[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

SocImages News:

Sociological Images’ post on Kim Kardashian and the patriarchal bargain is mentioned in Peggy Orenstein’s forthcoming book, Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. What a wonderful surprise!


Also this month, we featured a guest post by sociology graduate student Nicole Bedera. Her criticism of the latest viral Barbie ad prompted NPR to do a story. Listen to hear Nicole and Barbie-scholar Ann DuCille comment on about how far the doll has, or hasn’t, come.

Finally, I had the opportunity to contribute to a smart analysis of energy drink marketing at the New Yorker and a really nice discussion of “love your body”-type marketing at The Establishment.

You like!  Here are our most appreciated posts this month:

Thanks everybody!

Editor’s pick:

Top post on Tumblr this month:

Upcoming Lectures and Appearances:

Hey folks, I’m all booked up for February and March, but might be able to squeeze something in later in the semester. Happy to talk about hookup culture (that’s the favorite) or to offer some of the other talks I’ve worked up on American thinking about genital cutting, the science of sex differences, feminism and friendship, public sociology, and more!

Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

Finally, this is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookTumblrGoogle+, and Pinterest.  I’m on Facebook and Instagram and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal, and @jaylivingston.

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

A Christmas Moment: Broken?

Nov. 30th, 2015 08:22 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: A black horse grazing. His front left leg is prosthetic.
The tree beckoned them. Their mittens and boots flew off as they ran in excitedly asking, "Can we decorate your tree!!??!!" Sometimes I think that the exclamation mark and the question mark were invented by parents of young children because I'm not sure that they would be able to speak without them. Our tree is up late this year because of travel and the lights had just been put on and we had not yet started to decorate so their offer was eagerly accepted.

They flew around the tree at speeds that were astonishing to watch. In seconds the tree looked happier. The ornaments were carefully taken out of their boxes and then quickly placed on the perfect branch. That such care and such speed could co-exist is a marvel. At one point Sadie pulled out an ornament of the winged horse Pegasus, and cried out, "His leg is broken off!"

She held it up to Joe to look at. Joe looked at the ornament and said, "Sadie, he's not broken, he's just disabled."

"Like Dave," she said, then thought further, "Dave's not broken."

The ornament went on the tree.
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by Shereen Malherbe

Swedish fashion designer Iman Aldebe is leading a modest fashion revolution. Aldebe has been celebrated for her designs by both Muslim and non-Muslims who choose to wear her signature pieces, however her success hasn’t come easily. The barriers she has faced and reasons for her eventual success may give us an indication as to the extent to which women are still predominantly judged based on their appearances over their abilities- factors which could be a more disturbing indicator of why Muslim women seek alternative ways to fit in with society.

Aldebe’s first experience of appearance-based discrimination was when she wore her headscarf whilst applying for a position at a fashion boutique. She was told that the job was taken so she sent in my friend, who was not wearing hijab. When she asked about the position, they asked her how soon she could start. She also was told by a job recruiter that it was ‘probably better for me to take off my hijab’. Aldebe eventually got a part-time job in a boutique – but first she made some adjustments to the way she wore her headscarf. “I decided to change [the way I wore it], from wrapping it around my face to tying it all at the back like a traditional African head wrap. I went to the interview and I was accepted”. It is testament to Aldebe that she has bounced back from this judgement to become such a successful leader in modest fashion. However, we need to be careful: fitting in to what is deemed acceptable can raise a dangerous precedent. What happens when you are faced with discrimination? Do you adjust yourself to the underlying exclusion? What if you decide not to change how you wear your clothes? What if you can’t change aspects of your appearance, such as skin colour? Though some Muslim women can change how they look to “fit in” better, the reasons requiring them to do so need to be considered as seriously as the reasons for why certain looks are considered acceptable and others aren’t. It indicates something deeper amiss within western society and how women choosing to wear the headscarf are viewed: you look different but not too different, Muslim, but not too Muslim.

The turning point for many, Aldebe suggests, came in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the US. Hostility towards Muslims grew, and women in hijab felt particularly visible and vulnerable. Some chose to take it off; others looked to people like Aldebe to help them modernise it.

This highlights that conforming and blending in are two main issues Muslim women face as they look for acceptance in western society. It is a shame that the recent successes of European modest fashion lines could potentially stem from women’s fear of standing out and being recognised as Muslim. The rise in Islamophobic sentiment directed to Muslim women who choose to cover further reinforces this point. Unfortunately, this isn’t looking as though it will get easier any time soon, following the recent attacks carried out in Paris.

The labelling of women from their clothing choice alone is apparent not only for Muslim women. More needs to be done to highlight the inequality of a society constantly critiquing women because of their clothes choices, whether religious or personal. Conformism, to look a certain way, is also detrimental for minorities in society who have aspects of their appearance that they are physically unable to change, such as the colour of their skin. Instead of celebrating conformity, we should be asking bigger questions such as why do people still think it is acceptable to judge people on their appearance as opposed to viewing them as individuals with unique and varying sets of beliefs and aspirations?

I celebrate Aldebe’s career in fashion and haute couture. I commend her ability to give women options to express themselves through fashion, but I can’t help but wonder about those who can’t conform and those who feel too scared to do anything but.


Header image source. 

[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

If you’re looking for a preacherly way to thunder at people in Chinook Jargon, you are in luck, comrade.

Here’s how: Just like in English, you use outmoded ways of talking from long ago and far, far away.

The following is a pretty random example, in which I’ve bolded and underlined the Biblical Talk in a snip from the Old Testament Bible History.

Old Testament Chinuk Wawa (2)

<23.> Tanas lili, kanawi tilikom chako piltin. Kopit iht Noi
kwanisim tlus. ST wawa kopa Noi: “Tlus maika mamuk iht aias knim.
Alki pus kopit <100> sno naika mamuk ilo ukuk masachi tilikom
pi kanawi ikta mitlait kopa ilihi. Ukuk aias knim, iaka nim ark, iaka
kakwa haws: <150> stik yulkat; <25> stik tlak’at; pi <15>
stik sahali; iht windo mitlait sahali, iht laport kopa
tanas kikuli.

“23. After a while, the people all became sinful. Only Noah
continued to be good. God said to Noah: ‘Make a boat [lit. big canoe].
In the future, at the end of 100 years I will destroy these evil people
and everything that is on the the earth.[‘] This big canoe, called an ark,
was like a house: it was 150 yards long; 25 yards wide; and 15
yards high: a window was located at the top, a door a
bit below.”

The writer was Bishop Paul Durieu OMI, the man who had taught Father Le Jeune to speak Chinook Jargon. Durieu had learned the language in an earlier generation and farther south, and it shows in his word choices’ differences from Le Jeune’s way of talking:

(1) aias knim for “boat”: in 1890s Kamloops, everyone would’ve said ship or bot.

(2) stik for “yard (3 feet)”: in 1890s Kamloops, they said iard.

(3) yulkat for “long” (compare Grand Ronde yúłqat): Kamloops in the 1890s had lon instead.

(4) tlak’at for “wide” (compare Grand Ronde łə́q̓əł): in the 1890s in Kamloops, you said waid. 

Beyond this brief selection, there are many other differences between Durieu’s — extremely fluent and highly evocative! — Chinuk Wawa and that of Kamloops. For example, Durieu typically uses pus to mean “for (a purpose)”, whereas latter-day Kamloops had kopa. 

The summary effect is that Bishop Durieu’s Bible History, using more of the words of Jargon that we know way back early in the language’s history, constitutes a formal preaching register of Jargon. Kamloops Chinuk Wawa, containing many innovative English loanwords that replace the old words of Durieu’s generation, sounds more lively and informal.

Scholars of contact languages will be delighted to have learned from this blog post that a pidgin indeed differentiated various speech registers. Or they will be turning red in the face and preparing to fill this page with comments claiming that that is impossible in a pidgin :) Because ‘pidgins are amorphous’!

Tiptree Symposium, Dec 4-5

Nov. 29th, 2015 09:36 am
[syndicated profile] aqueductpress_feed

Posted by Timmi Duchamp

Most of you have probably already heard that the University of Oregon Libraries will be hosting a symposium later this week to honor Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr. on the centennial of her birth.
The symposium will kick off with a keynote talk by Julie Phillips, author of the biography: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon (St. Martins, 2006), and will also feature a panel discussion with other writers who carried on lively and engaging correspondence with Tiptree, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas and David Gerrold. I'll be participating myself, as a panelist on feminist sf publishing with co-panelists Jacob Weisman of Tachyon Publications and Gordon Van Gelder.

The symposium will take place in the Lillis Auditorium, Room 182. Admission is free, however please RSVP here. An exhibit based on the Tiptree Papers will be in Knight Library, first floor, and in Special Collections and University Archives.

Aqueduct Press will be there, as well as numerous Aqueduct authors. We'll be set up in the lobby alongside the University of Oregon Bookstore. We'll be bringing books we've published by attending authors as well as all our Tiptree Award-honored books. Kath made up a list of them (in reverse chronological order), to make sure we didn't miss any, and it's damned impressive, if I do say so myself:

Tiptree Award Winners:

Ancient, Ancient, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Co-Winner, 2012
Redwood and Wildfire, Andrea Hairston, Winner, 2011
Filter House, Nisi Shawl, Co-Winner, 2008

The Marq’ssan Cycle, L. Timmel Duchamp, Awarded Special Honor by 2009 Tiptree Jury
 Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, Special Mention, 2005

Honor List: 
Elysium, Jennifer Marie Brissett, 2014
Big Mama Stories, Eleanor Arnason, 2013
The Receptionist and Other Tales, Lesley Wheeler, 2012
"The Nones of Quintilis," in Never at Home, L. Timmel Duchamp, 2011
The Universe of Things, Gwyneth Jones, 2011
The Secret Feminist Cabal:  A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms, Helen Merrick, 2010
Distances, Vandana Singh, 2009
Dangerous Space, Kelley Eskridge, 2007
Mindscape, Andrea Hairston, 2006
Life, by Gwyneth Jones, 2004  (short list)
Love’s Body, Dancing in Time, L. Timmel Duchamp, 2004 (short list)

Sunday WTF?

Nov. 29th, 2015 04:12 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Exodus 22:16-19

When a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married, and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. But if her father refuses to give her to him, he shall pay an amount equal to the bride-price for virgins.

 You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live.

 Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

I’m just going to post these tweets here as a reference point so we can pick this conversation up later after I get back from the Big Box.

Every once in a while, some disturbed person absorbs the language and logic of white evangelicalism’s Satanic baby-killer fantasies and, not realizing it’s all a disingenuous game, acts on it. “Pro-life” evangelicals are then forced to condemn that person’s actions in an awkward dance that forces them to admit, at least implicitly, that they do not take their own words and arguments seriously — and thus that no one else should take them seriously either.






I link, therefore I spam

Nov. 28th, 2015 06:00 pm
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.


Nov. 28th, 2015 08:02 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: Hudson's Bay Olympic Collection Mittens. Black tops, with the Olympic logo and Canadian flag, red middle with CAN, in white on the top of the glove hand and a white maple leaf on the palm of the glove hand, then white tips at the top of the thumb and at the top of the fingers.
My hands get cold very easily.

A few winters ago I finally came up with a solution to that problem. I had bought various pairs of gloves, all promising warmth and none of them were capable of keeping me warm  while out and about using my power chair. Finally, in desperation, I tried something. I bought a nice pair of gloves that fit fairly snugly. Then I bought a pair of that year's annual Hudson's Bay Olympic mitts. When I first tried it, Joe looked at me quizzically with the 'what the hell ...' look on his face. I put the glove on, then shoved my gloved hands in the the mitts. Out we went. Victory! Warmth.

I'm telling you this now because, though my method keeps me warm it also creates another challenge which I face every year at this time. Driving my power chair with it's little joystick, that responds to the slightest pressure, with these gloves on requires tremendous focus and a couple of weeks of learning to drive all over again.

Not only that, learning to do this when there are more people out shopping, more things stuffed in the way, narrower passageways to get through. I do take my glovittens off when I go into a store, but as people are flowing in behind me I have to drive until I can find a place to stop and get them off. This means, like it did the other day, driving through the liquor store with new displays of fancy expensive bottles everywhere I looked, until I got to the back corner of the store where I took them off. I expected, at any moment, to here the crashing sound that a cut corner would leave behind. But I made it.

Today we're going out into that Black Friday weekend madness, we need groceries and to pick up a gift or two to send to people out west. My glovittens will be on, may the odds be ever in my favour as I make my way, with my joystick nestled between two layers of wool, completely unfelt my my hand.
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by eren

This week’s Friday Links were compiled by Eren and Samya. 


Racism and sexism is creating a toxic mix for the hundreds of thousands of Muslim women living in Australia, says Dr. Mehreen Faruqi as they have become the most likely targets of those retaliating and venting their anger in the aftermath of terrorist incidents. Dr. Faruqi is advocating for Muslim women to be included in discussions on Islamophobia and social inclusion.


Canada has seen a rise in cases of racism and Islamophobia in the past few days. Several women (herehere and here) have been attacked or received hate mail. Thus, a number of community-led initiatives have appeared including the #IllRideWithYou projectBuddyUpTO and several self-defence initiativesparticularly in Ontario and Alberta.

The self-defence courses are intended to empower Muslim women, teach ways to de-escalate situations, draw in bystanders in the face of hateful attacks, and help build safer communities.

The Star says black abaayas are a “staple of Muslim fashion.”


 ‘Mustang’ is a film that offers a humanizing portrait of adolescent Muslim girls as they transition to womanhood. And it’s just the film we need right now, writes Jen Yamato.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday unanimously upheld France’s headscarf ban in a case brought by a French Muslim social worker sacked in 2000 for wearing a religious veil.



Guinea’s President Alpha Condé has called on the chairman of the regional bloc to introduce a bill that would ban the wearing of the full Islamic veil in west Africa. Mr Condé justified his recommendation by saying that “in many of our countries, terrorists were increasingly using the full veil to carry out criminal acts against peaceful citizens”.


In previous months Iranian football player Niloufar Ardalan, missed the final of the Asian Games in September due to her husband’s refusal to let her travel. However, for a 2015 Futsal World Cup event in Guatemala this week, Iranian authorities overruled her husband’s wishes and granted Ardalan a single exit visa.


The Criterion, an Association of Muslim Women in Business and the Professions, has called for the immortalization of late Hajiya Bilkisu Yusuf who died during the September 24 stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the last hajj exercise. The women group has post-humously honoured Bilkisu along with two others; Alhaja Lateefah Okunnu and Alhaja Raliat Abdlrasaz for their selflessness service to the propagation of Islam.

Saudi Arabia

An official from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment Bureau said a married 45-year-old woman who was working as a maid in Riyadh since 2013 was convicted of adultery by a Saudi court in August. The woman, who remains largely unnamed by the media, confessed to the charges, she has been sentenced to death by stoning. Her partner, also a Sri Lankan migrant worker, was given a lesser punishment of 100 lashes on account of being single.


The president of the Serbian parliament, Maja Gojkovic, was criticised for wearing conservative Islamic clothing during a visit to Tehran. Advocates of women’s rights in Serbia said Gojkovic should not have donned the full-length abaya during her trip to Tehran on Monday, arguing that she had worn more conservative clothing than was necessary for diplomatic protocol in the Islamic republic.


Switzerland votes for burqa ban (which is likely conflated with the niqab) with £6,500 fine for Muslim women who wear it in public places. The local government of Ticino approved the referendum after the Swiss Parliament ruled that the ban did not violate the country’s federal law.


The New York Times published a profile of three Muslim women from Syria, each formerly a member of ISIS’ all-female Khansaa Brigade, the morality police. The profiles tell the story of “normal Muslim girls” gone bad and supporting ISIS’ efforts.


The Independent reports that a group of British Muslim women have been filmed urging other women and children to support and join ISIS. The reporter, who filmed the videos, gained the women’s trust by attending public rallies. Then, she was eventually accused by those present of being a “spy” and banned from the meetings.

Muslim women are taking to Instagram to show that following their religious beliefs needn’t preclude style. They’re media-savvy, ultra-chic and have thousands of Instagram followers.


Kameelah Rasheed was forced off a plane at the Newark Liberty International Airport while trying to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, for a vacation. Rasheed was forced off the United Airlines flight after already going through regular airport security and being subjected to further questioning by customs officers.

 Header image source. 

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

I’ve started noticing other stores going with a 1970s soundtrack for shoppers. I think maybe it’s a way of getting around worries about otherwise needing to pick a particular target demographic for the piped-in music. By the late 1980s, pop radio had begun splintering into dozens of categories and sub-categories, but in the ’70s, Top-40 still ruled, with radio offering rock and disco and Manilow in a single block of music. One minute it sounds like you’re riding along in the car with Dean Winchester, and then suddenly you’re docking at Puerto Vallarta with the passengers from The Love Boat.

Anyway, restocking the shelves at the Big Box doesn’t fully occupy one’s mind, giving me plenty of time to meditate on the meaning of the songs being piped in on the store’s music service. Maybe too much time.

• Tavares’ “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” starts off as an unmistakable artifact of the 1970s with the strains of Disco behind a hook based on the cheesiest of cheesy pick-up lines. But after the first minute or so the song morphs into something more like old-school 1950s Doo-wop. Maybe “heavenly” Disco songs just become untethered in time because something similar — but even more surprising — happens in the final minutes of Brenda Pointer’s “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” which ends with a burst of brassy scat a la Louis or Ella. It’s completely unexpected, but it fits perfectly, which is a delightful trick.

• The BeeGees’ “More Than a Woman” would be a period piece even without its ultra-’70s arrangement. If you covered this song today, giving it the most contemporary, cutting-edge musical interpretation possible, it would still come across as a relic of its time. No matter the musical setting, the lyric expresses something that could only be said by blow-dryed, bare-chested men in gold jackets with gold chains tangled in their copious chest-hair.

The Bee Gees

The chorus seems intended to praise a woman by suggesting that she is better than “a woman.” It posits womanhood as a category and approves of its object due to her transcendence of that category. If she were merely “a woman,” she would apparently be unworthy of the singer’s love and admiration. Her worthiness is contingent on her being “more than a woman.”

I’ve given this a great deal of thought, but haven’t yet managed to find any way of interpreting that phrase — “More Than a Woman” — that doesn’t require some appallingly misogynistic underlying assumptions.

The best I can do is to read this as a kind of repentance of some earlier attitude. Perhaps the singer intends to say that he used to regard all women as objects — interchangeable, disposable, impersonal and sub-personal inferior creatures. But now, he may be saying, this new love has taught him to view her as something more than that. This might have been a teachable moment, leading him to understand that his previous dismissive generalizations about the category “woman” were a distorted lie. But the singer/narrator/protagonist can’t quite come to grasp this. He persists in characterizing the object of his affection as an exception to the general view in which he seems to still regard all other women. By repeatedly hailing her for what he regards as her exceptional quality, he also repeatedly reaffirms his enduring misogynistic ideology, repeatedly reassuring himself and the listener that “a woman” is an inferior category unworthy of respect or love.

And that’s my most charitable interpretation. Am I missing something here? Is there a more positive way of interpreting this song?

• “Have You Heard About the Lonesome Loser?” confuses me. (Beyond my initial confusion of being sure this was Kansas and not the Little River Band.) The song repeatedly shifts between the second and third person in ways that invite competing interpretations. The titular loser is alternately referred to as “you” and as “he,” with both seeming to be ways of referring to the singer himself. When the singer says, in the chorus, “He’s a loser, but he still keeps on tryin’,” it seems that he’s referring to himself. It seems that way in the verses, too, when he switches to the second person — “You have to face up, you can’t run and hide.” This sounds like an affirmation — like he’s addressing those words to himself.

But this gets trickier due to song’s use of the second person in it’s title question and refrain: “Have you heard about the lonesome loser?” That “you” cannot be an indirect reference to the song’s narrator — that has to be addressed to the song’s listener (it seems to be a singular you). Is this the same “you,” with the same antecedent, as the “you” in those verses who’s being urged to face up and not be such a loser?

Later in the song, it becomes harder to tell if these murky, undefined antecedents should be heard as interchangeable or as opposed to one another — “He don’t know what goes on in his head / But if you watch very close you’ll see it all.”

So is this confessional or accusational? Is the Little River Band urging themselves not to be such losers, or is it telling us, the listeners, that we’re all a bunch of losers? It’s hard to tell, so I can’t quite tell if my emotional response to this song should be, “Hey, buck up there, buddy,” or “Yeah? Same to you and the horse you rode in on, you Kerry Livgren wanna-be.”

• The ’70s channel served up this block of songs, in this order, the other night: Abba’s “The Winner Takes It All,” Barry Manilow’s “Looks Like We Made It,” and Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time.”

Whether you like those artists and those songs is not the point here. You don’t need to like those songs to acknowledge that each of them is, in its own way, effective. And the cumulative effect of three such effective songs, back-to-back-to-back, created a palpable sense of melancholy that settled on the Big Box like a fog, clouding our eyes and thoughts until it was, mercifully, dispelled a few songs later by “Killer Queen.”

This was on a music service specifically designed and marketed to retailers and intended to create an atmosphere conducive to shopping. How is that supposed to work? Some customer grabs a cart and heads over to Aisle 35, thinking about maybe upgrading the lighting fixtures in their living room. Halfway there, they hear Ronstadt’s voice breaking along with her heart as she sings, “I’ve done everything I know to try to change your mind …” I’m not sure how that’s supposed to help sales.

• Whatever complaints I may have about the ’70s channel for our in-store music, I will miss all of this — the Disco, the Manilow, even the Starland Vocal Band — in the weeks to come. Today is Black Friday, the darkest day in retail world, when the soundtrack switches to Christmas music, endlessly and relentlessly, from now until New Years.

I love Christmas music, generally, but not the kind they insist on playing at the Big Box, which features endless versions of “White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” recorded by artists who seemed to think Bing Crosby and Gene Autry were too edgy and musically daring. The War on Advent has begun.


Muslimah Media Watch Has Moved!

Nov. 27th, 2015 10:09 pm
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by krista

Salaams and hello, dear MMW readers,

Welcome to our new site!

I’m excited to announce to you that Muslimah Media Watch has moved as of today.  You can now find us here at http://www.muslimahmediawatch.org/.  Our archives will stay up at our old Patheos site, but after today, all new content (as well as our archives up to this point) will be posted at this new site alone.

Being on our own again will give us back more control over our image, advertising, and other issues, which many of our writers and readers have been asking for.  The new site will be undergoing some changes in the next little while, so please be patient with us as we iron out our new look and get settled into our new online home!

Many thanks to Farah Kashem, who has been in charge of the transition, for her work on developing the new website and to Dilshad Ali, the Managing Editor of the Patheos Muslim Channel, for her support during our time at Patheos.

We’ll also have a few other changes over the next little while, including new writers and new content, so you can stay tuned for that.

I also want to mention one more thing.  Although I still officially hold the title of Editor-in-Chief at MMW, it is Tasnim, MMW’s Associate Editor, who has been running the show almost singlehandedly since last March.  She stepped in when I just wasn’t able to handle the blog along with my academic commitments and other issues, and I am eternally grateful for her work during this time.  I will likely be taking over again in the new year, but until then, a huge thank you to Tasnim for stepping in as Acting Editor-in-Chief this year.

And thanks to all of you for continuing to read and follow MMW!  We look forward to seeing you at our new home.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Originally posted August 12, 2005.

You can read this entire series, for free, via the convenient Left Behind Index. This post is also part of the ebook collection The Anti-Christ Handbook: Volume 1, available on Amazon for just $2.99. Volume 2 of The Anti-Christ Handbook, completing all the posts on the first Left Behind book, is also now available.

Left Behind, pp. 129-133

We left Buck Williams outside of the offices of “Global Weekly,” somewhere in midtown Manhattan, miles and miles from midtown Manhattan.

Buck heads inside and meets up with his friends and colleagues for the first time since one third of the world’s people disappeared and hundreds of thousands more were killed in various catastrophes involving planes, trains and automobiles. Since that event, Buck had been on his own, but:

He was with people who cared about him. This was his family. He was really, really glad to see them, and it appeared the feeling was mutual.

That second “really” is what sets Jerry Jenkins apart as a novelist. Passages like this make one grateful that he is sharing this gift with others. You, too, can sign up for his “Christian Writers Guild” and you can learn to be a really, really good writer.

They cheered when they saw Buck. These people, the ones he had worked with, fought with, irritated and scooped, now seemed genuinely glad to see him. They could have no idea how he felt. …

These folks have all just experienced the same world-altering 36 hours that Buck did, so you’d think they actually would have an idea of how he felt. We readers, however, can’t be sure what is going through Buck’s mind as he: “… began to sob, right there in front of his colleagues and competitors.”

There ought to be more of this happening in this book, more spontaneous emotional meltdowns. Few lives would be untouched by the disappearances and the ensuing disasters. All the children are gone, all 1.3 billion of them. That means at least that many grieving parents. Most of the planet, at this point, is probably coping with some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Random bouts of sobbing should be the new normal.

“It’s all right, Bucky,” one said. “If this is your first cry, you’ll discover it won’t be your last. We’re all just as scared and stunned and grief-stricken as you are.”

That’s kind of nice — a humanizing touch for a character who has, so far, showed scarcely a glimmer of human response to the suffering, loss and mayhem around him.

But who was that speaking? One of Buck’s nameless, faceless coworkers — the people who cheered when he walked in. There’s something a bit creepy about the chorus roles in this book. They surround Buck, offer him cheer, seem genuinely interested in how he is doing and what he has been through. He never reciprocates this concern, and they never seem surprised by that. It’s like they know they’re just extras and he’s the protagonist.

The same odd dynamic is at work on the next page, as Rayford checks in with the office:

Rayford talked himself into calling the Pan-Con Flight Center early in the afternoon. He learned that he was to report in for a Friday flight two days later. “Really?” he said.

“Don’t count on actually flying it,” he was told. “Not too many flights are expected to be lifting off by then. Certainly none till late tomorrow, and maybe not even then.”

If Friday is two days later, then it must be Wednesday, which means, I think, that the disappearances must’ve occurred late Monday/early Tuesday (depending on timezone). So we finally know what day it is, if not what month.

Another thing we don’t know is who it is that Rayford is talking to on the phone. Passive constructions like “he was told” don’t even allow us to figure out this person’s gender for another two pages (when Rayford hears that “he was tapping computer keys”).

But we did learn that a very few commercial flights have been flying again. You know how it is after a big disaster involving multiple crashes closes all the airports. The FAA keeps just about everyone grounded except for private jets for journalists, commercial flights for Stanford students, and members of the bin Laden family.

The nameless Pan-Con voice helpfully tracks down the travel itinerary of Rayford’s daughter Chloe, who apparently took a bus from Palo Alto and is flying home via Salt Lake City, Enid, Okla., and Springfield, Ill.

Rayford asks Peripheral Chorus Guy when he’ll be getting back home if his scheduled flight does take off:

“Saturday night.”


“Why? Got a date?”

“Not funny.”

“Oh, gosh, I’m sorry, Captain. I forgot who I was talking to.”

“You know about my family?”

“Everybody here knows, sir.”

PCG must also have a family. Every parent in the entire company has lost their children. And dozens of Pan Continental jets have crashed, taking the lives of pilots and crew. But somehow it is Rayford’s loss that is the talk of the office.

“Everybody knows,” and everybody cares, about Rayford. They know that he lost his wife — the same wife he couldn’t stand to be around, the one he blew off to hit on young flight attendants — and they regard his loss as somehow more special, more important than their own. It’s not just that these people are undeveloped extras in the background of somebody else’s story — it’s that they know they’re merely extras in the background, and they enthusiastically embrace this status.

TebowWe could just file this under Bad Writing, but it’s more than that. The self-centered, sociopathic lack of empathy displayed by Rayford and Buck is held up as model behavior. By implicit example, and sometimes more explicitly, this book is trying to teach its readers that Other People do not matter.

One common riff used by evangelical speakers involves John 3:16 — the verse made famous by Bannerman. As a reminder of God’s love for each of us, the speaker will quote that verse as a fill-in-the-blank, urging the audience to insert their own name: “For God so loved [your name here] that he gave his only begotten son, that [your name here] shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

This illustration turns the verse into something like the parable of the Lost Sheep (“ninety and nine all safe in the fold”), which is a valid point, but not the point that John’s Gospel is making.

John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world,” or literally, “the cosmos.” It’s not a good idea to substitute yourself for the entire cosmos. Part of what this passage is saying is that God loves the world, so you should love it too. That message is lost if you make it all about you.

If it’s all about you, then it doesn’t really matter what else or who else God loves. God doesn’t even really matter that much, except insofar as you get helped out. You’re the hero of this story — God is just Peripheral Chorus Guy writ large, just another one of those faceless chorus members cheering when you walk into the room.

Lest you wonder if “sociopathic” is too strong a term for the self-centeredness of our hero Rayford, here’s how this chapter of LB ends:

“Well, I’m sorry for what you’re going through, sir, but you can be grateful your daughter didn’t get on Pan-Con directly out of Palo Alto. The last one out from there went down last night. No survivors.”

“And this was after the disappearances?”

“Just last night. Totally unrelated.”

“Wouldn’t that have been a kick in the teeth?” Rayford said.


Rayford doesn’t ask which one of his fellow Pan-Con pilots was aboard the doomed flight. He doesn’t care because it wasn’t him or his immediate family. Neither, “indeed,” does PCG. They are both just relieved that Rayford and his family are unaffected by this event. It “would have” been a tragedy if Chloe had been on board. But it was just Other People who died. So no harm, no foul.

I’ll wait to go to the store

Nov. 27th, 2015 07:41 pm
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Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Yesterday, after getting together the shocking list of all that is unknit and must be knit, I discovered that I have no yarn. Well, that’s not true, obviously… I mean, I have rather a lot of yarn. It turns out though, that when I went into the stash with the list of things that I wanted to make, to see what I had to make it out of, everything was unacceptable. Here’s a great example.  I decided that I’d start the parade of Christmas knits with one of the little sweaters that needs making. I chose a pattern – it’s the Baby and Child Sophisticate, all I needed was a little bit of worsted weight yarn, and surely that’s in the stash, right?

I went into the stash, and found about 10 yarns that could work, and rejected them all for some reason or another, and then started making a list of what I needed to go to the yarn shop for.  I put “500m of worsted” at the top of the list.  Since I was stuck without that, I decided I’d start the cowl.  I went into the stash for that… and about 20 minutes later I’d rejected everything I had and added yarn for that to the list. This continued for a while, until essentially speaking, I’d decided that none of the yarn I have now would work for anything and I’d need to buy more for everything, which totally defeats the purpose of a stash.  It’s not supposed to be an untouchable collection… it’s supposed to be my own private yarn store. A pre-planned smorgasbord of yarns that I love, and it turns out that’s the problem.

It turns out that mostly I love this stuff, that’s why I bought it,  and I don’t want it to be gone, and I think that if I knit it it will be gone, which it will be, but the point was to use it to make things, not to hug it and kiss it and call it George. There will be, I said to myself, as I stood in the stash, and thought things over, other yarns. Yarns I love as much as these yarns.  So, I didn’t go to the yarn store today. I stood there in the stash, and I looked for some proper freakin’ generosity in my heart, and lo and behold, the yarn I needed was there after all, as long as I was willing to part with it.

frankiesweaterstart 2015-11-27

Two skeins of Longmeadow Farm merino, in a gorgeous colour called “Brick and Mortar” (that I totally would look great in) that is soft, and lovely and will suit my little nephew to a tee.  I started knitting straight away so that I couldn’t change my mind, and I love how it feels, and I’m trying to remember that knitting it up is more than half of the pleasure of having it. I’m still having pangs as I go along, but yarn is for using, and for keeping people warm and this yarn was doing none of that in the stash, and now it’s meeting a noble destiny. It’s not supposed to be there so I can stand in the middle of it all and say “Mine, Mine, nobody else’s.”

frankiesweaterstartball 2015-11-27

Besides. Maybe there will be enough left over to make me a hat.

Chiraq And The 'Sex-Strike' Myth

Nov. 27th, 2015 02:03 pm
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Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Spike Lee went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last Tuesday to discuss his movie Chiraq. In the course of doing this he made some rather unfortunate comments. Chiraq, a cinematic retelling of the classical play, “Lysistrata,” has already raised eyebrows for seemingly endorsing the notion that a “sex strike” could quell inner city violence. Lee has noted that the movie is satire. Perhaps so. But when it comes to the efficacy of sex-strikes, Lee seems dead serious:

What’s happening on college campuses today, you know, what happened at the University of Missouri where the football players got together and said unless the president resigned they weren’t going to play, I think that a sex-strike could really work on college campuses where there’s an abundance of sexual harassment and date rape.  College campuses and universities, I think that’ll work.

The audience then applauded this comment. I’m not sure why. Claiming that sex-strikes can stop rape  is premised on the idea that rapists are somehow concerned with the thoughts and opinions of their potential victims. There is very little evidence support this contention.

Much like advising women to combat rape by wearing longer skirts, the sex-strike solution holds that there is something in the behavior of women that might alter the calculus of predators. This seems unlikely. Rape is plunder of the body. It relies on the individual power of the rapist and also on the tolerance of institutions which have a heritage of either endorsement or looking the other way.  The notion that individuals, themselves, should be expected to successfully combat not merely the power of individual rapists, but rape as heritage, which is to say  the predilections of courts, colleges, churches, fraternities, societies etc. is rather incredible.

One might as well claim  that sharecroppers could have ended debt-peonage if only they’d refused to pick cotton. But the kleptocrats of Mississippi did not serve at the pleasure of sharecroppers. And rapists don’t ply their trade at the leisure of women. They ply their trade through great violence--a tactic shown to be quite effective against any manner of “strike,” no matter the genre.

Even the more narrow claim that “sex-strikes” can somehow stem the violence in the inner cities is wrong. It is wrong morally, because it rests on the notion that women, as a class, are somehow responsible for the kind of socially engineered violence you find in cities like Chicago. But it is also manifestly false. Lee cited Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee in his comments, asserting that she’d won a Nobel Peace Prize for using a sex-strike to end violence in Liberia. It’s certainly true that Gbowee received a Nobel Peace Prize and made incredible contributions in her country. It is also certainly false that sex strikes were the method by which she made those contributions. The sex strikes “had little or no practical effect,” Gbowee has written. “But it was extremely valuable in getting us media attention."

That sex strikes are more effective at attracting media than curbing violence should not be surprising. Indeed these stories turn heads for reasons not wholly disconnected from our long heritage of rape.

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Posted by eren

Upon learning about the Paris attacks and the #PrayforParis hashtag that emerged, I felt many things – but I was not shocked. Violence does not shock me. As a woman of colour and as an immigrant, it is part of my surroundings.

I have become desensitized to violence. If you are like me and grew up in a Third World country that has experienced violence during your lifetime, chances are you understand.

Growing up in Latin America in the 90’s in 2000’s I witnessed hundreds of missing and murdered women in northern Mexico, the rising of the Zapatist Army and the violence targeting Indigenous communities by the Mexican government, the Acteal Massacre, theGuatemalan genocide, the violence in Colombia, the numerous terrorist attacks in Peru and the following brutality of the Fujimori regime, and many other so-called “low intensity conflicts,” including police brutality against black communities in Brazil. I also vividly remember the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and the multiple attacks against Palestine. All of these have had visible and horrible effects on women, particularly because rape and torture as weapons of war have been common.

Since moving to Canada, I have personally experienced racism, stereotyping and Islamophobia after my conversion to Islam. What is more, I have gotten to interact with women who have been particularly marginalized in a country built on settler colonialism. I have heard the voices of the families of missing and murdered aboriginal women. I have heard the stories of immigrant women of colour who face barriers to accessing services, experience racism and are simply not welcome in the country. And I have seen Islamophobia not only in the streets but at the highest levels of government and the political sphere.

So, I am desensitized. Violence does not surprise me. I have come to accept that it is part of life, my life as an immigrant woman of colour and as a Muslim.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, I learned about the attackers and those they killed, and I learned Syria would continue to be bombed, now by France.

But I couldn’t separate that violence from what is too often dismissed as the violence suffered by the inhabitants of the “third world”, and those marginalized in the West. These are just some of the experiences of violence that have been important and relevant to me:

And this list does not even begin to cover the rampant violence that the Third World and people of colour experience on a daily basis.


All of this however, does not mean that I cannot empathize. I felt deeply concerned about my fellow writers and friends who have family and friends in Paris. Fear and worry are something we experienced together as we also silently prepared for the wave of Islamophobia, across the Western world, that we know will follow.

We were not the only ones thinking about Paris. Many Muslims reacted by engaging with the #IamAMuslim hashtag and condemned ISIL. Canadian Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed explained why ISIL does not represent Muslims, while Hasnaa Mokhtar described why she will “#PrayforParis but won’t apologize.” However, I kept feeling uncomfortable.

Why wasn’t the media talking about Lebanon or Iraq?

Not only did Facebook create a Paris profile flag and a safety feature for those in Paris(a critique is available here), actively neglecting the situations in Lebanon and Iraq, but Twitter was flooded with messages about Paris and prayers for Paris and solidarity for Paris. Even among Muslims much of the reactions focused on the attacks against the western country.


Chris Graham writes about the “selective outrage” that followed the attacks against these three countries, making a case to why people should identify with all the victims of terrorist attacks. Something that he mentions in passing is, however, essential to the reactions around the world. The white-Western standard prevails.

Even as Muslims, and often as people of colour, we feel we owe the West an explanation whether it is in the form of solidarity, apologies, prayers, etc. I see angry messages from Muslims and people of colour floating around about why we should care about Lebanon and Iraq, but I have yet to see a collective effort from Western Muslims to apologize or express solidarity to the victims and survivors of the attacks in Beirut and Baghdad.

Unfortunately, this is not a rare attitude and it goes beyond Muslim communities. Mexican activists involved in the search and advocacy for the 43 missing students, which I have been personally involved with, were outraged with the #PrayersforParis hashtag after fighting for over a year for a few drops of media attention and Western solidarity. The hashtag was a reminder, to many of us activists of faith and colour, that our lives are dispensable against the Western standard.

Of course it is right that people express concern and support for France, after all innocent lives were lost and many more will be attacked because of this display of terrorism. Muslims will likely be the first to feel the wrath of the West retaliating in France and across Europe. But we also need to wonder why is it that we, even as people of colour and of faith, continue to prioritize and neglect the struggles of people in the Third world, of Indigenous peoples, of Muslims in non-Western countries and of black peoples everywhere? Why is it that we still rush to explain to the French that this is “not real Islam” or that this is “not our Islam” while leaving everyone else behind?

In the Canadian case, I particularly worry about my fellow Muslim sisters because Muslim women in Canada have consistently faced sexism, racism and Islamophobia. We have seen the attacks against Muslim women across provinces and the targeting of our mosques. However, I think it is important to remind ourselves that these oppressions are part of a broader system that affects other women as well, but in different ways. We cannot continue to consider non-white lives dispensable and we should not continue to normalize violence against people of colour because that is a feature of white supremacy… the same white supremacy that has led many of us to apologize and explain our Islam to France while neglecting to talk the violence affecting the lives of people in the Third World and people of colour in the West.


Header image source. 

Sisterhood from Struggle

Nov. 25th, 2015 03:19 pm
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Posted by shireen

“Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly” – Ali Ibn Abu Talib (RA)

Only from darkness can we see light. Only from struggle do we understand the roots of solidarity. These days in Toronto, these expressions could not be more true.

After the horrific series of terrorist acts in Beirut, Baghdad, Ankara and Paris it can not seem to be anything but dark. Even gloomier for Muslims around the world who have been asked to apologize, justify or take responsibility for the actions of violent terrorists. It is safe to say that Muslims are expected to condemn and react quickly to denounce any extremist activity. Even then we know we will be served an extra large helping of hate and anger, deep-fried in bigotry. Is there a way to fight back? Can we rise up and push back against this virulent form of intimidation and injustice? Can we protect ourselves, our integrity as we are exhausted by fighting stereotypes and an unforgiving media?


Yes, we can. As long as we focus on sisterhood, solidarity and prepare ourselves physically and mentally. Yes, we can keep having conversations about what we will do and ideas about how to protect ourselves. Yes, we can definitely kick ass, insha’Allah. And it can be bright. It can accelerate into a movement powered by sisterhood.

Backlash against Muslims is always expected. Those of us who were adults during 9/11 remember the hatred unleashed in retaliation. We know the wars that were started in the name of ‘Freedom’ that had everything to do with money and oil. They propelled fear and ignorance while simultaneously destabilizing our home countries.

The aftermath of the attacks in Paris are no different. The victims are from many communities- including ours.

But the attacks on Muslims, or those mistaken as Muslim, came quickly in Toronto. Retribution, for crimes innocent people did not commit, was swift. Feeling frustrated,I penned a piece after being bombarded with news of attacks of Muslim women close to my home. In my piece, I wrote that “retaliating against terrorism with violent racism is also terrorism”.

Violence against women is not something new. There is anti-Black violence by law enforcement, disregard for over 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, both are part of an on-going system rooted in control and misogyny.
While targeted violence against Muslim women is terrifying, there have been incredible efforts to organize, mobilize and create spaces of learning and sharing.

Non-Muslim Allies jumped in to show solidarity , some have offered to host sessions in their own martial arts spaces, and some offered great online tips  – but more importantly it was the how different communities of Muslimahs in Toronto reacted that really inspired me.

Women across this metropolis started by connecting, sharing networks and setting up at least 12 self-defense workshops across the Greater Toronto Area. Some of these sessions are free (from community donors) and some required a fee to pay for rental spaces. Outburst! coalition took initiative to locate Muslimah self-defense instructors and offer a subsidized, two hour class. They are looking to do at least four more. This is part of the message from their Facebook event page:

The recent public attacks of Muslim women in Toronto have made many of us fearful. We know it’s never our fault when we are attacked. Some of us want to strengthen our options to stay safer, this is one way to do it. Join us for an early evening of self-defense, sisterhood, and resistance!”

This message reflect far more than simply learning techniques to protect one’s self. It is enshrined in the idea of community strength and solidarity. Women supporting each other to fight back, to strike, to use their voices, to protect their bodies, to use their agency and to be angry.

It is important to recognize feelings of fear and frustration. Being in safe spaces where Muslim women are uniting in their stand against physical attacks is a part of how we continue to grow as a community and as a sisterhood.

I spoke to Aaida Mamuji, a friend and a boxer who, could quite possibly destroy any racist scumbag trying to attack her because of her hijab. I asked her thoughts on these self-defense initiatives. “For me, both inner and outer strength go hand-in-hand,” she said. “One augments the other.  When we are faced with situations where we feel vulnerable on the inside, remembering our body’s physical strength and potential helps carry us through.”

Some of these session have been held in private homes, or in community centre gyms, but all have been the brainchildren of Muslim women wanting to ‘do something’ in response to the violence against the women of our community.

There is a place for strength and self-preservation in our practice of Islam. Discussions on this are important for sharing information and reassurance. I asked a few Muslim women on my Facebook page if they felt self-defense classes were important or even necessary. The answers were overwhelmingly positive and frankly, similar in nature.

Zainab wrote: “Self defense makes you recognize the power that your own body is capable of, and the strength that you contain within yourself. Not only does it help you protect yourself, but it makes you more familiar with your body and its abilities – and it gives you a measure of control that women are rarely told they even have or are capable of.”

Paige, a Personal Trainer reminded us of the importance of being aware of surroundings: “Physical training gives you a wonderful sense of empowerment and control in life, even when everything is out of control. Self defense important for all women, it teaches you not only how to defend yourself but also to be aware of what is going on and escape routes to take to avoid danger.”

Laila explained how specific skill empowered her: “I took martial arts for almost ten years of my life, and there is an indelible sense of power that you gain, a confidence, a swagger that is necessary amidst a world where safety for Muslim women is never guaranteed. I was able to take down grown men, able to break through materials, and cause harm using everyday objects – and now, when I’m harassed or followed, I am cognizant of the power I have to kick ass – and that is everything.”

Saara was succinct: “Working on strength makes you feel strong. Feeling strong makes you feel capable. Feeling capable makes you kick ass. Not rocket science.”

My friend Aina added: “it’s quite sad women have to be on the defensive all the time” and I agree with her. But in the absence of an immediate feeling of safety this is a great alternative. Some women may choose to restrict their movements or going out alone and that is their choice. I had a woman tell me she decided to stop wearing hijab as a result. These are real issues that arise from the fear of being a victim of a direct violent attack. As women we often think about safety and how we can protect ourselves. But to move forward in a way that is a powerful reminder of the resilience of Muslim women, is where the mental game stays

I would never argue that the targeted violence on Muslimahs lead to a wonderfully warm bonding event. This entire exercise is to strengthen ourselves and our community.

My close friend, Noor Al Mosawi, who has a Black Belt in Karate reminded me of the importance of maintaining position and strong energy. As much as anger might be  resonating, it is crucial to stay steadfast and focused in learning. She reminded me that practice and implementation of self-defense requires positive headspace. Acknowledging our emotions is important but to be controlled and focused will be the most important component. I am planning to attend a session this week with my daughter. I truly hope that I will never be in a position to have to put what I learn into practice. Taking Noor with me everywhere as a body guard is not a realistic option (I already asked her).

I do feel strongly that attending these sessions can inject women with a sensibility and perhaps a skill set that may help protect them. From a place that seems dark, we can inject a very powerful light, and fight.

We can’t change the evil in people but we can strike back: with a tight jab to the nose, a sharp poke in the eye, or strong kick to the shin of an Islamophobe. And we can use our voices; to scream when in danger, to support each other and to amplify what a force we can be.

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Posted by nurulsyahirah

When I first heard the title of Dr. Nina Ansary’s latest book, Jewels of Allah, on the life of women in Iran, I must admit I had to restrain myself.

In general I’m pretty wary about labelling women as two-dimensional objects, whether in a negative (‘lollipops’) or positive (‘pearl in its shell’) way. Ansary explains that the title is “meant to convey that women, who have been ordained as inferior [by hardline conservative factions] are in fact the jewels of the Creator”.

The book promises to tell the “untold story of women in Iran,” and it doesn’t disappoint in some ways. The first chapter begins with a determined tracing through centuries of history aiming to correct misconceptions about the popular narratives about women’s lives in Iran over the last 40 years. The popular narrative, according to Ansary, is one that creates a dichotomy between the free/modern/active/miniskirt-wearing Iranian woman during the Pahlavi monarchy and the gender-segregated/restricted/veiled Iranian woman in post-1979 Islamic Revolution Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini.

I feel optimistic when Ansary writes, “The real story is usually much more complicated, nuanced and less tidy.” These are the misconceptions she addresses in her book (one point per chapter):

  1. Before the Pahlavi monarchy, Persian women were always suppressed by the religious and political establishment.
  2. Iranian women didn’t advocate for their freedom until recently.
  3. During the Pahlavi era, all women were liberated.
  4. During the Khomeini era, women were totally oppressed.
  5. There is a lack of common ground between secular and religious women in Iran.
  6. There is not much of a women’s movement in modern-day Iran.

Chapter 2 looks at Ancient Persia and the then prevailing religion of Zoroastrianism, which she describes as egalitarian and progressive. Then, the 7th century Arab invasion and the “eventual infusion of Islamic values” into Persian society results in the loss of women’s equal status with men and their social separation, loss of educational opportunities. In the chapter, one hadith about women’s “brains [being] incapable of retaining knowledge” is quoted as if it were a widespread Islamic belief. Next, the chapter argues that women were granted a brief respite from oppression under the Iranian and Turkic dynasties from 9th to 13th centuries. However, the Safavid dynasty brought back the patriarchy, packaged in conservative Shia doctrine and persisting to this day.

Chapter 3 and 4 look at the nuances (as promised!) behind the Pahlavi and Khomeini eras. She argues that (conservative) rural women were not empowered under Pahlavi because their families kept them at home from school, while under Khomeini, a “failed gender ideology” resulted in women being empowered through education, despite legal and social efforts to oppress them. Chapter 4 contains a few rather extensive analyses of gender roles in elementary school textbooks, which read like standalone research essays.

Chapter 5, 6 and 7 look at the ups and downs of alliances between secular and religious feminists by tracing the development of various feminist publications and magazines.

The good

In the epilogue, Ansary highlights about 100 historical and contemporary Iranian women, over centuries, who espoused the feminist ideology of their times (these were previously posted on her Facebook page from March 2014 to May 2015). These women include scientists, artists, professionals and even a Paralympic athlete; this incredible collection is great for showing that Iranian women are not oppressed, have done many amazing things, and come from all walks of life – in short, they’re real people.

I also liked that she started the book with a story of her two grandmothers. Bringing in the personal helps give more context and motivation for why she wrote the book, something that authors should but rarely do.

Chapter 5 also includes a great explanation of Islamic feminism, and how religious and secular feminists in Iran work within a religious framework to advocate for women’s rights. A list of “Iran’s Islamic feminist movement” includes professor Dr. Jamileh Kadivar, journalist Parvin Ardalan, human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and founder of Zanan magazine Shahla Sherkat. Other scholars mentioned include Nayereh Tohidi, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Haleh Afshar, Valentine Moghadam and Ziba Mir-Hosseini. A selection of quotes from these women indicates that they differentiate Islam as a religion from interpretation of Islamic laws and regulations – a point which is not so clear in the rest of the book.

The bad

One problem is the romantisation of history and, in particular, of Zoroastrian culture as being a gender utopia. Further, the framing of the Arab invasion and Safavid dynasty as being severely gender unequal serves to frame the empires in between as seemingly more egalitarian. In reality, analyses of these periods deserve just as much nuance (based on other intersectionalities such as sex, race/tribe, class) given to the Pahlavi and Khomeini eras. While there were certainly female leaders and commanders in Persian cities and states in 6th century BC, what class of women could reach these ranks? Most probably educated women of noble lineage.

Walter Benjamin wrote in On the Concept of History (1940)about a painting calledAngelus Novus by Klee. The painting teaches us that our view of history as a sequence of events only serves to justify a certain narrative.

“Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet (…) The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm.”

Furthermore, there were other problematic themes that kept popping up throughout the book. One was the framing of women who ‘veil’ as being conservative and those who don’t veil as being free. One of the first notable women Ansary features in her book is Sadiqeh Dowlatabadi (1882-1961), “one of the most distinguished advocates for female education” (p.28). She reportedly said on her deathbed: “I will never forgive anyone who visits my grave veiled”. This quote is not explained or given any further context or nuance, leaving the reader to conclude that veiling can only be an unfeminist and unempowered act. (In her epilogue she also features Masih Alinejad, creator of My Stealth Freedom Facebook page for women to post photos of themselves without a headscarf.)

Compare this to a description of ‘Rejected Princess’ Naziq al-Abid, Syria’s first female general in history, and for whom going veil-less was also a big part of her life.

“She’s seen here ripping off a veil, since going veil-less was a big part of her life. Not that there’s anything wrong with choosing to wear a veil — she just didn’t have that choice for the most part, although she wanted it badly.”

The conspicuous lack of context is odd, as Ansary seems aware that there is more symbolism to the veil than the oppression-freedom dichotomy. The book shows that she is aware that there are other bigger factors that determine a women’s empowerment, such as laws and educational opportunities. This is evident in how she describes Khomeini’s ‘Islamic Government’:

“a misogynistic regimen […] embedded in a constitution reinforcing the primacy of the Sharia (Islamic law) over civil law and the absolute leadership of a Shiite jurist over popular sovereignty.” (p.200)

So it is puzzling why she does not give more nuance where it is so crucially needed.

This lack of linkage to larger political factors and global processes can result in readers making problematic conclusions. Gina B Nahai, in her review of the book, laments the lack of a “satisfying explanation” as to why “an estimated million women actively took part in the overthrow of the Shah and the return of the ayatollahs to Iran”. Nahai ends up blaming Islam as a monolithic patriarchal force, and Allah as a patriarchal god, for the problems of Iranian women. (Perhaps she didn’t read the final chapters where religious and secular Iranian women show how they are able to articulate gender equality in laws within an Islamic framework, through an ideology otherwise known as Islamic feminism.).

The final chapter also comes to an odd conclusion as to how women in Iran can achieve equality. It mainly argues for a reform of Islam based on “theological reform in Western nations”, based on the work of German priest Martin Luther and Friedrich Nietzsche. There is no mention at all of Islamic laws in other countries that do not have the same outcomes as Iran. Even a cursory look at other Muslim majority countries such as Tunisia or Indonesia could show how gender equality is not solely determined by laws or religion, but also other factors like increased employment or improvement in standards of living.

A public relations sheet that came with the book highlighted some publications and organisations that have featured her book. One organisation that stood out was The Clarion Project, which has infamously produced several Islamophobic films, the most recent being Honor Diaries. This rightwing organisation aims to “challenge extremism”, but in reality it provides a simplistic view of ‘Muslim extremism’ in order to perpetuate a cruel and oppressive image of an all-monolithic Islam. Despite this, in her interview with The Clarion Project, I think Ansary has bravely attempted to include some nuance about Iran’s gender inequality, highlighting that the West has its own gender inequality issues too.

Final thoughts

The language in Ansary’s book is easy to read, but it is held back by its pace. I felt like I was reading different essays cobbled together: some delving into too much detail in some topics (analysis of elementary textbooks) and some skimming over topics that needed more analysis (tracing of feminist alliances, Muslim reformers from within).

Most importantly, when I finished the book, I realised that state-sponsored terror existed under both Pahlavi/free and Khomeini/oppressed regimes. Not many readers may know that under Pahlavi, police beat up veiled women and forcibly removed their veils. Today, the basij or religious police do the same to women who are ‘improperly’ veiled. It’s an authoritarian state that imposes a regime on its people that creates oppression, not religion or a veil.

While Ansary extensively looks at the actions of the Iranian state (censorship of feminist magazines, changing of laws, the overall impression that her book gives is that patriarchy/male supremacy/culture/religion is to blame for the oppressive and misogynist laws in Iran’s history. I think she could have done a better job in differentiating Islam as a belief system from Islam as a set of legal interpretations that vary across time and space. Similarly, I think Ansary should have clearly explained that there are a multitude of meanings behind a veil or hijab; that women may wear it for many reasons that are not immediately visible from the outside.

This book may be useful to those looking for historical references and a simple discussion of Iran’s political environment; however, the book can be heavily critiqued from various feminist perspectives and is a limited contribution to the work of Islamic and Muslim feminists.

Hate Crimes and Mother Tongues

Nov. 23rd, 2015 03:01 pm
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by Guest Contributor

This post was written by Guest contributor Seema Shafei (@seemashafei).

I’ll never forget the time a classmate turned to me and said that we couldn’t elect Obama because his middle name was Hussein. You never know, she told me. He could be just like Saddam. If a name could elicit this much fear, a language could start a war.

Language is a weapon as much as it is a comfort. It can connect ideas of home to a community, keeping culture alive. Speaking a language marked as ‘other’ can unite people with similar backgrounds. It can be used as a tool for the marginalized to maintain their sense of identity amidst an atmosphere of hostility. Language is powerful, and that is why it is so often the first target to attack throughout history when trying to erase a people.

Recently, a woman was brutally beaten for speaking Swahili in a restaurant in Minnesota. Asma Jama was told repeatedly to ‘go home’ by a couple, to which Jama reportedly responded, “I am home. I can speak English, but we choose to speak whatever language we want.”  In the end, she suffered enough injury to require seventeen stitches. A beer mug was smashed against her face. Through the gashes and lacerations, Jama insisted on her freedom to speak her mother tongue.

Minnesota is home for Jama, and yet it has made her a victim. The woman who assaulted Jama was arrested, but incidents such as this one will not stop. Hate crimes have increased towards Muslims within the past decade, to a point that left Jama stating that she felt as if she could not leave her house unaccompanied anymore. 

Asma Jama suffered a hate crime. The couple abused her when she dared to speak. Her physical appearance as an ethnically Somali Muslim woman who wore the hijab had already distinguished her, but her language marked the tipping point. Regardless of the fact that she spoke English, and was actually fluent in three languages total, Jama was confronted with people who tried to put her in a place of subjugation.

To speak multiple languages can be a political act, especially to speak languages that have been marked inferior to English. Language demarcates you as different, and forces others within the vicinity to notice that very difference. However, sometimes the pressure of politicizing language can be heavy.

It should not be too much to ask to be able to speak freely in a family restaurant without assault, no matter the language used. Is freedom of speech only upheld if that speech is in English? It should be extended to all multiplicities of tongues, and all people who hold onto their language. Its power is one that cannot be ignored.

The perpetrator of the hate crime was charged with third-degree assault, which I believe does not in anyway reflect just how harmful the attack was. To be beaten for speaking a foreign language, to have to get seventeen stitches, to be hatefully and publically humiliated for being considered ‘other,’ were all the reality of Asma Jama. The lax charge translates to a lack of taking the crime seriously within the court system, showing the world that attacking a Black Muslim woman is the legislative equivalent to a simple misdemeanour.

We have seen a slew of Muslim women bearing the brunt of racist attacks recently, especially after the Paris attacks. Often, for Muslim women who cover, their hyper-visibility puts them in a vulnerable position because of the Islamophobia that is on the rise. We have to take Islamophobia seriously and protect the Muslim women and men who have been targeted constantly for their identity. From being pushed in front of trains, to being verbally abused, to being attacked for speaking Swahili, Muslim hate crimes show up everyday on the news. Instead of normalizing these violent acts, we must recognize their severity and their damaging effect on the Muslim community as a whole.


Header image source. 

Change is a Constant

Nov. 27th, 2015 07:46 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo description: The word 'IDENTITY' in capital letters using a fingerprint font.
Last week in San Francisco I was honoured to give the opening keynote at the National Association for Dual Diagnosis annual conference. In talking with them as it was being arranged, I suggested that the topic be around the issue of identity for people with intellectual disabilities. I was thrilled when they agreed that this would be a good topic for a keynote.

In the keynote I talked about the importance of identity, positive identity as a disabled person, for people with intellectual disabilities. I related identity to good mental health and to good mental health practice. Separating people, even by language, from their identity gives people the message that there is something shameful in simply being authentically who they are. I was pleased that the keynote was well received, but that's not what I want to write about.

I received an email this morning from someone who had attended the conference and who said that they had been really challenged by the message that disability can be celebrated and be a source of both identity and pride. In her practice with people with disabilities she had never raised the topic of disability believing, somehow, that it was simply unmentionable. She had never questioned why it was unmentionable, it was, she said, assumed to be self-evident that disability was shrouded in silence.

She went home from the conference and in one of her first treatment sessions with someone struggling with depression and suicidal ideation she brought the issue of disability in at a point where it seemed natural to do so. She said that she used the words carefully and fearfully, afraid of the response. Instead, the person she was talking with took a big breath and said, "so, you know?" They then talked about how it had never been mentioned and the fellow thought that he wasn't allowed to bring it up. "I don't have to pretend anymore," he said, with relief.

The rapport that she thought she had had with him was a sham, it was based on his attempts to please her and accommodate what he thought she wanted from him. They were, she said, starting again, this time with honesty and acceptance. "I need to examine my attitudes and my prejudices," she said, "I think I have communicated a lack of real respect for the people I have worked with for so many years."

I am impressed that she was willing to question herself and examine her practice based on what she learned at a conference. I am always amazed when people are willing to embrace a new idea or a new way of doing practice. I try hard, when I'm at a lecture or listing to a presentation, to be open to new ideas - and I know it's hard to do when someone challenges ideas that I hold dear. So, my hat's off to the woman who wrote the email, she clearly understands that we learn as we live and therefore change is a constant.

She told me that I could write about this but she asked that I only quote from the email, not publish the email as written, which is what I've done.

Thanksgiving Redux

Nov. 27th, 2015 03:15 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
I was so proud of these corgi doodles I had to share.

New Hound really was very well behaved, very submissive, and then finally was like "Look, I'm five times your size," and simply put a paw on her. Her owner said she deserved it. After that, everything was fine. Dogs seem to work these things out.

Thank you

Nov. 26th, 2015 08:08 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

I don’t want to do that thing where you go around the table and have everybody say what they’re thankful for because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels anxiously put-on-the-spot during that kind of thing.

I have a lot to be grateful for, but that sort of pop-quiz sometimes makes me freeze up and forget to mention two-thirds of what I should. I’m grateful for health and family and home, and for the chance to get a paycheck that lasts most of the way to the next one. I’m grateful for freedoms and rights and dignity, and for whatever justice can be found, and for the chance to participate in trying to expand all of those and to strengthen them so that more people can share in them more fully.

But why be abstract? I’m writing here for the people who read this, so instead of just listing broad, general reasons for gratitude, let me take this chance to say thank you to you — to give thanks for you. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for commenting here — for sharing jokes and encouragement, kitten pics, and the insights and criticisms that help me learn and keep me honest. Thank you for sharing, liking, retweeting and linking. Thank you for reading ebooks and posting reviews. Thank you for donating to the tip jar. Thank you for sticking up for one another, for bearing one another’s burdens, rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn.

Thank you, overall, for being a community that enriches my life, inspires, encourages, and challenges me.

I’ll be sitting down in a bit to eat a fantastic meal with my wife and daughters (and the daughters’ boyfriends, a few other stragglers who couldn’t get home from college, a co-worker whose family is out of town, and whoever else shows up). Then I’ll telephone my dad up in Vermont, where he’s gathering with my sister and her family. And then, after cleaning the dishes and loading all the leftovers into Tupperware, I’ll be back here, on this computer, checking in with some of my favorite people in the world and some of the best friends anyone could hope for, even though most of them are people I’ll never meet face to face.

Thank you is what I’m saying. Thank you.

Don’t panic early

Nov. 26th, 2015 07:54 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

When I first decided to open the Christmas spreadsheet today, I thought it was going to be pretty bad. I carry over the spreadsheet from one year to the next, and I do a little work on it before I put it away in the new year. I change the deadline on things that were too tight (the whole thing, essentially) and carry over anything that people really loved (ice lanterns! Advent calendars!) and take away anything that wasn’t a hit. (Jars of pickled beets. Turns out that only I really loved those.) It’s intended to make it so that I can learn from the year before, and not… you know, do something like make 22 jars of pickled beets two years in a row when they weren’t beloved by all. Then when I open the thing in early November, I know just where to start.

Well, I appear to be missing most of November, I think I misplaced it in an airport somewhere, and so I knew I was getting a late start. I was prepared for it to be pretty ugly in there. I thought I would open it, take a look at the things that I had to do, go upstairs to The Long Range Planning Box (where I put things that I make all year) see what I was missing, and then make up a knitting list, and try to get a grip.

Turns out that things are not bad. They are terrible.  Horrific. What-the-hell-did-I-do-all-year-and-what-was-I-thinking kind of bad. All the socks (except for one pair, I am a lunatic) in The Long Range Planning Box are one size, and it’s the wrong size. (Upside, they fit me – they’re just no good for gifts for anybody else in the family, except my mum, who ironically, has asked for slippers.) I would have sworn there was a pair of mittens in there (looks like I gave those away) although there’s a few hats – one of which I don’t recall knitting at all. After the heart pounding adventure of comparing the box to the list, I ended up with a pretty intense list. I need:

3 hats. Four pairs of socks (3 of them size large) two little sweaters, one small shawl, a cowl, and a pair of dress mittens. Oh. And slippers.

I also need to go through my stash and patterns and figure out what, er, those projects will be and what I’ll knit them out of, and then I’ll have to sit down, add up how many hours of knitting that is, and see…. Let’s not go there. I’m not going to panic early. The whole point of the spreadsheet is to increase happiness and relaxation, and freaking out about the thing is not who I’m going to be, and besides, maybe it’s not that bad. (I just laughed out loud in a slightly hysterical way that I’m glad you couldn’t hear.)

Mark my words knitters, in 2016, I’m doing one Christmas present a month, or something like that. I heard of a knitter once who arranged two gifts per year for every person on her list – and had them both ready by their birthday. One for then, and one for Christmas and maybe that’s the answer.  For this year, all I can do is knit like the wind, prune the list, and I’d cross my fingers and hope for the best, but it’s really hard to knit that way.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends, enjoy your day, and if you need me, I’ll be the lady deep in the stash, clutching a crumpled spreadsheet and a half knit sock, and trying to make a Christmas out of it all.

Crap. I think I better buy a tree.

[syndicated profile] lovelybike_feed

Posted by Velouria

I did not have a religious upbringing. But like many European first generation secularists of their era, my family compensated for their breach with faith by being tremendously superstitious. As a child I could not recite a single prayer. But I possessed an extensive knowledge base of things that were in the general category of "bad luck" and could result in "jinxing." There were certain things you just could not do. And there were things that could not be spoken of out loud. It was considered bad luck, for instance, to talk openly about anything good that happened to you, or to admit to being happy - lest this "tempt fate" to take that away from you. In equal measure, it was considered back luck to talk about anything bad that happened (I now only vaguely remember the logic of that one, but something to do with tempting fate to show you that "things could always get even worse"). So what could you talk about? Admittedly, not much! The weather. Philosophy. Books you've read. Now that I think of it, bicycles seem like a pretty safe topic also.

When my parents moved to the US, our first few Thanksgivings were fraught with anxiety. All that thanking and praising and oversharing happening all around us! ...Not to mention the historical problematics of what was actually being celebrated. But with each passing year, this strange, annoying holiday whittled away our will to resist it.  Perhaps it was the contrast between the stark November days and the turkey's golden glow. Perhaps it was the opportunity to celebrate without religious symbols or the pressures of financially ruinous gift-buying. Whatever the reasons, by the time I reached adulthood, Thanksgiving became my favourite holiday - the one full of good memories and the one I always looked forward to. So the other day, when an Irish friend asked whether I miss the US (I have not been back to visit in over 8 months now), I unthinkingly replied "Well, only around Thanksgiving" - before realising that meant ...now!

What followed was a request to recreate the prototypical Thanksgiving meal here. And as a result, this morning I found myself cycling, through the countryside, in a dense fog, with a hefty dead bird lashed to my front rack. As sharp drops of rain pelted my face, the situation struck me as inexplicably funny. And like a madwoman, I pedaled, giggling out loud, while the turkey jiggled in its wrapper, the puddles glistened around me, and cloud descended ever lower over surrounding mountaintops. In this moment, if I weren't superstitious, I'd nearly say I was loving life, with all its unspoken-of joys and sorrows over the past couple of years.

Then again, better not jinx it! And so instead I will get busy preparing this turkey. And perhaps a cocktail. While wishing all my friends and readers a lovely day - whether filled with mealagrisian festivities or otherwise!

Over Sharing? Maybe. Maybe not.

Nov. 26th, 2015 06:06 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: White writing on green background: I am who I am and that's all I can be.
I received some feedback about a lecture I gave recently. The person who filled out the evaluation really wanted me to know that they enjoyed the lecture, got a lot out of it but that there was something that bothered them. They thought I 'over shared' from my life. They listed three things that they knew about me from the lecture:

I am gay and my husband's name is Joe.

I am out and proud about my disability.

I am an anxious about my presentations and use anti-anxiety meds.

They thought this was TMI, as the expression goes and recommends that I consider removing the two that were not disability related from my presentations.

OK so that would be taking out the gay bit and the anxiety bit.


I take feedback seriously and, so, thought about this a little bit. Each of those things in that list I have thoughtfully included in my presentation for a reason. Some of them caused me concern to mention, some of them were hard to mention. But I did and I do because of these reasons.

I know I lecture in places where being gay isn't wildly accepted with open arms and people fear rejection and unemployment if they were 'out'. By mentioning my sexuality and my relationship I hope to do two thing - get homophobes to rethink what they think about homosexuality and give the message to those from the LGBT community that they are not alone.

The idea of being 'out and proud' about disability is still a new one. Talking about disability, my own personal experience with disability, from a pride and by using identity first language, I hope to challenge what people think they know about disability. Just because you work in the field of disability does not mean that you have disability positive attitudes.

The hardest thing to mention was the fact that I live with anxiety, and a lot of anxiety about public speaking. I knew that people wouldn't believe it because I do it so much. I felt, and I understand this was wrong but I felt it anyway, a bit of shame at having to take an anti-anxiety medication. It's that shame that drove me to speak about it, there is too much silence about mental health issues and the kinds of ways that we can be affected by mental health concerns. Silence equals shame and shame can lead to suicide. So, I speak up.

Now let's be clear, I MENTION these things, in passing, in the lectures. If you haven't seen me lecture or heard a recording of me lecture then you might be led to thing that I harp on about these issues. I don't. They come into the presentation when it's natural for it to happen.

So, I wonder, and this is unfair to do publicly but I figure that anonymous means anonymous so I can respond publicly without fear of shaming an individual identifiable person, if the request to remove those two things is the reason I need to keep those two things in. I wonder if the request was because my sexuality and my acknowledging that I have mental health needs and supports caused some discomfort that needs to be explored. I'm just guessing, of course, but I do wonder.

Gay and Proud, Disabled and Proud, Anxious and Proudly Coping. That's me. And because that's me, that's part of how I present myself to the world.

So, after thoughtful consideration, I'm staying the course.

Giving thanks in Chinuk Wawa

Nov. 26th, 2015 05:31 am
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon


O nsaika drit yutl tomtom kopa nsaika tanas
shako kopit sik. Nsaika wawa mirsi kopa ST kopa ukuk.

“Oh, we’re really glad about our children
recuperating. We thank God for it.”


…pi lilu iaka chik ants kanamokst
Sin Fraswa. Pus tilikom nanish ukuk klaska shako patl yutl klaska
tomtom. Klaska ayu wawa mirsi kopa ST.

“…and the wolf shook hands with
Saint Francis. When the people saw this their hearts were filled with joy.
They kept thanking God.”


Pi ayu fish chako wik saia kopa ilihi ...
Pi Sin Fraswa
wawa kopa klaska: “Naika tilikom fish. Tlus msaika kwanisim
mirsi kopa ST. Iaka aias tlus nanish kopa msaika. Iaka patlash
tlus chok kopa msaika pus msaika mitlait. Pus msaika tiki solt
chok mitlait solt chok pus msaika ilip tiki shok ilo solt
mitlait stalo pi lik. Ankati pus kanawi tilikom mimlus
kopa chok, wik msaika mimlus: Wik kata msaika mimlus kopa chok
ST patlash makmak kopa msaika. Tlus msaika kwanisim yutl tomtom
kopa iaka.

“And a lot of fish came near to the land…
and Saint Francis
said to them: ‘My friends the fish. Always be
thankful to God. He takes very good care of you. He gives
you good water so you can live. If you want salt
water there is salt water, if you prefer water without salt
there are rivers and lakes. Long ago when all the people were
drowned, you didn’t die: It’s impossible for you to drown[.]
God gives you food. Always be glad
for him.'”


Wik dokta mamuk tlus maika: Ayu
tilikom mamuk styuil pus maika pi ST mamuk kolan kopa klaska
styuil, kakwa wik maika mimlus. Tlus maika wawa mirsi kopa

“‘It’s not a doctor that healed you: A lot of
people prayed for you and God listened to their
prayers, so you didn’t die. You need to thank



Tlus wawa
mirsi kopa msaika papa lisivik iaka patlach ukuk
aias tlus siisim kopa msaika…

thanks to your father the bishop, who has given this
beautiful story to you…”



Drit ayu tlus iktas nsaika tlap alta wan sno
Tlus nsaika mirsi kopa ST

“There are many good things we have received since a year ago[.]
Let’s be grateful to God.”

General Journal 11-25

Nov. 26th, 2015 12:20 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed

Not sure what my ultimate goal is with this, but I'm gonna give it a try. I was in a doodling mood today, fooling around with 53's Paper. All these were sketched on the iPad.

I wished I liked sketching more. I really don't. I like painting. My sketchbooks grow dusty with neglect. Every now and then I get this sudden spasm of desire to sketch, but it passes quickly. I used to sketch a lot more, but I'm badly out of the habit, so I can't swear that I'll keep drawing. But I do like doing these little pages.

Yes, it is true about Emily. She also requires subcutaneous fluids every other day, and has licked parts of herself that she can reach bald. The kitty-Prozac didn't work on her, just made her grumpy, and she was so much more cheerful and affectionate and active when she went off that we haven't put her back on. She has...well, a myriad of health issues. But she's lasted a year past the initial diagnosis at this point, and the vet's amazed at how good her numbers are for a cat with 15% kidney function, and she's happy, so that's the important thing.

But I tell you, when she finally goes, I am not going to feel that stab of guilt that so often afflicts pet owners where you think "Was there more I could have done?" I have powdered that cat's butt while Kevin whistles Stairway to Heaven for her. (She likes Zepplin.) We have fought the good fight on this one.
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by Tiara

Most of this post is repurposed from a Metafilter Front Page Post made by the author of this GF post.

The Organization for Transformative Works, a fan-run organization that hosts significant fandom-culture projects including Archive of Our Own, one of the biggest fanfiction archives around, fandom history wiki FanLore, and peer-reviewed academic/aca-fan journal Transformative Works and Cultures, just had their 2015 Board elections, the first since 2011 – and, like its predecessor, was very contentious before, during, and after the election.

OTW had faced years of complaints about poor management, particularly with finances. This motivated 6 active OTW volunteers who’d never served on the board before – Matty Bowers, Aline Carrão, Atiya Hakeem, Katarina Harju, Alex Tisher, and Daniel Lamsonto run on a campaign of reform, better management, and greater transparency.

The other two nominees, Andrea Horbinski and Nikisha Sanders, were incumbent Board members – until Sanders was suddenly declared ineligible because of her resignation from staff roles at OTW. Sanders refutes the allegations, saying that she did notresign from all roles but was instead dismissed by the Board. Lemson withdrew his nomination soon after (while he was a friend of Sanders, it is unclear how much of his withdrawal was motivated by recent events), and the remaining nominees, minus Horbinski,condemned the Board’s actions, citing a significant conflict of interest.

Hakeem and Bowers won the top two spots in the election, and thus were elected into the two available seats on the Board. In an unexpected public meeting, and with no advance notice, the Board near-unanimously voted to appoint Horbinski to the previously-unavailable third chair of the Board. One member abstained, one was not present, and Horbinski voted on her appointment without declaring conflict of interest. There was significant outcry about this decision, with the OTW Elections committee pointing out that Horbinski had come in dead last in the elections and that this move was breaking precedent, and a vote of no confidence was called.

Very recently, the entire current board has resigned, with only Hakeem and Bowers remaining. They have pledged to maintain operations and publish a budget (one of the membership’s most significant demands) as soon as possible.

While Archive of Our Own has stated that operations will not be affected by current events at its parent organization, fans are understandably worried about the state of their fanwork and are calling on their fellow fans to back up their work. Daily Dot reporter Aja Romano, who had previously served on a committee at OTW, remarks that their caution about instability is not entirely unfounded, drawing parallels with the shutdown of the Ada Initiative soon after the departure of their Executive Director. (Interestingly, Horbinski was also on the Board of Directors for the Ada Initiative).

Fanfic writer M draws a comparison to arts non-profits: [content warning: potential ableist language]

I’ve always glossed it as “arts people are crazy”, or various more specific subclassifications (theatre people are crazy, musicians are crazy, opera people are crazy . . . ), with the full understanding that I am classing myself as an arts person. The really funny thing about arts people is that we can be totally sane in other areas of our lives, but then get crazy again when we move into the arts area. You can literally see people whose day jobs are administration for a major company and who are good at that, who suddenly do spectacularly unbelievably badly behaved things when they get into their arts life. I tend to consider this as coming from the fact that creative spaces make you vulnerable, which can throw you off your normal expectations about how the world works, what interactions are fair or not fair, and even what appropriate interpersonal behaviour is: the experience of singing with someone or acting with someone can be so viscerally intimate that you forget these are coworkers, not roommates, and professional behaviour standards apply. […] And the OTW is an arts org. It’s run for, and by, creatives and those who want to immerse themselves in the fruits of creativity. […]

Which is to say, while the OTW board fuckery is totally unacceptable and needs to be dealt with, nothing as yet is in any way out of my expectations for how fucking batshit, echo-chambery, cliquey, vindictive, flouncy, juvenile and simply ridiculous people running an arts org can get, particularly if they started out or are reinforced by being a clique external to that organisation as well. All their behaviour appears to have totally lost track of reality, but that’s totally within my expectation. (Which is why frankly my take on the whole board flouncing is that it’s a gift. Yes, it’ll make everything chaos and uproar for a while, but no seriously, gift. Do not waste it!)

Meanwhile, Metafilter commenter ErisLordFreedom notes these issues are relatively unsurprising, particularly around the budget:

The budget issue is a longstanding thing, and comes naturally from the growth out of “we have an awesome idea–let’s make an archive and other fun fannish things! Um, give us money for this!” and, as Franzi said at one point, “AO3 is Magic Mike and fandom’s been making it rain money.” At first, there was no budget because there was no plan–there were a bunch of fans who wanted an archive they owned, not subject to LJ’s caving to special interest groups or bogus Hollywood DMCA takedown notices. They had some practice with archive coding, with server software and hardware, and–rare among nonprofits–a legal team.

There was no point in making a budget before they ran into expenses, though; they didn’t want to spend another couple of years running financial plans and learning how nonprofits worked–they had talented people and people willing to throw money at them (with substantial overlap), and so decided to just do it–make an org, start an archive, and so on.

They knew that whatever plan they came up with, wouldn’t scale well, and there’d need to be org-wide adjustments as they grew. They’ve now hit that point. […]

Now they have more money, all their rough initial goals have been met […] and… they have to decide on specific goals with deadlines next. Is hard, switching from, “let us make ALL THE AWESOME!” to “we shall make X features on the archive by Y date.”


I think the lack of transparency comes from a belief that “this is complicated; the random-teenage tumblr fanbase wouldn’t understand, and we don’t want to deal with a bunch of stupid drama accusations every time we spend money on something some fan doesn’t think is necessary.” I think it’s likely there’s a tiny bit of shady dealing with the money–rounding up on expenses and all that, approvals given after the fact, etc.–but not at a level that hurts any of the org’s actual workings.

But it *will* be at that level if it doesn’t change, because they’ve gotten big enough to need an actual administrative infrastructure, instead of “we’ll record the chat meetings and someone will make notes.” And that shift is a big change, and not fun (and even less fun to explain to the public), and I understand why they were dragging their feet–and even why they wanted to keep the people they know and trust involved with the process.

Further links to discussion can be found in this round-up post, and this unofficial blog has served as a useful resource on the elections.

23 Thanksgiving Food Facts

Nov. 25th, 2015 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Five minutes for fun facts on this almost-Thanksgiving day in the US. Some of my favorites:

  • Stuffing goes back to at least the 4th century CE.
  • Potatoes are truly an American tuber; it’s grown in every 50 states.
  • Corn is a flower.
  • Meat pies preceded desert pies and they were called “coffins.”
  • In case you need a 15th century aphrodisiac recipe: boiled peas and onions sprinkled with cinnamon, ginger, and cardamon.
  • The average American eats between 3,000 and 5,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanks Mental Floss!


(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

History: A View From The Wrong Side

Nov. 25th, 2015 08:27 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Discussing the issue of 'assisted suicide' with almost anyone outside the disability community is a difficult thing to do. There seems to be a general dismissal of the concerns that are being legitimately raised by disability activists and organizations such as Not Dead Yet.

I am, they assure me, 'making myself upset when there is no cause.'

I am, they insist, 'purposely misunderstanding the issue.'

Those that I have spoken to seem to think that, we as disabled people, are a bit addled and prone to upset. Perhaps there's need for a massive PRN that we need to be given, from time to time, to settle down our nerves. I argue, strenuously, and to no effect, that disabled people do see the issue and perhaps see it more clearly than anyone else. When that doesn't work:

I am, they tell me, 'on the wrong side of history.'

For a moment this does silence me. Because they are right. Disabled people have always been on the wrong side of history. We have been left in forests to die, we have been vilified by those who think that we are manifestations of sin, our 'final solution' though seldom acknowledged came first and genocide honed it's skills on our lives in the basement of institutions. We have been sterilized, brutalized, congregated, segregated, persecuted and destroyed. History isn't our friend, you've got me there.

I am, again reassured, that 'this is all in the past.'

When I'm not comforted by this, and when I suggest that past attitudes are influencing present legislation, I'm considered to be, again, 'purposely resistant to the real intent of assisted suicide, which is to end the suffering of people who are terminally ill.'

But that's not true is it? Diane Coleman from Not Dead Yet points out "Under the Canadian Supreme Court ruling, disabled people explicitly qualify for assisted suicide whether or not they are 'terminal'". 

So, just how does the court see people with disabilities? What faith can we put in legislators and law makers and decision makers?

Recently there was a ruling in a case where a teenager was convicted of the murder of a young police officer. During the commission of the crime the teenager became disabled. While you can argue the judges ultimate decision to not imprison the teen, I'm not going to comment on that. It's what the judge said about the young man's life as a wheelchair user. Justice Alex Sosna said, "... already serving a life sentence, imprisoned in his wheelchair."

"imprisoned in his wheelchair."

That's what he said. this educated, sophisticated, interpreter of the law and justice maker. His view of disability is the view that has been held of disability from the get go, we are imprisoned and our only release will be ... death. Justice Sosna's ignorance of the life that people with disabilities live is, if the power he has didn't make this so frightening, laughable.

Let me state clearly.

I am not assured or reassured that prejudice will not be part of decision making about our lives and our deaths.

I am very aware that the voice of the disability community is being purposely ignored by those who want laws that make our deaths easy to procure.

I am deeply frightened that one day, some one like Justice Sosna, will have a say over me and my life.


Repeats itself.

Like a demanding child.

Until it's heard.
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon


5 years before it was published at Kamloops as a book, the Chinook Bible History in shorthand made a partial appearance in the Kamloops Wawa newspaper.

At the end of one installment (KW#117, June 1894, page 114), we’re told:

Bishop Durieu's bible history in KW first (2)

Lisivik bishop Dyuriyu
iaka mamuk ukuk aias tlus
siisim kopa Shinuk. Alki
wiht iaka kuli ukuk siisim
kopa iht pipa.

“The bishop, bishop [sic] Durieu
wrote this wonderful
story in Chinook. In the future
this story will continue running
in some issue.”

It will be interesting, as work on all this material continues, to compare the above older version with the later expanded history!

durieu's chinook bible history

Garden Journal November 23

Nov. 24th, 2015 11:02 pm
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed

I don't know that there's much more going on in the garden until spring hits. Maybe I should just go to a general journal...
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

News item, from Christianity Today*: “What Is an Evangelical? Four Questions Offer New Definition.”

Want to know if someone is an evangelical?

Ask them what they believe.

That’s the conclusion of a two-year collaboration between the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and Nashville-based LifeWay Research to improve the contested ways researchers quantify evangelicals in surveys. Their report, released today, defines evangelical by theology rather than by self-identity or denominational affiliation.

The NAE, one of several stewards of the term, hopes that the new belief-based research definition will replace older definitions based on race or politics that lead to incomplete results. For example, the report notes that “though the African American Protestant population is overwhelmingly evangelical in theology and orientation, it is often separated out of polls seeking to identify the political preferences of evangelicals.”

“Evangelicals are people of faith and should be defined by their beliefs, not by their politics or race,” said NAE president Leith Anderson.

“Stewards of the term” is one of the nicest euphemisms for gatekeepers or inquisitors you’re ever likely to see.

The tribal-boundary enforcement aspect of this project is made more explicit in the headline Charisma gives this story: “True Evangelical Christians Believe These 4 Truths.” That’s what this is all about — separating Real, True Evangelicals from all the pretenders, impostors and apostates.

To understand what drives that, just look again at the title of Deborah Jian Lee’s book, Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women & Queer Christians Are Reclaiming Evangelicalism. The “stewards of the term” and gatekeepers of the tribe have always, always, always been about defining Real, True Evangelicalism in a way that separates “true evangelical Christians” from impertinent people of color, women, and queer Christians.

The trick is to do that in a way that might plausibly be defended — both to others and to oneself — as something that has nothing at all to do with race, gender or sexuality.

It turns out that’s pretty easy, though, because we’ve got just the thing for that. We’ve got a whole body of idiosyncratic doctrinal distinctives that were designed and promoted — for centuries — specifically to defend racism, colonialism and patriarchy. All we need to do is list them, abstracted from their original purpose and intent, and pretend that these are just sui generis theological notions wholly unrelated to the social, economic and political contexts that created them.

Easy peazy. 

The new report identifies four key statements that define evangelical beliefs, creating what may be the first research-driven creed.**

Those statements are:

1. The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.

2. It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

3. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.

4. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

See? Nothing there about race or politics. Just a completely coincidental correlation to the doctrinal quirks produced from the hermeneutic designed and honed for centuries to defend slavery, patriarchy, and white hegemony.

Even White Jesus must bow down to the "highest authority" of the White Bible.

Even White Jesus must bow down to the “highest authority” of the White Bible.

It’s simply the glorious theological and doctrinal tradition bequeathed to us by our forebears like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and the Southern Baptist Convention. And what did all those noble Christians have in common?

No — not just that they were all slave-owners, people whose theology and hermeneutic was demonstrated to be worthless, impotent, and demonically misleading when it came to the most important theological and moral question of their day. People who were completely, totally and monstrously wrong, and whose hermeneutic and theology reinforced that monstrous wrongness at every turn.

Not that, silly. The other thing they all had in common. They were all evangelicals. Real, true evangelicals.

See? Nothing at all to do with race or politics.

It’s as though these folks are showing us a screwdriver while claiming that they have no idea why it’s called that and insisting that such a tool has nothing to do with driving screws. Screws? What are those? Never even heard of ‘em … We just invented this tool based on the Bible. …

But perhaps you’ve noticed another fairly large problem with the “research-driven” creed these folks want to use to police and enforce their tribal boundaries “steward the term” evangelical.

Here again is the first and foremost of their “four key statements that define evangelical beliefs”:

“The Bible is the highest authority …”

Yeah, see, that’s not a minor problem, or a merely semantic problem. It’s a huge, essential, creed-destroying, First-Commandment-violating, Christ-replacing problem.

Kind of a big deal, really.

“Christ is Lord” does not mean, and has never meant, that Christ is the second-highest authority. And those who say “Christ is Lord” — which is to say, those we have traditionally referred to as Christians — cannot ever agree with this “key statement” pushing Christ aside and replacing him with the Bible.

“The Bible is the highest authority …” No. Just … no.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Christianity Today is a publication that believes gay and lesbian couples are “destructive to society.”

** “Research” there refers to polling conducted by pollsters. Polls and creeds don’t do, or attempt to do, the same thing. The confusion between the two here produces something both creepy and dumb. Let’s focus on the dumb part, because that’s funnier. I propose the following “research-driven” format for the recitation of the Nicene Creed at church:

1. One God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

A. Strongly believe
B. Believe
C. Neutral
D. Disbelieve
E. Strongly disbelieve

(Pick the answer that best describes your belief.)

2. One Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten …

I can fill in one box

Nov. 24th, 2015 09:11 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I am not sure yet if I have the nerve to open the Christmas Spreadsheet. You know, the one that I swore I’d open way sooner than this last year.  Last year I was going to get on this way sooner. Last year, I said that this year would be the year that I got out ahead of the thing.  Last year, I knew that this year was going to be the pinnacle of my Christmas success. The least amount of work and stress, the biggest amount of organization and relaxation… it was going to be a poem.  I was going to have stuff wrapped by now.

I know what’s on that spreadsheet – or at least I know enough of it that I can continue to procrastinate for a little longer, long enough that I can do some of the stuff that I know is on there, and then when I finally open it, I’ll have the satisfaction of filling in a bunch of the boxes all at once, which I think will probably be encouraging. This is one box that I will be able to fill in, a little sweater, done and dusted.

princessdone 2015-11-24

It’s the Princess Smocked Cardigan, and I knit it out of Brooks Farms Mas Acero – the colourway is Taste of Berries, I think. This one came along quietly, in the background over the last few weeks, as my hotel room knitting.

princessdonedet 2015-11-24

I blocked all the pieces the other night, then seamed them up, and I’m pretty happy with it, considering what a quick knit it was. Perfect little buttons were found in the button bin, and voila.

princessdonebutton 2015-11-24

There will be at least one more little sweater to knit before Christmas, and I can feel some other significant projects lurking in the spreadsheet, but this is a nice big chunk to take off. I think I’ll wrap it.


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