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Rape and Sexual Assault, Women's Bodies

Grand Rapids Marriott to Have Woman-Only Floor

The JW Marriott in Grand Rapids, Michigan is going to be opening a woman-only floor in September, the 19th floor, and you can watch a video debate on the topic here.  For $30 extra per night, women will be able to stay on a floor catering specifically to females, where security is enhanced, fresh flowers and upgraded toiletries are available, and — best of all, my opinion — women can enjoy a drink in a woman-only lounge without having to deal with men hitting on them.  

In general, women love the idea, particularly women who do a lot of traveling; if you doubt that, go to this link and read the comments for yourself.   Women are concerned about their safety and security for good reason:  hundreds are accosted, harrassed and assaulted every year in hotels.    Safe Place, a company which independently tests and certifies hotels for safety, devotes a good portion of its work to safety for female  travelers.  (Note that Safe Place does not particularly work to ensure the safety of male travelers; it’s a for-profit corporation and would certainly devote itself to this work if there were a need for it which could be profitably filled.  We all know there is no need for it, and we all know that it is males who assault, accost, stalk and attack females, by and large, and not the other way around.  It is women who need protection from men, not men who need protection from women.  They may need protection from other men, but that’s their issue, it isn’t women’s issue.)

I do not know whose bright idea it was to invite Gloria Allred to debate this idea.   What planet does Allred even live on that, with a straight face, she compares females wanting woman-only floors to Ku Klux Klan members’  bigotry and fears?  As though women are to the KKK as men are to “minorities” (!) !  As though it makes any sort of feminist sense at all to call women’s legitimate, reasonable, penultimately rational, documented, hugely memorialized concerns for our own safety, given the enormous numbers of rapes, sexual assaults, stalking incidents, instances of being battered by male partners and husbands, “discrimination” against men?

Allred could be right that female-only space could might result in men demanding male-only space, but you know, I am not sure how bad that would actually be,  and I am completely willing to deal with that issue if and when the time comes.  At the moment I am pretty sure that heterosexual males will have zero interest in male-only hotel floors and male-only lounges (which speaks volumes in and of itself) and it’s het males we have to be concerned about, both as to women’s safety and as to leveraging female-only space in ways which will benefit het males.

In the meantime and anyway,  hell yes:  bring on the female-only hotel floors, lounges, enhanced security and amenities.  If I can afford it (doubtful!), I’ll be so there.  And especially in Grand Rapids, Michigan when I am there, on the day or two before and after the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival!  I wonder whether Festies passing through Grand Rapids on our annual pilgrimages to womyn’s land had anything to do with the creation of this woman-only hotel floor.

Well, I think that would be pretty cool.  And you know, if this is tested in the courts,  maybe that’s what needs to happen.   I have an idea women are ready to take this issue on in a way that will be meaningful and powerful.

Heart

Discussion

25 thoughts on “Grand Rapids Marriott to Have Woman-Only Floor

  1. The photo for this article is evidence of why women want female-only space.

    Asshole.

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3187958

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 18, 2007, 8:00 pm
  2. So – let’s just get this straight: it’s okay for women to be warned not to travel alone. It’s okay for women to have to lock themselves into their rooms to ensure their own safety. It’s fine that a woman travelling alone will have to either shrug off or physically retaliate against ‘boys’ (apparently ‘men’ do not indulge in such behaviour) harassing her.

    But it’s not okay for women to gather in their own separate area, because this is discrimation against men?

    This is floor 19; at a guess every other floor has a communal area in which women are deliberately made to not feel welcome – not by the hotel, but by the male customers.
    Those poor men! Next they’ll be feeling discriminated against by the ‘female’ picture on the women’s room.

    Posted by Sophie | May 18, 2007, 11:44 pm
  3. Wouldn’t it make more sense to encourage women to report asshole harassment in the bar, and then act on it by kicking their butts to the curb without hesitation? (A report to their employer would be a nice touch, too.) Nah, that would make too much sense.

    I say put the men in the basement, and make them pay the extra $30.

    Posted by manxome | May 19, 2007, 3:48 am
  4. Have you seen this? Title: Rape is…. It’s pretty good.
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051807P.shtml

    Posted by profacero | May 19, 2007, 4:03 am
  5. Gloria Allred lives on the planet of the law, which often has precious little to do with what makes sense. I doubt she is worried about men in the way you seem to be implying, Heart. She has been involved in too many battles trying to open doors for women into spaces men have tried to keep exclusively male. I think she is worried that men will say, if women can exclude men, why not the reverse? Sure, one can argue that analogy is invalid because men cause problems for women that women do not cause for men. In the legal world, where Gloria Allred lives, that argument is probably not going to fly. I think that is why she calls this a slippery slope. There is too often a huge gulf between what makes sense rationally and what makes sense legally. Her KKK analogy is a case in point. Rationally, that comparison makes no sense, but from a legal standpoint, maybe it does. Maybe if this is tested in the courts, a new principle can be established that will take into account the problems men cause for women. I think Allred is skeptical of that possibility, so she is worried about this backfiring on women. Men may not be interested in keeping women out of hotel floors or lounges, but they have fought tooth and nail to keep women out of all kinds of other places. Allred, being all too familiar with how the law actually works, as opposed to how it should work, does not want to give men any leverage.

    Posted by Aletha | May 19, 2007, 4:41 am
  6. Yeah, I hear what you’re saying, Aletha. I just think when Allred compares women with the KKK and men with minorities (!) she does a lot of actual harm to women, given the fact that she IS an attorney and given the work she has done. If she thinks it’s a slippery slope, that makes sense, at least and she should talk about that. But when she compares women with the KKK because they want woman-only spaces, she sounds for all the world like men’s rights guys, anti-feminists, and male supremacist assholes. As an attorney, and given the battles she has fought, *she should know better.* You don’t compare women to the KKK because we want our own spaces! It’s understandable when male supremacists do it, but not when feminists do it! Argh.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I think we may be — MAY be — at a time in history when, as women, we can work public woman-only spaces to our advantage, similar to the way men have worked public male-only spaces to their advantage. What I’m thinking is, over half of those who travel for business are women. Woman-only spaces would allow for woman-only networking and a deepening and strengthening of the budding good ‘ol girls network, something I think we very much need. I think women could benefit from this.

    I also think that women could make some very good arguments, should there be a legal test, as to why there is still a need for woman-only spaces (arguing along the lines of affirmative action) whereas there is no similar need for male-only spaces.

    But no matter what, I expect far more discretion and good judgment from Gloria Allred than what she demonstrated in that debate. The man who debated her argued stupidly that men and women are “different” and that’s why we need our spaces. She really didn’t even respond to that and that’s what she SHOULD have responded to. Male supremacy makes men the default, men oppress women and THEN call us “different” in order to justify subordinating us. That’s male supremacy. That’s sexism. That’s also not why women want and need our own spaces. We want and need our own spaces because we are still subordinated to men and when men are around, we are negatively affected by their presence, in all sorts of ways, and understandably so. And that’s just one among several reasons.

    Not yelling at you, Aletha,🙂 just spouting off.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 6:13 am
  7. Hmm. Maybe I am reading Gloria Allred too generously, but I doubt she was comparing women to the KKK because women want women-only spaces. I think she made that comparison to play devil’s advocate, to point out that the KKK could (and may very well have in the past) employ a similar line of reasoning to justify not wanting to be around black people. I agree it is a farfetched and potentially harmful analogy, but a lawyer has to think about things like how an argument that sounds perfectly reasonable may get twisted into a weapon to be used against you.

    I also agree she should have responded to the difference between the sexes argument, but given how little time she had to make her points, I think I understand why she did not try to get into that.

    Posted by Aletha | May 19, 2007, 7:16 am
  8. Okay, I thought about it and I think you are right, Aletha, so I changed the title of this post. I think my response to what Allred said was hugely colored by one too many interactions with anti-feminists, and I think you’re probably right that she is being lawyerly and devil’s advocate-like. I really dislike that approach to issues, though. I want to ask whoever uses it who’s home and who I’m actually talking to. I mean, gah. Sometimes you want a visceral, thoughtful, intelligent, response to things from feminist attorneys, not that aggravating, devil’s advocate, poke-every-last-hole-in-it thing, the make sure to zero in on whatever will be helpful to women AND will stand up in court while completely refusing to engage the issue more deeply and broadly and viscerally. Blah.
    🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 5:15 pm
  9. And see, this is what I mean (which I was commenting about in the Dorothy Stang thread, off topic). The comment immediately above, *my* comment, went into the spam queue! :/ What on earth would cause THAT comment to go into the spam queue? Not only do I not see any words that should cause a problem, that was ME, the blog owner, and I was logged in!

    Akismet, in general, is really good, but sometimes does very wierd things.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 5:19 pm
  10. I’m just giving you ladies a heads up on a few things. I mean to share my side not to be a butt, so I hope I don’t come off that way.

    _________________________________________________

    While I understand this and I support other women who want this. I do not like this.

    I would rather work on me not being treated like a piece of meat in the first place.

    As a person of color I’m sick of having to have separate things set up for me so that bad things won’t happen to me.

    I’ve never known things like this to protect anyone. It scares the hell out of people and stops them from dealing with reality. The reality is if you work in business there are going to be sexist guys (which is why I have eliminated this problem by not working in business.)

    I support affirmative action, BUT to me affirmative action is a band-aid so that people don’t have to work to ensure that people of color and poor people have a quality education, they can just say, “Hey your schools are really crappy, but we’ll let 2 out 500 of you into college without having the test scores, yeah you’ll probably drop out, because you weren’t prepared, but we gave you a shot, you should have tried a little harder.”

    I remember being in college tutoring people who looked like me, who were trying, but they just didn’t have the basics. There was nothing I could do. There was nothing they could do. They tried very hard, but if you don’t have the basics trying doesn’t do anything.

    When I graduated people of African descent were a fraction of people who were of African descent in the beginning and some Nigerian girls…of course it was a small college, but still…they had all kinds of special programs for people who looked like me. I never went to any of it. I graduated. The people who did go, most of them didn’t.

    Special programs, floors, considerations you know who they help? The people who cash the checks.

    To me this is like giving a cancer patient aspirin. I guess though you know if you’re a business woman taking part in exploitation well this is acceptable. It’s not about everyone else. It’s not about making a real difference just making a difference on paper for people who can pay for it, marry into it or be born into it.

    I wonder will they make separate buses for the waitresses, hotel maids and strippers who work the night shift.

    Separate public housing for single mothers.

    Not so much money in that kind of thing, unless they start rioting…women aren’t into starting riots…I wonder why? It’s pretty darn effective.

    I wonder will anyone make actual real programs that work for young mothers, not programs that tell them to get crappy part-time jobs and then make them send their six months old to childcare at centers that are on the level of puppy mills.

    I wonder when we will stop having a system than demonized mothers who aren’t upper middle class.

    I wonder when we will stop having a system where 80 year old women have to eat dog food and get left by buses, because they don’t walk fast enough. I’ve seen that. I’ve had to tell the bus drivers to stop. I have to hold the door and stand there while the bus driver is yelling at me, because I know he’ll leave the slow walking older women up the street.

    I wonder when we will have a system that has healthcare for everyone or at the very least the kids.

    I wonder when we will have a system that both parents don’t have to work fulltime in order to be barely middle class.

    I wonder when we will have a system that people don’t even care if they are middle class they just care if they are happy with the basics.

    We’re the richest country in the world. I live in Los Feliz, California. Madonna at one time lived up the street from me. Gwen Stafani is my neighbor. Leo Dicaprio went to my neighborhood high school. Beck was raised over here. And in this neighborhood that almost burned to the ground the other week owing to the Griffith Park fire I walk by people every day eating from trashcans.

    I travel by bus to the inner city, the part that hasn’t been gentrified yet. I sit on the bus with young women dropping off their babies to childcare so that they can go work at at some freakin mall, not because they want to, but because being on welfare and taking care of you kid is viewed as bad.

    Working at a mall for minimum wage and dropping your kid off all day at childcare while you’re taking the bus is viewed as an honorable thing….like we want people to suffer, because of some moralistic bs. Christ if your a single mother in America you’re probably already poor, we just want to drag people down so they have no hope left at all…my god isn’t an asshole, she wouldn’t want you to suffer like that.

    Immediate gratification is bad. Just adding a floor isn’t a start, it’s just immedicate gratification for people who can pay for it.

    Depending on someone else to protect you is a bad.

    I see how well we protect the old, the poor, the single mothers, the disabled, the veterans. I see it every day. We treat stray dogs better.

    Depending on capitalist men to come up with a system to protect you is super bad.

    Lo

    Posted by Lo | May 19, 2007, 6:06 pm
  11. Rock on, Lo.
    Now a few arguments. 🙂
    I think all mothers get demonized, not just poor, middle class, rich, all. I mean, look at Britney Spears. Look at the mom of the little girl kidnapped in Portugal — she’s a doctor. Look at the mom I blogged about a while back whose daughter was taken from her because she didn’t want UNNECESSARY surgery for her daughter. The woman was middle class and white and yet the cops put out an amber alert on her for disobeying her doctor, then took her child away legally. She is a GREAT mother.
    So, yeah, the way mothers are treated, but again, I think it’s mothers, period and especially now. This is an anti-mother time in history, more, I believe, than it’s been in a while. Mothers occasionally get a pass, but only occasionally and never with everybody. Motherhood is a crap shoot. You have your kids, life under male heterosupremacy happens. Most of us, sometime or another, are going to be demonized.
    I think women who want woman-only space should have it, full stop. All women, but especially lesbian women. I wouldn’t be able to afford to stay at the Marriott right now. I definitely wouldn’t be able to afford the Marriott plus thirty bucks; to do that I’d have to, say, spend only one night there and the other night or two with friends, at the Motel 6, or in a tent. 🙂 But I still want women to have woman-only spaces any place they can get them, even if I can’t afford them myself, and even if they’re in the Marriott. I view woman-only spaces as central and crucial to women’s liberation. But that’s another post for another day.
    There are actually inexpensive, get-you-where-you-want-to-go-when-you-need-to-be-there woman-only buses and trains in many countries, in Europe, in India, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve blogged about that, but it’s been a while. If you click on the “Woman-Only Space” category, you’ll bring that up. Of course, we don’t have that here in the U.S., nothing remotely close, but if we did, then a helluva lot more women might be able to ride public transportation without being sexually assaulted and raped as happens to so many of us who use public transportation. I was groped not long ago in a full bus in mid-day as I walked down the aisle looking for a seat. That happens to us, as women, ALL of the fucking time. None of us can keep ourselves safe from that, no matter what we do. Yes, it sucks when it’s capitalist men creating buses and motel floors for us to be safe in. Nevertheless, given a choice between a woman-only bus created by a capitalist man, and being groped or raped on my 1-1/2 hour daily commute (each way) to Seattle by some asshole on a regular bus created by a capitalist man, I’m riding the (nonexistent!) woman-only bus. And given a choice — and the money — to stay on the 19th floor of the Marriott, have a drink at a woman only bar, and sleep in surroundings in which no men are around, courtesy of capitalist men, or staying in a hotel in which I am hit on by men, harrassed by men, and subjected to the unwanted attentions of men, also courtesy of capitalist men, I’m choosing the 19th floor of the Marriott.
    Depending on anybody to protect us is bad, but safety is good. We’re still at a time, as women, where we have to think about our safety, where, the truth is, we can’t keep ourselves safe. So we go where there’s a better likelihood that we will be safe, and that is always going to be truer of woman-only space than it is true of spaces which include men. Which sucks.
    Anyhow, great comment.
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 6:35 pm
  12. And you know, that MacKinnon quote comes to mind here, thinking about the way no matter which way we turn, it’s capitalist males supplying us with whatever:

    One genius of the system we live under is that the strategies it requires to survive it from day to day are exactly the opposite of what is required to change it.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 6:53 pm
  13. Re immediate gratification, you know, sometimes, I think it’s important for women to have it. We’ve had it forced down our throats in a million ways that we have to self-sacrifice, think about other people, put them first, not be selfish, etc. I think a first order of business, for feminists, is for us to take ourselves seriously enough, and value ourselves and our own lives and bodies enough, that sometimes we do go after immediate gratification without feeling sorry for it. We only get one life, it’s no dress rehearsal, there’s nothing wrong with finding whatever pleasures we can find in it. Which obviously is not to say that being irresponsible is great or that the time doesn’t come when we choose principles over immediate gratification, when we act with integrity even when it costs. It’s just to say that immediate gratification gets a bad rap in some ways, I think, particularly when it comes to women.

    I’ve fed my kids using food stamps, years ago as a single mom, going to school. I raised 11 kids, and most of the years I’ve been raising them, I’ve supported them on my own, and some of those years were really, really lean. There were times when I could have stretched my five bucks far enough to buy, say, a pound of short-grain rice, a jar of peanut butter, three cans of tomato soup, a box of saltines, two cans of tuna, and a box of oats, and instead, I bought a pizza. Sometimes doing that, immediate gratification though it was, was what kept my and my kids’ sanity.

    So, immediate gratification when it comes to women — I just think there’s so much that could be said about that.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 7:02 pm
  14. “I think all mothers get demonized, not just poor, middle class, rich, all. I mean, look at Britney Spears. Look at the mom of the little girl kidnapped in Portugal — she’s a doctor. Look at the mom I blogged about a while back whose daughter was taken from her because she didn’t want UNNECESSARY surgery for her daughter. The woman was middle class and white and yet the cops put out an amber alert on her for disobeying her doctor, then took her child away legally. She is a GREAT mother.”

    I want to add this. Lots of times I don’t bring up race, I do it on purpose.

    When I say poor or working class it’s not code for p.o.c. When I say rich or upper middle class it’s not code for white.

    To me Brittany is viewed as “trailer trash” so she is demonized. Don’t think I’m cheese, but I always have felt very sorry for Brittany Spears, yes she’s rich, but at what cost. I think the corporate movies and music producers are no better than porn producers.

    I should have said women who don’t fit the ideal of motherhood. Women who don’t have the “upper middle class manners of the east coast” so I do agree with what you said in regards to this Heart.

    ——–I actually have wrote whole thing on how they treat women pop celebrities and how it translates into how they treat the rest of women. Why do I see shots of Paris Hiltons vagina all over the internet, but never one of Donald Trump’s penis? Who has hurt more people Donald or Paris? Who has more power? Rich boys never get demonized, but rich girls they have to act like the virgin mary reincarnated.———

    I know all too well that poor women, working class women and women on food stamps come in every color. I’ve seen poor white women on the bus in the inner city to with their biracial children. I saw a young blonde girl on the 111 MTA bus that goes though south central with her chest nut little boy. I could tell she was only 20 or 21, but she looked 40.

    I’ve seen white women living with their white childen in cars two blocks from my neighborhood.

    I’ve been in small rural towns throughout this country, so seriously don’t think when I’m talking it’s code in regards to anything more than this country is pretty messed up in some ways.

    “This is an anti-mother time in history, more, I believe, than it’s been in a while. Mothers occasionally get a pass, but only occasionally and never with everybody.” Heart

    Yes I do see that. It pisses me off. I don’t have children. I’m not the type who should be reproducing humans, but I still fully support mothers. It’s very important everyone support mothers. I don’t know how aspiring to be a CEO or a lawyer became more progress than aspiring to be a mother.

    Can’t they both be viewed as good? I know they aren’t. I’ve heard people and their nasty little comments, so we can all pretend as if we have a choice, but I know as well as all of you know in the feminist movement being a mother and only a mother is thought of as some kind of low level oppressive thing, that’s pretty sad.

    Can’t the aspiration be that I want a choice to be who I want to be or who I would be good at…

    Lo

    Posted by Lo | May 19, 2007, 8:31 pm
  15. All so true, Lo– I love what you say re Donald Trump, a guy I have despised for decades, ever since he traded in Ivana for Marla Maples, and in the process of doing that, goes on and on about what a “10” his prospective wife is going to be. Dear god, he’s an ass. Of course then he divorces her but not before she has lost an ungodly amount of weight. I always wondered about that. She had a child and then she got extremely thin and then Trump ditched her. I’m betting it was something like losing her “10”-ness in the course of having a child, and so knocking herself out to get it back again which translated into way too thin. 😦 Meantime the Donald is, as you say, busily hurting all sorts of people and is somehow immune from criticism.

    I think you’ve nailed it re Britney Spears– she really is treated as though she is trailer trash, isn’t she? Or maybe something like part trailer trash, part ditzy airhead, but no matter what, someone eligible to be really viciously trashed.

    I know what you mean re the moms living in their cars or from pillar to post, struggling along. We just had a situation here in Seattle where a little 4-year-old was found walking in his stocking feet in Pioneer Square on Saturday night at about midnight. The papers have been all over it and ohmygod, what hideous mother would leave her child in the car, as this mother did, while she’s out clubbing, she should have her child taken away, and on and on. Someone found her child and brought him to a bar and the police were called and they took the child into “protective custody.” As it turns out, the mom is an immigrant from Poland who is going to school to be a nurse and works fulltime and is a single mom. She doesn’t drink. A friend was visiting and she had taken the friend out to show her Seattle. They wanted to go into a club for a bit but couldn’t bring the little boy, so they made a deal that they would take turns, one going into the bar, the other staying with the child, and then switch off like that. But something went wrong and the little boy got out of the car and was walking around loose. The mom got her child back (but has to be under the eye of protective services now), and people are going nuts about how the child should be taken from her and if she’d do this, she’d do anything, and what a horrible person.

    Meanwhile, the dad. Where’s he? Who knows, but one place he is NOT is taking care of the child so the mother can have some time with her visiting friend. All the articles say about him is that he doesn’t l ive with them. Which is so consistent in these situations, the mother is demonized and nobody even asks where the dad is!

    Then, in poking around the net today, I come across something so horrible it made me cry on Midwife Sage Femme’s site, a photo of a woman and her partner, and she had just given birth but her baby was born still. The photo is so sad and beautiful with the mom holding the still baby who was full term. But she had to make her blog private and by invitation only because for some ungodly reason, people went onto her blog in which she’s pouring out her heart and just trashed her, including someone purporting to be a woman and a health care professional! I mean, what did this woman do to deserve any sort of hatred except journal her pregnancy and the devastating birth of her child?

    Here’s the link:

    http://sagefemme.blogspot.com/2007/05/in-memory-of-sweet-birdie.html

    I guess I’m thinking a lot about mothers right now. 😦 I sometimes think that I will make ANOTHER (!) blog just devoted to being a mother, not the cutesy kind with all the photos of the kiddos like everything is just so great, but the real life kind, about surviving the experience! And especially if you’re poor.

    When the Right put me out of business, I was really, really, really poor for a while and I had nine kids and was on my own. I was expecting a small amount of money and knew I’d have it the next day, and it was two days before Christmas and I wanted to take the kids Christmas shopping at the 50-percent-off day at Goodwill. We went there and found all sorts of amazing treasures to give as gifts, and I found a bunch of stuff for the girls that I stashed away so they couldn’t see it. We got up to the checkstand and the checker rung everything up, and I wrote a check knowing the money would be in the bank the next day. The checker verified the funds, though, and of course, they weren’ there yet. I tried to explain, I asked, oh, please, can you hold these things for us, I’ll come back first thing in the morning and pick them up. No, no, we can’t do that, sorry. By this time, ALL of my girls, who were with me, were crying. They were just little. I especially remember Em crying– she must have been 6 or 7. So there I am making this big scene, walking out surrounded by four sobbing little girls leaving our thrift shop treasures behind, knowing there wasn’t going to be much Christmas, and the store clerks call after us, “Merry Christmas!”

    That’s one of SO many experiences like that that I’ve had, that I’ve seen women have, and experiences much worse, too. There’s nothing quite like having kids who just want a pop or a popsicle on a hot day and standing outside the Safeway watching all the people with money walk in and out of the store, it’s all so close and yet so far away and untouchable and sort of surreal. I am here, with my hot kids who just want a pop, there’s the store, full of ice cold pops, but I can’t get them because I don’t have a pocket full of metal and a certain kind of paper. And all the feelings, of course, of sadness, grief, inadequacy, anger, resentment, and especially, of being such a shitty mother and what made me think I should have kids anyway, I can’t even buy them a pop on a hot day.

    So horrible, too– later, after I’d won my lawsuit and went back to publishing for a couple of years, I wrote about the Goodwill incident around Christmas time, writing about being poor. Several women — mothers — wrote back to scold and chide me for how wrong I was to write about that, it was all my fault, I left my ex, and if I hadn’t left him, I wouldn’t be poor, and what was I doing writing a check the day before the money came anyway?
    Just… the viciousness. 😦

    Thanks for what you’ve written there, Lo. I don’t get it that you write in code at all and am sorry if I sounded wierd or defensive or touchy in some way. I’ve been thinking a lot about this stuff lately (as is obvious, because here it all comes pouring out!).

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 19, 2007, 11:24 pm
  16. Heart, this is a great discussion, re: the demonisation of mothers.

    Recently here in Australia we had a newborn baby left on the doorstep of a hospital. The hospital staff didn’t find her until the morning, several hours after she’d been left, so the infant was suffering hypothermia. One of our major newspapers ran the headline “HOW COULD SHE?” (yes, all in capitals), making out that the woman who left the child was utterly heartless and selfish. Fortunately, a lot of people were disgusted by this (although our Prime Minister said he supported it *gag*), but even with that, not a single person asked “How could HE?” completely forgetting that a man must have been involved in the baby-making process! This woman has clearly done what she thinks will give her baby the best chance in life, and she has insults thrown at her, while the man involved is completely invisible. It may well be that the mother of this baby is still a child herself, she may have been forced to abandon the infant by an abusive partner or parent… and she has abuse thrown at her by the national media. No one stops to think that maybe if our society was more supportive of mothers, particularly single mothers and young mothers, this woman might not have felt the need to leave her baby on the doorstep. It’s just easier to make out that a desperate woman is a demon, than to actually look at misogyny in the face.

    Posted by Beppie | May 20, 2007, 2:58 am
  17. Yeah, beppie– there are no end of these impossible double binds. Locally a while back a baby was found still warm and wrapped in a blanket in a subdivision. She had been born to a teenager in an immigrant family; she was new to the U.S. and nobody in the family spoke English fluently. But I swear to god she got the book thrown at her– she was arrested and criminally charged. We have a law here that newborns can be left, no questions asked, within 24 hours of birth, at hospitals and fire stations. But this young woman couldn’t have known that and if she *had* left the baby in one of those places, the same thing might have happened as happened in the instance you’re describing. The fact that the baby was discovered warm tells me the young woman put the baby where she knew it *would* be discovered, which is what matters, no? Evidently not.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 20, 2007, 3:15 am
  18. This was discussed somewhere else, probably at Twisty’s, and someone made the point that a) women should not be charged more for something that is caused by men. The men should get a surchange for causing the problem in the first place.

    And b) now any woman in the “regular” area is going to be seen as “asking for it”.

    Forget one lousy hotel floor, give me an entire planet without men and then I’ll be happy.

    Posted by Johanna | May 20, 2007, 8:21 am
  19. It may be a band-aid (and I totally get the commercialisation and pinkification arguments) – but sometimes what you need right now, in the absence of a revolution, really is a band-aid. To carry the cancer analogy a step further, an aspirin sure isn’t going to cure the cancer, but it may well make the next four hours far more tolerable than they would otherwise be.

    I can see both sides of the argument. I find myself unable to go so far as to say that women’s spaces shouldn’t exist, that using them is some sort of capitulation to the Patriarchy, or that women who wish to use them aren’t being adequately feminist (not alleged here, but definitely touched on elsewhere). Sometimes all you want to do is survive the moment, and escape the harassment and leers for a short while to recoup your energy.

    Posted by lauredhel | May 20, 2007, 11:47 am
  20. Yeah, Johanna re the surcharge. But then, I’ve always thought a man tax, just in general, was a great idea! It was proposed by a Swedish legislator, if I’m remembering correctly, a $1.00 tax on each Swedish man per year to cover all the problems men cause for women.

    Forget one lousy hotel floor, give me an entire planet without men and then I’ll be happy.

    HA! 🙂

    Lauradhel, I totally agree. Sometimes, you just need away from the bullshit. We can’t and shouldn’t be expected to have to deal with male bullshit 24/7 and not need a reprieve from it at times, but that’s the situation for most of the world’s women. They LIVE with their oppressors.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 20, 2007, 12:35 pm
  21. (Note that Safe Place does not particularly work to ensure the safety of male travelers; it’s a for-profit corporation and would certainly devote itself to this work if there were a need for it which could be profitably filled. We all know there is no need for it, and we all know that it is males who assault, accost, stalk and attack females, by and large, and not the other way around. It is women who need protection from men, not men who need protection from women. They may need protection from other men, but that’s their issue, it isn’t women’s issue.)

    Isn’t it ridiculous that you have to add disclaimers such as this to blog posts and that women have to add disclaimers such as this in all conversations about women’s issues in a (usually ineffective) attempt to prevent the cry of “What about the MENZ?” in advance? (insert eye roll emoticon here) And you add the disclaimer knowing that some idiot’s going to dredge up one of the documented case of the rape or assault of a man committed by a woman as if that lone, isolated event carries the weight of the hundreds of cases of assault and rape committed by men against women every freaking day on this planet. (more eye rolling here) What are the US stats on rape? Something like 95% of reported rapes are committed by males against females and of the other 5% are male against male including male adult against male child as well as female against female and female against male. Yeah, we’re out there rampantly assaulting and raping males. For that matter, they’re out there rampantly raping one another. (to roll my eyes sufficiently here I’d have to take them out and roll them across the floor to the other side of the room.)

    Posted by CoolAunt | May 21, 2007, 2:52 pm
  22. Things to keep in mind on the Marriott “women’s floor” — the Marriott family, which founded the publicly traded company & still has a principal role, is Mormon, and a major political actor. Patriarchal religions sometimes are good at creating separate but unequal space for women. In this case it’s separate but more expensive. Also Marriott is the least unionized hotel chain in the US. That means the women cleaning the rooms (and the men washing the dishes) probably make poverty wages and can’t afford family health care. If you want to make sure you stay at a hotel when workers are treated with respect and endorsed by the LGBT community use http://www.sleepwiththerightpeople.org/

    Posted by drmoll | May 21, 2007, 4:27 pm
  23. Dr. Moll, the place may be run by Mormons, but, it is a for-profit concern not run by Mormon principles (i.e., pornography available to guests.) How come you aren’t urging women to avoid the Marriott because of the woman-hating pornography that is available there? I guess that’s nothing but a thing, huh. Because that is something that figures into my decision as to where to stay, when I stay somewhere. Mostly, I have to compromise because almost ALL hotels harm women by making pornography available to guests.

    If I were to stay in the Marriott — if I could afford to — I would leave a gigantic tip for the maids, the kitchen workers, and the wait staff and I would agitate hotel ownership about their non-unionized status, if in fact, that particular Marriott is non-unionized. You say it is the “least unionized.” That tells me it is unionized to some extent and can be unionized more.
    Thanks for the recommend; I’ll take a look. However, that something has been “endorsed by the LGBT community” does not mean it is something that is (1) beneficial to the “L” in LGBT, lesbians; all sorts of stuff gets supposedly “endorsed by the LGBT community” which, in fact, harms lesbians and lesbian spaces, and yet the “L” stays in there like lesbians endorsed whatever it was that in fact is harmful; (2) is beneficial to females.

    Female-only space, woman-only space, is essential for the liberation of the people of women– wherever it can be established and used. I think the uproar which ALWAYS exists against it, whenever it is proposed or created, is evidence that it IS something which will benefit women. If it really were a “ghetto” that was being created, men wouldn’t give a shit.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | May 21, 2007, 5:33 pm
  24. What’s the address… I’m on my way!

    I don’t get Gloria? The woman who would fight all the way to the Supreme Court, about a womym being given injustice over something as simple as a broken toe.

    I love though, how when a person’s argument isn’t holding much weight the first way to get control over the reins, turn it into a black n white issue. Get it heated up! Comparing it to the Klu Klux Klan?

    Sounds like Ol’ Glo just might need a vacation, where to…exactly, Grand Rapids Marriott the Woman Only Floor.

    Posted by Miss Vicki | May 24, 2007, 5:03 am

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