disorders… We’ve even got porn-type “sexy” girls in Family TV programs/ programmes, and everybody seems to be OK about it.

Femen_anorexic_models_3People don’t seem to mind the fact that all our visual life is bombarded with women whose bodies are being used to make money, and perpetuate the equation FEMALE = doll to USE sexually (nothing to do with having sex with someone, which, incidentally, is not about the visual, but about all the other senses!). People tolerating, even defending, this “market freedom” get really upset, better said, outraged, when women strip in actions of their choice. So what does this mean? This speaks about hypocrisy in society, certainly, and mysogyny, too. It’s at the core of the patriarchal social system.

Women deciding when to strip, what to do with their bodies is OUTRAGEOUS, DANGEROUS and won’t be TOLERATED. Throught their silent consent, they do allow this radical visual invasion of naked women when the system is using and abusing them.

My respect to these women! Who are fighting for a better world for women. Dirty, the mind of whoever edited this pic.

Underage models should be banned from catwalks

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A man walks to me and asks “Why are women so angry?”

December 20, 2012

I would have loved to answer with my Me Artist Self, but I behaved. I repressed my anger, my outrage at his blindness, or lack of empathy, and was generous to him: people are not aware of how the system operates in their understanding and feeling.

I took it as a question, not as condemnation. So I asked:

6368_116412211262_115675426262_2704501_1409767_n–I should say the question is, Why are men so angry?, don’t you think? [for Who’s done all the raping and murdering for centuries on this planet?, who’s invaded countries, established countries, destroyed countries, peoples? Who’s ruled over every human being for centuries, and why? Couldn’t He have understood there are other ways of living together in spite of people’s differences?]

You can’t feel threatened by angry women if you contemplate the state of the world. Contemplating the world with clear eyes, you can only have numerous reasons to fear your fellow men.

And I added the taboo word, in spite of how weary it all is — when people insist in not reasoning out relevant stuff:

Feminism has just finally begun liberating all human beings. Women being angry has helped us human beings to become more civilized, to achieve rights that enable us to relate as members of a same species, not as Men-Superior Women-Inferior. 

So my question is, “Are there any chances that men stop being so angry? [Can they learn to express their anger like feminists do, in nonviolent socially constructive ways?”]

I didn’t stay for the reply. Far too often replies are just about more violence, more injustice.

But I’m always hopeful. I tend to think that people — at least those with the capacity to feel curiosity — tend to awaken one day, and finally understand important ideas.

[I’ve written this little story because the other day a student asked me to tell them a story — I was surprised for I don’t know how to tell stories properly!! — and I actually didn’t but because we were all so busy! But the question by a man is true. Quite a few men are asking this question, though most don’t mean it as a question, but as condemnation.]

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Turrón, marzipan, the 12 grapes, Sol

December 20, 2012

Spanish Turrón (Nougat). Sweet Arab Heritage in Spain

turronTurrón is a clear example of the Spanish gastronomic inheritance from Arab cuisine. The honey, sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios which the Moors used in large amounts in their pastries continue to be the basic ingredients. Turrón and marzipan are the most typical Christmas confections in Spain, a gastronomic tradition that has persisted for over five centuries, as shown by historical documents recording turrón production in the town of Jijona (Alicante, Valencian Community) in the 16th century.

Jijona in Alicante, where the Moors planted many almond and other fruit trees in the 8th century, is the birthplace of turrón, the ideal location, considering that the local lavender, rosemary and thyme honey already enjoyed an excellent reputation. (Source)

The Twelve Grapes

uvastime(Sp. Las doce uvas de la suerte, “The twelve grapes of luck”) is a Spanish tradition that dates back from at least 1895 but which became consolidated in 1909. The tradition consists in eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity. It’s a fun activity — both watching people eat the grapes, and eating the grapes yourself. People laugh and choke, and strangely enough, don’t actually die! The twelve grapes are linked to the Puerta del Sol tower clock, where this tradition started and from where the change of year is always broadcast.  (More)

15M Movement

Since 15 May 20122, Sol is famous because of the Occupy Movement, known in Spain as the 15M.
Underground station of Sol. Sol-utions Square. The Revolution needs to be feminist, or there simply won’t be a revolution. Feminist women in Madrid created this banner at the beginning of the movement when they had to confront sexist reactions — insult and shoving (see more) — when they posed that the initial name of the movement “indignados” (outraged) was in the masculine, and did not make women’s participation visible. Then the movement started using “Marchas indignadas” (outraged marches), which was OK. But finally, the name 15M prevailed.

revfem

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Canadian Report: A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear

December 19, 2012

Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence every year, many in the institutions that we trust most to protect and nurture our children: schools.

http://becauseiamagirl.ca/Page.aspx?pid=5120

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The Passive — Crime & Punishment (1)

December 13, 2012

I just remembered there is an episode on this at the TP Pod. In Intermedio 2 we’re using the passive in the unit about crime and punishment. http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/func_gram/gramwebs/passives.html (Hey, if you want to volunteer to read out scripts for the TP Pod, that’d be awesome!)

I should record some more of these, with examples of how to use “rob” and “steal”. In case I don’t get to do that, read out loud the following:

I was robbed (generic) = Me han robado / Me robaron
A horrible guy walked to me and robbed me
*“I was stolen” is very funny!!! It’s wrong, OK? “Something was stolen from me” would be OK.
My wallet was/got stolen from my car = Me robaron la cartera del coche
Someone has stolen my wallet from my car! I can’t believe I just left it there!
A friend of mine got/was mugged the other day = A una amiga mía la atracaron el otro día (en la calle)

-Have you ever been robbed? = ¿Te han robado alguna vez?
-No, I haven’t. But my parents’ house was/got burgled once.
-Oh! And what did they take?

When you rob a bank, there’s people in.
But when thieves steal (money from) banks it’s usually one of those things people plan and do when people are not around. Now there are cyber criminals doing this too.

We were attacked = Nos atacaron

Most women I’ve known have been raped or sexually abused, and not by men they didn’t know. But it’s a taboo topic in society. Possibly, the biggest taboo. And when any of this gets to the news, the taboo is so big that the woman is suspected of having made things up. It’s always scary when you realize. Perhaps that’s why most people would rather not realize. 😦 To cap it all, women are continuously used as objects where “sex” is linked to violence (and that’s what we are taught non-stop, especially men through patriarchal porn): in all kinds of audiovisuals women are raped and murdered. It’s like movie directors “geniuses” can’t shoot a movie without using/abusing women in this terrifying way. There’s nothing “natural” in rape, it’s all cultural. A cultural brainwash. And nowadays we know better because both men and women — regardless their sexual orientation — know that sex is about pleasure, not torture. Rape has been the silenced war against women for centuries. This is one of the reasons why feminists speak of patriarchy, a social system based on a fundamental notion — the gender system as defined in patriarchy, whereby women are second-class human beings. This is still going on in most of the world, including our country. But there might be hope — right? It seems we’re finally starting something different…

What a trip! From the passive to this topic. Boredom, please, rescue me!

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