How Many Marys Does a Non-Catholic Need?

The flash did something funky and cool in this photo and it gives everything a weird glow. Look at the way the crystal ball sparkles.

At the left you can see the arm of one Mary, then the cool wooden chicken that I got at a Swedish settlement up in Illinois, then another Mary next to the crystal ball.

I picked up both Marys at Ebbo’s Spiritual Supply House, this awesome store in Memphis full of, as you might guess, spiritual supplies, which you should visit, if you have any inclination.

The reason I have the Marys is to remind myself that things are not always what they seem. One person looks and sees two representations of the mother of Jesus. Another sees the arm of Erzulie Freda near the figure of Erzulie Dantor.


In Which I Explain Things to Indifferent Children

Indifferent Children says:

Where is this patriarchy that has men and boys targeting women and girls? Males are 3.4 times more likely to be murdered than females*. Our society obviously hates males. These incidents are terrible, but is it less terrible when a boy is killed than when a girl is killed? Is it more terrible that nine girls were killed in one building, than that 30 boys will be killed in ones and twos across the nation?

* No, I’m not ignoring that men are the bastards doing to killing, only pointing out that these bastards target men more than women. So while women have much more to fear from rape or domestic battery than do men, if women are more afraid of being murdered than men are, that fear is caused by psychology, acculturaltion, or something else other than the reality of the situation.

To which I say, "Duh."

And then I pause and say "Duh" again.

And then I consider laying down under my desk until my head clears.  But I do not.

Instead, let me explain things.

We have a way of relating to each other based on a series of combined oppressive systems: sexism, racism, etc.  These systems are harmful to us.  All of the systems are based on consolidating power among a small group and keeping the group without power split into factions fighting against each other rather than working together to change the system in a way that would be more beneficial to more of us.

From where I’m sitting, it looks like this system perpetuates itself most readily by turning woman-hating into our national pastime.  Women are perceived as weak, vulnerable, uppity sluts who need to be taught a lesson for putting gross things like dicks in our mouths.

Other people might look at the same system and say, "No, the system perpetuates itself most readily by turning everyone against black people."  Or poor people.  Or rural people.  Or folks in the inner city.  And so on.

Call it what you want, we all seem to recognize that it’s there.  But here’s the more important point, it’s a system that thrives on human suffering.  It is built on and works because people suffer.

And any system that has at its foundation the suffering of humans is evil.

And because a system is evil and needs suffering to perpetuate itself, no one is protected.  Not even the people who have been promised that they will benefit from the system.

Of course, if we frame the system as the ‘patriarchy,’ it makes perfect sense that men are the predominate perpetrators of violence.  But fuck yes, it also makes sense that men are the predominate victims of violence.

For one, under the patriarchy, being a woman is the worst thing to be, so any man that appears too womanly (too weak, too smart, too nonviolent, too gay, whatever) is an obvious target for purging from the ranks of "man."  Or some other forms of punishment.  But also, W. gets it (even though I bet you ten dollars he’ll deny he gets it) when he says:

Perhaps it’s a backlash against female power. I’m not referring to feminism, and I do realize we still have a partriarchy for the most part.

But women have a large power over men’s self image. It starts with mom, and it’s perpetuated when any heterosexual man wants a date. A woman’s opinion is more important to a lot of guys than another guys. It’s usually easier to interact with another guy, but women are more mysterious. And it’s a lot more crushing to be rejected by a woman than by a man, at least socially. Ask any teenage boy who can’t find a date to the prom.

If Bridgett is correct, perhaps the increase in violence against women is correlated with an increase in chosiness among women which leads to rejecting more men.


God, exactly.  

If women are supposed to be below men in the scheme of things, it is hard for some men to reconcile how someone on a rung below them can have power over them.  Either the man has misinterpreted where he is in the hierarchy of things and he really is beneath women, in which case he is worthy of even more scorn than women are worthy of, or the woman has misinterpreted where she is in the hierarchy of things and must be put in her proper place.

That’s why it’s so crucial for men to understand and support what feminists are trying to do–not just to make life easier for women, but because the way we do things now is costing you, too.

And the price is too damn high. 

I Don’t Know What I Need to Hear, but I Need to Hear Something

Last week a guy walked into a school in Colorado and sexually assaulted and killed some girls.  Yesterday, a guy walked into a school in Pennsylvania and lined some little girls up against a wall and shot them.

I woke up to NPR this morning and the woman reading the news was going on about “the children.”  “The children” were tied up.  “The children” were killed.  And so I woke up thinking “Those were girls and it matters that they were girls because the killer chose them because they were girls.  Don’t say ‘children’ like the story is their age.”

It makes me feel unmoored.

I can remember the story of the school in I think it was Saudi Arabia where there was a fire and the girls were shot as they came running out because they weren’t properly covered.

From that, I extrapolated that that kind of thing was happening all the time over there.  But you know, I don’t know that.  It may be that I remember that story because it was so outrageous that it made the news over here.

Still, it was reported and from that, I felt confident in drawing inferences about Islamic culture.

Do I do the same for our culture?  Do I look at the dead girls piled up these two weeks and draw some inference?

On the one hand, I’m not sure there’s any new information to be gleaned.  Two disturbed men killed some girls.  What can you say about that more than that?

On the other hand, it matters.  It matters that they were girls.  That they were alive and now they’re not because they were girls.

I keep waiting for the big feminist voices to say something about either incident, but I haven’t seen anything.

And I don’t feel eloquent enough to even begin to know what to say.  I don’t understand it.  There’s nothing to rally you against because of the deaths of these girls.

There’s just six dead girls in less than a week, dead because they were girls. And I’m left with just this feeling I don’t know how to put into words.  Jessica over at tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn’s tear says

Walking down the street and being out in the world, the fear is always with you, a little, some, that someone will get you. When you get older, the fear become more acute, and “get” becomes “rape”.
But I never feared when I was in school.
I never feared I would be raped and killed in my classroom.

Yeah, I think that’s it.  Here’s this one place where we can be fairly safe and free.  How many of us are where we are because school was opening up new worlds to us, giving us access to new ideas pointing us towards ways of entering important conversations?  How many of us first found what we were good at or something worth loving about ourselves at school?

Educate us and you give us freedoms women in past generations have never had.

You teach us how to nourish our minds.  It’s sacred in some non-religious sense, because education is liberation.

Killing us in school is like shitting in the front of church.

It offends me at a soul-deep level.

It feels profane.