“Oppressed Majority,” a Film by Eléonore Pourriat

This short film presents a scenario in which men live in a world where they are harassed and abused by women like women are harassed and abused by men, a role reversal of our sexist, patriarchal, male-supremacist society.

The topic of switching gender roles has been explored many times before in comedic form, among them “Tootsie”, “All of Me”, and very incisively in the seriocomic 90’s Ellen Barkin movie, “Switch” but this short film portrays the darker reality of what it is like to live with the daily onslaught of sexual harassment and gender inequality in a way that hits home emotionally and hopefully allows men to gain a modicum of insight and empathy into women’s experience.

Women Rose and VAWA Passed!

The Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act passed the House today, a victory for all women! Women are standing up and demanding action more than ever before–we stood up and voted more women into office and put pressure on this congress to get past the partisan bickering, recognize women’s human rights, and stop the misogynist discrimination against LGBT, Native-American, and immigrant women and sign it!  Sisterhood is POWERFUL!!

Watch the YouTube video (above) of the V-Day: 1 Billion Rising Anthem, “Break the Chain” from the website www.vday.org !

Occupy Patriarchy—End the War on Women!

The attempts to roll back the gains of the women’s movement have been going on for a long time now, almost immediately after Roe v. Wade was passed, but it has become increasingly escalated lately with attacks now being leveled against not only reproductive rights (including contraception) but women’s health care, and even programs for victims of violence and rape being dismantled. It is time for us to stand up and take action to help raise the awareness that this onslaught is about patriarchal dominance and religious tyranny, not “religious freedom”.

Women are steadily making gains in other parts of the world, one of the most heartening examples being the women of the Congo, who have risen up in the face of wartime torture against the violence that has been directed at them, demanding an end to rape.[1]  We see women making strides towards freedom in the Middle East with Tunisia granting equal rights to men and women, and in India, despite much discrimination, women currently holding all three of the high offices of President, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and Leader of the Opposition, ]while here in the U. S. women are seeing our rights and gains erode and to this day are the most under-represented group in government and the poorest members of society.

Today, in America, we are contending with escalated attacks on women’s human rights like never before, whether it be by redefining rape, slashing funding for planned parenthood, eliminating crucial health screening and services for women, attempting to restrict and even criminalize abortion, denying access to contraception, or doing away with programs to help victims of domestic violence and rape.

The long list of assaults on women’s basic human rights includes the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service by citing “moral reasons”; fetal “personhood” bills; bills requiring ultrasound, including invasive vaginal probes, prior to allowing abortions; bills outlawing abortions after 20 weeks; bills allowing health care providers to refuse to perform abortions[2] and hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions, even in the case of the mother’s life being at stake in the “Let Women Die Bill” that passed in the U. S. House of Representatives; the defunding of Planned Parenthood, including the Susan V. Komen Foundation dropping planned parenthood funding for cancer screenings; the continuing harassment, arson attacks, bombings and shootings of family planning staff and doctors, four of whom have been murdered between 1993 and 2009.[3]

In view of such attacks, one might think we lived in a country ruled by an Ayatollah rather than in the United States where there is supposed to be a government of, for, and by the people with the separation of church and state.  But, as it turns out, the Christian fundamentalists who have made inroads into our government have been steadily blurring this line and are little different from their Muslim counterparts in their determination to restrict the freedoms of their respective female citizens.  Patriarchal religion has historically often been friendly to fascism and feudalism and hostile to the values of freedom and enlightenment, particularly of course with regard to women. See article [4] below for a horrific example of this.

Patriarchy is about domination and the abuse of power and we wish to raise the awareness of the public that the war on women is about the attempt to control women’s lives, whether it be by redefining rape, slashing funding for planned parenthood, eliminating crucial health screening and services for women, attempting to restrict and even criminalize abortion, denying access to contraception, or doing away with programs to help victims of domestic violence and rape.  We will not sit by and allow women’s human rights to be treated as if they are expendable or ignore the sexist mentality that fuels these attacks.  It is time for us to Occupy Patriarchy and end the War on Women!

[1] http://drc.vday.org/why-congo

Occupy Patriarchy – WORD March & Rally

WORD Rally 8-26-12

WORD – Women Organized to Resist and Defend organized a march and a rally in Los Angeles on August 26, 2012 and Women-Occupy was there in support.  The signs say it all, summarizing the outrage at the War on Women being waged across the country by the patriarchal, fuedalistic religious right who are attempting to undermine our democracy and replace it with a male supremacist theocracy–a favorite read, “Gender Violence is a Men’s Issue!”

WORD Rally2  8-26-12WORD Rally8 8-26-12

WORD Rally9 8-26-12WORD Rally10 8-26-12

WORD Rally11 8-26-12WORD Rally12 8-26-12

WORD Rally14 8-26-12WORD Rally16 8-26-12

WORD Rally15 8-26-12

WORD Rally4 8-26-12WORD Rally5 8-26-12

WORD Rally6 8-26-12WORD Rally13 8-26-12

WORD Rally7 8-26-12

WORD Rally3 8-26-12

“THIS IS FOR THE LADIES” by Amal Kassir – YouTube

Wonderful indictment of the commodification of women and how women buy into being reduced to sex objects.  Covering oneself up from head to toe in order to shroud one’s sexuality or not “inflame the desire of men” is also an oppression, however, which reduces women to nothing but bodies objectified by men as well.  The answer, I believe, is in finding the middle ground—one’s own comfortable, unique style, not prettifying or plainifying for approval—and dressing for oneself rather than others.

“THIS IS FOR THE LADIES” by Amal Kassir – YouTube

Sexism vs. Racism: A Study in Contrasts

Despite the common perception that racism is a worse problem than sexism, there are a number of historical and current facts that support the argument that sexism is far more entrenched than racism. The current war on women in congress ought to be enough to end any debate.  Can anyone imagine what might be happening if this kind of discrimination were aimed at an ethnic group?  The arrogance of these lawmakers to openly attack all the gains of the women’s movement to date exposes the incredible level of sexist mentality to which they fall prey and the widespread acceptance of it.  But to remind everyone that this has long been the case historically, let me point out some facts:  black male former slaves got the right (at least on paper) to vote 50 years before women did, got recognized under the 14th amendment as “persons” over a century before women did, black civil rights got recognized before women’s civil rights, we still don’t have the equal rights amendment which would be equivalent to the Civil Rights Act, we have two holidays set aside for men of color (in addition to all the ones for white men) and not a single one recognizing a woman, we elected a black male President before a white female President, women are far less represented in Congress per capita than are blacks and latinos, pompous talk show hosts who would be afraid to raise the issue of race mock and denigrate women with impunity, race-motivated crimes make big news while violent crimes against women are so commonplace they are not even considered newsworthy, crimes targeting women just recently were recognized by congress as hate crimes while crimes targeting racial groups have long been seen as such, and the murder of the tens of millions of women during the witch hunts is barely spoken of while we hear endlessly of the suffering of other groups.

Some interesting history is that the Civil Rights Act (passed in 1964) is the rough equivalent to the ERA (first introduced in 1923 and still not passed), while the 15th amendment assuring the vote for men regardless of race (passed in 1870) is the equivalent of the 19th amendment for women (not passed until 1920).  The  passage of the 14th amendment actually made things worse for women by specifically guaranteeing the rights of men (regardless of race) while leaving women out, despite the efforts of suffragists to get women included as citizens and to use it to exercise the right to vote.  Some woman suffragists even opposed the 15th amendment because they wanted voting rights extended to everyone, but had to abandon this as black men getting the vote had more public support.  The 2008 elections are one of the most recent blatant examples of sexism being more pronounced than racism with a previously unknown black male candidate muscling out the white female frontrunner, elbowing her aside and getting fawned over by news anchors while she was severely scrutinized and criticized at every turn.  Even many bigoted white men were willing to vote for a black man over a white woman and people on the left, blind to their sexism, saw voting for a black man even greater proof of their open-mindedness than voting for a white woman.

In the spirit of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Women’s History Month, I say it is high time that women be recognized under the law as having equal rights to men, that women’s rights finally be given the attention they deserve, and that sexism be identified and denounced as much as racism is.  We demand equal acknowledgment and protection by society and under the law.  It is time to pass THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT!