News and Miscellany, 8 September 2015

The Last of the Granny Witches, Appalachian Ink, September 6

“There once was many more of us, back in the old days when it seemed like God was sleeping somewhere over on the mountain and the old ones ruled the land and fended for themselves. But that time has long gone. We must work harder to preserve our magic, for it is fading into the background noise of technology and naysayers and law men that tell us we are common simple folk and feed us pills and poverty to quiet us. I fear that we are truly the last of the granny witches, the last tellers of tales, and that will be the end of our magic.”

Rural Women Worldwide Are on the Frontlines of Climate Change, Huffington Post, September 8

“Eunice eyed the stove in her mother’s home for a long while, thinking. She had never seen anything like it. It was a closed clay oven, a local design, and it wasn’t spouting smoke or choking up the air in the small home, the way the indoor open cook-fires used by so many women would. As a health worker, Eunice had treated the ragged breathing and respiratory ailments women suffered from constantly cooking in a cramped, smoky place. What’s more, her mother had used far less wood than usual to fire it up and keep it running. Eunice starting thinking about how much time her mother had saved, not having to spend hours gathering extra firewood, and how else she could better use that time.

Moment by moment, she grew more convinced. “I can build that.”

Mother And Child Behind Bars: The Women Of Afghanistan’s Prisons, NPR September 6

“In 2010, photographer Gabriela Maj was working on a project about an artist in Afghanistan when one of her editors suggested she take a look at Afghan women’s prisons. Maj recalls: “He said, you know there are all these stories kind of floating, kind of bubbling up in the international media about women being incarcerated for something known as ‘moral crimes.’ And they’re being put into these prisons with their kids.'”

Her editor was right. When she arrived at Badam Bagh, a women’s prison in Kabul, her first thought was, “It sounds more like a kindergarten or elementary school during recess than it does a prison facility.”

That’s because many of the inmates are mothers who either gave birth in the facility or brought their children to live with them after they were incarcerated.”

Women’s group name change strives for inclusiveness, The Daily Pennsylvanian, September 7

“The former name had women in it, and we are trying to be more open to genderqueer people, non-binary people and men,” Nallajerla said. “As long as you’re interested in gender equity, it doesn’t matter what gender you identify with: You are welcome.”

The old name, with the word “women” right in the title, might have been unintentionally exclusionary to other gender identities, and the new name reflects PAGE’s commitment to including all students and student groups that support women and gender equity.”

The day 100,000 Iranian women protested the headscarf, British Journal of Photography, September 8

“In the days before selfies, Photoshop and citizen journalism, photos were vital, a visual document that might otherwise not be seen.

“For me, taking a picture was a way to document events that were happening around me, no matter what my opinion was of the event, the camera was still objective at that point, it was just recording the truth.”

Syria: The Hidden War on Women, Channel 4, September 8

“Last November, the Jordanian Ministry of Health, having spent millions on health care, stopped funding free medical aid to Syrian refugees. Now Syrians must fund it themselves or look to humanitarian aid agencies for help. But it is illegal for Syrian refugees to work in Lebanon and Jordan.

There are no formal camps in Lebanon, and many lone Syrian refugee women I met in the Bekaa valley have to live in rented apartments or small informal tent settlements. There are thousands of Syrian refugee women whose husbands were either killed fighting in Syria or are simply missing – their fate unknown.”

Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services @HHSGov (USA), September 8, Gender Identity Watch

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a proposed rule on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to ban discrimination based on so-called “gender identity.” Under the proposed rule, insurance companies cannot discriminate based on gender identity and must treat people consistent with their identity, including in access to facilities. Specifically, healthcare cannot be denied or services limited because the patient identify as another sex. The proposed rule also requires that sex transition care be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, explicitly outlawing categorical exclusions for sex transition.

Comments are due November 9, 2015. You can submit comments here.

Women rally in Baltimore to improve birth. WBAL-TV Sept 7

“Members of the organization Improving Birth gathered in McKeldin Square to call attention to practices they say undermine women during childbirth.

“There shouldn’t be a one in three chance that when you go into the hospital that you end up with a C-section and if you’re like me, and you actually needed a C-section, and when you go to have another baby, you should be able to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) without having to fight for it,” Campbell said.”

Mothers Rally To Inform Women on Safe Birthing Options, WLTX, September 7

China cracks down on middle aged women dancing noisily in public squares after annoyed residents begin throwing coins, rocks and faeces to make them stop, Daily Mail, September 8

“Public square dancing will enter into the social management system,’ a joint statement from four central departments, including the culture ministry and the civil affairs ministry, said.

The agencies will manage dancing in accordance with existing laws, it added.

‘Dancing in public squares, as a cultural sporting activity deeply loved by the masses… has enriched the spiritual lives of people,’ the statement said, but added: ‘Problems such as inadequate space and… disturbances to local residents by noise and defects in management mechanisms have gradually appeared.’ ”

Alejandra Rodriguez paints walls in Mexico with images of women to promote awareness of femicide.

Cordelia Fine delivers a lecture on neurosexism.

When Women Were Warriors contemplates women crossing political boundaries to build alliances.

Ruth Barrett, 40th National Women’s Festival

Ruth Barrett gave the Keynote Speech at the 40th National Women’s Music Festival in Madison, Wisconsin on July 4, 2015.

OUR HOLY BOOK HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR FEMALE FLESH AND BLOOD

Embodied Feminist Spirituality, Gender-ism, and Women’s Mysteries

(Below are some excerpts from this wise and eloquent speech.)

“We recognize that our daily human experience is filtered through and informed by our female bodies, our specific female physiology, and how our attitudes about the female body are affected by gender socialization.”

“In ancient times, women’s exclusive gatherings were recognized as being vital for the good of the greater community. We continue today to gather to hear our shared stories of survival, of courage, and to celebrate our lives.”

“Had I been raised by Scythian Amazons in a matrifocal culture, I would have been raised thinking that becoming a woman meant to know how to be a capable warrior, hunter, and horsewoman, a weaver of cloth, a gatherer of herbs, a strong, brave nurturer and protector of the young.”

“Speaking as a Witch, the ability to name something or someone is the power to define its very nature. To know, name, and speak the true name of something is to possess the spiritual ‘handle’ with which the speaker can control or influence that thing.”

“….must we also continue to oppress ourselves by perpetuating unexamined misogyny and deny our differences that may actually be sacred gifts? Different but equal is not possible in the dominant patriarchal culture we live in.”

“If you are not living inside your body, where are you living? And who has taken up residence inside you in your absence? Whose stories do you believe? And whose agenda does that serve?”

“…we must learn how to discern the boundaries between ourselves and the toxic environments we live in, how to wisely filter extraneous debris from essence, pan for gold in the swift currents of a river.”

“Remember that, ‘magick requires a great amount of practice and very little effort.'”

“Listen to what is sounding here and now, feel and see all that is actually happening in this moment, in addition to what you’ve planned.”

The transcript of this speech may be read in its entirety at Gender Identity Watch.

Isis, Astarte – Kate West

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