INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: CULLING THE BEAUTY IN A HYPER-MASCULINIZED WORLD

I ask no favors for my sex…All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks.
—Sarah Moore Grimké

A week or so ago, I was writing a blog about the courage of certain Women’s Groups, and how remarkable their efforts are—all over the world—in fighting for their right to social, physical, financial, creative and spiritual freedom and equality within their respective systems.

For some reason, before I got to really express said greatness—and the movements of all people who are almost sytemically oppresssed—I began by speaking way too much about the American Founding Fathers and the US Constitution.

Too wordy. What a shock.

But the blog’s incorrect constitution left my point in the fine print. My point was the stunning and unshakable courage all over the world of groups oppressed. While writing that blog, by the way, I coincidentally discovered International Women’s Day was upcoming—which was yesterday.

Whenever there’s an International “Anything” Day, that “Anything” is most likely in trouble.

In contrast, if you ever see, say, an International Weapons-Producing Day, International Fast-Food Day, International Dictator Day or International Big Media Day, know the world is probably moving in a less hyper-masculinized and progressive, heart-centred direction.

CELEBRATION

And so, I’d like to again express my respect, wonder and awe for these groups, and ask this: if anybody is inspired by any group who, under brutal political/ideological/theocratical climates, are fighting for women’s rights, democratic rights, farmers rights, peasants rights and so on, I’d be greatly inspired to hear about them.

If I get enough (or any) responses, I would like to make up a worldwide map of these soul and life and freedom-affirming groups—so we can just look at the degree of like-minded, courageous people.

The two groups I mentioned were an Iranian group I read about recently through alerts from Amnesty International; specifically, the arrest of Jelveh Javaheri, for fighting for women’s equality. This group is called, at least in English, We4Change: Iranian Women Struggle For Equality.

The other group is RAWA, the relentlessly courageous and strongly outspoken Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, whom I’ve known about for a long time.

Both must be careful with their every move, yet make their moves anyway. Further, when the drums of war beat, when invasion is threatened, these truly anti-oppression groups are almost never mentioned in the media, nor aided, let alone consulted, by an invading government claiming to be exporting democracy.

At the time the Iraq disaster began, there were many grass-roots groups fighting for democracy in Iraq—yet never celebrated or rarely brought to the table where the Big Boys gather.

So it goes for Iran today and all over—countless African and Middle Eastern countries, I am sure.

And so it was with RAWA—the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan—who were shouting as loudly as possible with limited funds and no mainstream media support—before the invasion of Afghanistan.

Imagine what groups like that could do with, say, a small percentage of the PR budget for a company like McDonalds, whose modus operandi is essentially maximize profits by mass producing disgustingly unhealthy food from billions of abused animals for increasingly fat and diabetic people—and may the environment be damned, too.

Thank you, Ronald.

CULLING THE BEAUTY

In a hyper-armed, hyper-warfare, hyper-aggressive, hyper-corporate, hyper-profit driven world, I tend to agree with holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl’s statement that, paraphrasing, under brutality, the best (in general) will not survive.

So putting aside gender for a moment (because ultimately it’s not about gender, he said, from his white man’s ivory tower), I would say that under brutality, the feminine principle is placedt under intense interrogation and pressure; instincts for nurturing, beauty, art, communication, expansive wisdom and creating spaces for everybody, are slowly culled from the physical and spiritual make-up of the human species.

As the defense of civilians decreases—and civilians by definition are largely a combination of women, children and the elderly—the world becomes hyper-masculinized. I’m, not positive of the statistics, but I recall reading that the civilian death too in World War I was 10% of all deaths, 50% in World War II, 70% in Vietnam and 90% in Iraq.

Who exactly are these wars against? And either way, what is the human, spiritual cost?

If those stats are at all accurate, the increased disregard for life and the increased culling of the feminine principle (as above, anyway) is essentially a statistically predictble side-effect. And from it comes a higher percentage of people willing to communicate via the sword—even more so if resources are scarce and weapons are available.

Which brings me back to how much courage it takes for oppressed peoples to fight for their freedom, dignity and equality, and how inspiring it is to hear about them—and to try and make their cuase known and supported.

DENOUEMENT

Just to end, and although it goes without saying, I want to make sure I mention how these problems do not appear out of nowhere. The roots of distress and brutality in, say, Africa are deep and complicated. It is extremely difficult for most men, also, to live under corrupt, brutal governments and/or extreme poverty/unemployment.

In this excerpt from Uganda Rising, Dr Erin Baines of the Liu Institute, who spent years of her life in Northern Uganda, gives a concise and instructive synopsis of one possible cycle:

When the [IDP internal displacement camps] camps were created, it completely disrupted the gender division of labour, because men could no longer work, and they certainly didn’t have a political voice in things.

What happened is you had men become completely disempowered, lose their identity not only as Acholi [the main group affected in Northern Uganada], but also as men.

The only way they could continue to feel they had any kind of power was vis-a-vis the women.

So they could at least say this is my woman and you will do this for me.

All of this is compounded by the fact in order to fill their day or despair, men have turned to drink. And there is a high prevalence of alcoholism in the camps—which women brew—which intensifies the level of anxiety and agitation that men feel, which is then again unleashed on women and children in the form of violence.

Microcosms of that cycle, and variations on the theme, are seen all over the world, including in the margins and inner-cities of the West. To fight to get out of these conditions, to fight with and for dignity, is where countless unseen, unheard heroes are today.

Here’s to sisters and brothers all over—with love,

Pete xox

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2 Responses to “INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: CULLING THE BEAUTY IN A HYPER-MASCULINIZED WORLD”

  1. Erynn says:

    These folks are doing a tremendous job under very difficult conditions. They deserve recognition for the work they’ve done and the difference they’ve made in the lives of Native women on Standing Rock reservation.

    http://www.prettybirdwomanhouse.blogspot.com/

  2. Thanks, Erynn. Now I know a little about the Standing Rock reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and some of their trials and triumphs. Six billion people, from everywhere, are living all day long, like me, like you: getting up, wanting to eat, be loved, feel flow, creativity and joy (among a million other desires, some awful)—all under varying conditions and possibilities. It’s an incredible, humbling thought. I think I want to make a map of these soul and life and freedom-affirming groups—wouldn’t that be instructive, and inspiring, just to see the individual and collective solidarity all over the planet?

    Love to you,

    Pete

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