Welcome to Feminist Truths

We are reborn! Getting shut down by lawyers working for the mafia (it is a long story) hasn't put an end to Feminist Truths.

The good news is that Feminist Truths is back and I have made it my quest in life to deliver truth to the masses.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Media Messages that Kill

The following is a Guest Post by Dr S. Jeanne Bramhall - June 2010.

I obsess (and blog) a lot about pro-war and anti-civil liberties messages in the media because they are easiest to recognize. As a woman, I am far more concerned about the stereotyped treatment of women in the media. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist I worry particularly about the culture of extreme thinness in our society – which is one hundred percent media driven.

How Feminism Shapes My Views

I confess I am also a feminist. This is an embarrassing confession. Feminists, gays and dark-skinned people are subject to much ridicule and scorn in contemporary society. In my opinion the controversy stems from confusion around the definition, which has somehow been associated with an irrational hatred of men. I use the word feminist in its broadest sense – to describe women who refuse to automatically subordinate their own (or their children’s) needs to men, the male power structure or a male-oriented view of society. I happen to like men. Some of my best friends are men. As a feminist health professional, I am enormously concerned that young girls are continuously bombarded with messages from TV, movies, music videos and youth and fashion oriented books and magazines that leave them with a distorted – and dangerous – view of themselves and their bodies.

Romantic Love is Dangerous to Your Health

Among the most pernicious is the constant emphasis on being young, thin and attractive to men. It relates, in large part, to a carefully crafted myth that romantic love is the highest ideal a woman can achieve in contemporary society. It is so powerful that the majority of women grow up believing in a highly stereotyped version of romantic love, as well as a self-concept that they are utterly worthless without a man to love them. This myth, like Santa Claus and the diamond engagement ring, are creatures of an elaborate and sophisticated marketing industry. It bears little relation to real life. In fact the myth hurts men almost as much as women because it is largely to blame for our high rate of divorce and broken families.

On Being Young, Attractive and Dead

As a health professional I am most distressed by the extremely narrow and stereotyped standard of attractiveness – young, perfectly chiseled and starvation thin – necessary to succeed in the fashion, TV or movie industry. There is no question media marketing deliberately aims these messages at teens and pre-teens who lack the critical thinking necessary to differentiate what they see on the screen from real life.

This strategy is immoral and should be illegal. All women exposed to this stuff learn to hate their own bodies. This universal self-hatred is responsible for an exponential increase in potential fatal eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

The U.S. Statistics Speak for Themselves
Eating disorders are a major cause of death for women age 15-24.

4% of American women are afflicted with a life-threatening eating disorder.

Approx. 10% of American women with eating disorders die within 10 years of developing the disorder.

20% of American women with eating disorders die within 20 years of developing the disorder.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Answers - Poetry by Mary Oliver

By Mary Oliver.

If I envy anyone it must be
my Grandmother in a long ago
green summer, who hurried
between the kitchen and orchard on small
uneducated feet, and took easily
all shining fruits into her eager hands.

That summer I hurried too, wakened
to books and music and circling philosophies.
I sat in the kitchen sorting through volumes of answers
that could not solve the mystery of the trees.

My grandmother stood among her kettles and ladles.
Smiling, in faulty grammar,
she praised my fortune and urged my lofty career.
So to please her I studied - but I will remember always
how she poured confusion out, how she cooked and labeled
all the wild sources of the brimming year.

Brought to you by the Feminist eZine and Isla Mujeres Women's Retreat.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Truth about Female Rites of Passage

Do you remember your first period? Was it embarrassing or were your proud of it?

Well, be thankful you live in a modern civilized part of the world... some regions have some pretty strange Rites of Passage for young women experiencing their first period. Some of these are done for religious reasons, some are mostly harmless traditions.

Genital Mutilation

The Massai tribe of Kenya uses female circumcision to completely remove the outer parts of the female genitalia. This results is complete deprivation of sexual sensation, increased susceptibility to HIV and may cause life-threatening infections. Crude tools and no anesthesia. The Massai tribe is not the only group that does this. Every year 2 millions girls are forced to undergo genital mutilation.

Burning Hands + Biting Ants

The Carib Tribe of Suriname burns the hands of young menstruating girls using a handful of burning cotton to symbolize their future "handiwork" as women. They're also forced to wear a mat/skirt covered with a breed of stinging, biting ants.

Abdomen Slicing

The Tiv Tribe of Nigeria slices young girls across the belly four times (or more) leaving deep scars to signify her womanhood and her fertility.

Fattening Ritual

The Okrika Tribe of Nigeria has their young girls experiencing their first period enter a hut called "fatting rooms" where they feast on rich local foods until they've gained sufficient weight. Its intended to be a spiritual and physical metamorphosis.

Three Months in Isolation

The Ngoni Tribe of Malawi secludes the young girl in a flooded tent for up to three months. Her face and body are daubed with white flour as a sign of spirituality. Inside the tent she must sit in a pool of water until the women of her tribe determine she is finally a woman (which can take up to 3 months).

Swimming to Shore

The Nootka Natives of the Vancouver Islands in Canada used to take young girls who experience their first period for a canoe ride out to sea... and then leave them there to swim back to shore. This is no longer practiced.

Buried Neck Deep in Sand

The Luiseno Tribe of Southern California used to bury girls up to their neck in sand and then have an older woman of the tribe give them a stern talking to about "the birds and the bees" and the proper behavior of a woman and wife. This is no longer practiced.

Four Days of Running & Rituals

The Navajo Tribe of the American Southwest have their girls wear heavy buckskin outfits in a four day ritual involving a foot race, making food for all their relatives and sitting upright on the first night of the ritual. The Apache tribe have a similar ritual shown below.

I have a hunch many mothers these days simply take their daughters out for a day of shopping, food and buying their first tampons / pads. Not quite the status quo, but close enough.

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