My great-aunt Ada Latta had an adventurous and pioneering soul.
She staked and tried to grow a plantation in Cuba at the end of the 19th century, and lived there with her children and husband for seven years before giving up and coming back to the United States. In this article my cousin relates her attempt to track down her history in light of recent political changes.
Visiting Cuba: 1905, 2014 and 2016 By Kit-Bacon Gressitt First published by The Missing Slate. Before the thawing of U.S.-Cuban relations went public, I made a trip to Cuba. It was 2014. Before diplomatic relations bloomed anew and flags… … Read more at http://www.kbgressitt.com.
There is no end to the men, mostly, who seek to govern women’s bodies, who deny women freedom, agency, and power. Now they want to prevent any woman who MIGHT become pregnant from drinking alcohol, even though there is no solid evidence to support such draconian prohibition.
What do you think?
Martha Nussbaum, a famous philosopher and a woman who has, you might say, “made it,” in the patriarchal halls of philosophy and academe, has this to say to women who would seek justice when famous and powerful men rape them:
Law cannot fix this problem. Famous men standardly get away with sexual harms, and for the most part will continue to do so. They know they are above the law, and they are therefore undeterrable. What can society do? Don’t give actors and athletes such glamor and reputational power. But that won’t happen in the real world. What can women do? Don’t be fooled by glamor. Do not date such men, unless you know them very, very well. Do not go to their homes. Never be alone in a room with them. And if you ignore my sage advice and encounter trouble, move on. Do not let your life get hijacked by an almost certainly futile effort at justice. Focus on your own welfare, and in this case that means: forget the law.
Source: Martha Nussbaum on sexual assault
Do you agree with Jennysaul, below:
Nussbaum draws on her own experiences to discuss sexual assault by powerful men. Her main argument has a deeply depressing conclusion, consisting of advice to women:
Survey co-authored by Trae Vassallo, who testified in the Ellen Pao case, found that for women in tech and venture capital gender discrimination is common
is the worst of maladies. It rips your heart out and leaves you breathless, exhausted, wasted, denuded. Your skin comes off and all your nerves get exposed, and you weep for no reason that you can explain to anyone, and no one cares, anyway. Depression makes you irritable and cranky and bad-tempered with everyone you know. The smallest things get under your skin, which isn’t there, so the smallest thing gets under your nerves and rubs them with salt so that you feel like screaming. There that, the endless and incomprehensible desire to scream your head off and, failing that, which you do, of course, because you fail at everything, you collapse into crying and self-loathing. Depression chains you to your bed or your chair or your corner, and if you manage to get up and walk around depressed, the chains drag and mossy anchors drag you back. You think about drowning. You long for death, to sink into the muck, the brown brownness of it, to bury your face into its dirty mess, your own dirty mess of self. You argue and blame and shout at people and feel furious with them for not understanding and stopping to throw their arms around you, kiss you, and hold you until the tears stop. The tears you fear will never end. But depression makes you monstrous and no one wants to kiss or hold a monster, so you carry on behaving monstrously, miserably alone, misunderstood, mistaken, misplaced, missed. Me miserable, which way I fly infinite wrath and infinite despair. You think you are going insane. You don’t trust yourself. You have no one but yourself to trust and so you fall into the lower deep that devours you. Depression confuses the mind and wrings the hands, it stammers the mouth and removes choices. It unfurls the mind, turning it against itself, dissolves the skeleton, hunches the back against the stairs uncomfortably. No comfort in the mind shut down and the body broken. They call depression a disorder. It is disorganized, chaotic, stormy, an attack, a tornado, a tidal wave of sadness, and it hurts. It burns the eyes, scorches the throat, stops up the nose and ears and painfully overstimulates every nerve in the body while simultaneously deadening everything, so that you move, if you can move, through the world muffled, muted, deafened, dulled, retarded, defeated, deflated. It washes you up on unfamiliar shores, it abandons you, wrecks you, dashes you, destroys you. Do not underestimate this affliction.
It’s raining and dreary, so I decided to stay home instead of stumble through the Ashtanga class I thought I would go to. I rolled out my mat in my own studio/office and put on a new playlist and moved through as many of the postures as seemed sensible. For the past 12 months or so, I have been going to various physical therapists who have instructed me to avoid yoga. Well, actually, the first guy told me to avoid forward bends, and the second woman said to avoid backbends, so I stopped feeling confident in my body altogether.
Last week I went to an Ashtanga class (the one I avoided tonight). I felt I had aged ten years. My arms buckled in chatturanga and I could no longer squeeze myself into any kind of bind. Humbling.
I teach a Trauma-focused yoga class to women in therapy at a community health center every week, and there I tell them to pay attention to what they feel in their bodies, and to make choices based on what they are feeling. I’ve decided to practice what I’m preaching and spend a few minutes each day writing about it.
Things I noticed today: my stomach feels bulky and heavy and in the way. My neck feels tight when I bring my ear to my shoulders. I clench my teeth. I felt angry today, not irritable, but appropriately angry, I thought. A co-worker was rude and unkind to me. Another challenged my judgment. My back went up. I’ve been carrying anger around in my belly and my neck.
It was surprisingly lovely to arrive in my body during sivasana, to dwell in my awareness of the sweat cooling my forehead and chest, my lumbar spine and hips settling down towards the floor, my abdomen resting as my heart slowed down, the sound of my breath and a quiet, soothing swishing sound filling my ears. It was surprisingly difficult to stay there, to remain simply in being.
Listening to Nina Simone, who was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon. The great civil rights advocate and musician inspires me. One of my clients looks like her. Hard to say whose history is harder. The woman I know remembers her father holding a gun to her mother’s head. She suffers from complex trauma, a syndrome unrecognized by the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. She trust no one, certainly not me.