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Welcome gentle readers. Today I ask of thee but a kernel of patience whilst I set up the topic at hand.
Religion and Patriarchy actively conspire against the female half of humanity. We have to look no further than Christian Patriarchy over here and Islamic Fundamentalism over there to see the corrosive effects of religion on females (and everyone else). We’ve missed talking about a segment of the world religious community that, despite a different set of ooga-booga beliefs, shockingly manages to codify and practice misogyny with great aplomb.
Orthodox Judaism. And behold yet another goldmine of misogyny in which to revel in! (?) Let’s take a peek at a small sample of what we are talking about:
“During the 1970s feminist critics began to expose the absence of women’s voices within the male-dominated structures promoted by Judaism’s exclusively male-authored texts. Feminists also strove to reconstruct the lost voices of women, trying to recover evidence of women’s history and self-understanding that would allow a more diversified picture of the multiple Judaisms that have flourished throughout the Jewish past. While Judaism traditionally defines itself as a divinely revealed religion, its beliefs and practices have been interpreted and regulated almost exclusively by male authorities until the modern period. Feminist analysis has pointed out that men have created the legal systems articulated in the Mishnah, Talmud, and codes of Jewish law, and acted as supreme arbiters of its interpretation by reserving the rabbinate for men. Courts of Jewish law were historically run by male rabbis, and women were excluded as witnesses in most court cases. In rabbinic law, men may contract a marriage or divorce a wife, but women can neither acquire a husband nor divorce him. Women enter into rabbinic discourse as objects of discussion, when their ritual purity, sexual control, or marital status impinges upon men’s lives.
Many Jewish feminists have suggested that the insistence on overwhelmingly male imagery for God was a deliberate effort to strengthen the male-dominated institutional arrangements of Jewish life and undergird male authority over women in the religious and societal realms. As a result, feminist analysis views Jewish texts with suspicion for their collusion with societal patriarchy in silencing women’s voices, or, even worse, as creating patriarchal oppression and endowing it with the aura of divine sanction. At the same time, some feminists have culled biblical and rabbinic texts to find counter-patriarchal traditions that support principles of justice and equality, or voices of trickster women seeking to correct halakhic inequities (Pardes; Adler). Even as D. Setel argued that the prophet Hosea’s metaphor of Israel as God’s adulterous wife was pornographic, R. Adler noted that God’s reunion with the adulterous Israel, which violates Deuteronomic law (20:4) mandating a husband’s divorce of an adulterous wife, might be understood as a “constructive violation” of Jewish law – “the metaphor that preserves the covenant breaks the law” (Adler, 163–64).”
I gave up with the highlighting and bolding after the whole “objects of discussion” malarkey (lobe blown). Anyhow, now with a little background established we can talk about the Hunger Games.
This shit is all linked, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I have no words.
Women, mainly Aboriginal, go missing, and government emails about it get not just deleted, but deliberately deleted from backups.
Quebec provincial police are alleged to have been sexually abusing Aboriginal women, going back years.
The stuff you can find on tumblr these days. I applaud the trenchant analysis of gender and what being a woman (performing femininity) is like in much of western society.
“Why do you want to look like a man?”
I wear clothing from the men’s section of the clothing store. My leg hairs are longer than most of the hair in my head. I never wear any makeup, no matter if I’m going out to buy bread in the morning or if I’m going to a party. People often call me “sir”. Others hurl slurs at me, sometimes calling me a “dyke”, sometimes calling me a “faggot”, both showing their disapproval of my physical presentation. I see little kids asking their mothers, in whispers, if I am a boy or a girl. And people ask me all the time, why do I want to look like a man?
The answer is simple. I don’t.
And I do not look like a man.
I look like a woman who refuses to perform femininity.
My unshaven legs do not make me like a man, they’re MY legs, and MY hair, and I am a woman. My “boy’s” clothes are worn on my body, the body of a woman. My naked, unpainted face is the face of a woman. I am a woman, and this is not defined by a haircut or a choice of attire, or by lipstick or high heels, or boxer briefs and men’s deodorant worn over fuzzy unshaven armpits. There’s nothing manly about me.
I am a woman, not by choice, but by fact. Because “woman” is a reality imposed to me, from the day I was born and given a woman’s name, to the day I was six and I was told I couldn’t take off my shirt in a blazing hot summer day because one day I would have breasts, to last night when I walked home in a state of hyper-awareness, my house keys tightly clutched between my fingers, tracking the movements of every man in the dark streets.
I am a woman because, since before my own birth, when an ultrasonography picture informed my parents that I would be born with a vulva, I have been groomed to be a member of the woman class, the breeding stock class, the sex class, the lower class. I was taught to be accomodating and speak softly, to not bring attention to myself and to spare men’s feelings. I was taught that the boy who pulled my hair and threw his toy train at me, aiming for my head, probably did it because he liked me, and boys will be boys anyway. I learned that, if I did the same to him, I was a troublemaker. That my assertiveness is unladylike. That one day I would bear some man’s children, and this was pretty much destiny. That my worth was in my looks, more than in my brain. I am a woman because I was taught all these things, and I am a woman because people expect me to know these lessons by heart, and follow every one of them.
When people ask me why do I want to look like a man, what they’re actually asking is why am I not marking myself as a woman. They’re asking why do I fail to perform the role of femininity, to make myself pleasing and unthreatening to the eyes of the upper class, the man class. My mother once voiced her concerns to me, that my looks would make me a target for male violence, and she is right to be concerned. I am perceived as a member of the lower class who refuses to bear the marks and play the role imposed to me. I refuse to shave my legs to look like a pre-pubescent girl, innocent and vulnerable, or to wear shoes that force me to walk on the tips of my toes, slow and precariously balanced, and this makes men angry, because this is a counscious act of rebellion. This is me saying I am not theirs. I will not please them. I do not desire their approval or their attention. And men often get violent when we refuse to cater to them.
My choices of visual presentation make me a cautionary tale. I am the hairy, ugly, lesbian feminist, the one they warn other women about. “Don’t be like her”, they say, “or no man will ever want you”. But I don’t want them either, and I do not want to look like them, or be like them, or have anything to do with them. I want to be free from men and their bullshit standards. I want to strut around proudly, shamelessly unladylike, looking like a woman looks when she’s not covered in face paint and restrictive clothing, when she doesn’t care about pleasing men.
I do not look like a man, and nothing will ever make me look like one. I am pure, unadulterated woman. I choose myself over them, I choose women over them. If that makes them hate me, so be it. Because I am a woman, they would hate me no matter what I did.
Ah..patriarchy the gift that keeps on giving – like metastasizing cancer.. ;/
“Madness and witchery… are conditions commonly associated with the use of the female voice in public, in ancient as well as modern contexts. Consider how many female celebrities of classical mythology, literature and cult make themselves objectionable by the way they use their voice. For example there is the heartchilling groan of the Gorgon, whose name is derived from a Sanskrit word garg meaning “a guttural animal howl that issues as a great wind from the back of the throat through a hugely distended mouth.” There are the Furies whose highpitched and horrendous voices are compared by Aiskhylos to howling dogs or sounds of people being tortured in hell. There is the deadly voice of the Sirens and the dangerous ventriloquism of Helen and the incredible babbling of Kassandra and the fearsome hullabaloo of Artemis as she charges through the woods. There is the seductive discourse of Aphrodite which is so concrete an aspect of her power that she can wear it on her belt as a physical object or lend it to other women. There is the old woman of Eleusinian legend Iambe who shrieks and throws her skirt up over her head to expose her genitalia. There is the haunting garrulity of the nymph Echo (daughter of Iambe in Athenian legend) who is described by Sophokles as “the girl with no door on her mouth.”
Putting a door on the female mouth as been an important project of patriarchal culture from antiquity to present day. Its chief tactic is an ideological association of female sound with monstrosity, disorder and death.
An interesting lesson in patriarchy.
Men can be gay and want to get married.
Men can’t get pregnant.
This ad only makes sense in the presence of the following cultural subtext:
Women’s anger is not valid in the same way that full adult humans’ (i.e. men’s) anger is valid. You don’t need to get to the root of the problem and address it; just spend the right amount of money to show you love her. She couldn’t possibly be having a reasonable reaction to being treated badly, she’s just feeling insecure or jealous or maybe on her period.