Why I am a Feminist – Marcella

For me, the roots of my feminism are intimately bound up with the roots of my atheism.
I was one of those kids who believed in ghosts, but only at night. During the day, they were an absurd idea. Invisible people? Yeah right. At night, though, I would cower under my duvet imagining I could see them. At the age of four, at Christian daycare, I was sitting on a swing next to a classmate who said, “Do you believe in god?”
He asked it in the same tone older children used when they said, “Do you believe in Santa?”
Suddenly, the correct answer occurred to me.
“No,” I said. “Do you?”
“Sometimes,” he said.
I knew exactly what he meant. During the day, god was an absurd concept, but at night, he cowered under his sheets not daring to move lest god should see him.
When I was eight, my teachers decided that I had committed too many crimes against handwriting and asked my parents to intervene. They bought rubber grips for my pencils that would force my fingers into the correct position. Then they brought out a Bible and some lined paper. Every night, I sat at the kitchen table and copied the words. The house we lived in at the time had dry-stone walls. They weren’t even plastered on the inside. There was a single window with a wooden frame and shutters on the wall over the table. A cast iron stove stood out from the far wall, a fire whistling from its belly.

I couldn’t help but read the stories as I copied them. They were terrifying. An invisible angel stopped a man in the dark, midway across a river. And the things that happened to women were even worse. A man raped his daughters and got them pregnant. God ordered a father to kill his daughter in the name of sacrifice. Another man offered to throw his daughter to an angry mob so that they would appease themselves by raping her. After a night of handwriting practice, I lay awake and listened for the sound of snoring from my parents’ room. When it came, I climbed out of bed and switched on the light. Then I read books about unicorns and fairies, anything to take my mind off the thought of invisible hands reaching for me in the dark.

For my birthday, I was given a sheet of glow-in-the-dark star stickers. I used a star chart to carefully recreate the constellations on my ceiling. For a while, I forgot about the invisible hands and the voice from the sky asking my dad to sacrifice me. I fell off to sleep thinking about what the stars would look like from the surface of the moon or from Mars. For a science project, I drew my own maps, each night walking up the hill with a flask of hot chocolate to draw constellations and note the phase of the moon. My dad found some books on mythology and explained the stories behind the constellations. For some reason, the myths were less terrifying, perhaps because nobody believed them anymore and they could be read for what they really were: stories.

One day I climbed the hill with my construction paper. The frosted branches of trees looked suspicious. There were new shadows thrown up by the moon that made it easy to imagine invisible people standing in the wood, watching me. I turned around and went home. In bed, my cowardice turned to regret. I looked up at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and knew that invisible people couldn’t be real. Looking back on this moment from adulthood, I realise that I had to make a choice: Either the world was governed by invisible, unknowable forces or it was possible to systematically study the world. But even though I couldn’t have articulated that at the time, that was exactly the contradiction I had to resolve in my head.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I wasn’t afraid of god at all, but of the fact that other people believed in the idea. Outside, through the woods, the neighbours would all be in bed. Mankind landed on the moon twenty years ago. Yet these people went to church. They each kept a copy of the black book with its stories of human sacrifice. What would happen when one of these neighbours became convinced that a voice in the sky wanted him to kill his daughter? No child was safe. How did these people sleep at night if they believed invisible angles could wake them at any moment for a wrestling match?

Then the revelation came. I remembered the conversation on the swings as a four year- old. The fact that the boy felt the need to ask if I believed in god said it all. If gods and ghosts and Santa were real, nobody would ask me if I believed. Nobody had ever asked me if I believed in trees or rocks or even stars. Even the man in black in the church didn’t believe. I stood in front of him and he asked me if I accepted god and Jesus. My parents waited until I was older to have me Christened because they had the idea that I should remember the event. I was too afraid of the man in black to tell the truth, because even at four, I sensed that I was required to lie.

I imagined the neighbours all snug in their beds, sleeping soundly.
“They don’t really believe,” I thought. “None of them believe.”
The weight of fear was lifted from me and I dropped off to sleep. I didn’t have the vocabulary to know that I was a feminist or an atheist until much later. Ironically, I eventually learned about the term “atheist” from church. The reverend was raging against atheists and I thought, “Hey. He’s describing me. I must be an atheist.” Even though I didn’t have the terminology and hadn’t read any feminist or atheist academics yet, I look back on that night in my childhood as the point in which I became a feminist atheist.

Why I am a Feminist – Eva

‘Growing up in Lithuania, I was completely oblivious to feminism. I had no idea something like that existed, and I was blind to the fact that I lived in an extremely misogynistic country. It all changed somewhere around four years ago, not with a direct encounter with feminism, but with a website called TV Tropes.

Since that website is mostly about taking fiction apart and charting all the recurring patterns, they do end up mentioning feminist criticisms quite a bit. The more I read that website, the more I realized how awful the treatment of women in fiction was. Once I got to the “Double Standards” page and read through all the examples, I was pretty much a feminist.

That caused me to go through such an enormous shift in perception, that there isn’t really anything I could compare it to. And as the months went on, that shift in perception made me to not only look at everything I read and watched with feminist eyes, but also to look at the world around me in a new way.

When I was little, my grandmother would often tell me of how her parents one day told her that they found a husband for her, and that she’ll have to marry him or they will throw her out of the house. So my grandmother decided to stage a protest and spent a few hours sitting out in the front yard, butt-naked, in the snow, in the middle of winter. It didn’t really work, though, and she did end up marrying my grandfather, even though he was a complete stranger to her, and nine years older than she was.

As a little girl, I always found that story really boring, and it was only after I became a feminist that I suddenly realized that my grandmother was forced into marriage, and how appalling that was. And as I kept thinking more, I remembered how my grandmother would sometimes walk around with bruises on her face, and how some kind of wall in my mind prevented me from realizing that my grandfather was beating her.

And I started to look at my parents with different eyes too. I suddenly noticed that even though my dad is unemployed, he just sits around watching TV all day, and once mom comes back from work, he starts shouting at her, and insulting her, and telling her to make him dinner. I started to see how when she returns home from working the second shift, he follows her around telling her that she’s prostitute, because only prostitutes work so late.

I’m a feminist because I want women to be free of patriarchal oppression. I don’t want women to live lives as those that my grandmother lived and my mom still has to live, but I have to admit that I don’t have much hope for the country I live in, feminism is just as non-existent around here as it ever was, and when I tried to explain feminism to my mom, she just declared “But men and women are already equal around here!”, despite the fact that there’s no “equality” in her life at all.

If the women of the world ever become liberated, it probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but I’m optimistic enough to hope that, if I ever have children, then maybe at least they will live to see it happen’.

‘Islamism kills generation’. Protest against Olympic Committee for allowing Islamism in Olympics.

We demand justice for women in Olympics. Feminists have been demanding justice for women. But it seems no one likes to listen to them. Why does everybody forget the Olympic principles?

Universal fundamental ethical principles, such as: ‘Any form of discrimination [including gender discrimination] is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement’ (Principle 5)

A commitment to equality: ‘implementing the principle of equality of men and women’ (Chapter 1, Rule 2.7)

Neutrality in sport: ‘No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted on any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’ (Chapter 5, Rule 51.3)

Feminists demanded an end to gender-based discrimination and stereotypes. The International Olympic Committee did not protest against gender-based discrimination the way they protested against race-based discrimination. South Africa was banned from the Olympics for 21 years over its policy of apartheid. The International Olympic Committee violated the Olympic principles about gender equality by allowing countries that have anti-women-sharia laws to participate in the Olympics. It has also allowed athletes to wear veils, a symbol of oppression and to observe religious fasting that may higher the risk of dehydration during Olympic Games.

Femen, a Ukrainian feminist organization demands that the International Olympic Committee condemns violence against women in the Islamist states. Femen says that with the support of the International Olympic Committee Islamist governments actually use the participation of women in the Olympic Games to legitimize the killing and torturing of women.

Topless Femen activists Perform Anti-Islamist Olympic protest in London today. Five protesters are arrested.

How long will feminists from the West have to fight for women worldwide? Time has come for sane people living in the Muslim countries to move their butts and start an uncompromising movement against Islamic oppression.

Why I am a Feminist – Skeptifem

‘My feminism really began after reading The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf. The book is far from revolutionary by my standards now, but when I read it my world was changed forever. This was years after I had been involved in skepticism, and years after becoming an atheist, just barely into my twenties. The difficult questions being raised by her work felt awfully familiar to me, she sounded just like my skeptic and atheist friends who were critical of ideas that were supposedly too sacred to question.

The book didn’t just make me think, it made me angry. I had spent years suffering for ideas I found out were totally fabricated, and designed specifically to make me feel horrible about myself so someone else could profit from it. I suffered for ideas that elevated the status of men at the expense of women. I compromised my health many times to lose weight, and there was virtually never a time that I gave up constant vigilance against gaining weight. It is a pitiable, tiring way to live, and I had done it for about 7 years at that point. I didn’t suffer as badly as other women I knew, many abused themselves for weight loss but also put up with humiliating (and sometimes painful) cosmetic procedures to rid themselves of hair, wrinkles, and other normal human features. When I was a teenager my mother got acid poured on her face to sear the wrinkles off of it. A surgeon, someone who pledges to do no harm to patients, did that to her for money. It echoed so perfectly what popular culture told me about appearance and beauty that it wasn’t even remarkable to me, it was normal for women to hate their bodies and faces. It was so normal that the violence inherent in all of it was invisible. Such a hatred for my body meant seeing me, all of me, as a thing instead of a person. Other women had chipped away at their sense of self exactly as I had.

I wasn’t transformed over night, but I did change a lot about myself pretty quickly. Eating like a normal person actually resolves many psychological problems caused by starvation, so I felt much better in general. I grieved for the years I had wasted hurting myself. I grieved for women who were still hurting themselves. I began to see that I had worth as a person. I was worth listening to and nourishing. I got help from a friend in college and enrolled in some classes, something I never thought I would do. Feminism helped me feel like a real person. I thought to myself, “men get to feel this way all the time, they don’t even have to fight for it. Every woman deserves to feel like they matter.” I wanted more people to know what I knew.

The more I thought about and researched the way women suffer for beauty, and the way men gain from that, I began to see some interesting parallels with religion and scams of all sorts. I became eager to discuss feminism with people in the skeptics groups I frequented. I felt as though I had discovered some new interesting intellectual territory, and was excited to see what other people thought. So many friends had used their intellects to impress me in the past with analysis of various issues. Surely, a great discussion would ensue.

I could not have been more wrong. I was met at every turn with dismissal and embarrassingly fallacious reasoning. What had happened to the intellectual honesty, the curiousness, of the people I knew? Why was no one outraged at the poor quality of arguments being used to dismiss my findings outright? I never expected everyone to agree with me, but I expected the level of discourse afforded to creationists and homeopaths. It became apparent that most of the people in my circle were… men. They didn’t want to think about the things I brought up, and they all helped each other avoid confronting problems with sexism. I became disillusioned with these groups, even though I still strongly supported the stated principles of all of the groups. I still believe in those things, and believe feminism is inherent in critical thought about problems affecting women and girls.

It got much more troubling to me once I began to research things like rape and sexual harassment. I realized that I had either been subject to sexual harassment, witnessed it against another woman, at every job I have ever worked at. This was true of virtually every woman I knew. The ones who spoke up usually got in trouble or were ignore. I realized that sexual abuse was a common experience for women as well. I knew from personal experience how little the judicial system cares if you decide to report being raped. I reported having been raped as a teenager. I gave the police contact information for other women who I knew who had been abused by the same guy, and they never even called them to collect statements. They did question me repeatedly and gave me a card to call someone for psychological help, as if I wanted to discuss what had happened even more. That was all that ever happened. People I told outside of the police had mixed reactions, a lot of men simply thought I was a liar or a whore, and it made dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse much more difficult. I saw these attitudes mirrored all over society. Outside of feminism there was not much concern about these issues at all.

I got more involved with feminist groups, spaces that were much safer for women, and got introduced to feminism that dealt with more than the issues affecting economically privileged white women. I became interested in how racism and colonialism functioned. I am white and didn’t want to do to people of color what men had done to me. I wanted to listen instead. I made a point of finding people with experiences very different from my own, and trying to really understand their perspective. It was amazingly difficult but it helped me develop a lot of maturity, and to also see that social justice was a struggle for the majority of people in the world. I saw how we could all support each other. This is something I still try to do, something central to my feminism today.

Eventually I wanted to write, something that was outside the realm of possibility to me just a few years before. I had come a long way from thinking I was not worth listening to. Since reading The Beauty Myth I’ve discovered some troubling things about Naomi Wolf’s beliefs, but I will always be grateful to her for writing that book. I will always be grateful to other brave women who write, like bell hooks and Andrea Dworkin, for helping to expand my understanding of the world we women live in. My life had improved so much because of individuals who had decided that it was important to spread a message of truth. They wrote despite the ridicule and insults, they wrote because it was too important to let other people stop them. I want to be that person for someone else out there.’

(Dear fellow feminists, Skeptifem has shared her story with us, why she is a feminist. You can share your stories with us too! -Taslima Nasreen)

Both burqas and sexualized ads are ugly

Both burqas and sexualized ads or sexual objectification dehumanize women or reduce women to mere sexual objects.
The purpose of the burqa is to erase the individual, women are sexual objects, men get sexually aroused whenever they see women, so for the sake of men women must have their bodies covered. The purpose of the sexualized ads is to erase the individual, women are sexual objects, men get sexually aroused whenever they see women, so for the sake of men women must have their bodies uncovered.

AND

A salute to Sally Ride

Gloria Steinem wrote:

No one on earth — or in space — could have created a more complete heroine than Sally Ride.

She came from a family of strong and barrier-breaking women — a mother who devoted her life to working with women in prison and a sister who was a pioneering minister.

She was a physicist and astrophysicist when she answered a classified ad to become an astronaut — and also an English major, a Shakespeare scholar and a tennis champion.

She survived with good grace a global barrage as the first American woman in space, including endless jokes about everything from menstruation to bathroom privacy.

She reminded reporters that women had qualified to be astronauts in the very first class, but had been ruled out only because they were women.

She was always mindful of being a role model for little girls with big dreams. She was more likely to spend time with Girl Scouts than with celebrity interviews, and she wrote a half dozen science books for children.

She was kind towards people around her. She greeted challenges not with fear or competitiveness but with joy at doing the thing itself.

I am very lucky that our paths crossed. If we let her keep on inspiring us, then Sally Ride is with us still.

Sally Ride was the first American woman and the youngest astronaut to fly in space. She encouraged girls to dream. Gloria Steinem said, “Millions of little girls are going to sit by their television sets and see they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists.” We should not forget that in a male dominated astronaut community, Sally Ride often felt uncomfortable when she was asked to tell the details of her menstrual cycle and how that might affect her time in space, whether she would wear a bra or makeup and whether she would cry on the job.

Those days are not yet gone. Those days will be gone if equal number of men and women become scientists, physicists, astronauts, heroes, explorers, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, technical experts, pilots,doctors, as well as writers, artists, historians, academics, administrators, politicians, decision makers etc. If it happens, we will know that there is no space in society for sexism, and no space is completely male dominated.

6-year-old girls want to look ‘sexy’!

One of my relatives living in the USA had a 8-year-old girl. I was shocked when I found out she desperately wanted to look sexy, and more desperately wanted to have a boyfriend. She reached puberty at early age. Her paediatrician said that girls hitting puberty earlier than ever because of hormones in food. I noticed she watched TV non stop and she never listened to her parents.
A new study says, most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex-objects.

Another study says, 30% of Girls’ Clothing Is Sexualized in Major Sales Trend.

6-year-old girls chose the sexualized doll as their ideal self. After seeing it, the researchers said, ‘It’s very possible that girls wanted to look like the sexy doll because they believe sexiness leads to popularity, which comes with many social advantages.’ Because of this, girls as young as 6 are already feeling the pressure to be sexy. It is definitely very alarming if little girls feel the pressure to be sexy.

The researchers say:

Media consumption alone didn’t influence girls to prefer the sexy doll. But girls who watched a lot of TV and movies and who had mothers who reported self-objectifying tendencies, such as worrying about their clothes and appearance many times a day, in the study were more likely to say the sexy doll was popular.

Mothers’ religious beliefs also emerged as an important factor in how girls see themselves. Girls who consumed a lot of media but who had religious mothers were protected against self-sexualizing, perhaps because these moms “may be more likely to model higher body-esteem and communicate values such as modesty.

Another interesting finding:

Girls who didn’t consume a lot of media but who had religious mothers were much more likely to say they wanted to look like the sexy doll.This pattern of results may reflect a case of ‘forbidden fruit’ or reactance, whereby young girls who are overprotected from the perceived ills of media by highly religious parents … begin to idealize the forbidden due to their underexposure. It means, low media consumption is not a silver bullet against early self-sexualization in girls.

I believe ‘the proliferation of sexualized images of girls in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development’. I also believe that ‘parents can play a role to protect girls from the sexualizing culture. They can help their daughters navigate a sexualizing world by instructing their daughters about their values and by not demonstrating objectified and sexualized behaviors themselves.’

I do not think religious mothers can ultimately save their daughters from self-sexualization. Non-religious mothers who want women to live with dignity and rights can do it. The difference between religious and non-religious mothers is, religious mothers believe in patriarchal religion, so obviously they do not believe in women’s equality or women’s freedom. Women who believe in religion believe that women are somehow inferior to men.
Treating yourself as an inferior being is not less dangerous than treating yourself as a sex-object. The two are related.

Parents have no right to snatch the childhood away from their daughters. Children deserve a childhood. But I think it will not always be possible for parents alone to save their girl children from self-sexualization if the sexual objectification of women in the media continues.

Our men throw acid in our faces, destroy our lives but we never stop loving men. (Warning: Violent images)

Men throw acid on us with the intention of injuring or disfiguring us. Men throw acid on our bodies, burn our faces, smash our noses, melt our eyes, and walk away as happy men.
Acid attack is common in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, and a few other countries. Men throw acid on us because men are angry with us for ending relationships and for refusing sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, proposals of marriage, demands for dowry. They throw acid on us for attending schools, for not wearing Islamic veils, for not behaving well, for speaking too much, for laughing loudly.

India

She was 18, a college student. Three of her neighbors sexually harassed her for more than two years and then threw acid on her. Her skin on the skull, face, neck, chest and back were melted away. After nine years of that attack Sonali Mukherjee is now blind in both eyes and partially deaf. Her father spent millions of rupees for her treatment. They have now no money. The attackers got bail from the High Court, continued threatening to kill her. She is now asking the government to help her or allow her to end her life.


Cambodia

The face of Sokreun Mean, who was blinded and disfigured by an acid attack.

Carsten Stormer, a German journalist & photographer said,

“Acid attacks deprive people of more than their looks and sight. Families are torn apart. Husbands leave their wives. Children are separated from their parents. Jobs vanish overnight, turning professionals into beggars. Many victims cannot get through a day without constant assistance, becoming burdens on their families. All bear the mark of the pariah.
“What remains is a traumatized society in which domestic disputes, unhappy love affairs, and professional rivalries are nearly always resolved through violence. Hardly a family without its members lost to the ideological battles of the Khmer Rouge – a curse that is passed on from parents to children. Battery acid is known to be most uncomplicated way of causing lifelong suffering. A dollar will buy you a quart of acid on any street corner. The perpetrators are seldom punished. Their targets become outcasts.”


Pakistan

Fakhra Younus was attacked by her husband Bilal Khar, ex-MPA of the Punjab Assembly and the son of Pakistani Politician Ghulam Mustafa Khar. He threw acid in her face after they split up. Tehmina Durrani, the author of ‘My Feudal Lord’, the former step mother of Bilal Khar tried to help Fakhra. She was sent to Italy for treatment. After having 39 re-constructive surgeries, Fakhra committed suicide.

The stories of the girls, from left to right:
Ten years ago Shahnaz Bibi was burned with acid by a relative due to a familial dispute. She has never undergone plastic surgery. Najaf Sultana is now 16. At the age of five Najaf was burned by her father while she was sleeping. Her father didn’t want to have another girl in the family. Najaf became blind. Shameem Akhter (20) was kidnapped and raped by a gang of men who then threw acid on her 3 years ago. Kanwal Kayum, now 26, was burned with acid one year ago by a man whom she rejected for marriage. Bashiran Bibi was burned at her husband’s house just after her marriage. Nasreen Sharif was a beautiful girl. When she was 14, her cousin poured a bottle of sulphuric acid in her face. He did it because he couldn’t stand boys whistling at her when she crossed the street. Her skin melted away, her hair burned away. She is now blind, she has no ears and she has no sense of smell.


Among others, there is Shaziya Abdulsattar, an eight-year-old girl. Shaziya’s father threw acid on her and her mother Azim last year after the mother refused to sell their two boys to a man in Dubai to use as camel racers.

Bangladesh
It is very easy for a man to get sulphuric acid if he wants to attack a woman he does not like. The country has become a hot spot for acid attacks. A disfigured woman is not able to get married or get a job. She becomes a financial and social burden on her family.

Neela was forced to marry when she was 12 years old. Her husband threw acid on her face when she was 14. He was angry with Neela because her family was unable to give him the dowry money he asked for.

Nepal


Akriti Rai, 22, was attacked by her husband, a Nepali soldier.

Iran

Ameneh Bahrami rejected the offer of having a relationship with Majid Movahedi, a fellow student at the University of Tehran. He then threw a bottle of acid in her face.

Zambia


A man threw acid on a 13-year-old girl’s face to take a revenge. The older sister of the girl said: “You have to grow crocodile skin to clean the wounds of an acid survivor. The worst ordeal was while in the hospital, as the skin kept peeling off. I didn’t realize that the tongue skin was also peeling off. The young girl was pushing something in her mouth. I opened her mouth to see and found that almost the whole tongue had come off. I had to pull it out like you do with a cow and only a little red thing (tongue) remained.’

Nitric acid, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid are today’s weapons of choice for criminals who hate women. These acids are easy to buy, easy to hide, easy to carry, and easy to throw. A person who witnessed many acid attacks , said, ‘in a less than a minute the bone under the skin can start to be exposed. If there is enough acid, the bone itself can become a soft mass of non-distinguishable jelly. Internal organs can dissolve. Fingers, noses and ears can melt away like chocolate on a hot day.’

Ethiopia


Twenty-one-year-old woman Kamilat Mehdi’s life was changed forever when a stalker threw sulphuric acid in her face. Ismail, Kamilat’s brother said: “The man who attacked her stalked her for a few years. He gave her a hard time but she didn’t tell the family for fear that something would happen to them. He was always saying he would use a gun on them.” Ultimately the stalker’s weapon of choice was not a gun, but a bottle of acid. He used it on Kamilat and destroyed her entire life in one second.

UK

Her lover did it. Richard Remes threw sulphuric acid on Patricia Lefranc. Her nose and eyelids were melted away, she lost sight in one eye and hearing in one ear, she also lost a finger. She came close to death, as the corrosive substance nearly burned through her heart and lungs.The horrific attack physically and emotionally scarred her for life. What was her crime? She ended her relationship with Richard Remes, a married man.


We are more abused, harassed, exploited, kidnapped, raped, trafficked, murdered by our lovers, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, or men we know well than by strangers. Whatever happens to us, we never stop loving men.

Eve, Oh Eve



I wrote Happy Marriage and Eve,Oh Eve in the late 80’s, Noorjahan in the beginning of 90’s and You go girl in 2005. Original poems were written in Bengali. These are just poor translation.

HAPPY MARRIAGE

My life,
like a sandbar, has been taken over by a monster of a man.
He wants my body under his control
so that if he wishes he can spit in my face,
slap me on the cheek
and pinch my rear.
So that if he wishes he can rob me of my clothes
and take the naked beauty in his grip.
So that if he wishes he can pull out my eyes,
so that if he wishes he can chain my feet,
if he wishes, he can, with no qualms whatsoever,
use a whip on me,
if he wishes he can chop of my hands, my fingers.
If he wishes he can sprinkle salt in the open wound,
he can throw ground-up black pepper in my eyes.
So that if he wishes he can slash my thigh with a dagger,
so that if he wishes he can string me up and hang me.

He wanted my heart under his control
so that I would love him:
in my lonely house at night,
sleepless, full of anxiety,
clutching at the window grille,
I would wait for him and sob,
My tears rolling down, I would bake homemade bread;
so that I would drink, as if they were ambrosia,
the filthy liquids of his polygynous body.
So that, loving him, I would melt like wax,
not turning my eyes toward any other man,
I would give proof of my chastity all my life.
So that, loving him
on some moonlit night I would commit suicide
in a fit of ecstasy

*

NOORJAHAN

They have made Noorjahan stand in a hole in the courtyard,
there she stands, submerged to her waist with head hanging.
They’re throwing stones at Noorjahan,
those stones are striking my body.
Stones are striking my head, forehead, chest and back,
they’re throwing stones and laughing aloud, laughing and shouting abuse.
Noorjahan’s fractured forehead pours out blood, mine also.
Noorjahan’s eyes have burst, mine also.
Noorjahan’s nose has been smashed, mine also.
Through Noorjahan’s torn breast, her heart has been pierced, mine also.
Are these stones not striking you?

They’re laughing aloud, laughing and stroking their beards,
there are caps stuck to their heads, they too are shaking with laughter.
They’re laughing and swinging their walking-sticks;
from the quiver of their cruel eyes, arrows speed to pierce her body, my body also.
Are these arrows not piercing your body?

*

EVE, OH EVE

Why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Didn’t she have a hand to reach out with,
Fingers with which to make a fist?
Didn’t Eve have a stomach for feeling hunger,
A tongue for feeling thirst,
A heart with which to love?

Well, then, why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Why would she merely have suppressed her wishes,
Regulated her steps,
Subdued her thirst?
Why would she have been so compelled
To keep Adam moving around in the Garden of Eden all their lives?

Because Eve did eat of the fruit,
There is sky and earth.
Because she has eaten,

There are moon, sun, rivers, seas,

Because she has eaten, trees, plants and vines.

because Eve has eaten of the fruit

there is joy, because she has eaten there is joy.

Eating of the fruit, Eve made a heaven of the earth.

Eve, if you get hold of the fruit

don’t ever refrain from eating.

*

YOU GO GIRL!

They said—take it easy…
Said—calm down…
Said—stop talkin’…
Said—shut up….
They said—sit down….
Said—bow your head…
Said—keep on cryin’, let the tears roll…

What should you do in response?

You should stand up now
Should stand right up
Hold your back straight
Hold your head high…
You should speak
Speak your mind
Speak it loudly
Scream!

You should scream so loud that they must run for cover.
They will say—’You are shameless!’
When you hear that, just laugh…

They will say— ‘You have a loose character!’
When you hear that, just laugh louder…

They will say—’You are rotten!’
So just laugh, laugh even louder…

Hearing you laugh, they will shout,
‘You are a whore!’

When they say that,
just put your hands on your hips,
stand firm and say,
“Yes, yes, I am a whore!”

They will be shocked.
They will stare in disbelief.
They will wait for you to say more, much more…

The men amongst them will turn red and sweat.
The women amongst them will dream to be a whore like you.

Extraordinary talks from extraordinary women

Robin Morgan

‘..all over America we watched Miss America pageant. That’s the model that’s what I gotta be like. They were supposed to feel comfortable in high heels and bathing suits parading around while men whistled, if not they must be crazy, they must be frigid or um they must be ssssshh hu ha lesbians.’


Katie Couric

‘Women are walking a very difficult tightrope and trying to manage a very difficult balance..’



Ellen DeGeneres

‘..It was a odd thing for a woman to be a comedian..’



Eve Ensler

”I think if you tell the story of your vagina, you tell the story of your life in some fundamental way..”




Martha Stewart

‘I think feminism or the feminist movement has been absolutely important to the promotion of women as equal in the society..’



Alice Walker

‘Misogyny is everywhere..’



Hillary Rodham Clinton

‘..21st century is about ending the pervasive discrimination and degradation of women and fulfilling their full rights..’