Man in Box

Man in Box

Monday, March 31, 2008

Notes on Feminist Leadership

by Charles Knight, 31 March 2008

These are some aspects and common themes of feminist leadership that I recognize from a few years of practice. I have compiled these here from a quick survey of literature:

1. Awareness of self as part of a larger whole -- both in the present moment and through generations and cultural legacy. Attention to history (ancestry). Greater attention to interconnectedness and collectivity than to autonomy and independence. Understanding that leadership is rooted in communities and histories and therefore one person or group cannot define it for another (Women’s Theological Center - Spiritual Leadership). Self/community knowledge and discovery is a necessary part of the process.

2. Shared leadership. Attention to bringing the collectivity/community along. Affirmation of emergent leadership qualities inherent in all (“training more about affirming skills than imparting skills” – Susan Eaton). Mentoring. Collective support for challenging each person toward the best practice of leadership.

3. Relational. Building strong trusting relationships. Relational/Cultural models. Importance of story telling in affirmation of the person and the community.

4. Inspirational/Spiritual (with depth). Oriented to the protection and nourishment of the human spirit in everyone wherein the capacity for leadership resides – thus increasing the capacity to transform the individual, their relationships, organizations, and communities.

5. Clarity of purpose with an orientation toward the transformational (of the individual and the whole).

6. Explicit awareness and attention to power dynamics and their varied meanings in context of different cultures and identities. Critical attention to the role of fear and the need for control in the power relations of dominance. Sympathetic recognition of fear in the individual and the community. Much of leadership is about bringing people through their fears toward collective goals.

7. Attention to learning to practice of ritual, celebration, and the personal and community expressions of joy and sadness. Joyful expression is highly valued.

8. Creating safe environments for expression, self-care, participation, and growth of leadership skills. Welcoming and affirming the presence of the whole/complete person in the community.


Sources

Disabled Women’s Network Ontario (DAWN Ontario), Feminist Principles - Leadership, http://dawn.thot.net/feminism11.html (31 March 2008)

Women’s Theological Center (Boston), What is Spiritual Leadership?, 2004 http://www.thewtc.org/What_Is_SL.html (31 March 2008)

Judith V. Jordan and Linda M. Hartling, The Development of Relational-Cultural Theory, http://otherbeyondrealmen.blogspot.com/2006/10/jean-baker-miller-celebrating-her-life.html (31 March 2008)

Seminar in Honor of Susan Eaton, MIT Faculty Club, 14 May 2004.

Jean Lau Chin, References, 2003
http://www.feministleadership.com/discuss/read.php?22,270 (31 March 2008)
http://www.feministleadership.com/



Charles Knight edits the blog called OBRM – other & beyond real men http://otherbeyondrealmen.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Son2Mother





Son2Mother
By Kevin Powell

Mother, have I told you
That you are the first woman
I ever fell in love with, that what
I’ve always wanted in life is to hear
You say you love me, too?

That is why, ma, it has taken
Me so long to write this poem.
For how could I, a
Grown man, put words to paper
If I am that little boy
Cowering beneath the power of
That slap, the swing of that belt,
Or the slash and burn of that switch
You used to beat me into fear and submission?

I constantly cringe, ma,
When I think of that oft-repeated chorus you sung
As a fusillade of blows walloped my skeleton body:
Are you gonna be good? Are you gonna be good?
Sometimes when I call you these days, mother,
I just don’t know what to say, thus I fall silent,
Even when you ask “How are you doing?”
I want to give you real talk,
Tell you that I am still that stunted only child
Traumatized by the violence of your voice;
That I am still that shorty too terrified to fall
Asleep for fear of your pouncing on me
The moment I shut my eyes—
And you did, mother, again and again,
Until I could no longer sleep peacefully
As a child, and I have never actually had
Many tranquil nights of sleep since.
I lay awake sometimes, as an adult,
Thinking someone is going to get me,
Going to strike me, going to kill me
Because of those heart-racing hours
Of darkness far far ago.

And I remember that time I ran under
Our bed, and in your titanic rage
You tore the entire bed apart,
The frame falling on one of my legs,
And there I was, stuck, mother,
And you ripped into me anyhow.
And oh how I howled for mercy.
But there was none, mother.
Yet there was that chorus:
Are you gonna be good? Are you gonna be good?
And I really did not know, mother, what being good meant.
Nor what you wanted me to be.
Because one day I thought you loved me
And the next day I thought you hated me.

And I did not know back in the day, ma,
That you had been assaulted and abused
The same way, by my granddaddy,
Your father, a 19th century son of ex-slaves
who would break you and your
Three sisters and brother down with mule whips,
With soda bottles, with his gnarled hands—
That he was an embittered mister,
That you were the child who became
Most like your father. Do you not
Recall that past, mother?
I am saying you once chided me,
After you learned I had struck someone as an adult,
To keep my hands to myself, and I wanted to say
But, ma, why didn’t you keep your hands to yourself?
Why didn’t you command your hands, your arms,
To hug me, instead of urging them to damage me?

And that is what I previously was, ma: damaged
Goods that liked living on the other side of midnight.
That is why, mother, there was no sleep for me till Brooklyn,
Because I needed to escape the concrete box
Needed to escape the mental terrorism
Needed to escape you and that
Paranoid schizophrenic existence.
I am not crazy, ma. I know
Our destinies were frozen in those days
When we shared
That bed and room together,
Because we were too poor
To afford a full apartment.
To those days, mother, when I
Thought you were the bravest
Human being on earth as you
Fought super-sized black rats with
Your broomstick, or effortlessly
Shooed the army of roaches away
From our dinner table—

Maybe, ma, I have not been
Able to write this poem
Because I can envision you as a
Young mother, the one who suitcased
Her dreams when you left South
Carolina, when you moved, first, to Miami
To create a new life for yourself, to flee
The world that murdered your
Grandfather, a local cook, by stuffing food in his mouth,
Then baptizing him in cracker water and proclaiming
It was an accident. It was the world that knocked
On your grandmother’s door and told
Her she had to give up 397 of those 400 acres
Of land called the Powell Property—
One penny for each acre of land—
And what your grandmother was left with
Was a jar of soil called Shoe Hill,
The contaminated hill where you were born, ma:
That world never bothered to change the
Name from the Powell Property. And there you
Were, at age eight, sunrising with the moldy men
And the wash-and-wear women
As God’s yawn and morning stretch
Tickled the rooster’s neck,
Waking you good colored folks to toil on that Powell Property—
To pick cotton for White folks as if being
Cheap and exploited labor was your American birthright.

And you were angry bye and bye, mother.
You would get so angry, Aunt Birdie told me
One time, that sweat droplets would form on your nose,
Your brow would curl up, and the world and
Anyone in it would become your
Empty lard can to kick back and forth up the road a piece.
Ah, ma, but you were such a pretty little Black
Girl—I have the picture right here this minute,
Of you at 12 or 13, tender and dark ebony skin
A beautiful yet temperamental and unloved Black girl
Told that you were ugly, that you had ugly hair,
That you would never be anything other than
The help and wooden steps for someone else’s climb—

But you were persistent, ma, and mad determined
To make something of yourself.
And Jersey City
Welcomed you as it welcomed each of
The lost-found children of the Old South
Welcomed y’all country cousins to
Number runners slumlords
Pimps drug dealers bad credit
Huge debts and would-be
Prophets who called themselves storefront preachers
And there you were, mother, within a year,
With my father—

Was he your first love, ma, did he mop
The Carolina clay from your feet?
Did he sprinkle sweet tea and lemon on your belly?
Did he ever really make love to you, mother?
Or was he more like that plantation robot
Who was built to mate then make a quick
Dash to the next slave quarters?
What I do know, mother, is that you went to the hospital
Alone, to spread your legs for
A doctor whose plasma face you do not remember
To push forth a seed you had attempted
To destroy twice because you feared his
Birth would mean the death of you.
But there I was, ma, in your arms
Screaming lunging fleeing
And you were so tremendously ashamed
To be an unwed mother that you did
Not tell Grandma Lottie for five years,
Until that day we showed up
In your hometown of Ridgeland, South Carolina.

But what a mother you were:
You taught me to talk
Taught me to know my name
Taught me to count to read to think
To aspire to be something.
You, my grade-school educated mother,
Gave me my swagger—
Told me I was going to be a lawyer or a doctor,
Told me I was going to do big things,
That I was going to have a better life
Than this welfare this food stamp this government cheese
Had pre-ordained for us.
And we prayed, mother, yes lawd we prayed—
To that God in the sky, to the White Jesus on our wall,
To the minister with the good hair and the tailored suits,
To the minister with the gift
To chalk on busted souls and spit game in foreign tongues—
And back then, ma, I did not understand the talking in tongues
The need to pin pieces of prayer cloth on our attire
The going to church twice a week
The desperation to phone prayer hotlines when there was trouble.
But what you were doing, ma,
Was stapling our paper lives together as best you could
Making a way out of no way
Especially after my father announced,
When I was eight,
That he would not give “a near nickel” to us again.
And he never did, mother, never—

And I sometimes wonder if that is when
The attacks got worse because you were
So viciously wounded
By my father’s ignorance and brutality
That that ignorance and brutality
Was transferred to me
As you would say, in one breath,
Don’t be like your father
And in another
You just like your no-good daddy

And, yes, I am crying this second, mother,
As I write this poem
Because I see you today:
A retired Black woman with a limp, a bad leg,
Shuffling up and down three flights of stairs.
Too headstrong to allow me to move
You from that heat-less apartment,
Life reduced to trips to the grocery store
A bus ride to the mall
A sacred pilgrimage to the laundry room
And the daily ritual of judge shows, Oprah, and the local news.

And, mother, you remain without the love you forever
Crave, and you forever speak of getting married one day.
And you are so very worn out from
Fifty-four years of back breaking work—
But this I know now:
Your life was sacrificed so that I could have one, ma.

So I write this poem, son to mother, to say I love you
Even if you refuse to accept my words
Because you are too afraid to defeat the devil
And bury the past with our ancestors once and for all.
I write this poem
To say I forgive you for everything, mother—
For the poverty for the violence for the hunger
For the loneliness for the fear
For the days when I blamed you for my absent father
For the days when I wanted to run away
For those days when I really did run away—
I forgive you, ma, for those days you cursed
And belittled me, for those days when you said
I was never gonna make it.
Oh, yes, ma, I do forgive, I forgive you for
The beatings, I do, dear mother, I do—
Because if it were not for all of who you are
All of where you come from
All of what you created for me
I would not be alive today.

For below the bloody scar tissues of your fire and fury
And aggravations and self-imposed house arrest
Is a woman who defied the mythmakers
Turned her nose up at the doomsayers—
Is someone who fought landlords
And crooked police officers and
Social workers and school systems and
Deadbeat men who wanted to live off of
Her; and from the tar and feathered remains
Of lives noosed from the very beginning,
We have survived, and here we are, mother:
You have never said you love me
But I know every time I come home
And you’ve made potato salad and stringbeans,
Every year you’ve mailed me a birthday card
Or asked if you should buy me pajamas for Christmas,
I know that you are,
In your own wildly unpredictable way,
The greatest love I’ve ever had in my life—

Kevin Powell is a writer, activist, author of 8 books, and a 2008 Democratic candidate for the United States Congress in Brooklyn, New York. “Son2Mother” is excerpted from his new poetry collection, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, which can be ordered at http://www.softskull.com. Kevin can be emailed at kevin@kevinpowellforcongress.org

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

OBRM Select

interesting post and discussion from Dangerous Intersection: "I am not a woman. Are you?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Slow Sex: Moving Toward Informed Pleasure

by Ann J. Simonton

This is an interesting essay. Check it out: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/02/09/6943/

Here is a couple of excerpts:

Our culture promotes the idea that young “beautiful” females who spread in Playboy or strip their way through college represent empowered, enviable role models. Men and boys experience a separate difficulty. In Men and Sex, author Ron Levant defines nonrelational sex as being rooted within a normal North American male upbringing. This rearing discourages any emotional display, equates emotional intimacy with a loss of autonomy and sexual desire is experienced primarily as lust with no requirements for intimacy or emotional attachment. It is, Levant states, “a narcissistic way of experiencing sexuality, exemplified by a sometimes startling lack of empathy.” Slow Sex could offer a model of a more intimate and engaged sexuality that confronts the fundamental ways in which culture defines masculinity and femininity.

Slow Sex celebrates the idea that no one should be forced to choose between just two available gender boxes. The intersexual snail icon with its ambiguous genitalia could lead the way. Progressives wanting to challenge the constraints of a restrictive gender binary system could use Slow Sex to promote gender less not gender more. Who decided everyone must check their genitals before choosing a partner, playing a sport, running for office or expressing an emotion? After all, humans exist within a broad range of chromosomal possibilities. The Slow Sex movement would honor this diverse range and help dispel the myth of binary madness.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Goodbye To All That (#2)

by Robin Morgan

February 2, 2008

"Goodbye To All That" was my (in)famous 1970 essay breaking free from a politics of accommodation especially affecting women (for an online version, see http://blog.fair-use.org/category/chicago/).

During my decades in civil-rights, anti-war, and contemporary women’s movements, I’ve avoided writing another specific “Goodbye . . ..” But not since the suffrage struggle have two communities—joint conscience-keepers of this country—been so set in competition, as the contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) and Barack Obama (BO) unfurls. So.

Goodbye to the double standard . . .

—Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who’s emotional, and so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.

—She’s “ambitious” but he shows “fire in the belly.” (Ever had labor pains?)—When a sexist idiot screamed “Iron my shirt!” at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted “Shine my shoes!” at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.

Young political Kennedys—Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.—all endorsed Hillary. Senator Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort “See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him.” (Personally, I’m unimpressed with Caroline’s longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe’s suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)

Goodbye to the toxic viciousness . . .

Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary’s “thick ankles.” Nixon-trickster Roger Stone’s new Hillary-hating 527 group, “Citizens United Not Timid” (check the capital letters). John McCain answering “How do we beat the bitch?" with “Excellent question!” Would he have dared reply similarly to “How do we beat the black bastard?” For shame.

Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged—and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.

Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan “If Only Hillary had married O.J. Instead!” Shame.

Goodbye to Comedy Central’s “Southpark” featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC’s vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame.

Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not “Clinton hating,” not “Hillary hating.” This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage—as citizens, voters, Americans?

Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . ....

The women’s movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments (www.womensmediacenter.com). But what about NBC’s Tim Russert’s continual sexist asides and his all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN’s Tony Harris chuckling at “the chromosome thing” while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that’s not even mentioning Fox News.

Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are white . . .

Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities, abilities, sexual preferences, and ages—not only African American and European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Arab American and—hey, every group, because a group wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may exist—but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free from other discriminations, she remains a female human being in a world still so patriarchal that it’s the “norm.”

So why should all women not be as justly proud of our womanhood and the centuries, even millennia, of struggle that got us this far, as black Americans, women and men, are justly proud of their struggles?

Goodbye to a campaign where he has to pass as white (which whites—especially wealthy ones—adore), while she has to pass as male (which both men and women demanded of her, and then found unforgivable). If she were black or he were female we wouldn’t be having such problems, and I for one would be in heaven. But at present such a candidate wouldn’t stand a chance—even if she shared Condi Rice’s Bush-defending politics.

I was celebrating the pivotal power at last focused on African American women deciding on which of two candidates to bestow their vote—until a number of Hillary-supporting black feminists told me they’re being called “race traitors.”

So goodbye to conversations about this nation’s deepest scar—slavery—which fail to acknowledge that labor- and sexual-slavery exist today in the U.S. and elsewhere on this planet, and the majority of those enslaved are women.

Women have endured sex/race/ethnic/religious hatred, rape and battery, invasion of spirit and flesh, forced pregnancy; being the majority of the poor, the illiterate, the disabled, of refugees, caregivers, the HIV/AIDS afflicted, the powerless. We have survived invisibility, ridicule, religious fundamentalisms, polygamy, teargas, forced feedings, jails, asylums, sati, purdah, female genital mutilation, witch burnings, stonings, and attempted gynocides. We have tried reason, persuasion, reassurances, and being extra-qualified, only to learn it never was about qualifications after all. We know that at this historical moment women experience the world differently from men—though not all the same as one another—and can govern differently, from Elizabeth Tudor to Michele Bachelet and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

We remember when Shirley Chisholm and Patricia Schroeder ran for this high office and barely got past the gate—they showed too much passion, raised too little cash, were joke fodder. Goodbye to all that. (And goodbye to some feminists so famished for a female president they were even willing to abandon women’s rights in backing Elizabeth Dole.)

Goodbye, goodbye to . . .

—blaming anything Bill Clinton does on Hillary (even including his womanizing like the Kennedy guys—though unlike them, he got reported on). Let’s get real. If he hadn’t campaigned strongly for her everyone would cluck over what that meant. Enough of Bill and Teddy Kennedy locking their alpha male horns while Hillary pays for it.

—an era when parts of the populace feel so disaffected by politics that a comparative lack of knowledge, experience, and skill is actually seen as attractive, when celebrity-culture mania now infects our elections so that it’s “cooler” to glow with marquee charisma than to understand the vast global complexities of power on a nuclear, wounded planet.

—the notion that it’s fun to elect a handsome, cocky president who feels he can learn on the job, goodbye to George W. Bush and the destruction brought by his inexperience, ignorance, and arrogance. Goodbye to the accusation that HRC acts “entitled” when she’s worked intensely at everything she’s done—including being a nose-to-the-grindstone, first-rate senator from my state.

Goodbye to her being exploited as a Rorschach test by women who reduce her to a blank screen on which they project their own fears, failures, fantasies.

Goodbye to the phrase “polarizing figure” to describe someone who embodies the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make in this one. It was the women’s movement that quipped, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” She heard us, and she has.

Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn’t as “likeable” as they’ve been warned they must be, or because she didn’t leave him, couldn’t “control” him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!) Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn’t bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She’s running to be president of the United States.

Goodbye to the shocking American ignorance of our own and other countries’ history. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir rose through party ranks and war, positioning themselves as proto-male leaders. Almost all other female heads of government so far have been related to men of power—granddaughters, daughters, sisters, wives, widows: Gandhi, Bandaranike, Bhutto, Aquino, Chamorro, Wazed, Macapagal-Arroyo, Johnson Sirleaf, Bachelet, Kirchner, and more. Even in our “land of opportunity,” it’s mostly the first pathway “in” permitted to women: Representatives Doris Matsui and Mary Bono and Sala Burton; Senator Jean Carnahan . . . far too many to list here.

Goodbye to a misrepresented generational divide . . ...

Goodbye to the so-called spontaneous “Obama Girl” flaunting her bikini-clad ass online—then confessing Oh yeah it wasn’t her idea after all, some guys got her to do it and dictated the clothes, which she said “made me feel like a dork.”

Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they’re not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo), who can’t identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking “what if she’s not electable?” or “maybe it’s post-feminism and whoooosh we’re already free.” Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, “I could have saved thousands—if only I’d been able to convince them they were slaves.”

I’d rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary, and all the brave, smart men—of all ethnicities and any age—who get that it’s in their self-interest, too. She’s better qualified. (D’uh.) She’s a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let’s hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)

I’d rather look forward to what a good president he might make in eight years, when his vision and spirit are seasoned by practical know-how—and he’ll be all of 54. Meanwhile, goodbye to turning him into a shining knight when actually he’s an astute, smooth pol with speechwriters who’ve worked with the Kennedys’ own speechwriter-courtier Ted Sorenson. If it’s only about ringing rhetoric, let speechwriters run. But isn’t it about getting the policies we want enacted?

And goodbye to the ageism . . .

How dare anyone unilaterally decide when to turn the page on history, papering over real inequities and suffering constituencies in the promise of a feel-good campaign? How dare anyone claim to unify while dividing, or think that to rouse U.S. youth from torpor it’s useful to triage the single largest demographic in this country’s history: the boomer generation—the majority of which is female?

Old woman are the one group that doesn’t grow more conservative with age—and we are the generation of radicals who said “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Goodbye to going gently into any goodnight any man prescribes for us. We are the women who changed the reality of the United States. And though we never went away, brace yourselves: we’re back!

We are the women who brought this country equal credit, better pay, affirmative action, the concept of a family-focused workplace; the women who established rape-crisis centers and battery shelters, marital-rape and date-rape laws; the women who defended lesbian custody rights, who fought for prison reform, founded the peace and environmental movements; who insisted that medical research include female anatomy; who inspired men to become more nurturing parents; who created women’s studies and Title IX so we all could cheer the WNBA stars and Mia Hamm. We are the women who reclaimed sexuality from violent pornography, who put childcare on the national agenda, who transformed demographics, artistic expression, language itself. We are the women who forged a worldwide movement. We are the proud successors of women who, though it took more than 50 years, won us the vote.

We are the women who now comprise the majority of U.S. voters.

Hillary said she found her own voice in New Hampshire. There’s not a woman alive who, if she’s honest, doesn’t recognize what she means. Then HRC got drowned out by campaign experts, Bill, and media’s obsession with everything Bill.

So listen to her voice:

“For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.

“It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

“Women’s rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak freely—and the right to be heard.”

That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the U.S. State Department and the Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (look here for the full, stunning speech).

And this voice, age 21, in “Commencement Remarks of Hillary D. Rodham, President of Wellesley College Government Association, Class of 1969.”

“We are, all of us, exploring a world none of us understands. . . . searching for a more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating mode of living. . . . [for the] integrity, the courage to be whole, living in relation to one another in the full poetry of existence. The struggle for an integrated life existing in an atmosphere of communal trust and respect is one with desperately important political and social consequences. . . . Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it.”

She ended with the commitment “to practice, with all the skill of our being: the art of making possible.”

And for decades, she’s been learning how.

So goodbye to Hillary’s second-guessing herself. The real question is deeper than her re-finding her voice. Can we women find ours? Can we do this for ourselves?

Our President, Ourselves!

Time is short and the contest tightening. We need to rise in furious energy—as we did when Anita Hill was so vilely treated in the U.S. Senate, as we did when Rosie Jiminez was butchered by an illegal abortion, as we did and do for women globally who are condemned for trying to break through. We need to win, this time. Goodbye to supporting HRC tepidly, with ambivalent caveats and apologetic smiles. Time to volunteer, make phone calls, send emails, donate money, argue, rally, march, shout, vote.

Me? I support Hillary Rodham because she’s the best qualified of all candidates running in both parties. I support her because her progressive politics are as strong as her proven ability to withstand what will be a massive right-wing assault in the general election. I support her because she knows how to get us out of Iraq. I support her because she’s refreshingly thoughtful, and I’m bloodied from eight years of a jolly “uniter” with ejaculatory politics. I needn’t agree with her on every point. I agree with the 97 percent of her positions that are identical with Obama’s—and the few where hers are both more practical and to the left of his (like health care). I support her because she’s already smashed the first-lady stereotype and made history as a fine senator, because I believe she will continue to make history not only as the first US woman president, but as a great US president.

As for the “woman thing”?

Me, I’m voting for Hillary not because she’s a woman—but because I am.

---------------------

OTHER BEYOND NOTE: I voted in the MA primary for Obama, but Ms Morgan sure has it right about the sexism pervading our political culture. No matter who we choose to vote for we all need to strongly object to sexist political behavior.
~ C.D.Knight

Monday, January 28, 2008

OBRM select

author - ecarmonaMen Growing Up to be Boys -- In These Times
author - lenadances
[1/22/2008 10:30 PM]

POSTCOLONIAL MASCULINITIES
author - l1nks