CLOUD WOMAN BLOG
Female Solidarity/Valerie Jarrett’s Post on Women’s Cabinet
Categorized in these topics: Baba Yaga Female Social Justice Feminine Matrix and Female Culture Kolo Media Watch Women's Trauma Issues
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009, 10:39 AM
Female Solidarity/Valerie Jarrett’s Post on Women’s Cabinet
A recent presentation at a Women’s Prison I did had the coordinator asking me to focus on “Female Solidarity.” When I inquired for more descriptive mentoring for the needs of the women’s prisoners, she said that the women are tearing each other apart, racism, ageism, gossip and some division available such as religion, thought, perception and values. All were skewed due to low self worth. I reflected and realized that this held true for women outside the walls of prison. Not just here in the states, but global. The value on the female or all things feminine is one of hatred at best – the catastrophic violence stats preserve this evidence in textual references—a funerary flashback in essence.
I wonder how can women speak or articulate the truth of their experiences and enter into female solidarity if words are taken from them or meant to be dramatically altered. I titled the presentation “Unplugging the Dividing”—I used words such as patriarchy and in plain sight with plain words (without blame or finger pointing) and managed to offer up a practice for analyzing hierarchy that can help to etch a social movement that is not oppressive and not a struggle for female social justice and sustainability.
The small question from one of the prisoners was on how bad the food was--- I asked the group would you grow your own and focus on their own culinary practices- their volume was pumped up—many knew exactly where to act. I cannot help but see that erasure of low self worth even for a moment can move worlds. The female solidarity suddenly appeared- but it often cannot be sustained.
I realized with the Bosnian women war crimes survivors, Africans and Sri Lankans, the more performative oracular function, the more frequent mundane activities were challenged into a social movement for the greater good. When traumatized victims speak in public or in a small circle Levine’s study indicated healing of their PTSD features.
But what to do -when female words are erased or skewed—or worse yet, vying for male articulation and male perspectives, a rigorous need for repeatable data and research which continues to disembowel women’s social movement as “fluff” and not of worth.
What I have seen is this need to pretend that being female has anything to do with her life experience. Many women erase their sex- in an unconscious fear of being too much of a target—it is safer being one of the boys or neither.
Any social movement whether it is male driven or female oriented, the exclusion of women sets the stage for low self worth, low self-esteem. Coming from the socio-spatial disjunctures of women’s memory anchored in the past and even the present is constantly being relived and reinforced to the poor self-worth: a lack of memories for women experiencing female solidarity.
The symbolic moves have been there all along- there is still no equal pay and domestic violence is being etched as a male entitlement- a family cult norm.
Women are the resource for the 21st century- it may just be able to circumvent the dire horizon that lies before us. The 18 million cracks for Hillary and percentage of women voters who put Obama in office is perhaps the start of a social movement—will it continue or suffer loss and lack under the barrage of economic disparity and constant devaluing of her sex?
One million women marched in Washington about pro-choice during Bush administration—women protested the war in Iraq but never viewed in the media--
Constant information, modeling self worth to daughters, means a well-placed “no” to media and other influencing venues--- social movement starts with the individual woman and her self worth. The dire economic times have impacted women greater than men.
Too many social movements are borne from weakness, ills and violence—women need to bond out of strength, we know too well how to do so in crisis. Bush used the Afghanistan war as a women’s issue and it has gotten worse for Afghani women.
The erasure of words, memory and ontological difficulties in sustaining coherence of women’s movements over the long term remains to be seen. What would our social movements or campaigns look like if strength was fostered? Would it impel a social movement that can be sustained?
1. Model Gender self-worth- actually be what we speak, write and our places in these agencies-organizations
2. Allow female perspective, words/language to foster articulation- Do not erase her words or her gender—as if being female has nothing to do with their art, potential and purpose
3. Women bonding in strength- forming social collectives – with a protean attitude to locality.
With two generations of women proclaiming not to be feminist- feminism is but another four-lettered word which I have identified as “fear,” not the “f” word bantered about by women themselves. For instance, in the New York Times Book Review-, Katie Roiphe reviews Elaine Showalter’s “A Jury of Her Peers” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/books/review/Roiphe-t.html all about Women writers. Take a close look at this paragraph:
“It’s worth noting that many of the most talented writers she discusses Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Bishop, Joan Didion objected to being categorized as women writers and preferred to think of themselves simply as writers. As Elizabeth Bishop put it, art is art and to separate writings, paintings, musical compositions, etc. into two sexes is to emphasize values that are not art. Showalter handles these rebels by corralling them into special subchapters with titles like Dissenters. One of the dissenters, Cynthia Ozick, argued against expecting artists who are women . . . to deliver women’s art, as if 10,000 other possibilities, preoccupations, obsessions, were inauthentic, for women, or invalid, or worse yet, lyingly evasive.”
It remains to be seen about Valerie Jarrett if she is more in line and marching to a male’s perspective as in Elaine Showalter’s women writers who think their sex has nothing to do with their art or a cabinet post…. Or if she like the women a hundred years ago who waited for the vote, waited for equal pay sacrificing generations of female resources….I think of the shirtwaist factory fire and the mass rapes globally.
Will Valerie Jarrett ask for $- funding- will she be taken seriously by others in legislative body or does this need another century to stamp women’s human rights as a part of life? Is Valerie Jarrett what Robin Morgan wrote her book- “Demon Lovers,” that we become the men we marry—and the men we work (slave) for?