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Entries in controlling women's bodies (9)

Wednesday
Sep112013

jd Forte's 'The Up and Comers' & A September 11 Women's Rights Reflection

Fur and fur throws all by ADRIENNE LANDAU

It’s a first for Anne of Carversville to feature a bevy of beautiful, fresh face models in our pages. And no — it’s not a trend but a unique moment.

Quite simply, photographer jd Forte’s images are masterpieces that must be celebrated for their beauty and craft. Models.com features these fresh faces representing “a constant stream of exciting new talent making their mark on the industry.”

These young women represent a stylish fantasy that won’t change in the near future. Do we see uniqueness or banality? I let you be the judge. My senses are saturated with beauty and elegance, always celebrated on my websites.

Alicia / New York Model Management
Anita Ligic / Women Management
Kama / DNA Models
Karolina Marczyk / Elite
Kate Goodling / Ford Models
Kwak Ji Young / Wilhelmina New York
Kyra Green / IMG
Laura O’Grady / Supreme Management
Michelle C. / One Management
Nadja Giramata / Trump Management
Ona / Fusion Models
Paiz Sloane / Next Models NY
Yue Ning / Marilyn Agency

These politically incorrect images of young women swathed in fur ignite the passions of PETA supporters — and I myself would not wear fur. Yet I know well the sumptuous feeling of sleeping naked under a fur coat, and for me, these women are warrior goddesses ready to change the world.This is my advantage as a storyteller.

I also know that PETA distorted scientific research facts last week, according to the author of the quoted research, threatening pregnant women with the fear that their male children will be born with smaller penises if chicken is in her diet. Goddess forbid! From PETA’s perspective, the end probably justifies the means.

Fashion is a messy business, increasingly in pursuit of sweet young things without womanly bodies, young women willing to eat soaked cotton balls to be thin enough for the runways. AOC has a long and loud voice, pushing back against the downsizing of the 90s supermodels, fierce personalities with size 4-6 bodies attainable by a quarter of American women if we watch our diets and exercise. The vast majority of women of any age can’t achieve the bodies of today’s models, no matter how hard we try.

We are complicit, of course, in our own imprisonment. As the very grounded, healthy body top model Doutzen Kroes said in her recent Telegraph interview, she posts natural, no makeup images of herself on Instagram, but her fans don’t particularly like them. Her tribe prefers her as a dolled-up fantasy.

Cameron Russell gave a refreshing 2012 TED Talk, asking aspiring young models why in the world they want to sign up to a life of insecurity, rejection and judgement.

Models Wearing Fur Is Bad Compared To What?

There are those who will judge me for putting fresh face young models on the pages of AOC. Will I next layer in our first story of a woman lawyer flogged in Sudan for inappropriate dress? Or will I post two more ‘vanilla’ articles, so that when this AOC front page shows three articles, her story of being brutalized by the government of Sudan isn’t reduced in any way by the alleged vulgarity of Western morals and culture?

Managing AOC’s content placement is a constant source of concern for me.

Then again — speaking of vulgarity — I note in the morning headlines that an eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding on her wedding night. You see, child brides are rampant in Yemen where 40-year-old men regularly attempt sexual intercourse with young girls the age of a granddaughter.

So you will judge me and Western culture, my Islamic fundamentalist critics, for not being as pure as yours?

I note also the first survey of rape in six Asia-Pacific countries. The study by the Partners for Prevention, comprised of several U.N. agencies, asked 10,178 men about their lives. They gathered information — without using the word rape — from the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka. We will report the findings in a separate article, but the results are chilling and represent a great sense of sexual entitlement among the men surveyed.

Will these same men judge me and Western culture through their lens of appropriate behavior of women? Should I care?

Anne of Carversville tells women’s stories “from fashion to flogging”. Indeed, I do see connections between the two,  through a patriarchal lens of recent human history.

Male-dominated cultures and religious dogma seek to condemn women’s sensuality and sexuality. When a series of exquisite, technically superb images like these by jd Forte celebrates female beauty, confrontation (or is it a vacuous stare?) and sensuality, I must feature them.

Those who would judge me, and flog me or strangle me on the spot in Sudan for my work to stop the brutal whipping of 40,000 women a year for inappropriate dress and behavior will not silence me, because I’ve never been politically correct and won’t bow down at this age.

In an imperfect world, we seek imperfect examples of our philosophical life view where we find them. These gorgeous images inspire me to speak my mind this morning, on September 11. I have noted on many occasions that Controlling Women’s Bodies Is A Fight To the Finish.

In 2009, I ended this article with a confrontational meditation— and my words still stand today, more than ever. On behalf of the women of Sudan and raped, murdered, burned-alive, acid-attacked women everywhere in the world:

I have no delusions that this is a fight, perhaps to the finish, but you can count me in, come hell or high water. I have found my Inner Artist, my inner Anne vision. I will never again let the woman who is me, be chopped into little pieces, for the sake of cultural propriety. 

I’m dallying over the keyboard here. Write, erase. Write, erase. I will pause before writing the words in my mouth. Y-W-H-T-K-M-F.

A Smart Sensuality woman thinks carefully about what she writes in cyberspace. In our sick world, my thought might be taken as an invitation.

Peace out, as I turn my thoughts to a stunned New York on September 11, 2001, where fundamentalism and secularism joined in a mighty big clash of 21st century beliefs. ~ Anne

Fur and fur throws all by ADRIENNE LANDAU

 

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Sunday
Aug042013

The Religious Wisdom Of Retired Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong

This video transcript of John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop from Newark, N.J., is part of an interview by Keith Morrison for Dateline, NBC, Aug. 13, 2006, provides tremendous food for thought.

Spong: I don’t think Hell exists. I happen to believe in life after death, but I don’t think it’s got a thing to do with reward and punishment. Religion is always in the control business, and that’s something people don’t really understand. It’s in a guilt-producing control business. And if you have Heaven as a place where you’re rewarded for you goodness, and Hell is a place where you’re punished for your evil, then you sort of have control of the population. And so they create this fiery place which has quite literally scared the Hell out of a lot of people, throughout Christian history. And it’s part of a control tactic.

Morrison: But wait a minute. You’re saying that Hell, the idea of a place under the earth or somewhere you’re tormented for an eternity – is actually an invention of the church?

Spong: I think the church fired its furnaces hotter than anybody else. But I think there’s a sense in most religious life of reward and punishment in some form. The church doesn’t like for people to grow up, because you can’t control grown-ups. That’s why we talk about being born again. When you’re born again, you’re still a child. People don’t need to be born again. They need to grow up. They need to accept their responsibility for themselves and the world.

Morrison: What do you make of the theology which is pretty quite prominent these days in America, which is there is one guaranteed way not to go to hell; And that is to accept Jesus as your personal savior.

Spong: Yeah, I grew up in that tradition. Every church I know claims that ‘we are the true church’  – that they have some ultimate authority, ‘We have the infallible Pope,’ We have the Bible.’… The idea that the truth of God can be bound in any human system, by any human creed, by any human book, is almost beyond imagination for me.

I mean, God is not a Christian. God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition. I walk through my tradition. But I don’t think my tradition defines God. It only points me to God.

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Thursday
Apr252013

Anne Slams Kylie Bisutti As Agent Of Women's Oppression In Her Message That Women Must Cover Up & Be Modest

British Vogue appears to be dailing for page views today, with their headline Former Angel Slams Victoria’s Secret. Thinking I would be reading about a real Victoria’s Secret Angel, I ran into the self-serving, highly-promotional, born again Kylie Bisutti who “has clarified the reasons why she quit as one of the faces of Victoria’s Secet.”

There is no clarification because we read this story before.

“That’s when it hit me,” she recalled. “I was being paid to strip down and pose provocatively to titillate men. It wasn’t about modelling clothes anymore; I felt like a piece of meat. The next day, I broke down and started sobbing. I was in my bedroom and dropped to my knees and started to pray, saying: ‘God, why did you have me win the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition if it was going to make me feel this way? I’m not honouring my husband. I just want answers!’”

Bisutti — now married and living in Montana — is launching the next version of her public face with a book and clothing line designed with modesty in mind. Today’s women have no trouble covering up if they choose to do so, and I pray she’s not launching a line of burqas. I say that — not because I have a deep-seeded problem with burqas — but because I do have a problem with conservative religions that focus on female modesty.

The women of Egypt are living through this very nightmare as we speak, as the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to reintroduce burqas into public life for Egyptian women. In my long-standing involvement in trying to stop the brutal flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan for not wearing proper clothing, I assure Kylie Bisutti that her message only fuels the global surge of right-wing radicalism that is taking control of the bodies of American women. Think transvaginal ultrasounds; using an IUD is called murder; and the founder of Eden Foods now facing a boycott for suing the Obama Administration over the contraception coverage piece of the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods founder Michael Potter believes that people engaging in birth control are unsavory people performing unnatural acts.

Religion & Women’s Oppression

Jimmy Carter on Religion As Agent of Women’s Oppression

Speech by Jimmy Carter to the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Melbourne, Australia, Dec., 2009

I am pleased to address the Parliament of World Religions about the vital role of religion in providing a foundation for – or correcting – the global scourge of discrimination and violence against women. As will be seen, my remarks represent the personal views of a Christian layman and a former political leader.

There are international agreements as well as our own Holy Scriptures that guide us:

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, origin … or other status …”

The Holy Bible tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

All of us have a responsibility to acknowledge and address the gross acts of discrimination and violence against women that occur every day. Here are some well-known examples: continue

Anne’s Big Fight Ahead

Controlling Women’s Bodies Is A Fight To The Finish

Male-dominated global cultures continue to wrestle with female sexuality. The most repressive forms of Islam are at war with womens’ bodies, throwing head-to-coverage on the female form.

Simutaneously, Western societies, led by the Internet, unveil women’s bodies as never before, rendering us all voyeurs.

Some women do what they are told, having no political or cultural voice in how they are packaged for consumption. Others express their discontent of cultural realities around women’s bodies, making clear that they are ‘good girls’, when others are ‘bad’.

A third group, led by celebrity sensations like Shakira and Angelina Jolie, are using their fame to articulate a holistic essence of womanhood.

Shakira’s vision of woman as ‘she wolf’ outrages some people. But the Smart Sensuality women’s movement is growing culturally in its influence, and Shakira is a strong global voice in articulating this ‘new woman’.

Religions, led by Conservative Islam — but joined by the fundamentalist wings of most large religions — condemn immodesty in women. Just when it seems that we face nothing more than a black hole, a new dialogue is emerging from darkness on two fronts. The Internet dialogue that allows articulate people of diverse cultures to communicate about female sexuality and physicality is making for strange bedfellows. I wrote a life-changing journal essay a few weeks ago about burqas, prompting a rare exchange between Western and Muslim women who choose to veil themselves. (continue right column)

Shortly after that jolt of Internet traffic, I became the lead Western woman’s voice — in terms of expressed Internet support and number of postings — in the Lubna Ahmed Hussein case.

Refocusing my own mind around Khartoum’s intention to flog Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, I confront the reality of the subliminal, global passions that remain about female sexuality.

The very cultures cutting out the female clitoris are huge consumers of Internet porn. I have seen the statistics — no the IP addresses — with my own eyes. A male colleague showed me, and I was astonished. And women are dying because a glimpse of ankle has dishonored the family in these same countries.

Screaming that female sexuality must be contained, men also can’t get enough of it. This is a very dangerous, pathological reality for global women.

In America, Too, Hypocrisy Rules

Just this week I took a look at porn subscriptions in America.

As you might surmise, even in America, the states that yell the loudest about the need for women to ‘cover up’ and control their animalistic urges, sign up monthly in numbers that exceed New York, California and more liberal states — the ones with ‘no morals’.

This is the abyss of hypocrisy threatening women’s lives on a daily basis.

From my perspective, female sexuality is front and center, in the ‘battle for civilization’, even though the fight is clothed in religious identities.

One wonders if there is any light at the end of this tunnel.

As the women of Khartoum yell to the world that they’re not returning to the Dark Ages, and young female converts to Islam in America, Canada and France willingly take up the veil — often against the wishes or recommendations of their husbands and mothers — a strange voice came out of Khartoum the other night.

Roba Givia, a male Sudan Tribune journalist, reflecting on the whipping of women in Khartoum, wrote a superb piece Sudan is still living in an era of Arabs before Islam.

Many Local Sudanese Horrified By Flogging Woman Video Dec. 11, 2010

The horror of flogging in Sudan reared its head this week in a video that’s no less riveting in its inhumanity than the details of Lubna Hussein’s indencency hearings that went on for months in 2009. For new readers at Anne of Carversville, I became very involved in Lubna’s case in the summer of 2009, after being contacted by a loosely-confederated group of concerned men in the region.

My closest ally in that 2009 group returned to Facebook this week and contacted me with the video that frankly causes me nightmares. I have played this video over and over in my head awake and asleep.

There aren’t words to express my revulsion at the administering of ‘justice’ Sudan style to this young woman and the 40,000 more that will probably be flogged in 2010, based on Sudanese court records of 40,000 floggings in 2008.

Nesrine Malik wrote about the flogging for The Guardian today: Sudan’s public order laws are about control, not morality.

After being pulled down repeatedly on YouTube, with complaints coming fast and furious from the believers in flogging episodes like this one, the video is now alive on AOC. It is also on CNN and Al Jazeera, says my friend, although I can’t find it in the international editions.