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Pornography, Rape and Sexual Assault

The Terrorizing of Mary Winkler

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For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. .. whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.  — Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 2:2-3 (For all of the Matthew Winklers and Mary Winklers reading here, who stand in need either of comfort or warning. — Heart)

These are the shoes Mary Winkler’s man-of-the-cloth husband, the good Rev. Matthew Winkler, wanted worn when he raped her, along with a short skirt, a tight shirt, and a black wig.   Before he raped her, he got in the mood by watching pornographic movies, which he sometimes forced her to watch.  These have been entered into evidence in her murder trial.

Over the course of her marriage, Matthew Winkler punched Mary in the face, pinched her, shoved her and beat her and the children with a belt.  This, of course, in addition to raping her.   A police officer called to testify desribed Matthew Winkler as a “Tasmanian devil.”  Mary Winkler’s sisters have said Mary had to ask Matthew whether she could visit the family, and usually the answer was no.  Mary describes her family as traditionally conservative Christian, Matthew large and in charge.  Asked why she never told anyone, she said, “I was ashamed.”  Asked why she didn’t divorce him, she said he refused to consider divorce and would have sought custody of the children (and probably would have gotten it).

Mary Winkler, I am standing with you.   I support you.  I feel you.  No woman should ever have to live what you lived, suffer what you suffered, endure the kinds of torments you endured over years and years, silently, without complaint.  I am so, so sorry.  You didn’t deserve that, not any of it.

Anybody want to be forced into those shoes to have something your abusive husband calls “sex,” which amounts to rape, which he, and people in your world, are telling you  is “sex” and “marital intimacy” which God requires of you as a Christian woman?  Anybody know what it is for a woman to be tortured, tormented, methodically, deliberately, in this calculated way, by someone who says he “loves” you?  Anybody know what it is to break, to find yourself unable to live this way anymore, unable to do it anymore?

I know exactly what it is.  Many women, especially Christian or formerly Christian women, know what this is.

Here is one thing I have to say to all reading.  Matthew Winkler didn’t develop a taste for forcing his wife into the torture devices depicted above and then raping her on his own, without help.   That obsession began with pornography, with Matthew Winkler whacking off to images of other women forced into shoes like that, clothes like that, positions like that, to be fucked, and raped and used by men.  Those of you who would say there is something “liberating” and “empowering” about wearing shoes like this for the entertainment of men, those who would say that women “choose” to wear this shit,  may kiss my entire ass.  Those of you who insist that pornography is just “fantasy” and “harmless” may go straight to hell.  Those of us who, like Mary Winkler, have been directly harmed by it and by the views of people like you know better.

I am lighting a candle for Mary Winkler, her daughters,  her sisters and father and mother, her friends, and the jurors who will decide her fate.   I’m with you, Mary.  If I could be there in that courtroom, I’d be right there with you.

Heart

Discussion

41 thoughts on “The Terrorizing of Mary Winkler

  1. I’d be there with her too.
    Although I didn’t suffer to the degree that Mary Winkler did, I went to the same sort of church, (actually Mary’s group is considered liberal in comparison) I understand the fear and shame that she must have felt in having to reveal what was going on with her. I ‘get’ the desperation and eventual anger that she must have felt. What she did with those emotions was wrong, but I’m having a hard time seeing her as the evil control freak that the prosecution is insisting upon. Wish I could sit down with her and just HEAR her. She’s had enough judgment.

    Posted by Bethy | April 19, 2007, 1:30 pm
  2. I hope she is found not guilty. But I honestly will be shocked if it happens.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | April 19, 2007, 3:19 pm
  3. “Here is one thing I have to say to all reading. Matthew Winkler didn’t develop a taste for forcing his wife into the torture devices depicted above and then raping her on his own, without help. That obsession began with pornography, with Matthew Winkler whacking off to images of other women forced into shoes like that, clothes like that, positions like that, to be fucked, and raped and used by men. Those of you who would say there is something “liberating” and “empowering” about wearing shoes like this for the entertainment of men, those who would say that women “choose” to wear this shit, may kiss my entire ass. Those of you who insist that pornography is just “fantasy” and “harmless” may go straight to hell. Those of us who, like Mary Winkler, have been directly harmed by it and by the views of people like you know better.”

    Heart, this piece made me cry… I completely agree with you. I detest porn culture and rap culture alike. They are not fantasy, nor harmless… men see this shit and feel it is ok to treat women as such, and feel entitled to enjoy their SICK DISGUSTING desires triggered by this…

    I want her released, and free to raise her children and heal from this torment! That man abused her, and she is one of the lucky ones who got him before he got her!

    Posted by Divine Purpose | April 19, 2007, 3:28 pm
  4. He was a Rev! Rev is supposed to protect people, not abusing others.

    Posted by MJ | April 19, 2007, 3:30 pm
  5. “What she described was her husband asking her to do things that she wasn’t comfortable doing, sexually,” Zager said. “She described things like putting on wigs and high heels or clothes she wasn’t comfortable with.”

    Zager spoke also of pictures and pornographic movies that Matthew Winkler wanted Mary Winkler to watch with him, but she wasn’t comfortable doing that and would look down, Zager said.

    “She’d share with me there were times when she didn’t care to be sexually intimate with her husband at the time, but that was not okay,” Zager said.

    “Not an option?” Ballin said.

    “That was not an option, no, and that she would sometimes say that she was on her cycle extra to avoid being intimate with her husband,” Zager added.

    Zager said Matthew also insisted that Mary Winkler participate in a certain sexual act she was not comfortable with. Ballin asked whether Mary told him that it hurt and to stop.

    “Yes, she did,” Zager said.

    Ballin asked if Mary Winkler indicated whether he responded to that request to stop.

    “Yes, she did,” Zager said. “She said he did not stop, that she was concerned that perhaps it would hurt her her body … and he made some comment that she could always have surgery to fix it.”

    Zager is a forensic psychologist who testified in the trial of Mary Winkler.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | April 19, 2007, 3:39 pm
  6. Those of you who insist that pornography is just “fantasy” and “harmless” may go straight to hell.”

    Thank you. Thank you a million times for saying that.

    The people who say such things are either living in a dream world, or have an active interest in perpetuating this myth. If Tobacco companies are liable for the lies they peddaled about smoking, then pornographers are liable for the lies they peddal about the innocence and blamelessness of porn*.

    There is a reason boys are filming their gangrapes and spreading them around and posting them on utube. There’s a reason there’s more and more reports about men abducting women and/or girls to rape them on film and sell them. There’s a reason that rapelay exists.

    Because porn convinced them it was okay to treat women like that – and the women will even come to enjoy it.

    Porn is poisioning people. Porn is brainwashing men to find the humilation, degradation and abuse of women (or other men) sexually arousing.

    It’s beyond contemptible. It’s flat out insanity to defend it.

    *- porn, in this case, means the misogynistic, racist, violent and/or humilating type. People keep telling me that there’s this other type that respects women, talks of them favorably, and doesn’t abuse them. I have yet to see proof of this.

    Posted by Lya Kahlo | April 19, 2007, 7:27 pm
  7. You know if I guy got raped and he killed his rapist no one would bat an eye. Why just because someone is your husband they are viewed as owning you? Sometimes I think marriage is an archaic institution. It seems to imply ownership and the courts with their actions seem to validate my thoughts in regards to that.

    Lo

    Posted by Lo | April 19, 2007, 8:30 pm
  8. Heart, thanks for covering this case. What I’m reading around TN blogs is not supportive of Mary, and some are calling her “cries of abuse” as nothing more than an attempt to “beat a murder rap.” Good Christian women are blaming Mary for not being a better christian woman.

    If the jury discounts the first degree murder charge, as I believe they should, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing, she will be eviscerated by her good christian neighbors.

    Posted by CE Petro | April 19, 2007, 8:48 pm
  9. Look at her face in that picture. She’s somehow pinched her own nose without touching it. She hates those shoes, doesn’t she? I mean, she H-A-T-E-S those shoes.

    Posted by CoolAunt | April 19, 2007, 9:15 pm
  10. Verdict is in — voluntary manslaughter which carries a 3-6 year sentence and eligibility for parole after serving 30%.

    Still, I don’t think she should have had any jail time, much less been prosecuted.

    Posted by CE Petro | April 19, 2007, 11:02 pm
  11. I find the fact that he wanted her to wear those high heeled shoes while he raped her, very telling. His aim was to disempower her, to own and control her, and these shoes are fundamental to his plot.
    I believe there is a very valid argument that this can be said of all high heeled shoes. In patriarchy we are supposed to wear ridiculous shoes because it disempowers us, disrupts our relationship to the ground, makes us unstable, and vulnerable. And to men this is both power-giving and erotic. It makes perfect sense that these shoes were so important to that rapist.

    Posted by Sazz | April 19, 2007, 11:54 pm
  12. She should have been let off, no punishment, zip, nada. She’s got a ‘Blessing Turtle’ (I like the Shinto idea of offering beautiful origami as a sacred gift to the Kami) for herself and her children on my ‘Great Green Goddess’ altar.

    I view the finding of ‘voluntary manslaughter’ as a not-so-subtle warning to the other xtian Female slaves to not even think about icing their abusers. As for the other ‘righteously religious’ Women who are being so hard on her, I think that part of what fuels their attacks is that they are unhappy that she said ‘NO’. Mary’s actions said ‘I don’t validate rape and brutality as xtian, and I’m going to take action’ loud and clear. Refusing to ‘take it up the ass for the team’ doesn’t validate the lifestyle of those who continue to do so, and it pisses them off because she is telling the truth about what is going on.

    Also, I dearly loved Heart’s remark:

    ‘Those of you who would say there is something “liberating” and “empowering” about wearing shoes like this for the entertainment of men, those who would say that women “choose” to wear this shit, may kiss my entire ass.’

    WOO-HOO-OO-OO-OO!!!

    They ought to dress her oppressor’s corpse in those shoes– and the rest of the get-up he used to make her wear– and bury him that way.

    Posted by akkarri | April 20, 2007, 12:04 am
  13. Today I read a book called Mom There’s A Man in the kitchen And He’s Wearing Your Robe, The Single Mother’s Guide to Dating Well without Parenting Poorly. When I got to the part where the author contends that “it’s not a contradiction in terms to be both a feminist and a lady” I trashed it, feeling followers of the author’s advice would soon be making the same mistakes all over the again.

    Posted by Stephanie Holmes | April 20, 2007, 2:00 am
  14. I think some of the men know that raping and abusing others are wrong – they know it is hurting the others, yet they pretend or ignore the knowledge that they know it is wrong. It’s just to feign responsibilities. Cowards.

    Posted by MJ | April 20, 2007, 2:16 am
  15. AAAANNNDDD they convicted her. Of course. At least it was for a charge lesser than murder.

    I am sickened, but not surprised, by her abusive husband’s family getting up on the stand and hanking GAAAWWWDDD for helping them through this difficult time and all the kind wirds everyone had for her godly husband. And by them getting the 9 year old on the stand to say she never saw her dad abusing her mom. My step-dad is a minister too, and everyone says the same things about him – how could I be such a bad girl to spread usch lies about him and break the hearts of my family by acting the way I do? And I never saw my step dad beat my mother, but he did – he just wasn’t stupid enough to do it in front of others.

    Posted by Amananta | April 20, 2007, 2:24 am
  16. when will this end… am I alone in wanting to cry and scream and throw shit through walls?!?!?!?!

    Posted by Divine Purpose | April 20, 2007, 3:23 pm
  17. I feel for her daughters.. will she ever regain custody? If not, his parents will demonize her in front of them, and they’ll never realize what she saved them from. They need to be taught self respect and independence. Can Matthew Winkler’s church or his parents teach them that? Not a good track record, imho.

    Posted by thebethy | April 20, 2007, 7:55 pm
  18. They ought to dress her oppressor’s corpse in those shoes– and the rest of the get-up he used to make her wear– and bury him that way.

    Poetic Akkarri, truly poetic. After all, he was the one who liked the most-hideous-excuse-for-footwear.

    Posted by stormy | April 21, 2007, 9:49 am
  19. I have had two relationships in which my partners where porn freaks. But they weren’t religious, so they never subjected me to it, or did foul nasty things to me I didn’t want as a result of their porn addictions.
    Religious freaks and porn don’t mix. It is the sexist view of conservative Christians, more so than porn that make some of these jerks behave the way they do.
    I view porn as rather benign, unless you add religion, particularly Christianity, to the mix, then it is dangerous.

    Posted by Melanie | April 21, 2007, 4:48 pm
  20. Melanie:

    Pornography is not benign. It degrades both males and females, and creates an exploitative mindset towards human sexuality. Further, it is one of the many things that desensitizes a person to things that are shocking, deviant, aberrant, and bizarre, and is one of the worst at that. It is a known fact that most people who wind up addicted to pornography (and yes, there are tons of pornography addicts out there … how “benign” is something if it is addictive?) start out simply wanting to see nude bodies for pleasure, then they want to look at images of people having intercourse, then they want the images more explicit and graphic and depicting sexual behavior that the vast majority of the human race sees no need to engage in, and then it progresses to images of bondage, abuse, violence, bondage, intimidation, etc. That is exactly how a drug addict moves from marijuana to ecstasy to heroin to cocaine to “crack”, “ice”, and “crystal meth.” Please do not allow your palpable disdain for Christianity to cause you to defend pornography out of spite. After all, some of the best work against pornography was done by gender feminists. I do not know your age, but Hollywood used to mass produce so – called “blue movies”: lots of nudity, sex, and violence but nothing that is considered pornographic … stuff like an axe murderer killing off a house full of buxom sorority sisters who all have a total aversion to clothing and love to take long showers without the aid of curtains, soap, or towels or rags of any kind. The cable channels (especially HBO and Cinemax) would dedicate a huge percentage of their programming to those movies (which were made to go straight to video and to sell to the cable networks), which were hugely popular with males in their teens and twenties. Gender feminists produced statistics linking even that form of relatively softcore pornography (including the ones that lacked the “kill the naked lust object” angle) to rapes and murders, and were able to pressure the cable companies and video rental stores to stop carrying that form of “entertainment”, which took away the profit motive and caused them to stop being produced in the first place. Unfortunately, the victory was short – lived, as within a few years it was replaced with far more depraved – and more widely available and easily accessed – Internet pornography, which they are powerless to stop because the people who produce that filth are undeterred by public pressure (much of it is produced by organized crime). So if you are not going to believe a Christian like me concerning the evils of pornography, at least believe your feminist comrades who took on a fight that no one thought that could be won – the very profitable blue movie industry that had been in existence for decades – and totally shut it down in less than ten years.

    Posted by healtheland | April 21, 2007, 11:29 pm
  21. Heal The Land: There’s no such thing as “Gender Feminists.” It was a title created by people who hate feminists and get wealthy off of that hatred; and yeah, a lot of those wealthy people are Christians. I’d advise not using that taxonomy, ever, not just here.

    Posted by Rich | April 22, 2007, 12:49 am
  22. Rich:

    So why do gender feminists themselves use the term? I see them use it to describe themselves on C – SPAN, Rich. I see them use it to describe themselves in their women’s studies research papers that you can find in 5 seconds on the Internet, Rich. And – gasp! – I have actually MET and TALKED to feminists who self – describe themselves in such a manner, Rich. Now you are free to use your “taxonomy” on here or anywhere else you choose, but just know that with me it is not going to work.

    Posted by healtheland | April 22, 2007, 5:39 am
  23. Melanie,

    If you think porn is benign, take a mere 60 minutes out of your entire lifetime and watch this video. Here is a link from one of Heart’s threads. There are more links available, but just watch this one and then think about what porn is and whether it is harmless on any level, be that porn dished up ‘soft’ or ‘hard’.

    https://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/04/15/gail-dines-opening-remarks-at-the-feminist-anti-pornography-conference-at-wheelock-college/

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | April 22, 2007, 1:40 pm
  24. I’m a radical feminist and have been since the late 60s and I have a question. Just what the hell IS a “gender feminist”?

    Posted by Branjor | April 22, 2007, 6:03 pm
  25. It’s something Wendy McElroy and company came up with to reframe “real” feminists as Ayn Rand followers who believe that women whine too much, capitalism is perfect, and that men have a raw deal. So if they’re real feminists, aka Equity Feminists, Gender Feminists are those perpetual victims that want to ruin the world for the good people who have work ethics.

    HealTheLand is in denial and remembering things wrong, lying outright, or both.

    Feminists who are called “gender feminists” by these people aren’t invited to CSPAN — or more likely, Fox News, where HtL probably heard it.

    Feminists who are called “gender feminists” are called that by others; no one ever called herself that, in the English language anyway, and you can almost see the condescension against “womens’ studies papers” in HtL’s posts.

    It’s highly unlikely — bordering on impossible — that anyone ever walked up to HtL and introduced herself as a gender feminist. More likely, HtL painted someone else into that corner by framing them as equity-vs-gender, asking them to choose one.

    HtL is basically insulting everyone here by saying “gender feminist,” whether s/he admits it or not, especially since s/he’s an anti-choice christian crusader.

    Posted by Rich | April 22, 2007, 6:38 pm
  26. Ugh. HtL, this probably isn’t going to be the most comfortable site to try to prove the mythical connection between Religious Right and Radical Feminism due to their common abhorrance of Porn.

    In fact, this’ll probably be your most polite warning.

    Beat ett.

    Posted by Pramiti | April 22, 2007, 8:39 pm
  27. To HtL:

    Let us not mince words: I am a Phurba-tongued, Fire-souled, Earth-worshipping, Green-hearted Turtle Crone. I have Familiars, Spirit-Guides and Ancestral Spirits who serve me, in Love, and carry my Energy as it serves the Will of GODDESS. I am a Queen, walking in the footsteps of the Mother Queens who tended the Flowering Lady’s Great Garden here on this planet before me. In short, I am a WITCH. Your people burned my people at the stake, and were responsible for trashing the Indigenous Culture and sovereign Peoples of pre-xtian Nothern Europe. Thanks for caring.

    I oppose porn not because a male, slave-owning penis-god’s sexist rules say it’s unholy, I oppose it because debases the Sacred Act of human sexuality, which is a prime Sacrament in the Rainbow Circle of my People. Through brutality, porn injures the Female Conduit and directly insults the GREAT MOTHER by rejecting, torturing, and oftentimes murdering HER direct manifestation– human Femaleness– here on Earth. Again, thanks for caring.

    Until I see an xtian delegation humble themselves at Stonehenge, and publically beg the forgiveness of the modern representatives of Wicca, Druidry, and all other Native European Tribal traditions for the atrocities committed and the damage done to our Priest/ess/hood, I (and others like me) will be insisting you take your divide-and-conquer, ‘official naming’ tactics elsewhere.

    In this case, the enemy of your enemy is NOT your friend.

    Posted by akkarri | April 23, 2007, 2:50 am
  28. Sazz: I find the fact that he wanted her to wear those high heeled shoes while he raped her, very telling. His aim was to disempower her, to own and control her, and these shoes are fundamental to his plot.
    I believe there is a very valid argument that this can be said of all high heeled shoes. In patriarchy we are supposed to wear ridiculous shoes because it disempowers us, disrupts our relationship to the ground, makes us unstable, and vulnerable. And to men this is both power-giving and erotic. It makes perfect sense that these shoes were so important to that rapist.

    I have been wanting to say, Sazz, that this is a GREAT insight. So often criticisms of high heels are framed as, oh, I don’t know, those crabby radfems always griping about triviliaties, when in fact, what you’ve said here is DEAD ON.

    It’s taken me YEARS of feminism to stop wearing high heels. YEARS. I am averse to certain kinds of self-sacrifice and self-coercion, so I don’t force myself to stop doing certain things, even if I think they are anti-woman or misogynist, until I *want* to stop doing them, for my own reasons (or to start doing them.) I knew on an intellectual level years ago that shaving/plucking/waxing/tanning/foiling/bleaching/painting and restrictive/uncomfortable clothes were tools of the patriarchy but that didn’t mean I just stopped doing whatever of those I was doing. I didn’t. I just let things simmer for myself, paid attention to how I felt when I did or didn’t do certain things, paid attention to how I was affected by the doing or not doing of them.

    This sometimes has gotten me into trouble with veteran radfems, like the woman I went to spend a weekend with a while back, Second Wave radical feminist, brilliant, cool, who, when we met for the first time in real life, immediately got all over me about my very high heeled boots and some other things. Shrug. That was me. If you want to hang out with me, you have to take me the way I am at that particular moment. If the way I am bothers you, well, I guess you will have to decide if it bothers you so much that you don’t want to hang out with me anymore. Either way, the time is long past, for me, that I do things for any reason besides that what I’m doing (or not doing) makes sense to me and I want to do it, or not do it.

    Anyway. I have a closet full of spike heels, platform shoes, high-heeled boots. I don’t wear them anymore, but that’s recent– probably within the last year, I have had no inclination to put them on, and when I do think I want to wear them because they “go with” something else I’m wearing (like pants that are too long for me!), I can’t STAND the way they feel. They hurt the balls of my feet. They slow me down. They are precarious, some of them, and I have to pay attention so I don’t turn my ankle and break it. They inhibit free movement. They are just what feminists say they are: torture devices. They’re what you say they are, Sazz, disempowering. They make us vulnerable. They separate our feet and bodies from the earth and render us vulnerable and unstable.

    Our analysis, as feminists, of “fashion” isn’t us beng picky or arbitrary. It’s us, observing all the ways “fashion” hurts us as women.

    So thanks again, Sazz!

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | April 23, 2007, 4:52 pm
  29. This sometimes has gotten me into trouble with veteran radfems, like the woman I went to spend a weekend with a while back, Second Wave radical feminist, brilliant, cool, who, when we met for the first time in real life, immediately got all over me about my very high heeled boots and some other things.

    Why didn’t you just explain to her how empowering high heels are? Bwaaahaaahaaaa!!!

    No, seriously, I appreciate your candor and I understand completely. I’m not ready to walk through this world that hates me as I am without makeup and unshaven. Do makeup and shaving empower me? Hell, no. They just keep me flying below the radar, that’s all. And today, that’s where I’m most comfortable: below the radar.

    Posted by CoolAunt | April 23, 2007, 7:41 pm
  30. I appreciate your candor too. And guess what – I wore my hair long for many years, until about 2 years ago. Now I like the short hair better – I think it looks better and is easier to take care of. Long hair, I believe, is also a disempowering device. It can be pulled. You can even be dragged by it as in the old “cave man” cartoons, but it is impossible to get a grip on hair as short as most men’s for purposes of pulling it. The old door opening routine of men’s is also a way of impressing women with their own vulnerability. While seeming to be a paradigm of gentlemanly “politeness” a man who holds a door open for a woman could, if he so chose, use the door as a weapon by slamming it into the woman. Not that that normally happens, it just gives women a subliminal feeling of vulnerability knowing that he could if he wanted to. Also, as soon as the woman passes through the door she has her back to the man and cannot conveniently look at him, while the man follows with *her* in full view at all times.

    Posted by Branjor | April 23, 2007, 9:17 pm
  31. Branjor – I’ve felt the same way myself about men opening doors for me. Same with their insistence that I exit the elevator before them, to the point where doors will begin to close once more before I give up and exit. I hate their insistence of being constantly at my back.

    Posted by Pramiti | April 23, 2007, 9:26 pm
  32. “I just let things simmer for myself, paid attention to how I felt when I did or didn’t do certain things, paid attention to how I was affected by the doing or not doing of them.”

    That is such a helpful way of thinking of change! I wore heels today, noticed women with and without them, noticed how I felt and it’s all simmering.

    While wearing my heels and pantsuit, I rode down the elevator with two businessmen (this is all unusual for me as a jeans-and-clogs wearing teacher) and noticed how they loosened their ties and took off their too-hot jackets as their work day ended.

    I am not saying that men are as hampered by convention as women—no comparison in the way the patriarchy binds women—but there are social norms that do constrain both genders.

    Flouting societal norms is not an easy proposition for most of us, and it takes some preparation.

    Posted by roamaround | April 24, 2007, 3:49 am
  33. I think that the main point is that Women need to actively take the right of bodily self-determination via dress back for themselves, and screw blathering patriarchal commentary. Personally, I do not care a mouse-fart for what anybody else thinks of the way I look. I dress for ME and I look the way I do for my own reasons:

    1. I wear my head-hair natural-roan and down to my butt. It’s a shamanic thing: braiding, twisting or loosing head-hair is a way to cast spells. So far, no one has ever tried to pull it, but I know a number of good moves, and I am not afraid to break a nose or knock out a few teeth.

    2. I have never shaved my pubic hair, forearm hair, or plucked my eyebrows. I stopped shaving my underarms when I was 30: I suffered an incredibly painful boil under my left arm brought on by an ingrown hair and anti-perspirant deodorant. After a further series of underarm rashes (complete with blisters) which looked like I had scalded myself, I gave up using all name-brand deodorants, and I now use a natural anti-odor preparation made from aloe, calendula and grapefruit seed extract.

    3. Most of the time, I don’t shave my legs. The only time I do is when I go horseback riding, as I hate feeling of my calf-hair ripping out from the friction of my jeans as I ride. During the summer, I take my dog to our local Dog Beach, and I wear shorts and leg-hair. Nobody seems to care. I have had many pleasant conversations with both male and female dog-owners, and not once has the topic of my leg-hair come up.

    4. I am tattooed. I designed them myself. I have a black Dragon on each forearm, and a large green Dragon that wraps around my left shoulder and snakes down my upper back. I got tattooed in 1981, which was before it became fashionable, and I did it for Magickal reasons (Dragons are symbolic of ley-line energies). My husband didn’t want me to get them, but I told him point-blank it was my body and none of his damn business. My parents also cranked about it, and I told them the same thing. No one else has ever said anything negative about them to my face, and most people who ask me about them are ‘into ink’ themselves. They have also never affected my job status– I have been a City employee where I live for 30 years.

    5. I haven’t worn a bra as a part of everyday attire since I was 17. Oddly, the only time I did wear one semi-regularly was when I wore my bellydancing costumes (I worked as a professional dancer in the early 80’s, and taught bellydancing classes for the City Park & Rec. dance program). Working at the Library, I wear a comfy, loose camisole-undershirt topped by a large, flowing, brightly-colored batik shirt or long jacket. Nobody seems to care that my breasts don’t jut out at strange angles or are not tightly bound, and the loose tops obscure body-contours, so no one can tell what I am or am not wearing underneath.

    6. I gave up wearing heels at around age 20. Too uncomfortable and too hard on my ankle ligaments.

    7. I wear the proverbial shit-load of jewelry: broad, silver cuff-bracelets, double (pierced) earrings, lots of rings, two large Turtle pendant-necklaces, and a beaded headband and strands of beads that I make myself. Again, it’s all for shamanic reasons: I ‘dress’ my Totem.

    I go to work with a couple of silk flowers in my hair and my Turtle headband on every day. I have Women tell me I look very ‘European’ or ‘sophisticated’ because of my ‘skilled accessorizing’, and I have men tell me that I ‘am a breath of fresh air’ because I look so colorful and happy. What I am getting at here is that I am wearing what I wear so that I can be physically comfortable as well as to honor my Guides, so that I can be spiritually comfortable. It isn’t about worrying about what others might think, it’s about what brings me joy. Most people who comment on my dress want to know if I made all of my jewelry myself or what the colored discs on my headband are (dyed shell buttons), and could care less about my breasts or underarm hair. They also don’t care that I don’t wear make-up or nylons. Mostly, they want books on the Pima Indians or the French Revolution, or some music CDs, etc.

    In all the years I have been working for the Library, I have had *one* critical comment about how I looked… ONE. It was from a religious zealot who told me ‘you shouldn’t be such acting like a hippie, because god ordained it that the end times are now, and you shouldn’t be trying to stop armageddon, because it’s god’s will’. I almost laughed in his face. No way does his comment even enter my reality.

    The way out of the ‘slut-of-the-week’ corporate-harlotry clothing machine is to STOP worrying (or if you must worry don’t pay any attention to it) about ANY opinion, and dress your TRUTH and YOUR OWN DELIGHT!!! The Goddess has Many Aspects…

    Posted by akkarri | April 25, 2007, 6:23 am
  34. Pardon the typo in my previous post. The phrase should read: ‘you shouldn’t be acting like such a hippie…’ I put the cursor in the wrong spot … phooey…

    Posted by akkarri | April 25, 2007, 6:29 am
  35. Also, as soon as the woman passes through the door she has her back to the man and cannot conveniently look at him, while the man follows with *her* in full view at all times.

    Thanks Branjor, I think you have put into words much of the uneasiness that I feel in this practice — my gut told me it was more than just the ‘chivalry’ thing going on.

    What I have done for a long time is usually to walk through a door first (if I get there first) and hold the door open for anyone (male/female) who is following. The only time that I open a door for someone else is usually an ‘elderly’ person.

    Posted by stormy | April 25, 2007, 8:34 am
  36. Apart from the interminable minefield of doorways…
    How would Xtians apologizing for the mistakes of hundreds of years ago make the world a better place today?

    This question comes from the point of view that to demand such things from folk who didn’t commit this stuff is not what I’d call taking them on at an individual level. It kinda cramps them/us/whoever into a box whilst telling them to be defensive.

    A pagan once threw a knife at me, generally I don’t go round telling folk that or demanding an apology from other pagans for that behaviour. Odd as it may sound, generally, I get along fairly well with pagans – sometimes moreso than with my fellow ‘xtrian’ lot.

    Posted by Free to think, free to believe... | April 27, 2007, 12:47 pm
  37. “Only women bleed” — Alice Cooper

    Men somehow need to wake up and feel the pain.

    Posted by Serenity | July 10, 2007, 5:59 pm

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