Nemesis as Prayer for the People in our Troubled Time

June 21, 2009

The well-credentialed author of the book, Nemesis — named for the Greek Goddess who used Her righteous anger to destroy arrogance, hubris and oppression — suggests that the American republic has gone down so far an imperialist path since World War II, the necessary corrective workings  of Nemesis will be financial ruin (if we can avoid nuclear war).  Since the book’s publication a couple of years ago, the increasingly negative globalization of dominant political economies — and today’s headlines — reflect a time of challenge so great we might all unite in prayer or consciousness beyond religious and secular viewpoints, beyond blue and red, beyond our own opinions.

But how to unite for ending oppression in our time?  Being American by birth, let me start with the people I know best.

Americans  have long been praying (some would say preying)  — something all male-dominant systems seem to share in political common.  Our versions of God as male deity don’t seem to be helping or bringing an end to evil; neither does false hope for believers only to be beamed up during armageddon. For that reason, why not try praying that Nemesis end the reign of global oppression — and clear the way for an end to the domination and submission modeled at its roots in the gender war that’s the longest war of all.

Wrap up your invocation to Nemesis in the name of Jesus and the power of Christ if you want; the red-letter reported words of biblical gospels show Jesus cursing political hypocrites with “woe.”

Judaism and other mainstream religions similarly have plenty in their history to allow the cursing of oppressors  — all in the self-defensive  name of freedom.

Spin it for the people and not for the politicians, and we might use our religious heritage to help free ourselves.   Harriett Tubman did that with her Underground Railroad.  Can we affort to do less?

As one image of  female body type that’s not a pornification of culture, Nemesis as Goddess has been pictured  like this: (Nemesis, by Alfred Rethel, 1837.  Her name is from the Greek word meaning, “to give what is due.”)


Why Today’s Political Islam in Iran Would Rather Shroud & Silence Women about Male Violence

June 20, 2009
Wearing his turban of power among his cheering male supporters, today in Iran the Ayatollah as highest Islamic leader spoke out against the people demonstrating for greater freedom. Why would Iran as icon of political Islam try to keep shrouding and silencing women?  [photo credit of Turban Guy, AP online; all social commentary, Jude Dude]

Shrouded and silenced women are less likely to have a chance for action or a voice in gaining their freedom. Shrouded and silenced women cannot show or tell their physical and emotional bruises (and worse) at men’s hands.
Iran’s religious base does not keep women safe from male violence any more than women are subjected to violence all over the world in the longest war. Not that all females are pacifist.  However, reputable statistics on serious degrees of violence confirm what we know from personal experience and headlines —  men in general (not all men, but mainly men) are the seriously violent gender.
Despite what we all know from living on this planet, the issue of male violence continues to be silenced, repressed and “spun” to such a degree that the obviously higher rate of male (compared to female) acts of serious violence still get debated online as if language about the topic can override the real-world actions of men.  In reality, FBI Supplementary homicide reports (1976-2005) showed this about murder in the U.S.:  Male offenders for all homicides are 88.8%. Women: 11.2%.
Where one intimate partner murders another, males commit 65.5% of these homicides, females: 29.2% (percentages apparently off 100% where no clear perpetrator  found). When children are victims, men murdered them 61.8% of the time, women: 38.2%. When elderly victims are killed, men commit 93.5% of these crimes, women: 6.5%. In cases of serial killing men are the offenders 93.5% of the time, women: 6.5%. In instances where two or more offenders work together to commit a homicide men are the offenders 91.6% of the time, women: 8.4%.
Beyond the daily acts of male violence, if we attribute to men (overwhelmingly the world’s leadership class) responsibility for  international and intra-national (civil) wars, the sum of violence skyrockets (about 50 million deaths in World War II alone). The male leadership of North Korea bandies nukes about in 2009, other global male leaders have access to pushing the nuclear button, the male leadership of Iran uses brute force to buttress an election it stole, the male leadership everywhere implicates the citizenry in declared and undeclared wars of violence.    As subtext for all the warring behavior —  men as a global gender class keep women in a subordinate gender class.
As a guy, and parent of a daughter, I see it.  How can anybody without an anti-woman discriminatory agenda claim it’s not so?
If say, dogs, began hurting men at the rate that men hurt women, be assured there would be a global outcry by men for the elimination of dogs. I’m just saying, not recommending.  Because I’m a guy, I know there would be  a global outcry by men to get rid of the dogs.  Forgiveness was invented as something men want from women, not something men in practice extend to those who hurt men.  (The hypocrisy of lip service by men about forgiveness, particularly when women are in the audience?  Merely another tool of man-made manipulation against the inherent good natures of women.)
When women are shrouded and silenced by men, then women cannot research and cannot report the truth about male violence as Rachel Jewkes, Clare Nullis and Maria Jose Alcala have done today.   (See excerpts from AP’s report below;   note the names of the unshrouded and unsilenced women who have done the good work to speak out about male violence.)

By CLARE NULLIS, Associated Press Writer Clare Nullis, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 19, 3:27 pm ET

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – A leading South African research group said one in four male South Africans it surveyed admitted to committing rape — a finding that cast a harsh light on a culture of sexual violence that victims groups say is deeply embedded in society. …  Chief researcher Rachel Jewkes said Friday that the findings were “shocking” but “not unexpected.” Opposition political parties said they were horrified, but victim support groups said they were not surprised. … The research council survey said that nearly 20 percent of those [men] who admitted sexual abuse had the AIDS virus — only slightly higher than the 18 percent infection rate among men not involved in rape.  It said that 17 percent of the men surveyed admitted to attempted rape, and 9 percent said they had taken part in gang rapes. In all, 42 percent of men surveyed said they had been physically violent to an intimate partner (current or ex-girlfriend or wife), including 14 percent in the past year.  … Many victim support groups complain that rape cases are repeatedly postponed and little is done to protect the woman from the trauma of facing her tormentor. Most cases don’t even reach court. … “Rape is one of the most brutal human rights violations in the world,” said Maria Jose Alcala, who heads the U.N. development fund’s effort to curtail violence against women. “It is a stark manifestation of just how little value our societies place on the lives and dignity of women and girls.”

But back to political Islam, which is where  this post started.  Before you buy the misguided multi-culti notion that who wears what on her or his head is merely about “culture” and not rooted in political Islam’s misogyny,  remember a fallen hero, a woman who was in fact silenced by a man murdering her for her “sin” of not wearing the correct shroud.

[February 20, 2007] Female Pakistani minister shot dead for ‘breaking Islamic dress code’ [Reported by Devika Bhat and Zahid Hussain in Islamabad,; photo credit (Rahat Dar/EPA)]”

Punjab Province's former Minister for Social Welfare, Zile Huma Usman

Zilla Huma Usman was an ally of President Pervez Musharraf and promoted rights for women in Pakistan — an  Islamic man murdered her because of her clothing and his interpretation of her “sin.”   She had been the minister for social welfare in Punjab province, Pakistan — where another dangerous, male-led government has nukes and might try to kill us all.

Today’s Slave Trade aka Human Trafficking

June 18, 2009

Trivia bonus question:  Who’s the real-life actor dad of 24‘s Keifer Sutherland?  Jude Dude Answer:  Who cares, playing heroes runs in the family. (Dad Donald Sutherland played a hero in the “Human Trafficking” TV mini-series.)

For the many millions of enslaved (aka trafficked) people every year, the danger and depredation  don’t stop after the TV shoot’s a wrap.

“Human Trafficking”:  Sounds so much better than “Today’s Slave Trade.” Even the two-part TV “complete miniseries,” by its subtitle under  the “Human Trafficking” header, acknowledged that the main target merchandise of today’s sex slave trade is not boys but girls.  An online photo advertising the miniseries:

Maybe too laden with heavy grief for those who care, and too glossed with prurient interest for those who do not, the global sex slave trade in girls cannot be named for what it is and receive the anti-trafficking funding needed by social activists.

And indeed, caring, courageous social activists have caught the political attention on the need to stop human trafficking.  Certainly it is not only the overwhelming numbers of girls and women, but also some boys and men, who are trafficked and not always for sex or only sex.  Concentration-camp-style, farm-and-construction, and domestic-servant-to-master-behind-closed-doors-type labor are also options.

This week, Secretary of State Clinton spoke up about it: Clinton: US Has “Responsibility” To Fight Trafficking

Slavery:  Now a bigger global criminal enterprise than black-market weapons, second only to the illegal drug trade.  But all the pieces fit together.   The big-three of global crime are (1) drugs, (2) slavery, and (3) arms because, to take a common slavery example, profiteers cannot enslave girls, boys and young women to degradation serving male tourists in brothels without drugs to numb the human merchandise and without guns to enforce the profiteers’ dominance over the merchandise.

Remember the media brouhaha (understandable) over Catholic priests (all males) who were caught for buggering little boys?  These crimes,  heinous, yet also a social barometer in sounding a bigger public outcry than you have ever heard raised against the systematic rapes of girls who have not just one but two natural orifices below the belt in which to be abused by men.  Of course there are a relatively few women who for whatever reasons (socialization, trauma, derangement) act out in predatory violence against others. But in a global profit-based economy,  to understand the big-picture “why” of trafficking requires looking to the source of the demand that leads to criminals trafficking, drugging and coercing girls who grow into pimp-controlled women  as a cheap source of supply.

To focus on meaningful global political solutions it helps to notice who is doing the most of what to whom.

This is an undated handout photo from the US Departement of State website.  Customers/exploiters come from all over the world. Legalized or tolerated prostitution is a magnet for sex trafficking. The U.S. Government considers prostitution to be "inherently demeaning and dehumanizing," and opposes efforts to legalize it. The PROTECT Act makes it illegal for an American to sexually abuse a minor in another country. Perpetrators can receive up to 30 years in jail.

More images of revolt in Iran: Fashion from women who are heroes

June 17, 2009

Does fashion precede freedom for some women?

We’re seeing freedom (and fashion) statements — from the nailpolish worn by individual women in some of the photos of the revolt in Tehran to designer handbags on display — also partial face masking plus  improperly worn head scarves, a punishable offense against women by the men who run political Islam. Images from Tehran suggest that forward progress of women’s global liberation may include steps through stages of self-actualization within the framework of what global culture currently supplies.

For women living under a religio-politico system of subordination by dress code (and chronic behind-closed-doors violence nobody witnesses),  any woman in public improperly wearing her male-required head scarf provides a  brave act of defiance in our world of cell-phone cameras and Twitter.    Some of the women pictured can afford Twitpic, they may Twitter.  They could probably afford (or somebody in their family afforded it for them) an education.  They can afford nail polish and designer bags.  When they revolt against the male-imposed veil, they revolt for women around the world who are required to comply by economic deprivation, threat and actual violence with their second-class gender caste status.

[Images from Wikipedia under “Hijab,”  “Abaya” and “Niqab” topics … there’s much more in the realm of imagery about political Islam’s dress code for women around the world, but why bum you out?]

[Woman with her son in Afghanistan, above, followed by two women under dress-code requirements on the Arabian peninsula  and a woman in Monterey, CA, USA]

In the facade for misogyny political Islam provides, it cannot advance anybody’s liberation to see a woman wearing political Islam’s required headdress — admittedly by the religion itself a symbol of male subordination of what men have dubbed as an “impure” womanhood redeemed through being masked in public.  That said, perhaps we outside Iran should consider whether we want to support women’s right to be free from religion, when every woman in question not only has no independent voice in the public sphere but we also cannot so much as see her face.

Maybe in some way of progression I do not fully understand as a guy with global male privilege —  maybe when teens outside political Islam “sext” their boyfriends with technology, when a woman in Tehran streaks her hair and improperly wears the head scarf in public, when women try to own the agency as actors of being “hot” — it advances women’s global liberation.

Maybe any fashion chosen by a woman — even if the available manufactured options tend still to objectify women as women, as a gender class — is still a  little closer really to being free.

Maybe it’s all steps of progress.  All necessary as part of the process of woman and women getting out of the male-dominance of being male-objectified targets in the longest war.

Twitpic Update: Twittering Today’s Iconic Images of the Spirit of Freedom in Iran

June 15, 2009

At Twitpic you can find a photo being billed on the proprietary site as iconic depiction of today’s protest in Tehran, green banner unfurled in the streets filled with a largely male crowd.
In the vast people’s outpouring of the Iranian revolt, wonder why you can see an injured girl attended by a male, a woman mixed in with male crowds, or a woman standing alone in defiance, among the  throngs  of  mainly men — but few groups of women among thousands (maybe more) of men who have taken to the streets in protest? See photos in Twitter, Tweetdeck post below, and these additional images:
Iranian Protest Election Results

Conflict between Musavi and Ahmadinejad Fans

Peaceful Demonstration after 2 Day Clash

Peaceful Demonstration after 2 Day Clash

Peaceful Demonstration after 2 Day Clash

Iranian women’s peaceful activist actions have, in recent months before the election, been fragmented by mullah-militarist men roughing them up and jailing them with a release condition that they be isolated from each other and no longer able to assemble.  It’s not being widely reported, but google Delaram Ali, Iranian Women’s Movement, One Million Signatures Campaign, Delara Darabi and Shirin Ebadi … and you may get the story.

Under the oppression directed against Iranian women by Ahmadenijad sympathizers, the women who are activists may believe this current uprising is their last chance — but because they cannot organize to tell us, and because Ahmadenijad is curtailing news from Iran, we receive no direct appeal from them.  Meanwhile, men are largely carrying most of the green banners without aid of women who have inspired the call to freedom in Iran over the past three decades.

The unreported story of today’s revolt is that Iranian freedom-loving women have been attempting — marching in the streets, singing and chanting slogans, organizing for freedom — for over thirty years to join with Iranian men to bring about social respect for individualism in community of the type most Americans take for granted. In those earlier years American feminist Kate Millett went to Iran and, before the Iranian government expelled her, gathered compelling material and with old-media (paper) photographic help from Sophie Keir wrote a book about Iran.

If the best of Kate Millett’s books weren’t currently out of print (no big surprise in a big-oil global mass-media world also run on the backs of women), we’d better understand political Islam (as compared to reformist efforts) and the dominator politics of what’s happening today in Iran.  Twitter and related apps provide excellent technology for showing what’s now (at least when a government doesn’t block tech egress) — but if we depart from the collective wisdom of where we’ve been, even a Twitpic won’t show the way to where we’re going.

Twitter, Tweetdeck and Getting Out Iran’s Pictures of Election Revolt

June 15, 2009

Get the full picture …”  because when we see truth with our own eyes, it’s easier to see through the longest war’s lies.  [As Tweetdeck and many others have said]:  “A picture tells a thousand words …”

As much as we like to use our words, the green leaves around a purple flower from a Tweetdeck page …

… say more about the robust life-force to grow, freely, than any indistinct text even if brought into focus.   Twitter and third party apps like Tweetdeck have gotten the cell-phone photos out of Iran about the mullah-led post-electoral suppressions of the people’s will to freedom.  Used this way, call technology my hero.  The dominator old men of the longest war’s portion in Iran may now have stopped even Twitter’s tiny url’s from getting outside the man-made lines drawn as Iran’s national boundaries.  But not before these images  emerged of the green of freedom adopted by women and men joining together as freedom-lovers in Iran.

  • The moderate Mousavi was identified before the elections (and resulting people’s revolt over the election being called a win by the previously ruling mullah-militarists of Ahmadinejad) as likely to beat Ahmadinejad.
  • Mousavi in outreach to Iranian women branded himself successfully as the green candidate – though the color did not reflect a commitment to environmental issues so much as progressive Islamic resonance symbolic of constructive change and liberation.
  • After what Mousavi’s supporters identify as rigged elections for the status quo, these images that got out indicate what we know about bravery and revolt in Iran (before the dominator government’s efforts at information blackout):

Iranian Protest Election Results

Iranian Protest Election Results

Iranian Protest Election Results

Iranian Protest Election Results

Iranian Protest Election Results

Sexting: Why Girls Do It

June 14, 2009

Society normalizes today’s teen-aged girls to “sexting.”   It’s not their fault, but females of all ages take the blame for a lot about man-made society that’s not their fault.   That’s a short answer to the “why” of girls sexting and getting punished for it.

The whole story of why requires a look at the big picture other than what’s on the cell-phone or laptop screen of any high school girls at the moment of sexting.

Everything about this blog is social commentary and  the sexting issue — cell phone photos, laptops and teen web cams, coarsening of culture, on and on it goes with a focus on the girls apart from the gender-class sexual politics girls did not establish  — typifies the hypocrisy of blaming females, business as usual, for social forces they did not make.

Social beings live in social context.  Isolation to a social being can feel like death itself.  We know (from being there now or having been there) how important fitting in to a peer group is to teens.   (Photo illustration:  Chris Bovey, online with name reference, apparently a male photographer from what can be googled; the female model not credited so we do not know if she is an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife, a current girlfriend or wife, a “hot” for fun and for free one night stand, a sex worker, a photoshopped image added to a cell-phone photo or a woman who voluntarily let hersef be photographed to bring attention to a social phenomenom.  Whoever she is, she’s  nothing if not “hot.”)

This week’s multi-plex offering, The Taking of Pelham 123, also normalizes sexting by a young woman (teen) showing her bra via laptop to the handsome boyfriend who says he loves her while riding a subway train publicly to watch her sexting.  His love talk is that he’s “got her” and she (like the mythic Echo to Narcissus) echoes the words back to him as her shirt comes off to reveal the bra.  The laptop on the highjacked subway train ultimately saves the handsome man’s young life.  No two or more girls or women are shown onscreen at any time in any sort of relationship, friendship or otherwise. No mother onscreen has a relationship with a daughter (athough a key plot point involves a mother and a son).  “Bitch” is normalized by the film’s opening soundtrack and John Travolta’s character discussing “bitch” as a subordinated being who takes it from a dominant male.
Even Denzel Washington’s character was screenwritten not to honor the telephone request of his valiant wife (while she suffered, home and alone, watching the media portrayal of danger to her husband) for something as ordinary as that he bring home a gallon of milk.  (Asking him to bring home a gallon of milk at workday’s end was her brave, no-nonsense way to show faith in his longevity, by the daily-living nature of her request made by phone call during his risky ordeal.  Thus, although she stood by her man and showed her faith in all things male, he argued with her about size of milk container. He brought home a half gallon.)
Do you see the valiant wife or any female face pictured anywhere on the movie poster?
Poster Art for "The Taking of Pelham 123." 2009 Sony Pictures.

Sexting:  Girls do it because they want to fit in to the male-dominant “hot” culture the longest war has made.  Girls do it because they do not see any other viable options.  Girls do it because their mothers, damaged through no fault of their own by the longest war, have not bonded and banded together to stop the damage they pass on to their daughters in the “token torturer” role (various combinations of fitting-in fashion or stages of undress, over-emphasis on appearance, plastic surgery, believing in malehood to save us  -or-  the flip side of religious fundamentalism,  following man-God religions and subordinating the female by demure but sex-mandated dress code and conduct as the mind-numbing pathway to a false peace built on the backs of women —  on and on it goes with media and man-God religion to entrain the brain).

And then some prosecutors want to tag the girls as sex offenders for sexting. Do not get me started about the red-herring of prosecuting or not.   (Oh, no, here comes a mini-rant any way.)

Some women (and some men) bravely name this nonsense of prosecuting teen sexting instead of looking at the true sexually political causes, just as some women (and some men) bravely network and mobilize for women’s freedom around the globe from escalating oppression (mental and physical) against women.  But in a sexually political male-dominant world of social conditioning, the male-dominant goal (by the media product and religious dogma being disseminated) is that men keep on dominating because  women do not help women —  and daughters and mothers (or dads who would not sell out their daughters to male-dominant values) do not bond —  leaving women with only men and/or the man-God to adore and worship.

Eroticizing this power differential in man’s war against womankind is what sexting (get ’em early and often) is all about.

Psych-drugging as longest war tactic: the girls’ gulag

June 13, 2009

Demonic Males” ( see post below) … Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence by Richard Wrangham

… invented psychiatry as used to marginalize women’s inherent dissonance with being the gender underclass and, more famously, to diagnose and drug Soviet dissidents from the USSR’s politics in gulags during that regime.  What I just wrote is a statement, a rhetorical summary of something that seems true to me.  Believing in a dissident’s or a woman’s “disability” as psychiatrically defined and then psych-drugged (when politically and sexually motivated) is therefore not for me.  Having said that, it’s because I trust female genius (and dislike what the man-made dominator system has done to the world) far too much to buy in to the predominant male theories of female mental dyfunction.  But then, I’m no M.D.; and I’ll blog more about psych-drugging another night.

Meanwhile, I’ve had what may be some better thoughts about my Sheila Jeffreys coverage and modified the She’s-my-Hero post which was prompted by a self-described feminist’s blog  which has a category for “Sheila Fu#$ing Jeffreys,” minus my redaction by symbols.   There’s no point in going back and forth on this in the divide-and-conquer game established by patriarchy.

Until I return to the topic of psych-drugging, here’s a book cover from a M.D. (Dr. Peter Breggin), another man who’s no fan of the gulag. Toxic Psychiatry Toxic Psychiatry

“Demonic Males”: Science text by a Harvard man about males and male-dominator violence

June 12, 2009

Demonic Males:  Does the title say it all?  (Not demonic as in woo-woo religion but demonically bad behavior from an anthropological and zoological standpoint of research by top-level scientific male minds.)  In a male-violent world like ours  …

… could the answer to surviving and thriving  be as simple as to put women in charge?    More from Harvard  on the subject:  But seriously, in a world like ours, how is putting women in charge going  to happen when the big-3 man-God religions which subordinate womankind have now been invoked by President Obama as a field of unification among men worldwide from Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures? For days I made cell-phone calls for the guy using my laptop in his e-campaign to win swing states, and my daughter still holds on to the hope —  but I’m starting to wonder if the girls are once again going to be sold out by the big boys’ club.  Click to the prior post about the problem in the category, “President Obama.”

As to Demonic Males in general as a global gender group, it is my job on this blog to say more, so after reading the book it’s my commentary that:  (1)  the s/he hyena analysis of Demonic Males seemed far-fetched toward a male author’s need to implicate the females of some species in evolutionary violence, and (2) the analysis of buddy-bonded bands of bisexual female bonobos seemed skewed to say less about primate sisterhood than an anthropomorphized sort of soft-core primate-porn.
A University of Oxford zoologist reviewed Demonic Males (with a Harvard anthropologist its lead author) this way for the New York TimesGoing Ape – The New York Times

“Artist Unknown”

June 11, 2009

As mothers to the creative in the collective, too many women have been “artist unknown” due to male erasure of womankind’s genius.   This post honors the unheralded art women make of their lives, bringing humanity out of denial against unspeakable (yet image-visible) odds.   To Professor Ann Taylor Allen I credit the elucidation in her scholarly article available online about  feminist and matri-focused scholarship:   ANN TAYLOR ALLEN | Feminism, Social Science, and the Meanings of

How often do you see any image today so clearly evocative of womankind’s collective spiritual, mental and bodily power as the one that follows from an earlier era’s  hope that winning the vote might end male dominance systems of politics:

“Artist unknown”