Design Flaw

sistinevirtualWe are made incorrectly, there is a design flaw a huge, glaring design flaw and it proves the God Entity is absolutely of the male persuasion. There is no doubt in my mind as I consider the obvious imperfection in our design this must indeed be the truth. It is likely you are reading this and thinking to yourself, what the hell is this woman blathering on about, what could she be talking about? God Entity, male persuasion and bad design simply do not go hand in hand, at least not in any religious tome you have ever read. Let me be clear, not any tome religious or otherwise I have ever read either. In fact, everything I have ever read God, all the angels and anything else slightly resembling ‘Holy’ were always not only perfect but MALE at least on the surface where it mattered.

The few exceptions to this rule were always in pantheons of Gods, the Goddess’s rarely had starring roles and were frequently depicted as nasty, vengeful and well let’s face it evil bitches or dumb as a box of rocks. Even they were ‘made’ incorrectly, R&D simply failed in the design. Of course look what those ancients had to work with, fatal flaws in their understanding of our bodies and how they work despite their advances in medicine and science.

So back to my discovery and how I realized both the fatal flaw in the God design and mans’ very real intent to model God (no matter the faith) after himself.

This fateful discovery of mine came about in one of my early morning calls with the sister of my heart, the wise and wonderful Red of M3. Our conversations often skip blithely across topics both weighty and flighty, causing us to ponder the philosophical nature of life and then laugh hysterically when we discover where our explorations have led. This was just such a discussion, don’t blame Red I am nothing if not irreverent now and then about religion. For those of you who hold true to spiritual paths, I am most respectful, it is man’s religion and the great harm it has done in the past and today I am disdainful of. So back to my discovery of the great R&D flaw.

For thousands of years, for as long as man has formed religions and societies around those institutions we have seen with overwhelming consistency men rising to the forefront and women being forced into lives of fear, degradation, servitude; cast as Lilith the daughter of evil, forced to give birth from first menses to menopause. Never mind, our bodies tired, we have one at hip and one at tit, one screaming for dinner one dragging at our heels. In earlier times not only did we reproduce with great frequency we maintained hearth and home, sowed seed and gathered all but the dangerous beast for the table and when the man of the house came home we acted as the sexual vessel even half dead from our labors.

With no thought to our comfort or joy in the act our husbands flipped us over and made do. Grunting their own satisfaction we were lucky for a pat on the ass or a kiss on the cheek in return for our exhausted compliance. Our exhaustion, often interpreted as disinterest gave permission to our spouse to seek elsewhere for their joyful satisfaction leaving us even more alone. Thus religion having taught us, and them, we could not be more than brood mare and workhorse we waited. We waited for the next time they wanted us or the next pregnancy neither of which could be avoided.Temptation_and_Fall-Sistine_Chapel_Ceiling

Had anyone considered we were just the same, our simple joys just alike this flaw in thinking could have been avoided. The design flaw is obvious, if an orgasm were required by both parties to achieve that oh so wondrous of things, procreation men would stop flipping their spouse over for their own satisfaction and try a bit harder. If both men and women were held of equal value we wouldn’t be in this mess we are today. We certainly would not have the world population problem we have, would we? But instead what we have is a design flaw; women are the receptacle of men’s sacred sperm, men made in the image of the God Entity, women made from their rib an after-thought. Women, blamed for every bad behavior including seeking knowledge. Men excused sometimes encouraged to every bad behavior including killing their children, rape, giving their daughters to crowd’s intent upon rape and all sorts of other pillaging and violence.

Man made in the image of God Entity, gets away with all sorts of nasty and evil things including controlling the choices and life of women who frankly prove time and again they are competent and capable of living life without them. There truly does need to be some redefinitions and corrections in this design flaw, some very real changes to both behavior and thinking. It isn’t enough that some men have learned to parrot politically correct language, it is time to blow a cold wind through the world and take out those who continue the ignorance of 2,000 years of patriarchal bullshit. It is time to correct the design flaw.

Primal Whisper-VAWA

I apologize for the length of this post. I hope you will read and consider passing it on. This is a personal story of Domestic Abuse. This is a personal appeal to anyone who reads this story to get active and demand justice for all members of society who are victims of Domestic Abuse. Demand Congress pass VAWA without changes to the current incarnation. Thanks

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1971, one year before it all began

1971, one year before it all began

In 1972, I was 15; I was first a ward of the state then a runaway, a street child then finally a ‘wife’. In 1972, I was the victim of domestic abuse that would continue for three years. Abuse both physical and emotional, that would strip me of my pride and humanity that would leave scars I bear on my body and soul and that would very nearly kill me.

In 1972, there were no laws to prevent a man from beating his wife. There were no Domestic Abuse Hotlines. There were no Safe Houses. There were no cool down periods, unless some cop took pity on you.

In 1972, the best you could hope for is either he would die of a heart attack while beating you or he would give you quick death. No one was going to help you and you had no rights, you were chattel.

I have written about this before, touched upon some of my experiences as a victim of domestic abuse in previous postings, here:

https://valentinelogar.com/2012/06/03/never-again-i-will-hate-you/

https://valentinelogar.com/2012/05/03/inside-domestic-abuse/

I have tried hard to stand up and say I am not a victim; I am a survivor of Domestic Abuse. The truth of the matter, for each of us who survived violence the truth is different. When our partner, our love, our spouse was throwing us against a wall, laying unloving hands upon us, kicking us when we were down painting our days and nights in pain and fear we were indeed Victims.

  • We were victims of the person who said they loved us.
  • We were victims of our destroyed ego, our fear and our great need to make it right.
  • We were victims of a society that did not see us in our desperate need.
  • We were victims of religious institutions that told us we must return to spouses who were nightmares.
  •  We were victims of financial systems that did not allow access credit and sometimes even banking in our own names.
  •  We were victims of law enforcement who were trained to walk away from ‘domestic’ situations.
 cuttingedgenews

Perhaps, if we are standing today and we are standing without that partner we are free, but I still remember. In my very bones, I still remember. It isn’t so much I remember his brutality, though it is hard to forget; I remember the police who walked away as I swayed in the middle of the living room barely able to stand upright. I remember them looking at me knowingly, staring at the bruises, the blackened eyes, the fat and bloody lip or the bald patch in my head. I remember them telling us to keep it down or telling him, ‘I had enough’.

I Had Enough. Were they judging the beating had gone on long enough? Were they judging the amount of blood or the number of visible bruises? I have always wondered about this, always wondered what code they were speaking, sometimes they laughed with him as he agreed to ‘keep it down’. These visits by the police, these drive-by stop in and calm down visits always earned me at least one more closed fist from him as he walked by, ‘See what you did? Why can’t you be quiet?’

domestic_violence-285x300

There was only one time, my husband this man who was supposed to love me went to jail. He didn’t stay long. It didn’t matter. For once my survival instinct kicked in and I used everything I had simply to grab that life preserver when it was thrown.

A little background –

  1. Texas in 1972 was still very backward about a great many things, marriage being one of them race relations being the other.
  2. My ‘marriage’ was common law, I wouldn’t find out for several years he didn’t have a legal hold on me though I still refer to him as my first ‘husband’.

The last terrible beating and the night my husband went to jail, it wouldn’t be the last beating just the last terrible one.

He had lost badly at a poker game that night, he did this often especially close to the time rent was due. For whatever reason, somehow, his losses were always my fault; I was always the target of his rage. It was the spring of 1974, I had learned by now never show emotion, never speak my mind and never react. It didn’t help; nothing could stop his need to lash out. That night was no different as he stumbled into the bedroom stinking of smoke and whiskey I could taste the beating to come, my body relaxed to absorb his fists.

‘Wake up you stupid bitch!’

Slam, into the wall. My head bounced twice, at least and my body slid down to the floor. He had picked me up from the bed and thrown me across the room, already first blood had been shed. I curled into myself, hoping this would satisfy him, the blood patch on the wall sometimes it was enough.

‘Dumb cunt, look what you did to the wall!’

Thwack, thwack again. His shoe caught me squarely in my ribs as I curled into myself. No more I thought. But, there was more to come. Already I was crying, tears and snot joining on my face as I tried to stand.

There were no more words now, just fists and feet. Furious, he beat me to the ground time and again and when I lay there as he panted above me, he would kick me demanding I stand up. Finally, when I thought, ‘No more, enough’, I did stand and I tried to run.

Running was the worst mistake I could have made, it triggered his predator instinct, he chased me out the door and into the front of yard. Before he caught me, he had grabbed a bat, one of those hollow aluminum ones. He  continued to beat me when I was down on the ground. Finally, after what seemed an eternity the police arrived, someone must have called them. I was on the ground, unrecognizable and he was standing above me panting. I still remember the conversation:

‘Sir, sir what are you doing? You have to stop!’

‘I have stopped; this is my wife I can do anything I want.’

‘Miss, is this your husband?’

‘No, I have never seen him before.’

As the handcuffs clicked closed, ‘You are under arrest…….’

‘Bitch, I am going to kill you!’

‘Sir, I suggest you calm down and be quiet.’

When the ambulance arrived, I was taken to the hospital. I had multiple broken bones including;

  • Broken jaw
  • Broken nose (third time)
  • Cracked cheek bone
  • Hairline fracture, skull
  • Four broken fingers
  • Seven broken ribs
  • Hairline fracture, pelvis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Plethora of contusions

He stayed in jail for 7 days until his Daddy sorted things out. I stayed in the hospital for 9 days.

Yes, I went back. For a time I went back. The psyche of women in these relationships is strange; we think if we only could fix ourselves, if we only did better they (the ones who so terribly harm us) would stop. It isn’t of course true but we have been so badly damaged we believe it. We don’t love ourselves. In not loving ourselves, we also lose the flight or fight reaction.

In 1972, there was nothing to save me. Police, had no resources and DA offices had no laws under which to prosecute unless we were fortunate enough to be killed. If we ran, if by some off chance our flight instinct kicked in the courts were against us, we ran with nothing, no resources and no access to resources.

oneinfourwomen

The Violence Against Women Act changed that. It has been over 700 days since this act expired. Women, men and children are at risk. The reasons for the Congressional GOP members to stand against this act are frankly their own ideological ignorance. This act has Bipartisan support and always has, this is the first time since 1994 this act has not been reauthorized; all because it expands services to under-served communities.

What you and I can do:

Contact your representatives in Congress and demand they pass the Violence Against Women Act as it stands today with expanded services: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Other sources:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/vawa_factsheet.pdf

http://denisedv.org/what-is-the-violence-against-women-act-and-why-is-congress-playing-politics/

Red: A Match

My heart sister Red at M3 read me this poem today. I considered my feelings, my thoughts and my reactions and then asked if she would let me publish as part of my on-going discussions of politics, both big and small. What she says in A Match is haunting and unsparing.

I hope you will consider her words carefully, I have.

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A Match

If all the world were on the head of a match,

How long before we struck it?
Abrasive to the surface inhabitants
And daily committing rape,
We are busy justifying our actions
And homed in on our profit.



We rip holes in the sky and bore out the ground
With time-stricken vanity,
A blatant disregard of future costs and
Heartlessness to our victims.
Blame falls to schedules filled with self-importance
And lacking identity.



Loud and proud we shout, “I am!” until one points
To the wake of destruction.
We fly around the world in search of “I am”
And find our inner child,
Whose whims and wants are fulfilled with adult funds,
But no adult compunction.



The sand the ostrich seeks to bury its head
Is now shards of broken glass.
The cleansing waters stand stagnant and smell foul,
Thick with noxious pollutants.
The world sits on the head of a striking match.
Ignition will be a gas.



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Inside Domestic Abuse

The 112th Congress has refused to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, significant in the original passage it opened the door to what had previously been viewed as private family matters and provided both education and funding to help victims and law enforcement. Never, since its original passage has it been the subject of a partisan fight on the floor of either house of Congress, yet this year it is. The overall tone of the Right, women are of no particular value unless they are in the kitchen, pregnant and silent. The objection to the Bill, is the expansion of services, the boogie man of ‘other’; Gay, Transgender, Native Tribes and Immigrant Women are included in this years re-authorization, we all know none of us are part of humanity and should be served, right?

I wrote this several years ago. At the time, it was wrenching to write. Today it remains wrenching for me to read. To answer the question, I know first hand what it is to be a survivor of Domestic Abuse. I also know how very important this Bill is to all those Women and Men who are now and will be in the future Victims. I ran from an extremely volatile, horribly violent relationship after having been hospitalized multiple times with multiple broken bones, I knew I would not see my eighteenth birthday if I stayed. I had nowhere to go, no money and no support structure; still I ran as far and as fast as I could go.

I survived.

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Why we stay, pitiful in our bruised bodies and our excuses, our fear palatable yet even before we are healed we return to the hell that is home. Why do we stay? The question is asked repeatedly, often with a tone of derision. Our answer, sometimes that we love him, sometimes worse that he doesn’t mean to hurt us he loves us. The truth though is harder for us to admit to you when you ask and ourselves; this is all we deserve and we have nowhere else to go.

How did we get here?

Is it because we seek what we believe that we deserve? Do we have a neon sign swinging over our head that says “I am here and vulnerable”; I will take it, whatever you dish out. I will take it and even be grateful to you for staying one more day, one more month, one more year.

Have we been so convinced by our mothers, our fathers, or society that we must conform, not speak out; not fight back that we will take the slaps, the closed fists, the kicks and on our knees begging for it to end still be thinking that he loves us and if only we do better it will not happen again?

Why is it that we stay? 

Why do we make excuses, transparent excuses for the broken teeth, the black eyes, the bruised arms? Why do others believe our excuses? Do they really think that we are so incapable of walking from our beds to our baths that we run into doors once a month or once a week? Is it easier to believe that we are so clumsy that we cannot walk up or down a flight of stairs? Do those who claim to care for us find it easier to ignore the truth than acknowledge that we are in danger?

Why is it that we allow ourselves to be so brutalized? What happens to us that our flight or fight instinct is entirely broken? We find no comfort, realizing even those to whom we reach out for help find us incomprehensible in our pain. Even if we finally find it in our spirits to run, to escape we are broken by the prison of our shame. Our defeat is what we carry with us; our inability to explain our willingness to take what our abuser gave; his love in closed fists, slaps, kicks, hate filled words that tore down the walls of our humanity and convinced us that we had no value in our homes or in the world.

Run, with Nothing but You

The telephone, our greatest enemy each time it rings we jump through our skin; we know it might be him. We know we are still weak and frail; that we have no defenses against his apologies and his protestations of his own weakness. Even through our nightmares; those screaming, cold sweat nightmares; we know that if we hear his sugar coated voice telling us that it will never happen again; we might believe him because we need. Who else will love us now? He has destroyed all that was ever lovable in us. We know that in our heart and soul; in whatever humanity we have left we know that we might listen and might return. It will be good for a while; as good as it was in the beginning. Then it will start again, we know that too; even knowing these absolute truths; we are weak and fearful and lonely.

Our frailty during our initial freedom, so tenuous, unreal to us because there is no one to confirm our existence and we don’t know where to begin. The slightest sound behind us is no longer the precursor to pain. The footsteps on the stairs, not a reason to fear but maybe a friend come to call instead. Bumps in the night no longer herald a rape by the person who promised to love and care for us. Still all those sounds send us into a paroxysm of fear, self-doubt and finally anger that our lives will never be without our abuser because he is inside of us; he has replaced everything  that was good with his vileness. We may have escaped him physically but we will never escape him fully, we think this now and in our hearts know this as a truth. We have lost ourselves to his definition of us, weak and of no value.

Nightmares

Our minds work in miraculous ways. If we can stay gone long enough we begin to heal and rebuild. We can begin to take the abuse he called love and place it in appropriate boxes sealing them tightly and marking them as our hated history. When the boxes are full of our past we can stack them in a room within our mind padlock the door; knowing that some day we might return to examine them to try to understand what led us there; but not today. Today just stack the boxes tightly, shut the door and turn the key. Face each day knowing that the door exists and all the boxes exist waiting for us to be strong and come back to learn; but not today. That we might revisit them in our nightmares and run screaming down the corridors of our sleeping mind; waking in cold sweats and shaking in fear; this we can escape. This will happen for some of us it will happen forever, when we least expect it sometimes at the end of what we thought was a great day. In our nightmares the maniacal horrors of our past will sneak through the cracks of that door we locked to terrorize us; to remind us of what was or what might have been.

Future Glory

Our history does not have to hold us hostage; we can shape our future we can redefine ourselves. We were somebody before they arrived to tear us down. Somewhere else in our mind we have a room with a locked door that contains the “us” before them, before the abuse. We have the key to that door also, even if it is lost in the trash that our abuser has piled on us. We have the ability to unlock that door and find the “me” that was before them. Perhaps we will find there were reasons we let them in, the neon sign that was lifted above our heads inviting them in; we can fix this. Possibly we will only find ourselves in the here and now that we are stronger now, more able to face today because of our past. Perhaps we will only find only that we can let go, say no more and look forward without fear.

Whatever we find we will ultimately know that we are precious, worth more than the blows, the slaps, the kicks, the venom that dripped from the lips of our abuser. We will know no amount of pain masked as love is the truth and abuse is not the reality that we deserve in our lives. We will roar our anger and our frustration at the waste of our days in agony rather than joy. We will cry out our pain. We will whisper our validations of self and finally scream our truths in the wind if no one else will hear us.

We will most certainly stand free of what was told to us as the truth knowing finally it was a lie.   

Faces of Beauty

I find I needed to return to the issues surrounding women and our fascination with beauty, more importantly society’s fascination with it. This is particularly important to me, as a woman in my 50’s, not even my early 50’s but hitting the very center of the mark this year. I look at our world, the young women who represent ‘beauty’ in the media and realize it is a rare thing indeed for one of them to be a natural beauty, to not have had some part of themselves changed in some way shape or form. By the time they hit thirty they are already chasing ‘wrinkles’ and in fear of aging.

What? Really? It just makes me want to shake them by their shoulders till their brains rattle, but then I think to myself, it is very likely their brains are already rattled and my intervention would do little to no good.

There was a time we venerated beauty in its natural state, with a fair degree of variety and acceptance there were differences among us. Every nose wasn’t perfectly straight and narrow, every face wasn’t perfectly symmetrical; indeed part of what defined beauty was its uniqueness. This is not to say they weren’t helped along by great lighting, perfectly applied make-up and of course, tight foundation pieces, they were nonetheless beautiful.

       

 Gina Lollabrigida (sodahead image)

 Barbara Stanwyck (sodahead image)  Lauren Becall     (sodahead image)

 Betty Grable       (sodahead image)

Something has been so firmly entrenched in our psyche over the last few decades we believe the hype, we believe we can stop time, stop gravity and if we don’t do so we will be somehow “less”. Now we have so corrupted our standard, so devalued women in their natural beauty many of us will do anything to stave off aging and pursue a version of perfection that leaves us disfigured forever.

     
 

 Lisa Rinna          (Sodahead image)

 Priscila Presely   (Sodahead image)  Jenna Jameson (BestandWorst Image)

 Dontella Versace      (zinbio Image)

We come to a time when even young women willingly inject a homogenized form of Botulism into their faces, that’s right a lab created version of the Black Death, into their faces in the hope of staving off the natural progression of age. What is wrong with society that we have gone to such lengths to convince an entire gender they are simply not good enough as they are and by doing so not only stripped them of their confidence but created a billion dollar industry.

Consider, though created in labs this is in fact what we inject into our bodies in pursuit of youth and beauty.

 
Five days after sustaining a compound fracture of his right arm, this 14-year-old boy noticed that he had blurred vision. Four days later, he could not swallow, move his lips, or protrude his tongue. Other findings inc)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Botulism1and2.JPG

Honestly, give me a bit of growing old gracefully and with a small bit of panache. Maybe even a little vinegar and vim. Let me please, just be able to squeeze my jiggly parts into some spandex and even if I have to lower the number of inches on my heels, let me still be able to put my feet into them and sashay for special occasions please. Let me not be so afraid to age I inject poisons into my proof of a life lived, freezing my face forever into a portrait straight out of Madam Tussauds Wax Museum.

In fact, let me emulate a true woman and lady:

   

 Betty White, 1955 (Sodahead Image)

 Betty White, 2010 (Wikipedia Image)

Let me count my wrinkles with relish, enjoying that I earned them! I did stupid things before I knew they were stupid, playing in the sun, riding my bike down steep hills and building sand castles on beaches so I could watch the rolling waves wash them away. I traveled, often getting lost in strange cities only to find the greatest bistros and bars. I drank Mescal straight from the bottle on star lit pyramids in Mexico, even eating the worm once. I have a antique sea chest filled with photo albums of nearly 40 years of life lived, life that is etched into memory and will someday be etched into my face and other body parts. A body that has already certainly felt the affects of gravity much to my constant dismay.

I ask only that I age gracefully in heart and spirit, retaining some humor please. Maybe also this, when I am finally tired.

Front Porch Ideas (Image)

Womanhood in the 21st Century

Women around the World (Image)

The Art of being a Woman

I wonder what makes us women. Is it what we show on the outside? Breasts, hips, nipped in waists or something else entirely. Is it our wombs, our ability to bear children? Then are

Jane Mansfield (google image)

those of us who have never borne a child whether by choice or otherwise; are we somehow something less? At just one day short of 16 I lost my ability to bear children, no it wasn’t an accident or a choice, but that is a story for a different day. For years, I believed I was less than other women, somehow not worthy. Certainly, my own siblings have told me “I wouldn’t understand certain things because I am not a mother”.

Is it Motherhood?

But wait, I am a mother I helped raise two sons, didn’t I? Another woman can claim them; nevertheless, my compassion opened my home and heart. They are in part mine, children of my heart. It doesn’t count, I am told. I think that it might, in the scheme of things it counts toward being uniquely me, that empathy. I think that the opening of my heart and home to them and that they still hold my heart captive, I think it might count toward my distinctive womanhood.

Plank Walking or Sitting the Fence

Women on the Brink (postershop)

Being a woman, still pondering the definitions. I am strong and resilient in both body and soul. Is this a feature of my gender, I wonder? I was able to survive both physical and emotional hardships where others of either gender might not have. Could my ability to survive and even thrive against extreme odds be my gender or is it just my personal resilience? I have concluded that it is simply me. When I consider the attributes that make me who I am none of them seem to be gender specific; Humor, intelligence, compassion, strength of character, morals, ethics and competitiveness. These don’t seem to be gender specific just my personal nature.

So this leaves me wondering still about the uniqueness of being a woman. It cannot be

Women4truth image

physical attributes alone that make us women. It cannot be our ability to give birth as the sole defining attribute; I have parented without giving birth and am also an adopted child.

For me being a woman is a journey of self-discovery. If I stumbled along the way, it is because I have allowed others to classify me in a manner that does not fit who I am as a person or as a woman. As I get older, I gain more clarity that the labels society uses to define us are more for their comfort than for ours. I don’t buy the labels anymore though I acknowledge them. In the past, I bought them even pinned them to my coat, they hurt me more often than not.

Definitions?

Being a woman, I am uniquely myself. There are times I am considered controversial by

Just Me, Really

others; I can live with this. There are times I am considered outspoken; I can live with this as well. I am loyal to those I care for. Cautious about whom I trust. I admit to rarely giving people a second chance, something I should work on in the future. Being a woman, I think that we are simply individuals born with gender specification. Nothing special until we create for ourselves that which makes us unique.

The Virtue of Chastity, The End

I come to the end of this exploration. Somehow I expect I will continue to niggle at it now and then as our societal mores ebb and flow over time. We have seen these passages across generations though perhaps never so forthright, so in our face as today. Perhaps I am just showing my age when I say I am offended by the acceptance of degrading language and the flagrant sexualization of our young women.

Since 1968 and my brutal awakening to what the loss of virginity meant I have spent the greater portion of my life defining my personal ethos. How my peers viewed and treated me, how my female role models treated with me and most important how males responded and reacted to me was critical to how I defined my value. Not values, not morals, not ethics but VALUE. Despite the times; Free Love and early definitions of Feminism did not extend to the underlying social characterization of “Good Girl” versus “Bad Girl”; you were one or the other nothing in-between, there was no gray area of moderation.

FanPop Image

FanPop Image

 Archetype Good Girl – Sandy  Archetype Bad Girl – Rizzo

I begin to understand my own version of what the truth of Chastity within the context of Virtue might be.

Women were caught up in our early success. We forgot perhaps that winning our entrance to full social membership did not change our fundamental humanity or our femaleness. What is different today is the images women have become more sexualized and the lines less firmly divided. We happily watch the antics of the beautiful and wealthy, even forgive their walks on the wild side. Those of us on more common ground are claiming the definitions are hollow while still attaching values to the central themes. Young girls laugh as men shout in song and even on the street the words of their dishonor, trying even to claim it for themselves in the mistaken belief it will take the sting out. Perhaps create honor where there is none.

Young women emulate the dress and behavior of their role models albeit on a smaller scale, as their resources allow. These fantasy lives of their heroines played out in magazines and reality television fuel imaginations and hallway conversations. Young girls imitate the dances seen on videos, meant to demean and entice, without understanding either. We applaud the antics of Toddlers in Tiaras as three year olds dance to music and imitate the dance moves of ‘Video Vixens’; have we lost our minds?

Image Rock102online

Image MSNBC

 Madonna in her version 1990  Two-year old Mia with her mother 2011

Women of great wealth and beauty, women who might be our sisters, our mentors and our champions yet have few accomplishments beyond their ability to charm agree by their silence our only value is the imagery of sexuality, including simulating masturbation and sex acts as forms of entertainment. This then is the reality of our diminished value . We have accepted the image and our young girls imitate it gleefully, all too often with parental consent. Go to any High School sporting event and watch as cheerleaders dance to music with moves themed to entice and emulate the sex act, to what end?

What do our young girls find to model? It isn’t the woman of distinction in arts or science, in math or literature. It isn’t the women who stood up for their rights, who distinguish themselves with their contributions to our history or our present day, these are not who are lifted up in media, not the women our daughters emulate in the classrooms of America, not the women spoken of in song.

Image Wikipedia

Image Wikipedia

Image Wikipedia

 Stephanie Wilson – Astronaut  Gabrielle Giffords – Congresswoman  Maya Angelou – Poet & Civil Rights Activist

My conclusion is we should value Chastity not because it is demanded of us by standards that would see us less than our potential. Chastity itself is greater than the mere attachment of a hymen certainly and its loss does not devalue us as women. There is duplicity in the idea that women are not free to choose partners outside of the social contract of marriage without being labeled “less than”.

There is a reason we should value our own Chastity, to me it is the simplest reason of all, because we value ourselves. When we invite another into the inner sanctum of our lives we are bestowing something upon them sacred. Not sacred in religious terms but rather in fundamental female terms, this is our core this is who we are as our most secret and exposed selves. As women we are vessels of life, of compassion and empathy; we are that place of peace and succor. Our invitation is not to be taken lightly or diminished in the light of day.

The idea that Chastity as a Virtue can be socially defined and thus our bodies and souls become the battleground for our future psychosis is ultimately what has been central to my exploration.  Have I been successful at solving the problem? No, certainly not but perhaps in my exploration I have in some small part begun to find some recurring themes for my own life.

The Virtue of Chastity in the Modern Age

The other day I explored the Virtue of Chastity as it applied to my own life; this left me with open questions. Keeping in mind, I have not personally defined Chastity as Virtue, simply accepted the original seven Virtues as existing in our lexicon and as social standards from which to begin my exploration. (Part One).

How times have changed, or have they? There was a time when Virginity was sacrosanct, Chastity not a commodity to be traded for popularity or acceptance.

Today the gray areas young people draw cause me to cringe; oral sex is acceptable because it isn’t real sex. Sexting isn’t crossing that line into pornography, unless you are caught. Popularity is traded for the number of partners acquired without trading your Virginity, the only thing you save for True Love. Public displays of sexual favors are not off limits so long as it is between friends. The rules change to accommodate a new morality that places emphasis on Chastity only as it applies to Virginity itself, yet even this is flung to the wind in favor of the need for affection and acceptance.

Girls as young as twelve are giving birth to the next generation. One of the most popular

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shows on daytime television Maury, who has coined the phrase “you are not the Father” while “you the baby’s daddy” is sung viciously by the daily parade of witless women and clueless men who reproduce without restraint or regard. Another popular show is Teen Mom, which follows the misadventures of teenage mothers as they swim the turbulent water of motherhood, welfare and adult relationships with the teenage fathers of their children. We watch fascinated by these forays into other people’s lives, on the one hand publically condemning their choices while on the other making them celebrities by our puerile fascination.

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As I sit sipping my Latte at the local Starbucks, I watch a gaggle of young girls dressed as if they were heading over to the local stroll. I know, terribly judgmental nevertheless with short shorts, midriff tops and make-up plastered on with spatula this is the first impression. Their voices grate on the middle ear, fevered giggles over some boy or other as they call each other ‘slut’ and ‘ho’ affectionately, as if these names have no meaning or force. The persistent beat of music coming from their IPhone repeats the ugly undercurrents, the language of devaluation, ‘ho’, ‘bitch’, ‘slut’, while these future women bounce and titter.

As I watched these young girls, guessing their ages not more than fourteen, my responses were as follows:

  1. Do your mother / father know you are out in public dressed like that?
  2. Do you have the self-awareness to realize what you are agreeing to when you listen to that music and accept that language, those names?
  3. Do you know you cannot reclaim names and make them less or different from what they fundamentally are?

I wanted to snatch all of them wash their faces and take them to their homes; frankly I was afraid of what I would find.

Have we traded some fundamental self-awareness of our core being as women? Indeed, is Chastity an archaic and troublesome Virtue best left in the past now that we have discovered independence and been granted our liberties?

My personal exploration of this subject is leading me down a twisting path. I will finish Chastity as a Virtue in Part III.

Chastity, Virtue or Burden

Wikipedia

Chastity also known as the state of being Chaste.

For those who struggle with this somewhat archaic definition what we are really talking about here is abstaining from all forms of sexual intercourse. To put it simply NO SEX.

Let’s get this out of the way first both genders can be chaste. All the Abrahamic religions reserve sex for marriage only. Many of the Eastern religions include cloistered monasteries, vows of chastity and view marriage as sacred. There are varying degrees to which all of the different religions define, preach and act on Chastity within society.

It is a rare man today, who wants to date a chaste woman. It is a rare woman today who

makes it out of her teens a virgin. Do we have two-caste system, a double standard? Women who are datable and women who are marriageable? Haven’t we advanced beyond the Victorian Age where “good” women were presumed to have no sexual desires? It does make you wonder why we laud the man famous for his promiscuity while still demanding women retain their purity.

Slut, horrifying word when applied to young girls beginning to express themselves and define whom they will be in the future. Chastity stripped by acts of violence, does this count against you? I have often

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wondered whether rape and loss of that all-important proof of virginity is the only consideration for being unchaste. From the age of 11 to 15, my classmates hung Slut around my neck as a Scarlet Letter, not because I had earned it by my acts but because others stripped me of my Virginity in a brutal and senseless act and there was no adult to defend me.

Did this make me unchaste?

My peers defined me in my formative years my first marriage at 15, thereafter. Though my much older husband knew the circumstances of my lost hymen, he blamed me anyway. His anger resulted in closed fists and harsh words leaving scars I carry even today. That I entered our marriage lacking said proof of chastity, made me less in his eyes, made me untrustworthy. Despite the circumstances of my loss, I was branded with Slut across my forehead in neon red, on this he and my mother agreed though they had never met.

Am I a Slut because I am normal and have pursued normal sexual relationships whether within marriage or not? Does any society have the right to judge me, especially if I do not agree to the labeling based on a set of religious / societal rules I do not subscribe to? I am nearly in my mid-fifties; I have had more than one husband and certainly a couple of other partners worthy to share my bed over the course of my lifetime. My Chastity is comfortably compromised, or is it?

How should I really judge myself against what I consider an archaic definition of the Virtue of Chastity? I know that I am a woman integrity, I have remained true to the vows and promises I have made to each partner I have had over my lifetime. That I have taken a different route and chosen different paths no dispute. The struggle to define Chastity as a Virtue in terms that make sense to me, as a woman though, that remains an open question.

Having not concluded my search for answers, I will continue the pursuit of the Virtue of Chastity for the twenty-first century woman tomorrow.

Virtuous Women Hand to Hand

Merriam-Webster defines Virtue as follows:

1 a: conformity to a standard of right: morality b: a particular moral excellence; 2: plural: an order of angels see celestial hierarchy; 3: a beneficial quality or power of a thing 4: manly strength or courage, valor; 5: a commendable quality or trait: merit; 6: a capacity to act: potency; 7: chastity especially in a woman

  I especially like number 1 because it is so ambiguous. A woman of virtue conforms to an established standard of right.

My question as I contemplated the definitions is who defines right for the rest of us? Am I only virtuous if I conform to the vague standard that others establish? What should I do if I believe these standards are counter to my best interest as a woman? Do I simply ignore them and live my life in my own best interest, outside of social boundaries? Should I silently allow others to cast aspersions on me because I do not agree to their definitions?

Is there a super-secret list somewhere?

I wondered about this and so went looking, my curiosity was aroused, what I found was enlightening.  Originally, there were four Virtues Wisdom, Justice, Courage and Temperance these came down to us from Plato and Aristotle. With the advent of Christianity, they were expanded to including four Cardinal and three theological virtues to offset the seven deadly sins.

  1. Chastity <=> Lust
  2. Temperance <=> Gluttony
  3. Charity <=> Greed
  4. Diligence <=> Sloth
  5. Patience <=> Wrath
  6. Kindness <=> Envy
  7. Humility <=> Pride
 

Wapedia.mobi

 

Acelebrationofwomen.com

After looking at the list, I searched for how these might directly apply to women today. The search was long and aggravating, all to often running into the historical references and more general terms, I even found reference to more modern video games. Eventually, what I found was women and the application of any virtue usually came back to Chastity, Obedience (huh?) and other strange manipulations to fit expectations of how women should behave within the context of religious characterizations. Historically, virtue was intended to carry women unerringly from their father’s house to their husband’s house to widowhood.

     

My Fathers House

Medieval Practice of Giving away the Bride

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Widows Weeds

This took my mind down the path of what about?

What about the duality of expectations between the genders, something that despite all the other social / economic and cultural changes remains consistently set in our minds. Why must women be chaste yet men need not be. Okay, let me rephrase the question, why is it that if women are unchaste there are distinct classifications (slut, bitch, whore, ho) which are lightly to extremely uncomplimentary, while if men pursue an unchaste lifestyle they do not qualify as anything other than STUD, with a wink and a nod.

Why is obey still an option in wedding vows? Sometimes not an option at all but a mandatory part of the vows a woman must recite. Would most men consider including this particular piece in their vows to their future wives? Somehow I suspect the answer is no. I am aware many women choose not to include it in theirs, but the fact remains it is still there. There are even national figures, women who stand in the spotlight of our political debate today who say  with pride they ‘obey’ their husbands and follow they ‘commandments’ in things as crucial as career choice and body privacy.

I am a woman of compassion. I have merit in my own right for my accomplishments. I have the capacity to act for good or ill and try always to act for good. While I do not have manly strength, I have strength, courage and valor. I am a survivor; truly, I am a victor over circumstances that might have left others bereft of joy in life. I know many other women like me; other women who have managed to thrive in a society that does not often look upon us with gladness or welcome us warmly to the hearth fire.

Women and virtue, are these still relevant today? I think they are but perhaps not in their original meanings. How do we then define the virtues so they are easily understood and capture the essence of who and what we are.

I struggled with the direction of this blog for the past week. This is the direction I am taking for now. I hope you follow and offer your thoughts.

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