The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Feminism

Do you remember this article from a couple of years back? It was big in the media for a few days. Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.

Having a child contributes some thirty times as much to warming the planet as the next closest action an individual can take: living without a car.

 

Climate change impact of having a child: each one adds 58.6 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. Using a car adds 2.4 tCO2e per year.

 

 

And yet, amidst all the discussion of air travel and bicycling and electric vehicles, there’s a ban on mentioning population control.

Another example I came across recently was in a very encouraging article about greening the Sahel in Africa.

… {Farmers had a] cheap, effective way to regreen the Sahel. They did so by using simple water harvesting techniques and protecting trees that emerged naturally on their farms.

Garrity recalls walking through farms in Niger, fields of grains like millet and sorghum stretching to the sun planted around trees, anywhere from a handful to 80 per acre. “In most cases, the trees are in random locations because they sprouted and the farmer protected them and let them grow,” he says. [Depending on species] [t]he trees can be cut for fuel… They can be pruned for livestock fodder. Their leaves and fruit are nutritious.

One tree, Faidherbia albida, goes dormant during the wet season when most trees grow. When the rains begin, the trees defoliate, dropping leaves that fertilize the soil. Because they have dropped their leaves, the trees do not shade crops during the growing season. Their value had long been recognized by farmers….

[But] “He laments that work is moving too slowly. With the Sahel’s population doubling in 20 years, Reij says regreening needs to be finished within 10 to 15 years.”

He makes it sound as if this doubling is a great force beyond human influence, like a solar storm or a meteor strike. It’s not. It’s merely human reproduction. We’re helpless only because the subject is so untouchable it can’t even be said out loud.

What’s up with that?

I think the answer lies in the two possible trajectories to control births.

One is coercive. China’s one child policy is perhaps the most famous recent example. Since women are the ones giving birth, you have to control women. You punish them if they have too many children. You enforce abortions on mothers. Or, if you’re a Nazi in the 1930s who wants lots of blond babies and no browner ones, you try to enforce a eugenics program on women. You sterilize gypsies or the disabled or Jews while giving “your” women the option to be incubators or nothing.

All those methods involve hideously totalitarian pre-emption of individual choice and body autonomy (like the supporters of forced pregnancy, but we’re more used to them so it doesn’t feel as outlandish). But on the bright side, they don’t require any changes to misogynist and patriarchal social systems.

The other trajectory is to give women control over their own reproduction. Wherever that is done, birth rates drop dramatically. They may not fall all the way to replacement levels, but they get much closer than any other method. Giving women control works, it works sustainably and long term.

But.

But it deprives society of its main tool to control all aspects of women’s lives. Your reliable producers of the next generation, your unpaid domestic servants and nannies and handholders and caregivers, gradually find other things to do with their lives. Members of the upper caste might have to do their own dishes. Your whole system falls apart.

And therein lies the rub. All our current problems are made much worse by overpopulation. Dealing with that requires treating women like human beings. Which gives the patriarchy the vapors.

So suddenly respect for medieval religions and medieval cultures make it impossible to promote birth control. They might be offended!

There’s not the same action-limiting respect when it comes to things that serve the caste system. Porn is all over the place even though the Pope disapproves. But breastfeeding is too avantgarde for the delicate sensibilities of men on Facebook. Nor is there ever equivalent concern that women object to being erased.

The discrepancy has a name. Sady Doyle wrote about it almost three years ago, Trump, Putin, Assange, and the politics of sexism. Supposedly all three are exponents of radically different systems, and yet they have a lizard brain-level understanding that they’re on the same side. Her focus is social and political effects, but the same allergy to anything kind or well-meaning is everywhere.

Recently, reactionaries have made The Misogyny of Climate Deniers obvious by their revolting comments against a 16 year old who’s done nothing except use the full weight of all the evidence to disagree with them.

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, … both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another. … Climate change used to be a bipartisan concern, the first Bush senior presidency famously promising to tackle global warming. But as conservative male mockery of Thunberg and others shows, climate politics has quickly become the next big battle in the culture war—on a global scale.

Misogyny isn’t the only motivation of reactionaries. There’s greed and garden variety hatred in there, too, but misogyny is the core. It’s misogyny, not greed or racism or ordinary hatred, that makes men fear weakness more than anything. And fear of weakness is what ties together the worst of what they do.

They think strong man governments are a good idea. They like guns and “defence” — war, really, so long as somebody else dies in it. Peace is only tolerable “through strength.” The reactionaries are against anything that doesn’t shout big power. They like nukes because gigawatts! dangerous! The truth is that even building a new gigawatt nuke every two months from 2010 till 2050 would solve only a small part of climate change and energy needs. Meanwhile renewables could provide all our energy by 2050 for a fraction of the cost and without radioactive waste. But distributed power, whether that’s rooftop solar or real democracy, strikes reactionaries as la-la limp-wristed hippie crap. Likewise, restraint against environmental destruction is pathetic weakness in the face of hard choices.

And weakness is the worst thing you can show. They (“They”) come and take your man card away. It’s the only thing that gave you any standing and it’s gone.

That is a future so horrible it’s worth burning the world down to avoid it. It must never be spoken lest saying its name calls it forth.

Crossposted from Acid Test.

20160723_USD000_0.jpg

Good morning Widdershins,

Another crazy week. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, has said that  Trump gets a “mulligan” for having an affair with Stormy Daniels. “All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here,” Perkins said. Because Evangelicals no longer care about Presidents who have sex with porn stars while their wife is home with their newborn baby. It’s just a long list of things Evangelicals don’t care about anymore. Child molesters is another, as Roy Moore can attest. (Fun fact: Roy Moore has still not accepted the fact that he lost the election…) There is one thing Trump has done well: reveal the complete moral bankruptcy of the Evangelicals. Their acceptance of his immoral behaviors and the fact that they continue to support him through everything is everything we have ever needed to know about these charlatans. They want the Rapture, I know. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem helps in some way. But I never ever ever ever ever want to hear another Evangelical say anything about someone else’s morals. They are deplorable.

In one of my last posts I wrote about the deplorable Larry Nassar, the former USA Women’s Gymnastics medic who molested hundreds – literally, hundreds – of young girls. Nassar pleaded guilty. The judge presiding over his sentencing, Judge Rosemarie

180117115742-larry-nassar-judge-aquilina-sentencing-exlarge-169.jpg

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina

Aquilina, allowed many of Nassar’s victims to deliver statements to the court and to Nassar. 156 women spoke. These 156 women are just the ones who were willing to come forward and speak in public. Imagine how many more victims we do not know. Aquilina sentenced Nassar to maximum of 175 years in prison. “I just signed your death warrant,” she said. She also read the letter Nassar wrote to her.

“I was a good doctor because my treatments worked, and those patients that are now speaking out are the same ones that praised and came back over and over,” Nassar wrote. “The media convinced them that everything I did was wrong and bad. They feel I broke their trust. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

“I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir,” Aquilina told Nassar.

So what do you think male reporters and pundits have to say about all this? Well, they are very angry at Judge Aquilina.

“Larry Nassar is clearly an evil man, but I don’t care for the judicial grandstanding and dunking on the convict from the bench,” wrote Matthew Yglesias. “I don’t think it inspires confidence in the rule of law for a judge to express a wish that she could hand down an unconstitutional punishment,” wrote Josh Barro. “Statements by the survivors have been extraordinary. A judge performing like this leaves me cold,” mused Jonathan Chait. There are many others like this, some (lesser known intellectuals) calling Aquilina “an attention whore.” It is deplorable to see people get angry at the judge who sentences an unapologetic rapist of over 150 young women to prison. But here we are.

We are also in a world where Chelsea Manning, who recently said she intends to run for the Senate in Maryland, attends an Alt-Right party. Titled “A Night for Freedom” the shindig was organized by Mike Cernovich, one of the biggest Alt-Right/White Supremacist personalities. Also in attendance were a who’s-who of White Supremacists, people like the former Bernie supporter Cassandra Fairbanks, Gavin McInnes, Jack Posobiec and Stefan Moleyneux. The usual topics were covered: Hillary is evil, MAGA, Hillary is evil, Obama is evil, Hillary is evil, Pizzagate, Hillary is evil, Muller is going down, Hillary is evil. Then McInnes waxed poetic about his love of fatherhood and encouraged the almost exclusively caucasian crowd to have lots of children. “Remember, one [child] is for losers. Two is for fags.” So on and so forth.

And there, in the middle of it all, is Chelsea Manning. When asked to explain why she was there Manning said she was protesting and doing research. I don’t know how Manning defines a protest. “Yes I literally shook hands with Chelsea Manning [tonight], the left is freaking out, it was not a big deal,” tweeted Cernovich. Fairbanks wrote that everyone loved Manning and if anybody had been rude to her she, Fairbanks, would have impaled them on her heels. And before Manning attended another Alt-Right party, where this happy photo was taken (included are Posobiec and Fairbanks.)

DUFxookWAAIxfjv.jpg

So why does Chelsea Manning cavort with White Nationalists as she gears up for a Senate run?

What do you think Widdershins? This is an open thread.

white-houseA few of random thoughts for the week, my fellow Widdershins.

This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding in Washington DC. My friend, Mike, served for 5 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked his way to Captain before leaving service. He came out of the closet to his friends in the army shortly before leaving and before DADT was repealed.  (His husband used to work in a publicity firm in DC that serves politicians. Because everybody needs good PR.) They took Trump’s election very personally, especially as a gay couple. But it was encouraging to have the military chaplain, who presided over the ceremony, acknowledge how difficult life for gay men and women is in the military and how much he hopes things get better.

I was seated at the table with some of my friend’s former military brothers and sisters, all straight. My direct neighbor was one very Southern redneck from Texas.  I, the East coast elite, looked at him with suspicion at first. But as he cheered the grooms’ first dance I was reminded of a story another friend once told me about Spike Lee. That friend was a manager of a movie theater in Harlem and they held premieres of several Spike Lee movies. At one premiere a fight broke out in the audience. Lee came up to my friend afterwards and apologized for the fight, though he had nothing to do with it. My friend responded: “Oh it’s fine, we were expecting it so we were prepared.” Lee responded: “You shouldn’t have expected it and it shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry it happened.” Lessons learned about assumptions, so I shouldn’t have made any about this large Southern military man and what he thinks about gay people and their marriages.

madonna

Speaking of gay, Madonna was just named Billboard Magazine’s woman of the year. I love Madonna, not just in that back-handed “Well she’s proved her mettle for 30 years and she’s got a few big hits” sort of way. I genuinely love her music, she’s written some of the most infectious and important pop songs of the last 30 years.  She’s charted more No. 1 hits than any other artist in Billboard’s history. Her tours have earned $1.3 billion, the most of any female artist.  So it’s not just shock values, she has proven her musical chops for 30 years.  I also admire her determination. This is one woman who refused to bake cookies.  One may not like her music or respect her approach to fame, but it’s hard to argue she’s more famous than Jesus’s mother at this point.  That’s quite the feat.  She’s paved the way for many women in the entertainment industry. Now, as a 58 year old, she’s still pushing boundaries. About a year ago she posted a photo to Instragram with hairy armpits. Internet broke. People were very upset. Mind you, she caused controversy with hairy armpits in the 1980’s too and maybe the fact that people were still angry about it is why it was important for her post the photo. The Billboard interview that accompanies the Woman of the Year headline, by the actress Elizabeth Banks, touches on a few interesting topics. Madonna hosted a rally for Hillary Clinton in Washington Square Park in NYC the night before the election. She says since the election she’s felt like “someone died.” And she was disappointed by how many women voted for Trump.

Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.

Madonna is also asked about ageism in the entertainment industry and America. One thing people constantly tell Madonna now is she should stop flaunting her boobs or hairy armpits because she’s an old woman. One way to dismiss her is to call her “irrelevant.” Nobody says that about Mick Jagger. And they were telling Madonna to not flaunt her boobs when she was in her 20’s too.

Age is only brought up with regard to women. It’s connected to sexism, chauvinism and misogyny. When Leonardo [DiCaprio] is 60 years old, no one is going to talk about his relevance. Am I relevant as a female in this society that hates women? Well, to people who are educated and are not chauvinists or misogynists, yes.

 feminism-quote

lincoln-memorialAnd speaking of Washington DC, above is a photo we took at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.

And one of the places we visited was the Holocaust Museum. The subject of the Holocaust is one I’ve read about a fair amount in the past. Nazi atrocities have always fascinated me so I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject because I keep trying to understand how ordinary people could such awful things. I highly recommend Richard Rhodes’ “Masters of Death,” for example, about the Einsatzgruppen, an elite group of SS soldiers who followed the German army into Eastern Europe and exterminated, virtually by hand, about 1.5 million people as the German Army advanced into the Soviet Union in 1941.  It was the first step of Hitler’s Final Solution. So the images and the stories at the museum are something I have been reading about and studying for some time. But having everything assembled in one place and in such a thorough fashion is very heavy. Two places at the exhibit were particularly haunting. At the end of the Final Solution section the hundreds of shoes in a pile are hair-raising. But the most emotional moment, unexpectedly so, was walking through a train car used to deport Jews to Dachau. You walk in, you stop for a moment inside – and it just takes your breath away. You can hear the voices still echoing inside the walls.

In the first part of the exhibit, about Hitler’s rise to power, it’s really difficult to not see the ascendancy of Trump and its parallels to Hitler. I know, you’re not supposed to compare people to Hitler. But sometimes you can and you should. Hitler rose in power in part because nobody believed he would do any of the horrible things he said he would do. His ideas and philosophies were not new to anyone. He articulated them in his book and he spoke about them at length as he rose to power, before he was appointed to be the Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler challenged Hindenburg for Presidency in 1932. The vote was close and they had to have a run-off, one week of campaigning. Hindenburg delivered one radio address. Hitler rented a plane from Lufthansa and spent the week flying around Germany, holding rallies in 22 cities in one week. The public was electrified, he made headlines of every newspaper. Hindenburg, a very well-known figure, won the run-off. But Hitler, the master rally-holder, became a big enough thorn in Hindenburg’s side that he appointed Hitler to be Chancellor of Germany. Hindenburg’s allies convinced the aging President that Hitler could be controlled from the inside and that appointing him would be harmless. We know the rest.

history-cartoon

As Germany’s Left shattered because nobody could agree on a common adversary, and a certain wing of the Left didn’t think everyone else was pure enough to support – Hitler, who promised the frustrated Germans that he would make Germany relevant again – quickly consolidated his power. He then did exactly what he said he would do. In one documentary shown at the museum, a female reporter returning from Germany held a press-conference on a boat. (Sadly I did not jot down her name and have not been successful at locating this press-conference online. I couldn’t even narrow down the name of the reporter.) But she said explicitly that she observed that the Nazis had started doing in Germany exactly what they all along said they were going to do, so maybe America and the world should start taking them seriously.

I’m not saying Trump is Hitler. I’m just saying…

One thing I really liked in the exhibit is that the final section is dedicated to many individuals who fought against the Nazis and helped Jews during the Holocaust.  There are many names and photographs, and brief summaries of how they helped.  None of them are as famous as Oscar Schindler.  But how amazing that someone remembers their individual stories, ordinary men and women of different ages, backgrounds, professions and religions, who risked their own lives to save others.

I kept checking for their death dates and was glad to see that many of them did survive the war and lived long lives.  Though not all.

white-rose

Hans and Sophie Scholl with Christoph Probst in summer 1942

A few college students formed a small group The White Rose. Consisting of students from University of Munich that included siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst,  Alex Schmorell, another Scholl sibling Inge and a philosophy professor Kurt Huber.  The students were in their early 20’s.  Between June 1942 and February 1943 they distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazis and their mass murders of Jews, some of which the members of The White Rose hand witnessed first-hand at home and at the front.  Soon they were all arrested and executed.  Hans Scholl’s final words were: “Long live Freedom!”

Prior to their deaths, several members of the White Rose believed that their execution would stir university students and other anti-war citizens into a rallying activism against Hitler and the war. Accounts suggest, however, that university students continued their studies as usual, citizens mentioned nothing, many regarding the movement as anti-national. Their actions were mostly dismissed, until after the war when their efforts were eventually praised by the German consciousness.

 

 

What’s on your mind folks? This is an open thread.

 

It’s Memorial Day, Widdershins, and my thoughts are turning to those who have fought, suffered, and died for our country’s many military endeavors. The last “good” one, by most lights, was World War Two. Since then we have intervened in many a country’s affairs, including Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others we don’t even “officially” acknowledge. None of these interventions have gone well for us, and I expect that the current efforts against ISIS will be similarly ineffective. Let’s face it – non-state actors, nuclear and chemical weapons have made traditional war obsolete. But our society, globally speaking, is too addicted to war and violence to think of any other way to run things. And I think there’s only one way to change the way things are, and have been for thousands of years.

It’s the only thing we haven’t tried…putting more women in charge. And who better to start this trend, than Hillary Clinton?

But but but, Hillary voted for the WAR! I hear the “progressives” moan. Oh yes, she voted for the AUMF…but if she were President, does anyone think she would have invaded Iraq after 9/11? Would she really have believed an intelligence agent nicknamed “Curve Ball” and a pathetic story about yellowcake uranium? Are people so blinded by that vote that they think she is as bloodthirsty as Bush? Or even, as bloodthirsty as Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has made death by drones infamous?

The wars men wage are, basically, over resources and religious fanaticism; sometimes both. I would argue that one causes the other, or at least influences it. The vicious cycle of neo-conservative, Project for the New American Century “American Exceptionalism” will continue until we change our modus operandi. And to change the way we work, we need to change the way we think. It has been proven that women think differently and lead differently, and I think we need that difference in order to break that cycle.

The opposite behaviors that stem from the different wiring of men and women can be seen in the way they lead. One style of leadership is not better than, or more correct than the other – they are just different. Although their styles differ, they are complementary and valuable at work. The table below shows the leadership styles generally attributed to men and women.

Leadership Table

I truly believe the world is out of balance. We need women to join male leaders in equal partnership, to become a powerful force for peace. What else is all this really about? The stunning impact of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In;” the ever-increasing pressure on corporations and governments to have at least 30% female representation on boards and in governing bodies; the UN’s “He for She” movement…it’s about global, transformational change. And believe me when I say, as a woman who has read hundreds of articles on this topic, the need for women leaders is a wave saturating the collective consciousness of powerful nations and corporations everywhere.

The Bible says, “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares…neither shall they learn war any more.” I hope we live to see it happen, with the help of our sisters and brothers everywhere…starting with Hillary Clinton as President in 2016.

This is an open thread.

I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

Good Thursday, Widdershins. Bear with me today.  To paraphrase Prolix, life intruded yesterday and I’m tardily composing this morning,  Of course, nothing appears to be cooperating today, either, so coherence may be something of an issue here.

I was startled when the news of Jill Abramson’s termination was announced.  The New York Times unceremoniously dumped Ms. Abramson after nearly three years of service as editor.  She was the first woman to hold that position, and will be replaced by her deputy Dean Baquet, who will be the first African-American named to the post. Rumors abound.  I have read that there was general displeasure with her management style, and there are whispers of friction between the news section and the business portion of the NYT.

Other sources say that Jill discovered a rather large pay gap between herself and previous editors and went forward with the issue.  We do know that the paper has a mandatory retirement age of 65, and that she is 5 years away from that step.  We also know that her termination was immediate and far-reaching.  Previous editors were given editorial positions, and Jill was not.  The current Mr.  Salzburg, grandson to the author of the above referenced quotation, advised a roomful of reporters that he had issues with her management, and that’s all he was going to say.  Yeah, that’ll work.

Whatever the reasons were – or weren’t – this mess solidifies my theory that a strong woman appears to still rankle executive leadership.  A questioning male is just that, a female is snoopy.  A man of conviction is firm, a woman is pushy.  A man who knows his own worth is self-assured, a woman is grasping.  An ambitious man is warmly received, an ambitious woman is disloyal.  We get it Mr. Salzburg, we get it.  I suppose that we just expected more from the paper.

This is an open thread.


Keep Up

Atrocities Documented:

What the F*ck Just Happened?!

Victories Won:

Your Victories Against Drumpf!

It’s here: QUARANTINE BINGO!

Wanna Be A Widdershin?

Send us a sample post at:

widdershinssubmissions at gmail dot com

2020 Presidential Election

Election DayNovember 3rd, 2020
4 months to go.

Our Frontpagers

Twittershins

I’m ready. Are you?

Blog Archive

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
6 months to go.

Mueller Time!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

Dems are coming for ya