Thursday, December 27, 2007

What we're up against

Hello WomanWomen,

I wasn't going to post anything for a while -- that is, until I ran across these most disturbing photos while surfing the internet. They are what they seem to be. See for yourself:

Yes, that's a CHILD -- probably no more than ten years old -- thoughtlessly mocking a feminist lectionary. The feminist lectionary. Look at that! Unbelievable. Forty years of renewal, and there are still sickos who teach their childrem from a tender age to laugh off the women's movement. How can we compete against such ... such hate?

I, for one, have decided to remove my last name from the public view here on the blog. Out of concern for my own safety after seeing these vicious photos, I feel that I should go simply by Darlene. I hate to be so distrusting; but sisters, there are weird people out there.

Such disheartening news for this time of year -- don't let it depress you, but DO let it make you careful. First women wearing man-tillas, and now children deriding our prayerbooks! What's next?! I've already heard that some hateful Catholic group has started recording parodies of our womansong. I'll look into it, but I wouldn't doubt it.

Fem Love,


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Man-tillas, Part II

Was just leaving a comment on feminique's last post, and realized I couldn't contain all of the implications within a single comment. This man-tilla thing is a big deal.

First, it drives a dagger deep into my womanheart to see our fellow women thwarting their own movement. We fight for an end to oppression, and they hide under their lacy little patriarch-helmets. It's hard enough fighting against stupid men. And then other women play the "indifferent" card -- "I sure wouldn't be caught dead wearing one of those, but if others want to, that's up to them ..." These people just don't see the problems inherent in the man-tilla:

1) The Distinction. Women wear them; men don't. At its most basic level, then, the man-tilla perpetuates the old perception that to some degree, women are different than men. Not good.

2) The Anti-Self Complex. Those who sport the man-tilla still buy in to the old "We're not as good as God" myth. We supposedly should cover ourselves out of "reverence" when we're in God's presence. Nice, sugar-coated word, "reverence." "Repression" is more like it. We have to teach these people. We cannot, and should not, tremble around in fear and deference; we are church. We should have no one to answer to except ourselves. The danger to self-esteem is astronomical.

3) The Antiquarianism. These people are the same hopeless worms who base everything they do on what they call Tradition, instead of embracing the future and recreating herstory, as we should continually be doing. No room for feeling with these women -- just fact. Women were still predominantly wearing skirts when man-tillas were in vogue; this era, therefore, was intrinsically harmful. A vote for the man-tilla is a vote for patriarchy and a vote for evil.

I actually have to go right now, so unfortunately I can't address problems 4-11, but I would be happy to discuss the man-tilla problem with anyone in either public or private correspondence. Happy holidays and oodles of fem love,


Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Reminder of the Work to Be Done

Due to traveling and other obligations, I recently needed to attend Eucharist at a different worship space than usual. Although this particular community is somewhat more traditional than I am used to (my requests to provide the reflection during the Eucharistic celebrations have been denied several times in the past), I have attended there in the past without feeling too repressed. On this last visit, however, I saw something that deeply disturbed my spirit: a woman wearing a so-called "mantilla". Even for those not familiar with this repressive, out-dated tradition, the name alone ("man"-tilla) betrays the male domination inherent in it.

I'll be honest and say that I had thought this particular sign of male domination had died out. Maybe I was just hopeful. Maybe I was naive. In any case, it would seem that I underestimated the influence of the traditionalist hierarchy, even so many decades after the Spirit of Vatican II liberated women. After all, Veronica of the New Testament removed her veil when she came in contact with Jesus.

Needless to say, I won't be returning to Celebrate with that community anytime soon, and will instead stay within my own community, where I am comfortable and can avoid the glaring patriarchy. However, this occasion served as a jarring reminder that there is still much work to be done before we can rise to victory in the spirit of today.


On behalf of this blog and women everywhere, I'd like to welcome Feminique, a good friend and as independent and empowered a woman as you'll ever meet. I hadn't talked to her for ages before recently, when we finally got a chance to catch up over lunch. She is a professor now, feeding vital energy into the women's movement by means of the education of our young ladies.

I would also like to welcome Pat. I do not know Pat, nor do I even know whether she is a "she." All I can tell you is that if Pat turns out to be a man, I will drop-kick his sorry little chauvinistic behind off of this blog before he can say "Betty Friedan."

Good to have you, Pat.

(N.B., authorship of this blog is extremely selective and exclusive. I am forced to conduct hyper-detailed background checks of applicants, in order to weed out two types of bad eggs. First are satirists who are trying furtively to undermine the women's movement by posing as feminists on the blogosphere. Second are self-professed feminists who are unwittingly still somewhat brainwashed by patriarchal forces, and whose views are thus far too moderate and unrealistic to contribute any good to the blog; for example, those who think that women and men can coexist by peacefully splitting leadership roles, or that we can accept as true more than about 10% of what the four E-man-gelists wrote in their sexist Gospels.

Therefore, while we here at the Hermeneutic of Suspicion are universally inclusive to all women when it comes to reading and commenting, we are at the same time rather--well, suspicious--in allowing new contributors. Only the strong can win this war.)

Fem love,


Darlene's Book of the Week

Peace, joy, and equality to you, sisters:

In our continual battle against the lopsidedly sexist world of prayerbooks, we women must help each other find empowering liturgical texts. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Fortunately, my entire existence is devoted to finding them. As a happy service to you, sisters, I'd like to share with you a wonderful lectionary and psalter for use in your church: WomanWord, compiled by Miriam Therese Winter, and beautifully illustrated by Meinrad Craighead.

...and by "Look inside" I mean "Please-support-the-feminist-movement-by-actually-purchasing-this-book-and-then look inside." Amazon (a wonderful company named after a fierce band of womenwarriors) is offering this lectionary used at a pretty competitive price. I could try to describe it, but I'll let the back cover give you a much better description:

"WomanWord ... a rich new resource for women--and men--to celebrate the women in our New Testament heritage. WomanWord--ideal for all denominations--includes ... a Mother-in-law's Psalm, a Little Girl's Psalm, a Psalm for Women in Leadership, a WomanPsalm of Praise, a Psalm to the Cosmic Christa. Personal reflections, prayers, and exquisite illustrations by Meinrad Craighead complete each celebration."

There is a vast selection of sacred womanmusic in the appendix as well. Unfortunately the above description does not do justice to the illustrations; this psalter is graced by over thirty poignant visuals such as this heartrending woodcut of Mary's sister:

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Get it for your readers! Buy it for the band at church! Ask your priestess to buy it in bulk!

Those of you who have either used WomanWord before or have just purchased this book following this recommendation, please feel free to leave your feedback and testimonials in the comment box!

Fem Love,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

A good day

Shalom, Sisters:

Today I had to cancel my high school talk entitled "Put the Wo- back in Menorah" because of an emergency wisdom teeth extraction. My dentist insisted on taking them out. Like most men, he clearly holds to the stereotype that all semblances of wisdom must be taken away from women. Not one to give in to the presumptious "advice" of oppressive patriarchs in high-paying careers, I stood my ground. I argued, and I argued, and I argued, until Dr. Discrimination finally gave in to my assertive power and settled for a compromise: if he got to remove my womanwisdom teeth, I would refuse to let him patronize me by administering anesthetics. ...As if an independent liberated woman isn't strong enough to endure a little pain. So I sat through the 45-minute procedure fully conscious, all the while humming my favorite WomanAnthem "Circle of Love" to distract myself. I think I may have distracted the dentist too, because at one point he started pulling out out a fifth tooth at random. When the teeth were out, I arose from the chair, walked out the door, and drove home under my own womanpower. I arrived home empowered.

I also realized that MY MOUTH HURT. I then emptied my medicine cabinet and made myself a Vicodin smoothie. It felt like that conceited man-dentist had literally dug a scalpel into my gums. Knowing men, he probably did. So rather than add to the surplus of pain that women have had to endure over the centuries, I downed the entire smoothie. After a while, I felt better.

Incindentally, it was around this time in the afternoon that my womanMuse paid me a long-overdue visit. When She visits, Her inspiration seldom lasts long, so in the spirit of the great Miriam Therese Winter, I quickly poured my feelings onto my treeless 102% biodegradable notepad. I (re)wrote this one for the children:

Jill made Jack
Walk up and back
'Cause she was feeling thirsty;
Jack returned
And Jill him spurned
And recreated herst'ry.

Sisters, we have much work to do in the field of children's literature; even "Mother" Goose was a blatant patriarch. Not only in the original is the male constantly referenced first, but Jack is also the one with the "crown." Crowns mean domination. If Jill had broken his crown, it would have been one thing, but the poet naturally arranges the syntax so that Jack breaks his own crown, while Jill passively tumbles down the hill. The sexism is everywhere.

My teeth are hurting again. Let me take a quick trip to Walgreens.


Ok, I'm back. I just flat-out told the man-pharmacist to give me more Vicodin. No prescription, no nothing. I'm a powerful woman. Let me get a glass of water, and I'll be back.


well here back i ... shalom .... thank shekinah panikillers not men to given but back now so write good to you womanwisdom can i ///^%g men cause of all pain anyway all us womyn rise against alkj should call these drugs menkillers lf;irg hmmm not feeling so hot after all bye

fem lvoe,


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fem Love

Welcome to the Fem Love Zone. Fem Love is all about breaking down barriers, reaching out to our oppressed sisters, and changing the patriarchal norms of today's culture.

Check back soon for poems, music, articles, and liturgy following the inspiration of the WomanSpirit.

Fem Love,