Monday, September 12, 2011

Say it out loud: it's a crime, it's violence

There's an interesting essay being passed around right now. It's interesting for two reasons. It points out that crimes are regularly committed against women and girls with far greater frequency than numbers reported by law enforcement, and that the crimes and their victims are minimized, swept under the carpet by the label used for these crimes.

But using the label repeatedly reinforces its legitimacy -- that's where the essay goes astray. While the author is a victim herself and is clearly still coming to terms with the crime committed against her, she is locked in the loop forced on her by a culture committing a second crime against her. (Sadly, she even blames herself for crimes against others, even though she may have been but a minor at the time.)

The crime is the denial by our culture that at least one violent act took place against her and others like her deserving our action.

We need to teach our children -- yes, boys, too, as both potential victims and parents/loved ones of victims -- the legal terms for violent criminal acts, and teach them to  use them to effect appropriate action.

If someone touches you against your will, without permission and with intent to threaten or harm, it's battery.

if someone threatens to touch you against your will, without your permission and with intent to harm, it's assault.

If someone forces a sexual act on you against  your will, without permission, it's rape (if intercourse) or sexual assault and quite possibly battery as well.

If someone has a sexual act with a minor, even with the minor's permission, it's rape.

If someone enters your home without permission, especially with force, it's trespassing.

Call it what it is, use the words. Don't give the assailant's and/or rapist's denial any more legitimacy by calling it "not [anything]."

It's particularly important that a community of women who are so very fond of words understand that not only their dreams and aspirations deserve to be enshrined properly in words written and spoken. 

Their nightmares deserve to be called out for what they are, recognized on sight as the monsters they are -- violent acts. 

Tell the truth as it is: these are crimes.

And say it out loud.

[See the work of George Lakoff on framing for a more complete understanding of the nature in which words are used to manipulate behavior.]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brewing: the sisters are doing it for themselves

I'm still meditating and cogitating over a thesis regarding a quiet revolution in women's emergence. I still can't quite wrap myself around what I want to say and quite possibly have now gathered too much research to make a coherent point.

That said, my thesis' summary could boil down to this:

The sisters are doing it for themselves.

Women are no longer waiting for some prince, either as an individual or as a collective or as some other entity, to address their needs. They are taking matters into their own hands.

No enough romance in your life? Sister, write your own and share it with others.

No enough hot sex in your life? Sister, write about your deepest desires no matter how kinky and share it because you know you are not alone in wanting this. Sex with the men or women who aren't ordinarily in your reach, sex with strangers, sex with multiple partners -- have it all, and safely here in the world of fiction.

Finally, is the man in your life an uncooperative ass? Sister, write about a figurative paper doll of a man you can bend and twist into all the things you want -- and while you're at it, bend him over the couch so another gorgeous well-hung paper doll of a man gives it to him up the backside. Take that, asshole, figuratively speaking.

We are taking care of ourselves and building what we want and need for each other, here in the online world of self-published fiction.

Watch out when we take the next step and fully realize what it is we want.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Brewing: thoughts on paradigmatic shifts in women's emergence

My mental wattage has been preoccupied by some consulting work this week. What little wattage I have left has been kicking around some nebulous thesis about a quiet revolution in women's emergence. I think we are face with a sea change not unlike that between the 1950s and 1960s when birth control and women's rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 dramatically changed women's roles in our western society.

But I can't quite get a handle on what it is I want to say, no doubt for the lack of adequate wattage. I'll just throw these bits out and let them brew for now; perhaps a bit of steeping out in the open will help coalesce my under-powered thinking.

Francis Fukuyama touched on the failure of the impetus behind the 1960s women's movement to fully realize all that women needed to be true equals to male counterparts during the pendulum-like swing of society's expectations liberalizing women's rights. See his work The Great Disruption. While I'm unhappy with the direction that Fukuyama's politics took in the late 1990s/early 2000s, I think  he still makes highly valid points about the swing of movements and opposing reactions.

Article, Look God, No Hands in the most recent issue of Utne Reader hints at an opposing reaction to changes in women's sexuality. One would think that women's masturbatory self-care would be approved by Christian fundamentalists as an alternative to sex out of wedlock, but no -- apparently all sex is supposed to be procreative.

I'm trying to hunt down a news article from an Indian news paper that I'd tripped over last week. The article discusses researchers findings with regard to women's appreciation of same-sex smut. It's the first time I've seen mention of a study of this nature, suggesting there is a trend at work here -- a swing of the pendulum, if you will.

If you see something I might find interesting and relevant to this nebulous thesis, feel free to drop me a comment.