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I’d watched the six parts of the “Burning Times” documentary a few weeks ago on YouTube. I was really planning to post it on my blog at some point. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

and Part 6:

Herstory, women’s history gets constantly erased and/or wrongly written by male-supremacist culture, which is why I believe that documentaries like these are invaluable to inform us on our herstory.

The witches were women-healers, pagans, midwives and they were a very womyn-centered culture of heretics. The patriarchal Church despised them, just like historical & contemporary patriarchy hates all women.

It was a whole woman-centered culture of female healers that the patriarchal witch-craze attempted to wipe out. What is horrible is that history is written by those who win (as explained at the end of that documentary), and therefore herstory is constantly being erased, e.g. hardly anybody knows that the witch-hunt WAS a women’s ‘Holocaust’.

I can clearly see how the very misogyny that led to the burning, torturing and killing of so many women as ‘witches’, is still well-present today. The only “difference” being that misogyny today exists in other forms (at least in the West): mainstreamed woman-hating pornography, massive, worldwide sexual objectification, exploitation & of women’s bodies, etc. There are still witch-hunts going on in some parts of the world though.
 
According to the description info posted on YouTube about “The Burning Times”:

This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake, and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film advances the theory that widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times.

I once, myself, briefly wrote about the witch-hunt, explaining how contemporary misogyny is closely linked to historical misogyny in this post here.

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According to some Human Rights Watch headlines last month:

Soaring rates of rape and violence against women

2008-12-19 07:56:53

More Accurate Methodology Shows Urgent Need for Preventive
Action

(New York, December 18, 2008) — A new government report showing huge increases in the incidences of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault over a two-year period in the United States deserves immediate attention from lawmakers and the incoming administration, Human Rights Watch said today. The statistics show a 42-percent increase in reported domestic violence and a 25-percent increase in the reported incidence of rape and sexual assault.


The National Crime Victimization Survey, based on projections from a national sample survey, says that at least 248,300 individuals were raped or sexually assaulted in 2007, up from 190,600 in 2005, the last year the survey was conducted. The study surveyed 73,600 individuals in 41,500 households. Among all violent crimes, domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault showed the largest increases. Except for simple assault, which increased by 3 percent, the incidence of every other crime surveyed decreased.


“The numbers in this survey show an alarmingly high rate of sexual violence in this country,” said Sarah Tofte, researcher for the US Program at Human Rights Watch. “This should serve as a wake-up call that more must be done to address the problem in the US.”


The projected number of violent crimes committed by intimate partners against women increased from 389,100 in 2005 to 554,260 in the 2007 report. By comparison, the number of violent crimes against men by intimate partners went down.

Now, first of all, this is very upsetting, disheartening, worrying and yet not surprising, considering the fact that we live everyday in a woman-hating, male-supremacist culture. And this is real grim…

Second, porn apologists can carry on with their “cathartic effect” propaganda; it has not been proven to be true. These figures remind me of how much pornified culture and rape culture are one and the same thing, especially considering that the pornography industry makes $13 million in the US alone every year, remember? Which means there is a huge amount of male demand for an industry that relies on beliefs that “women enjoy being hurt, being demeaned,” etc and thus that endlessly perpetuates female suffering for the sadistic pleasure of its males consumers and, often, yes, rapists.

Pornographic culture relentlessly invades malestream media with its fragmentations of women into body parts, its portrayal of female humans as “worthless sex-objects that ‘ask for it’ or that deserve what happens to them”, and its glamorization of sexual violence, etc; see, for example, this YouTube video for a NOW campaign.

Finally, can women really feel safe with the vast majority of men in a patriarchy, i.e. the ones who were born in male privilege and who were taught to benefit from masculine socialization and domination?…

You know, I watched “The Accused” again on new year’s eve. It’s a film (with Jodie Foster) that was made in 1988. It is an amazing movie that highlighted a topic that is usually so rare in Hollywood. I hadn’t seen it in years. Watching it again made me cry over a simple fact: the very real, cruel and sinister attitudes that encourage, condone and attempt to justify rape have not changed one bit in 21 years (unless they actually have gotten worse). I was observing the woman-hating and victim-blaming that many of the men in that movie were praising through sentences such as “she was begging for it,” “it’s her fault,” “she put on a sex show,” or “she wasn’t even raped,” etc. And I remember thinking “That is all very real. That’s very much similar attitudes to so many men’s who live in a patriarchal pornified culture,” and I couldn’t stop crying, especially during the rape scene. These things are not just fiction. Rape keeps happening, in real life, thousands and thousands of times everyday. All the underpinning behaviors that support sexual violence and the root causes of rape haven’t changed. Not one bit. If they have, they have merely gotten worse…

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It goes on and on… I found this video on YouTube. It truly saddens me. No wonder I don’t turn the TV on anymore; I guess I wanna partly protect myself from all this malestream misogynistic mess. Here are some examples of pornographic imagery seeping into malestream advertising and fashion ads:

These images include women in submissive positions, rigidly conforming to stereotypically feminine beauty standards; these women are also being bruised, threatened, attacked, roughly grabbed, tied up, fragmented into body parts, represented & treated as if they were mere pieces of meat. On some of the pictures, it even looks as if they were dead and photographed at murder scenes.

This video is merely one example that demonstrates how the sexualized torture, abuse and murder of women have become “sexy” and commonplace in our culture.

George Bataille once said:
“Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of profaning it”
— Bataille, in Death and Sensuality, p.140.

Beauty is admired in a patriarchy, but only so it can be defiled, debased, violated, tortured, etc.

In this pornified culture, women must be beautiful. They must abandon their humanity through conforming to feminine roles, traits, beauty standards, etc which have been taught to them by male-supremacist culture. And then, once they conform to the system, they must be treated as most men view them: as passive sexual objects.

Of course, that is not to forget that most women find it very hard to conform to all the ‘airbrushed’ feminine ideals that the advertisement industry sells them everyday. And the price we pay, in a gender-based woman-hating culture that constantly shapes our attitudes, buying habits, viewpoints and the ways we view the world, is high. As this trailer for “Killing Us Softly 3” (a Media Education Foundation film) shows:

A longer version of this MEF film “Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women” can be found if you click here.

A sidenote: Sheila Jeffreys has just released a new book on the ever-expanding sexploitation industry. It is called The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade. You can find an article about it here.

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It’s been a long time since the last time I blogged. Been busy dealing with some very urgent and important real life problems that needed sorted out. . .

A few things I would like to bring up:

— In September, the Eighteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists, exploring a radical feminist understanding of hierarchy and class, was up at Witchy’s place. There will be the Nineteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists up at Pisaquari’s place, Buried Alive.

— The Stop Porn Culture Slideshow is back online! Please read my post I Blame The Porno-iarchy for a good introduction to it.

— A new website is up (from an email I received):

Our Voices Matter (OVM) is a new, grassroots, online project being launched to bring to the forefront the voices of individuals who have been harmed by prostitution, pornography, and/or trafficking. OVM seeks to provide a safe space for survivors to give voice to how prostitution, pornography, and trafficking have impacted their lives.

Our Voices Matter aims to shatter silences, create healing, raise awareness and incite action. OVM seeks to gather the pain, hurt, abuse, and horrors of survivors into a loud, overwhelming, and hopeful outcry that can and will be heard. OVM is an assertion that women and children matter; that the quest for a day when women and children are not bought and sold is worth fighting for; and that real social change is imperative to actualizing this goal.

Our Voices Matter
seeks your involvement:

* Share your testimony. We welcome written, audio, and video testimony as well as art, poetry, and other creative mediums. Testimony can be shared anonymously or with a pseudonym. All communications are confidential.

* Spread the word. Please circulate this link to individuals and groups that may be interested in taking part. Please post the available flier in your community or at your local rape crisis center, battered women’s shelter or other community space for women.

You can also share your story anonymously (or by using a nickname) here on my blog if you’ve been harmed, affected by pornography or harmed in the sex industry. Survivors of pornography and prostitution, let your voices be heard. Your stories matter.

— A new film, by Chyng Sun & Miguel Picker, The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality & Relationships is now available from the Media Education Foundation website.

— Also, from Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research & Education:

. . . Despite the illogical attempt of some to distinguish prostitution from trafficking, trafficking is simply the global form of prostitution. Sex trafficking may occur within or across international borders, thus women may be either domestically or internationally trafficked or both. Young women are trafficked for sexual use from the countryside to the city, from one part of town to another, and across international borders to wherever there are men who will buy them.

Prostitution is widely socially tolerated, with the buyers socially invisible. Even today, many mistakenly assume that prostitution is sex, rather than sexual violence, and a vocational choice, rather than a human rights abuse. Although clinicians are beginning to recognize the overwhelming physical violence in prostitution, its internal ravages are still not well understood. There has been far more clinical attention paid to sexually transmitted diseases among those prostituted than to their depressions, lethal suicidality, mood disorders, anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder) dissociative disorders, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury. Regardless of its legal status or its physical location, prostitution is extremely dangerous for women. Homicide is a frequent cause of death.

Prostitution is an institution akin to slavery, one so intrinsically discriminatory and abusive that it cannot be fixed–only abolished. At the same time, its root causes must be eradicated as well: sex inequality, racism and colonialism, poverty, prostitution tourism, and economic development that destroys traditional ways of living. The conditions that make genuine consent possible are absent from prostitution: physical safety, equal power with johns and pimps, and real alternatives. It is a cruel lie to suggest that decriminalization or legalization will protect anyone in prostitution. Until it is understood that prostitution and trafficking can appear voluntary but are not in reality free choices made from a range of options, it will be difficult to garner adequate support to assist those who wish to escape but have no other choices. Enforcement of international agreements challenging trafficking and prostitution can aid in this effort as can laws challenging men’s purchase of sex.

It is important to address men’s demand for prostitution. Acceptance of prostitution is one of a cluster of harmful attitudes that encourage and justify violence against women. Violent behaviors against women have been associated with attitudes that promote men’s beliefs that they are entitled to sexual access to women, that they are superior to women and that they are licensed as sexual aggressors. Those concerned with human rights must address the social invisibility of prostitution, the massive denial regarding its harms, its normalization as an inevitable social evil, and the failure to educate students in the mental health and public health professions. Trafficking and prostitution can only exist in an atmosphere of public, professional and academic indifference.

— from the article Human Trafficking and Prostitution.

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And, finally. . . for my little return to the blogosphere, let’s chill out a little and put some music on!

Here is Neneh Cherry, one of my favorite (female) singers, in the video of Woman:


Lyrics of
Woman:

You gotta be fortunate
You gotta be lucky now

I was just sitting here

Thinking good and bad

But I’m the kinda woman

That was built to last

They tried erasing me

But they couldn’t wipe out my past

To save my child

I’d rather go hungry

I got all of Ethiopia

Inside of me

And my blood flows

Through every man

In this godless land

That delivered me

I’ve cried so many tears even the blind can see

Chorus:
This is a woman’s world.

This is my world.

This is a woman’s world

For this man’s girl.

There ain’t a woman in this world,

Not a woman or a little girl,

That can’t deliver love

In a man’s world.

I’ve born and I’ve bread.
I’ve cleaned and I’ve fed.

And for my healing wits

I’ve been called a witch.

I’ve crackled in the fire

And been called a liar.

I’ve died so many times

I’m only just coming to life.

Chorus

My blood flows
Through every man and every child

In this godless land

That delivered me

I cried so many tears even the blind can see

Chorus

[Please note: I do not agree with every lyrics in the song, just some bits and pieces I can relate to.]

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The main speaker in both videos is Gunilla Ekberg from Sweden.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Another great feminist anti-prostitution video called “Not For Sale” can be found here.

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