Feminist Parenting About Sexuality Part 2 – pornography by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

As I said in Part 1 – this topic will be difficult to discuss. As I said, I promise I AM NOT SAYING ALL MEN ARE BAD. Please re-read Part 1 if this post causes you to feel defensive or protective toward males.

Unfortunately, we live in a deeply, horrifically misogynist culture. Our culture is so dystopian that it has normalized a mass butchery of violence against females. I can say these words, and most people either nod or look skeptical, but they don’t actually understand what I am talking about. People do not understand because they have so normalized horrific misogynist violence – they have been so brainwashed – that they cannot recognize brutal attacks against women, even when those attacks are right before their eyes… or happen to their own bodies.

Continue reading “Feminist Parenting About Sexuality Part 2 – pornography by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Who is the Perpetrator? by Oxana Poberejnaia

A poem by Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, “Call Me By My True Names,” lists various situations from natural world and the world of humans, most of them to do with violence and death. He claims in the poem to be both: the victim and the perpetrator of violence.

This poem has always bothered me. I can understand a world perspective where you express solidarity with all the sufferers, but how to come to terms with identifying oneself with the oppressors and murderers?

At my current limited level of understanding of the Buddhist teaching I can only say that perhaps the words: “I am a rapist and a murderer” point to tendencies that are present in all of us. First and foremost it is a tendency to divide, to separate. The most noticeable separation is between the “I” and the “outside” world.

First we counter position ourselves against all the others. Next we start believing that it is possible to achieve happiness just for ourselves, at the expense of the others. So we live egotistically. From here, I suppose, there is only a small step to rape and murder.

Continue reading “Who is the Perpetrator? by Oxana Poberejnaia”

Marriage as a Commodity (Satisfaction Guaranteed) by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Freyhauf, Feminism, Religion, Durham, Old Testament, Blogger, Bible, Gender, Violence, Ursuline, John CarrollThis Saturday I will be presenting a paper about Cyberbrides at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  While my focus for that paper is the impact on mothers and families, my research also revealed how some Cyberbrides (or Mail-Order Brides) are selected from internet catalogues with “satisfaction guaranteed” and how “International Marriage Broker” may be a cloak hiding the agencies’ involvement with human trafficking.

Cyberbrides are essentially mail-order brides, but like pen pals, they can chat and exchange pictures on the Internet and interact through video or instant chat.  There are almost 2.9 million website matches that turn up when Google-ing “Mail-Order Brides” within 19 seconds of pressing the “return” button. With the low cost of social media, a new venue to market and display this “commodity” is available.  Presently,  about 30 Facebook sites exist that advertise “Mail-OrderBrides. Continue reading “Marriage as a Commodity (Satisfaction Guaranteed) by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

Les Miserables’ Fantine, Women’s Suffering, and Female Migrant Labor by Gina Messina-Dysert

Gina Messina-Dysert profileUpon the recommendation of several friends and colleagues I decided to see the film Les Miserables.  It is rare these days that I make it to the movies.  My life is generally over scheduled and spare time is nonexistent.  So with just a few days left until the start of the semester and with a pile of work on my desk, I decided to throw caution to the wind and head to the theater last-minute to see Victor Hugo’s masterpiece on the big screen.

First, can I say what a brilliant surprise the film itself was?  I wondered if Hollywood could do justice to Hugo; from the moment of the opening scene I was in absolute awe.  I left the theater experiencing a momentary resurrection.

Anne Hathaway / Les Misérables: © Universal Pictures.
Anne Hathaway / Les Misérables: © Universal Pictures.

While the entire film was amazing, I would have seen it for nothing else but Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine.  I felt her suffering in the depths of my soul and wept along with her.  In Fantine we see the suffering of Everywoman.  She represents the thin line between those virtuous and those fallen and mirrors women’s imprisonment within this dichotomy.     Continue reading “Les Miserables’ Fantine, Women’s Suffering, and Female Migrant Labor by Gina Messina-Dysert”

Confessions of a Former Sex Worker by Anonymous

Empowered?  I thought so.  At least sometimes.  I was barely an adult when I entered the sex industry at the young age of eighteen.  I had little life experience, was high school drop out, and was forced out on my own a year earlier.  I quickly found that the fast food industry offered me little chance of survival.  After working seven days a week (with 3-4 of those days being double shifts), barely making my bills, and living off of a tub of expired granola I took from work (and the one meal a day I was provided on the job), I could not help but be enticed by the idea of making hundreds of dollars a day for simply taking off my clothes.

It was a woman I worked with who introduced me to the idea.  Her sister was a “stripper” and dating the manager of a local club and she suggested I audition to be a dancer.  The wages were more than I had ever imagined earning and I was tempted on many levels to take her advice. Being able to support myself comfortably seemed the answer to my problems, even if it meant violating my moral code. Continue reading “Confessions of a Former Sex Worker by Anonymous”

Proposition 35: Prohibition on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery—Criminalizes the Sex Worker and not the Trafficker, By Cynthia Garrity-Bond

But beyond the sound bites and hyperbole of Proposition 35 resides a poorly written law that further criminalizes and discriminates against sex workers and their consensual adult clients.

The importance of the upcoming November 6 election cannot be overstated. Beyond defeating the Republicans War on Women, maintaining the Affordable Care Act and resuscitating a broken economy, brought on by eight years of Bush’s laissez faire policies, California residents will vote on thirteen propositions. Two of them address criminal justice, Prop 34 “End the Death Penalty” and Prop 36, repeal of the “Three Strikes” law of 1994. Both propositions seek to correct bad laws that are unjust, as well as fiscally exacting on the state.  The “Three Strikes” law, in its attempt to be tough on crime, instead gives life sentences to non-violent offenders.  To date there are 8,800 prisoners currently serving life terms for a third felony conviction—for some, petty theft or drug possession resulted in a life sentence.  The “Three Strikes” law was poorly conceived, written, and implemented, just as Proposition 35, the Prohibition on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery or Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE ACT) is.  Continue reading “Proposition 35: Prohibition on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery—Criminalizes the Sex Worker and not the Trafficker, By Cynthia Garrity-Bond”

Infantilizing Women, Sexualizing Girls By Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Continue reading “Infantilizing Women, Sexualizing Girls By Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

Sex as a Weapon of Sustenance By Cynthia Garrity-Bond

In a recent news post, Filipino women went on a sex-strike in order to bring peace to their rural village. “If you keep fighting,” warned Aninon E. Kamanza, of the Dado Village Sewing Cooperative, “you’ll be cut off.”  It seems their cottage business of sewing made delivery of goods impossible due to road closures brought on by the violence.  Dado, the small village of 102 families mostly affected, is a town caught in the middle of conflict involving clan feuds and land disputes. The ultimatum worked. Vis-a-vie the threat of no sex, the violence has stopped, the roads are open, the women can transport their goods and the men can breath a sigh of relief.  What I find so compelling about this story is the resourcefulness of the women. Understanding the nature of their men, they used the withholding of sex to accomplish their goal of making money in order to care for their families.  But what about the reverse? What about women who also use sex to care for their families but as sex workers?  Can we applaud their resourcefulness and commitment to family as well?   Continue reading “Sex as a Weapon of Sustenance By Cynthia Garrity-Bond”

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