Monday, January 14, 2008


In our never-ending search for ways to reach out to our culture, we here at the Herm*neutic of Suspicion have found that many popular blogs on the Other Side, such as the Sober Sophomore and Infelix Ego, occasionally post entertaining quiz results.

Unfortunately, the Sober Sophomore this week, despite being on retreat, has attracted over twice as many visitors with her old-fashioned holy-picture-things as we have with our daily dose of womantruth. Discouraging? Yes. But it has always been our motto: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em; then once you've joined 'em, steal their ideas, leave 'em, and then beat 'em. Thus, we too have now opened up the depths of our womanspirits in taking the online "Militant Feminist Quiz." Results follow:

Disappointing. It seems I have more of a soft spot than I'd thought. I need a good slap in the face.


Considering her relatively recent conversion to the cause (that's a story for another day), this is a promising score. The thing with 'Nique is that having been in the education business for so long, her exposure to the kids has compromised her ability to harbor high levels of violent anger. But seeing as how she's jumped 19 points in the last two months, she'll probably be in the 90s by March.

That's what we like to see!

Please note: while the Herm*neutic of Suspicion has gladly dispensed with traditional ideas of morality, we do still possess a sense of decency, and thus in all honesty must advise our viewers not to follow the link and take this quiz. The questions become rather offensive toward the end, and we all would have been better off not having taken the questionnaire. Unfortunately it is about the only militant feminist quiz we could find.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beware Bad Books: Week I

In addition to Feminique's weekly literary recommyndations, it is also important to point out other kinds of books; namely, books that one ought not to read. Whether outdated, patriarchal, sexist, ugly, or just plain offensive, these books are still floating around and must be avoided.

This week's dangerous tome is an innocent-looking red-and-grey volume called the St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism. A quick rating will explain this:

Outdated: Yes. As if things we taught children in the '50s are still good for teaching them in today's world. Patriarchal: Yes. Sexist: Yes yes. See discussion below. Ugly: The many illustrations look far too much like real people, and use metaphors too frequently. Kids aren't ready for such things until they're at least 15. Just plain offensive: Again, yes.

If you don't believe me, just take a look at this part of the chapter on "Holy Matrimony" (a sexist word, by the way, which we will explore in a later post). The children are supposed to come up with a list of virtues that will prepare them for a happy marriage. And ....

Oh wow. Look at that -- of course, the girls get the unreasonable demands thrown on them. The very fact that there are two separate lists is bad enough, but then they have to go and patronize us by throwing in under the boys' list "respect for girls" and such. We don't need their stinking respect!

Well, enough space wasted on the Baltimore Catechism. Just don't read it, and if you meet anyone teaching from it, then please report it to us. We will take the necessary steps.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Well, sisters, it's that time of year again: when patriarchy fills the television screens of North America and sexism is the entertainment in vogue. What time of year am I talking about? GOOD QUESTION. That really didn't narrow it down at all.

I'm talking about the NFL playoffs. Everywhere you look, people are excited about football and their favorite team and the Super Bowl. Well, isn't that nice. It just so happens that football is the most sexist sport in the country, and also the most popular. Of all the barriers yet to cross, this silly sport looms perhaps the largest. Basketball has the WNBA. Girls' softball is on about half the time on one of the ESPN channels. Mia Hamm and company have given much-deserved credibility to women's soccer. And that Russian tennis girl with the long name could probably beat the pants off Roger Federer if only given the chance. (Federer is likely too afraid to ever afford her that opportunity, unfortunately, and because it's a man's world, they'll let him off the hook.)

But what about football? Is there a WNFL? Umm, no. Is there one single woman in the NFL? No again. Will there ever be? Probably not. (I must confess that for the sake of filtering old-fashioned trashy literature, I took one for the team the other day and actually read this horrid book that Feminique warned against -- there is a passage in there, though, that unwittingly sums up the inherent sexism of football. Something like, "Treat girls well, for without them, life would be one long football locker room." There you have it, from the horse's ManMouth itself.)

If you're not convinced, think it over. What do you expect from a sport with positions like lineman? If you're still not convinced, then you're probably a man, so get off our blog. Once and for all, sisters, as we work towards women's ordination, let us also strive for female fullbacks. For what the Catholic Church is to religion, football is to sports. The key is to still call ourselves football fans when among other people, while behind the scenes we furtively direct our womanpowers toward changing the sport's sexist rules. Kind of like we've been doing with the Church.

If its sexism doesn't sufficiently show its utter barbarity, then just take a look at one of the NFL's games for a second. The men wear sharp cleats that tear up the turf of mother Earth beneath them. The ball reputedly is, or at least used to be, made out of pigskin; now I believe it is leather, which is still an animal. And how are we ever supposed to achieve peace on earth as long as people keep hitting one another? Add to that the fact that it's 100% male, and the NFL should appear to everyone to be the evil organization that it is.

We at H.o.S. are therefore declaring a girlcott on the NFL this season, and forever. Do NOT watch any of the games. Do NOT buy jerseys as presents. Do NOT wear any team logos. Write to the commissioner and tell Roger Bad-ell that his league is a backwards, sexist atrocity.

And above all, pray to the WomanSpirit that the Cowboys don't win the Super Bowl. Or the Packers, as they are actually named after meat packers, and are thus evil. Or the Colts or Giants, whose quarterbacks are named Manning. You know, just pray that no one wins the Super Bowl.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Book of the Week

A womanfriend shared this book with me quite a while ago, and I admit that I more or less forgot about it until recently, when a few things reminded me of it. First was Darlene's post which showed the utter intolerance that some people still instill in their children. I mean, seriously sisters, what kind of person looks at such a meaningful illustration (which certainly elevates the mind to something greater), and is immediately inclined to mock it? Sick. I'll bet this child was raised on traditional, sexist tales, or perhaps (nature forbid) this terrible book.

Second, a recent perusal of our sitemeter shows that several readers have clicked over from *shudder* this blog (I won't even post the name, since I have no desire to profane this page with the language of the patriarchs). That site is just about what you'd expect from the title and self-description; however, I did find one item of interest: a holiday hyr, cleansed of the intolerance, sexism, and religious superiority one is usually deluged with at this time of year. (For your own sakes, sisters, DO NOT read that blog, for the sake of your womanspirits; I merely wanted to point out that, well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Unless it's a M*nClock.)

In any case, on to this week's recommended book: Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season. In fact, check out anything in this series, as they're all worth your time. This particular volume includes refreshing tales such as "Rudolph the Nasally Empowered Reindeer" and "Frosty the Persun of Snow". Buy this book, Share it with a child in your life, and maybe, just maybe, you can reach them before the patriarchy does.

TTFN, sisters!

URGENT: Blog Name Crisis

It's 5 pm on Monday, Jan 7, and I just realized that the name of our blog has the word MEN in it. That's right, scroll up to the top, and you'll see "The HerMENeutic of Suspicion."


Granted, our title also has the word HER, which is most fortunate, and also, HER comes before MEN, as it should. But still the question remains: why is MEN there at all?

Feminique, Pat, we should really call a council between the three of us (we are pope, after all) and decide what to do about this. Readers: we owe you an explanation.

Contrary to popular belief, the phrase "herm*neutic of suspicion" was not coined by Feminique. People assume that because she's the intellectual and the educator here, that she has developed all of our sophisticated terminology. While that is true for the most part, the phrase "H.o.S." was actually made up long ago to apply to any number of movements. (Sometimes, even Traditionalist Catholics are said to adopt a hermeneutic of suspicion toward so-called "HERetical" developments by those more liberally-minded individuals!! Aack! Wish we'd known that before naming this blog too.) It has been especially adopted, however, by the feminist movement, thanks to the great Miriam Therese Winter, who writes:

Women are particularly encouraged to critique the [biblical] narratives in light of their own experience, applying ... a hermeneutics of suspicion, questioning the facts in light of feelings, filling in the missing pieces by imaginatively recreating herstory from a woman's point of view. (Preface from WomanWord: A Feminist Lectionary and Psalter, NY: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1990)

You said it, Miriam!! This, anyway, is the basis for our blog's title. Unfortunately we missed those three sexist letters weeks ago. Fear not, though -- it is only a mistake. We do not want any of you to think that this compromises our mission for equality, or worse yet, to think that we at H.o.S. are at all insincere about our real opinions.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stoke on TRENT?! *or* Pat's Psychedelic Nightmares

Apparently, in addition to a reader from somewhere in Ireland (a nasty country which I think is inherently sexist, there must be something in the water over there), there is also a reader of our blog from somewhere in the UK named Stoke-on-Trent.


Excuse me MR. BRITISH PERSON (of course it must be a man), but how dare you contaminate our blog with a city name so SEXIST as Stoke on Trent?!?  That's only one letter away from "Stoked on Trent," which is a California way of saying that deeply enthusiastic for...the Ecumenical Council of...


*During Pat's dream, she sees the following:



Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the First Vespers and Te Deum prayers ...


*2 hours later*

Oh terrible...I can't believe someone from such a town would visit our site!!  He could have had the decency to say he was from Stoke on Spirit of Vatican II!

Oh my word...I need a nip of womanhooch...

(Last picture from yahoo news)

Listen to this!

Just came across this online -- a recording of "We Are Not Servants," as mentioned in my last post. Good stuff. Would probably be good for your WomanMeditation today if you haven't done so already.

Also, thanks to our old friend the Sober Sophomore for her gracious nod to us in her post yesterday. She's quite a gal -- horribly misguided, of course, don't believe ANYTHING you read on her blog -- but a good friend nonetheless.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Hernal

If you don't know what that title means, then you're still to some degree being brainwashed by patriarchal western society. Some of you, no doubt, go to church/mosque/temple each week to celebrate liturgy and empower the community around you. (Some of you may not, too, and that's fine -- just to be clear, I don't want to seem judgmental here -- if church isn't for you, then it's not for you. It's really just a building after all; the important thing is the womanspirit in each of us.) Anyway, since silent prayer is really an oxymoron, and since speaking gets old after a while, I'd bet that most of your worship areas use song to praise the deity within you. Now, traditionally, spiritual songs are called "hymns." DON'T let the spelling fool you: despite what some chauvinist man-philologists might tell you, the word "hymn" comes directly from the English pronoun "him." Is it starting to click, sisters? Of course we're supposed to call our songs "hymns": after all, if God is called "Father" and referred to by "He" and "Him," if only men should be priests and servers, if males need not wear head coverings in church, etc. etc. etc. -- then why not just go ahead and call even our religious songs "hims"?! And they thought they could get away with it, too! Well, they may have since the beginning of the English language, but no more.

For years now, Feminique and Pat and I have refused to sing "hymns," instead calling them "hers." We don't use hymnals -- only hernals. Music is so important to worship that we can't afford to let its very terminology be affected by sexism. Fortunately the last few decades have seen a marked improvement in worship music, especially through the bouncy melodies and inclusive lyrics of composers such as Marty Haugen, David Haas, Dan Schutte, Ernest Sands, Bernadette Farrell, and Michael Joncas. True, most of those are men, which is unfortunate, but it just goes to show that the Cosmic Christa can use even dirty man-pigs to achieve our great goal. The plodding strains of man-chant once made it next to impossible for the womanspirit to focus on herself, instead distracting her with that otherworldly droning in a strange language. Not only that, but even those old Fr. Faber "hymns" (for that's what they were) insisted so much on stressing Catholicism and pope-loyalty stuff that they brought out the differences between religions instead of our similarities, and were totally unsuitable for responsible modern-day worship.

I could go on and on, but instead of talking, I will soon show you what I mean by good and bad music. For now, though, let me share with you a wonderful new her that's just been written by a promising young feminist student. It's called "We Are Not Servants," and is sung to the tune of "Morning Has Broken":

We are not servants, we are creators
In this great cosmos that we call life;
Every woman should be the leader,
Every man should bow to his wife.

We are not servants, we are empowered:
Don't want to be a stay-at-home mom.
So to our husbands, then to the bishops,
Let us each cry out: non serviam.

Marvelous! Look how it immediately debunks the fallacy that good Christians must be "servants" of one another. I don't know where people ever got that idea, but whatever the source, it's very repressive to the human spirit, and especially to women. We are truly creators: creators of our social constructs, of our religions, of our very destinies. And look at that beautiful irony at the end of the first stanza. It's about time! A slight problem arises at the end of the second stanza -- why this young lady used a Latin phrase, I will never fathom. Latin is one of the patriarchs' greatest weapons. What language is the traditional Latin mass in? Latin. Enough said. Overlooking that flaw, though, this really is quite a stirring piece of music; and the problem can easily be remedied by a loose translation of the Latin at the end, such as, "Won't serve you, Tom!" Of course, this fits in with the rhyme scheme and meter, which is a little legalistic itself, so you can feel free to substitute any phrase you would like that expresses your determination not to serve a male. In fact, every member of the assembly can individually sing whatever the womanspirit leads her to sing at that point.

By contrast, we must now warn you, dear readers, that the Other Side is not asleep at the switch. When they're not attending mass in Latin or blithering on about obedience to the pope, they're writing parodies of our sacred womansong. I almost refrained from posting this because it seemed tantamount to blasphemy, but these sorts of things must be exposed.

The question is: what is it? What is its purpose? Does it just make fun of us, and leave it at that? NO!!!! Not only does this atrocity steal the beautiful music and lyrics of Miriam Therese Winter's masterpiece "Circle of Love," but it promotes some of the most dangerous and false ideologies the Other Side has at its disposal.

First take a look at the original lyrics of Miss Winter's song, at the bottom of this wonderful link. Now below is the parody. Those of you with weak constitutions may want to hit the Back button now:

1. Thrifty like you won't believe: pious women,
Fix a surplice sleeve: pious women,
No one can compare
To a pia mulier
In thimbles, thread, and pious womanly stuff.

2. Skirts and hats and chapel veils: pious women,
Proud that they're not males: pious women,
But call them feminists
And they'll probably break your wrists,
'Cause that's one thing you can't accuse them of. (But ...)

Speaking out, listening in, and besides that, to the men's chagrin,
Follow them, and you'll see how to live intrusively.
Other than that, they're not so bad -- our belov'd mantilla-clad!
For today you can't praise pious women enough.

3. Follow Holy Church, they do: the pious women,
M.T.W.: a woman,
To Rome their hearts are stirred
(That's the city, not the verb),
And to Rome they give their pious womanly love.

4. Know that Priesthood's not for them: pious women,
(Clearly they're not men): pious women,
They'll be splendid nuns
Or moms of splendid sons,
Our pious women, trusty, true, and tough.

5. To a world that hates the good; pious women,
They show womanhood: pious women,
Still don't let that fool ya:
Don't give them hyperdulia,
'Cause that's reserved for the Pious Woman above.

What a hateful song! It's almost unbelievable. They've torn down about everything we stand for -- equality, independence, women's ordination, inclusive language, you name it. They even snuck Latin AND Greek in there! How shamelessly they use the original composer's initials in the 3rd verse, and then they think they're being clever about the roam/Rome thing in the next lines. There they go, exalting their so-called "pious" women ... and of course, like any antiquarian goody two-shoes Catholic from the '50s, they just had to get a reference in to Mary at the end. Well, for the thousandth time: what if we don't want to be like Mary?! Unbelievable.

More later. Between this and Pat's post, the one keyword is: watch out! Things are starting to go backwards in Rome, and now these insane little ideologues are scampering around in the homeland, desecrating our music. I hate to lose hope, but perhaps Pat said it best:


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sexism from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Nuevo Marini

Well, we women have never been respected by the meanies in the hierarchy at the Vatican.  John Paul II set back our movement so far when he said we couldn't become priests--but just wait sisters, we're having a big tofu-cookout over at St. Christa's Church next week where we'll be coordinating our signature-gathering efforts to overturn this oppressive policy!  Well, John Paul II was bad, but his successor (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) is even worse!!!  He's rubbing his patriarchal ceremonious liturgical piety in our faces constantly now!!!!  Ever since Piero Marini left (and he had such nice aesthetic taste, really he did a pretty spectacular job; in fact, I helped him choose the vestments He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named used in Austria), things have gone downhill FAST.  Now the Nuevo Marini is just ruining everything, setting back the cause of womaesthetics and womiturgy by about 45 years!  We were trying to fight against stuff like this:

and THIS:

Such displays of outright liturgical sexism were too numerous to count, and were fostered by Vatican displays of sexism so outlandish that I dare not publish them here.  And to think how they were fostering such hatred in the youth!!!! *sob*

But look what El Nuevo Marini has been doing!!!

Traditional Sexisturgy is wildly on the upswing since He-who-must-not-be-named freed up the intrinsically sexist and authoritarian Old's becoming frightening...

I just pray to the Mother Spirit beHIND our bellybuttons (as our dear friend Edwina Gately would say) that we never see


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008: Year of the Woman

Happy New Year!

I apologize for my lack of posting recently. It wasn't so much that I was scarred by my previous experience (though I am still troubled by the thought); rather, I am finding that the holiday vacation really isn't a vacation at all for educators. I've spent the last few weeks grading exams – for much as I would rather not define a student's spirit by a single letter, the university requires it – and writing syllabi for next semester's classes ("Literature's Hidden Patriarchy Throughout History", "Global Warming, Sexism, and Men: Problems Facing Women in Today's World", and "Down with Love: The Historical Triumph of Independence over Patriarchy"). Between all that, I have hardly had time to re-center myself, let alone share any thoughts with you.

I know that many blog-hers take today to share New Year's Resolutions, but personally, I have always found lists and resolutions excessively binding and restrictive (don't even get me started on the Ten Com"man"dments). Instead, I want to encourage you all to follow your spirit through the coming year. 2008 will be a labyrinth full of challenges, obstacles, patriarchy, and repressive atmospheres, and it is only through living independent and free of established systems that we will triumph.

It's a new year; be a new woman.

New Year's WomanWishes

Happy New Year, sisters!

May you be filled with womansense and womanwisdom in the coming year. We here at the Hermeneutic of Suspicion hope that you all assert yourselves well in the next twelve months, and be filled with womanpeace and womanjoy.

Meanwhile, we will do all we can to assist you in your struggles. I will have to give feminique a call sometime; I fear that the sudden sight of that patriarchal mantilla-rag has scarred her more than she let on at first, since she hasn't posted for a while. More likely, though, she is simply busy grading exams. Quite understandable, but you are all missing out greatly by her unfortunate silence. 'Nique, really, take a break from the grades and say hello to your friends here once in a while! Happy New Year, girl!

On behalf of Feminique and Pat, Happy New Year to all. All women, that is.

Fem Love,