Radfem Reboot has exceeded every last one of my expectations and hopes– what a wonderful, amazing, fabulous conference. Probably three-fourths of the women attending (and there are many, far more than I expected to be there) are under 30 years of age. Thrilling! The workshops have been nourishing, inspiring and energizing, every one of them. Kathleen Barry’s keynote was stunning, as was the consciousness-raising that followed. Indigenous women from Vancouver B.C. have presented workshops and panels on how colonialism, genocide and patriarchy have created generations of prostituted women and girls, raped women, murdered women, missing women and shared their ongoing strategies of resistance. We have heard from Lierre Keith, Renate Klein, Susan Hawthorne, Sam Berg, others, and I presented as well, and it went so well, and I am so pleased. Today we’ll hear from Cathy Brennan and Maggie Hayes and will finish with a social this evening. The food has been delicious. I hugged Lucky Nickel and Stillwater and Cathy Brennan and Lierre Keith and Susan Hawthorne and Renate Klein and Kathleen Barry and Maggie Hayes and Sam Berg and Allecto (many times! had a wonderful dinner with this beloved young woman), and Kat and Emzy Femzie and Bunny from Michfest and Pisaquari! I met some women who live close to me, exchanged contact information. My heart is so full, I feel so nourished, I have so much hope, once again.
On Friday, three years after a Collin County jury acquitted the Leshers and their employee of aggravated sexual assault, a Tarrant County jury awarded the couple $13.78 million in a libel judgment. The ruling sends the message that people have the freedom to write what they please online, but they can be held accountable.
The award is the largest ever assessed in an Internet libel case, the Leshers’ attorney, Meagan Hassan, said Tuesday…
“This was clearly a vendetta,” [plaintiffs' attorney] Hassan said. “We originally sued 178 John and Jane Does, and it all came down to two IP addresses.”…
The abuse grew so bad that the Leshers closed their businesses and moved away from Clarksville, where they had lived for more than 20 years, Hassan said. Mark Lesher now practices law in Mount Pleasant and Texarkana, and his wife has given up her salon. Continue reading
Even among ourselves we fear that not kneeling at the motherhood shrine will make us look weak and incompetent and unfeeling. We are afraid that if we speak the truth of our lives as mothers, we will find ourselves standing alone, the unnatural, scorned exception, that if we were to tell what agony motherhood has been for us, women of all political persuasions might fall upon us in rage, so invested are women in keeping the fathers' last guilty secret: that making motherhood horrific while brainwashing us to believe instead that it is beatific, they have effectively secured our minds and hearts, our cooperation. --Sonia Johnson, Wildfire: Igniting the She/Volution
To the casual observer, it might appear as though motherhood struggles are indistinguishable from any other difficulties women face because they are women. Feminists have, after all, always confronted wage inequities, job discrimination, mistreatment of women by doctors and the medical establishment, injustices in the court system, exploitation of women as unpaid care providers for children, the elderly and the sick, and as caretakers of home and hearth, and the lack of social and economic support for older women who have spent all of their lives serving their families without being paid for it. All women have experienced these forms of discrimination or been directly affected by them in some way.
But mothers experience specific kinds of discrimination because they are mothers–discrimination those who have elected not to be mothers do not face. This discrimination and the subsequent inequality of mothers compared with those who are not mothers is largely invisible, hidden as it is beneath the motherhood mystique, the aura Western culture has created around the idea of motherhood. It goes unnamed and often unacknowledged by mothers, as well, fearful as each one is that she is the only one to struggle as she does, that other mothers know something she doesn’t, that to speak out might equal admitting she is a bad mother, suspect, better take a good look at her kids, maybe they are abused or neglected. And besides, mothers love their children, or if they don’t love them as they should, they know they are supposed to. They don’t want anyone–particularly their children–to suspect their capacity for maternal love is not what it ought to be. And they don’t want to be despised and feared the way mothers who are not good and loving are despised and feared under male supremacy. And so mothers are silent. Continue reading
The poor people who were dropped from cash assistance here, mostly single mothers, talk with surprising openness about the desperate, and sometimes illegal, ways they make ends meet. They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners — all with children in tow…
Dear Jane Alexander,
I just spoke with a young man from your office, who informed me that I had been chosen to be one of twelve recipients of the National Medal for the Arts at a ceremony at the White House in the fall. I told him at once that I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration. I want to clarify to you what I meant by my refusal.
Anyone familiar with my work from the early Sixties on knows that I believe in art’s social presence–as breaker of official silences, as voice for those whose voices are disregarded, and as a human birthright. In my lifetime I have seen the space for the arts opened by movements for social justice, the power of art to break despair. Over the past two decades I have witnessed the increasingly brutal impact of racial and economic injustice in our country.
There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice. But I do know that art–in my own case the art of poetry–means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage. The radical disparities of wealth and power in America are widening at a devastating rate. A President cannot meaningfully honor certain token artists while the people at large are so dishonored. I know you have been engaged in a serious and disheartening struggle to save government funding for the arts, against those whose fear and suspicion of art is nakedly repressive. In the end, I don’t think we can separate art from overall human dignity and hope. My concern for my country is inextricable from my concerns as an artist. I could not participate in a ritual which would feel so hypocritical to me.
there will be no compensation
it was of your free will that you stood
on the frontline
these are the rules of war
remember that you fought for your people
i know the freedom’s been hard won
but as you weep
remember that you
“Gertrude Beasley’s memoir of growing up dirt poor in and around the Bible Belt town of Abilene, My First Thirty Years, was released in 1925 by Contact Press in Paris. That’s the same press that published James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. H.L. Mencken hailed Beasley’s book as one of the best coming-of-age books ever …
“Despite these accolades, her memoir is largely unknown. Its violent and sexually deviant material caused it to be banned in Britain, where Beasley was living at the time. Most copies were destroyed by Scotland Yard and U.S. Customs. The few that made it to Texas were mostly yanked off shelves by the Texas Rangers, probably on the orders of prominent Texans maligned in her book. Then the author vanished. She was 35. Continue reading
23. (Supplied by Amanda in Part I; I don’t want it to get lost in the comments) Women take care of men when they are belittled, disrespected, and assaulted by polygamy forced upon them “in the name of God” and perpetuated through a patriarchal status quo of ignorance and fear. (In this instance I (Heart) would say they are indentured servants or slaves, forced to take care of men.)
24. Women take care of men by giving men and boys the best of the food they prepare.
25. Women take care of men by, when food is being dished out, leaving the best or the biggest portions for the men and boys.
26. Women take care of men when, if there isn’t enough for both the men and the boys and them, they say, “I’m not hungry.” Continue reading
1. Heterosexually-partnered women continue, as their foremothers did, to take care of men and boys by doing far more than their fair share of the housework, childcare, cooking and other household duties (buying gifts, preparing for holidays, sending thank you notes, organizing family get-togethers).
2. Heterosexual women sexually service men and boys. They have sex they don’t want to have and they have babies they don’t want to have.
3. Huge numbers of women still spend hours and days and years of their lives on their appearance with the goal of taking care of men’s objectification-of-women agendas. They diet, develop eating disorders, have cosmetic surgeries, tan, pluck, shave, wax. They wear makeup, uncomfortable clothing, uncomfortable shoes. Their taking care of men in these ways also takes care of the men who run the beauty and fashion industry.
4. Women take care of the men in their lives by keeping men’s secrets. They don’t disclose or challenge male use of pornography, attendance at strip clubs, participation in the prostitution of women, sexual harrassment, objectification of women. Sometimes they do not disclose or challenge sexual molestation, incest, and inappropriate sexual behaviors.
5. Women take care of the men in their lives by cleaning up the messes men make– all kinds of messes: physical messes left in the house and yard; emotional messes which result from neglectful or abusive parenting or abandonment of children; social messes which result from ignored or neglected invitations, birthdays, holidays, failures of communication; financial messes created by irresponsible buying or failure to keep records. Continue reading