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Pre-2008 Posts

Female-Born Partners Imprisoned for Marrying to Prevent One of Them From Being Sold to Pay Uncle’s Gambling Debt

Shumail and Shahzina

Shumail Raj (left) , 31, and Shahzina Tariq, 26, who are partners and who recently married, have been sentenced to three years in jail by a Pakistani court and have been fined 10,000 rupees ($165), the equivalent of two months’ wages in Pakistan.  Their crime?  Perjury.  They lied to the court, says the court.  A charge of “committing an act of unnatural lust” was dropped, which is a very good thing, in that it would have been punishable by life in prison.  The three-year sentence for perjury the court described as “lenient.”  They could have received seven years, but since they apologized, they received the lesser sentence.

Both Shumail and Shahzina  were born female in Pakistan.  But fifteen years ago Shumail had surgery for removal of breasts and uterus and received hormone injections.   Stories I have read report different reasons for these surgeries.  The doctor who performed the hysterectomy said it was performed because Shumail was having gynecological difficulties, but it’s likely, I’d say, that the doctor would not acknowledge other reasons for the surgery, given that “sex-change” surgeries are illegal in Pakistan.  Shumail says that he obtained the surgeries when at 15, his voice changed and he began growing facial hair.   Some reports say that Shumail has said he intends to seek additional surgery outside of Pakistan.  Since his surgeries,  he has lived relatively uneventfully as a man.   In fact, he has lived more years as a man than he lived as female.

Shahzina’s life has been overshadowed from the time of her birth by the fact that she is female, in that she has lived all of her life as a girl and woman.   The most recent evidence of this is that an uncle decided he would sell her into marriage to pay off a gambling debt. 

 Shahzina and Shumail after the verdict

In an attempt to protect Shahzina from being sold by her uncle, Shumail married Shahzina a year ago and they moved away.   Under Islamic and, presumably, Pakistani civil law, an unmarried girl or woman relative can be sold into a lifetime of sexual slavery by a random male family member, and this is not illegal.  Another man’s wife cannot be sold, however;  that is illegal, something like, presumably, selling somebody else’s cow or truck.   Also under Islamic and, presumably, Pakistani civil law, same-sex marriages and intimacies between people of the same sex are prohibited.  And under Islamic and Pakistani law, sex-change surgeries are prohibited.

Recently, Shahzina’s family members complained to court officials that her marriage should be annulled, because both she and Shumail (who are cousins) are female.  The couple was called into court on, among other charges, charges of having lied about Shumail’s sex.  Doctors examined Shumail’s medical records and determined that Shumail is a woman, not a man; unless he obtains additional surgeries, he will continue to be viewed by the courts as a woman.   If the family is successful in getting the marriage annulled on the basis that it is illegal, then the debt-ridden uncle with the gambling problem will be free to sell Shahzina and his money woes will be over.

The prostituting of Shahzina, the selling of girls and women, in general, is not an issue, apparently.  It is not, again, illegal.  In fact, it is everything which prevents Shahzina from being sold into prostitution which is, as it turns out, illegal.

The reason the family is up in arms right now about the same sex marriage does not seem to have to do with Shahzina’s lesbianism or her relationship with Shumail.  The family has known about the relationship for years; again, these are cousins.   Reports say that Shahzina refers to Shumail sometimes with male pronouns, sometimes with female pronouns, and Shumail does not always refer to himself as male.  The same sex marriage is at issue for one reason only:  that the uncle wants to sell Shahzina into sexual servitude. 

The “lies” about Shumail being a man also haven’t apparently mattered for years.  The family knew Shumail identified as a man and was understood to be a man.  The “lies” became an issue for one reason only:   because they allowed for a marriage which ended Shahzina’s availability for being prostituted.

The prostituting of Shahzina, the selling of girls and women, in general, is not an issue, apparently.  It is not, again, illegal.  In fact, it is everything which prevents Shahzina from being sold into prostitution which is, as it turns out, illegal.

Some pro-LBGT journalists view this result as positive, even “remarkable,” in that the Court  didn’t, as it turns out, punish Shumail for his surgeries or for presenting as a man, and did not punish the couple for lesbian sexual acts.  The couple was punished instead for perjury.  Additionally, it is viewed as remarkable that one of the nation’s high courts considered the couple’s predicament at all, in that it lends issues around sexuality and transgender, as one writer wrote, some “gravitas and deference.”  The “perjury” charge is viewed as just  a matter of the “fine print” or “technicalities” of marriage.

I would have to disagree.   I think the court’s decision and analysis goes straight to, and illuminates, the crux of the issues — it correctly identifies and zeroes in on the roots — in a way GLBT/”queer” analyses almost never manage to do.

Marriage as an institution has always had, as it’s raison d’etre, legal protection of the male supremacist view that each man is entitled to the services of at least one woman.  Marriage has never existed to protect egalitarian or mutual relationships between societal equals; instead, marriage has enshrined and given legal protection only to relationships in which men, as the dominant class in virtually every culture and society, subordinate the women they marry.   Forbidding lesbians or gay men to marry is not primarily about lesbophobia or homophobia; it is about sexism, i.e., preserving the rights of males to enjoy and to trade on the sexual and other services of females, whether it is those they marry or those born to their wives or related to them in other ways.  Prohibitions against transgender are not primarily about transphobia, lesbophobia or homophobia.  They are about sexism, i.e., preserving the rights of males to enjoy and to trade on the sexual and other services of females.  And so the court’s position that the couple should be imprisoned for stating that Shumail is a man can hardly be viewed as a “technicality” or a matter of the “fine print.”  Marriage is centrally about the preservation of male heterosupremacy, heteronormativity.  There is nothing “fine print” or “technical” about punishing any deviations from what amounts to the reason the institution of marriage exists at all.

In so many ways this situation illuminates and highlights the way “queer,” GLBT, and transgender politics so often obscure the plight of female persons.   What possible sense can it make to rejoice in, or even look for or be  pleased about, these so-called “positives” of not punishing the sex, not punishing the surgeries, while ignoring the central, supremely relevant,  “root” issue: that Shahzina is the property of the males in her family, as all females similarly situated with her are the property of males in their families, that she is available to be legally prostituted by male family members at their discretion or whim, and that it is THIS uber-institutionalized, systemic injustice and inequality which must end?  Why is it not obvious that when this institution ends, all  of these so-called “positives” and many more will result?  Why do self-identified progressives and feminists, who often insist that the focus be on the ways various oppressions are systemic and institutionalized, so often fail or refuse to focus on the ways in which these blatant, egregious oppressions of female persons are likewise systemic and institutionalized?

If Shahzina were not chattel and hence, were unavailable to be bought and sold, her partnership with Shumail would have continued unimpeded because nobody would have been attempting to prostitute her by selling her into marriage.  If marriage did not exist to defend the rights of males to at least one woman, each, then Shahzina and Shumail could have married or not, as they chose; their femaleness would not have factored in.  They would not have been damned no matter what they did:  damned to jail for admitting they were both born female, damned to jail for denying they were both born female.   If the world were not one in which females were subordinated by males, then Shumail might not have sought the surgeries he sought when he realized his voice was changing, hair was growing on his face, and this would be a huge problem to him, given that he was born female.  More importantly, the surgeries Shumail sought might have been unavailable, because they might have been viewed as irrelevant or unnecessary. 

And in a world in which females were not chattel, certain things might have a clarity that they do not at present seem to have.  Shumail, though female-born and adjudged by a court to be female, for all of the likely difficulties of his life as a transgendered person, was not the one destined here to be sold into sexual servitude.  That person was Shahzina, the person born female who lived as a female for all of her life. 

Were male ownership of, and subordination of, females to end today, there would be, in fact, no story to report here, no “positives” for pro-same-sex marriage people or pro-GLBT activists to suss out of what amounts to yet another instance of males, terrorizing females, and in particular, their own family members.   This is why it makes sense to me to devote my own activist efforts to ending male ownership and subordination of females.  That is of central and primary importance to me.  To the degree that we are able to achieve that goal,  to that degree, sexism ends, lesbophobia and homophobia end, transphobia ends, as well. 

Shahzina and Shumail have every right to love one another freely, openly, unapologetically, without answering to anyone for it.  They have a right to live in peace and happiness.  The way they look and present harms nobody, and their love for one another harms nobody.  As is true of all love, left to grow and flourish, it makes the world a better place, for all of us.  As is true of all love which does not perpetuate and protect male dominance, however, sexist institutions and systems find it dangerous, illegal, something to be punished.




47 thoughts on “Female-Born Partners Imprisoned for Marrying to Prevent One of Them From Being Sold to Pay Uncle’s Gambling Debt

  1. This analysis blows me away. Wow.

    (I mean this in a good way.)

    Posted by anon | May 31, 2007, 7:00 pm
  2. Thanks, anon.

    I’ve been working on it for about a week now. :/

    The situation enrages me and I didn’t want that rage, necessarily, to dominate my writing.

    You know, I intended to include some paragraphs about the Gendercator brouhaha. That’s a brouhaha over a satirical film (Gendercator) made by a lesbian filmmaker (Catherine Crouch) who postulates a futuristic world ruled by theocrats/theonomists/fundamentalists/Religious Right-types in which people would have to choose their gender, man or woman, and doctors and professionals would accommodate them. The film caused a huge stir among some transgender activists and one showing of the film was torpedoed for this reason.

    But that IS where current ideologies/politics/ideas/movements are taking us, including those that think and really believe themselves to be subversive and transgressive: not in the direction of liberation and empowerment for all human beings, however we present, whatever we look like, whomever we love, but in the direction of surgical, hormonal, and other “fixes” designed to make our presentation/looks/love interests mesh with what is required by the rigid gender binaries of male heterosupremacy.

    What happened here is exhibit A, really. The doctors the court asked to review Shumail’s medical records said he would not be a male unless he had a few more surgeries. At that point, I guess, his marriage to Shahzina will be legal and he won’t be guilty of perjury if he says he’s a man.

    That’s one small step away from religious people/courts telling people they will have to “choose” their gender.

    And if it isn’t, someone explain to me why it isn’t.


    Posted by womensspace | May 31, 2007, 7:10 pm
  3. ((( Heart!! )))

    Once again, you give the world a true reference point for Female reality on this planet, and the forces at work from which it has resulted.

    You continue to dazzle me.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | May 31, 2007, 7:57 pm
  4. In Nevada it is illegal for men to prostitute. What you aptly call “preserving the rights of males to enjoy and to trade on the sexual and other services of females” is what prostitution legalization is all about, as the nonexistence of outraged sex worker rights groups consisting of and supporting men who want the right to be whores in Nevada backs up.

    There’s a pervasive sexist idea that what happens to men, including MTF transgendereds, is worthy of being called crime and deserves increased government attention while what happens to women is relegated to “culture” that cannot and should not be called a crime deserving increased government attention.

    Not long ago a blog posting was made by Ann at Feministing about a business capitalizing on sexist stereotypes of nurses. She agreed that the negative results of reducing nurses to sex fantasies makes men more likely to sexually abuse, inequally pay, and devalue nurses as professionals, but then she balked at nurses daring to take their inequal treatment to court instead of just complaining about it.

    Senator Claire McCaskill D-Missouri won’t support the revived ERA on similar grounds that it doesn’t deserve legal attention; “It’s not that I don’t support the concept, but frankly we’ve all seen how amending the Constitution doesn’t necessarily get America there. You know, we did a lot of changes to embrace African-Americans in this country, and clearly putting it into law doesn’t make it happen.” This refusal to pass legislation for American women’s rights comes from a woman whose job is essentially to create and promote legislation for American peoples rights.

    Note how similar the wording of McCaskill’s justification for not supporting the ERA is to pornstitution apologists who say pornography and prostitution are mere trifles, ‘symptoms’ of sexism not worth legal attention because they harm mostly females: “And sometimes I think we put the energy into making the laws and not enough energy into changing the social dynamic that brings about equality.”

    Posted by Sam | May 31, 2007, 8:51 pm
  5. “Under Islamic and, presumably, Pakistani civil law, an unmarried girl or woman relative can be sold into a lifetime of sexual slavery by a random male family member, and this is not illegal.”

    This is actually not technically true of Islamic law. In practice, yes, it’s widely accepted for women to be sold/coerced/pressured into marriage, but under Islamic law, the explicit consent of women to their marriage is required for the marriage to take place.

    Of course, all over the world rules and laws promoting the basic humanity of women may exist, but are ignored. This is a reflection of the (mostly) men who control jurisprudence and families.

    I don’t say this out of a desire to defend Islam’s greatness. I’m an atheist former Muslim.

    Posted by Zawadi | May 31, 2007, 9:37 pm
  6. Thanks for that, Zawadi. It’s similar, of course, with conservative Christianity. For example, men are urged to cherish and nurture their wives “as their own body” and to honor their wives in various ways. In practice, just as you say, these injunctions are ignored, and many Christian fundamentalist men regularly abuse their wives and nothing is done about it. And their wives are punished for being disrespectful or “irreverent” if they tell anyone about it.


    Posted by womensspace | May 31, 2007, 11:09 pm
  7. And thanks for your comment there as well, Sam. As to McCaskill’s statement, I think sometimes part of changing the social dynamic that brings about equality is changing the laws! Why are these put apposite one another?

    Thanks to you, too, Mary Sunshine, mwah.


    Posted by womensspace | May 31, 2007, 11:12 pm
  8. Heart, this is just brilliant. You’ve hit it right on the head. What’s amazing is the blinders the world has on regarding women’s oppression. It’s like poison air we all breathe and yet can’t see. You make it visible and I can’t thank you enough for all your effort.

    I have been guilty of cultural relativism, and I repent. It’s hard in a white supremacist, Islamophobic world not to want to defend oppressed groups.

    It really takes a nuanced and informed argument such as yours to make clear the critique of male supremacy that encompasses the white and/or western worlds as well as the cultures of the “others” in a worldwide system that oppresses ALL women.

    It took years of educating myself about other cultures, both formally and through direct contact, before I felt confident enough to openly criticize cultural practices that subjugate other women. It shouldn’t have to take that long!

    What makes all the difference is knowing that I am backing up women who are fighting for change from within their own cultures. I’m nobody’s savior; I believe we all have to start by fighting our own oppression, and there is lots to do in my own backyard. That doesn’t mean I have nothing to say about gender-based apartheid, female sexual servitude and lynchings wherever they happen.

    Posted by roamaround | June 1, 2007, 3:11 am
  9. Heart: “Marriage is centrally about the preservation of male heterosupremacy, heteronormativity. There is nothing “fine print” or “technical” about punishing any deviations from what amounts to the reason the institution of marriage exists at all.”

    Exactly! Whoo hooo!! You rock!

    Posted by roamaround | June 1, 2007, 3:17 am
  10. “In fact, he has lived more years as a man than he lived as female.”

    Hey, sorry to gripe, but be careful with utilizing gender and sex in the same sentence like that.

    If Shumail Raj isn’t “female” anymore, neither is my mom, and she ain’t one you want to fuck with like that. 😛

    Posted by Rich | June 1, 2007, 3:21 am
  11. You know, it’s interesting– there are several articles quoting doctors that say Shumail could conceive a child, with difficulty. I don’t know what that means, exactly. It sounds like there was no oophorectomy so there are viable eggs which could, I guess, be extracted for in-vitro? But it’s this, plus the fact that Shumail does not have a penis, that is what makes him female to the doctors who examined his records and thus, to the Court.

    The sense I also got reading all the articles I read, and I have to acknowledge that this is more visceral, something I “get” because I’ve read so much along these lines, but Shumail and Shahzina, based on what they say, just seem like a lesbian couple to me, and they haven’t really attempted to present in any other way, it doesn’t seem like, until recently, when they’ve been cornered because of the threats to Shahzina. Shumail refers to himself as female at times, as does Shahzina.

    Some things they say remind me so much of the kind of thing I heard in my old world, i.e., “We are not homosexuals, we just love each other.” This is something people in fundamentalist religion do say, more than anyone would think. They don’t really have words for lesbianism. Although they may have had intimate relationships with women, they don’t think of themselves as lesbians, because that world doesn’t allow for lesbianism. It’s unthinkable.

    So that’s all free fer nuttin.

    Point taken, Rich. 🙂

    Thanks, roamaround! There’s a really, really good article on multiculturalism and the way, as it’s informing European court decisions, it is causing great harm to females, in the First Carnival of Radfems. Very worth reading.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 3:38 am
  12. Argh, I didn’t finish my thought.

    Again, this goes to the Gendercator debacle. When the couple was threatened, their only hope was for Shumail to “choose” to be male in ways that would satisfy fundamentalist or fundamentalist-influenced laws or authorities and for the couple to insist they were not “homosexual.” Really, the Gendercator scenario is not some distant possibility, and while the play is satire, the situation actually exists now, in the real world, and is anything but satire.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 3:59 am
  13. regarding the not legal in Islam to force womyn into marriage,

    sorry, but, what is selling nine year old girls [menstruating supposedly] into marriages, any marriage, but especially with grown men, some in 50s, is?

    Its sure not consent…its pedaphilia and CHILD RAPE. thats what it is,

    no child of that age understands the contract in which they are entering or the ramifications of such arrangements [usually they don’t even know, they are just taken and raped the night of the wedding, and I’ve heard testimonies from too many Muslim womyn on this very issue]

    would any adult in their right mind sell a car and the keys to a nine year old girl? Of course now, because they are MINORS, because they do not understand what they are getting into…why we have LAWS against such contracts,

    so for the consent to be required, WRONG. and in the Quran, men can rape slaves and uh, thats a matter of not respecting CONSENT….
    so I have to strongly disagree with the Islam not granting such practices, of course its granted, if forced child marriages are permissable,


    This is the Main reason I left the far left political parties…in that they tolerate and are apathetic towards laws that want to make pedaphilia perfectly legal…and why so many of them see no issue with the laws of Islam on this [well anything that is anti-US and anti-capitalist and if it means selling all womyn into a life of hell, slavery, rape and dungeonhood, so be it…after all, majority of far left parties are white men who would love to continue the raping of womyn of color especially, with total impunity, and what better way than to do it under a Misogynist religion! Totalitarians love Totalitarians, misery loves and thrives on misery…thats the One thing I learned, in working in the far left. [not all far leftist are totalitarianist, and there is huge split right now over this very issue in far left]
    The hilarious and ironic thing is though, lol, is that, so many of today’s ‘cultural relativists’ and ‘totalitarian worshippers’ forget, what they did, to the Tudah party in Iran…
    Islam and Communism and Socialism don’t mix well, they sure as hell won’t share power…even the Baathe Party slaughtered communists, know why? When they started working on ‘womyn’s human rights’…thats why. So many don’t know That history…

    but, sigh, I dread to think, it will take, Sharia courts and forced Chadors, on all womyn, before people really see it…give it seven years in Amerikkka, give it seven years….its coming.

    And another thing, this whole ‘Islamophobe’ label, is Such b.s., its the equivalent of labeling feminists who are concerned, very concerned over the attacks on abortion, labeling them Christianphobes….
    the dangers are THERE, you can have blind multi-culturalism,
    or you can have womyn’s human rights, take your pick.

    I’m not referring to ethics here, or common moral grounds, such as do not murder, do not steal, etc…I’m referring to, religions and law, mixed…
    Why in Turkey right now, they have been protesting in the thousands…every day, over the threat of Islamic Rule rather than secular.
    and thats just the point, really, and why the label Islamophobe is such a ‘clever tool’ used by the political Islamists to silence critics…
    because Islam, requires, rule over Law, political Islam especially. Whereas, majority of Christians and Jews don’t require it, not in This day and age, the ones that do want to push for a religious government are fringe groups, not a majority…big difference. Liberalism Used to be, about keeping rights, and keeping religion OUT of matters of law and jurisprudence…not any more,
    now its post-colonial guilt [which doesn’t do really a damn thing to address imperialism, hell look at globalization, corporate multi-national imperialism at its worst and its not just USA], and relativism that basically says,
    oh well, its only their culture and who are we to judge, etc. that may work in theory, to a point [though I detest any aspect of being blind to cruelty and oppression, to me its like, the same as some American during the slave days saying, oh well, slavery is just the Southern culture, though we have a constitution that says ‘all men are equal before God’…who are we to try and end slavery…thank goodness the Abolitionists didn’t give a damn what people thought, slavery was wrong and fuck culture.]

    I think we need that type of liberalism again, not this pacifist got our heads stuck in the dirt type of mentality we have today…a liberalism that says,
    Human Rights for all, physically and economically, and

    bring back the Spirit of the Paine, of the Abolitionists, of Danton, bring it back.
    or we are all going to wind up,
    in photographs, similar to the one above, and our daughters are going to be the ones,
    sold into pedaphile arrangements or trafficked into sex/or domestic/slave labor,
    and they’ll have this generation of PC dont’ want to step on any ‘culture’ toes,

    to blame.

    Posted by Tasha | June 1, 2007, 5:44 am
  14. “Some pro-LBGT journalists view this result as positive, even “remarkable,” in that the Court didn’t, as it turns out, punish Shumail for his surgeries or for presenting as a man, and did not punish the couple for lesbian sexual acts. ”

    Although it’s better than punishing the couple for lesbian sexual acts, it’s still NOT good enough!

    Why is selling another person legal in Pakistan?! It’s illegal in Islam! These people are only using religion to remain stuck in their old ways.

    Posted by MJ | June 1, 2007, 12:56 pm
  15. If you dont want me to post here, please delete this comment and accept my apology for intruding.

    My question about this analysis is sincerely felt–if sexual slavery is the heart of women’s oppression why exclude transwomen? Transwomen are thought by some advocates to be forced into prostitution at rates as high as 80%, and thats not counting the married transwomen.

    Transwomen obviously have different experiences than most women, but feminists already recognize many differences among women’s experiences (for example, since I live in the US, am highly educated, etc. I am very unlikely to face being sold into prostitution by my father. ) It seems we share some experiences which you think are most significant.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | June 1, 2007, 1:43 pm
  16. Curiousgyrrl, I am not not “excluding” transwomyn from my analysis of male heterosupremacy, and I’m not excluding males from it either. I don’t exclude anyone from it.

    Patriarchy does indeed hurt all of us. It really hurts transwomen and transmen, too. It really does hurt men, too. Something I have said many times, something radical feminists have said many times, something we all believe. The end of patriarchy — male heterosupremacy — will usher in a new day for all human beings: male, female, adult, child, and the creatures of the earth as well, and the earth as well.

    What I am talking about here, though, among other things, is the way the egregious oppression of female people is made to be invisible by analyses like the ones I’ve described here and by comments and diversions people like you, curiousgyrl — sorry but this is my experience with you — introduce into threads like this at every possible opportunity. I think you don’t actually read what I and other radical feminists write, and I don’t think you’ve read this blog post. Please do.

    A clue: Male born persons NEVER get sold into marriage to men. NEVER. Does not happen. Do you think what Heather Jones is going through — any of it, any — is something ANY man has ever gone through? EVER? ANY? Or ever will? Or will ever even have to consider in the furthest reaches of his consciousness or spirit or soul?

    Hell no.

    It’s true that the experiences of females will vary. It’s also true that many things are appointed *only* to female experience, and that no males, anywhere, will ever experience these things — they never have and never will — and that these are experiences of oppression and subordination at the hands of males. The reverse is never true. Male people have experiences of oppression and subordination at the hands of other males but not at the hands of females as a class.

    That is significant. That must be central to any cogent, sensible or intelligent analysis of patriarchy, of male heterosupremacy. It isn’t, right now, for way too many people, because there is all sorts of interest in obfuscating the very real subordination of female people by males.


    Posted by Heart | June 1, 2007, 3:17 pm
  17. One more thing:

    Did the thought occur to you, curiousgyrl, that transwomen have nothing to do whatsoever — zero — with this thread?

    Your question is a total diversion.

    This is a thread about two female-born persons, lesbians, one of whom may or may not identify as a transman; there is no evidence that she ever has or does.

    Here you are, once again wanting to make it all about the transwomen. Hell no. That is not what this thread, this post, or this blog is about.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 3:21 pm
  18. Ok, I’ll take it elsewhere. I thought I was making a relevant point because it seemed to me that the purpose of this post is to argue that sexual slavery of female-born people, as opposed to all women, is at the root of all patriarchal oppression, and that this post was a comment on recent discussions of trans issues. Guess I was mistaken, and you weren’t commenting on that at all.

    I do not argue, nor will i ever argue that men are fundamentally oppressed by women. that is the argument of a strawoman.

    as for Heather Jones, I dont know who she is, but she and I share the experience of running 0 risk of getting sold into marital slavery.

    [I’ve removed the quotation marks around the words female-born in Curiousgyrl’s comment, for reasons which I believe will be obvious to those who are here in good faith. — Heart]

    Posted by curiousgyrl | June 1, 2007, 3:59 pm
  19. Sexual slavery of female born people certainly is at the root of all patriarchal oppression. Males are also enslaved sexually, in much smaller numbers, also by males, in order to subordinate them in the way that females are also subordinated, in order to make “women” out of them, sexual slavery being, of course, about power, about dominance, and about hierarchy.

    Nobody is sexually enslaved, ever, by females. This is significant. This is central.

    That is what is relevant to any discussion of male heterosupremacy. If we aren’t talking about who does what to whom, then we are not getting to core, central issues.

    Heather Jones is all over the main page of this blog, both above and below the post you’ve commented on. Her situation is of interest to all feminists and ought to be of interest to all human beings. Before you say anything about her at all — because she is in a very delicate situation — kindly read the posts. If you don’t know who she is, how can you say anything at all about her?

    On the other hand, my experience with you is, you say all sorts of stuff without having actually educated yourself as to the subject matter, the issues, or the events at hand.

    Don’t do that here. Comment respectfully.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 4:05 pm
  20. As to who gets “sold into” marriage, in the same way that there’s a de facto military draft in the U.S. — of the poor, of people of color, of disenfranchised and marginalized people — although there is no official “draft,” women and girls are de facto sold into marriage every single day, everywhere on the planet. The fact of their having been sold into marriage just isn’t as clear and obvious in some places as it is in others.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 4:09 pm
  21. And of course, males are not sold into marriage anywhere on the planet, in a way that is de facto or official.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 4:14 pm
  22. the post above appeared after I commented, so that is pretty disingenuous.

    i mentioned her only because you asked about her. I arrived at this post through the trackback to the thread IBTP–another reason I wrongly assumed the post was meant as a comment on trans issues.

    I don’t regularly read your blog, which and I apologize for my misreading of your sentence.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | June 1, 2007, 4:44 pm
  23. curiousgyrl, this thread is indeed about issues around transgender and related issues. In the comments, I’ve talked about the Gendercator. Those are among the reasons for the link to IBTP.

    This thread is not, however, about transwomen, or excluding or including transwomen in something or other, which is what you seemed to want to make the thread about.

    Before you write in a way that is flip and dismissive about any woman, as you did with Heather Jones, I suggest you educate yourself as to that woman’s situation. I don’t care what or where you read, it is never going to make sense to be flip or dismissive about any woman’s situation, ever, but definitely not here.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 4:53 pm
  24. “Nobody is sexually enslaved, ever, by females. This is significant. This is central.”

    Heart I concur with you on almost every point but the above quote,
    I do not come from middle class, etc…my bio-mom sexually and physically abused both my brother and me, and she was violent…at 16 ran away and lived on the streets, I know the sex industry [not going to go into details]
    maybe not as an entire ‘class’ as WOMYN over men, Granted,

    but as a RACE, yes, many cases, Serbian womyn who assisted Serbian men in gang raping Bosnian womyn [fact],
    Muslim womyn today in Balkans literally watching the trafficking of womyn and keeping these womyn from escaping [fact]

    and yet these facts are often neglected or just refused to be looked at…

    while I am in very strong agreement with you regarding the male heterosexual superiority complex-patriarchial class, etc.,
    we cannot I believe completely dismiss the issues of Race oppression [that womyn have Knowingly took part in and took part in some of the worst forms of human rights abuses, against MEN AND WOMYN]

    and Class oppression.

    The sad fact is, there are womyn, who do not only partake but who are in total agreement with oppression of womyn, as sad and hard as that is to believe,

    this doesn’t mean that they aren’t oppressed as a class, gender class, but I’ve seen too many times the opinion that these womyn only oppress due to some relief,

    WRONG. Some womyn oppress because of Priviledge, Racism, Religion, Classism, Nationalism, because they don’t care, because they can be, as FREE AGENTS, just as misogynist and cruel as men can be…

    not as high in the numbers, no, but they can, and I think that reveals that there is more to the human question as to how power relations play out. And I think this is why more studies are needed in how and why womyn in many parts of the world assist in gendercide, which is the killing, deliberate of a gender, be it male or female. Columbia and Chechnya, are prime examples of the deliberate slaughter of boys.

    While I totally concur with the URGENCY to rid the world of Patriarchy, I do not believe, that ridding the world of Patriarchy alone will cure all the ills and end all womyn’s oppression. Its a start, but as one brilliant study on mother to daughter abuse and lesbian to lesbian abuse/or woman to woman abuse in Australia says,

    we actually feed into the womyn are kind, loving and all men are evil and aggressive determinist constructs, which fuels the arguments that justify patriarchy because by not looking at woman violence [not self defense here but outright cruel violence]
    we then do not see womyn as human agents in their own right…which is really saying they aren’t humans…even with influences and social mores/roles, womyn still are agents and they still have CHOICE. They pay for those choices sure, that men will never as a class pay for [excluding race/ethnicity, etc] but they still have that choice, womyn aren’t robots.

    [I think too, when womyn see this they will actually do more to shake off the internalizations and start fighting for themselves as human beings]

    I’m in an online therapy group with other womyn, who have suffered Horrible abuses from other womyn, some in the sex industry, some who’ve been raped and gang raped by other womyn [and not all the perps come from abusive homes either, and some are Very sadistic]

    two of the womyn, won’t mention names or too much personal, but two of them, their own mothers held them down while men raped them, and other WOMYN raped them…not only that, the mothers shoved baby dolls into them and screamed all kinds of horrid things, forcing these womyn, as children now, to give a sort of ‘birth’.

    For womyn such as myself, and many men, who yes have been at the recieving end of woman abuse [and my brother and me both from mother and other men, and let me assure you, no, its not more gentle because it comes from a woman]

    its extremely difficult and painful to hear that only men, or only patriarchy, is the culprit…not only that,

    having known the sex industry, you’d be surprised, at how many women, pay to rape, pay to torture, pay to get off on the rape of a child…and how many women, work as pimps, as madams,

    and as traffickers. They love the money, power, it has nothing to do, with them being just victims..they KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING…AND THEY DONT’ CARE,

    why I have a lot of conflict, because I most Definately don’t trust men

    but I don’t trust too many womyn either.

    But concur with you on the patriarchy, etc., as worldwide, etc…but I think that whole power dynamic, goes much deeper, on a psychological level, and it does need to be addressed.


    Posted by Tasha | June 1, 2007, 5:13 pm
  25. Tasha, yeah, the world is full of females who are painted birds, Tools of the Patriarchy, sellouts. We are a colonized people and we have lots of internalized self-loathing to deal with. Often enough women hate the people who remind them of how much they are hated, or even how much they hate themselves, i.e., other women, and that gets played out in women hating other women, hurting women. Yes, as to what you say about overcoming our internalized misogyny.

    What we can know for sure is that as a class, females are not benefitting from whatever it is women who have sold out are doing; males are benefitting, primarily, from what they are doing. Just as no sell-out, in whatever marginalized or oppressed class, benefits over the long haul from doing whatever he is doing that amounts to selling out. Our complicity, as oppressed people, with the system, is our stake in the system, you know? The strategies the system requires for marginalized and oppressed people to survive it from day to day are the precise opposite of what is required to change it. So of course women enlist as tools, or they are drafted in various ways, and they are essential and critical to the continuation of the system itself.

    I know women suffer as you’ve described at the hands of women and I hate this like no other. I am so sorry for what you and they and all of us have had to suffer!

    I do see women as fully human, with agency and the ability to choose. I think women know exactly and precisely what they are doing when they choose what hurts women. But I also see that women’s choices are bounded under male heterosupremacy, in a way men’s choices are not. To survive, in small ways and large ways, women are forced to choose between what hurts women a little bit and what hurts women a a lot.

    I don’t believe women are kind or loving or anything else by nature, any more than men are. What I think is, compared with men, women have not been corrupted by power.

    To say patriarchy is the culprit is not to say males, only, are the culprit. Patriarchy includes all of the other isms and dominance hierarchies; it isn’t just about sexism. Patriarchy includes institutionalized, systemic, and structural racism, classism, ableism, lesbo and homophobia, all of the subordinating mechanisms which keep white het men on top and dominant in the world over everybody else.

    I don’t believe that if we toppled male heterosupremacy, the world would be an oasis in a moment. But I do believe that if male heterosupremacy were toppled, one by one, like a house of cards, all the rest would fall over time.

    Of *course* in the meantime we’d all have a buttload of internalized misogyny/racism/classism/lesbo/homo/transphobia to work through, that’s not going to disappear in an instant or in a lifetime or a few lifetimes.

    But if you root out a diseased tree, over time,all the branches wither and die, they crumble, they become dust which returns to the earth, makes it fertile for new growth.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 5:32 pm
  26. btw, in addition,
    the camel that broke the straws back, as to why I literally told the left party I was in to shove it,
    was a discourse over a historical US leader in CP, who raped his daughter from age of five, many of the men joked about it, it was like no big deal..
    but what really got me, was when the women, two in fact, had the nerve to say to me,
    some children like to be raped/molested….
    women now…cold and I mean colder than the men.
    This was a while back but let me tell you, from where I sit, where I come from [streets, UNDERCLASS and let me assure you, I’ bite my tongue, on here…because I”m working so hard to find what self in me is left, and I really Don’t know, sometimes, who is really ‘me’ inside and who is ‘me’ that my bio-mom and others, created, from early early age–before I was six, so I have really no idea, who ‘me’ is…and I struggle with a lot of violence, and depression/suicide, on many days]
    anyway, I wanted to kill those women, really did…and Thats what I struggle with,
    why I can Sooo relate to the anger of African American womyn and Latina American womyn and Asian American womyn [and not just American],


    [why I started to blog a journal, working through the darkness and the demons and I have many of them…I also started it because I wanted people to see, the DAMAGE, sex abuse from men AND women, does to children and how deep the damage goes, because OF ALL THE TRAFFICKING AND SEX SLAVERY GLOBALLY, AND MANY ‘SO CALLED FEMINISTS’ WHO SUPPORT THIS SHIT…and they do exist…

    just as there are many women in Religions, who assist in stonings, honor killings, rapes, trafficking, forcing other womyn/daughters even into marriages…etc.

    to close, thats why I started studying the Goddess beliefs, but one thing I’ve noticed, there is so much focus on the fertility and mother in the Goddess,

    but far too many, forget, that Goddesses were also,

    Goddesses of WAR.

    So what are the answers, I don’t know, but I do know this,
    its not just womyn are the victims and men are the perps…that I do know, and I think this is what many trans where they are coming from…
    because I’ve met many trans men/ in therapy and online, just talking to them, that have endured some horrible abuses by their mothers/womyn when they were children [now that has NOTHING to do with Sexual Identity…want to really emphasize that here, but it is an issue that all survivors of woman abuse and yes, male abuse contend with, especially if they are GLBT].

    and I dedicate these two posts, to my brother…he was younger than me, the only family I have [other than my children],
    and why I sort of understand where the trans are coming from, hard to articulate it but though maybe not as a class and as in scope in abuse/oppression that womyn suffer, there are men, and boys, who yes,
    have been, horribly abused by womyn.
    And I just think we shouldn’t in any way invalidate that or trivialize it…if we want to rid the world of patriarchy, we are going to have to confront the reality,
    of womyn and violence that is from their own source, and not just blame patriarchy alone.
    if that makes any sense…


    Posted by Tasha | June 1, 2007, 5:33 pm
  27. I think what you write makes better sense than 90 percent of what I read that “feminists” and “progressives” write, Tasha.

    I think you make a buttload of sense.

    I know what you mean about boys, men, male persons who have suffered, including suffering at the hands of women. Quiet as it’s kept all males — ALL — have suffered at the hands of other males. Every last one, I’m betting, but some far more than others– boys and men of color, disabled boys and men, small or fat or gender-nonconforming boys and men, homosexual boys, poor boys, all have suffered. And yes, many have also suffered at the hands of women. There is no reason not to say so and no reason to minimize or dismiss the real pain, the hardship and agony of it.

    That’s the ugly fruit of dominance hierarchies, of might makes right, of worshipping at the feet of power and viewing force, violence, coercion as solutions to conflicts.

    If you begin to study goddess archtypes and mythology, you begin to suspect, as many of us do, that violent goddesses are an invention of a scared and fearful patriarchy. The goddesses have the *capacity* for violence, but they are guided by certain ethics and values which hold no sway with the male bully gods.

    This is a good blog that gets into a lot of this stuff if you are interested.

    Radical Goddess Theology


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 5:52 pm
  28. I also started it because I wanted people to see, the DAMAGE, sex abuse from men AND women, does to children and how deep the damage goes, because OF ALL THE TRAFFICKING AND SEX SLAVERY GLOBALLY, AND MANY ‘SO CALLED FEMINISTS’ WHO SUPPORT THIS SHIT…and they do exist…

    Yes, they do support this shit and they do exist. And too many of them are trying to tell somebody that being prostituted can be empowering and that we should focus on the empowering part and not on the slavery part and that it’s all about “cultural” issues and everything but that women are enslaved, assaulted, raped, beaten, battered, murdered, hated.

    This disgusts me.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 5:56 pm
  29. ***a historical US leader in CP, who raped his daughter from age of five, many of the men joked about it, it was like no big deal..
    but what really got me, was when the women, two in fact, had the nerve to say to me,
    some children like to be raped/molested….
    women now…cold and I mean colder than the men.***

    People seem to react more strongly to women who abuse, maybe because it is seen as an aberration when a woman does it, more than when a man does it?

    Cold, yes, those women are cold, but more cold than the men? I don’t think so. Those who agree with the rape, say awful things like some children like to be raped and molested, are very cold indeed, but they are not colder than the men who joked about the rape of the little girl, and *definitely* not more than the man who actually perpetrated the rape.

    I have also been very angry at some women for their apparent agreement with the oppression of women, but I am always angered by the unfairness of those who say that women are *worse* than men who have committed identical (or worse) behavior. Those who have said that have unfortunately all been women in my experience.

    Posted by Branjor | June 1, 2007, 6:07 pm
  30. I just read what you posted and I had already posted the above…
    its hard for me Heart, because for years, I always identified with my bio-mom [I refuse to call her mother ever again because SHE WAS NEVER A MOTHER] but anyway,

    with her because she was a woman and because of patriarchy and like every excuse…she passed away two years ago, I’m in my forties and all my life, I blamed patriarchy or that she was single or that she had it hard or whatever, my brother and I both did [me more than him though]

    and so I not only deal with having to fight internalized patriarchy [as we all do] but deep internalized self-hate because hey, something was wrong with me, obviously right? ITs really hard to articulate but so much of the abuse I allowed, by men [relationships] was tied into having had that instilled into me, from very young age..btw, I was molested/raped in front of a Venus de Milo figurine…so coming to Goddess religions was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT, WHY I FELT PEACE WITH MORRIGAN BUT I HATED, AND I MEAN I FUCKING HATED VENUS…
    I just now over past six months have come to some sort of peace with Venus,
    all I know Heart is that, right now, its like, well, I just don’t see patriarchy as the reason my bio-mom was the monster she was, and I am just SICK of those excuses for her shit…sick of it, and that in no way means I am in cohoots with the patriarchy, I am probably struggle with misandry more than most anti-patriarchs [I struggle there too],
    in other words I’m extremely anti-patriarchy, militantly so,
    my bio-mom was very anti-femme, Firestone would have fucking loved her…[oh I hate Firestone, have no idea, I read that Dialectic of Sex and I wanted to feed her my bio-mom’s ashes..seriously when I read that mother-child love should be destroyed, that mother bond and machines should have children and that children should have all the ‘genetalia’ they want…so that whole extreme deconstruct thing yea, I have major major issues with–and she was very anti-patriarchial–so was my bio-mom [second wave feminist] and she did everything in her power to kill any ‘feminine’ in me by force, physical, sexual and emotional [emotional/mental through adulthood till I finally cut ties, but even then, she still barged in, all the time…]

    [you have to forgive the rage here…but I’m not hiding it anymore or shutting her, in me, up, because I think many need to know, too much indifference and not enough voices from the pits, if you know what I mean–and the rage is just what I am dealing with, not in any way directed at any here, just revealing, because I’ve read and seen too many who are just like, I don’t know like this whole support of porn and child rape, etc…]
    The journal btw is “The Muses Garden” and its not a discussion journal, its strictly a journal of my working throught these issues,

    warning though its very real, brutal, honest and full or rage, depression, anger…and yea probably very offensive…but its a journey to find answers and to maybe help those in same boat,

    its due to all the years of repression, stuffing, working as woman’s rights advocate, human rights advocate and working as a radical feminist, and having to always keep quiet, about something so sinister and dark…not having a place, safe place, because anytime a woman, especially a radical feminist even mentions that yes, womyn abuse,

    its like, oh she’s a traitor she’s one of them, etc.
    so its like, you don’t belong…but I am here to say,
    we do belong, and we have something to contribute, and I think, there is a reason, that patriarchy began, no, not womyn’s fault, but something that went wrong, something that distorted power,
    something more than just materialist or development [though I think Mary Daly, is awesome, but I am really curious about the violence in some ancient god/goddess tribes, and I think it ties into survival instinct/and that power, and somewhere,

    Fear is something I’m well acquanted with, as that was the power our bio-mom used, Horrible fear.

    something that I hang onto,
    God [and I think God/could be more than one or manifest as many, androgenous, not male or not female but both…]
    but God is Love,
    and Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear.

    I think, LOVE,
    is the key….and what I hope, to restore, or find, in myself, on a very deep level.

    But I have to dig through the grave of death, fear, and ashes,
    because its just not enough, to use that source of pain, for strength in the work that I do, did it for too long, and slowly dying inside, a decay…[you learn that on the streets, in that underworld, how to cover and stuff and put on that thick skin, if you don’t you dont’ survive]
    why revolutionary politics appealed to me so much [and I think thats true of a lot of womyn]
    so where does it all tie in,
    on one advantage however, it has been, as far as my experience, helpful in understanding why and how, womyn in repressive societies can adapt to that and not just internalize it, but seek out that savior, so to speak…
    anyway rambling here…
    back to the issue of Pakastan and this couple…the ONE good thing that I see, in the midst of this terrible suffering and they DO SUFFER, PAKASTAN IS ONE OF THE WORST REGIMES FOR WOMYN, THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS ROTTING AWAY IN PRISONS, FOR ATTEMPTED SUICIDE, BEING RAPED, BEING SOLD INTO PROSTITUTION, ETC.,

    is that, the one good thing that I see,




    that peeps through, eventually,
    in a crack
    on that cement sidewalk…

    so we can all take hope in that.

    Posted by Tasha | June 1, 2007, 6:13 pm
  31. not sure if my other post went through, on the Goddess, I mentioned that I have major issues with Venus, [the figuring of Venus de Milo was used in the sex abuse, just six months ago I was able to come to some sort of peace, but still working through that…]
    why I think I was led to Morrigan,
    but you said something really interesting and I noticed it, though I’m not very knowledgeable on the Goddess’s like many, as its still new to me,
    but I saw not that men created the Goddess of War, but that they were ‘distorted’, sort of like I see Venus as being distorted when the Romans turned the temples into houses of prostitution…
    and it was, something about the RAVEN, the symbol of Morrigan. Anyway she is viewed by many as like this violent Goddess, and I didn’t see her that way, I saw her as retribution/justice, not some crazed lets go kill and thirst for blood, and yea many in the Morrigan tribes see her that way, and the men definately focus on that aspect [but they like forget she was also Goddess of Fertility and Grain]
    but during the Black Plague in Europe, where the RAVEN was given the bad or negative connection to death,
    the ravens would eat the bodies that were thrown into piles on the streets,
    now they say, thats why the RAVEN/Morrigan is evil, etc…
    but, something dawned on me one day, thinking about that, and, well the Raven is a scavenger bird, as well as a friend of the Eagle, playful, they are very playful birds…
    but anyway, this is what came to me,
    the plague was an epidemic, like Bird Flu, and it was contagious via the air…
    if it hadn’t of been for the RAVENS,
    the plague would have spread much farther and killed, maybe wiped out all of Europe and spread throughout Africa/Middle East, etc.

    So I have always felt, that its not that the Goddess of War were invented by men, but that they were misunderstood and put into a patriarchial framework by men…if that makes any sense.

    A woman will kill to protect her children, that’s instinct [well most of the time, you know that thing with bio-mom here I have a hard time saying that with what I know]
    but, generally speaking…
    could the character of WAR, during the Goddess age, been that source of PROTECTION, OUT OF LOVE,
    rather than what we view WAR being today?

    see thats how I see her and its funny because I see these paintings some do of her and like in my spirit I think, no, no thats like so way off,

    but then you know if I say anything its like, what the hell do you know, lol’,
    but I thought I’d share that anyway…
    its funny because my entire life, now looking back, and the reason I say bio-mom, is because, I never realized until this past two years, how many times in my life, interventions, things in nature [I was always outdoors seeking refuge] THAT several Goddess Mothers were there for me…

    I’ve always kept quiet about this stuff because people [esp in my line of work] look at you like you’re butt ass crazy….
    but it was Morrigan that led me to Venus, to sift through all the damage,
    and get this,

    now this is something, due to the work I do, especially in the political/international advocacy, when I was at a block, writers block in regards to womyn in Islam…
    I was one night, doing research on Venus, seeking answers and I came lo and behold,

    across the Venus Project, where I found Azar, major woman’s rights activist in Iran [I was already acquanted with Rajavi’s movement and RAWA]…

    and Ishtar was infuential in my childhood, as was Isis, my Nana always talked to me about Isis…anyway I sought out Morrigan for advise, on how to war on behalf of children/womyn being trafficked…
    it was then, that the Goddesses led me to seek healing as well…long story and I’m not totally convinced that there were Goddesses, that maybe they weren’t just social constructs, or any faith for that matter, guess I’m of the opinion that well I’m not sure but will seek anyway….besides much wisdom to be learned…
    but I will say, its like Morrigan is leading me by the hand to walk through this valley of tar and muck, and I know I have to walk through it to get to the very underneath, to find the blossoms….
    I write about this journey on the Muses Garden…but its very dark, angry, full of rage, depression, honest and real…probably offensive, but to some who know this journey they’ll relate, to some of it, but it was so needed, so I could continue the work that I do, without the constant being pulled under by the triggers…

    and in the end I know the Phoenix will Rise from the Ashes…thats the whole point of the journal…and hoping, womyn in the same boat, can take from and know,
    there is beauty, no matter how much ugliness and darkness and demons we have to battle within ourselves to restore ~her~ to her rightful place.
    btw I love this woman’s space, hope you all know that…
    I was led here too,

    thank you for the Goddess site, I will definately be going there today.



    Posted by Tasha | June 1, 2007, 6:38 pm
  32. Tasha, wow! Your experiences really speak to me as another child whose primary abuser was her mother. It is very difficult to even start moving toward Goddess based living/being when your primal/primary experience of the female is deliberate abuse and terror. So much of the language and imagery of Goddess worship can trigger memories and negative responses that most people don’t understand. Maybe we can talk sometime on the Women’s Space boards about this issue.

    For me, reading and learning about goddesses is very abstract and intellectual. I just don’t feel much connection with them at this time. The exception for me is Gaia. It is awesome to think that my origin is not with my biological mother but started long before that in the molecules that make up this earth and originally came from the cosmos itself. I have always felt a strong connection with the earth/nature so reading and thinking about my relationship with/in the biosphere is very healing for me. I am currently keeping a journal of my thoughts for the first time in my life and I plan to find/create some rituals around these soon.

    I recently found Pagaian Cosmology by Glenys Livingstone available to read free online at and I am experiencing lots of recognition of things I know but have never been able to express.


    Posted by lookingglass | June 1, 2007, 8:07 pm
  33. Hey, Tasha, a few responses — wish I had time to respond more thoroughly! — but YES re what you say about the goddesses there, along the lines of what has historically been done as to all women males have feared — women healers and midwives, witches, herbalists, and so on. By way of projection and reversal, they become a reflection of what males fear (and what males have done to women), when that has nothing to do with who they are or what they represent (with horrible results sometimes, of course, as with the Burning Times.)

    Re Shulamith Firestone’s book, yeah– I think she was brilliant and way ahead of her time in many ways, but she was still very young, something like 21 or something, in the 60s when the feminist movement as we now know it was comparatively young. A lot of her stuff is just wack and some of it is quite racist, which is really unfortunate because what she writes about het relationships is GREAT. But yeah, the artificial wombs/reproductive technology stuff, those ideas are harmful to women. But a lot of us wrote bizarre stuff when we were young. 🙂

    Branjor, yes as to our higher standards for women. And you know the reason to blame male heterosupremacy for the ways women sell out is not to excuse women for what they do or to give them a pass; it’s so that we can make sure we are fighting the right enemies. Any time a marginalized person hurts another marginalized person, we have to look beyond the marginalization to the system that makes acts like this logical or attractive to some, and then we have to fight that particular system. Focusing in on the women who prostitute women isn’t a good use of our time, because far and away, these are women who are, themselves, pimped, and far and away they are pimped by men. So while I might want to see a madam pay for what she’s done, the focus of my political efforts is going to be on who benefits from what she’s done, who runs the system, has the power in the system, and so on.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 8:19 pm
  34. Tasha, that’s hideous, and I am so, so sorry. I sure would not invalidate your or any woman’s pain and I don’t think any woman here would. Being abused by people we trust and who are supposed to love and care for us is hell on earth. Thank the goddess you survived.


    Posted by womensspace | June 1, 2007, 8:45 pm
  35. Tasha,

    I read what you have written and hold you in my heart. You are a Divine Daughter, as are we all.


    Posted by Mary Sunshine | June 1, 2007, 9:21 pm
  36. I would not think of invalidating your pain, Tasha, it is hideous what she did to you.

    OK, I’ve never told anyone this outside of therapy before, but I have fought wanting to kill too, for many years, not from what my mother did to me, but a combination of things from men. I was even locked up for it – twice. So don’t assume I know nothing about that pain just because I object to unfairly harsher judgments of women.

    Posted by Branjor | June 2, 2007, 12:03 am
  37. Tasha, I am as mad about all this as you are, but I have to say, there is another way. While I have nothing against self-defense, outside immediate threats there are always other ways to fight back, because resorting to violence as you suggest follows the familiar ways, the ways and means of men, which tend to backfire on women.

    Posted by Aletha | June 3, 2007, 8:45 am
  38. I don’t think it’s positive on either front. It’s outright evil to give this uncle (and don’t forget that it was the uncle who instigated the stoning of an Iraqi girl in May), or anyone anywhere, the right to marry off this woman to someone for whatever reason.

    Ah, marriage, the bedrock of civilisation! Yeah, so was slavery. But I repeat myself.

    On the LGBT side of things, there is no victory in this, only a lucky escape, and in my view, Shumail is just as guilty as the uncle in delivering his bride into the maw of forced matrimony. Leave the f-ing country by horseback, run. never throw yourself on the mercy(?) of the courts, especially in today’s Islamic courts.

    As a side note, the Iranian government recognises and pays for Sex Reassignment Surgery even as it imprisons and kills homosexuals and feminists. Deity is one for the weirdness.

    Posted by Artemisian | June 4, 2007, 6:18 am
  39. And go, go Morrigan!

    Men do fear stron women, that’s why they have fought for years to strip away all the old tales of women as equals and – dare I say it – rulers. Look up the book “Warrior Women,” it’s about the Sarmatian and Saromatian people of the Russian steppes who had what can be gleaned from the evidence at least a society that allowed for some equality. These were the people who probably inspired the myth of the Amazons – sans the removal of the breast bit. Women went to battle as well.

    Make no mistake, aggression and violence are not solely the inheritance of men, and passivity and non-violence are not necessarily the best tools for a woman. By saying that using aggression and violence against men is playing by their rules, I would counter that it’s just taking back another tool which has been stolen away for so long we no longer recognise it as ever having been ours.

    Posted by Artemisian | June 4, 2007, 6:36 am
  40. In Iran, a lesbian has been given the “choice” of being prosecuted and killed for being lesbian or getting Sex Reassignment Surgery to “make” her a man. That has about the same level of “positivity” for trans folks as does this story from Pakistan.

    As for the women from Pakistan, the “male identified” woman was prosecuted for lying about being a man. That’s giving gravity to trans identities? Frankly, she was prosecuted because she’s a woman married to a woman who lied about being a man. How’s that positive for trans folks or lesbians?

    Posted by Char | June 4, 2007, 2:15 pm
  41. Shumail is just as guilty as the uncle in delivering his bride into the maw of forced matrimony. Leave the f-ing country by horseback, run. never throw yourself on the mercy(?) of the courts, especially in today’s Islamic courts.

    What I think is, I think they both hoped against hope their family wouldn’t pursue it. If their family — more specifically the uncle — had let it be, things would have been okay for them. Obviously, the uncle wanted the cash.

    Char, exactly.


    Posted by Heart | June 4, 2007, 3:40 pm
  42. Artemisian,

    would love to discourse with you on this off board, i studied the Russian burial sites that they found, you realize that there is one little girl they did DNA on in Mongolia, who is, Amazonian…?


    there is ignorance on ancient warfare, which was far more guided by ethical rules than is today, most when you say warfare they think, militarization, etc…not the warfare of the goddess tribes. Some of the Wiccans in Europe know a bit about the warfare as do many of the Slavic pagans, where i’ve pulled some of the reading about. email me,, the Banshees and the Furies, I”m studying now.


    Posted by Tasha | June 4, 2007, 6:43 pm
  43. Artemisian,

    what Morrigan has shown me, since i left the polemic,

    Harriot Tubman, the gourds and the quilts
    ancient use of herbs
    how the Slavic Pagans survived the slaughters in Russia when the Bynzantines invaded…

    this is interesting too, my favorite insect in childhood and still, the cricket…at garage sales this weekend, last one, they were selling this little finger long black wrought iron cricket for .25cents…she’s on my dresser now [also found tons of candles and books, Bell Hooks, e.g., about 70 African American and African feminist writers, he gave them to me for $5.00, wanted to get rid of them…

    the FATES are working…

    oh, and Heart, oh, don’t want to monopolize the board but reading Daly, and oh now i know why when you wrote, Painted Bird, why that stuck…the tolitarian tokens, why Slyvia Plathe’s poem “Daddy” the lines about being a jew…

    that was my bio-mom, the fascist, i saw it like the Goddesses were there, today, like a light just exposed it, to the core…

    and know its why i saw it in the polemic too, its all making sense, more and more, and spinsters= spinning…

    i get it, lol.



    Posted by Tasha | June 4, 2007, 6:57 pm
  44. I realize that this issue is bigger, much bigger, than just their relationship. But my god, being a couple is hard enough work without all this legal trouble and discrimination. I hope their marriage survives this.

    Posted by Dewey | June 6, 2007, 3:48 pm


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