“What does it say about our culture that the desire for weight loss is considered a default feature of womanhood?”
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“To advance this argument [whether or not Islam is uniquely sexist], one may point to the fact that women’s rights have been severely curtailed by right-wing Islamic regimes such as the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Conservative Alliance in Iran. We might respond to this point in two ways. First, the parties of political Islam adapt religion to serve their political goals in much the same way as American fundamentalists have used Christianity to attack women’s rights. Second, all of the world’s major religions are to a great or lesser extent sexist. Singling out Islam for its sexist practices in the mainstream media and public discourse is not a historical oversight but a systemic attempt to construct “our” values and religion as being enlightened in contrast with “theirs.”
From Islamaphobia and the Politics of Empire by Deepa Kumar
“Until we can collectively acknowledge the damage patriarchy causes and the suffering it creates, we cannot address male pain. We cannot demand for men the right to be whole, to be givers and sustainers of life. Obviously some patriarchal men are reliable and even benevolent caretakers and providers, but still they are imprisoned by a system that undermines their mental health.”
“As the Pentagon has released more detailed records on the problem, the statistics reveal that sexual assault in the military is not just a problem face day women. In 2014, the latest numbers available, the Pentagon estimated that 20,300 servicemen and women were assaulted that year. “Over half the victims are men,” said Colonel Christensen, who is now the president of Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy group. Of the estimated 20,300 attacks in 2014 recorded by the Pentagon, roughly 10,600 of the victims were men, though women faced a higher rate of assault because of their lower overall numbers in the armed forces.”
From the New York Times article “Trump Is Faulted for Notions on Assault in Military” by Jennifer Steinhauer and Matthew Rosenberg
I enjoy this clip because it emphasizes the importance of including men in the conversation about sexual assault, while also emphasizing that women still faced a higher assault rate and have been systematically excluded from serving throughout history. It’s also relevant that just under a third of attacks were actually reported, and 62% of women who reported sexual assault said they faced retaliation for doing so, meaning that the actual numbers of assault are likely much, much higher.
“When you see the red flags, you better pay attention. Save yourself a lot of trouble. Sooner or later, he’s gonna show himself up, or she’s gonna show herself up. A lot of people make that mistake, saying: “Well I didn’t know.” Oh yeah, you knew! You better believe you saw the signs. You just thought that you were in love and you thought that you could take the risk. But listen, this is the person who you took into your life and you told yourself that you could trust. So be smart about it before you get into a marriage with a person like that, because some part of you knows it’s a mistake. Yes, you do.”
Karl Pillemer /30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage
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I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
“The experts are both serious and unanimous about this lesson, and they are willing to state it strongly: Think twice (or many more times) before committing to a relationship with someone who does not share your core values. They believe that the chances of success in such a union are miniscule. Personalities can be complementary. Different interests can spice up a relationship, exposing both of you to knowledge and activities you might never have otherwise tried. But a clash in basic values, they warn, is something a marriage can not easily survive.”
– – 30 Lessons for Loving by Karl Pillemer
I’ve read a lot of books about love. I’m 30-some pages in, this is by far my favorite.
“Among ourselves, we have made the distinction between pornography and eroticism. Pornography treats sexuality grotesquely to bring it back to the animal level. Eroticism arouses sensuality without this need to animalize it. And most of the women I have discussed this with agree they want to develop erotic writing quite distinct from a man’s. The stance of male writers does not appeal to women. The hunter, the rapist, the one for whom sexuality is a thrust, nothing more. Linking eroticism to emotion, to love, to a selection of a certain person, personalizing, individualizing, that will be the work of women. There will be more and more women writers who will write out their won feelings and experiences.”
Anaïs Nin – Eroticism in Women, 1974 from In Favor of the Sensitive Man and other essays
No woman terminates a pregnancy easily. No one who has ever felt life inside her can negate that power. It is never a decision made lightly, without love or pain or a prayer toward forgiveness. Because what every woman knows each month when she bleeds is, I am not pregnant. Because what every woman understands each time she makes love is, Life could be in the making now. Which is why when a woman allows a man to enter her, it is not just a physical act, but an act of surrendering to the possibility that her life may no longer be hers alone. Because until she bleeds, she will check her womb every day for the stirrings of life. Because until she bleeds, she wonders if her life will be one or two or three. Because until she bleeds, she imagines every possibility from pleasure to pain to birth to death and how she will do what she needs to do, and until she bleeds, she will worry endlessly, until she bleeds.
If a man knew what a woman never forgets, he would love her differently.
When Women Were Birds / Terry Tempest Williams