Friday, March 30, 2012

My First Period - Spoken Word of Staceyann Chin

This is amazing.

Start at 10:10 for a shorter version that's more intense.

"Pregnant and I Know It" Music Video

This video is hilarious. It helps me a little with my anxiety of ever getting pregnant.  I'm deathly afraid of people thinking I'm fat.  What a terrific culture to be in... having to be afraid of pregnant bodies.

It's also nice to know that women are doing stuff like this in their downtime.  Making youtube videos is actually a very powerful thing... it helps change the discourse of the dominant male culture through humor and fun.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Serving Life: A Story about Angola's Inmates

Let's stop demonizing black men...


"I'm not fighting for a world where 'radical' rape exists. I'm fighting for a world where the world is free of any rape what so ever."

The Question of Violence

Montessori Education and The Partnership Way

A Message From Dr. Riane Eisler, Founder of the Center for Partnership Studies, and best selling author of many books including Tomorrow’s Children, The Chalice and the Blade, and The Real Wealth of Nations. Dr. Eisler and the Montessori Foundation have worked together for many years.

Anne Frank"It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more"
Anne Frank, Entry in her diary dated July 15, 1944

Riane EislerOver one million children under the age of sixteen died in the Holocaust. One of them was a young girl by the name of Anne Frank.

Anne was a Montessori child from February of 1934 until after the summer of 1941, when she and other Jewish children throughout Holland were told that they could no longer attend school with ‘normal’ children. Her Montessori experience was something in which Anne took particular pride. Non-Jewish schoolmates who survived the war tell us how much she enjoyed her school and the things she studied in those years. In her diary, she describes days after she could no longer go to school in which she carried on as many of her exercises as she could with home made materials. 

Like so many others, my life has been inspired by Anne Frank. She has become a symbol of everything precious and beautiful within the human spirit for people all over the world. Her story is perhaps especially poignant to me because I grew up in Austria during the same period, and barely escaped the Nazis myself. But to all of us who have a connection to the vision of Dr. Maria Montessori, little Anne is  the symbol of what  Montessori schools contribute to the lives of children.

Much of my life has been devoted to an effort to understand and come to grips with the great questions that I raise in my book, Tomorrow’s Children: A Blueprint for Partnership Education in the 21st Century:

•  What is the meaning of our journey on this Earth?

•  What about us connects us with, and distinguishes us from, the rest of nature?

•  Why are some people violent and cruel? Why do some of us feel the need to hurt and kill? Is it simply human nature? Is that why violence seems to be infecting so many children? If so, why are some people caring and peaceful? What pushes us in one direction or another?

•  What are our ethical and moral responsibilities as human beings? What impels us to wonder about such things?

Since time immemorial, people have sought answers to these kinds of questions through religion, philosophy, and the empirical method of investigation we call science. 

In my earlier book, The Chalice and the Blade, I attempted to show through specific evidence what Montessori educators know through their experience with children: that people are not inherently greedy, violent, or competitive, and that we are capable of living together in relative peace. I attempted to document that human beings actually did live in partnership and relative peace for tens of thousands of years.
As did Maria Montessori, I also came to the inevitable conclusion that in order to create a peaceful world, we must lay the foundation in our children, beginning when they are very young.

Unfortunately, in many schools, children often feel powerless to change the course of their lives, much less the course of the world around them. Many become immersed in the materialism and self-centeredness that permeates mass culture, futilely seeking meaning and belonging in the latest fad or commercial offering.
Montessori schools around the world offer an alternative way to raise and educate young people that I call Partnership Education. It is designed not only to help them to better navigate through our difficult times, but also to help them create a future that is oriented more toward partnership, rather than the familiar form of interpersonal relationships that I call the dominator model.

In the dominator model, relationships tend to be based on patterns of domination and submission. Most of us have observed, and perhaps experienced, the pain, fear, and tension of people who use coercion, jockey for control, or who try to manipulate and cajole when they are unable to express their real feelings. We can find this going on every day in the relationships within some families, classrooms, workplaces, and among nations or fanatical groups of ideologues.

Thankfully, most of us have also experienced another way of being, one where we feel safe and seen for who we truly are, where our essential humanity and that of others shines through, perhaps only for a little while, lifting our hearts and spirits, enfolding us in a sense that the world can after all be right, that we are valued and valuable. Relationships like these are based on mutual respect, nonviolence, and a desire to work things out in a reasonable and equitable manner if at all possible.

Although we may not use these terms (partnership and dominator), they do accurately describe the two extremes of the ways that people tend to organize their relationships, from the level of our families to our businesses, and even relationships among nations. While in real life things are rarely black or white, but rather shades of gray, we are all familiar with these two models from our own lives.

The partnership and dominator models not only describe individual relationships. They also describe systems of belief and social structures that either nurture and support – or inhibit and undermine – equitable, democratic, nonviolent, and caring relations. Once we understand the partnership and dominator cultural, social, and personal configurations, we can more effectively develop human institutions that foster a less violent, more equitable, democratic, and sustainable future.

Montessori schools are founded on the partnership model and encourage children to develop the ability to work together, think independently, and be empathetic and kind. As studies have shown, students in Montessori programs both tend to excel academically, they have exceptionally high levels of self-esteem and social and emotional maturity.

Teaching Children To Recognize Human Possibilities
Most schools give young people a false picture of what it means to be human. We tell them to be good and kind, nonviolent and giving. But on all sides they see and hear stories that portray us as bad, cruel, violent, and selfish. In the mass media, the focus of both action entertainment and news is on hurting and killing. Situation comedies make insensitivity, rudeness, and cruelty seem funny. Cartoons present violence as exciting, funny, and without real consequences.

This holds up a distorted mirror of themselves to our youth. And rather than correcting this false image of what it means to be human, some aspects of our education reinforce it.
In many schools, the history curriculum still emphasizes battles and wars. Western classics such as Homer’s Iliad and Shakespeare’s kings trilogy romanticize ‘heroic violence.’ Scientific stories tell children that we are the puppets of ‘selfish genes’ ruthlessly competing on the evolutionary stage.

Montessori schools deliver a different message, even from early childhood. Here children are seen as complete human beings, and are encouraged to discover their own talents and voices. They learn at their own pace, and are challenged to focus their attention and energy on self-mastery, rather than besting their classmates. The goal is still to produce very well educated people, but the means by which this is achieved are much more empowering and respectful.

One of the things that I admire about Montessori is that it offers children a much more balanced and positive view of history. Rather than glorify violence and conflict, Montessori schools help children to look at societies from the perspective of daily life, with an equal emphasis on the roles of women, who were, after all, anything but invisible and irrelevant, as well as the roles men played. Montessori students study the culture, cuisine, art, music, and great stories of past civilizations. Rather than pretend that bad things did not happen, they teach children to examine the evidence of celebration and kindness that did exist, along with the stories of not only warriors and kings, but of the people who made great contributions to social justice, scientific understanding, the arts and great literature, and the search for peace.

Montessori schools also bring to light civilizations, past and present day, that have often been ignored, where social life flourished on a basis of partnership and celebration of life. One of my favorite examples of this is the study of Minoan Crete, a glorious civilization which was ultimately destroyed not by invasion and conquest, but by a series of earthquakes and natural disasters.

It is interesting to consider why schools have continued to emphasize the themes of wars and domination in the history curriculum for so long. Not that they should be ignored, but why these experiences are often glorified seems illogical, if we all want peace on Earth.

But think about it from this perspective. If human beings are inherently violent, bad, and selfish, we have to be strictly controlled. This is why stories that claim this is ‘human nature’ are central to an education for a dominator or control system of relationships.

They are, however, inappropriate if young people are to learn to live in a democratic, peaceful, equitable, and Earth-honoring way: the partnership way urgently needed if today’s and tomorrow’s children are to have a better future – perhaps even a future at all.

Children are impoverished when their vision of the future comes out of a dominator world-view. This world-view is our heritage from earlier societies which were structured around rankings of people who considered themselves ‘superiors’ over their common and everyday ‘inferiors.’ In these societies, violence and abuse were required to maintain rigid rankings of domination – whether man over woman, man over man, nation over nation, race over race, or religion over religion.

Over the last several centuries we have seen many organized challenges to traditions of domination. These challenges are part of the movement toward a more equitable and caring partnership social structure worldwide. But at the same time, much in our education still reinforces what I call dominator socialization: a way of viewing the world and living in it that constricts young people’s perceptions of what is possible and even moral, keeping many of them locked into a perennial rebellion against what is without a real sense of what can be.

Montessori education is one of the few educational approaches that has been so highly successful in giving children both a sound grasp of core knowledge, and the big picture of human history and human possibilities.
The connections between my own ideas and Maria Montessori run deep. In my book, Tomorrow’s Children, I quote from Montessori’s works, and use the great themes in Montessori education, to illustrate many of the reforms that I have urged to transform the schools of today into the schools that we need for tomorrow’s children.

Montessori education has celebrated its first one hundred years, and has proven to be not only highly effective, but more relevant and important today than ever before. With the challenges that we face as human beings – social, environmental, and international – I am not aware of any other educational system that provides such a clearly defined overarching plan for preparing teachers to implement partnership education, along with the curriculum needed to support it.

I earnestly hope that as parents, you can appreciate the value of the education that you have chosen for them by sending them to a Montessori school. There they will absorb critical life skills and values that will serve them well down through the years.
Riane Eisler

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dinah Craik

But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Craik

gah! so true

Avril Lavigne - Complicated: I Love a Woman Who Can Tell it Like it Is

Kelly Clarkson - Mr. Know It All: Empowerment Time!

She's amazing!

This is a TRIP! Wooh.

Click. Enough said. Take in the music. = )

Ptahhotep, The Ancient Egyptian's Wisdom of Grace

I thought ya'll would enjoy the following quotes.  I fell in love and now they are hanging on my fridge so I will start to memorize them by heart.

  • "Great is the Law (Maat)." (p. 24)
  • "All conduct should be so straight that you can measure it with a plumb-line." (p. 27)
  • "Injustice exists in abundance, but evil can never succeed in the long run." (p. 32)
  • "Punish with principle, teach meaningfully. The act of stopping evil leads to the lasting establishment of virtue." (p. 32)
  • "The human race never accomplishes anything. It's what God commands that gets done." (p. 41)
  • "Those whom God guides do not go wrong. Those whose boat He takes away cannot cross." (p. 43)
  • "Follow your heart all your life, do not commit excess with respect to what has been ordained." (p. 66)
  • "If you work hard, and if growth takes place as it should in the fields, it is because God has placed abundance in your hands." (p. 74)
  • "Do not gossip in your neighbourhood, because people respect the silent." (p. 74)
  • "Listening benefits the listener." (p. 74)
  • "If he who listens, listens fully, then he who listens becomes he who understands." (p. 76)
  • "He who listens becomes the master of what is profitable." (p. 76)
  • "To listen is better than anything, thus is born perfect love." (p. 76)
  • "God loves he who listens. He hates those who do not listen." (p. 76)
  • "As for the ignorant man who does not listen, he accomplishes nothing. He equates knowledge with ignorance, the useless with the harmful. He does everything which is detestable, so people get angry with him each day." (p. 77)
  • "A perfect word is hidden more deeply than precious stones. It is to be found near the servants working at the mill-stone." (p. 78)
  • "Only speak when you have something worth saying." (p. 79)
  • "As for you, teach your disciple the words of tradition. May he act as a model for the children of the great, that they may find in him the understanding and justice of every heart that speaks to him, since man is not born wise." (p. 85)
  • "A woman with happy heart brings equilibrium." (p. 107)
  • "Love your wife with passion." (p. 107)
  • "As for those who end up continually lusting after women, none of their plans will succeed." (p. 108)
  • "How wonderful is a son who obeys his father!" (p. 112)
  • "How happy he is of whom it is said: 'A son is kind-natured when he knows how to listen.'" (p. 112)
  • "Do not blame those who are childless, do not criticise them for not having any, and do not boast about having them yourself." (p. 113)
  • "May your heart never be vain because of what you know. Take counsel from the ignorant as well as the wise..." (p. 119)
  • "So do not place any confidence in your heart in the accumulation of riches, since everything that you have is a gift from God." (p. 126)
  • "Think of living in peace with what you possess, and whatever the Gods choose to give will come of its own accord." (p. 127)
  • "Do not repeat a slanderous rumour, do not listen to it." (p. 139)
  • "He who has a great heart has a gift from God. He who obeys his stomach obeys the enemy." (p. 140)
  • "Those who[m] the Gods guide cannot get lost. Those they forbid passage will not be able to cross the river of life." (p. 143)
Here's the link to the source.

Controlling and Un-Controlling the Birds*

Letting a caged bird go is GOOD, but at the same time BAD.  It has consequences.
If the birdy flies away and never comes back, something went wrong… somehow… =(

If it comes back, it LOVES you, and wants to stay with you because you treated it well in the past and nothing too horrible happened to it in that environment you have so little control over.
So, how ‘bout those categories, man and woman?  (Or black and white, or worker and boss, or student and teacher, etc)?

Can men just let go of “their” women, and start letting them live the life they desire with them?  I know it’s very, very hard [I’m not as clear on this issue. I haven’t been raised as “Man”, whatever that is.  You get my drift? I hope so. = )]. But we know that women get hurt, raped, abused when going to bars with her girlfriends and getting looks and men intruding on her unwillingly.  It’s like rape of the eyes. Men look at women and women want to hide because they are so scared of the pain! They’ll hurt without you, but they’ll also hurt with you if you keep her waiting and worrying.  ANYWAYS, don’t fret over my words; we know she’ll come back to you if you truly know in your heart that you love her. ; ) The only true way to know she loves you is if you show it and you *know* she senses it and responds in laughter and smiles.

And, women, can we let our men go?  It feels like we shouldn’t, doesn’t it? They go to war, and they fight in bars and come back broken? They accidentally cripple others with their rage?  = ( Makes me want to cry.  But if you don’t let them go, they’ll just never come back.  We give them our whole selves and then they throw us back like garbage.  We clean up after them, we clean their kitchens and cook, we laugh at their jokes, we try to live beneath their shade as the sun penetrates just so we can BE. I know we wish they could see how much we love them and how much they hurt us, but maybe letting go isn't so bad after all? I know it hurts, but I’m done with the pain, and the sooner we’re done with the pain, the sooner we can see the LIGHT of DAY.

For all those guys (and ladies), here is someone who can help: 

Hard-Fi - 'Fire In The House' [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

 For all those gals (and gents), here is someone who can explain it in a different way:

Universal Solider by First Aid Kit [Official Video]

Also, for good measure, when we talk to others, let's take into consideration the Ancient Egyptian, Ptahhotep:
"Do not gossip in your neighbourhood, because people respect the silent."


*Sheesh the word “uncontrolling” doesn’t even exist in Word 2010! I had to put “un-controlling”.  What’s up with that?  I guess we just don’t understand the concept of “uncontrolling” as much... So, if you'll let me, I'll make a leap and I hope you can trust me. Why isn't there a word for "uncontrolling" in word 2010?  Maybe it doesn't exist? Maybe it just doesn't have it? My guess, it exists but Word 2010 just doesn't recognize it.  Maybe Word 2012 when it comes around. = )

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Phah hotep's Advice to Son about How to treat Women

Well this is interesting. I just got done talking to an Egyptian (He's literally FROM Egypt) Mythologist, and man is he SMART!  He told me about Ra (the sun god) who was all alone and lonely.  So, what did he do? He masturbated.  He masturbated, and then from his cum, he created 4 children: Geb (Earth), Nut (Sky), Shy? (air), and Tefnut (humidity). lol! What a crazy world, and the things we come up with. = )

Here are some original notes from him (the blue is his original handwriting, mine is the black/gray).
Click image or here to enlarge.

Also interesting, ptah hotep, who wrote wisdom literature, advised his son on how to treat his wife and mother.

Here is a little info from wiki about his work, The Instruction of Ptah Hotep.

In the introduction, the author explains the reason for writing the instruction, namely his having reached old age and wanting to pass on the wisdom of his ancestors who had, in his words, listened to the gods. The Maxims are conformist precepts extolling such civil virtues as truthfulness, self-control and kindness towards one's fellow beings. Learning by listening to everybody and knowing that human knowledge is never perfect are a leitmotif. Avoiding open conflict wherever possible should not be considered weakness. Justice should be pursued and in the end it will be a god's command that prevails. Some of the maxims refer to one's behaviour when in the presence of the great, how to choose the right master and how to serve him. Others teach the correct way to lead through openness and kindness. Greed is the base of all evil and should be guarded against, while generosity towards family and friends is praiseworthy. Rise in the social order should be accepted as a gift from an Egyptian god and could be preserved by accepting the precedence of one's superior.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Young Radical’s View of Marriage by Amy Littlefield

Here is a nice article about marriage from the point of view of a radical woman named Amy Littlefield.  I found it to be really interesting and helpful.
A University of Michigan study[1] found that becoming a wife creates seven added hours of housework per week for women. For men, housework decreases by one hour per week after marriage. Another way to say this is that gender roles some like to claim are dead are in fact alive and well. The study took a "nationally representative" sample of couples (including, presumably, some who believed they were flouting the division of labor) and relied on time-diary data from 2005.
      Beyond household chores, radicals have objected to marriage on multiple fronts and for obvious reasons. For Emma Goldman, the institution of marriage crippled women in the same way that capitalism crippled men: "It is like that other paternal arrangement —capitalism," she wrote in the essay "Marriage and Love," published in the 1917 collection Anarchism and Other Essays. Capitalism "robs man of his birthright, stunts his growth, poisons his body, keeps him in ignorance, in poverty and dependence, and then institutes charities that thrive on the last vestige of man's self-respect," she wrote. And marriage does the same to women, all under the guise of protecting them.
      "The institution of marriage makes a parasite of woman, an absolute dependent," wrote Goldman. "It incapacitates her for life's struggle, annihilates her social consciousness, paralyzes her imagination, and then imposes its gracious protection, which is in reality a snare, a travesty on human character."
      Engels wrote in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State that the monogamous family and its marriage ties, "based on the supremacy of the man," were created for the secure transfer of property rights — the "express purpose" of such ties was to "produce children of undisputed paternity; such paternity is demanded because these children are later to come into their father’s property." Both land and wealth were primarily exchanged through marriage as far back as there are writer records.[2]
      For proof that the connection between marriage and property — and the notion of wives as property of men — is still alive, albeit in mutated form, we need look no further than pop artist Beyoncé’s recent hit "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and its refrain: "If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it." Accompanied by sporty dance moves and intended as a ballad of female empowerment, the message is nonetheless a regressive one: that a man can stake a claim on a woman through marriage, if he has the financial capital to do so.
      Feminists, certainly, have had their objections to marriage, not merely for the extra housework it creates. Marlene Dixon called the institution of marriage "the chief vehicle for the perpetuation of the oppression of women."[3] Betty Freidan wrote in the feminist classic The Feminine Mystique that marriage stunted the mental growth of middle-class housewives. Simone de Beauvoir had no use for marriage, writing in the hallmark The Second Sex that "Marriage is obscene in principle insofar as it transforms into rights and duties those mutual relations which should be founded on a spontaneous urge."[4]
      Then there is the fact that non-heterosexual couples cannot marry in the majority of places in the United States. While conservatives argue against same-sex marriage on the basis of "tradition," historians such as Nancy Cott have noted that change is the only true tradition in the history of marriage, which has fluctuated according to evolving views on race, sex, and religion. For Cott, the exclusion of same-sex couples conflicts with a historical trend toward gender equality in marriage.[5]
      Among people who can and do marry, data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show for every two couples who married, one got divorced in 2009.
      In fact, marriage appears to be failing as a model for many families. According to an analysis of 2000 Census data by the group Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, only 22.4 percent of households included a married heterosexual couple with biological offspring. That group has used such data to reframe "family values," expand the conservative definition of "family" and promote policies that support all families.[6]
      Marriage also appears to be more popular among whites, leading some writers, including Joy Jones in an infamous 2006 Washington Post piece, to suggest that "Marriage is for white people." A study of 2007 Census data showed 80 percent of white, non-Hispanic family groups and 82 percent of Asian family groups were married couples, while such couples composed only 45 percent of black family groups and 65 percent of Hispanic family groups. Black feminists have argued that economic inequalities rooted in racism and slavery are partly to blame for the gap. Add to that the fact that one in nine black men ages 20-34 are incarcerated (compared to 1 in 30 men overall in the same category) and the likelihood of black women finding partners of the same race decreases substantially.[7]
      But that has not stopped critics from alternately blaming black men and black women for not marrying. The Wedded Bliss Foundation, for example, creator of the event Black Marriage Day, encourages marriage as a stabilizing force for the black community and a way to reduce single parenthood, telling black women — in language eerily similar to the what 1950s magazines told white, middle-class housewives — that "Marriage is the best environment for a woman to be all she can be."[8]
      Marriage is a vehicle through which the state regulates which pairings are acceptable — as we saw with the historical criminalization of mixed-race marriages — and which people are fit to raise families — as we see with the modern attempts to ban gay marriage and prohibit gay families from adopting children. Throughout history, marriage has been used as a way for the state to regulate bodies and sexualities, determining which people are fit to marry, disenfranchising people of color, and punishing women from lower classes who did not or could not fit the mold of the acceptable wife. The criminalization of mixed-race marriage continues in a certain way, as the state regulates marriages between immigrants and residents, deciding which couples have the legitimate right to live together on U.S. soil. Marriage is one of the most personal and prevalent ways the state involves itself in the private lives of people.
      So what possible good can marriage offer a young person with political convictions? Tax incentives, for a start. A chance at a ceremony paid for by other people and attended by loved ones who support the union. An easy way to inform strangers of the status of one’s heart. A cascade of domestic implements related to cooking, cleaning, and keeping house. But is that worth entering an institution that is imbued with sexism, racism, state control, and social privilege, and potentially taking on an extra seven hours a week of housework?
Such questions weigh on my mind as I reach the age where people I know are actually entering the "obscene" and crippling institution.
      Years ago, when I first registered for the social media website Facebook, it was routine for people to virtually "marry" close friends by selecting a friend’s name on the profile section dedicated to relationship status. By elevating close female friendships over any potential marriage bonds, my friends and I mocked the institution of marriage and played with gender norms, albeit in a superficial way. Despite being in a real-life, heterosexual partnership, I remain "engaged" to a college friend on Facebook, a status that has recently caused confusion among family and friends, who have begun to notice that I am now out of college and at the age when I might marry. This, I think, marks a significant milestone.
      For me, the question of whether to marry is tied to the larger issue of how fully to embrace other institutional privileges. For example, I can afford to own a car, but does that necessarily mean I should buy one, and thus support environmental degradation and foreign wars fought for oil? For those of us who choose to live in civilization — and even, I would imagine, for those who live off-the-grid and use bicycles for transportation and rainwater for sustenance — these questions connect the personal to the political. How does one balance personal happiness with the struggle for collective liberation?
      Like the choice to own a car, marriage is a personal decision connected to the oppression of others. If I choose to get married, am I turning my back on friends and comrades in same-sex relationships who never can?[9] Am I supporting an unequal institution imbued with racism and misogyny? Am I committing to extra hours of dish-washing and floor-mopping? Marriage, it should be noted, is less practically useful than a car. One can certainly get around in society without it, albeit with fewer economic benefits.
      Just as some educators may choose public-school teaching in order to reform the system from inside, some radicals may seize the opportunity to reform marriage, to create their own, more-balanced reality within the institution. Yet what the University of Michigan study seems to suggest is that gender roles do in fact still govern relationships, even, perhaps, for progressive couples who may believe they are equally dividing housework. The difficulty of balancing family with work — a balance all "modern" women are expected to accomplish with grace — is a daunting prospect for me, and one that I believe has driven my early attempts to decide on a career quickly. So far, my like-minded partner and I do a pretty good job of balancing housework chores. But if we were to keep track of our hours doing housework, as the couples in the study did, I wonder if we would be surprised by what we discovered.
      Some couples — including one I know well — have chosen to hold commitment ceremonies, which are like weddings minus the wedding. There is no exchanging of rings, changing of names or signing of government paperwork, and the lack of tax benefits is balanced by the benefit of — well, not having to be married.
      Still, plenty of modern-day radicals and feminists do choose to marry, and some have inspired quite a backlash in the process. Jessica Valenti, founder of the blog Feministing, has written about her marriage ceremony, where she skipped the white dress, had both parents walk her down the aisle, kept her last name and confidently entered what she believed would be an equal partnership.[10] But when her wedding was featured in the New York Times Style section, feminists and misogynists clambered over each other in their haste to call Valenti a hypocrite. Perhaps more than anything else, that debate revealed that today’s feminists are conflicted about marriage (and that today’s sexists are enabled by the Internet). Many young feminists, myself included, are internally conflicted over the prospect of marrying.
      Personally, I like the idea of having a public ceremony — minus the religious trappings — where I declare my love for my partner in front of those I care about, and then we eat cake. I even like the idea of both of us being dressed up when we do this. But, particularly with the divorce rate as high as it is, I don’t feel eager to enter an institution that I associate with social inequality and housework. In my foggy vision of the future, my partner and I stand before a gathering of family and friends and recite love poems or self-made vows, then share a meal with people we love. At some point, maybe, there is dancing, which, unlike marriage, Emma Goldman might have appreciated. Then we move on with our equal and independent lives, with some commitment to togetherness and chore-sharing. It’s a simple idea, and one more ancient than the origin of property rights. Best of all, it means I don’t have to dump my friend on Facebook.
Link to Original Article 

Monday, March 12, 2012

They: A Poem

We are missing parts of ourselves because they became a part of us over time,
and we allowed it, all for the sake of love.
We let the night forever stand still, never letting us see the blinding light of the true nature of the sun.

They became a part of us,
and now moon sized holes fill our hearts that they inhabited because they have left us…
We risked our lives all for the sake of love that they can't seem to offer us.
We feel ripped apart, needing just to find a new piece of life to sew back together the damage.

The time comes to fill those holes with others: others that seemingly aren't they.
We disappear when we attempt to fill the holes, but it's all we can do to bandage an unhealing wound.

It's not hard though to let go of they,
because they didn't inhabit a big piece of us that really mattered…

We didn't truly loved them

We love, yes… but only on the surface of our hearts and brains
because we couldn't let them penetrate further.

We were never really able to be ourselves around those that terrify and rape,
Never able to express ourselves without condemning and glorifying our thoughts,
Never able to just be around them like we can with those others…
We always knew this, but continue to ignore it even now…

We don't want to admit failure.
A failure of love,
A failure we've been told is our fault,
because it's our job to fix those they into something of our own liking.

Our lesson becomes Let Be and Let Live,
but we live in a system that doesn't Let Be.
We thrive in a system of retribution and disease,
disallowing a true love of they.

This is what happens when little girls and boys are psychologically conditioned from birth to think that romance and love with those they are the ultimate goals in life.

We tear ourselves apart trying to achieve just an once of love and then we tell ourselves we aren't worth it.  That we are ugly, damaged, stupid, enraged, fat, crazy, bastards, in need of change, a genius, gullible, all powerful, worthless, the king... because we are.... because of society's conditioning of how we act and behave.

We think it's our fault because the movies make it seem so easy to love and hate those they.  So black and white.  We think it's our fault because we live in a society where abuse and pain is kept secret from little girls and boys.

Oh, we know it, we know the abuse and pain happens.  We always have.  But it's oh so quiet on the home front.... The nuclear family is the ultimate secret keeper, even to themselves.

Fearful Love: A Poem

Stop calling me boring
    Because now you’re boring me.
Stop telling me I’m unproductive
    Because now I can’t move.
Stop telling me to be all you want me to be,
    Because I can barely get up in the morning because of the confusion.
Stop saying makeup is ugly,
    Because now I feel ugly… and CRAZY confused.

Stop all of it.
Start loving me.
Stop killing.
Start living.
Stop the hatred.
Start touching me
    with your words.

I can’t go on like this.
I can’t even breathe
    Because you are no longer my breath of fresh air.

Touch me with your words
    And I will lovingly give you all you want.
Touch me, and I will touch you back, letting my hand glide over you because you touch me so deeply with your words.

I love you,
But if you can’t understand me, sympathize with me, hold me, then I can’t go on truly loving you.

Women live in a world of makeup and make believe because they can barely obtain it in real life.
Women put a smile on their faces, when really they are drowning in sorrow.
Women fake it until they make it.
Women give man new life, even when women mask their pain with fantasy.
And then when the fantasy fades away, men ask, “Where did you go? You aren’t the women I married.”
And the woman responds, “You killed me with your talk of death.”
And then the man verbally abuses, punches, rapes, dismembers, until she is in a state of submissiveness.
    And the woman responds, “Yes, honey, I love you, always.”

-To all men and women who have hurt me

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Repentant Magdalen by Georges De La Tour

Youthful Poems

I wrote these poems my senior year of high school (so four years ago).  They are interesting because they reflect my style of writing even now.

While I love the way you talk,
I doubt I can trust you to take the walk.
Your devotion for me
May someday leave you feeling un-free.
Like the bodies of the dead run cold,
I am afraid your love for me will grow old.
Our glistening life together will drain out of sun
And you may wish to forevermore freely run.
Eventually you will unshackle your heart
And leave me to depart.

My heart leaps up when I behold
Something important to be told.
When an idea comes to morph my thoughts,
It leaves me feeling up in knots.
But when I unearth the answer from a day to night,
I feel alive with delight.

My Lost One
Through the days and nights
My soul wept.
Not for you but for my lost one instead.

While sleeping soundly, I cried from within.
Will I ever find my lost one and when?
I think about all the times I’ve had
And wonder if it was at all worth it in the end.

After some time I decide
You weren’t worth being by my side.
I now know that I need time
To find myself and live without
The fake façade that sparked doubt.

My heart was like space
Exploring with new taste.
My sight like an infant,
Seeing everything new and bright.
My hearing like a new echo
Filled with fresh sounds.
All these new sights and sounds
Came to fill me up to discover
Its new lands and waters.

Always War
Always War.
But what is it for?
Like death, it’s unavoidable.
But why must we fight when we can speak?
Why must we kill to get what we desire?
Do we go to war to do what’s right?
Or is some of it out of spite?
Maybe it’s all a fabrication covering
the light to the truth
To achieve political values and its morals.

Death. Danger. Damage. Destruction.
Is this really what we want?

Wonderful  Darkness
Euphoria is all she feels.

The birds, the trees,
The flowers, and the bees.

Serenity possesses her.

The mind of her sun brightens up her day.

Like the vibrant sky, everything around her intoxicates her with

Peace. Love. Bliss.

It’s something she will never have to miss.

Anguish is all he feels.

His mind is plagued
With what he made.

Serenity broke away.

The mind of his sun deadens his day.

Like the dead sky, everything around him intoxicates him with gloom.

Darkness. Fear. Hate.

It must be his fate.

The True Light

Life is filled with wonder.
We emerge innocent and naïve.
Everyone struggling to guard
          us and deceive.
A veil rests over our eyes
Covered with deceit and lies.

The veil is crisp
And it always eventually tears and rips.
It lets in the blinding true light
From the midnight sun so bright.

Life is filled with simplicity in the beginning.
Full of smiles and laughter.
Hope and wonder.
Dreams and whispers...

The murmurs of truth
Come to tell us life is uncouth.
Hopes and dreams are left neglect
While hearts are wrecked.
Loved ones go cold
And lies unfold.

Innocence is smothered to a shattering end.

Life is filled with dread.
But we must go on
And forget the mess
To relieve our helpless stress.
We must find hope
To fulfill our dreams and cope
And find our own true light.

A Quote from Anne Frank

‘It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death...and yet...I think...this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.’

A truly inspirational figure.

The Pure Horror of One's Own Self

*Photos composed with Photoshop from my travel pictures from Europe and pictures of Lykki Li, one of my favorite musical artists who's from Sweden.  My friend and I actually saw her in concert in New Orleans. She's amazing! I took her in a completely different direction with this art so don't think she's a horrid person at all!

Here is one of her songs recomposed by Mikael:

We also saw First Aid Kit, a young duet from Sweden who came with Lykke Li to perform. This song is actually a cover from Fever Ray, who are also another amazing band from Sweden.  Fever Ray's music was also featured in that movie, Red Riding Hood.

Flowers in the Attic

A Lovely Photo Depicting V.C. Andrews' book Flowers in the Attic

This has always been one of my favorite novels which I have read over and over throughout the years.

Here is a lovely poem by Herewithme:

The flowers in the attic
have faded in the sun
they used to be so beautiful
now natures work has been undone

they were once in a beloved garden
where the children once played
but were harvested and placed in a vase
one cold winter's day

they sat there day and night
to make the room more attractive
but as the petals wilted,
and as the stems began to rot
the hope of all new life was forgot

they were transported to the attic
like it was embarrassing to see them
so there they sat, in the dank, still air
sad and alone. never to blossom again
The Origin of The Family, Private 
Property, and the State 
A Summary

The origin, written by Friedrich Engels, is significantly based on Karl Marxs notes from the book Ancient Society: Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization by Lewis Henry Morgan, an American anthropologist.  After his death, Marxs notes were picked up by Engels who transformed them into The Origin.  It is important to remember that The Origin is composed of the thoughts of many people as Engels was influenced by many.  Engels was influenced by Marx and Morgan as mentioned before, but hes also influenced by Bachofen, who wrote Mother Right and believed in the historical change of the sexes to monogamy.  Engels was also influenced by J.F. McLennan who was regarded as the pioneer of developing a history of the family.

Engels’ Origin of the Family, like Morgan’s Ancient Society, subdivides human history into three stages: savagery, barbarism, and civilization.  These stages are divided according to the progress made in food production: namely hunter gatherer societies under savagery, horticultural societies under barbarism, and commodity production under civilization.  The progress made in food production led to changes in the social organization of society; this is a materialistic explanation of society where society’s production (the production of the means of existence: food, shelter, tools) & society’s reproduction (the propagation of the species) determines society’s social organization.  Increases in food production over the three stages of human history led to changes in the social organization of kinship arrangements which are built upon differing arrangements of marriage.  Increases in food production over the stages also led to different social organizations of the division of labor, the rise of surplus production, and the gentile constitution giving way to the state.  Another important aspect of these stages are the gens, which was a kinship organization based on blood relation with descent recognized from the female line.  The gens was also bound together through religious and social institutions between whom marriage was prohibited.  The gens is based on matrilineal descent due to the fact that women are more easily identified as the biological mother as they literally carry the next generation.

The economic base of society (production) determines the superstructure of society (the family); this is a materialistic explanation of society.  As the economic base of society increased in wealth due to the increase of production, the family is transformed into the monogamous family.  In other words the amassing of property or surplus (the mode of production or the economic base of society) broke up the gens, replacing it with the modern single monogamous family (the superstructure of society) dominated by private property, social classes, and the state.

The three stages of human history begins with Savagery.  Savagery, or what modern anthropology refers to as hunter gatherer society, was dominated by group marriage, the gens with matrilineal kinship, and equality between women and men where the sexes had a ‘natural’ division of labor.  According to Engels, this ‘natural’ division of labor is a sexual division of labor which proclaims that women naturally own the household, having real supremacy over her own labor within the household.  Men, on the other hand, naturally own the instruments of productive labor which are responsible for the ‘productive work’ of obtaining and producing food.  The stage of savagery experienced two types of group marriage: the consanguine family and the punaluan family.  Both the consanguine family and punaluan family had prearranged marriages decided before birth where whole groups of men and women mutually possess one another in marriage.  The first stage of the family is the consanguine family, which excludes marriage between parents and children (i.e. exclusion of marriage between generations) but not among brothers, sisters and cousins who are all held together in group marriage.  The consanguine family gives way to the punaluan family, which is the second stage of the family and prevents brothers, sisters, and cousins from marrying.  Due to this exclusion of marriage among sisters, brothers, and cousins within the punaluan family, the gens develops where descent is recognized through the mother.  The gens separates brothers and sisters into different families.

The second stage of human history is Barbarism, which is comparable to horticultural or pastoral societies.  The third stage of the family, the pairing family, comes to fruition under Barbarism where marriage is decided by the parents and prohibits marriage among all relatives, ending group marriage for good.  The pairing marriage is between one unrelated woman with one unrelated man, giving men a better warrant of paternity but still not passing down inheritance to the man’s children.  While group marriage comes to a close under Barbarism and ends group marriage as the pairing marriage rises, the gens with matrilineal descent still lives on becoming common to all, leaves men with better paternity, and is characterized by the supremacy of women since women were all from the same gens under one family while men were separated into the different families of the women.

Barbarism is also the beginning of animal domestication and the origin of agriculture, which coincides with the transition from the pairing family to the monogamous family as they are connected through a materialist explanation where increases in production lead to changes in the superstructure, the family.  In the eastern hemisphere of the world animal domestication becomes prominent, while the western hemisphere is dominated by agriculture.  This is where the two hemispheres of the world split from each other into different stages of human history.  The eastern hemisphere marched on through Barbarism and on into Civilization, while the western hemisphere becomes inert, remaining in Barbarism until the eastern hemisphere conquered the west.  This stagnation of the west is due to the lack of animals capable of being domesticated.  In the east, however, animal domestication flourished, increasing production as domesticated herds aided in the process of crop production.  This increase in production included all branches, i.e. cattle raising, agriculture, domestic handicrafts.  This increase in production lead to a crop surplus and created a regular exchange system.  This crop surplus of the east resulted in the first great social division of labor where pastoral societies separated from the rest of the barbarians or from the Barbarism Stage and transitioned into Civilization.  As an increase in production due to the labor of domesticated animals lead to an increase in surplus, new labor forces were needed to maintain this growth in production.  Slavery became the answer to maintaining growth in production and became functional within society unlike never before.  Before, slavery was worthless as human labor power couldn’t before produce a surplus.  As slavery became functional within society, it produced the first great cleavage of society into classes where there were masters and there were slaves; one group was composed of exploiters while the other was exploited for their surplus producing labor.  Also, for the first time, wars were waged as a regular industry for the sole purpose of plunder to gain their property for wealth.  Domesticated animals were passed out of the common ownership of the gens and into the ownership of individual heads of families as a cleavage of society into classes can’t maintain a harmonized or coherent society like the gens.

Barbarism began with the pairing family where men and women were still relatively equal, but, with a surplus in production, a transition to monogamy ensued.  Therefore, this is a materialistic explanation where a change in the production with the beginning of a surplus (the material basis for the change) affected the superstructure of society: the family.  The family began the transition to monogamy due to the economic changes in production.  This revolution of the family to monogamy only occurred in the east, not the west until eastern intervention.  This revolution of the family is constructed from the first ‘natural’ division of labor between the sexes.  In other words, the already-in-place ‘natural’ division of labor guided how the family was constructed.  Men have always acquired the necessities of life owning and producing the means of production, while women utilize the products produced by men in order to run the household which they own.  The ‘natural’ division of labor doesn’t cause the transition to monogamy (a surplus owned by the men does) but it sets the stage for an altered form of the family.  As men have always owned the means of production, they inherited the domesticated animals and slaves as they are both tool of production.  Women don’t own the domesticated animals and slaves; their realm of ownership is within the household, which was at first considered as equally important as owning the means of production.  As stated before, domesticated animals and slaves produced a surplus, which became the property of men, not women.  Women still enjoyed the surplus created from animal production by men, but they didn’t own it.  In other words, the ‘natural’ division of labor between men and women stayed the same, but it structured the division of property between women and men as men solely owned the new property of the cattle and slaves which produced a surplus.  Therefore, men alone owned the surplus, giving men an advantage over women as they had more wealth which created unequal power between men and women.  With this advantage, men overthrew the matriarchal gens and replaced it with the single monogamous family based on male inheritance as we now know today.  This was done by men in order to put in place a system of male lineage where their male children inherited the surplus and the surplus producing property of domesticated animals and slaves.  The transition to monogamy and the abolition of the gens was a step taken by men due to their exploitive position.  The surplus they gained through slaves and domesticated animals increased their wealth and amplified their position over women within the family.  With this leverage over women, men overthrew the gens in order to secure inheritance rights for their children, passing inheritance on through the male line instead of the female line.  Ever since the overthrow of the gens, women have been degraded to the servitude of men, becoming instruments of reproduction to ensure the paternity and inheritance rights of his children.

During the ending of Barbarism the second social division of labor occurs where handicraft production is separated from agricultural production.  This leads to commodity production where production is no longer for use by producers but is directly exchanged for money or cattle which acts in the place of money.  In other words, production becomes no longer used by the producer, but is now exchanged for cattle and later money.  Slavery now becomes essential to society where freemen and slaves become the new cleavage of class society.  Since there are inequalities in property ownership among the men in individual heads of families, it breaks up communities, leading to the erosion of kinship and the movement of people no longer bound to their territory.  The transition to private property due to a surplus in production (the economic base) leads to changes to the single monogamous family (the superstructure).

This now brings us to the stage of civilization: the current stage of human history.  Civilization is characterized by the monogamous single family, commodity production with exchange between individuals, and the state which overthrew the gentile constitution of previous times.  Civilization only developed in the eastern hemisphere, until it was brought into the west during colonization.  Civilization is dominated by the monogamous family, the fourth stage of the family.  Under the monogamous family, marriage is decided by economics as the single family is the economic unit in society.  The monogamous family is based on male supremacy as monogamy is used to subjugate women who are used to produce children with undisputable paternity in order to pass down the property of domesticated animals and slaves through the male line.  Before both women and men’s tasks were social and public (women upheld the communistic household while men produced food communistically), but, under the monogamous family, the household lost its public character, moving into the private sector where women were excluded from public production.  While the term monogamy implies sex with only one other person, the ‘monogamous’ family is actually supplemented by adultery and prostitution.  This is because marriage is predominately decided by economics, which makes it a matter of convenience and not a matter of love.  The monogamous family didn’t develop due to matters of sex love but due to economic reasons where men could pass down private property through the male line.  

Civilization also leads to the third great social division of labor where the merchants were born.  The merchants became the mediators between the producers, creating a division between those who direct production (the merchants) and those who execute production (the producers).  The merchants’ primary concern is with exchanging products for profit, not with production.  This third social division of labor led to periodical trade crises; metallic money as an instrument of domination of the non-producer over the producer; loans leading to interest; wealth in commodities, increases in slaves, money, and land; the concentration and centralization of wealth increasing mass impoverishment; and the breaking up of the settled conditions of life from the repeated shifting and changing of residence due to the pressure of trade, alteration of occupation, and changes in ownership of land.

As stated previously, the state comes to dominate society with the birth of civilization replacing the old gentile constitution of previous stages of human history.  The gentile constitution was a social institution that divided society based on the gens and was for the will of the people requiring members to be settled in the same territory.  Division of labor under the gentile constitution is based on the ‘natural’ division of labor where only the sexes are divided, each the master in their own sphere and owning the instruments of their labor.  Under this system, there are no poor or slaves, no ruler reigning over the people, and no complicated administrative apparatus.  All are equal and free with no difference between rights and duties among people.  As the state took over society due to the sale and purchase of land and the progressive division of labor, the gentile constitution sank to the level of private associations and religious bodies.  The state came from the material need to support and maintain the new system of the monogamous family where men owned private property (i.e. the surplus producing slaves and domesticated animals, the money, etc.).

The state is a machine for the plundering, oppression, and domination of others in order to protect the possessing class against the non-possessing class to secure riches and sanctify the private property of men, classes, and male privilege.  The state requires many features in order to function.  First, it requires people be grouped on the basis of territory where traditional kinship is eroded in order to break people apart into classes.  Territory becomes heterogeneous where slaves, citizens, and foreigners all coincide in the same territory.  The state also requires an armed public force consisting of an army, prisons, a police force, and other coercive institutions.  This armed public force is separated from the masses of the people, serving state authorities not the people as it’s impossible to have a people’s army because of the cleavage of society into classes.  Third, the state needs class opposition and division where the privileged have the rights and the unprivileged have the duties of society, setting people against each other in classes.  Fourth, the state necessitates an alienating power standing above the warring classes of society in order to suppress open conflict and keep it within the bounds of ‘order’ letting the classes fight it out on an economic level.  Fifth, the state needs taxes to maintain the armed public force, which inevitably leads to state debt as it’s never enough.

Engels proposes society is moving towards a fifth stage of the family which I’ve termed the egalitarian family where marriage is decided by ‘sex love.’  Previously, marriage was decided before birth under group marriages, by parents under the pairing family, and by economics under the monogamous family of civilization.  The monogamous family still holds true even today as marriage is still linked with material economic wellbeing (i.e. women still marry men as a security measure where our culture is pervaded by the idea that women need men in order to survive economically).  Engels argues that society’s production, the economic base of society, will eventually lead to the development of social property instead of private property.  Private property with its ownership over land, animals, slaves, and money is the economic foundations of the monogamous family and the material conditions for the existence of patriarchy.   Engels argues that with a social revolution of society’s production into social property, monogamy will be truly realized.  This social revolution will transform the means of production into social property where women can prosper economically without the security of men.  The labor of women will leave the private sector of society and will no longer be excluded from social production; this will lead to the destruction of the monogamous family where patriarchy rules under private property.