In this article I reframe my understanding of feminism through the lens of Mona Chollet’s In Defence of Witches, and reflect on how my psyche as a woman today is still deeply influenced by the effects of the witch hunts in mediaeval times.Continue reading “Life Still Shaped by the Witch Hunts? by Eline Kieft”
Of an Anniversary, a Methodology and the Parshah Yitro by Ivy Helman.
This month’s blog post marks my 10-year anniversary writing for feminismandreligion.com (FAR) and my 122nd post. I would just like to take a moment to acknowledge this milestone and thank the community for both its dialogue with me and support over these years. I look forward to writing for FAR for years to come.
Speaking of dialogue and support, this post is structured in the form of an answer to Barbara Ardinger’s question on my last post. She asked in what language I read Torah. I found that intriguing. To me, what I do is obvious. Yet, for the reader, I have never explicitly walked through the steps of how I create these Torah commentaries. In this walk-through, the reader is getting a rather unedited look into my process.Continue reading “Of an Anniversary, a Methodology and the Parshah Yitro by Ivy Helman.”
From the Archives: Gods of War by Barbara Ardinger
Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,500 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade that they tend to get lost in the archives. We are beginning this column so that we can all revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted March 3, 2013. You can visit it here to see the original comments.
Let’s talk about Mars and Ares. It’s common to think the Greek and Roman pantheons were identical and the gods and goddesses just had alternate names. This is not true. The Roman gods and goddesses personified civic virtues, whereas Greek mythology was largely philosophical.
I’ve been thinking about Carol Christ’s two excellent blogs about patriarchy and its connection to war and our so-called heroes. We read or watch the news today and learn about “our heroes” serving in the Middle East, about warriors who’ve come home and are suffering from deep wounds both physical and emotional. Yes, these men and women do indeed deserve our support…but, still, I ask, Why are people who are trained to kill other people called heroes? It’s a very thorny problem, and I must set it aside as I write this blog.Continue reading “From the Archives: Gods of War by Barbara Ardinger”
Ha’azinu and Models of the Divine by Ivy Helman.
This week’s Torah parshah, as you can tell from the title, is Ha’azinu, or Deuteronomy 32:1-52. This is Moses’ final speech to the Israelites before he ascends Mount Nebo to die. It is traditionally associated with Yom Kippur and read somewhere very close to it (when exactly depends on the year). The reasons for this association should become obvious as we continue.
In the parshah, Moses describes how, even in the Promised Land, the Israelites will continue to be idolatrous, thus disobeying their deity and bringing divine wrath upon themselves. From what I have already discussed in past blogs about the history of the Torah’s composition, clearly the exiled Israelites in Babylonian sought reasons for that exile; in traditional Isrealite fashion, they made sense of their current circumstances by reasoning whose disobedience was to blame.Continue reading “Ha’azinu and Models of the Divine by Ivy Helman.”
Myanmar’s Dangerous Military Coup by Anjeanette LeBoeuf
On February 1st, a successful military coup took place in South Asia. The national military of Myanmar arrested top non-military officials and seized all power. While this February coup happened in South Asia, it could have happened on our very shores. Myanmar’s successful military coup d’état took place almost a month after the unsuccessful January 6th attack on the US Capitol.Continue reading “Myanmar’s Dangerous Military Coup by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”
Women’s Spiritual Power Is All Around Us by Carolyn Lee Boyd
In this most challenging time, women are showing the world what women’s spiritual power can do. They are guiding nations, states, and communities through the pandemic and towards environmental sanity; feeding the hungry bodies and spirits of their neighbors by organizing community assistance projects; offering hope and care to vulnerable family members; and leading and healing in so many other ways. They are calling on their inherent, profound belief in their own sacredness and that of others to gain access to the strength and clarity that leads to wisdom and effective action.
Yet, finding and using your spiritual power is easier when it is affirmed by the people and subtle messages you experience every day. In our society, too often girls and women may struggle to find encouragement to identify and use their spiritual power, whether because of present or past experiences or the sheer overwhelming nature of our individual and societal challenges. Yet, symbols of women’s spiritual power are all around us, everyday, and can help guide us to that deep well within we have all carried since birth.
Continue reading “Women’s Spiritual Power Is All Around Us by Carolyn Lee Boyd”
Wisdom from our Ancient Female Lawgiver and Judge Traditions by Carolyn Lee Boyd
As I have witnessed both the joy of so many across the world at the nomination of Kamala Harris for Vice President and the deep sorrow at the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I am struck by the fact that, in 2020, supremely qualified women still need to be trailblazers to hold high office. After all, goddesses and wise women gave a number of cultures their systems of laws and governance and have been celebrated for their wisdom as judges for millennia.
Here are a few of the goddesses and wise women lawgivers:
- the Italian goddess Egeria gave Rome its first laws and taught the correct rules for Earth worship;
- the Babylonian Kadi, was goddess of Earth and justice;
- Ala of the Ibo people of Nigeria is both the Earth Mother and lawgiver of society;
- the Greek Themis, daughter of Gaia, symbolized the social contract and cohesion of people living on Earth;
- the Inuit Sedna both gave humanity abundance from the ocean for life from her own body and withheld it when her laws were broken;
- Marcia Proba, whose historical reality is unclear, is said to have created the ancient Celtic system of laws known as the Marcian Statutes that may have influenced later British law;
- past and present Women’s Councils and Clan Mothers of the Iroquois and other Indigenous peoples as well as those of Societies of Peace have brought harmony and well being to their people for tens of thousands of years.
Continue reading “Wisdom from our Ancient Female Lawgiver and Judge Traditions by Carolyn Lee Boyd”
When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson
“When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about something my grandmother would always tell me: “When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.” I know, it sounds crazy, but life right now appears to be more on the crazy than the sane side.
We’re all in a state of uncertainty right now. The news is scary. Twitter is scary. Heck, even TikTok is losing parts of its humor. Everywhere we seem to turn, it’s more information about COVID-19, new cases, new lockdowns, and new things that we shouldn’t do for the foreseeable future. Continue reading “When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson”
I Hope “This Changes Everything” by Elise M. Edwards
Last week, I attended a film festival in Waco, Texas that showed the 2019 documentary This Changes Everything. Spending Friday evening at a film festival seemed like an enjoyable and appropriate way to kick off a weekend that would culminate with the Academy Awards (the Oscars). I had no idea that this film would inform the way I viewed the movie industry and its most celebrated awards show. It did change everything for me.
This Changes Everything is about the representation of women in film, particularly their underrepresentation and misrepresentation on screen and in the film- and television-making process. It is not the first time this theme has been explored in a documentary. What struck me at this viewing, though, was the way the film portrayed patterns that resonated with my experiences in academia and in religious communities. There are parallels between the way sexism manifests in entertainment and I, along with other members in the (predominantly female) audience, couldn’t help but see parallels in Hollywood’s patterns of exclusion and the discriminatory conditions we confront in numerous other industries and professions. What were these patterns?
Continue reading “I Hope “This Changes Everything” by Elise M. Edwards”
Mis(sing)Understanding: Kobe, Pompeo, and a Paper Towel by Marcia Mount Shoop
Who knows when each of us first learns that sensation—the sensation of being misunderstood. My hunch is that it comes early on in our lives, maybe even before our brains are making narrative memory, maybe even before we have begun to understand much of anything about ourselves or the world. But it doesn’t take much for the seed to be planted in us that the world won’t always understand us.
My mom has long told me a story about me as a frustrated toddler trying to be understood. I was sitting in my high chair, the story goes, and I started saying “puppy touw.” My mom was not sure what I wanted, but I became more and more adamant, saying “puppy touw” over and over again.
She brought the dog over thinking I might mean I wanted the dog. She showed me all kinds of toys and nearby objects in an effort to understand and respond to my increasingly urgent request. I became more and more frustrated, kicking the high chair, moving my body in the chair, saying “puppy touw” louder and louder through tears. Continue reading “Mis(sing)Understanding: Kobe, Pompeo, and a Paper Towel by Marcia Mount Shoop”
The Brass Tacks of the Trump Impeachment by Anjeanette LeBoeuf
From the very moment after the dust settled from the 2016 elections, notions of impeachment started to break. Now three years into the Trump Presidency, impeachment proceedings have been launched. To start, Impeachment is a Constitutionally supported right. It is an element of the “Checks and Balances” system to ensure that no one branch of the government holds too much power. Instigating impeachment processes is not treason, nor is it unpatriotic – it is a testament to the democratic procedures established by the founding fathers and maintained for the last 230 years.
Continue reading “The Brass Tacks of the Trump Impeachment by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”
On My Invitation as a Jew to Participate in Advent and Christmas by Ivy Helman.
I attend Czech classes twice a week. This time of year the courses focus on Christmas. I’ve attended three different schools over the last five years, and all handle Christmas similarly. Even though the Czech Republic is only marginally Christian, for many Czechs being Czech and observing Christmas seem to go hand-in-hand. In fact, Czech customs around Christmas even figure into the citizenship exam.
In last Tuesday’s class, my teacher asked me how I celebrate Christmas here. She knows I’m Jewish. When I said that I don’t observe Christmas traditions in my home, she responded, “you don’t have to be a believer to do Advent-related and Christmasy things. Only 20% of Czechs are, and yet we all participate in Advent and Christmas.” It was part invitation, part assimilation request. However, the excited in-class discussion felt more like an attempt at conversion. Don’t you want to be a part of this amazingly joyful time? Continue reading “On My Invitation as a Jew to Participate in Advent and Christmas by Ivy Helman.”
Where’s the Love by Gina Messina
In a recent post I wrote about finding God in music. I confess, I cannot remember the last time I set foot in a church. As a woman, I continually grapple with the foundational messages of Jesus and Catholic Social Teaching and the disconnect with the power structures that seek to control the ways we love and find justice. I long to participate in the culture I grew up in, but cannot support the weaponization of the tradition.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that the messages I connect to I find in music. There are particular songs that offer me the guidance, philosophy, and ideas around meaning and purpose that I resonate with. One of those is “Where’s the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas.
I’ve been listening to it on repeat lately because it is the sermon I need to hear; it speaks to me and even though it was recorded quite a while ago, it is still relevant. I think it is fair to say that in our current socio-political culture, people are “acting like they got no mamas.” And by the way, I include myself in that statement. Like anyone, I sometimes get so caught up in believing that my way is the only way, I forget to listen to what others have to say.
We are in the midst of a political civil war and are so busy yelling past each other, we’ve forgotten how critical unity is to shaping a healthy government that serves its purpose – caring for the people. Continue reading “Where’s the Love by Gina Messina”
Insect Conversations by Barbara Ardinger
“She’s doing it again,” Mrs. Cockroach is saying to her friend Old Mrs. Spider. “You know? The giant? She’s been blowing on me and telling me to live somewhere else. Like, I’d leave a good home?”
Old Mrs. Spider looks up from her weaving. “Yes,” she says in a weary voice. “But you know she’s not a giant. She’s just a normal human being, well, overweight, as I understand humans measure their bodies. And if she’s going to blow on us and ask us to live somewhere else, well…..I think she needs to brush her teeth.”
Mrs. Cockroach chuckles. “Indeed. We insects, maybe with the exceptions of fleas and termites, we don’t have bad breath. Blood-breath and wood-breath are sour! I was sitting on the wall in her bathroom, keeping an eye on things and telling the termites to get away from the window, and she just walks up. Doesn’t she know we insects and arachnids are protecting her house?”
Lion – Guide to the Power that Resides Within, by Judith Shaw
Lion, ancient symbol of strength and courage, is found in cave art from our early days. From the Egyptians to the Medieval Christians, lion could represent danger and chaos or protection and triumph over chaos. But through it all lion’s traits of strength and courage – power and vitality – remain at the core.
Continue reading “Lion – Guide to the Power that Resides Within, by Judith Shaw”
Coming to Terms with Privilege: A Personal Reflection by Elise M. Edwards
In my two previous posts, I shared my recent experience talking about privilege at a church near me. Today, I will wrap up this short series with a more personal reflection about privilege from a Christian perspective. Last month, I was thinking theologically about what those of us who have privilege should do with it. But, as feminists and womanists, acknowledging our privilege can be complicated. Most of us in this FAR community do possess some forms of privilege while, at the same time, we lack other forms of privilege. Each of us remains the same person wherever we go, yet our status can change when we switch contexts. As a black woman, I do not have white privilege or male privilege. But I am privileged when it comes to education and class and physical ability. I am a Christian who works at a Christian university in a part of Texas that is culturally predominantly Christian. So that’s a form of privilege. Although as a single woman without children, I don’t fit the cultural norm where I live, my sexual orientation and cis-gendered identity afford me some privilege, too.
Continue reading “Coming to Terms with Privilege: A Personal Reflection by Elise M. Edwards”
What Can We Do to Weaken Privilege? by Elise M. Edwards
In my previous post, I talked about discussing the concept of privilege (male privilege, white privilege, and class privilege) with nuance. Earlier that week, I had led a workshop at a local church on “Fine-tuning Privilege,” using Peggy McIntosh’s 1989 essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” as a resource. (If you are unfamiliar with it, take a few minutes to read it and reflect upon it.) Part of my talk was about naming and understanding privilege. Discussion and comprehension are not enough, though. We must counter it.
One strategy for fighting privilege is making it visible. The recipients of privilege are often unaware that they have to systemic advantage over others. Privilege, used in the context of racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and religious dominance, is not something earned on merit alone. In the essay linked above, McIntosh describes it like this: “I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious.” These are conditions built into our culture that some groups receive which benefit them to the detriment of others. Making privilege visible means naming it and calling it out. Wage gaps, digital divides, and racial profiling practices exist; ignoring them perpetrates the problems.
Continue reading “What Can We Do to Weaken Privilege? by Elise M. Edwards”
Avengers Vs. Sailor Moon Vs. … maybe… all that GOT *stuff
Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones, so read at your own risk! Continue reading “Avengers Vs. Sailor Moon Vs. … maybe… all that GOT *stuff”
Talking about Privilege with Nuance by Elise M. Edwards
Yesterday evening, I led a seminar at a local church as part of their series on “Unpacking Privilege.” Once before, I’d been invited to this church, Lake Shore Baptist Church, to speak about intersectional feminism with one of my colleagues, so I expected them to be open-minded and welcoming. They were. Although the attendees were overwhelmingly white and older than me, they were attentive and engaged. We had an enriching time together diving into topics like male privilege, white privilege, and class privilege with Peggy McIntosh’s 1989 essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” as a resource. (If you are unfamiliar with it, I recommend taking a few minutes to read it and reflect.)
In the essay, McIntosh writes about becoming critical of male privilege and men’s obliviousness to it through her work in Women’s Studies, which then led her to see her own race privilege (as a white woman) and her obliviousness to it. The essay does not offer a precise definition of white privilege, but the entire piece is a reflection about it. She explains:
“I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”
Continue reading “Talking about Privilege with Nuance by Elise M. Edwards”
Liam Neeson and White Toxic Masculinity by Janet Maika’i Rudolph
Several weeks ago, Liam Neeson was doing a press tour for his latest movie. He caused quite a stir by bringing up an event from his life from 40 years ago. Actually, it was an event that happened not to him but to a female friend. She had been raped and characterized the rapist as “a black man.” In typical male bravado, he took offense and set off to act out a what has been called “a racist revenge fantasy” by taking a weapon and looking for a black man to beat up and/or kill.
Here is a link to an article of his interview.
I am in a fairly unique position to respond as I myself was raped at knifepoint also about 40 years ago. On second thought, and truly sadly, it is unlikely that I am in a unique position. Rape is the coin of violence. It is used in war, arguments, power plays, where our bodies become the battlefield on which such violence is played out. There is truly nothing sexual about it.
Here is what rape does to the psyche. It tells us that our bodies are for someone else’s ephemeral pleasure, not our own. It tells us that we are not safe in the face of someone, usually a male’s violent whims. It tells us that we are objects without full personhood. It slashes a hole in our core selves that fills with rage and pain instead of love and wholeness.
Continue reading “Liam Neeson and White Toxic Masculinity by Janet Maika’i Rudolph”
Exercising Women’s Religious Voice and Authority – Why is this Still an Issue? by Elise M. Edwards
Over the past few days, I’ve been spending time at a church in Alexandria, Virginia conducting oral history interviews. I’m doing research for a project about the arts and the church that has me diving deep into the church’s congregants’ and leaders’ experiences. Yesterday’s conversations offered insight about many theological topics that interest me, but what was particularly encouraging was what I witnessed concerning women in ministry. That’s not what I was looking for, but it is what I needed to see.
Before beginning these interviews, I had already been thinking about the ways women’s authority and voice are often challenged. This past weekend, I attended a regional religion conference where I assumed a leadership position and my voice was sought out for advice and insight. I had great conversations with other women in academia about wellness and success while I was there. Attending the conference provoked fond memories of a similar conference many years ago, when I connected with many colleagues in this FAR community and we discussed the theme of “Women and Authority.” Those were positive experiences. But I had an unpleasant encounter, too, when I was on the receiving end of a male colleague’s condescending remarks. I was also made aware of a disturbing incident in which a woman of color was publicly disrespected while speaking at a university event and subsequently trolled. Those experiences triggered anger and deep sadness. To be honest, I also felt a sense of resignation and defeat. Patriarchy is just so persistent.
Continue reading “Exercising Women’s Religious Voice and Authority – Why is this Still an Issue? by Elise M. Edwards”
I Celebrate Love by Elise M. Edwards
Happy Valentine’s Day! I know, I know… so many of us do not like this holiday. It’s too commercialized, we say. We don’t need card-makers or florists to tell us how or when to show affection. Some of us don’t like Valentine’s Day because it reminds us of loves we have lost or never found. I get it. This day can seem shallow, overhyped, and falsely sentimental. It can be lonely. And yet, I won’t let today pass without celebrating and honoring love. Love is too important to concede to commercial interests.
Love, in its many forms, keep us alive and able to endure. Love is powerful because it is expansive, growing in unexpected places and ways. We tend to separate our celebrations of romantic love, friendship, familial love, self-love, and religious devotion. We make distinctions between our valentines and “galentines.” Rarely do we shout for joy in ecstatic worship while also celebrating the passionate longings of our innermost desires. But occasionally, in my religious tradition, we let our disparate loves come together. We unite them on holy feast days, enjoying the sensual pleasures of good food and company to mark spiritual occasions. So that’s my inspiration. Today, I’m celebrating love by reflecting on various forms of love merged together and sharing insight from poets and mystics about the power and beauty experienced in love.
On Tetzaveh by Ivy Helman
The Torah parshah for this week is Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10). Mostly it describes the priesthood, both of Aaron and his sons. It details how they should be consecrated, what they should wear, the difference between the garb of the high priest and the others, institutes the daily burnt offerings of rams, and provides instructions for the construction of an altar for locally-sourced incense.
The parshah works to establish differences between members of the Israelite community through consecration as well as in function and in dress by decreeing the institutionalized of the priesthood. Priests undergo an elaborate consecration ceremony which includes the sacrifice of animals, the smearing of their blood, the waving of various animals parts into the air and the burning/cooking of the sacrificed animals’ flesh. In addition to the blood smearing and animal sacrifices, the priests are also anointed with oil and offer oil and grain offerings to the divine. In terms of function, priests should offer daily sacrifices to the divine in the form of two rams (one in the morning and one in the evening). Also, all priests have four items of similar clothing: tunic, girdle, turban and short pants. However, the high priest has four special items only he wears, like the breastplate and a golden forehead piece. His clothes are laden with gold, precious stones, and royal dyes. Continue reading “On Tetzaveh by Ivy Helman”
Vayigash: Lessons from Joseph’s Behavior by Ivy Helman
Parshah Vayigash covers Genesis 44:18 to 47:27. It involves the reunification of Joseph with his brothers and his father, the immigration of Jacob’s entire family to Egypt and Joseph successfully leading Egypt through famine. In other words, the parshah provides the backdrop for how the Israelites become slaves in Egypt.
Any mention of women is confined to verses 46: 14-26. They are not active participants, but are remembered as mothers and (a few) daughters and help explain the size and development of Jacob’s family. It is most striking that they are mentioned at all as the text is heavily preoccupied with sons. Nonetheless, according to the account, Jacob’s family has 70 members and a seemingly very small number are women and daughters.
Clearly it comes as no surprise that this text is highly influenced by its patriarchal roots and we could dismiss it for that reason. Nonetheless, it has become a project of mine in this blog over the past few months to find redeeming qualities and food for thought within these texts. In other words, despite its sexist pitfalls, there are still holy insights and life lessons as my previous blogs attest. Continue reading “Vayigash: Lessons from Joseph’s Behavior by Ivy Helman”
Clerical Male Mess! by Janice L. Poss
“I am sorry!” “I am guilty of sex abuse” “I have hurt many young children!” “I have ruined lives!” “We are sorry for hiding sex abuse in the Church!” “We are criminals!” “We want to make amends!” We, in the pews, have yet to hear true contrition, instead we hear how the Church needs healing. True, but where is remorse from those who perpetrated and covered-up the crimes? To heal, we must hear from them.
Remorse, a contrite heart, admitting grave sin, deceitfulness, criminal behavior, the global Catholic Church has not yet confessed this loud enough. Why? Why is male clerical privilege so deeply ingrained in the construct of In Persona Christi that none of these guilty perpetrators of crime are able to directly tell Catholics worldwide that they truly, in their hearts grieve for our church and grieve for what they have done to our children? Where is their sensitivity for children? Continue reading “Clerical Male Mess! by Janice L. Poss”
Navigating Social Space as Power-Struggle, Pt. 1 by Elisabeth Schilling
The space we take up by our bodies is an element of the sacred. As we move from bed in waking, through our houses and then out into the world, if any of that movement places a woman in close proximity with a man or men, she might do well to observe how the male presence may modify her behavior, from adjusting orientation, position, and flow.
I was in Sicily for four weeks, and as I lived about 15 km from the town center, I took the bus. There is no on-the-minute bus schedule for my stop, but I could calculate when the bus would depart from the station and how long it might take to get to where I lived. Sometimes if felt like the bus just wouldn’t come. Continue reading “Navigating Social Space as Power-Struggle, Pt. 1 by Elisabeth Schilling”
What to do with Trump? by Barbara Ardinger
The United States used to get some respect. But now, except for the most gullible Trumpeters, people all over the world are seeing the damage the Troll-in-Chief is doing to our nation with his narcissism and corruption. What can a community like ours do? We can certainly vote next month and in 2020…and maybe we can also create some magic.
In her book The Cosmic Doctrine, originally written in 1923-24 as channeled from the Inner Planes, British occultist Dion Fortune (1890-1946) describes the Ring-Pass-Not, which is the ultimate outer limit of the universe. Fortune tells us that the Ring-Pass-Not (which was also described, but in a different way, by Madame H.P. Blavatsky) is a purely abstract ring of energy that protects our universe from the demons in other universes. Primal atoms also exist at the Ring-Pass-Not. It sounds like a highly useful place to send the Ogre-in-Chief so that, for once in his narcissistic life, he can clearly face the multitude of demons he embodies. Let us visualize a magical journey for him.
Continue reading “What to do with Trump? by Barbara Ardinger”
Poem: #MeToo, We Re-Member by Marie Cartier
I need the grandmothers to help me
re-member my rage.
Cross stitch. Double knot. I sew it back on. The raggedy parts I let fly loose
when I thought it was OK to not be “so angry.”
“Boys will be boys.”
And so then, girls will be angry.
And we will re-member—our rage.
I need the great aunts, and all the old women with the signs that read,
“We are still protesting this shit.”
I need them, this herstory to help me
re-member my rage, feel it strong and tight. Cross stitch. Double knot. Those women re-member
me. I am that woman. She is me.
Our rage is a song.
After all this time, we are still singing it. Our rage
is a river and we swim in it, even if it’s upstream. There is a fierce mermaid goddess,
Yemaya. She protects us. She knows
our rage is our best defense.
Our rage is a
swarm of bees. Not yet extinct. Our rage
is holy. Terror. Continue reading “Poem: #MeToo, We Re-Member by Marie Cartier”
I Was Brainwashed to Believe I Wasn’t Human. Now I’m on a Mission Against that Cult – Part 2 by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir
Trigger warning: rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, graphic sexual content
In Part 1 of this story, I introduced a discussion of Johan Galtung’s theory of cultural violence as it relates to my experience as a young woman in an abusive relationship. To recap:
Cultural violence is: “…any aspect of a culture that can be used to legitimize violence in its direct or structural form. Symbolic violence built into a culture does not kill or maim like direct violence or the violence built into the structure. However, it is used to legitimize either or both.”
Cultural violence against women is: Normalization and promotion of pornography, prostitution, degradation, and sexual objectification of females in media, predominantly male language in civic, business, and religious institutions, gender roles and stereotypes, misogynist humor, gaslighting, minimizing or denying any of these forms of violence.
Part 1 ended right before my ex convinced me to leave MIT and move with him to Minnesota. I had been trying my best to please him by sculpting my appearance to match his preferences, believing that it was my job as a female partner to try to satisfy my male partner sexually.
Continue reading “I Was Brainwashed to Believe I Wasn’t Human. Now I’m on a Mission Against that Cult – Part 2 by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”
Open Letter to the Pope and all the King’s Men by Natalie Weaver
It breaks me down. My anger, my revulsion, my powerlessness. I have been searching for the way since I was a child old enough to remember my mind. For a time, I thought Jesus was a white guy knocking on my door after having seen a religious pamphlet placed under our windshield wiper. I’m not sure he has blond hair anymore, but I still feel him knocking. I have been in love with him for as long as I have been a self, so much so that I baptized myself as a little girl.
Somewhere along the way, I figured my little, lonely way wasn’t good enough, and I wanted a church home. I finished a doctoral dissertation trying to find some place I could hang my hat. I picked the Roman Catholic Church, despite what I knew of it and what I had to defend about its patriarchy and history to family and friends. I loved the conversation, the so-called “Catholic Intellectual Tradition.” I always felt myself to be a covert, a conversa, a definitive outsider, and someone not to be trusted entirely as a cradle Catholic might be trusted, yet I tried to be family. I’ve been bringing up my kids in the Church, volunteering, working in Catholic education, paying the boys’ tuition. I do work-arounds, making excuses for the exclusion of women, defying the Church’s stance on sexuality with a critical repertoire of cross-disciplinary scholarship. Lord, I even had to help my Seventh-Day Adventist mom with a hostile annulment process that was dropped on her unsuspecting by a horrendously insensitive marriage tribunal. It wounded us all. Yet, here I have sat, until this.
Continue reading “Open Letter to the Pope and all the King’s Men by Natalie Weaver”