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Tag Archives: sexism

Men Threaten

Men like to threaten, to loom over us
to show they’re bigger
stronger
I’ll beat you to a pulp, little girl.
They use their loud voices
push tobacco-scented
onion-flavored
beer-laden
breath in your face and
I’ll show you who’s boss. Who da fuck you think you are, bitch?
worst thing you can call a man
“a girl”
“womanly”
“feminine”
“C’mon, ladies” — sneering football coach/drill sergeant — the biggest insult
 
Men say threatening things on your blog
and send revolting pictures
horrible pictures
of other women
beaten cut bloody headless bruised and battered
This could be you, watch out, stay in line
don’t speak your mind
STFU
stop speakin
truth-telling
challenging the WAY IT IS.
 
yeah, yeah, I know women threaten people too
women hit each other, are cruel and sharp and fuck you up.
But but but
we all know the but
women-hating is what societies are built on
it pumps men up, makes them men
to put women in their place.
threaten us with extinction
Who the fuck do you think you are, bitch
 
And yeah, yeah, I know it’s not all men,
there are good men.
 
But if you are breathing on this planet
if you are hearing my enraged words
you know a man like this
he’s in your family (he’s in mine)
he’s at your work (he’s at mine)
he’s watching you across the library (he’s watching me)
he’s bullying you on Facebook (he’s bullying me)
 
change it. stop accepting it
To the good men:
say no to woman-hating woman-silencing  speech
no laughing at wife-beating jokes
“rapeable” is not a compliment
step in when other men act badly
stand next to us, the women
and say not in my name.
 
men can change
But they sure do like to threaten us
 
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Her stories

 

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To My Daughter

Mijita,
 
we are the in between
neither black nor white
 
we are the mud
the mix between the menstrual flow of the planet
and the machismo ground beneath our feet
 
we are the brown
the piece of construction paper that is thrown away
the ugly created when mixing too many colors
the only crayon chosen when coloring Martin Luther King
or dirt
 
we are the cockroaches
despised and disgusted
but even with the bam of a stomping manly foot
we refuse to die
 
we are the voice of the wind
loud and undesirable
yet never failing to predict future weather
always pounding, always screaming
always wailing
like a mother at a funeral
hands clasped in prayer, jesus on her neck,
father, son, holy wombyn
 
we are the broken
puzzle pieces on the floor forgotten in a disarray
of politics and pride
 
we are the proud
never to falter
always to blame
forever changing, but our love
remains
 
we are revolution
we are malinche
we are beautiful
and we have voices
 
mijita,
don’t ever be silenced.
 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Her stories

 

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From: The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House

“For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but
redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is
rediscovered. It is this real connection which is so feared by a patriarchal
world. Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social
power open to women.” ~ Audre Lorde
 
 
 
“Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male
ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs. This is an
old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with
the master’s concerns. ” ~ Audre Lorde
 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Historical radical pieces

 

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Borderlands

Though we “understand” the root causes of male hatred and fear, and the
subsequent wounding of women, we do not excuse, we do not condone, and we
will no longer put up with it. From the men of our race, we demand the admission/
acknowledgement/disclosure/testimony that they wound us, violate us, are afraid
of us and of our power. We need them to say they will begin to eliminate their
hurtful put-down ways. But more than the words, we demand acts. We say to them:
we will develop equal power with you and those who have shamed us.
It is imperative that mestizas support each other in changing the sexist
elements in the Mexican-Indian culture. As long as woman is put down, the Indian
and the Black in all of us is put down. The struggle of the mestiza is above all a
feminist one. As long as los hombres think they have to chingar mujeres and each
other to be men, as long as men are taught that they are superior and therefore
culturally favored over la mujer, as long as to be a vieja is a thing of derision, there
can be no real healing of our psyches. We’re halfway there—we have such love of
the Mother, the good mother. The first step is to unlearn the puta/virgen dichotomy
and to see Coatlalopeuh-Coatlicue in the Mother, Guadalupe.
Tenderness, a sign of vulnerability, is so feared that it is showered on women
with verbal abuse and blows. Men, even more than women, are fettered to gender
roles. Women at least have had the guts to break out of bondage. Only gay men have
had the courage to expose themselves to the woman inside them and to challenge
the current masculinity. I’ve encountered a few scattered and isolated gentle
straight men, the beginnings of a new breed, but they are confused, and entangled
with sexist behaviors that they have not been able to eradicate. We need a new
masculinity and the new man needs a movement.

Lumping the males who deviate from the general norm with man, the
oppressor, is a gross injustice. Asombra pensar que nos hemos quedado en ese pozo
oscuro donde el mundo encierra a las lesbianas. Asombra pensar que hemos, como
femenístas y lesbianas, cerrado nuestros corazónes a los hombres, a nuestros
hermanos los jotos, desheredados y marginales como nosotros. Being the supreme
crossers of cultures, homosexuals have strong bonds with the queer white, Black,
Asian, Native American, Latino, and with the queer in Italy, Australia and the rest of
the planet. We come from all colors, all classes, all races, all time periods. Our role is
to link people with each other—the Blacks with Jews with Indians with Asians with
whites with extraterrestrials. It is to transfer ideas and information from one
culture to another. Colored homosexuals have more knowledge of other cultures;
have always been at the forefront (although sometimes in the closet) of all
liberation struggles in this country; have suffered more injustices and have survived
them despite all odds. Chicanos need to acknowledge the political and artistic
contributions of their queer. People, listen to what your joteria is saying.
The mestizo and the queer exist at this time and point on the evolutionary
continuum for a purpose. We are a blending that proves that all blood is intricately
woven together, and that we are spawned out of similar souls.

Gloria Anzaldúa

Artist: Beatriz Guzman Velasquez

Artist: Beatriz Guzman Velasquez

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Historical radical pieces

 

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A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story

A woman in the Black Power movement was considered, at best, irrelevant. A woman asserting herself was a pariah. A woman attempting the role of leadership was, to my proud black Brothers, making an alliance with the “counter-revolutionary, man-hating, lesbian, feminist white bitches.” It was a violation of some Black Power principle that was left undefined. If a black woman assumed a role of leadership, she was said to be eroding black manhood, to be hindering the progress of the black race. She was an enemy of black people. Her strategy for functioning as a woman was to rely on the membership’s loyalty to Newton, and it worked, to an extent: …I had introduced a number of women in the party’s administration.

There were too many women in command of the affairs of the Black Panther Party, numerous men were grumbling…. It was a given that the entire Black Power movement was handicapped by the limited roles the Brothers allowed the Sisters and by the outright oppressive behavior of men toward women. This had meant little to me personally, however…. And because of Huey — and now Larry — I had been able to deflect most of the chauvinism of Black Panther men. My leadership was secure. Thus, in installing Sisters in key positions, I had not considered this business. I had only considered the issue of merit, which had no gender…. Oddly, I had never thought of myself as a feminist. I had even been denounced by certain radical feminist collectives as a “lackey” for men. That charge was based on my having written and sung two albums of songs that my female accusers claimed elevated and praised men. Resenting that label, I had joined the majority of black women in America in denouncing feminism. It was an idea reserved for white women, I said, assailing the women’s movement, wholesale, as either racist or inconsequential to black people. Sexism was a secondary problem. Capitalism and racism were primary. I had maintained that position even in the face of my exasperation with the chauvinism of Black Power men in general and Black Panther men in particular. Now hearing the ugly intent of my opponent’s words [one of her opponents in the 1974 election of the Oakland City Council, a black man, had denounced her as a lesbian!, I trembled with a fury long buried. I recognized the true meaning of his words. He was not talking about making love with women — he was attacking me for valuing women.

The feminists were right. The value of my life had been obliterated as much by being female as by being black and poor. Racism and sexism in America were equal partners in my oppression. Even men who were themselves oppressed wanted power over women. Whatever social stigma had been intended by the label “lesbian” — always invoked when men felt threatened, I observed with the benefit of hindsight — did not concern me. It was simply the rattle of a man terrorized by a social order dominated by other men. It was a social order I was bent on destroying. But his accusations did wake me. There would be no further impositions on me by men, including black men, including Black Panther men. I would support every assertion of human rights by women — from the right to abortion to the right of equality with men as laborers and leaders. I would declare that the agenda of the Black Panther Party and our revolution to free black people from oppression specifically included black women. I would denounce loudly the philosophies of the Karengas, who raised the name of Africa to justify the suppression of black women. I would lambaste the civil-rights men who had dismissed the importance of women like Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker and Daisy Bates and even Kathleen Cleaver. I would not tolerate any raised fists in my face or any Black Power handshakes, or even the phrase “Black Power,” for all of it now symbolized to me the denial of black women in favor of the freedom of “the black man.” I would claim my womanhood and my place.

If that gave rise to my being labeled a “man-hating lesbian, feminist bitch,” I would be the most radical of them.

Elaine Brown

(pp. 357, 362–363, 367–368)

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Historical radical pieces

 

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An Open Letter to the Men of the Left, Especially in the Chican@ Community, Especially in Tucson

We refuse to make a choice between our cultural identity and sexual identity, between our race and our femaleness. We are not turning our backs on our people nor on our selves.

— Cherríe Moraga, This Bridge Called My Back

There is one thing that the Left and the Right often agree on: women’s concerns (our rights, our safety, our health, our progress) are disposable, dispensable; they are a distraction from the truly “important” issues. We won’t address the issues of the Right here, but we say to our sisters and brothers on the Left: If you claim to be working for the liberation of your people, and for the liberation of other peoples of color, and you’re still beating or threatening or harassing or raping or assaulting or enslaving women, you are totally missing the point. And you will fail.

No one can be truly free, no one can be respected and have equality of opportunity — and certainly no man can have full personhood — until all women, especially women of color, are safe from the rages and oppressions and depredations/degradations of men, including men of color.

The racism of the world does not make it OK to take out your frustrations on those closest to you. It is not OK to terrorize someone you claim to love. It is not OK to (attempt to) silence women who are speaking our truth, and it is not OK to demonize those who challenge your petty authority (no matter how much you have struggled to wrest that status from the hands of the dominant culture).

You cramp my style, baby

when you roll on top of me

shouting “Viva La Raza”

at the top of your prick.

— Lorna Dee Cervantes, “Baby you cramp my style”

We are calling upon all men of the Left, and today, especially, we call upon the male leaders of the Mexican American Studies and Ethnic Studies struggles here in Tucson and beyond to repudiate the oppression of women in both institutional settings and in our homes and families and in the hard-working rooms of political organizing, la lucha.

We fully expect that those who have taught or claimed to believe in “In Lak Ech” will stand up and say: “Not in my name. No más.” Manifestations of widespread misogyny and sexism must be acknowledged before it can be eradicated — for the benefit of us all, women and men and children. We need healing, but not at the expense of silencing women.

If we are “your other me,” then you must look deeply at how you treat us and yourselves. You must open your eyes and look at the boys and young men who see you as role models and ask: “Am I teaching what I want them to learn?” Your actions must match your words. It is not women’s job to make this abuse stop. Men must stop these destructive behaviors in themselves and in other men. Men must call out other men to walk their talk. Be brave! Stand up for women! Clean up your own house, examine your own oppressor behaviors, demand change from your compadres. Until that happens, no true healing of our community, no true liberation, is possible.

We close this letter with the words of Norma Alarcón: “women are seen not just by one patriarchy but by all as rapeable and sexually exploitable,” and thus “to choose among extant patriarchies is not a choice at all” (“Chicana’s Feminist Literature: A Re-Vision Through Malintzin”).  Dismantling racism also demands a dismantling of sexism. We look forward to statements and actions from the men of MAS, from the leadership of the Chican@ communities, and from the larger Left/progressive communities.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Tucson movement

 

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