| You scored as The Granola Dyke. Your love for the environment and passion for your beliefs can be a bit overwhelming at times, but your friends and family know you mean well.|
What Type of Lesbian Are You? (Inspired by Curve Mag.)
created with QuizFarm.com
1. Is it a date or just coffee? I'm always getting confused.
2. First serious relationship ACTUALLY led to the use of a U-Haul.
3. Ex-girlfriends = friends for life.
THREE WAYS I AM STEREOTYPICALLY A GAYBOY
1. I love smoothies.
2. Favorite expression: "Faaabulous!"
3. You should see my wardrobe.
THREE WAYS I AM STEREOTYPICALLY A STRAIGHT CHICK
1. Zero aptitude for sports. I was born without a sports gene.
2. 5 bars of scented soap + 3 scented candles + 4 bottles of shampoo (herbal varieties preferred) + assorted hair conditioner, skin conditioner, and hand lotion = current inventory.
3. A secret passion for Lisa Frank stuff.
THREE WAYS I AM STEREOTYPICALLY A STRAIGHT DUDE
1. Rock and roll, dude. The louder the better.
2. I'm really, really good at using maps.
3. Never dated men. My sexuality is not "fluid".
This year’s feminist We’moon Calendar – a visually stunning work, available for the first time in full color – is dedicated to the theme of “Power”. (The women of the We’moon Collective decided a few years back to choose a theme for each year’s calendar suggested by the cards of the Major Arcana. Last year was represented by the High Priestess and was titled “Priestessing the Planet”; this year’s card was the Emperor – re-named “the Empowerer” – to be followed by the Hierophant.) The texts included in this calendar are particularly interesting: they shed light on the struggles of a community of feminist, separatist, and mostly lesbian women to come to terms with the meaning of power in a changing world.
“In the middle of putting together this We’moon,” the editors note, “we participated in a Peace March in Portland, Oregon, with 25,000 people of all ages and stripes. Although we had no illusions that our protest would reach the inner chambers of the war councils of this nation, we came away from it feeling empowered.” The introduction goes on to explain that “Our work ... is not driven by the impulse to ascend to the throne; reversing roles would just perpetuate the same old disempowering pattern. We would rather overturn the patriarchal paradigm of power itself, reaching for empowerment that connects people with one another ...” (We’moon 2004 calendar, pp. 33-34.)
So when Celestina Pearl writes on p. 70, “I go out into the world as a Woman Warrior”, we must assume that this is a metaphor. Like the M-16 on the T-shirt.
What is the proper role for women in a world full of conflict?
I served with the Marines in Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91. I shared in the pride of liberating Kuwait from a brutal Iraqi occupation; but I also shared in the shame of our nation’s cruel betrayal of the Iraqi uprising against Saddam Hussein, and I lived with this burden for twelve years until Saddam’s overthrow. Even now it haunts me. A bitter irony: the great crime of that war was not what we did, but what we did not do.
Now the evil Ba’athist regime is gone, and there exists the possibility -- only the possibility -- of something better.
According to Iraqi women like Zainab al-Suwaij and Rania Kashi, the Iraqis were eager to be rid of Saddam, and their chief concern was (and still is) a better future for their country. And it is here that the efforts of feminist activists and other progressives might best be focused.
But many in the feminist and lesbian communities opposed the war, invoking platitudes about “women and peace” and vaguely suggesting that women possess some special insight into “other ways” of resolving conflicts – without ever specifying what “other solutions” might have rid Iraq and the world of Saddam Hussein. They missed the opportunity to inform themselves about the atrocities committed against women and children (to say nothing of men) in Ba’athist Iraq, and thus relinquished a potentially valuable voice on behalf of Iraqi and Middle Eastern women.
The removal of an oppressive regime is a step towards freedom, but it is only the first step. In Kuwait, the Iraqi tanks are gone but women still do not have the right to vote. Iraq is no longer a giant concentration camp (no thanks to the peace movement), but a nation of 24 million traumatized people will not get back on its feet overnight; the Iraqi people will need our help as they find their own way. Iraqi women, originally promised 40% of the seats in the new Parliament, had to settle for 25%. If all the women who marched under such banners as “Code Pink” had instead raised their voices on behalf of their Iraqi sisters, might it have made a difference? If instead of choosing to “feel empowered”, they had accepted the burden of real power – and responsiblity – could they have helped? We’ll never know.
Those who truly care about the well-being of the Iraqi people will continue to pressure Washington to follow through on its commitments for humanitarian aid, security, and ultimately democratic autonomy for Iraq. We must continue to fight for the rights of Iraqi women and minorities. And Western feminists must begin to look past the “women = peace” cliche. They must realize that, with all due respect to Audre Lorde, sometimes “the master’s tools” are the only way to dismantle the master’s house.
Ever since I was a kid I knew I was supposed to be a girl. I was very effeminate acting as a child; in the first grade two of my classmates cornered me in the boys' room and demanded to see my "c**t". Throughout public school I was harassed for being a "faggot" even though I was never attracted to boys. Eventually I learned to act more "masculine", a process I perfected in Marine boot camp.
Coming out as transgendered in mid-life forced me to confront my experience of growing up as a girl in a boy’s body. I realized that I had learned a lot about misogyny – and that what I’d experienced as a gender-variant “boy” was nothing compared to the sexism that women-born-women experience throughout their lives. But I also learned many lessons from the world of men – and some of these lessons have proved valuable.
Power means many things. As feminist thinkers have rightly pointed out, power does not reside only, or even primarily, in the force of arms. Power can belong to individuals or to a group; and it can be material or spiritual, as Starhawk has comprehensively explained in her activism manual Truth or Dare. In the 1970s, in the early days of the Women’s Land movement (which was especially prominent here in Oregon), women sought to create egalitarian utopias in the countryside; they learned that treating power as taboo only leads to chaos.
But whatever else power may be, it is also, in its most raw and elemental form, the mechanism by which evil men gain the ability to oppress others – and the means by which they can be defeated.
If you were raised as a girl, you learned that “to be a girl is to be weak”; if you were raised as a boy, you learned that “to be weak is to be a girl.” It is understandable that women and gays, traditionally excluded from the patriarchal power structure and more often its victims than its beneficiaries, will be tempted make a virtue of necessity and condemn all forms of force and power. This is a mistake. To eschew participation in the power process because of a misplaced fear of “the master’s tools” is an abdication of the very power women rightfully seek to claim. As the pioneers of the Women’s Land movement discovered, power and conflict ignored are simply driven underground.
Lesbian iconography often depicts women wielding swords and labryses (and now, it would seem, assault rifles). A better index of women’s progress might be the willingness to take responsibility for difficult decisons in a violent world. As women gain access to the tools of power, they must be prepared to deal with the consequences of using that power--and of not using it.