Posts Tagged ‘patriarchal gender System’

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

May 31, 2013

chickenI’ve been looking for the sheet I wrote answering this question by women artists, thinkers and activists. At that time, the 90s, it was not that funny because people did not know these women… Still today, most people don’t know those women writers.. Sigh! Anyway… I haven’t found it in my computer, so I suppose I should start looking through my papers! But they’re all scattered in various houses where I lived, so I suppose that’ll be something I won’t manage to do!

Oh, poor women! It’s so hard to get you into most people’s minds! But that doesn’t mean they did not exist, in spite of all the injustice and obliteration…

I do remember one I wrote. It’s what GERTRUDE STEIN would say: “A chicken crossing the road is handsome and convincing.” 😀 Hey, found one on the Net: VIRGINIA WOOLF, “She wanted a room of her own.” 😀 She did, she did!!!

In the comments below I’m posting some answers I’ve found on the Net – by valuable men AND women. You can also post some if you like. Hope you enjoy them!

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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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BACK!!!! (bye bye spring hols! ♥)

March 31, 2013

Hiya, dear all! Just back from being locked up in nature due to non-stop rain! I couldn’t even go for a quick stroll!!!

ghoststoriesmarujamalloshirleymanginiBUT — I’ve been reading a bit: ghost stories by women writers (I’ll bring a few copies of this one for the end-of-course goodbye raffle! because they are GREAT and the weeny presentations of the authors are like pebbles shining in crystal clear river waters! 😀 !) and about the Spanish painter and revolutionary (!) Maruja Mallo and the Avant Garde in Spain (you’ve got to get a copy of her bio by this US American woman. In Spanish it’s published by Circe but it costs about 30 euros!! It’s originally in English, yes! BUT IT COSTS 70 EUROS!!!). Then I’ve done a bit of translating for social activism: on Feminist Curiosity (bits of the intro) by Cynthia Enloe (it’ll get published on Mujer Palabra, in Activismo – Pacifismo feminista). Finally, I’ve been doing some writing (a poem on friendship lost, which turned out to be feminist as an accident, 😀 , well, when you develop a feminist intelligence it’s like when you understand something: you cannot stop using that understanding!) and a new feminist postcard (you can color it: 1 pdf page: cartel_colorear. I’ll do it in English soon-ish) which I think will help humanity to overcome all the hurt patriarchal values have done to human intelligence!).

Yes! Yes! And done a bit of work for you! I’ve written 1,000 words on Mainstream or Alternative Medicine so that Avanzado 2 people can listen to an example of a monolog on that (I need to record the audio now).  Then, I’ve prepared two special speaking activities. (Btw, remember to bring the handout with Three Proposals.) Here’s one: Next Tuesday, when we’re back to school (eek!!!!!!!!) I’ll order 50 copies of this one-page handout for a Timed Speaking Activitiy in the Avanzado 2 groups! I’ll give it to people in our first lesson together and you’ll do the looking up stuff before the lesson when you’ll actually “improvise the interaction.”

I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I also FUCKING HOPE YOU WILL FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS!!! 😀

TIMEDSPEAKINGACTIVITYFORAVANZADO2  (FIXED LINK) – traveling to Greece ♥, Iceland ♥♥ or Cyprus

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday and hope it’s not a Rainday! Next Monday I’ll try to send my feedback on the recordings I did not manage to finish working on last week!

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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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Intro to Feminism (in Spanish) & More for Curious Happy Creatures!

February 14, 2013

feminism-is-the-radical-notion-that-women-are-people-cheris-kramarae-and-paula-treichlerAfter our celebration of One Billion Rising, and our discussions, I would like to recommend a book in Spanish which I read last year. It includes some of the Herstory we’ve always been denied: the History of the women, particularly of the women /wímin/ that opened the way for what is today known as Feminism. Of women who worked for women’s human rights — risking their lives, most of the times; actually, French “revolutionaries” guillotined the women who demanded the Declaration of Men’s Rights included women, because it didn’t, in spite of the fact that there were philosophers supporting them like Mary Wollstonecraft, and many more! (Well, Wollstonecraft was English, but she moved to Paris at the time, to support the French Revolution.) It also makes a good present/gift. It’s “Introducción al feminismo,” by Nuria Varela. And on this webpage in her website, she has some posts tackling some of the issues she includes in “Introducción…”, in case you want to read a bit before getting a copy!: Feminismo para tod@s.

Yesterday I also recommended Eulàlia Lledó Cunill‘s books on language, from a feminist linguist’s perspective. If you love language, if you are aware of the amazing power of language to affect reality, I particularly recommend you read feminist analyses of language. At Mujer Palabra, guess: we have a lot of resources on the importance and the power of language! Here are our postcards!

Last, a book debunking neurosexism, to clear the way for healthy notions coming from neuroscience, that will enlighten you if you haven’t grasped so far how deeply the gender roles condition our choices. Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender. In Spanish (great gift, too): Cuestión de sexos.

  • floresdestructivasMost people have never missed women in the books they read — “he” being enough to represent the species, and the “she” experience being too unimportant to deserve books or even a name.
    (Bansky’s graffiti on romantic love.)
  • I know most people have never wondered why the only books about women we read /red/ were written by men.
  • Fortunately, in the 1990s in Madrid, we finally managed to have quite a few women being published. However, we’re far behind books by women if we compare our case to the USA or Britain.
  • Women have to find their voice, word their thoughts and experiences, and ANY human being should be curious about listening to, reading what they say. Why is there so little curiosity? Why is it so common people immediately feel threatened when women do so? (Patriarchy, as a system, is a terrible idea. Analyzing the construction of the patriarchal gender roles is liberating for all, and much more consistent with the notion of human rights!)
  • I committed to reading women writers in 1989, when I found Feminism in the society that surrounded me — I was living in London at the time. And I was appalled: how could it be that I hadn’t realized women had no voice, no authority as thinkers and artists in my mind-world?! How could it be that I hadn’t missed listening to women thinkers and artists and activists? I felt so ashamed, and so angry! I realized how very destructive the weapon of OMISSION is. My proposal is you commit to reading at least a book a year by a woman. And please, saying “a woman” is just saying, a human being who has been denied the right to study and get involved in public life and all because she has been categorized in culture as inferior, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally, spirituality. There are all kinds of women-persons, but they all share having been considered the dark / evil side of the gender coin.
  • The 20th centuries are beginning to change that (though, if you read the book, you will see how we said this same thing centuries ago!), and we women are voicing our thoughts and experiences in public. We should. It matters. It’s a matter of great importance. Because we have not been allowed to have a voice in culture — we have just been allowed to transmit patriarchal culture. That was the closest we were of any connection to an intellectual life.

I think it would be worth listening to women, too.

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One Billion Rising

January 27, 2013

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Mi’kmac Indian version of Cinderella!

January 17, 2013

mi'kmac cinderellaAs you probably know, Perrault took stories from different oral traditions and wrote his version. That’s OK, of course. Free culture is a fundamental human right! (The sad part is why his got widely circulated and why the gypsie’s oral story didn’t). I have found in Angela Carter’s book of Fairy Tales what must have been the original oral version of Cinderella, by English gypsies, and yet again, this happens: it seems Perrault’s stories (like the grim Grimm Brother’s!!) were widely spread because the women in those stories were portrayed as what patriarchal ideology defines as feminine. (Get a copy of Carter’s collection, and you’ll find all kinds of women there, not only silly weak victim-like unimaginative unintelligent women.) Well, while developing a linguistic-literary project some years ago I found this version of Perrault’s Cinderella, by Mi’kmac Indians in America (the continent). What do you think of it? 🙂 If you are interested in translating it into Spanish, you could get it published on Mujer Palabra for sure! And you can count on me for feedback or corrections. 🙂

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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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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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Delusions of Gender, by Cordelia Fine

November 29, 2012

Delusions of Gender. I have given this book as a present to a few people, and they were all interested in it, as they read. The translation into Spanish was published last year and it’s called “Cuestión de sexos. Ni los hombres son de Marte ni las mujeres de Venus.” The book is meticulous and very funny at times. She doesn’t use scientific jargon, but you need to have an Upper Intermediate level, or perhaps an Advanced level. Check! 😉  (you can borrow mine – got it in both languages)…

You should read it…

  • if you are a parent wondering why girls are so much into pink and boys into superheroes (watch Riley’s video here. She’s a 4-year-old girl analyzing market in connection to gender)
  • If you are a teacher
  • If you are someone interested in the human mind
  • or in why gender is a topic addresses by innumerable thinkers, artists and activists.

She won’t be giving you any conclusive evidence because neuroscience started developing at the end of the 20th century (the “science” we had before, saying that women’s brain was smaller and all that, was not Science). She will be showing you where they cheat (both mass media, never spreading accurate research) and how society puts pressure on gender roles.

If you don’t get a copy of the book, do please listen to her here (45 minutes): ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. You’ll have a laugh and learn a lot of where we come from! and where it’d be nice to head to! Are sexual differences hardwired in the human brain? We have a habit of seeing danger in all the wrong places. … In the late 19th century, when women were pestering to have access to higher education, Edward Clark, of the Harvard Medical School argued that when adolescent girls and women think too hard energy rushes dangerously from ovaries to brain. His best-selling book, Sex & Education, which was subtitled … Or a fair chance for girls (!), is an absolutely terrifying catalog of the psychological and physical ills that can befall women … [because of this] competition between the female reproductive system and the female brain.” ! She moves on to the early 20th century, and quoting another eminent doctor, “Due to their more delicate nervous systems, if women achieve the feministic ideal and live as men do, they will incur in the risk of 25% more insanity than they have now,” which I think you’ll agree is admirably precise. In his view, policy makers should take seriously the distinct possibility that ...

Well, it’s too funny, and too outrageous: Why have they taken such pains to demonstrate women’s inferiority century after century? Why haven’t we missed women in History, why don’t we visualize them when we think of Prehistoric art? Why should we pretend none of this has happened, just because now some of us are able to choose who we want to love and have sex with, what we want to wear, our occupation, what lifestyle we want to follow…?

If you want to spread the word among people who do not speak English, here is info on this essay Mujer Palabra. And here is a video of her at TED Talks (with subtitles in Spanish)

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♥ A 4-year-old Feminist analyzing market!

October 25, 2012

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