Monthly Archives: June 2015

Texts of Terror in the Humanities Curriculum by Carol P. Christ

Carol in Crete croppedWhen I began to study Latin in my freshman year in high school, one of the first texts we were asked to translate concerned the “rape” of the Sabine women. Even though the Latin text used a word that looked and sounded like it should be translated as “rape,” we were told that the Romans “abducted” the Sabine women and that the word should be translated as “seized.” Not long afterward, we read a story from Ovid in which a nymph named Daphne was turned into a tree in order to escape being raped by a God. I found both of these stories puzzling.

I had not heard the term “rape culture” which was coined much later, but the fact that I can still visualize the words “virgines” and “raptae sunt,” as well as the pictures that accompanied both stories, suggests that I was aware that…

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What is consciousness-raising?

Purple Sage

This is an introduction to the concept of consciousness-raising for young feminists.

From the Routledge Critical Dictionary of Feminism and Post-Feminism

“Consciousness-raising (or CR) was a primary tactic of second wave feminism, which regarded it as a way of developing a shared consciousness of oppression among women. Consciousness-raising groups were founded on the credo that ‘the personal is political,’ encouraging participants to share their personal life experiences, such as childhood, motherhood and marriage. The belief was that, far from each story being individual, common patterns would emerge, thus demonstrating that female experience, rather than being exclusive to the individual, was in fact rooted in a wider system of sex inequality. Consciousness-raising groups did not aim for total introspection, but advocated moving on from personal narratives to evolving strategies to deal with oppression.”p208

Carol Hanisch wrote the essay, The Personal is Political, in 1969, and she explains some key points…

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Prostitution survivor to pro-lobby: I’m sick and tired of you!

Purple Sage

This is a letter written by German ex-prostitute Huschke Mau. I don’t know the name of the translator, but thank you, whoever you are! The original can be found here. Please read the whole thing to support Huschke Mau in her activism.

After having read an interview with prostitution lobbyist Stephanie Klee, she’s had enough. Now, Huschke Mau, who has exited prostitution, responds to her. “I am one of those ‘voluntary’ prostitutes so many people talk about,” she writes. “And I am sick and tired of you prostitution proponents!”

Dear Stephanie Klee,
I am referring to the interview the city magazine Zitty Berlin has conducted with you and first of all, I would like to thank you for giving it. I would still be silent had I not read it. Before I go ahead: I hope you don’t mind me talking to you from…

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– “Decoding pimp language” : Interview with Rebecca Mott by Sporenda



By Sporenda


photo : Rebecca at the ©BBC

S : On your blog, you write often about what you call « pimp language ». Pimp language is the discourse found everywhere—in the media, in ordinary conversations etc—which normalizes and legitimates prostitution. One of the ways to do that is to create new words to whitewash the bleak realities of prostitution –in particular, prostitution is systematically rebranded as « sex work ». You say abolitionnists should never use this expression « sex work ». What is at stake in this rebranding, and why is it so important not to use this expression ?

RM : This expression should not be used because it was invented by the sex industry to make people believe they were Left wing and feminists. There is no such thing as « sex work », because it’s not sex—and it’s not work. It’s not sex because prostituted persons don’t have…

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Maybe I Will Wake Up Soon

Rebecca Mott

I was in Stockholm last, being a tourist and meeting abolitionists.

I am still trying to know it was real, that I will not wake and find all countries in the world are doing as little as possible to allow the prostituted to be fully human.

I know I should happy – should understand the emotion of liberation – should not be unable to compute that Sweden and other countries are finally saying men must be made responsible for the destruction of the prostituted class.

I can write to my trip to Stockholm, and say it was surreal to me, and brought out grief from the pit of my stomach, and increased body memories to an almost unbearable level.

I must say it has triggered many suicidal emotions. Feelings that my personal means little or nothing for so other abolitionists are spiritually stronger than I am.

I will never kill…

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Banning lesbians – same sex attraction is not bigotry

Listening to Lesbians

I have avoided writing about this because I know what the reaction can be like and I have seen what happens to women who do speak publicly about this.

I have tried quite hard to discuss various issues WITHOUT addressing this because it is polarising, causes people to stop thinking, and leads to abuse and harassment. Moreover it is difficult to write anything nuanced on this topic without people misinterpreting and wilfully misrepresenting your words. And then there’s the ever-so-trendy hate that rains down on those that state publicly what others keep quiet about.

But I know that not writing about this is being silenced. I have “allowed” myself to be silenced on this just as many other women have, because of potential fallout.

And there is no amount of staying quiet that can keep us safe as lesbians, because there is an attempt from some to redefine the word lesbian to exclude…

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Feminism: Nope, it’s still neither for nor about men

Karen Ingala Smith

Hooray!  Feminists have managed to make inequality between the sexes so obviously ludicrous, so obviously discriminatory, so unpalatable, that even men want in on the act. Sadly though, I think this is more an ‘own goal’ than a cause for celebration. It’s not unusual any more for a man to say that he’s a feminist, and it’s even less unusual for women to say that men can and should be involved in feminism.  But for this to have become possible, it has been necessary for a shift in the understanding of what feminism is. Feminism, women’s fight for liberation from male oppression, has become widely understood as the struggle for gender equality.  That this shift has happened as men have clamoured to be involved, is not a coincidence. Invite the oppressor to the game and the goal shifts. But the shift renders feminism meaningless.  Gender is a social construct, it…

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