Women’s Bodies

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2015 Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival

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The Difference Between Being Penetrated for Money and Making Sandwiches at Subway: Nine Deuce Sums It Up

(Trigger warning.)

So, yes, allowing one’s body to be penetrated for money, even if it causes a pleasurable physical sensation, is a greater acquiescence to exploitation than agreeing to make $5 Footlongs for $7 an hour, even though it pays more. Participating in the making of anti-woman propaganda requires far greater emotional, physical, and political compromises on women’s part than any job men do for equivalent pay. The relatively high (for women) wage porn work and prostitution command does not represent our society’s great love for the female form, it signifies the fact that we are willing to pay somewhat dearly to uphold and jack off to misogyny.

Of those men who come here and make the simplistic and dishonest argument that porn isn’t rape because all work requires us to consent to things we wouldn’t do for free, I would like to ask how much your boss would have to pay you to let him fuck you in the ass while you blow his assistant before he, his assistant, and the janitorial staff ejaculate all over your face. Video of the event would, of course, be posted on the internet and would be available to anyone with basic internet search skills until the day you die. I am truly interested in hearing the figures, which are surely more than $1000.

Read the whole thing.

Couple Smeared Online Awarded $13.78 Million in Libel Judgment

A long-overdue heads up to all who have destroyed — or attempted to destroy — women’s reputations by trashing us online.  Yes, this ruling and judgment are troubling in some ways; still, destroying women by telling lies about us and ruining our reputations, or trying to, need to end, and this is a first step in that very positive direction.

On Friday, three years after a Collin County jury acquitted the Leshers and their employee of aggravated sexual assault, a Tarrant County jury awarded the couple $13.78 million in a libel judgment. The ruling sends the message that people have the freedom to write what they please online, but they can be held accountable.

The award is the largest ever assessed in an Internet libel case, the Leshers’ attorney, Meagan Hassan, said Tuesday…

“This was clearly a vendetta,” [plaintiffs’ attorney] Hassan said. “We originally sued 178 John and Jane Does, and it all came down to two IP addresses.”…

The abuse grew so bad that the Leshers closed their businesses and moved away from Clarksville, where they had lived for more than 20 years, Hassan said. Mark Lesher now practices law in Mount Pleasant and Texarkana, and his wife has given up her salon. Continue reading

Support Women’s Sexual Autonomy

The Petition is Here

Planned Parenthood Toronto is helping to sponsor a March 31 conference in Toronto that includes a workshop inviting participants to discuss and strategize ways they might be able to “overcome” women’s objections to these participants’ sexual advances.  We believe that no means no, that a woman’s right to say “no” to sex at any time is sacrosanct and that no explanations should ever be requested because none is ever necessary.   The name of the workshop proposed is “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling:  Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women.”  The workshop facilitator has defined the “Cotton Ceiling” as follows:

The cotton ceiling is a theory proposed … to explain the experiences queer trans women have with simultaneous social inclusion and sexual exclusion within the broader queer women’s communities. Basically, it means that cis queer women will be friends with us and talk day and night about trans rights and ending transmisogyny, but will still not consider us viable sexual partners.

The term cotton ceiling is a reference to the “glass ceiling” that second wave feminist identified in the workforce, wherein women could only advance so high in the workforce but could not break through into positions of power and authority. The cotton represents underwear, signifying sex.

Please sign this petition and ask Planned Parenthood to withdraw their support from this workshop and to continue their legacy of support for women’s sexual autonomy.

Information about the conference can be found here.

Um, Hello? Planned Parenthood, Toronto?

As a female who has relied on Planned Parenthood for any number of biological female-related medical conditions in the past and who has been a vociferous supporter and financial donor in the United States, I find your branch’s sponsorship of the “Cotton Ceiling” workshop scheduled for your upcoming Pleasures and Possibilities Conference incredibly disturbing. Continue reading

The Disappearance of Gertude Beasley

“Gertrude Beasley’s memoir of growing up dirt poor in and around the Bible Belt town of Abilene, My First Thirty Years, was released in 1925 by Contact Press in Paris. That’s the same press that published James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. H.L. Mencken hailed Beasley’s book as one of the best coming-of-age books ever …

“Despite these accolades, her memoir is largely unknown. Its violent and sexually deviant material caused it to be banned in Britain, where Beasley was living at the time. Most copies were destroyed by Scotland Yard and U.S. Customs. The few that made it to Texas were mostly yanked off shelves by the Texas Rangers, probably on the orders of prominent Texans maligned in her book. Then the author vanished. She was 35. Continue reading


“She is in the the place of death and of new life lying dormant, the point of  necessary destruction and of healing. She confronts the rage and fury left unexpressed for decades while she tried to please. She demands reverence and respect. Her eye of death sees what she has not wanted to see and those parts of herself from which she has split. All life stands still. She feels naked and exposed. She bears no fruit, no product. She realizes the extent to which she has sacrificed herself pleasing others and is no longer willing to do things the old way. She ruthlessly cuts away people and situations that do not support who she has become, including lovers who are unable or unwilling to see or be concerned about her plight. She is fully human now. She ends the pattern of scapegoating by choosing to confront darkness herself. She blames no one.” — A rewriting of portions of The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock

Susan G. Komen Reverses Planned Parenthood Decision

The internet can be so powerful, more often than not for bad, but sometimes for good.  The Susan G. Komen Foundation has reversed its decision.

“The nation’s pre-eminent breast cancer advocacy group, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, apologized on Friday for its decision to cut most of its financing to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening and said it would again make Planned Parenthood eligible for those grants. Some Komen officials had said that the decision to halt financing, which was made in December and became public knowledge on Tuesday, was made because of an inquiry by a Republican congressman, Cliff Stearns of Florida, who is looking into whether Planned Parenthood has spent public money for abortions. A new rule was created by the foundation to bar grants to organizations under federal, state or local investigation, but a Komen board member said the only current grantee the rule would apply to was Planned Parenthood. Critics also objected to the fact that the foundation seemed to be giving an inquiry by a Republican congressman, which appeared to be prompted in part by opponents of abortion rights, as muchcredibility as a criminal or civil investigation by a government agency.

“Ms. Brinker’s statement sought to change the impression that abortion politics prompted the decision.

“We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood,” the statement said. “They were not. Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.”

Link, Link

Breast Cancer Action

BCAction is the only national breast cancer organization to not accept funding from entities that profit from or contribute to cancer. Our independence allows us to advocate for policy changes that protect affected communities.

  • We are a membership organization.
  • We honor each person’s commitment and energy to our mission.
  • We are not afraid to examine all sides of all issues.
  • We cannot be bought.
  • We tell the truth about what we discover.
  • We serve individuals while reaching the broader population.
  • We value the involvement of grassroots activists throughout the country and around the world to further our mission.
  • We encourage people to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer.
  • We believe access to information is vital.
  • We recognize that structural changes in society are needed to accomplish our mission.

I’ve just learned about this information from a beloved friend who is a breast cancer survivor.  I will be making a donation today. 

So Much for Sisterhood: Susan G. Komen Foundation pulls Planned Parenthood funding

One of the most prominent charities working to prevent and cure breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, has cut its ties with the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood, that organization confirmed on Tuesday. Reacting to the news, Planned Parenthood decried Komen for having “succumbed to political pressure” related to abortion politics. Planned Parenthood said representatives for Komen have been notifying Planned Parenthood divisions throughout the country that it will stop providing funding for breast cancer screenings and prevention.

I was never a fan of the Susan G. Komen pink, and I’m certainly not a fan if, as it appears, it’s gone red.  Planned Parenthood provides breast cancer screeninh, birth control, STD screening and a host of other services — besides abortion —  to the most marginalized and impoverished populations of women.  Come on, this is an outrage.

Tell the Susan G. Komen Foundation how you feel about this decision

UPDATE: Karen Indigenous Women Directly Targeted in Burmese Regime’s Terror Campaign in Karen State

Karen Women's Organization

Update, January 26, 2012:  I’ve been following the work of the Karen indigenous women in Burma for many years now, so I was heartened to hear that the Burmese government has signed a cease-fire truce with the Karenni people as of Thursday, January 12, 2012.   Let’s hope it’s for real.


Note:  Following is a blog post I wrote last February after having received the press release which follows from the Karen Women’s Organization.  The situation has, of course, come to a head in Burma.  I am writing about it and wanted to provide this history, particularly of what has been happening to the women of Burma.  — Heart

February12, 2007
Press Release

State of Terror, a report launched today by the Karen Women’s Organization, provides graphic evidence of the widespread terror tactics being employed by the military regime’s troops against women across Burma’s Karen State.

As the atrocities continue, the KWO appeals for concerted international pressure on the regime to bring about an immediate nationwide ceasefire and withdrawal of Burmese Army Troops from the ethnic states.

“We deeply regret the veto by China and Russia and SouthAfrica’s vote against the UN Security Council Resolution on Burma last month,” said KWO Secretary Naw Zipporah Sein.  “It is equivalent to endorsing the regime’s terror campaign in Karen State.  They are giving  us a death sentence.”

The report documents 4,000 cases of abuse, including rape, murder, torture and forced labour, mainly over the past few years, in over 190 villages by troops from over 40 Burmese Army battalions. 

Repeated incidents of gang-rape  in 2006 reveal that the patterns of systematic sexual violence exposed byt he KWO in their 2004 report Shattering Silences are still continuing. 

Harrowing testimony in the report describes women seeing their children killed before their eyes, women used as human minesweepers and pregnant women suffering miscarriages while carrying heavy loads for the army.

Read the full report at Karen Women’s Organization

Background from

More information:

Women’s League of Burma
Refugees Within
Dignity in the Shadow of Oppression:  The Abuse and Agency of Karen Women Under Militarization
Karen Human Rights Group

Alternet article, Fighting for Change

May Day: A Tribute to Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons

 "Oh, Misery, I have drunk thy cup of sorrow to its dregs, but I am still a rebel." — Lucy Parsons

"We, the women of this country, have no ballot even if we wished to use it, and the only way that we can be represented is to take a man to represent us. You men have made such a mess of it in representing us that we have not much confidence in asking you . . .

"We [women] are the slaves of slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men. Whenever wages are to be reduced the capitalist class use women to reduce them, and if there is anything that you men should do in the future it is to organize the women. . . .

"We [say] that the land shall belong to the landless, the tools to the toiler, and the products to the producers. . . . I believe that if every man and every woman who works, or who toils in the mines, mills, the workshops, the fields, the factories and the farms of our broad America should decide in their minds that they shall have that which of right belongs to them, and that no idler shall live upon their toil . . . then there is no army that is large enough to overcome you, for you yourselves constitute the army . . . .

"My conception of the strike of the future is not to strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in and take possession of the necessary property of production. . . .

". . . . Let us sink such differences as nationality, religion, politics…There is no power on earth that can stop men and women who are determined to be free at all hazards. There is no power on earth so great as the power of intellect. It moves the world and it moves the earth. . . .

–Lucy Parsons from her Speech to the IWW in 1905

Lucy Parsons

About Lucy Parsons:

"A woman of color and a working-class revolutionary, Parsons spent her life struggling for the rights of the poor, unemployed, homeless, women, children, and minority groups, and for a future society based on free association of labor organizations.

"Born in Texas, possibly a slave, she met Albert Richard Parsons, a militant advocate of the rights of freed people, around 1870, and they moved to Chicago in 1873. In 1877 Albert was blacklisted from the printing trade, and Lucy assumed household financial responsibility by opening a dress shop. She began writing about tramps, disabled veterans of the Civil War, and working women for the Socialist in 1878. She soon gave birth to two children.

"…With other anarchists, she began organizing for the May 1, 1886, general strike for the eight-hour day, concentrating her efforts on sewing women. On May 1, she and Albert led 80,000 workers and supporters up Michigan Avenue. Three days later a labor rally at the Haymarket was the occasion of a fatal bombing incident. Police charged that radical activists were responsible.

"As her comrades were rounded up after the May 4 bombing, Lucy began organizing the Haymarket defense. After eight defendants, including Albert, were found guilty of murder, she traveled to many states, pleading her comrades' innocence to the charges, but defending their revolutionary goals. By February 1887, she had given forty-three speeches in seventeen states. When Albert was executed in November of that year, Lucy became a widow with a cause to carry on." 

From The Lucy Parsons Project

Many tears flowing from my eyes today.


Fosomax for Osteoporosis Found to Double Women’s Atrial Fibrillation Risk

April 29, 2008 – 03:10 PM
A new study suggests that women treated with Fosomax to combat the symptoms of osteoporosis are twice as likely to develop a common form of irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation than those who have never taken the drug. Atrial fibrillation can lead to heart palpitations, fainting, fatigue or congestive heart failure. Atrial fibrillation is relatively common ailment affecting about one percent of Americans and becomes increasingly common with age, with just under ten percent of those over the age of 80 affected by the ailment. A new study headed by Dr. Susan Heckbert suggests that Fosomax may drastically increase the chances of developing atrial fibrillation.

For her study, Dr. Heckbert and her colleagues from Group Health analyzed 719 women with diagnosed atrial fibrillation that began taking the drug between 2001 and 2004, and 966 women who were the same age but did not have the condition. According to the findings, there was an 86 percent higher risk of newly found atrial fibrillation in those who had used Fosamax compared with those who had never used it.

Of course, in 2006 we learned that taking Fosomax resulted in osteonecrosis of the jaw, “dead jaw,” an an “irreversible condition in which bone tissue dies and fails to regenerate and is often seen in patients who have had dental extractions or implants and oral surgery.”

Way back on November 12, 2001 — over six years ago — Susun Weed,  a woman healer, responding to a question from a woman whose doctor had prescribed Fosomax, wrote:

Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001
Subject: Increase your bone mass naturally – not with Fosomax

The best things I know of for increasing bone mass are (1) yogurt, at least half a cup a day; (2) nourishing herbal infusions of nettle, oatstraw, comfrey leaf, or red clover, at least two cups a day. (I rotate the herbs so I have each one about two times a week.) (3) Elimination of coffee, white sugar, and white flour from your diet (little bits won’t hurt, but not daily use). (4) Increase in the amount of fat in the diet (needed for the processing of minerals).  I have seen women increase their bone mass by 6 points in 6 months by using these three tips.

But I am not so sure that you really have a problem. Bone mass does not correlate with bone breakage!! Bone flexibility is what we want because that is what prevents breaks. Fosomax makes the bones more massive, but more brittle. Yoga, tai chi, and other stretching forms of exercise help women be more flexible. Are you doing this weekly?

Massive bones are not necessarily an indicator of health. Women with high bone mass are four times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer! Women who take calcium supplements are twice as likely to break a bone as women who don’t. Perhaps you are listening to your doctor and doing what your doctor wants but maybe this is not so good for you.

I know this is a lot to think about. You could read my article on Building Better Bones or read lots more about healthy bones in New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

By the lights of the gods of patriarchal medicine, of course, Weed is the heretic and quack, not them, not the drug companies, all of which dispense these pills full of disease-producing toxins like they are candy.


Letter to My Body at 45

Lynn Sweeting of Womanish Words has a beautiful post up, a letter to her body written on her 45th birthday:

I am sorry for agreeing to hate you like others did, I abandoned you for those years, i cursed you under drunken breath, i wept over you like roadkill, but you remained like a good friend until i recovered, like any best friend would. please forgive me my ingratitude, beloved friend….

Dear Body, this letter of thanks to you is also dedicated to the millions of Earth women whose bodies are under attack at the time of this writing. We are no into another Dark Age of male centered, woman hating, religious hysteria that always begins with the colonisation and brutalization of women’s bodies. It is a spell cast for their emancipation as well as my own. This letter is also written for the sake of all the Island Women out there who struggle to grow, protect and defend their bodies every day. Women, love your bodies, claim ownership of them, befriend them, don’t let gods or men colonize them, celebrate them for the beauty, muscle and guts that they are. This is the most powerfiul revolutionary action you can take in the effort to emancipate yourselves from patriarchy. And the most fun.

So beautiful!  Read the whole thing.

Women’s History Month Superstars: Ina May Gaskin, Midwife, Revolutionary

Ina May Gaskin

Given that it’s Women’s History Month, it’s only fitting to continue to honor women who have been our heroes.  One of those heroes – and too many feminists don’t know about her — is Ina May Gaskin, a self-trained midwife, who began delivering babies on The Farm back in the 60s, mentored other women who wanted to be midwives, became an activist for pregnant and birthing women, and led a revolution which was made in her own lifetime.   The work of the Farm midwives under Gaskin’s watch, in part, made it possible for me and thousands of other women in the United States to birth our babies safely at home with midwives.  The home birth movement is one example of revolutions which were made over the course of a few decades.  When Ina May Gaskin began delivering babies, it was illegal almost everywhere to have babies outside of hospitals, “delivered” by obstetricians.  Within the space of a couple of decades as the movement Gaskin helped to create spread, home birth was legal in most states.   Continue reading

Planned Parenthood’s Statement on Margaret Sanger

In response to the irresponsible and unethical attacks on Planned Parenthood on, of all things, the feminist blogosphere:

The Truth About Margaret Sanger  

Margaret Sanger gained worldwide renown, respect, and admiration for founding the American birth control movement and, later, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as well as for developing and encouraging family planning efforts throughout the international community.

Among her many visionary accomplishments as a social reformer, Sanger established the principles that a woman’s right to control her body is the foundation of her human rights; that every person should be able to decide when or whether to have a child; that every child should be wanted and loved; and that women are entitled to sexual pleasure and fulfillment just as men are brought about the reversal of federal and state “Comstock laws” that prohibited publication and distribution of information about sex, sexuality, contraception, and human reproduction helped establish the contemporary American model for the protection of civil rights through nonviolent civil disobedience — a model that later propelled the civil rights, anti-war, women’s rights, and AIDS-action movements created access to birth control for low-income, minority, and immigrant women expanded the American concept of volunteerism and grassroots organizing by setting up a network of volunteer-driven family planning centers across the U.S. Continue reading

“Dear Injurious Physician” — In Memorium: Barbara Seaman, Sept. 11, 1935-Feb. 27, 2008


Once again, a giant of the movement to liberate women has passed on.  Barbara Seaman, tireless pioneer and principal founder of the feminist women’s health care movement, passed away yesterday of lung cancer at the age of 72.

Beginning in 1960, with second wave feminism still in its embryonic stage, Seaman pioneered patient-centered health reporting.  Under her watch, women were to learn for the first time that they were not receiving the information they needed in order to make good, informed decisions about contraception, childbirth, or breastfeeding (this last during a time when formula manufacturers were boasting that their products were better for children than mother’s milk.)  An engaging and passionate writer, Seaman’s work was sought out and picked up by mainstream women’s magazines – Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle and Bride’s Magazine.  Her essays appeared in major newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post.  From time to time, she served as a consultant for television programs which dealt with health care issues.  Continue reading

Dear Mr. President

Thanks to Chrysalis of the Women’s Security Council.

“Peep Toe & Toe Cleavage”? Woman-Only Commuter Coaches: Yes! (Update — Woman-Only Buses Now in Mexico City)

Mexico City’s woman-only buses were rolled out January 24.

Mexico City has become the newest city to debut woman-only buses.  While the city has long operated woman-only subway cars during rush hour, complete with police overseeing the segregating of the sexes on subway platforms, the woman-only buses are new, a response to women’s ongoing complaints of being harassed, sexually assaulted and mistreated by men.  Reports say that women are thrilled with the buses and being able to ride safely without worrying about being accosted.   

I went looking to see if there might be a Youtube video about the new buses and instead discovered yet another reason women need them.  When I did a search on Youtube using the words “Mexico woman only buses”, one of the top links was to a a video made by a perp with a foot fetish who, unbeknownst to a woman bus passenger, videoed her feet and posted the thing to Youtube under the title, “Girl on Bus (Peep Toe & Toe Cleavage)”.  How disgusting is it to have to worry not only about being groped, harrassed, assaulted, treated rudely, subjected to sexist commentary while commuting  — last week during my own bus commute, I was subjected to a male passenger’s loud, obnoxious, animated, misogynist descriptions of his visits to a strip bar and his complaints (directed to the entire back section of the bus like he was a fracking entertainer or something) that he always manages to show up on days the  “ugly girls” are working — we also have to worry about being surreptitiously filmed with the films posted to youtube for the enjoyment of perps, rapists and misogynists everywhere!

Here is the video I pulled up (I flagged it but don’t know what good that will do):

I’m aware of all of the arguments some feminists make against such buses, that they might make it easier for sexists to force women into segregated facilities. Nevertheless, I know of no woman personally who would not appreciate and use these buses if they were available. No woman wants to be sexually harassed, groped, abused or mistreated by men. 


What follows is my earlier post from May of 2006 about woman-only buses in Rio de Janeiro.
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Michfest Online Winter Festival and Tent Revival-2

Staceyann Chinn

Staceyann Chinn  had us on our feet, fists raised, crying and hollering on opening night of last year’s festival.  If you can, see her in person.  You will never forget her.

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The Farm at Huge Creek, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, The Feminist Hullaballoo