on feminism, violence, patriarchal culture, religion (& more)

by Maria Diaconescu

… Even so, with these East-West differences, violence and sexual abuse against children and women is a reality in Eastern European countries, as it is in the Western countries. The East and the West share the same patriarchal ground that makes possible the cultural and structural violence that we live in. Violence of any kind means taking advantage of the power difference. The societal/ cultural or structural violence refers to all actions, attitudes and values of a society which block or delay the development of the other who has no “voice” in society, or who is not heard (children, women, people from a different ethnic or religious background, etc.). This kind of values and attitudes are responsible for inequalities of chances, and violence against women, children, Roma people, etc.

What do I want to highlight in this paper? There is a high support of patriarchal culture via the educational environment, the political environment, and the church. In the name of the so-called national and traditional values, strongly supported by the church, there is a high support of patriarchal culture. In my opinion, patriarchal values have to do a lot with the skin of religion – the temporal and social norms, known in Romania as “the national and traditional Christian values.” The patriarchal values have nothing to do with the core of spiritual and religious meanings. The spiritual, transcendent, essential part of any religion of the world has to do with the essence of the human being which transcends any skin: gender, culture and religion differences; this is the core part of any religion. According to Peseschkian, the religious externals that are influenced by time, the rituals and dogmas – the skin – are put in the foreground, while the actual religious contents – the core – are put aside. This produces a shift in form and content, misunderstanding and confusion because of the lack of differentiation between faith – religion – church.

My hypothesis is that the religious skin ideology – put in the foreground – patterns in a paradoxical way any other subsequent ideology/ politics or philosophy of life, even if (and especially when) people reject or ignore the core religion. This is what happens after any revolution. Subsequently, the revolution patterns the relationships in the same way: another form of patriarchal, changed roles. …

the SAGE project / great statement re: legalizing prostitution

fwd sarah l., londonfeministnetwork list

Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE)

“The mission of the SAGE Project is to improve the lives of individuals victimized by, or at risk for sexual exploitation, violence and prostitution through trauma recovery services, substance abuse treatment, vocational training, housing assistance and legal advocacy.”

SAGE was founded by Norma Hotaling, a woman who had experienced homelessness, addiction and prostitution, and in their own words: “Many of the STAR Center staff are survivors of sexual exploitation and/or are recovering addicts. Some of us also have incarceration experiences.”

Q: Does SAGE support legalizing prostitution?
Continue reading

fwd: Eclectic Tech Carnival has started!

The seventh Eclectic Tech Carnival is happening from Sunday the 25th
until Saturday the 31st of May in Amsterdam.


Inviting All Women.
Including gender minorities and female-identified persons.
(The evening programme is open for men, also)

The /ETC is a unique tech skill-share that has been held annually since
2002. The emphasis has always been women sharing their experiences,
knowledge and skills around free software, open hardware and universal
interoperability of systems in a fun way.

*Programme* Continue reading

25 mai – eveniment paralel (bucharest biennale 3 )

May 25, 2008

“Are you talking to me?”
Live discussions on knowledge production, gender politics and feminist strategies.

In the context of the presentation of the book “Are you talking to me?”. Discussions on knowledge production, gender politics and feminist strategies, a program of presentations, discussions, screenings will take place on May 25, 2008, starting with 17:00 hours, at the National Center for Dance Bucharest (Piaţa Universităţii, National Theatre, floor 4).

The book Are you talking to me? Discussions on knowledge production, gender politics and feminist strategies, edited by Katharina Morawek and h.arta group, is a result of the collaboration between the Post Conceptual Art Practices (PCAP) department at The Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna/ Prof. Marina Gržinić and h.arta group at the invitation of Bucharest Biennale 3.

Amongst the texts published in the book are also two interviews about Ladyfest Romania.

Check out the program of events: Continue reading

human rights crisis in italy

some coverage from h.r. groups [updated 21.08]:

“68 percent of Italians want Roma expelled – poll”
Sixty-eight per cent of Italians, fuelled by often inflammatory attacks by the new rightwing government, want to see all of the country’s 150,000 Gypsies, many of them Italian citizens, expelled, according to an opinion poll.

“Anti-gypsy sentiments out of control in Italy. The truth about the kidnapping in Naples”
EveryOne Group has concluded the first stage of its own investigation into the so-called child kidnapping in Ponticelli (Naples).

Human Rights Tribune
“Europa: Home to Roma, but no place to be”
A Roma ghetto in Ponticelli neighbourhood of Naples, Italy, was burnt down May 14 by locals angry over a reported attempt by a Roma young woman to kidnap a baby. The incident shows that, when it comes to living together with the 10 million Roma, Europeans today have no better answer than the “Gypsy hunts” of the Middle Ages.

EU Roma Policy Coalition
ERPC-statement on anti-Roma events in Italy (PDF)
Join the ERPC call for action against the anti-Romani hate speech and racist action in Italy! – SIGN PETITION HERE

UPDATE 5.6.2008: Alianta Civica a Romilor din Romania, Romani CRISS, Centrul Rromilor “Amare Rromentza”, Asociatia Thumende (Valea Jiului), Asociatia Parudimos (Timisoara), Asociatia Ketanes (Giurgiu), Centrul Crestin al Romilor (Sibiu), Fundatia RUHAMA (Oradea), Centrul Romilor Terne Romentza (Alexandria), Agentia de Dezvoltare Comunitara “Impreuna”, Centrul de Resurse pentru Participare Publica, Institutul pentru Politici Publice, Asociatia Cultura Pacii, Asociatia ACCEPT
protest in Bucharest against racism & xenophobia / protest la Bucuresti contra rasismului si xenofobiei

must reads

“Who determines our ‘most important ideas’?” (on marketing, propaganda, anti-racism, and conversations about social justice) @ Theriomorph

… Marketing is selling ideas/products (you sell the product by selling the idea). It is advertising; manipulation and fundamental brainwashing to achieve an end. The insertion into the minds of the masses the ‘spin’ on reality we want them to take to benefit our wallets, our status, our social power, or our issue.

As more and more social-justice-oriented and political activists of whatever-labeled progressive stripes begin to embrace the tools of marketing to fight back against the increasing destructive power of extreme conservatism and fundamentalism and Nationalism in this country, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not this tactic can be made to work well for the ‘Left.’

Propaganda in and of itself is a value-neutral word.

The history of propaganda in usage, however, is anything but value neutral, as any number of examples from global history show (I will use this example not for shock value or direct conflation, but because the propaganda of this era shows the clearest quick-reference link I know of between the marketing of ideas, socio-behavioral modification, the rewards for collaboration, and the punishments for resistance, which is also how marketing works).

I continue to feel profound unease about this adoption of marketing/propaganda strategies even as – perhaps especially as – more and more people who identify as politically progressive are doing it. …

On the pure-mind level, it’s not complicated at all. Propaganda = defocusing manipulation to achieve and retain power. Marketing = lying. Lying and abusing power becomes a self-perpetuating habit.

On the actual-life and solutions level, it gets complicated fast.

I want to see progressive people concerned with social justice in positions of power to effect change.

I want to see feminists publishing feminist books that a lot of people read.

I want to see members of targeted and oppressed groups achieving professional and personal success, and using their newfound social power to become institutional ‘gatekeepers’ – active allies to those who have not yet had the boot taken off their throat. …

[But] The big payoff comes in more for more, not more for few. …

Maybe that’s what we should be marketing, if we really think marketing can work: if we really are so dumbed-down all we can navigate are propaganda slogans, let’s do ‘More For More.’ …

…we live in a deeply damaged world which has shown very little capacity for handling complexity. In some very basic ways, just getting out the incredible notion that women are human is the major triumph.

But which women? The ones with the most privilege already?

If the 3% of feminism the people get continues to perpetuate disunity and active destruction of the alliances essential to real change, if ‘palatable’ means the same people saying the same things in the same way they have always been said, pocketing the pay, and leaving the majority to die, I want no part of it, and I do not call it social justice.

“One simple thing” @ A View from A Broad

… You won’t be popular as a feminist. You can’t prettify its message, make it palatable to those who use and abuse women, or convince people who don’t want to be bothered. Feminism is action instead of reaction, movement instead of cultural inertia, and thought instead of rote acceptance. Merely by demanding action it is threatening. Cultures by their nature, once established, tend to roll along until stopped. Feminism is the mechanism that stops a culture in its tracks and changes its direction.

Don’t expect to be liked for it. And don’t expect to educate people who claim to be looking for information. While feminism is a lot of things, they’re all very simple. Start at the bottom of the pyramid and look at the centuries of oppression and excuses and see how those inform today’s thought on women. Go to the next level. It all builds on itself. You can’t demand to jump ahead when you haven’t mastered the source material. Even so, the concept remains simple and threatening: Women have been denied their humanity too long. Women have been the scapegoats of society forever. If this threatens someone or confuses them, ask yourself why. But don’t expect it to be easy or popular.

“feeling like a macho man” @ la chola

Bloggers are in a position of relative privilege. … We have the time and the money to slow down and create a type of media justice movement that not only will last, but will center the needs of those who are the most marginalized in our communities. We have our history that teaches us we were at our strongest and our best when we were working in the community as a part of the community–that things went all to fucked up hell shit and back when we left OUR job as community builders in the hands of political advocates and interest groups. That things went to hell because political advocates and interest groups are not a part of our community no matter who they are or where they come from. They have a job that is dependent on finding ways to best market human beings to a mass consumer base.

We have all this knowledge, and yet over and over again we insist that the only way to go is up–even when we’ve been shown by people who know and have way more experience than us that from the bottom and to the left is a better road to follow.

… Whether it’s from spite or ignorance or hatefulness or fear, our communities are always looking in the wrong direction when it comes to women of color. And in turning our heads towards the power, we turn our hearts away from the woman in the corner–we leave her so alone the only thing she has left is her taunt, her macho man taunt.

Why is it so easy for us to look the other way? …

also see the rest of the texts Femostroppo Awards for 2007 @ Hoyden About Town

“Are you talking to me?”

Lansare de carte si discutii in cadrul Bienalei Bucuresti (english link):

Mai 25, 2008
“Are you talking to me?”
Dezbateri live despre productia de cunostinte, politici de gender si strategii feministe.

Participanti: Prof. dr. Marina Grzinic, h.arta and PCAP class (Carolina Agredo, Lina Dokuzovic, Kevin Dooley, Veronika Eberhart, Clarissa Gadsden, Can Gulcu, Peter Hasel Maier, Ivan Jurica, Johannes Klemen, Christoph Kolar, Katharina Morawek, Adnan Popovic, Lilo Reissert, Jasmin Schienegger, Christina Trachta, Ruth Weismann, Regina Wuzella and Prof. Assist. Petja Dimitrova, Prof. Assist. Eduard Freudmann).

BB3 a invitat studentii Clasei de Arta Post Conceptuala (PCAP) din cadrul Academiei de Arte din Viena, clasa Prof. Marina Grzinic sa propuna un eveniment paralel. Rezultatul este un proiect-carte cu titlul “Are you talking to me?”. Publicatia cuprinde discutii despre productia cunoasterii, politici de gen si strategii feministe fiind editata de grupul feminist h.arta (Maria Crista, Anca Gyemant, Rodica Tache) din Romania si Katharina Morawek (studenta a PCAP). După un efort editorial intens cartea prezinta pozitiile studentilor PCAP referitoare la cunoastere, UE si feminism. Aceste pozitii sint prezentate impreuna cu artisti si teoreticieni internationali invitati sa isi expuna punctele de vedere.

Locatie: CNDB – Centrul National al Dansului Bucuresti (Bd. Nicolae Balcescu, nr. 2 – TNB, 4th Floor, Ronda Hall)

fwd: Family in Lithuania discriminated – urge for action

from New Generation of Women’s Initiatives, Lithuania

Families are under attack in Lithuania, and we need your help!
May 20, 2008, Vilnius

The Lithuanian Parliament is currently weighing an unprecedented bill that would legally redefine the concept of family and that would establish a government-sanctioned concept of family limited exclusively to the traditional notion of a married man and woman and their children. With the stroke of a pen, this new concept of the Lithuanian family would relegate other family forms-single mothers and fathers raising children, unmarried partners raising children, and grandparents caring for their
grandchildren- to second-class status.

Demographic analysis demonstrates that the structure of the Lithuanian family is changing. In 2005, almost a third of all children were born to unmarried parents living as partners. The same year, the number of divorces per 100 marriages hit 56. This is evidence of the growing number of single parents, who in 98 percent of cases are women. Until recently, high unemployment in Lithuania also encouraged migration, and half of all workers who emigrated in 2005 were married men or women. As a result a new family structure-the long-distance family-emerged. A poll conducted in 2006 showed that all these different family forms are considered as families by a majority of Lithuanians. However, the new concept of family would have practical implications, as it could ostensibly be used to prevent nontraditional families from receiving the same level of government assistance and from benefiting from government programs meant to support and strengthen the family.

This bill, the first of its kind in Europe, has been applauded as a breakthrough by the Catholic Church and conservative politicians. While today this situation is confined to Lithuania, it could only be a matter of time before other European countries become receptive to such simple-minded and seemingly harmless, yet erroneous and discriminatory, attempts to destroy families under the guise of strengthening them.

The situation is critical, and domestic groups are increasingly being sidelined from the discussion. Therefore, we ask you today to urgently communicate with Lithuanian government and Parliament officials to express your concern about the State Family Political Concept bill currently under debate in the Parliament and to remind the government of its commitment-made domestically and internationally- to protect women, children and families in all forms.

Attached we suggest some language for your letter. Please feel free to incorporate any of these paragraphs or your own thoughts in your message and send letters to: Continue reading