The Fistula Foundation December 12, 2011Posted by FCM in health, international, PIV, rape.
Tags: birthing injuries, feminist charities, incontinence, obstetric fistula, the fistula foundation
as an end-of-year message, i would like to encourage readers who make charitable contributions this time of year (or anytime) to consider giving to the fistula foundation. i simply cannot overstate the importance of their work, or the impact the fistula foundation has had on my radical feminist awakening: it was the catalyst for it.
the fistula foundation is a charitable organization that works to prevent and treat obstetric fistula worldwide. obstetric fistula is a devastating birthing injury that causes urinary and/or fecal incontinence in women who experience prolonged, obstructed labor; it is frequently the result of young or malnourished women birthing where their pelvises are too small to safely pass the fetus.
when i saw the PBS documentary “a walk to beautiful” highlighting the work of the FF, it stopped me in my tracks. at the time, i had just begun blogging and i was still feeling my way through the gender-politicking and this “what makes a woman” post-modernist doublethink: i admit that i was still confused about it. what makes a woman? well, there are years and years of patriarchal abuse, including sexual abuse of girls and women, by men; grooming to be a wife and mother; fuckability mandates, etc etc. these things do appear to separate women from men (women experience them; men perpetrate them), and these things are problematic, yes. but the gender politickers have that covered: apparently, there are men who wish they could experience these things, as victims, and women who believe that they can overcome having experienced these things, as victims, just by wishing it. oh, okay!
and i admit that it can be difficult to separate the female “sex” from the female “gender” under certain situations (where somewhat-reliable contraception is available, for one) and particularly when internalizing certain dialogs that are deliberately meant to obfuscate the difference, like PIV-positive rhetoric and bullshit genderqueer tropes (see above). but once these obfuscating influences are removed, and we observe (and identify with — we are women afterall) what women experience both objectively and subjectively in the absence of these influences…well, see for yourself:
ah, okay. it suddenly becomes very clear doesnt it? what makes a woman…is female reproductive organs! and half of all human beings are born female, and they live and die as females, in a world where men routinely stick their dicks into female-bodied persons, which is objectively and demonstrably harmful to us because it causes unwanted pregnancy and resultant medical events, and a shared-fate which all female-bodied persons are subjected to, across time and place.
if we are very, very lucky, perhaps some of us, for some period of time, can mitigate the severity and frequency (but not the occurrence) of the female-specific harms perpetrated on us, by men. and female-specific harm includes the risk of female-specific harm…which is harmful in itself, because its stressful and requires behavior and thought modification, because we were born with babymakers in a rape culture, and that has meaning. oh yes it does.
and it doesnt *just* have meaning for female-bodied persons, either. men know that women are impregnable, as a sexual class, and thats why they rape almost exclusively girls and women, and almost exclusively *not* other men. raping female-bodied persons is like throwing spaghetti against the wall, and knowing some of it will stick: by raping women, all women, regardless of age, and not men, (individual men perhaps, but not men-as-a-class) they know that pregnancies will result. they just wont be around to see it. kinda like insisting on PIV-centric sexuality in fact! but i digress.
women as a sexual class, around the world, are defined by our ability to become impregnated by men. our biological reality, and mens exploitation of it, is our shared reality, and no amount of bullshit PIV-pozzie rhetoric will ever cure it. it may attempt to erase that shared reality, and it may well succeed. but it will not cure it, and it cannot change it. so why are they trying? this is not a rhetorical question.
from their website:
You may choose to fully sponsor one woman’s surgery by making a one-time donation of $450 or a monthly donation of $37.50 for 12 months. In thanks, we proudly offer you this personalized certificate celebrating that this life-changing donation has been made in your name or in honor of someone you love.
New this year!
You may also choose to make a Love-A-Sister donation to help pay for a portion of one woman’s surgery.
$240 can help provide transportation for twelve women in need of treatment
$85 can help provide nursing care for one patient
$50 can help provide either an anesthetist or lab tests for one patient’s surgery.
for more information on the fistula foundation, or to donate, please google “the fistula foundation,” click through, or use the FF widget in the sidebar.
It’s Pat!-Privilege December 13, 2009Posted by FCM in entertainment, feminisms, gender roles, health, PIV, pop culture, race, rape, self-identified feminist men, trans.
Tags: julia sweeney, motherhood, pat, saturday night live, the fistula foundation, trans
theres been a lot of talk lately both here and elsewhere about what i describe as gender-bending. the trans- are doing it. the queer-identified are doing it. the GLBs might be doing it, and the non-gender-conforming straights too.
but no matter how gender-bendy any of us first-world privileged people think we are being (i make more money than my spouse, and i am a hardass! give me a prize!) one fact remains, and i think feminists everywhere need to take a hard look at it. women in other parts of the world, in *most* parts of the world in fact, and in the rural and urban-poor first-world too, are being oppressed based on not their gender, but their born-sex. how can you tell? they have a gaggle of kids following behind them calling them mommy, thats how. either that, or they are being injured or killed in childbirth. because world-wide, womens female gender-role as heterosexual wives and mothers are as rigorously enforced upon them as is their born-sex. they dont have a choice. and to whatever extent *we* have a choice there, we are privileged.
you may or may not remember the character “pat” from saturday night live, but i am certain that i am dating myself by using the reference. heres what wiki has to say:
Pat (whose full name was revealed on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” as Pat O’Neil Riley) was a somewhat overweight character with short, curly black hair who wore glasses and a blue western-style shirt with tan slacks. The character spoke in a nasally voice that sometimes squeaked. Pat apparently suffered from very sweaty palms, and constantly wiped them on his/her clothing while making a strange whimpering sound, further adding to the character’s unappealing quality. Sweeney wore no makeup and colored her lips beige to further hide any sex identity clues.
The sketches always involved the celebrity guest hosts of the show playing everyday people who encounter Pat and then go to great lengths to discover Pat’s true gender without being so rude as to actually ask (since Pat can be short for either “Patrick”, a traditionally male name, or “Patricia”, a traditionally female name). Pat remained completely oblivious, endlessly frustrating the questioners with answers that leave the character’s sex vague. The character often made statements that seemed to reveal a sex, only to then immediately confuse things again. (A typical example might be, “Sorry if I’m a little grumpy, I have really bad cramps… I rode my bike over here, and my calf muscles are KILLING me!”) In another sketch, Pat tells Kevin Nealon that his/her name is Pat Riley, same as the coach of the Lakers, “except there’s a big difference between him and me. I’m not the coach of a professional basketball team.” Other gags included Pat’s attempts at humor, which served to confuse everyone further, such as when asked what Pat is short for, the character would reply, Pat is short for “P-a-a-a-a-a-t!”, or when asked in an application for sex, Pat responded “Please!”. Another joke was when Pat was asked the full name, to which the character responded that Pat almost never referred to the character’s self by the middle name, as it was embarrassing, to which an eager audience was filled in that it was “O’Neill”, again continuing the joke.
The character was popular enough to spawn a feature length 1994 film called It’s Pat (from the lyrics of the character’s theme song on Saturday Night Live). In the film, Pat meets Chris, another sexually ambiguous character played by Dave Foley. (On SNL, Chris had been played by Dana Carvey.) They quickly fall in love and propose to each other at the exact same time. Before the wedding, however, Chris breaks up with Pat on account of Pat’s arrogance and the fact that Pat cannot decide on a direction in life.