Archive for the ‘religion’ Category


“We are the foundation of all that matters”: The 16th Carnival of the Radical Feminists

July 18, 2008

Hey sisters,

Welcome to the 16th Carnival of the Radical Feminists. I’ve finally gotten it finished and it is LOOONG. Um, sorry about that. It couldn’t be helped. I blame all of the awesome women out there who write too damn eloquently and blog tirelessly for women. Thank you so much for all existing. Thank you so much for finding your voices. Putting together this carnival has opened up my eyes to the wholeness of what women have forged here on the internet. Together we are a brilliant and dazzling force. Our words shine strong. The few links I’ve collected here barely scratches the surface of the work that women are doing collectively online. As Renee from Womanist Musings put so beautifully, “we are the foundation of all that matters”. Believe it.

Reflections on Feminism

It really annoys me when some feminists distance themselves from other feminists, saying shit like, “not all feminists are hairy, man-hating lesbians”. I consider this distancing behaviour, and as such it is lesbophobic and woman-hating. Which is why I really appreciate Cellycel’s lastest post over at ‘Cause Knowledge is Power which she writes On Being a Good Feminist.

“You’re one of the few sane feminists” Or “You’re one of the good feminists” or “For a feminist you’re not so bad” and similar statements are not compliments. The first one is disabilist, and the whole thing is shitty anyway. Like “Your values are shitty, but you’re not so bad” or “I like you, but I don’t like most people who beleive the things you do.” or any other version of ‘your value system sucks’

Feminism is my value system. I use a lot of what I’ve learned from my feminism to guide my life. That means small things, like just trying not to be a jerk, trying to pay attention to people etc. For the most part. Other things too, like trying not to be a privileged ass, and such. You know.
These are my values. Stop insulting them.

L at Editorializing the Editors reviews Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, by bell hooks.

I’m loving dredgirl’s writing over at fuckthepostpolitical (such a great name for a blog too). In Thinking Feminism dreadgirl talks of her own experiences and queries post-feminism.

Postfeminism doesn’t speak of living in a male-dominated world. It also seems to be a specifically ‘Western’ idea; it speaks of the equality granted to privileged women, failing to acknowledge the global condition of women, or the way in which women’s experiences are differentiated according to race, class, sexuality, ability etc. even in these privileged nation-states.

Anxious Black Woman from Diary of an Anxious Black Woman writes of the National Women’s Studies Conference in her entry NWSA 2008 Repositioning Black Feminism.

After reading Beloved and Michelle Cliff’s Free Enterprise – forget about fiction, let’s just look at history (and I certainly suggest you revisit my Black Herstory series) – after Harriet Tubman, do we really need to construct a patriarchal narrative about the Underground Railroad when this journey required the strength of both women and men, black and white? I did find it quite amusing, after this filmic introduction, that the tour guide – when describing one of these fugitive slave stories to us – kept getting one of the names wrong by mentioning the name of Mary Ellen. It finally dawned on the group: right across from the tour guide was a big old portrait of Mary Ellen Pleasant, looking all impressive and big-eyed and “angry” like how black women get when they cut their eyes at you (and, yes, that’s how she looked in the photo). Heh. I knew, when I gazed into her portrait, that Mrs. Pleasant was feeling the way I was since, ONCE AGAIN, she was being erased from this narrative. So, every time the tour guide kept inserting her name, I felt her spirit in tune with mine: if I could high-five her at that instant, you know I would.

Don’t you just love it when black women, dead or alive, refuse to be silent or forgotten? 🙂

Ruby Sales over at Something Within posts I Can’t Deal With Her: Black and White Women in the Movement.

In the Movement, I worked met and worked alongside white women who were just as fierce about democratizing the south and the rest of the country by breaking the backs of economic and racial injustice. Like black women, they took the body blows and the vicious name calling without backing down or finding easy ways out. We stretched each other’s lives! Thinking back on it now, had we gone through life without meeting each other our lives would be the poorer for it.

Hellen at Hell on Hairy Legs talks up Feminism.

As a feminist I’m not going to dispute how women label themselves. I understand why some people might want to distance themselves with the racist, classist and ultimately unprogressive elements of the feminist movement. When people say feminist is about equality, I don’t see it as being equal with where man is right now. I see it as creating a world where all people are equal, regardless of genitalia. That world would not look anything like the world we have now.

Renee over at Womanist Musings rocks it out in her post Colluders and Stepford Wives.

I’m going to let you in on a little known secret, women matter. Despite the hegemonic role that men play globally, the labor of women is necessary to keep this little blue planet from going completely off kilter. I know that everywhere you turn women are minimized and reduced to accessories, but we are the foundation of all that matters*. It is on our shoulders that civilizations have risen and fallen, and it is from our wombs that life continues to be nurtured. [*quoted in post title: thanks, Renee!]

Debs from The Corvid Diaries writes beautifully and movingly in Dark Moon Musings.

I talk about rape a lot, I know I do. It’s something that’s in my head a lot, so I talk about it. I have only just learned to talk about my own experience in that area, so I am not going to shut up now, not for anyone, not until every last nuance is dealt with, and even then I’ll probably still keep talking about it, because, well, it was 17 years ago for me, but for other women it’s today and tonight and tomorrow and next week, and on and on, until at some point some miracle happens and the men Stop Raping. I suppose, until then, which will be a long time after I die I should think, I’ll have to keep talking about it.

Documenting and Resisting Male Terrorism

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff speaks out against the Quiverfull Movement in the documentary Quiverfull: Shunned from God’s Army. Watch the clip.

I’ve mentioned before that I disagree strongly with the idea of stem cell research. A large factor in this has to do with the fact that there are many, many reasons to be deeply distrustful of reproductive technologies. This is a link to a video about a woman who was seriously harmed by these technologies, her story is not an uncommon one: The Calla Papademas Story. From the awesome women over at Hands Off Our Ovaries.

Digital Dryad writes angrily about men getting away with rape in the military in her post Military: The Ultimate Rape Club.

The US military has a long history of not wanting women in the boys club. This case just goes to show what happens to countless numbers of women within that institution.

This Colonel will get a slap and life will go on, except for the fact that the women who were assaulted never got justice.

Eeni B. Bella over at Radical Misfit wants rapists to be held accountable for rape (as they fucking should be) in her post Hold the rapists accountable!.

Now, get this: ABC NEWS IS CALLING THIS 14-YR-OLD RAPE VICTIM JACQUES’ “TEENAGE LOVER” AND “ACCOMPLICE”!!! Then, the author refers to Jacques and Brooke’s 40-year-old stepfather “having three-way sex” with the 14-yr-old girl. NO, THAT IS CALLED TWO MEN SIMULTANEOUSLY RAPING ONE GIRL!

The author is David Schoetz. I want his fingers fucking cut off so he can’t ever write again.

Jennifer writes of her experience of the American courts and her father’s domestic terrorism.

At one point I was relieved when my told them that she couldn’t do it. She said that she couldn’t make us go with him. Then Michael London grabbed me and pulled me out of my mother’s arms. I wouldn’t let go. I remember all these people prying my fingers loose from my mom’s dress. When Michael London had me, I kept kicking and screaming “MOMMY I WANT MY MOMMY.” I told Michael London “BUT HE HURTS ME AND HE HURTS MY BROTHER!” I still remember him saying “I know!” as he handed me to my father.

That was the worst day of my life!!!!!

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff from Women’s Space writes in support of Jennifer’s mother in her post In Support of Holly Ann Collins, a Battered American Woman Granted Asylum in the Netherlands Because the U.S. Wouldn’t Protect Her.

Holly Collins’ adult daughter, Jennifer, has created a blog attempting to raise awareness of the family’s situation. She and her adult brother want to come home to the U.S. They want their mom and their younger brother to be able to come home, too. They are rightly horrified over the treatment they are receiving at the hands of officials in the United States. Their father continues to abuse them whenever he gets the chance. The one ray of hope is, they have a good attorney with lots of experience representing survivors of battering, “domestic violence,” so-called, male terrorism, really, plain and simple.

One of these days there will be women’s country, and women will have asylum, sanctuary, peace and safety. One of these days.

Rebecca Mott’s writing is always incredibly powerful. It is very hard to quote Rebecca, as every sentence she writes is full of truth. Her post Entitlement is no different, where she talks about the male-dominated left and their inexcusable attempts to justify prostitution.

Men that the left will “othered”. Say those men are bad, so when they do “bad things” to prostituted women and girls – the men in the left can ridiculed their behaviour.

But when men use prostituted women and girls, they come from all backgrounds.

Where is the criticism of poor men abusing prostitutes, men who called themselves left-wingers, then rape prostituted women.

When I was prostituted I was raped by students, unemployed, rich men, elderly, men from different cultures or counties. I was raped by men who it was their first time, men who may never do such a thing again, and men who who abuse prostitutes as a hobby.

Rebecca also writes of the pain of never being able to seek justice for the crimes that were committed against her by so many men, in her post titled On Justice posted at rmott62.

A huge part of my grief and depression comes from that I know I will never get personal justice for all the tortures I was on the receiving end when I was prostituted.

All I can do is to use my experiences to help fight the battle to get justice for other prostituted women and girls.

This eases some of my grief and pain. It will never be a complete cure.

But that sense of frustration fuels my anger.

Professor Tracey from Aunt Jemima’s Revenge blogs about the murder of Sparkle Reid-Rae in her post Former Professor Convicted of Hiring Hitman to Murder his African-American Daughter in Law for “Cultural Reasons”.

Reid-Rai’s husband has since completely abandoned their child to be raised by her parents and has not seen the child in years. I do not envy those grandparents having to explain this horrific story to that child when she grows up. How do explain that your grandfather who has never seen you, hire people to murder your mother?

Fire Witch over at Fire Witch Rising writes So Much For Sorry: Canada Beats Grandmother’s.

On Saturday, border agents were pulling over every Native person. Kahentinetha and Katenies were traveling in Akwesasne in the course of their regular activities and were caught up in the dragnet. Did Fantino set up a trap for the two outspoken, Mohawk grandmothers? We suspect that Kahentinetha would have been killed at a secret location had she not had a heart attack and been taken to hospital.

Nine Deuce from Rage Against the Manchine writes about the misogyny of radio hosts in her post What About the Poor Rapists?

These two radio dildoes then began to wonder aloud what it must feel like to be Mr. Tarrant. The poor guy has to go to class with a bunch of people who know he’s been accused of rape. Aw, that really sucks, man. (Wait, why the fuck hasn’t he been suspended from classes at the school?) The radio hosts didn’t wonder what it might be like for the victim, who has, you know, been raped and all, and who has to go to school on a campus where people are more concerned with football stats than women’s human rights.

Nine Deuce again with How to End Rape: Deuce’s Law.

If I had my choice, we’d do away with rape by changing our cultural attitudes toward gender, toward sex, toward power, toward everything, thereby creating a world in which rape could not possibly occur. That would most certainly be ideal, and I believe it’s possible, but I think it might take an awfully long time, and I’m ready for rape to stop right now. Rape and other forms of sexual violence are hate crimes and are among the most heinous manifestations of the misogyny that characterizes our culture. As such, eradicating rape, in my opinion, is one of the most pressing feminist issues.

Sarah from Fort Worth Feminism writes about a christian minister’s justifications of male terrorism in the home with her post Theology Professor Connects Domestic Violence to Feminism.

Bruce Ware, a professor of Christian theology at a seminary in Kentucky, spoke from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church recently. His sermon focused on his belief that men abuse their wives because women rebel against the man’s God-given authority and because women “desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husband’s because of sin.

Marcella Chester from abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open examines the male apologist’s arguments for why men rape in her post Kathleen Parker: Save The Sexually Violent Males.

I’ve walked down many streets and I’ve seen attractive women with bared midriffs, but I’ve yet to see a bared midriff taunt men or boys into physical or sexual violence or into fear for their safety. Same goes for tattoos. I’ve seen plenty of them, but I’ve never seen one taunt men or boys. However, I have seen men and boys actually taunt girls and women based on a variety of excuses or for no reason other than gender.

Renee from Womanist Musings writes movingly about Esmin Green… Yes She Mattered.

Women akin to Esmin don’t matter, they never have, and I doubt that they ever will, in my lifetime. Really who cares about some mentally ill, poor black woman. If she cannot be exploited any longer, she might as well die and decrease the surplus population. It was with callousness, and disregard for the sanctity of life, that the hospital staff acted.

Debs from The Corvid Diaries has started a new project, Medical and Obstetrics Rape Awareness Group, to resist the invasion of women’s bodies by medical practitioners. It is a really fantastic project that everyone must check out.

The Medical and Obstetric Rape Awareness Group (MORAG) is an international project aiming to raise awareness of and get people talking about the terrible violation, and even rape, that some women experience at the hands of medical staff when giving birth or undergoing a gynaecological procedure.

I have read many stories of women suffering inhumane treatment from doctors, midwives and other medical staff in situations when they are at their most vulnerable and should be able to trust the medical staff to have their best interests at heart. Some of the stories have been harrowing to read, yet women all too often feel unable to tell their stories, or name what happened to them, as it is so frowned upon to say anything detrimental about the medical profession.

Anne Bartow over at Feminist Law Professors posts on Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Is Running A Misogynist Porn Site.

Holly Ord at Menstrual Poetry writes on the hypocrisy of anti-choices groups in her post Pro-Lifers Say No to Habitat for Humanity.

We all know that “pro-lifers” want to destroy everything relating to reproductive health care and limit the types of reproductive health care women seek and are given. We also know that pro-lifers hate hate hate Planned Parenthood because they are “baby killers” (even though not all Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions) and they distribute that evil poison-in-pill form known as birth control!

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff from Women’s Space Publishes Suki Falconberg’s Open Letter to PBS: Why Didn’t You Film the “Carrier” Rape-Stops?

I would like to know what the women sailors aboard the ship think of this rape of their prostituted sisters—do they make the connection? High rates of sexual assault in the military are directly related to the time-honored rape of for-sale women by sailors. Train and allow men to rape one group of women, and they will rape others as well.

I read that the Nimitz is planning to dock in Hong Kong this month. Perhaps PBS could do some ‘postscript’ filming–follow the men into the brothels. As a woman who was raped and prostituted by the U.S. military, I would like my side of military history to be told. What is ‘fun’ for the sailors is life imprisonment in rape hell for us prostitutes. I wish women journalists and filmmakers would cover what happens to us.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Women’s Space writes a powerful critique of the male left in the South Americas in telling the story of INGRID BETANCOURT FREED.

I have spent much time writing this post not only because Betancourt is an amazing woman whose work and life may well be pivotal to the history of Colombia and for that matter, the world, but also because it so illuminates the experiences and difficulties of being a woman who aspires to political power, and ultimately wields it, in a male supremacist world.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Women’s Space draws attention to COINTELPRO 2008: New Justice Department Policy Will Authorize Racial Profiling.

For those unfamiliar with COINTELPRO, it is an acronym for the FBI’s notorious Counter Intelligence Program of the 50s, 60s and early 70s which targeted, infiltrated and destroyed individuals and groups it considered a “threat” — ”communists” (communism was illegal in the U.S. in the 50s), labor unions, leftists, Civil Rights movement leaders, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the American Indian Movement, radical feminist groups, the women’s liberation movement, Angela Davis and many others, including Viola Liuzzo, a Civil Rights worker who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and who was shot by a COINTELPRO informant who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff again, highlighting the highly disturbing medicalisation of birth and women’s resistance to this form of male terrorism in her post American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Launches Attack on Home Birth and Home Birthing Moms.

Since the earliest days of the women’s movement, women have been fighting for our right to birth our babies in our own way. For as long a time, patriarchal, allopathic medicine has attempted, in every conceivable way, to assert, establish and maintain control over our bodies and our lives. It has consistently attempted, often successfully, to establish policies and procedures, rules and regulations, which forbid home birth, birth with midwives, and unassisted birth.

Michelle Obama Watch is a very awesome website dedicated to calling out the media’s sexist and racist attacks on Michelle Obama.

Women Speaking Up and Stepping Out

SheCodes over at Black Women Vote lets her incredibly powerful voice shine in her post The War Over the Souls of Black Girls.

So far, we have been losing this war horribly. Our dead litter the brothels and the crack houses, our prisoners of war are held captive by the porn industry, and our would-be warriors are enticed away to serve the destroyers of the souls of Black girls. Our survivors wander through a wasteland of damaged social standing, reduced life choices, and meager economic opportunity; many become locked in a cycle of self preservation.

Below is footage of a rally in defense of Karen Salazar, a teacher in the US who was fired, quite literally, for teaching her students.

Focused Purpose writes passionately against the degradation of Black women and girls in her post: Heart of a Whore.

In light of our history, and the sexual horrors and atrocities we have sustained and continue to endure at the hands of white and black men; standing against ANYONE that does not treat us respectfully is the only acceptable behavior. Black skin does not afford you impunity, even if you are suffering racism. We all are in black skin and suffering racism.

Justice Walks over at My Perspective provides clarity in her post I Eat Male Babies for Breakfast.

Abandonment is not murder. Certainly, men faced with the prospect of abandoning their daughters aren’t jumping to the frenzied conclusion that it’s exactly the same thing as just snapping their little necks. Men go on with their lives, generally never to consider their abandoned little girls again, except in some cases when men come back tired of life’s thrills expecting a little of the family time they missed out on. (And they’re generally obliged.) Yet, mothers so deeply identify with their little patriarchs that, at least at that forum, they immediately leap to exactly this conclusion.

Fantasia from Fantasia’s World writes of her dream of getting more women moving in Egypt in her post D for Dream.

Thus, motivation and strong will are other big challenges in a woman’s world. Many women think that whatever they can achieve is not worth being stoned for it. Therefore, they follow the safety instructions listed in their old grannies’ manuals, which they learned to trust and treasure so dearly. Wisdom is always good, you know. What they don’t know, however, is that wisdom never built anything or invented anything. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in this old wisdom safe box, we can never move a single step ahead. Stepping ahead has got its risks.. and you can never be able to take those risks unless you are a dreamer. If you dream, you dare take risks. Only then will you discover, and grow, and make a change.

Maggie Hays from Against Porn debunks the porn apologist’s myths in her post Porn Apologist Bullshit Arguments List.

See this? Yeah, that’s a broken record. I chose this image for this post because I sincerely believe that all the pro-porners, pro-prostitutionists, pro-sexploitation folks, pro-hate speech & pro-“sex work” activists (or whatever you rad fems wanna call them) sound like a fucking broken record with all their “same old shit” reactionary arguments that do nothing whatsoever to help women as a class, arguments that, on the contrary, bolster the patriarchal anti-woman status quo.

The video below is part of the We Are More: Empowerment campaign. I hope to see more like it. This one is called Ain’t I a Woman?

Anne Bissell’s Website is really fantastic and worth a visit. Anne Bissell is a survivor of prostitution and has written a book titled Memoirs of a Sex Industry Survivor. There is also a radio segment here that is worth listening to with interviews with survivors of prostitution: Wendy Barnes, Anne Bissell and Heather. The transcript is here.

Yawning Lion over at feh-muh-nist writes up her Dating Advice.

Cultural Commentary

Dissenter over at The Mermaid’s Garden does what she does best, literary analysis, in her post The Golden Compass, Billy Thunder and the Night Gate, Sabriel and Lirael: A Comparison.

Thus we have the usual patriarchal lies being perpetrated, in which women are presented as being controlling and power hungry, while men are presented as oppressed beings risking their lives for freedom. Tell me, how many women can you think of who have courageously given their lives in the pursuit of not only women’s freedom, but freedom for all, even the men who hate them? Who is it who is stopping these women, who murder them and put them in prison, who ridicule their books and their intellectual achievements, who viciously silence their voices? Men. Men are the ones who do these things to women. It is not women who do these things to men.

dredgirl at fuckthepostpolitical writes a great critique of The Gruen Transfer. (For non-aussies The Gruen Transfer is this cool, hip, new, aussie show that supposedly critiques advertising. There is a panel of four white men and one white woman and ah… not a whole lot of critique. But as a bonus we get lots of sexist jokes, as well as justifications and advocation of advertising. Yay!)

As a tutor in cultural studies, i spend plenty of time teaching students about the semotics of advertising; I teach them about the social politics of representation, often discussing the gendered and racialised aspects of media in general, and advertising in particular. In the courses I teach on, we ask students to unlearn, to defamiliarise themselves with the representations and experiences they may take as natural, normal or common. Unlearning is often experienced as uncomfortable, as an affront, or critique of privilege (whether it be race privilege, gender privilge, class privilege etc), but it can also be incredibly invigorating, allowing students to see the world differently.

Amanata at Screaming Into a Void writes an incredibly insightful post Islam Vs. Christianity, Re. Feminism.

I hear people say women are forced into marriage in those “other” cultures. Define forced. Do you think every married woman in the Islamic world is dragged in chains to her wedding? I mean – do you really think that? Are some marriages there forced? Sure. But as a young white Christian girl I knew of at least two forced marriages in my teen years – forced marriages of young girls who’d “gotten themselves knocked up”.

Richard Leader from Adonis Mirror concentrates on the real perpetrators of white, male supremacy… white men, in his post The Pimp and Ho Primary.

However, my dislike isn’t arbitrary or capricious. It has a very specific origin. I detest progressives who claim to be against unchecked capitalism, up until the issue of sexual exploitation is raised. These are the sort of people who mock Wal-Mart shoppers, McDonald’s workers, and other inferior beings in the liberal universe, only to turn around and celebrate the selling of sex as liberation itself. Some of these people are so far gone as to be in favor of human trafficking, if only because George W. Bush had the sense to be against it.

Pisaquari from Buried Alive writes Reassigning Looks examining our notions of physical attraction.

Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, constructed, cruel bull shit it is has some far-reaching implications. Re-worded: it changes the way we see everyone. For women, it changes a great deal of how we view ourselves.

Renee from Womanist Musings writes along similar lines in her post Sexiest Black Women Alive.

I am not saying that light skinned sisters are not beautiful, I have a problem with the fact that they are commonly used as a representative of ALL black women. We come in many different shades, and to point to one as particularly more beautiful than another, is to reinforce a hierarchy based in skin tone. This is not a sign of loving ourselves, rather it is the internalization of black hate. The cruelty of slavery has left us with this terrible legacy.

Rainbow Girl over at Team Rainbow completely cracked me up with her post How to Victimize Yourself Before Others Victimize You!.

Trust your instincts. Women are very intuitive. Yes, actually women have magical animal instincts because they are genetically closer to vampires/bats than humans. That’s why we don’t allow them full human rights. You know how an ordinary flower looks different to a bee because the bee can see the ultraviolet colours? Women are like that. Bad men have RAPIST written in a colour called ultraviolator, which women can see if they look really hard.

Professor Tracey at Aunt Jemima’s Revenge asks Why Is Anyone Watching Or Debating About BET’s Hip Hop Vs. America Series?.

And if the discussion was supposed to be about women and hip hop, why wasn’t the discussion panel and host all female? What is exactly is the point of having men discuss women and their history and role in hip hop music and culture? Men, particularly black men have clearly already had more then enough say about women and hip hop.

Buggle from Buggle’s blog writes quite frankly about how Abortion should be free and on demand.

People talk about abortion as if it’s this big moral thing. I don’t think it is. It’s a question of: do you want a kid or not? For some of us, that may be a hard decision. For others, it may be incredibly simple and easy. Now, I have never had an abortion, or been pregnant, so you can say “well buggle, easy for you to say! Just wait until you get pregnant and have to make that choice.” And, you have a point 🙂 But to me, there is no moral issue. It’s not about murder, or killing babies. It’s just not about that at all. It’s about me, as a human being, being able to decide if I want to spend the rest of my life parenting, or not. And I choose not.

I found this post by Aimee over at Black Girls Rule interesting in its analysis of racialised sexual stereotyping in her post Reinterpreting Wesley Snipes.

As Halima’s concept of racio-misogyny articulates, for some black men, sexism against black women is not merely a function of gender but also of race—resentment is derived as much from black women’s nappy hair, dark skin, broad features, “lack of femininity,” the way in which her blackness precludes her from being the trophy that Snipes describes (“the guys are like, `Oh man, you’ve got a great women.’ And the man says, `Yeah, I do. ”)–as it is from her being a woman. His words here remind me of the scene in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in which Tea Cake brags about the fair-skinned Janie’s susceptibility to bruising after a beating. Black equals strong, loud, unsusceptible to bruising–mule-like in toughness and resiliency. As Snipes notes, a man wants to be proud of his woman: he wants someone pleasing, someone compromising, someone compassionate—to him.

Focused Purpose writes on the same theme in her post: A different energy…

i have oftentimes conversed with brothers that date out and heard how much “easier” it is to “deal” with white, asian, hispanic, persian, armenian, and other women. of course, there never is consideration given as to why this might be the case. these brothers usually make these women out to be superior and us sisters inferior, deficient, lacking, and unworthy of love.

m Andrea over at miss Andrea’s chooses a fun, troll attracting topic in the second part of her deconstructing transgender posts: PART TWO: Deconstructing Transgenderism for non-radical feminists.

First, we have someone who claims to not feel comfortable in hiz own body. All well and good, many people are uncomfortable about some aspect of their physical appearance that they wish to change. This individual claims to be a different gender then hiz birth body indicates. Well we have a problem with that word gender. Because feminists keep saying that there is no gender. So if transgenderism is a valid medical condition, and transfolk really do need to change body parts, then the reason they need to change those body parts is because gender is real. Which automatically makes the favorite feminist theory invalid — yanno, the one where they screech that gender is a social construct. Yanno, the one theory which has formed the foundation for all other subsequent feminist theory for the last three centuries. Yanno, the one theory which if rendered invalid automatically reboots every other feminist theory in existence.

Polly Strene over at you know that I’ve been drunk a thousand times covers pretty much everything in her post The opposite of sex.

Yes that is from an official home office document (international readers, – the Home office is one of the most important central government departments). Men and women have different brains, understanding and thought processes. Men are naturally aggressive whilst women just love fluffy little kittens and know nothing about the gold standard. And what is to blame for this bizarre belief? Have they spent too long reading the Daily Male? No it’s gender – the new hallucinogen of choice.

Creative Feminist Resistance

Yawning Lion over at feh-muh-nist lets us know about a cheap way of accessing female artists in her post I’m in love.

My sweet CDBaby introduced me first to Ebony Washington and her “Revolutionary Kind of Girl” CD which I love. I love anyone who can work words like gentrification and patriarchy into music along with references to Rudy Guiliani. Ebony’s CD is my favorite of the surprise CDs. As many of you know, I’ve been wrestling with my whiteness and struggling to understand the dynamics of race in this country, and Ebony deals frankly with the subject. In her song, “Movin’ On Up,” she tells it plain as can be, “at the sight of color, you were quick to scatter.” In her moving tribute to global solidarity among women, she says, “I could have been right there with you, but instead I constructed new ways to create miracles and I’m asking Victoria to keep my secrets… I’m right here with you – a commodity, bought and sold.”

Debs writes a raw piece on rape: Only She Remembers.

Lynn Sweeting writes up women’s revolution in her poem Good Boots.

Tami from What Tami Says posts a powerful poem by the incredible Black female poet Nikki Giovanni: Woman Poem.

dredgirl from fuckthepostpolitical uses poetry to describe her experiences of domestic violence in her poem today i listened to the air.

Naomi Downie from Sacred Beauty: Visionary art and Poetry is a woman-centred poet I had the pleasure of seeing perform recently. All of the poetry and artwork on her site is fantastic; beautiful and women-centred. I particularly recommend The Universal Mother.

My sister Dragort started writing when she was seven years old. Her stories have long been a source of strength, inspiration and women-centredness during some desperately bleak times. She has started writing a brilliant young adult novel, The Chosen, the first part of which has been published at Spinning Spinsters.

Miriam who blogs over at Black Fire, White Fire is writing an awesome story for teenagers designed to empower and inspire young Black girls. It is really awesome and I hope she continues Jumping In!

Madeline Begun Kane at Mad Kane’s Political Madness asks the pertinent question Is Olbermann Turning Into O’Reilly?.

Tori Amos is one of my favourite songwriters. Here she performs Me and a Gun, one of her most intimate pieces, which deals with her experience of being raped by a man, at gunpoint.

Thanks again, sisters, and thank you Heart, for starting this ball rolling. You can contribute posts to the next carnival on the Carnival Submission Page and the carnival home is here.


Girlcott Gloria Jeans

March 20, 2008

Mercy Ministries is an evil christian based ‘charity’ group that ‘helps’ young women suffering from male supremacy by dousing them in patriarchal religion and blaming the young women they take in for everything they are struggling with. If a woman has a problem (eating disorder, self-harm, even having been prostituted or abused) she is told that her actual problem is her relationship with god. That she self-harms etc because she is not strong enough to resist the devil, that she is possessed by demons and that she needs to drive them out. If she is incapable of dealing with her problems in this way then she is weak, she has failed the course and she is sent away in disgrace. Gloria Jeans, a coffee shop chain, are their main source of revenue. The ‘charity’ also pressures the young women to sign their welfare benefits over to them. They are associated with the hillsong church movement.

From the Mercy Ministries website:

Mercy Ministries is a national non profit organisation dedicated to providing homes and care for young women suffering the effects of eating disorders, self harm, abuse, depression, unplanned pregnancies and other life controlling issues.

Mercy Ministries is a structured residential based program that provides professional support from psychologists, dieticians, general practitioners, social workers, career counsellors and daily education from program staff to support the young women in our care.

We provide a holistic program that addresses all aspects of a young woman’s well being; physical, spiritual and emotional. Mercy Ministries is a faith based organisation dedicated to the support of young women in crisis.

They prayed to cast Satan from my body


At 21, Naomi Johnson was a young woman with a bright future, halfway through a psychology degree at Edith Cowan University, working part-time and living an independent, social life.

Yet she was plagued by anorexia.

With her family’s modest means and her part-time job there was no way she could afford to admit herself into the one private clinic in Perth that specialised in adults with eating disorders.

They had no private health insurance, and there were no publicly funded services in the state. So after much research Johnson found a link to Mercy Ministries on the internet.

Months passed as she devoted herself to going through the application process, pinning all her hopes on what appeared to be a modern, welcoming facility, backed by medical, psychiatric and dietitian support.

She flew to Sydney, thousands of kilometres away from her family and friends, and entered the live-in program.

Nine months later she was expelled, a devastated, withdrawn child who could not leave her bedroom, let alone her house.

Nine months without medical treatment, nine months without any psychiatric care, nine months of being told she was not a good enough Christian to rid herself of the “demons” that were causing her anorexia and pushing her to self-harm. After being locked away from society for so long, Naomi started to believe them. “I just felt completely hopeless. I thought if Mercy did not want to help me where do I stand now?

“They say they take in the world’s trash, so what happens when you are Mercy trash?”

Two months after she had been expelled from Mercy’s Sydney house (her crime was to smoke a cigarette) Johnson ended up in Royal Perth Hospital’s psychiatric unit. From there she started seeing a psychologist at an outpatient program two to three times a week.

“Even now, three years on, I don’t socialise widely, I don’t work full time, I don’t study full time. Even now there is still a lot of remnants hanging around from my time at Mercy.

“The first psychologist I saw rang and spoke to Mercy. She wrote to them over a period of time, just trying to get answers. They were very evasive; they avoided her calls. Eventually she got some paperwork, some case notes, from them.”

Mercy Ministries made the psychologist sign a waiver that she wouldn’t take these notes to the media before they would release them. Johnson has signed no such waiver and, months ago, she posted her notes on the internet, almost as a warning to other young women considering a stint at Mercy Ministries.

Yet for so long she just wanted to go back to the Sydney house, because they had convinced her that Mercy was the only place that could help her.

“It is difficult to explain, in a logical sense. I know how very wrong the treatment, their program and their approach is, but the wounds are still quite deep, and even though I know that they were wrong, there is still a part of you that just even now wants to be accepted by Mercy.”

In the northern suburbs of Perth, in a large, one-storey home bordered by a well-tended cottage garden, the Johnson family is attempting to pick up the pieces of a life almost cut short by Mercy.

With two fox terriers at her feet and doors and windows shut against the relentless Western Australian heat, Johnson – a small, delicate young woman with a razor sharp mind – unveils a sophisticated, nuanced interpretation of her time in the Sydney house.

Careful and articulate, her struggle with the horror of her descent into despair at the hands of Mercy is only evidenced by the occasional tremor in her hands and voice as she describes her experience. She was sharing the house with 15 other girls and young women, with problems ranging from teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse, self harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders.

“There were girls who had got messed up in the adult sex industry – a real range of problems, some incorporating actual psychiatric illness, others just dealing with messy lives, and the approach to all those problems was the same format,” Johnson says.

Counselling involved working through a white folder containing pre-scripted prayers.

“Most of the staff were current Bible studies or Bible college students, and that is it, if anything. You just cannot play around with mental illness when you do not know what you are doing. Even professionals will acknowledge that it is a huge responsibility working in that field, and that is people who have six years, eight years university study behind them.”

And while there was nothing that was formally termed “exorcism” in the Sydney house, Naomi was forced to stand in front of two counsellors while they prayed and spoke in tongues around her. In her mind, it was an exorcism. “I felt really stupid just standing there – they weren’t helping me with the things going on in my head. I would ask staff for tools on how to cope with the urges to self harm … and the response was: ‘What scriptures are you standing on? Read your Bible.”

Johnson had grown up in a Christian family; her belief in God was not the issue; anorexia and self harm were. “A major sticking point was when they told me I needed to receive the holy Spirit in me and speak in tongues, to raise my hands in worship songs and jump up and down on the spot in fast songs. I told them that I really didn’t understand how jumping up and down to a fast song at church was going to fix the anorexia, and yet that was a big, big sticking point, because it showed I was being resistant, cynical and holding back.”

Her mother, Julie Johnson, watches as she talks, anxious about the effect of her daughter’s decision to tell her story, yet immensely proud of her courage.

“Naomi was very determined to find somewhere that could help her. We didn’t have private health cover, so our resources were limited, so she searched the net and came across Mercy Ministries,” Julie Johnson says.

“It sounded very promising … she went off to Mercy a very positive young lady who finally had some hope that she was going to come back completely free of this eating disorder.”

And the family was excited, too, pleased that there was someone who could help their daughter beat anorexia. “But unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. They gave her hope and told her they would never give up on her but … in the end she got quite distraught that she was never able to please them.”

Johnson sent her parents a letter telling them she was not very well and that she was very confused with the kind of program Mercy Ministries was running.

“I called and spoke to her counsellor in person,” Julie Johnson said. “She told me that Naomi was lying to me, that Naomi was just rebelling … she was making the wrong choices.”

But instead of taking her mother’s concerns on board, the staff punished Naomi for disclosing anything about her time at the Sydney home.

“They told me that what happens in Mercy stays in Mercy, that what happens between the staff and Naomi stays at Mercy. It is not let out to the family,” Julie Johnson said. “We were isolated, we were not involved in her progress at Mercy, we were just excluded and yet we were a family that wanted to be behind her and they wouldn’t allow us to be.”

The situation came to a head when Johnson returned to the Sydney house after spending Christmas with her family in Perth. She was told she had been seen smoking at the airport and that she was being expelled from the program. Naomi phoned her mother in tears, and the staff informed her they were putting her on the next plane back to Perth.

“She was distraught; she was an absolute mess; her life was in danger. I could hear it, she was capable of anything, the anxiety was so extreme … she was just out of control,” Julie Johnson said. “I said to them, ‘There is no way you are going to send her back on her own, she is suicidal. You will deliver her to me at the airport when I can get a flight over’.”

Mrs Johnson flew to Sydney to collect her daughter.

“She went into that place as a young lady and came back to us as a child. She was very confused, like she was 12 or 13. She shut herself in the bedroom and thought she was nothing but evil. Her self-esteem went down. She thought, ‘I may as well die.”‘

Johnson, now 24, and her mother, know how close the end had been.

They sought help, but got exorcism and the Bible

God’s cure for gays lost in sin

WHEN Mercy Ministries says it helps young women with “life-controlling issues”, it means in part that it aims to teach them not to be lesbians.

In line with the Hillsong Church’s strict doctrines teaching that homosexuality is an affliction that can be cured, Mercy Ministries is keen to ensure there is no lesbianism under its roof. It issues “separation contracts” to young women who make friends with each other and prevents any form of physical contact between residents.