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Pre-2008 Posts

Wanting the Blood Mother

“It wasn’t just Yvonne. All down the ward, they called for their mothers. Mommy, ma, mom, mama. Even with husbands at their sides, they called out for mama. Nine hours ago, when we came in, a woman with a voice like a lye bath alternately screamed at her husband and called for her mother. A grown woman sobbing like a child. Mommy…I was embarrassed for her. Now I know better.

“I held on to Yvonne’s hands and I imagined my mother, seventeen years ago, giving birth to me. Did she call for her mother? I imagined her screaming at my father, calling him worthless, a liar, useless, until he went out for a beer, leaving her alone with the landlady on a cold November morning. She had me at home, she’d never liked doctors. I could imagine how her screams and curses must have pierced the quiet of the walk street in Venice Beach, startling a kid going by on a skateboard, while the landlady smoked hash and rifled her purse. But did she call out, Mami, help me?…

“But then I realized, they didn’t mean their own mothers. Not those weak women, those victims. Drug addicts, shopaholics, cookie bakers. They didn’t mean the women who let them down, who failed to help them into womanhood, women smiling into mirrors, women in girdles, women on barstools. Not those women with their complaints and their magazines, controlling women, women who asked, what’s in it for me? Not the women watching TV while they made dinner, women who dyed their hair blonde behind closed doors trying to look twenty-three. They didn’t mean the mothers washing dishes wishing they’d never married, the ones in the ER, saying they fell down the stairs, not the ones in prison saying loneliness is the human condition, get used to it.

“They wanted the real mother, the blood mother, the great womb, mother of a fierce compassion, a woman large enough to hold all the pain, to carry it away. What we needed was someone who bled, someone deep and rich as a field, a wide-hipped mother, awesome, immense, women like huge soft couches, mothers coursing with blood, mothers big enough, wide enough, for us to hide in, to sink down to the bottom of, mothers who would breathe for us when we could not breathe anymore, who would fight for us, who would kill for us, die for us.” –Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Heart

Discussion

75 thoughts on “Wanting the Blood Mother

  1. Most of us would like a magic figure who never has problems of her own to protect us from the world and make the bad stuff go away. Unfortunately, parents, including mothers, are real people with their own problems and weaknesses.

    But then, I never liked White Oleander. It was one of those books that didn’t so much make its point as pound it in with a sledgehammer. White oleanders are poisonous! And beautiful! But poisonous! But beautiful!

    Posted by Miranda | March 20, 2007, 10:35 am
  2. Strangely, strangely, strangely enough I want to *be* that blood mother. I consider her my Original Being. Only when I imagine myself being her, can I imagine myself in a world / universe in which there is simply no room for the patriachy, no room for males.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | March 20, 2007, 1:07 pm
  3. Mary, I love that… I too want to be the blood mother… The nurturer, the one to have wisdom and understanding and support unending… I have a question well maybe more a comment i dont know…, oh boy will this spark debate… but I am serious.

    Women (hopefully men are involved positively but eh lets be real here… how often is this the case?) raise sons and daughters. Children can grow up in a household where there is peace and equality, and turn end up an abusive or abused spouse. Like wise they can grow up, as I did, in a house where there is no equality. Where the mother/wife is expected to work like a dog, cook, clean, raise kids, deal with the husband/father’s rage, abuse, addiction, non-working status, with a smile… the child(ren) can all grow up to be different as night and day. The child exposed to such abuse can grow up loathing the subordination, subjugation, and expetations held on/against women, and not tolerate even the slightest hint of such.

    Lets factor in society… the negative images and depictions of women, and what a woman “is” what it means to be a woman…

    What would you, anyone, say is the “cause,” lol I know it cannot be boiled down to one thing, of this? How do sons and daughters grow up thinking it is ok to abuse, be abused? What is it that makes things this way? Is it personality? My mother and her sibs all grew up washing my grandmother’s blood off the walls and floors…. The girls all ended up in abusive relationships, the son is a womanizer/abuser. I grew up watching my mother get raped financially, threatened, abused verbally, mentally emotionally, even physically a few times (she fought back but that doesnt take away from it does it?) and I turned out not wanting anything to do with men until I felt I was on track, and being OVERLY critical of men, questioning every motive, (though I too fell victim, in a sense, not perfect by a long shot) word, reason… Would you say that it is something within that child, or a person’s own sense of self and self worth that contributes to this?

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 20, 2007, 8:10 pm
  4. Hi Heart

    I’m new here. I found your blog through a friend from myspace. I’m glad he told me about it. I hope I will find some seriously radical feminists who are open minded and smart that I can share some ideas and information with.

    Thanks
    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 20, 2007, 8:24 pm
  5. I liked White Oleander but that’s probably because I’m not good with symbolism (“thick as a brick” is more like it). The whole “white oleanders are poisonous and beautiful” stuff was neither here nor there to me except that she used them to poison the man who’d insulted and exploited her. I simply enjoyed following the girl’s story, even though parts of it made me cry. Sometimes it’s good to be simple and sappy.

    As for mother bonds or mother yearning, I’ve never felt them. I didn’t have a mother, learned young that I didn’t need a mother, and I’ve never wanted to be a mother. Like the symbolism that beats the smarter ones over their heads, I don’t get the whole mother thing.

    Posted by CoolAunt | March 20, 2007, 8:39 pm
  6. Well…yeah…they do, we do, want those “weak women” who are our mothers. We just want them to come through for us at those times in a very “blood mother” way. And sometimes they do. And sometimes they don’t. And that hurts. So we try to become our own blood mothers and try to be one for our daughters and lovers and friends. It’s all any woman can do is try.

    Posted by Ginny | March 20, 2007, 10:36 pm
  7. As a mother of three, I can see the importance of the mother/infant bond and mother/child bond. Only a mother can bring life into the world and the most natural condition is to be raised by that mother. For most of us, our mothers were the center of our world. Everything we needed to survive came from her. The most important relationship to any infant has is usually with its mother.

    Being a mother is one of the most rewarding and fulfulling things I had ever done. I wouldn’t trade my bond with my children for anything. I love that my kids know, that after a bad day, there is always a soft place to fall. Where no one is judging them and laughing at them. Where they are being listened to and sometimes has good advice.

    These things I do and feel for my kids are instinctual and come naturally for all mothers when not tampered with and influenced by patriarchal societies.

    Patriarchal societies breaks down and destroys the mother/infant bonds. They do this in so many ways and right under our noses. Starting with the denile of the breast. They shame nursing mothers to no end in this country. They force harsh punishments and cruel rituals on our children, all done in the name of their barbaric religious ideologies. And so many of us just accept it. Of course we as little girls were taught not to question men, they know whats best for us. And the list goes on.

    Anyway, bank to the point…I thought the movie was good and came across to me as an oppressed pissed off woman’s(the writer) fantasy of revenge on a man that did her wrong as well as a way to express her feelings of hatred for the patriarchal society she lives and is having to raise her daughter in.

    Sometimes I daydream and think of ways to kill certain men that have really hurt me. I’m sure we all do.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 20, 2007, 10:48 pm
  8. Well, no. I don’t daydream of ways to kill men any more than I daydream of ways to kill cockroaches. I live in a cockroach/man-free environment and it’s not often I give either one more than 15 seconds of thought.

    As for the patriarchal construct of motherhood and all its rubbish about maternal instinct, all I can say is, bah, humbug. In the wild, mothers abandon, kill and even eat their offspring without a second thought. Especially if she determines it to be defective, ill, or weak or even a hinderance to her. So much for all that poppy-cock about maternal instinct. A dream of man. To have an endless supply of warm, protective, nurturing, self-sacrificing mommies. Without any authority of course.

    Posted by Luckynkl | March 21, 2007, 4:07 am
  9. DP, my own unscientific view is that it is empathy, whether or not a person has it, that determines whether he or she will grow up to abuse if he or she has witnessed or experienced abuse. I think more boys grow up to abuse because empathy is not encouraged or rewarded in boys coming up the way it is encouraged and rewarded in girls; in fact, boys and men are often rewarded to the degree that they have so little empathy that they can bomb civilians, kill people, destroy people’s lives. Men who use misogynist pornography cannot afford to empathize with the women in the porn; how would they be able to orgasm to the pornography? Men who prostitute little girls and women can’t afford empathy with them; if they could empathize, they would never prostitute. Men sent out to kill in war can’t afford to empathize with the people they are murdering. Politicians who send men out to kill can’t afford to empathize either. I think sometimes children who witness a lot of violence and abuse harden themselves to the pangs of empathy and compassion they feel as a matter of survival. They are helpless, they are little kids, there’s nothing they can do, and where the violence is too searing and brutal, I think they sometimes shut down emotionally. A lot of times these kids can’t remember much of their childhoods, if they can remember their childhoods at all, and it’s these kids who I think are more likely to grow up abusing.

    I think if American culture valued art in all of its forms a million times more than it does — music, poetry, great literature, paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography — and made it available to all people, including small children, children who witness the horrors of violence or abuse or who have been abused might find a way to make sense of their experiences while still remaining empathic and compassionate. Art is a true magic, I think, it works real magic; it teaches, it tells hard truths, and heals wordlessly, and we suffer for the lack of it.

    Well, those are some thoughts. DP, be strong, I know you are and will be. I’m so sorry for what you have had to experience, you and your mom and your grandmother. 😦

    Interesting the divergent views in here! I agree with everybody. 😛 I’ve wanted and have looked for the blood mother (and have found her, in my own way), I’ve wanted and tried to be the blood mother, and have paid dearly for it, I’ve measured myself against the blood mother and found myself so lacking and despairing, and I’ve resented the way women are coerced for not getting or wanting anything to do with motherhood, for not believing in it, or not seeing it, in nature, in women.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 10:31 am
  10. Heart,

    Thanks again for another eloquent post.

    I see the blood mother as one aspect of The Female. She is symbolic, not part of a patriarchal construct which of necessity requires self-sacrifice. Her energy as too huge to be self-sacrificing. She is not and never can be a human female figure. Perhaps a power-and-happiness fantasy for me. Like, imagine being able to be a mother and that’s what it was actually *like*.

    *but* :::

    The Female (in my mind) has many aspects, as shown for instance, in the South Asian figure of Kali, who stands beside the other more beneficient aspects.

    And, for sure, if we anthropomorphize (gynopomorphize?) “Mother Nature” we see what we would experience in ourselves or others a brutality, uncaringness, even viciousness.

    I incorporate and embrace all these aspects of The Female in my mind.
    🙂

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | March 21, 2007, 3:07 pm
  11. When animals leave, or kill their young, it is because their young wont survive for some reason or another. Animals do not kill their young for no reason!

    Luckynkl,

    Please read up on matriarchal societies before making such harsh judgments on mothers. And please research the evolution of our emotions. Every emotion we have serves a purpose and usually for our off spring. Most mothers do not abandon or kill their children. If our insticts werent involved for the betterment of our off spring there certainly wouldnt be the over crowding in schools. The majority of mothers would have dumped their babies in dumpsters and no one would bat an eye at it. In fact very few mothers abandon or kill their children and the few that do can be linked to mental disorders. Mental disorders that are caused by harsh punishments and emotional cruelty done to them throughout their lives.

    And I am speaking from experience as well. I was sexually abused as a child by my step father and even after I told my mother, she still chose to stay with him. She did so because our patriarchal society told her it was her fault because she didn’t let him have enough power over the family. Thats right she was told to ingnore her insticts and do what MEN wanted her to do. And that was a common practice throughout the 80’s and 90’s. So, I was forced to live with my rapist until I was 18 and could get away from him. It took her a few more years and me refusing to have anything to do with her or even let her see my kids before she finaly left him. And we still do not have a good relationship, but I damn sure wont let her fucked up parenting and bad choices destroy my instincts and my childrens lives.

    Here is a link to incest exception laws that Protect.org (I’m a life time member) has fought so hard to change and we still have a ways to go.

    http://protect.org/california/caCampaign.shtml

    Posted by say no to christ | March 21, 2007, 3:23 pm
  12. What you’ve said about mothers not murdering their children, animals murdering their whelp, is wrong. But not nearly as wrong as this:

    ~~~~~~~

    “Luckynkl,

    Please read up on matriarchal societies …:

    ~~~~~~~~`

    You are speaking to one of your foremothers. A leader of the feminist community for more years than you’ve lived. You should hope she’s in a patient mood to respond to this bilge, if she chooses to respond.

    Several people here are now making popcorn, in anticipation of this event.

    Posted by Pony | March 21, 2007, 4:18 pm
  13. Well, I can’t wait. I am about tired of women ignoring and belittling their nuturing and loving instincts to compete with men. Men’s instincts to compete and fight for females has come to dominate our whole society and no one bothers to question. If women are ever going to free ourselves from the selfserving competetiveness of our patriarchal society, we are going to have to accept our instincts as just as good if not better than men’s.

    And Pony when is the last time you seen an animal (and I mean mamals) kill their healthy off spring for now reason? Yes, sometimes they will kill healthy off spring, but only in times of scarce food suplies. Human women do the same, that is why we have abortion and have used other remedies throughout history. Our instincts will tell us that we can not provide and the choice is made. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t fair. Nature isn’t always nice, but we damn sure do not have to glorify and put men’s self serving competetivness above our loving and nuturing instincts.

    BTW, Mary

    I love you take on the movie.

    Posted by say no to christ | March 21, 2007, 5:22 pm
  14. ***In the wild, mothers abandon, kill and even eat their offspring without a second thought. Especially if she determines it to be defective, ill, or weak or even a hinderance to her.***

    This is true, however the situation is complex among animals. Animals do the above and sometimes they do as “Scarlett” the cat. Scarlett was a stray mother cat who went into a burning building 5 times in a row at great physical cost to herself to save her 5 kittens by carrying them out of the building one by one. Scarlett became famous for her acts of maternal heroism, but she is not unique or an aberration among animals. Anyway, if you are interested, Scarlett’s story is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlett_the_cat
    And the story is true. I live in the area and remember when it was news.

    Posted by Branjor | March 21, 2007, 7:15 pm
  15. I have to tell you Say no, I just don’t have any. Some of us don’t, we evolved, or maybe we’re defective. I have complex discussions about this with my two offspring, neither of which assumes that everyone is exactly alike.

    Heart, I think I’m about five miles down the road from you on the KP. W00t.

    Posted by thebewilderness | March 21, 2007, 7:43 pm
  16. Well, that’s amazing, thebewilderness! I sometimes have wondered whether I and my daughters might be the only radfems on the KP, but I had a little hope when I learned an anti-war demonstration was being planned for Lakebay. That’s definitely a new wrinkle! 🙂

    We will have to hook up one of these days!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 9:34 pm
  17. It’s interesting that the mother in the painting above is faceless and her form is somewhat abstracted, while the child’s face is quite detailed. Heart, did you pick this painting for that reason? Do you think the mother figure in the painting is faceless because she’s a symbol, or is it that she is less important?

    Posted by Beansa | March 21, 2007, 10:16 pm
  18. Beansa, yeah, part of the reason I picked the painting is that the mother is faceless and almost formless– it’s the child’s face that is central and apparently most important in that it is sort of bright, detailed, luminous, whereas the mother is more like background, almost like wallpaper. What you see of her, what seems most prominent to me, are her breasts (for the child) and that really interesting purple thing coming out from her dress, which could be blood, could be an umbilical cord. It’s the only real color associated with the mother. She is breasts, nourishment, blood, faceless, formless, shapeless, raceless, everyone’s mother, no one’s mother.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 10:21 pm
  19. Also, what is the baby lying inside of? Is that a pelvis? Pelvis bones?

    Posted by womensspace | March 21, 2007, 10:47 pm
  20. I am about tired of women ignoring and belittling their nuturing and loving instincts to compete with men.

    I don’t believe that women as a class are more naturally more nurturing and loving than men. Society encourages (if not forces) girls to be nurturing and boys to not be. There shouldn’t be certain traits required for each gender. Empathy, respect, honesty, and so on should be characteristics of all people.

    Animals might not directly kill healthy offspring, but they will certainly shun them and not allow them to feed.

    Posted by Miranda | March 21, 2007, 10:51 pm
  21. thebewilderness said:

    “I have to tell you Say no, I just don’t have any. Some of us don’t, we evolved, or maybe we’re defective. I have complex discussions about this with my two offspring, neither of which assumes that everyone is exactly alike.”

    And I would agree that not all women have a mothering instinct and those are the women who choose not to be mothers(that in practiced in the wild as well) or have had motherhood force upon them. If you brought a child into this world of your own free will than you absolutely have at least some of your mothering instincts intact. that is the problem with patriarchal societies, they deny us our animal instincts or belittle them to the shame we hide in our closets. The instinctual bond that mothers have with their children when not tampered with by patriarchal societies, are solid and of loving and nuturing.

    That doesn’t mean that women have to give up their whole lives either. If we did that then life wouldn’t be fulfulling at all. I have and so have many other women managed to have great careers and have very loving and nuturing relationships with our children.

    In the end I don’t think men have that much to do with the mother/child bond and the less the better. They’ve done enough damage to it!

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 21, 2007, 11:00 pm
  22. My opinion on the mothering instinct issue is this:

    At the very least, some of us have to have some form of mothering instinct buried within us for procreation to make any sense. Do all women have it? No, and the reason for that may be biological, environmental, or a complex combination of both. Procreation is not fueled purely by societal imperatives. It’s not solely a learned behavior. Some form of it is unconscious.

    I know from my own personal experience that when I came into my later teenage years I felt like I was hit by a truck. All of a sudden I had a profound longing to have a baby, despite the fact that I KNEW I didn’t want to have a baby at the time, and I found myself more fascinated with babies.

    As far as mothering in the wild goes, I disagree with using wildlife psychology as a primary argument for human behavior. So many people have used biological evidence to promote anti-feminist agendas, proclaiming that male animals are naturally aggressive and polygamous. Does that mean we should accept these behaviors in human men as comparable? Oftentimes what seems to happen is that people exploit animal research to reinforce their own beliefs about humanity. We definitely share some similar behaviors, but I think the differences are distinctive enough to demonstrate that the psychology and survivalist instincts of animals are not unquestionably tantamount to those of human beings.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 22, 2007, 12:29 am
  23. I was wondering the same thing, about what the baby is laying in. It kind of looks like hands, but I can see the pelvis bones too.

    I am mesmerized by this painting.

    And I say gingermiss is right on about not using observations of animal behavior to support theories about human behavior.

    Posted by Beansa | March 22, 2007, 1:48 am
  24. Not to mention, different species of animals have radically different behavior. Even among species of primates there are remarkable differences, and human interpretation of animal behavior is notoriously warped by biased preconceptions. Are humans more like monkeys, gorillas, bonobos? That is all speculative and rather meaningless, if you ask me.

    Posted by Aletha | March 22, 2007, 6:12 am
  25. Not to mention, different species of animals have radically different behavior.

    Exactly.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 22, 2007, 6:51 am
  26. Lurker here..

    Can’t have your proverbial cake and eat it too. If it is only “natural” to want to get pregnant and have a child, then homosexuality is abnormal and degrades women who are lesbians. If “instincts” are what everyone must follow, I guess if someone grabs an apple out of my cart at the grocery store I’ll pounce them and start biting. Oh wait, that might land me in the psychiatric lockdown unit becuase I’m a human being with higher reasoning skills than that of an animal. It does feminism no good to compare human behavior to that of other mammals. Thusly, I believe that all of the ” I just started wanting a baybeeee” is a product of society. The supposed “biological clock”‘s ticking is actually the yammering mouths of busybodies who revel women with horror stories of infertility and birth defects if they fail to use their poor, dusty uterus ASAP.

    Were it nor for technology women could not get pregnant without men. And obviously, they still have to consent to donating their sperm. Say No To Christ comes across as heterosexist, in that, if her point of view were true, it would render all lesbians incapable of being happy without male inclusion.

    I support a woman’s choice to have a child. My issue is with the constant waxing sentimental over, what is, at best, a largely one-sided relationship at least as a child grows up, that may or may not develop into a mutual, loving relationship between parent(s) and child. It’s certainly possible to fulfill needs to nurture with another adult, at least then you know that you will get the same in return or you can leave. A child is an 18 year committment, regardless of if you are miserable or not.

    Personally I refuse to mother a child, and I would never partner with anyone who had children or who had any desire to–that’s my choice. I’ve no delusions of my genetic material being so great that I need to pass it on to anyone else, and the chance of my potential offspring becoming the next Mother Theresa or curing AIDS and Cancer is slim.

    I had no sympathy for the mother character in White Oleander–It doesn’t take someone all powerful to make rational decisions for themselves and their offspring. There’s no woman, man, or giraffe important enough to make me want to rot my life away in prison over, and I’m not SuperWoman by any means. While obviously women have been victimized in patriarchy, there still has to be some sense of responsibility.

    Posted by T. | March 22, 2007, 7:53 am
  27. If you brought a child into this world of your own free will

    Well, yes, if a woman wants to have a child, it usually follows that she wants to be a mother (despite the various reasons I’ve heard for having a child, which include “babies are cute” and “it will save my marriage”). On one level, it is similar to animal behavior, because it’s biology, which is all about reproducing.

    Even I, confirmed childless being as I am, have felt the call of her uterus as it tried to talk me into letting it fill its prime directive. There’s no need to get mystic about it, or about animals for that matter.

    Posted by Miranda | March 22, 2007, 10:33 am
  28. Well my whole point was to point out that there is a natural bond between mothers and their off spring and because of that everyone has a longing for some type of motherly figure. It is only natural. I think down playing the fact that it is women who bring life into this world, nuture, protect and provide for it, takes away from the power that women hold weather they use it or not. Men have done everything in their power to dominate and control it, because of the power it holds. There is an old saying that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. There is a LOT of truth in that, that is why men have deemed it their “god given right” to lay claims to OUR children. That is why men created marriage forcing women to give up their own names and take away their name rights to their children as well. And yes, I am speaking from a straight/bi curious( I do find myself having crushes on other women from time to time) perspective, because that is what I am biologically. I can not ignore my instincts and I will not allow myself to believe that my instincts are less than, in anyway, shape, or form, then men’s stupid selfserving competetiveness. A big part of me can’t help but feel it is way superior and should be deemed so(sometimes my female ego gets out of control). And to say that not everyone has a nurturing and loving instinct is wrong on so many levels. It is a natural intinct of the mother and every living thing on this planet comes from a mother, so it would naturally be a part of ALL of us including men! That is why we need to embrace it and encourage it in all our children especially our boys!

    And if men have ever hurt you the way they have hurt me, it is only normal to fantasize about hurting them or seeing them get their just do. And I am having a hard time believing that none of you have ever been truly hurt by a man and wished he felt the same pain he inflicked on you.

    And animal psychiatry has come a long way! We(I am a canine psychologist) are now realizing that the animal kingdom isnt really a kingdom at all and is more like a Queendom and that humans are animals and do have some of the same kind of emotions(emotions are a part of the evolutionary prossess), thoughts and behaviors. Social animals (to include humans) have a LOT more in common than most people are comfortable admitting and its because man has been running from the truth of his true origins for 6000 years now. If he admits that he is only an animal, than he has to admit that all life originates from the female and not his super daddy in the sky.

    Science is on our side now and we need to embrace it!

    And please forgive my lazy writing habits sometimes it gets me in trouble.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 22, 2007, 5:56 pm
  29. “there is a natural bond between mothers and their off spring and because of that everyone has a longing for some type of motherly figure.”

    Is there a “natural” bond? By “natural” I think you mean that the bond comes from some inherent, ahistorical place in the mother – a bond that is formed by biology and somehow exists outside of culture. I just don’t think that’s possible. Even urges and desires that are biologically based are shaped by cultural influences.

    Say there is a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters in a new mother’s brain which cause her to experience intense feelings of love and protectiveness toward her baby, that’s a biological, chemical process, right? But, the way she experiences, interprets and expresses those emotions will be directly influenced by her personal history, her ideas about motherhood, the culture of her family and society and who knows what else. There is no way you can call that “instinctive.”

    Many mothers have difficulty bonding with their babies, and much ado is made about not missing out on “bonding time” right after a child’s birth. And some adoptive parents feel an instantaneous bond to their chosen child. Are these “unnatural” reactions?

    I think it’s likely that any supposedly universal longing for a mother figure has a lot to do with the cult of motherhood – the way mothers are made out to be these mythological creatures of unending loving caring selflesness and strength. Well, that’s how a good mother is supposed to be, anyway. The woman who takes care of you, no matter what, loves you unconditionally, who doesn’t want that? Who can live up to that?

    And I think that the longing to have a child is somehow tied up in women’s longing to create, a power which has been denied to most women for far too long, unless we are making babies.

    My personal experience of mothering is that some days I feel intensely connected to my child, and profoundly fulfilled by the work I do as a parent. Other days, I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I decided to have a child.

    I don’t think that people are born with an instinct to love and nurture. A capacity to do so, maybe. But my time spent around children has convinced me that kindness, empathy, caring and nurturing are skills that are learned. Altruistic two-year-olds are the exception, not the rule.

    Posted by Beansa | March 22, 2007, 7:59 pm
  30. These nature-vs-nurture-sexism analyses are always so interesting. So many factors come into play:

    A) in a patriarchal, gendered society, some human traits are considered “feminine” and others “masculine”

    B) because of patriarchy, “feminine” traits are devalued (as Say No has been pointing out)

    C) “it’s natural” is used to reinforce gender-as-dominance, with its attendant iffy comparisons to animal behaviour

    D) issues around traditional (western) distancing of humans and other animals mixes in with sexism (“feminine” is more animalistic, thus “inferior”)

    E) which all mixes in together as some of us try to reclaim traits that have been devalued due to their association with the female (ie nurturing), arguing that traditionally ‘masculine’ traits, such as extreme competitiveness and aggression, are detrimental to human society (and the planet, now)- as I understand Say No is doing. But also, this brings up how many females are not “feminine” (with its attendant subtext of “failed femininity”) AND mixes in that lovely double-bind/double-speak thing where the patriarchy puts femininity on a pedestal while still devaluing it (“nurturing human life is the best of human abilities!” and “Bob, yer such a girl’s blouse! *sneer*”).

    So, what do we do? I don’t think we should continue to devalue what has been associated with the female, nor do I think we should put it up on another thing that kinda looks like a pedestal. BUT, there is political value in ‘valuing the devalued.’ This might work towards changing that constant subtext of female=inferior that laces everylastfuckingthing in our world. BUT, doing that inevitably leads to that ‘failed femininity’ thing. And Shulamith Firestone (as I understand her point to be- haven’t read The Dialectic of Sex yet) may be right (at least up to a point) that women need to be disassociated with nurturing and the animal world, because it holds us back so much, and because it’s been connected to us so much so as to be shackles around our feet.

    (so that might be redundant to what’s been posted in this thread, or merely a recap, but I’ve promised myself to not self-edit so much and just go with it. so y’all get to swim through it😛 )

    Posted by Cinder | March 22, 2007, 8:06 pm
  31. and yeah, what Beasa just said, at 7:59 pm.

    I also just really don’t think it’s possible to separate nature from nurture in our species. We are just too intensely social, consistently, relentlessly social, to be able to separate them.

    Say there is a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters in a new mother’s brain which cause her to experience intense feelings of love and protectiveness toward her baby, that’s a biological, chemical process, right? But, the way she experiences, interprets and expresses those emotions will be directly influenced by her personal history, her ideas about motherhood, the culture of her family and society and who knows what else. There is no way you can call that “instinctive.”
    This is what I meant by “humans negotiate our environment through culture” in the recent Gender thread. Every last thing, from emotions to chemical responses, to filtered through our brains, through our world view, through our culture. And I think the majority of it happens below our usual level of awareness. I’m really starting to think that on a fundamental level, separation of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ is impossible.

    Posted by Cinder | March 22, 2007, 8:15 pm
  32. And animal psychiatry has come a long way! We(I am a canine psychologist) are now realizing that the animal kingdom isnt really a kingdom at all and is more like a Queendom and that humans are animals and do have some of the same kind of emotions(emotions are a part of the evolutionary prossess), thoughts and behaviors. Social animals (to include humans) have a LOT more in common than most people are comfortable admitting and its because man has been running from the truth of his true origins for 6000 years now. If he admits that he is only an animal, than he has to admit that all life originates from the female and not his super daddy in the sky.

    Science is on our side now and we need to embrace it!

    I believe that studying animal psychology is important, and I do believe there are connections between the way animals behave and the way humans behave, but the point I made above still stands. People have long exploited the ‘research’ they’ve done regarding animals to promote one-sided views of humanity. As more women enter the science and research fields, I hope this will change, and that the analyzing voice will no longer be so one-sided.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 22, 2007, 9:06 pm
  33. So I take you don’t care to make any response to my post, Say No To Christ?

    I’m not sure there’s anyone who has never been hurt by men–or women, for that matter. I don’t find revenge against people to be the way to go, for a variety of reasons, but ymmv, I guess. In any case, with respect, I still find your comments to be lesbophobic and shortsighted and that is something that, as a straight woman who is (I’m assuming)
    a radical feminist you should examine. As a lesbian, I’ve never felt any “drive” “urge” or “instinct” [insert any other hot button word] to have contact with a penis to be made pregnant by a man. I have no vested interest in men. The oppression of mothers and the institution of motherhood is clearly a problem–a symptom of patriarchy, but not the only one. I want to be treated as a whole person–not any better or worse because I have the ability to gestate a child.

    Posted by T. | March 23, 2007, 1:50 am
  34. “If he admits that he is only an animal, than he has to admit that all life originates from the female and not his super daddy in the sky.

    Science is on our side now and we need to embrace it!”

    You mean the same “science” that has been used to subjugate women based on “biological truths” for eons?
    The one that searches for the elusive “gay gene” in order to get rid of it?

    Science has never been on the side of women.

    Posted by T. | March 23, 2007, 2:00 am
  35. Thank you cinder for having more patience and better writing skills. I am more of a talker and doer considering my job very little writing and just doing.

    Gingermiss

    That is fine, I can respect that, but I also see the importance in understanding animal and human behaviors. It isn’t just animal psychologists that are saying that humans have oppressed their natural animal instincts and are all fucked up now from it(all caused by patriarchal ideologies). Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Susan Griffin, Christine Downing and the list goes on and on. Wilhelm Reich was one of the first to realize that matriachy was the most natural and instictual way for humans to live and one of his die hard followers James DeMeo proved it.

    http://www.orgonelab.org/saharasia.htm

    If humans were truly living and functioning in its most natural, instinctual form, there wouldnt be the overpopulation and the craziness that we find ourselves in.

    And T.

    You need to seperate christian junk science and real science. The real scientists and discoveries are completely on our side now. Brian Syke, a world renown geneologists has been screaming at the top of his lungs that it is MAN who is an incomplete female and not the other way around, like our patriarchal christianize society wants us to believe. He makes it a point to point out in his book ‘Adams Curse’ that the male y chromosome is in FACT an incomplete X, because men have no business ruling the world.

    It truly isnt that science isnt on our side, is it that science is censored if it doesnt agree with the christian patriarchs.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 3:12 am
  36. “screaming at the top of his lungs that it is MAN who is an incomplete female and not the other way around, like our patriarchal christianize society wants us to believe. ”

    My version of feminism isn’t a paradigm shift in which females are viewed as superior and males inferior–hierarchy has been men’s domain. Sex isn’t the problem, gender is. Neither male nor female is inherently better–men have just been corrupted by years of power.

    Why do you refuse to acknowledge what I have said with regards to lesbians?

    Posted by T. | March 23, 2007, 4:11 am
  37. What did you say with regards to lesbians? And why are some of you so hostile towards my views? And if you bother to read the link I posted about Saharasia you will see why it is important that women claim their natural rights to their children. Men have no right to claim rights. Once women have their natural rights back society will naturally fall into an automonous society.

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 4:48 am
  38. If humans were truly living and functioning in its most natural, instinctual form, there wouldnt be the overpopulation and the craziness that we find ourselves in.

    I don’t know about this, as overpopulation has to do with SO many factors, but I am interested in the information you provided and will probably do some further reading on it.

    Posted by gingermiss | March 23, 2007, 5:01 am
  39. The real scientists and discoveries are completely on our side now.

    As opposed to all those fake scientists and discoveries? Oh, Galileo and Pasteur, you wacky kids. It’s great that science is now including women in its observations and tests, but to claim that a paradigm shift has occurred in the biases doesn’t make me feel any better.

    If humans were truly living and functioning in its most natural, instinctual form,

    This seems a little odd coming from someone who typed it onto the keyboard, and who is in front of the Internet. I’d like to advace a little beyond our animal forms, myself.

    Posted by Miranda | March 23, 2007, 9:56 am
  40. ***Brian Syke, a world renown geneologists has been screaming at the top of his lungs that it is MAN who is an incomplete female and not the other way around, like our patriarchal christianize society wants us to believe.***

    The fact that it’s a man “screaming this at the top of his lungs” is suspect. What’s in it for him?

    In fact, the male Y chromosome, whether or not it is an “incomplete X”, has been losing genes steadily over the centuries, accounting for its small size. The “male determining” genes on the chromosome, which are still there, are the only ones which have no analogues on the X.

    I don’t know if I agree myself that the only difference in the level of care and empathy displayed by males and females is due to conditioning/gender ideology and has no biological cause, but I do not believe that the cause is in the genes.

    Posted by Branjor | March 23, 2007, 12:20 pm
  41. The fact that it’s a man “screaming this at the top of his lungs” is suspect. What’s in it for him?

    Really. This is something we always need to be asking when some man is all over something.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 12:31 pm
  42. What did you say with regards to lesbians? And why are some of you so hostile towards my views? And if you bother to read the link I posted about Saharasia you will see why it is important that women claim their natural rights to their children. Men have no right to claim rights. Once women have their natural rights back society will naturally fall into an automonous society.

    I’m not “hostile”, It’s just that your views are…..well, they’re some views.

    I think my point WRT lesbians was clear–if all human being are, following your theory, animals driven by instincts, you must believe that lesbians (and gay men, obviously, but I’d prefer to just speak about women for now) are unnatural, since, again, by your theory, all human females are meant to breed with males. And yes, as a lesbian, I have a big problem with that, especially coming from a straight woman.

    And quite frankly, I’ll just say it, I believe 99% of your theory is bunk with 1% truth–the fact that we can sit at a computer and type out the thoughts that are in our brains, that we can create morality, that we can control these so-called “urges” to commit sexual acts or violence differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, period. Better? not necessarily, just different. If your ideal world is one of forced impregnation by men, and violence as a means of defending young,food, and territory…uh, think i’ll pass. The society we live in now is close enough to that as it is.

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting your views–or maybe you havent clarified them enough, I don’t know. But it just seems a bit suspect for someone to be clearly using technology, in a profession that, i’m assuming, is one that caters to predominantly well-off, white, firmly-rooted-in-all-things-developed individuals, since many people can’t afford therapy for themselves, let alone their animals.

    Posted by T. | March 23, 2007, 2:09 pm
  43. “Men have no right to claim rights.”

    Well,obviously, men lay claim to half of the genetic material needed to become pregnant in the first place. And since society is better off au naturale in your book, you’d want to do away with artificial insemination anyway.

    And if we’re going down the sci-fi road, I’m pretty sure men would put the brakes on sperm donation if it was clear that women were actively seeking to phase them out.

    I had more to say, but I’m tired and afraid whatever else I say’ll be snarky. Be back later.

    Posted by T. | March 23, 2007, 2:19 pm
  44. This is just a general request to all posters. When you pull quotes from another poster, would you note who said what, who you are quoting? Even though the quotes may be set off with italics or quotation marks it is difficult to follow the conversation when they are just dropped into a post without reference. Thanks!

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | March 23, 2007, 3:27 pm
  45. And I am sorry the formatting is a pain here. The upgrade is coming, I promise. :/

    It’s best to blockquote what you are quoting– bolds and italics often don’t work for more than one paragraph. To blockquote, type carrot () and at the end type carrot () but just the symbols and “blockquote”, no parens.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 3:30 pm
  46. Hey, say no, (and everybody), I just wanted to say that I don’t think we need any scientific or biological or genetic or pseudoscientific or ANY kind of basis to like what we like, enjoy what we enjoy or pursue the agendas or worlds we want to pursue.

    I love what I’ve read so far about matriarchal/goddess cultures. I’m new at this study, more like, I’ve just dabbled in it every so often over many years, but I find it really fascinating. I love goddess imagery, amazon imagery, and envisioning and imaging Her, She of 10,000 Names. I am particularly interested in the nonhierarchical structure of matriarchal cultures and in the way modern matriarchists are theorizing nonhierarchical living which emphasizes qualities given short shrift in patriarchal cultures ruled by male “bully gods,” i.e., love, compassion, fairness, nurturing, consensus, nonauthoritarian relationships, gift economies, and so on. I love that stuff! I can’t get enough of it. I have been plodding my way through the book For/Giving, written by a matriarchist with a forward by Robin Morgan, just so people won’t think I’ve gone off the deep end, :p, not that I haven’t,😛 for forever, a book about gift economies. So I love all that stuff. I plan on loving it more, and more, too, and incorporating more and more of it in my life and the communities I’m part of where others are willing to.

    I don’t think I need to have a scientific reason or justification for doing that. I don’t need to say, iow, that “science is proving,” that human beings are “actually” blah blah blah. Science, so-called, will prove whatever it proves but science isn’t what guides me and it isn’t my moral compass, in large part because it is still godawful MALE through and through, can’t not be, and will be for a good long time because women were forbidden participation for so many millennia. I also don’t have to believe that nonhierarchical, consensus-practicing and loving, Amazonian cultures existed (although I believe they DID exist and still do, for that matter :P) to find it extremely useful and rewarding and exciting to study the possibilities and to create the reality.

    Whatever celebrates the strength, power, potential of women is *worth study, research, and theorizing*. WHATEVER. No need for male science/medicine/biology/genetics/history to be on women’s side.

    The problem with what you’re proposing, say no, is not the thing itself, it’s where it takes women (and men). Patriarchy likes nothing so much as to tell women that it is “natural” for us to nurture, care for, and be primary caregivers to, our young. That way, we can be forced to do that whether we want to or not or feel that or not or ever want young or not. We can be rewarded societally and culturally iow on the basis of whether we conform, and punished on that same basis. So that isn’t in our best interests. Even if it were true, truer than true, that it IS “natural” for women to want to bear children with men, to bear them, and to take care of them and nurture them, well, so what? The fact that something is “natural” isn’t the only consideration. I mean, I have a “natural” inclination, I believe, to a bunch of stuff that I reject for reasons that have come to make sense to me.

    To be empowered is to *have* power to shape our own lives. Whatever abrupts or hinders that process is suspect, I think, and what enhances that potential is probably a good thing. Envisioning matriarchal cultures, Amazon culture, Her, nonhierarchical living, gift economies is empowering to me. It opens up new worlds and hence, new possibilities to me and can shape the decisions I make in this world. I don’t need to have science or history or anthropology on my side for this to be true.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 3:52 pm
  47. Well, I am sorry you all are so suspect of any men, but I live in a world where 50% of the population are men who are almost as unhappy as we are. Its really sad that you all think so little of ALL men, even men who are fighting on our side. Believe it or not, I know a lot of men who are feminists, my houseman and 17 year old son happen to be and are VERY proud of it. They also are doing their part in creating a matriarchal society, by not forcing their name on women and their children(weather they fathered them or not) and by being supportive, helpful and loving. Man are NOT just born assholes, they are taught to be and we can and MUST change it. We absolutely have the ability to do so since it is women who bring them into the world.

    And creating a matriarchal society doesnt mean we have to give up technology! The Netherlands are well on their way to having a matriarchal society. They have done so by women refusing to marry, refusing to give up their names and refusing to give name rights of their children to men. The women of the Netherlands are living their lives for themselves. They didn’t do it by ignoring and running from men, they did it by embracing their femininity and standing up to men, because the feminine power is way more intimidating than brute strength, when push comes to shove.

    And I think you would be happy to know that science has proven that there is no such thing as a “gay gene” and that gay/lesbians are born that way. Brian Syke does a good job explaining it in his book ‘Adams Curse’.

    And if you step out into the real world were men and women are working together to fight against christian junk science, you would see that religion and science are in an all out war and its because science is dismantling the one thing that makes our society a patriarch.

    All you all have done was attack EVERYTHING I say, yet offer nothing to support why you are so right and I am so wrong and not very nicely, I might add. WTF?

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 3:57 pm
  48. And by the same token, I don’t personally believe any woman has to justify her decision to have children on the basis of appeals to nature. I think if she wants to have children, loves the whole thing, wants to raise them like an Amazon would, she should. I did. 11 times. And yeah, there are plenty of people, including feminists, who will clobber a woman for that, but whatever. I won’t. Most women have kids before they are ready and find the experience to be not what they anticipated or wanted. Many women feel trapped by motherhood from the time their kids are born. But some women don’t. Some women Love. It. I think they should be free to carry on, have babies, revel in the primal-ness of it all, because there is a wild, primal thing to having babies for those of us who get into that kind of thing, and they should not have to justify what they do scientifically, biologically, anthropologically, religiously, or in any other way. They wanted to. Good enough for me.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
  49. Well, we cross posted, say no, but hopefully in what I have written some common ground is to be found.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 4:02 pm
  50. And yeah, I agree with you, say no, the Matriarchy Movement has been a lot more influential in Europe than in the U.S. with some really GREAT results for mothers. GREAT. In the way it’s filtered down, kind of as you describe, so that families have family leave, maternity leave, flexible hours, GREAT preschool/daycare centers. I just watched a documentary on television about this last night. The U.S. places LAST among industrialized nations in provision for mothers, children, babies, maternity care, prenatal care, considerations in the workplace, all of it, not talking so much about the government, although I AM talking about the government, talking about the corporate sector as well. The U.S. SUCKS when it comes to mothers and children. There is NO excuse for it, we are the richest fucking nation in the goddamn world. We don’t give a shit about mothers and children, we send them off and say, “You had them, you take care of them.” ARGH. I should not get started down this path!

    But you’re right, it isn’t that way in Europe, not at all, there is an intelligent, highly evolved movement underway to actually consider the needs of mothers and children in an enlightened way with the idea that children really are the future of the planet, and matriarchists, the movement itself, has figured prominently in that.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 4:09 pm
  51. Heart said:

    “To be empowered is to *have* power to shape our own lives. Whatever abrupts or hinders that process is suspect, I think, and what enhances that potential is probably a good thing. Envisioning matriarchal cultures, Amazon culture, Her, nonhierarchical living, gift economies is empowering to me. It opens up new worlds and hence, new possibilities to me and can shape the decisions I make in this world. I don’t need to have science or history or anthropology on my side for this to be true. ”

    And I couldn’t agree more, but we would not know about matriachal societies if it wasnt for history, anthropology and yes even science.

    Science is also very important for our children to learn and it has to be real science and NOT christian junk science that want to teach our children that some angry sky daddy created all life and that women were created from men and that being gay is a choice or an evil “gay gene”.

    As a mother, that is just NOT want I want my children to be taught.

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 4:11 pm
  52. Heart

    Again, I couldnt agree more! Europe also has lower crime, violence, STD’s and teen pregnancies.

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 4:15 pm
  53. Say no, I completely agree with you that Christian junk science is precisely that: JUNK. With a capital J. It is propaganda, nothing more, and it always has been. I mean, Christians excommunicated Galileo for suggesting that the earth moved around the sun. For just the first obvious example that comes to mind.

    “Real” science, anthropology, archaeology, yes, these are interesting and useful to us. There are archaeologists in this thread, cinder being one, or, she will be soon. I love the work of the people I read about in Athana’s blog, “Radical Goddess Theology.” I LOVE Maria Gimbutas and think she was a kickass pioneer and radical thinker. I LOVE the woman thinkers in Christianity who have called out the church patriarchy for destroying evidence of goddess cultures, matriarchies, and priestesses. I love reading about, hearing about, all that stuff and I love teaching it to my kids.

    I am just saying, I don’t need to rely on science as justification for what I believe. As women, once we surround ourselves with women, and start the descent, or ascent, into the ancient myths, the ancient writings, the stories of the foremothers, once we spend time together, comparing our own stories, what we learned from our mothers and the women in our lives, as we begin to think about Her, the Goddess, and read what is written about her, I think we can begin to tap into our ancient women’s history ourselves, via story, via women’s community and culture, via spirituality, and art, and that we would– even without archaeology or science being on our side, so to speak. Which is not to say it isn’t exciting when science proves us right! heck yeah! Gimme some of those shots of the latest goddess statues and drawings and other amazing finds that women archaeologists, especially, are writing about. Love. It. 🙂

    I just think that relying too much on science is a dead-end road mostly because women do not have the power in the world, certainly not in that discipline, and science has always been, and continues to be likely to be, used against us. I will feel differently about this when women’s voice in science is equal to, or eclipses, men’s voice.

    I also wanted to say that I think being gay or lesbian can be a choice. I don’t think we know everything that factors into who we’re attracted to– I think there are probably all sorts of factors having to do with biology and genetics and our upbringing and experiences and so on. Nevertheless, we can choose who we love, I think. The problem is not with gayness, or lesbianism, being a choice. The problem is with the way male power punishes choices that don’t shore it up. Male power wants all the women with men, and wants one man for every woman. Gay men, lesbian women, are a problem; therefore they are punished for their “choice” and told that what they do is unnatural. Well, that’s all a red herring and nonsense. All people ought to have every right to love whomever they love for any reason at all. Nobody’s business. Not the state’s, not the church’s, nobody’s. Science is interesting, research is great, but viewing it as the answer or prescriptive takes us down this dead end where we lose our choices to love whomever we want to love, in whatever way it makes sense to us.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 4:27 pm
  54. Yeah, say no, and in Europe, way fewer women marry, and the ones who do have way fewer kids. In some countries prostitution is outlawed, beauty pageants are outlawed, as well. All this stuff is connected and has to do with *respect* for women, for the female.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 23, 2007, 4:28 pm
  55. Heart

    Again, I absolutely agree with you. I absolutely do not need science to invision a peaceful matriarchal society. But, I am a science junkie and can’t help but feel that the more we talk about science and all it great findings that more our daughters will be interested in it.

    And I would agree that gayness can be a choice for some and they have every right to love who ever they want. But, I am completely fascinated by the research and the neurology involved and it does come in handy when our christianized government tries to discriminate against gays.

    And like you, I LOVE teaching my kids about matriarchal societies and I LOVE Maria Gimbutas! When I think of a blood mother she always pops in my head.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 4:56 pm
  56. I didn’t mean blood mother so much as just the motherly figure that I envision when I think about Maria Gimbutas.

    Posted by say no to christ | March 23, 2007, 5:07 pm
  57. I love the study of matriarchal Goddess cultures too, Maria Gimbutas and Merlin Stone. I take it for granted that matriarchal and other types of woman centered cultures actually existed. “Woman was always a nonperson” does not make sense to me. I also love Sonia Johnson’s ideas about anarchy and a gift economy. She got the gift economy idea from Genevieve Vaughn, but Johnson and Vaughn disagree in that Johnson restricts the gift economy to being between women, whereas Vaughn includes men in it. I agree more with Johnson on that.

    Posted by Branjor | March 23, 2007, 5:59 pm
  58. I notice a pattern among feminist posters. I’m sort of nervous about posting it because I don’t want to touch off a shitstorm. Many (but not all) feminist posters seem to want to stress similarity and sameness between women and men (at least minus the patriarchal conditioning), but at the same time distance animals from themselves as so profoundly different. There is so much talk in patriarchy (and here) of what “distinguishes” “us” from “them.” (We’re so distinguished.) Anyway, without respect to what the real differences are, if given a choice of who I want to identify with – the men who have othered me, made me the enemy, spent 5000 years building a “culture” in which I am an outsider and “inferior”, or the animals who have looked up to me, loved and protected me unconditionally, I know which *I* choose.

    Posted by Branjor | March 23, 2007, 6:21 pm
  59. yuppers, I’m an archy! Finished school at Christmas, finished work-study hours in January, graduation ceremony in June. Recovering from burn-out in February and March😛

    Heart, I totally agree with what you’re saying there about science (be it natural sciences or social sciences like archaeology). Dangerous road if you’re looking for justification. Science is only as “objective” as the scientists doing it, and it can’t answer all questions- and the questions it ‘answers’ are really quite limited to the experiment being done.

    The big problem with science, in my view- and many others of course, is how it has become the new religion in a way. Scientism, instead of science. We (as a culture) used to say “It’s true! God said so!” and now we say “It’s true! Science says so!” Whereas in reality, science is just a method of trying to figure out what’s going on. We have an idea, and we develop experiments to test that idea. Then we try and develop other experiments to rule out this factor or that, trying to narrow down the possible causes of the phenomena we’re looking at. There is no (or shouldn’t be) Truth from science, no absolutes. But rather “Most likely scenario so far figured out.” It’s all hypothesis until enough scientists get together and think “well, that seems to be what’s going on- we’ll upgrade it to Theory.” That’s why, with the recent global symposium on climate change, hundreds (a couple of thousand?) climatologists agreed that global climate change is “most likely caused by human behaviour.” And that’s as close to 100% as scientists get.

    And archaeology is even more vague. But it always gets turned into “That’s it! Science proves it!” either in the press or in general discourse. And of course, scientists are not themselves immune from scientism. And with archaeology especially, it seems, in mainstream culture, there is this great tendency to see what is found in the archaeological record as The Truth ™. Even though it’s just this spot with these remains, and only those remains that weren’t washed or decomposed away. Not exactly a full picture! And massive amounts of interpretation around the artifacts themselves.

    er, so end big digression! I could go on all day about that.

    Back to what you were saying, Heart, about not needing for it to have existed before for it to be created now. I think that was one of the things that I’ve always liked about Wicca- how it seemed to be such a conscious re-invention of Goddess worship in many ways. Well, part re-invention, part re-claimation, partly passed down through the generations. I think I’ve always resonated with what Margot Adler said about the Goddess: something to the effect of, sometimes I see her as an anthropomorphic personification of an abstraction- a feeling of connectedness to the universe, but sometimes, I feel, yeah, there is a Corn Goddess there in the maize, and I am connected to Her, born by Her.

    Which leads to what I thought of, when I first read the original post, and the title: The Blood Mother. An archetype of nurturing, protectiveness. The Mother of us all, The Goddess. An anthropomorphic personification of an emotional abstraction. As well as that desire for protection and nurturing that all small children crave. A memory from infancy? All of the above?

    Posted by Cinder | March 23, 2007, 6:53 pm
  60. that science has proven that there is no such thing as a “gay gene” and that gay/lesbians are born that way.

    If there’s no ‘gay gene’, how are they born that way?

    Well, I am sorry you all are so suspect of any men,

    Weren’t you just saying they had “no right to claim rights”? As long as we’re being scientific, we should note that men do have a part in the procreation process.

    I don’t know that Christian science is any ‘junkier’ than theories that postuate ancient matriarichal societies and how nifty those were. Myths, spirituality and stories and speculation, sure, those are important, but they are, by their nature, not proven.

    Posted by Miranda | March 23, 2007, 7:58 pm
  61. ***Myths, spirituality and stories and speculation, sure, those are important, but they are, by their nature, not proven.***

    Yeah, thanks to our great friends the males, who burned the great library at Alexandria to the ground in 500 ad, which was a repository of information on the prechristian mid east cultures.

    Posted by Branjor | March 24, 2007, 2:14 am
  62. that science has proven that there is no such thing as a “gay gene” and that gay/lesbians are born that way.

    -By Say No To Christ

    You are all over the map–The ‘gay gene’ is essentially the same thing as trying to prove people are “born gay”,which is nonsense. Studies of sexuality (done by your friends, the male scientists) have time and time again shown that same-sex crushes, sexual experimentation and fantasy are commonplace for the vast majority of children in puberty, who mostly go on to be heterosexual. Furthermore, heterosexuality is compulsory–from the time a woman is born she learns that she will become a mother, meet her “prince”, wear a white wedding dress. I don’t think i even knew what lesbian meant until I was closing in on ten years old, whereas I knew that mommy loved daddy and married him by the time I was 3 years old. That speaks volumes. No one knows if heterosexuality would be what most women would choose if we did not live in a patriarchal society–a society in which we are told to like men, marry them, have children by them, lest we end up “all alone” (dun dun dun) or a despised lesbo.

    Given that, you really think that the fact that most women choose to be with men is because they were “born that way”? Or because it is the only socially acceptable (at least in the past, and for the most part, still today) option?

    To assert that there is some sort of manifest destiny when an infant is born, that s/he is destined to be gay or be straight, regardless of life experiences, regardless of any other mitigating circumstances is ludicrous.

    And not to be an ass, but I’ve always felt that the purpose of the “born gay” theory [which was largely promoted by bigoted scientists who wished to “cure” gays, NOT lesbians and gays themselves.They just jumped onboard after the only means of any sort of acceptance was to toe the party line of “oh gee, I can’t help being gay, its like a disease, please accept me anyway”. ] was to reassure heterosexuals that even though they might have had those horrifific dirty homo feelings at one point in their development that they could *never* be gay! Never! People are gay from the time they’re embryos, duh! /hyperbole

    I’ve never seen exactly why I would want to be with 99.9% of men in the first place, so why on earth would I feel the need to justify my life by saying ” i didn’t choose to be this way”? I wouldn’t want to be attracted to men. If the vast majority weren’t sexist, abusive, ingrained with privilege, if i had never lived in patriarchy, would I be a lesbian? Well, I don’t know that. I can conceive of my lesbianism being a function of my rejection of men . Why is that a problem? Furthermore, why should it concern someone who is heterosexual?

    {As an aside, there’s been absolutely nothing that supports scientific claims of inborn homosexuality–the infamous brain study of gay males (and I think only males) was done on men who were “john does”, who had often been drug abusers and did not receive proper nutrition or health care(i think some of them even had aids? maybe not)…yet somehow they managed to come to the “conclusion” that the differences in their brains was due soley to their homosexuality.} Gawd.

    Posted by T. | March 24, 2007, 3:02 am
  63. I am intrigued by science, but could not call myself a scientist; it is more like a hobby for me. However, I know enough about it to know that a scientist should know better than to claim to have proven anything, particularly about human psychology. Talk about junk science. Theories by definition cannot be proven, though they can be disproved. I would not blame scientific arrogance on Christianity, though there are linkages. Science and religion are often at odds. Orthodoxy in any form has always worked against women as a means of enforcing male models of reality. Scientific orthodoxy is no exception.

    Posted by Aletha | March 24, 2007, 6:44 am
  64. library at Alexandria to the ground in 500 ad, which was a repository of information on the prechristian mid east cultures.

    Are the contents documented somewhere? I’m not being snarky, I honestly don’t know what was supposed to be in the library. If it covers ancient societies, how do we know those were matriarichal?

    Also, I wouldn’t place a lot of belief in the contents of the library even if there’s a catalog of its contents. Ancient writings, as the writings of today, are filtered through the beliefs of their authors.

    Posted by Miranda | March 24, 2007, 11:32 am
  65. Miranda

    Man, you and a few others are making this hard on me. A little secret. I’m dislexic and have a hard time with writing and I am very self conscience about it. That in no way means, I’m stupid, slow or unable to learn, it just means that spelling and putting paragraph in order are VERY hard for me. A small part of my brain does not work correctly probably due to the abuse I suffered as a child. What the studies in neurology found is that with every abuse inflicked on a child it changes its brain chemistry and can affect certain parts of the brain and even their personality.

    Moving on to why there is no gay gene…

    Because sexual identity is in the brain. There is a fine line between gay and straight, because we all start out exactly the same. For the first couple of week of pregnancy all babies are female. Their sex is determine by the amount of hormones delivered to the fetus from mother and father. It is these hormones the determine sex identity as well. There is NO cure and nor is any real scientist looking for one. It is a nutural occurance that happens even in the wild. It is also linked to overpopulation. The more overpopulated we become the less breeders we will need.

    Once you understand how little differences there really are between the sexes, being gay, bi, what the fuck ever is pretty freaking normal.

    All male testies really are, are dropped overies.

    I hope that cleared things up about neurology studies in homosexuality. It isnt about a cure, it is about understanding how the brain is responsible for behavior.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 24, 2007, 3:36 pm
  66. Amy– I can’t agree that “the brain” is responsible for behavior if by that you mean people can’t make responsible decisions for their own lives.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 24, 2007, 4:06 pm
  67. I’m a lot of things too that add up to reading, writing and language problems. Could you knock it back to a couple hundred focussed words, drop all the adjectives and edit yourself please?

    Posted by Pony | March 24, 2007, 4:41 pm
  68. Heart said:

    “Amy– I can’t agree that “the brain” is responsible for behavior if by that you mean people can’t make responsible decisions for their own lives.”
    ——

    No, it doesn’t mean that people arent able to make responsible dicisions, but it does mean that the brain is what influences our ability to make decisions.

    On that fine line of gay and straight there is a wide spectrum of where people will fall into. I know Some gay men that have no interest in women at all and some that prefer men, but can have sex with women if they want to. It is all normal and there is no need for a cure, nor is there a cure.

    Pony

    Where is your compassion and impathy?? What fucking part of that part of my brain doesnt fucking work correctly, do you not get? Even if I try to edit, I can’t always see it! Please do some research about dislexia before passing judgment! But, I will try to curve the adjectives.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 24, 2007, 5:00 pm
  69. You didn’t read my post.

    Posted by Pony | March 24, 2007, 6:14 pm
  70. Pony

    My bad, if you did not mean that in a negative way. I am very self conscious about it and even more so when I am feeling like I’m being attacked at every angle.

    Posted by say no to christ | March 24, 2007, 6:24 pm
  71. Say no to christ said:

    “For the first couple of week of pregnancy all babies are female. Their sex is determine by the amount of hormones delivered to the fetus from mother and father. It is these hormones the determine sex identity as well.”

    and

    “All male testies really are, are dropped overies”

    The sex of a fetus is determined by the presence of an X or Y chromosome, delivered by the fertilizing sperm. The Y chromosome instigates the change from fetal gonad to fetal testicles, the testicles then provide the hormones that cause secondary male sex characteristics. While it is true that the fetus begins as a female and would continue developing as a female in the absence of a Y chromosome, it’s way more complex of a change than “testies are really dropped ovaries.”

    This tells us what the phenotype of the fetus will be, (any human with a Y chromosome will look “male”) but it doesn’t really say anything about sexual identity.

    “Because sexual identity is in the brain.”

    The most current research I’ve read suggests that sexual identity is formed by a sort of feedback loop process. A person is born with a certain brain, but that brain is incredibly plastic and any individual’s preferences, what they find pleasurable or not, who they are attracted to or not, is constantly shaped and guided by imput from her environment from the begining of her life. Sexual identity may be processed in the brain, but it’s not like a hard-wired thing that never changes. Human brains are breathtakingly adaptable.

    We are very far from understanding how (and if) genes influence behavior. Last I heard, scientists were reevaluating their entire theory of how genes work – the idea that there is a gene for this and a gene for that has pretty much been trashed. Now researchers are looking at gene expression, how combinations of genes work together, and what role the protiens that genes make have in this whole mess.

    Posted by Beansa | March 24, 2007, 6:25 pm
  72. ::shrug:: I don’t consider asking you to explain or back up your reasoning to be ‘hard on you’.

    Since I consider homosexuality to be as valid as heterosexuality, I don’t care what causes it.

    Posted by Miranda | March 24, 2007, 6:35 pm
  73. Miranda said:

    “Since I consider homosexuality to be as valid as heterosexuality, I don’t care what causes it.”

    I agree with you, but there is a big part of the population that are homophobes and the only way to conquer that fear is through education and understanding.

    Amy

    Posted by say no to christ | March 24, 2007, 6:52 pm
  74. Make your posts shorter.

    Posted by Pony | March 24, 2007, 7:01 pm
  75. Aren’t hetrosexuality and homosexuality just made-up categories anyway? Neither of these terms were in use before the 19th century, and I think we have Freud to thank for their widespread usage. Before that, people just were how they were, and a sexual act didn’t define a person.

    Posted by Beansa | March 24, 2007, 9:13 pm

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