Docstoc

Discussion Archive - Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Document Sample
Discussion Archive - Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Powered By Docstoc
					Date:           Mon, 5 Nov 2001 17:29:42 +0100
From:           Diane Severson <divadiane9@COMPUSERVE.DE>
Subject:        [*FSF-L*] Handmaid's Tale
To:             feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Hello Everyone,

Since I nominated this book, it falls to me to open the discussion.

I'm sure most   of you had already read this book. I read it for the
first time in   early September. What are your thoughts about this
book in light   of what has occurred in the USA and in Afghanistan
recently? How   does it make you feel?

Diane
Currently Reading: The Fellowship of the Rings, JRR Tolkein;
White Teeth, Zadie Smith.
Recently Read: Harry Potter #1 4/5;
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant 4+/5;
All the Weyrs of Pern, Anne McCaffrey 3+/5;
The Renegade's of Pern, Anne McCaffrey 3/5.


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 10:39:21 -0500
From:         Dave Belden <davebelden@EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject:      [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

On October 28 (i.e. a week ago) Margaret Atwood wrote an article in the
color magazine of the New York Times about her visit to Afghanistan in
1978
with her husband and young daughter. She said that visit became the main
inspiration for writing The Handmaid's Tale. That helped to make more
sense
of the book to me: it was prophetic more about Afghan society than North
American society. Looked at like this, the book becomes a way that we can
feel with Afghani women the horror of their situation.

When I read the book at first publication I thought that it was well
written, but its power was drained away by its implausibility. There was
no
convincing explanation in the novel (for me anyway) of how the
fundamentalists had managed to take power. As a sociologist I see that
the
basic trends of the modern economy are going in the other direction,
towards
more power for women. It is intriguing to me how feminism was a cry in
the
wilderness (Mary Wollstonecraft, George Eliot) until the modern economy
brought wages, education, professional careers to women. I learned my
feminism in England in the 1970s from women who were socialists; but
clearly
it is capitalism, or at least the industrial economy, that brought women
off
the isolation of the farm and into modern cities, employment, education
and
this enabled them to organize, think together, turn the isolated feminist
cry into a mass movement. Likewise, the best hope for women in poor
countries today is to modernize their economies. (And one of the best
ways
to modernize the economy it's now agreed by most economists is to empower
and educate women). The future of North America is all bound up with the
'knowledge economy' and women have an equal, if not better than equal,
chance of getting good employment within it: women's strength is only
going
to grow as heavy industry follows farming into an almost insignificant
proportion of the working population. It is amazing how fundamentalism
has
survived in the midst of all this: people basically believing in the
equivalent of a flat earth while flying around it in airplanes. But it's
just not the kind of threat Atwood envisaged.

So I saw the novel as a bad dream that need not disrupt my waking hours,
because it's so unlikely. But a well written and creepy bad dream.
Terrific
imagery.

Dave Belden

(of www.davidbelden.com)


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 11:26:57 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Handmaid's Tale
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

It's been a while since I've read the Handmaid's Tale. Very interesting
that
Atwood wrote it after a visit to Afghanistan. I'm not sure of the time
frame,
when the Taliban came to power visavis when Atwood visited. My
understanding
is that in preTaliban Afghanistan, women were significantly represented
in
the ranks of the educated middle class, in the cities at least. I'm
currently
reading a book by Jason Elliot, 'An Unexpected Light: Travels in
Afghanistan", which gives some insight into the preTaliban, Soviet and
post
Soviet era. The Soviet invasion spurred the rise of fundamentalism in
what
was (and is) a very diverse culture. In terms of Islam, the following
quotes
are interesting (these are fairly long, so I beg your indulgence):
Stopping in a mud-walled 'serai' for the evening with his guide Ali,
Jason
Elliot (the author) became, as always, the object of utmost curiosity.
This
exchange occurred (now the quote begins):

"the old man wheezed a question...'Where in this world is your friend
from?'
'Ha! You would never believe where he is from.' [Ali] enjoyed this little
tease; he too got weary of the inevitable questioning and, I noticed, at
each
stop, a little more protective of me. I heard two men speak among
themselves
in the shadows. 'Is he a believer?' 'Not a chance,' said the other, 'he's
a
foreigner and a kafir.' 'By Allah, he is NOT!' Ali...shot back;
overhearing
them. And then, almost coyly, he said:'Everywhere we go people think he
is a
Moslem.' ...[paragraph] ...I was touched by his defence, which expressed
a
wonderful ambiguity. It did not matter that I might not be a Moslem: it
was
enough that people thought I was. In a country where a man's integrity is
judged by his adherence to the multiplicitous regulations of religion,
the
distinction between believer and unbeliever is bound to be fierce. Yet in
Afghanistan, where of all Islamic nations you might least expect to find
such
a softening at the edges, the natural sense of moderation of the people
has
always kept extremes of religious behaviour in check. Only under the
cataclysmic influence of the Soviets were religious leaders able to gain
exceptional power...The vast majority of Afghans are deeply observant
...but
are no purists... What you hear, when a person's behaviour can't be
measured
by the traditional criteria, is whether a thing is 'close to Islam' or
'far
from Islam'...Afghans, who have never enjoyed being told too much how to
behave, make frequent use of the expression."

The second quote   is this:

"Ali...would often ask me if I was tired. I said...that I was only
sometimes
tired, 'like in life', I said, and recited my old couplet from
Hafez:'Though
the way is full of perils, and the goal far out of sight...' 'Hah!
Bravo!' he
chuckled. 'Do people read Hafez in England?'
'A few. And they have heard of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, too.' 'Master
Rumi?
In England? Well I never...You must make a translation, so that everyone
in
England can read him,' he said, and began to spout couplets, which I
endeavoured to match but quickly exhausted my supply. I told him that
when I
was younger I had visited Turkey and paid my respects at the tomb of the
saint himself. 'By Allah!' he beamed, 'There's no difference between your
religion and mine after all!"

(Sufism is widespread in Afghanistan, and famous Sufis include women. One
I've just learned of in Elliot's book is Rabi'a of Balkh, a 9th century
woman
and Afghanistan's earliest Sufi poet. Her tomb is one of many Sufi
shrines
in Balkh, near   Mazar-e-Sharif, if I've gotten the geography straight.
I'm
thinking of trying to find some of her poetry. ) The picture I have
gained so
far of Afghanistan is a very diverse culture, with incredible history as
the
crossroads of Asia, which has suffered huge setbacks directly related to
the
Soviet invasion there, American fostering of the Taliban as an antiSoviet
force, and now American reaction to the results of that.

My memories of the Handmaid's Tale right now,however, are of its
consonance
with my deepest fears about the present war, which are not fears of
foreign
terrorism but of fears of a decided right wing drift in our own country.
Conspiracy theorists on the internet paint an equally unsettling picture
of
the current war as part of what could be described as a coup d'etat,
using a
terrorist attack as a pretext. Certainly we've seen enough attempts to
wrap
rightwing agenda items in the flag to give that theory some resonance. I
myself am not a fan of conspiracy theories, because ultimately they come
full
circle, it seems to me, and explain nothing. But in terms of the book,
and
fears, those are the connections that current events inspire. I think
we're
doing a pretty good job at scaring ourselves right now, so when I say
this, I
am not advocating these theories, just commenting on the emotional
connections to Atwood's work and current events.

However, I do not think one can be overly complacent about the robustness
of
women's rights under capitalism. The rise of fascism in Germany, one of
the
most cosmopolitan of European states in the prefascist period, belies
that
idea. Capitalism is the current force pushing the history of the world in
all
its aspects. Some of the results are much less benign than others. In
fact, I
think the current elevation of capitalism as the end all and be all
theory of
everything amounts to a secular religion. History did not stop with the
fall
of the Berlin wall, capitalism still depends on expanding markets in its
current forms, and expanding markets adhered to as a blind principle is
bound
to bring conflicts with unforeseen outcomes. That unfortunately isn't
conspiracy theory, and what I see almost everywhere in the socalled
intelligentsia of the first world, is a hidebound refusal to see that
capitalism is a historical phenomenon which is no more permanent than any
other economic/ideological system in history. The question is, what's
next?
-Joy Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 12:01:50 -0500
From:         Gwen Veazey <gveazey@VISTATECH.NET>
Subject:      [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

How interesting that Margaret Atwood visited Afghanistan in 1978 and this
influenced her vision for _HT_.   Thanks for your comments, Dave and
Diane.

I have a little different feeling about the book than you, Dave. While
the
rigid rules of dress and behavior seemed exaggerated, the idea of
fundamentalists running things did not appear so far-fetched in the mid-
80's
(around 1987) when I read the novel. For those of us feminists in the
U.S. who
lived through the terrible day of Ronald Reagan's re-election in 1984,
and
witnessed right-wing idealogues like Jerry Falwell interviewed on TV as
the
grand poo-bahs of the powerful "Moral Majority," it was a rough time.
And
conservatives again took the White House in 1988. Also, don't forget the
Equal
Rights Amendment, a simple statement making sure women were included in
the
protections of the Constitution ("Equality of rights under the law shall
not be
denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of
sex") was
defeated in the early 80's because not enough states ratified it. Quite
a
victory for the fundamentalists.
I also had a five-year-old daughter then!

My lasting impression of this novel is that it was the first time I truly
noticed the difference between adequate/mainstream writing and literary
writing
which absolutely sparkled. Atwood is one of the most talented writers
around, I
believe, and I have enjoyed all her novels. (Have not delved into the
poetry.)

Best,
Gwen


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 19:46:09 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

>On October 28 (i.e. a week ago) Margaret Atwood wrote an article in the
>color magazine of the New York Times about her visit to Afghanistan in
1978
>with her husband and young daughter. She said that visit became the main
>inspiration for writing The Handmaid's Tale.

I find this a really odd statement. Where did she go in Afghanistan? I
was
there in late 78 and in spite of the tense political/military situation,
curfews, etc, found it less oppressive for women (at least in Kabul and
Herat) than Pakistan at the same date. Certainly many women in Kabul were
working at that date and did not wear the full burqua but only, maybe, a
light headscarf. However, Pakistan in this account would work for me
(memory
of not being able to get on a bus because all the purdah seats were
already
taken, etc)

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 12:19:05 -0800
From:         Freddie Baer <fbaer@WESTED.ORG>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

>>I find this a really odd statement. Where did she go in Afghanistan? I
was
there in late 78 and in spite of the tense political/military situation,
curfews, etc, found it less oppressive for women (at least in Kabul and
Herat) than Pakistan at the same date. Certainly many women in Kabul were
working at that date and did not wear the full burqua but only, maybe, a
light headscarf. However, Pakistan in this account would work for me
(memory
of not being able to get on a bus because all the purdah seats were
already
taken, etc)<<

Here's that article in full:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/28/magazine/28LIVES.html?pagewanted=print

October 28, 2001

A Novelist Remembers When Afghanistan Was at Peace

By MARGARET ATWOOD

In February 1978, almost 23 years ago, I visited Afghanistan with my
spouse,
Graeme Gibson, and our 18-month-old daughter. We went there almost by
chance: we
were on our way to the Adelaide literary festival in Australia. Pausing
at
intervals, we felt, would surely be easier on a child's time clock.
(Wrong, as
it turned out.) We thought Afghanistan would make a fascinating two-week
stopover. Its military history impressed us -- neither Alexander the
Great nor
the British in the 19th century had stayed in the country long because of
the
ferocity of its warriors.

"Don't go to Afghanistan," my father said when told of our plans.
"There's going
to be a war there." He was fond of reading history books. "As Alexander
the
Great said, Afghanistan is easy to march into but hard to march out of."
But we
hadn't heard any other rumors of war, so off we went.

We were among the last to see Afghanistan in its days of relative peace -
-
relative, because even then there were tribal disputes and superpowers in
play.
The three biggest buildings in Kabul were the Chinese Embassy, the Soviet
Embassy and the American Embassy, and the head of the country was
reportedly
playing the three against one another.

The houses of Kabul were carved wood, and the streets were like a living
"Book
of Hours": people in flowing robes, camels, donkeys, carts with huge
wooden
wheels being pushed and pulled by men at either end. There were few
motorized
vehicles. Among them were buses covered with ornate Arabic script, with
eyes
painted on the front so the buses could see where they were going.

We managed to hire a car in order to see the terrain of the famous and
disastrous British retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. The scenery was
breathtaking: jagged mountains and the *Arabian Nights* dwellings in the
valleys
-- part houses, part fortresses -- reflected in the enchanted blue-green
of the
rivers. Our driver took the switchback road at breakneck speed since we
had to
be back before sundown because of bandits.

The men we encountered were friendly and fond of children: our curly-
headed,
fair-haired child got a lot of attention. The winter coat I wore had a
large
hood so that I was sufficiently covered and did not attract undue notice.
Many
wanted to talk; some knew English, while others spoke through our driver.
But
they all addressed Graeme exclusively. To have spoken to me would have
been
impolite. And yet when our interpreter negotiated our entry into an all-
male
teahouse, I received nothing worse than uneasy glances. The law of
hospitality
toward visitors ranked higher than the no-women-in-the-teahouse custom.
In the
hotel, those who served meals and cleaned rooms were men, tall men with
scars
either from dueling or from the national sport, played on horseback, in
which
gaining possession of a headless calf is the aim.

Girls and women we glimpsed on the street wore the chador, the long,
pleated
garment with a crocheted grill for the eyes that is more comprehensive
than any
other Muslim coverup. At that time, you often saw chic boots and shoes
peeking
out from the hem. The chador wasn't obligatory back then; Hindu women
didn't
wear it. It was a cultural custom, and since I had grown up hearing that
you
weren't decently dressed without a girdle and white gloves, I thought I
could
understand such a thing. I also knew that clothing is a symbol, that all
symbols
are ambiguous and that this one might signify a fear of women or a desire
to
protect them from the gaze of strangers. But it could also mean more
negative
things, just as the color red can mean love, blood, life, royalty, good
luck --
or sin.

I bought a chador in the market. A jovial crowd of men gathered around,
amused
by the spectacle of a Western woman picking out such a non-Western item.
They
offered advice about color and quality. Purple was better than light
green or
the blue, they said. (I bought the purple.) Every writer wants the Cloak
of
Invisibility -- the power to see without being seen -- or so I was
thinking as I
donned the chador. But once I had put it on, I had an odd sense of having
been
turned into negative space, a blank in the visual field, a sort of
antimatter --
both there and not there. Such a space has power of a sort, but it is a
passive
power, the power of taboo.

Several weeks after we left Afghanistan, the war broke out. My father was
right,
after all. Over the next years, we often remembered the people we met and
their
courtesy and curiosity. How many of them are now dead, through no fault
of their
own?

Six years after our trip, I wrote *The Handmaid's Tale*, a speculative
fiction
about an American theocracy. The women in that book wear outfits derived
in part
from nuns' costumes, partly from girls' schools' hemlines and partly -- I
must
admit -- from the faceless woman on the Old Dutch Cleanser box, but also
partly
from the chador I acquired in Afghanistan and its conflicting
associations. As
one character says, there is freedom to and freedom from. But how much of
the
first should you have to give up in order to assure the second? All
cultures
have had to grapple with that, and our own -- as we are now seeing -- is
no
exception. Would I have written the book if I never visited Afghanistan?
Possibly. Would it have been the same? Unlikely.

Margaret Atwood is the author, most recently, of *The Blind Assassin*.
=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 15:42:30 -0500
From:         Dave Belden <davebelden@EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Thanks for reproducing the article. Maybe my description of it as her
"main
inspiration for writing The Handmaid's Tale" was an exaggeration, but it
was
clearly part of it, and I think it's interesting that the fears in the
novel
have been realized (to a degree) not in our society but in that one, a
very
poor country. It does also seems as if her memory and Lesley Hall's are
somewhat different, about Afghanistan at that time, which is curious.

Dave


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 20:47:59 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Thanks for posting this - Atwood also seems to have managed to miss
seeing
the famous painted lorries (I wonder what happened to those - as many of
the
motifs were figurative I imagine they have been painted out) - and the
bicycles. I recall a good deal more motor traffic than she suggests -
though
still little even by the standards of urban Pakistan . It was _not_ just
the
Hindu women who did not wear the chador, at least in Kabul - in fact I
was
told that it was only women from families which had fairly recently moved
to
the city who did. As I recollect - over 20 years later - I got this
information from the Afghan woman who was secretary at the British
Institute. I was in Afghanistan for about 4-5 weeks in the autumn of
1978,
mostly in Kabul, but also saw something of Herat and Kandahar, also made
a
trip to Bamyian (and climbed up one of the now destroyed standing Buddhas
through the caves behind).

But I can see that the _idea_ of the chador could have been
imaginatively powerful for Atwood in writing _The Handmaid's Tale_.

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah
=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 13:02:40 -0800
From:         Jo Ann Rangel <silkstarlight@SPRINTMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

There was a reference on an overnight radio show about three weeks ago,
maybe four, when there was a discussion about oppression of women in
Afghanistan. I did not catch the name of the guest but he was a self-
called
"adventurer" who had the chance to meet with Bin Laden's associates at a
time when the war with the Russians was over and the country had just
started being taken over by the Taliban. He stated that Kabul remained
for
a long time the town where the media/press wanted to see what "normal"
Afghans looked liked and interacted on a day to day basis, so they were
taken to Kabul and shown their version of what was representative of the
entire country, thus this is the context most westerners saw in the
1980s.
According to this person, what you saw in Kabul was way way different
than
what you saw say in the northern region. The interpretation was you are
not
oppressed when you follow God's laws.

This is why when CNN showed that documentary Beneath the Veil I think it
was
on their Perspectives show, we were shocked at watching executions being
carried out on the football field recorded by hidden cameras by RAWA; and
what was even more chilling was the interview between the narrator and
the
Minister of Information who said if the UN would help them build a place
to
carry out the executions, they would bring football back to the stadium
for
all to enjoy again. In the context of how chilling and unnerving to know
that such behavior is being done to its own citizens currently(the
documentary was made in 2000), I think when a younger person (20-ish
these
days) reads Handmaid's Tale, they can more than likely compare it to what
Afghanistan has become, rather than what it used to be.

Jo Ann


=========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 6 Nov 2001 22:12:13 EST
From:         Marilyn Gibson <HerricTrio@AOL.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU
     Your story of (most probably female) executions in a football field
in
Afghanistan is indeed chilling. I read The Handmaid's Tale years ago and
felt it to be a great work of feminist fiction, disturbingly close to
home
now that the right-wing is in power. At the root of all subjugation of
women
is fear of their power. (This subject is much more exhaustively
discussed in
The War on Women by Marilyn French, available at Amazon.com).
     In my opinion, the situation in Afghanistan is parallel to the one
depicted in that book and if we were forced to live under these
conditions,
America would be a police state. But I disagree that women's employment
is
responsible for the gains we have made. Before men seized power and
defined
women through their relationship as wives and mothers, matriarchal
knowledge
was deeply respected. Women's power, now celebrated in a resurgence of
magical practice and earth religions, is enjoying a period of growth
unrelated to financial or intellectual knowledge.

    Marilyn Gibson
    www.hangingbyastring.com


=========================================================================
Date:         Wed, 7 Nov 2001 11:08:55 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood/Afghanistan
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

One other thing I forgot to mention about things I was told about the
chador
while I was in Afghanistan in 78 (this one I think by an anthropologist
working there) - that in most rural communities/villages the women didn't
have to wear it in the normal course of events because everyone in the
community was of a sufficiently close degree of kinship that they didn't
need to - there were no 'strangers' to conceal themselves from. This
changed
if the family moved to a larger conurbation.

This probably doesn't apply in contemporary Afghanistan - apart from
anything else presumably the years of upheaval have broken up communities
and caused a lot of migration.

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah


=========================================================================
Date:         Wed, 7 Nov 2001 13:27:07 +0100
From:         Diane Severson <divadiane9@COMPUSERVE.DE>
Subject:      [*FSF-L*] Handmaid's Tale (Atwood)
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

From Dave:
> When I read the book at first publication I thought that it was well
> written, but its power was drained away by its implausibility. There
> was no convincing explanation in the novel (for me anyway) of how the
> fundamentalists had managed to take power.

Maybe I'm not much of a stickler for realism. Her explanation of
how the fundamentalists came into power seemed plausible
enough to me. And after the recent events (although they are not
really similar), even more so. I don't think it would be terribly hard
to disable a government and effect a coup. Especially if the coup
came from within.

But the way Atwood presents the situation and bit by bit reveals
how it came to pass is what I find so brilliant about the book. I
couldn't believe that anything like that could really take place in the
US but I read on, it took on more and more horrifying plausibility.

From Joy:
> My memories of the Handmaid's Tale right now,however, are of its
> consonance with my deepest fears about the present war, which are not
> fears of foreign terrorism but of fears of a decided right wing drift
> in our own country.

Yes, my sentiments exactly! I don't really believe that it will
happen, I hope that we are too far along for that, but if we don't pay
attention and become complacent, I think it *could* happen.

Isn't it interesting that a book that was written 20 years ago can
have such relevance today? Speaks for the truth of what she wrote
about.

Diane
Currently Reading: The Fellowship of the Rings, JRR Tolkein;
White Teeth, Zadie Smith.
Recently Read: Harry Potter #1 4/5;
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant 4+/5;
All the Weyrs of Pern, Anne McCaffrey 3+/5;
The Renegade's of Pern, Anne McCaffrey 3/5.


=========================================================================
Date:         Wed, 7 Nov 2001 09:01:37 -0600
From:         Deborah Oosterhouse <daohuis@WMIS.NET>
Organization: Editorial Services
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

I have been reading *The Handmaid's Tale* for the second time, and
shortly after Diane sent out her original message inviting us to begin
the discussion, I read chapter 28, in which She (I don't like to call
her by her "handmaid" name and she never gives her real one) talks about
how the fundamentalists came into power. The whole way in which it
happened struck me far more than it did the first time that I read it,
because of the recent events. On p. 225 of my paperback edition, She
says that "they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and
the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic
fanatics, at the time." I think that's one of the things that I find
most troubling about the way our world is shaping up at this time, that
it really would be easy enough for someone within our own country to
carry out something like this and blame it on someone from the outside
and no one (or very few anyway) would question it. Already there are
polls asking questions about national ID cards and setting up interment
camps, and quite a few of those polled already think such things are a
good idea -- as if those are really effective means of keeping us
"secure" (whatever that means). I do like to think that we're not yet at
the point where there would be no outcry if the Constitution were
suspended, and we haven't yet gotten rid of paper money so anyone who
would be in a position to make these events reality wouldn't have that
advantage.

I would also like to express my agreement with Marilyn and Nuria on the
subject of capitalism and women's power. Yes, I think that women have
been able to take advantage of being able to work and make their own
money and not HAVE to find a man to support them, etc. But I don't feel
that it has anything to do with women being valuable as people, but only
as consumers.

I also agree with Gwen's statements about Atwood writing abilities --
absolute beautiful!! Yes, you can definitely tell that Atwood is a poet.
Even her prose has a strong sense of rhythm, of movement that is just
stunning.

Deborah


=========================================================================
Date:         Wed, 7 Nov 2001 13:01:01 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood/Afghanistan
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/7/01 5:25:24 AM Central Standard Time,
lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK writes:

<< One other thing I forgot to mention about things I was told about the
chador
 while I was in Afghanistan in 78 (this one I think by an anthropologist
 working there) - that in most rural communities/villages the women
didn't
 have to wear it in the normal course of events because everyone in the
 community was of a sufficiently close degree of kinship that they didn't
 need to - there were no 'strangers' to conceal themselves from. This
changed
 if the family moved to a larger conurbation.
     This probably doesn't apply in contemporary Afghanistan - apart from
 anything else presumably the years of upheaval have broken up
communities
 and caused a lot of migration.
 Lesley Hall >>

Actually, I read recently in a newsarticle that when militants from
Pakistan
started to pour into Afghanistan recently, and also some were blocking
off
the silk road route, that women in nearby communities complained because
the
presence of strangers was making them uncomfortable. Whether that meant
they
were or were not wearing the chador (or burqa,which is more encompassing
than
the chador, especially around the face) ordinarily, I can't say. In
Elliot's
book he mentions seeing women walking in burqas in remote villages, but
they
were on the roads, which are traveled by outsiders, so that could be
distinct
from other places more off the beaten path.-Joy Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Wed, 7 Nov 2001 13:01:05 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/6/01 2:09:50 PM Central Standard Time,
fbaer@WESTED.ORG
writes:

<<
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/28/magazine/28LIVES.html?pagewanted=print

 October 28, 2001

 A Novelist Remembers When Afghanistan Was at Peace
  >>

Thanks for sending the complete article. It puts things in quite a
different
light from the original reference.-Joy Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Thu, 8 Nov 2001 14:40:39 +1100
From:         Maire <mairen@BIGPOND.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU
AS I remember from reading the book, and I really apologise if someone
has
mentioend this, as I have about 15 emails to catch up on, in Handmaid
the
reason that the fundamentalists had got enough popualr support to gain
power, was because there was a great problem with fertility, declining
borth
rights and so on... now, I for one, can *very* easily imagine, in such a
situation, the tides of public feeling turning against career women,
female
students etc- for capering about in men's business when they should be
attending to the crucial business of baby making. I mean, there are
people
who feel that way now.

I have just finished Darwin'e radio by Greg Bear, and one of the
underlying
issues of the book is how far we could go in removing civil liberties in
order to when reproduction becomes a threat- going so far, step by step,
as
to order quarantine for pregnant women etc (basically due to a virus
infecting pregnant women, and the resulting babies being considered
public
health risk- you have to read the book)As I recall there was a lot of
talk
of quarantine when AIDS frenzy was at its height.

ANyway- must end and catch up with all the other emails, sorry for the
lack
of full-stops

Maire

Hard SF- Nov discussion "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hardsf>


=========================================================================
Date:         Thu, 8 Nov 2001 14:53:16 +1100
From:         Maire <mairen@BIGPOND.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Just a comment on the AFghanistan thing- IIRC, the freedom of women to be
educated, have careers, freedom of their own lives to shop, socialise,
drive
etc, was a pretty short thing in Afghanistan. I can *not* remember the
time
frame, but basically, I think an "anti-taliban" came in some decades
previously, and sort of semi-forcibly emancipated women- I particuraly
remember accounts of older women who were absolutely shamed and crying
that
the burqua was being outlawed etc etc- you have to understand that this
was
a religios thing.

As I think about it- I am beginning to think that I am getting this
history
confused with another country altogether- Saudi? sorry! I read so much in
a
short period.

Whichever country it was... or, sorry, perhaps a different one
altogether-
tehre was a movement from teh young, educated women in particular, in the
past decade, to return to burqua etc etc. A huge fundamentalist movement-
from woman as well. the ratinale being that Islam does respect and have a
place for women, hard for westerners to understand etc etc. Which I agree
with. Its just that Islam- as it is written- is *invariably*
misinterpreted.
I would like to see some discussion about the woman that Offred (name
right?) lived with- the "Wife". What must she have been feeling?
Obviuosly
the sex scenes were horribly humilating for al concerned, I for one
think
perhaps that went to far... it seems to me very hard to enforce. I mean,
when you have three people in a room, none of whom want to do something,
surely it wont happen? Not sure. Or was the thought of an infant enough
to
make this woman go through these indignities? Anyway.. I certialy think
that
what Atwood has proposed could happen- but I dont think it *will*. But
oppression does take all sorts of insidious forms. Personaly, I agree
with
Naomi Wolfe (sp?) about teh Beauty Myth.. women going to extremem
measures
to be beautiful, plus, women now work, but also bear the brunt of
housework
and childrearing as well. Women are free... free to work like ..hell.

Maire

Hard SF- Nov discussion "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hardsf>


=========================================================================
Date:         Thu, 8 Nov 2001 14:56:30 +1100
From:         Maire <mairen@BIGPOND.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

sorry- replace all burqua with chador in my post, I couldnt remember the
correct name, but now think its chador (embrassed cringe)
maire
Hard SF- Nov discussion "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hardsf>


=========================================================================
Date:         Thu, 8 Nov 2001 15:03:57 +1100
From:         Maire <mairen@BIGPOND.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

I read a brilliant autoboagraphy by ...sorry, prety sure a pakistani
women?
no..cant remember, sorry! Anyway, she was married to a very prominent
politican who used to beat her- condoned of course by society on the
basis
of the KOran statement "when your wife displease you, first leave her
bed..dadada.... the last being then beat her with teh force of a bird's
wing" (sorry,my words, but very close) So of course this is used to
justify
widespread bashing and abuse. Anyway, this woman documents an incident in
a
family her family is friends with- the man's adult daughter was accused o
f
some shameful behaviour- and locked up in a room for the rest of her
life!!!
A young woman at the time- she went slowly mad, although she died young,
in
her 30's, she did spend over a decade in that room, with no human
contact. I
think it was saudi or Afghanistan now..if anyone is interested I will
find
out, or maybe someone knows)

Anyway, I think this must be one of th most horrific tales I have heard.
Yet
quite the norm, quite the norm. A "family matter".

Maire

Hard SF- Nov discussion "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hardsf>


=========================================================================
Date:         Thu, 8 Nov 2001 22:56:04 -0800
From:         Sandy Cronin <sandylcronin@YAHOO.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

> Anyway, this woman documents an incident in a
> family her family is friends with- the man's adult daughter was accused
o f
> some shameful behaviour- and locked up in a room for the rest of her
life!!!
> A young woman at the time- she went slowly mad, although she died
young, in
> her 30's, she did spend over a decade in that room, with no human
contact.

This has been one of my nightmares ever since I read the Yellow
Wallpaper in college.

*shudder*.

 -Sandy


=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 9 Nov 2001 08:16:04 -0600
From:         Deborah Oosterhouse <daohuis@WMIS.NET>
Organization: Editorial Services
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Maire wrote:

> <snip>
> I would like to see some discussion about the woman that Offred (name
right?)
> lived with- the "Wife". What must she have been feeling?

There is some mention in *The Handmaid's Tale* about Serena Joy. The
Handmaid
remembers her as a televangelist from former times whose main line was
that
women should be at home having babies and taking care of their men. The
Handmaid's reaction to realizing who the Wife is (p. 61 of my paperback
edition)
is "She doesn't make speeches anymore. She has become speechless. She
stays in
her home, but it doesn't seem to agree with her. How furious she must be,
now
that she's been taken at her word." My feeling about the whole thing is a
kind
of "be careful what you wish (or in this case preach) for" -- be careful
about
towing the line of the societal or religious attitudes around you,
especially
when you yourself step out of those boundaries. Rather reminds me of Dr.
Laura:
a career woman who says that the best place for women to be is home
taking care
of their families.

> Obviuosly the sex scenes were horribly humilating for al concerned, I
for one
> think perhaps that went to far... it seems to me very hard to enforce.
I mean,
> when you have three people in a room, none of whom want to do
something,
> surely it wont happen? Not sure. Or was the thought of an infant enough
to
> make this woman go through these indignities?

I think if all that you have been left with is the hope of taking care of
a baby
-- the only thing that will fill up the empty spaces in your life -- then
it
DOES become important enough to go through these indignities. At least
when it
was all done, the Wives had their babies (provided they weren't
"shredders"),
but the Handmaids simply went to another house and lived through the same
emptiness and isolation as before.

> Anyway.. I certialy think that what Atwood has proposed could happen-
but I
> dont think it *will*. But oppression does take all sorts of insidious
forms.
> Personaly, I agree with Naomi Wolfe (sp?) about teh Beauty Myth.. women
going
> to extremem measures to be beautiful, plus, women now work, but also
bear the
> brunt of housework and childrearing as well. Women are free... free to
work
> like ..hell.
> Maire

Yeah, definitely a different notion of "freedom". I'm not sure anyone can
be
considered truly free in a system under which you MUST work, often at a
job that
you don't care for, simply to survive, to have a roof over your head and
food
and clothing.

Deborah


=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 9 Nov 2001 12:58:13 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/8/01 10:04:41 PM Central Standard Time,
mairen@BIGPOND.COM writes:

<< I read a brilliant autoboagraphy >>
Does anyone know who the author was?

<<the last being then beat her with teh force of a bird's wing"
(sorry,my words, but very close)>>

in Western history of course the rule, similar, was you could beat your
wife
with a stick no bigger than your thumb..anyway, both the smallness of the
bird's wing force and the smaller size of the stick were probably
considered
reforms at the time, as opposed to beating your wife with the force of
your
fists, or a much bigger stick. And we all know that men are still beating
their wives with more viciousness than those long ago "reforms" would
have
it. Both in the West and in the East. It's only been in the last 20-30
years
in the US (since the second wave of feminism) that wifebeating has been
treated seriously at all by the powers that be here. Til then it was a
'private family matter', although looked at askance, of course, by people
who
wanted to pretend nice folks didn't do that sort of thing.

<<sort of semi-forcibly emancipated women- I particuraly
remember accounts of older women who were absolutely shamed and crying >>

actually several rulers in the near past in the Middle East have tried to
impose Western modernization by pushing removal of the veil etc. In Iran,
people hated the attempts by the police who went around pulling veils off
women. In Afghanistan, a modernizing king had his own wife appear before
tribal leaders without her veil, and so affronted them that his regime
was
doomed, despite many positive aspects. Attempts to modernize which do not
take into account the real concerns of everyday people are usually a
mess.
Sometimes they are also an excuse for terrorizing certain segments of
society. Looked at from womens' points of view, the traditional dress is
probably one of the least of the problems they want addressed (or, not
viewed
as a problem at all). I was just reading in the Elliot book (An
Unexpected
Light) about interviews he went on with a Dutch woman, with women in
Herat,
where the Taliban were practically given the city in order to avoid
bloodshed. The Taliban didn't expect to win there so soon. (It's
interesting.
You read a lot of these stories, where opposition forces backed off, in
order
to avoid destroying a city. OTOH, since then, you read about terribly
vicious
reprisals. Apparently as it became clear there was a real civil war going
on.) They began their edicts, and women were very upset, because they
couldn't go out and do the normal things they needed to do to take care
of
their families. These were all women who probably wore traditional
clothing.
It didn't stop them from taking an active life in the community and the
support of their families.

<<replace all burqua with chador in my post, I couldnt remember the
correct name, but now think its chador (embrassed cringe)>>

no need for embarrassment. Some wear burquas, some chadors, some only
head
scarves, some tribal peoples probably wear none of the above. It depends
on
the country, the tribe, the section of country. But your points are
understood in any case. Nobody should be embarrassed about trying to
learn
about something they haven't encountered before.

Best, Joy Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 9 Nov 2001 20:31:07 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

>in Western history of course the rule, similar, was you could beat your
wife
>with a stick no bigger than your thumb

I understand that this is one of those persistent historical myths and
not
something anyone has ever found in legal textbooks, judges' rulings, etc

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah


=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 9 Nov 2001 18:40:58 EST
From:         Marilyn Gibson <HerricTrio@AOL.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Maire,
    This stance seems unconscionable given the following information:
    Marilyn
    www.hangingbyastring.com

The environmental outlook for our planet is bleak if we cannot
control mushrooming birthrates, according to the United Nation's
annual "State of the World Population" report, released
today. The study predicts that world population could grow from
6.1 billion to as many as 10.9 billion people by mid-century, unless
dramatic gains are made in women's education, health care, and access
to birth control. All the projected growth would occur in developing
nations, creating widespread poverty and environmental degradation.
The report takes the developed world to task for failing to adequately
bankroll measures designed to curb world population growth, and
cautions that humanity could be on a "collision course" with the
environment.

straight to the source: BBC News, Alex Kirby, 07 Nov 2001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1640000/1640890.stm

straight to the source: Arizona Republic, Associated Press, 07
Nov 2001
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/breaking/1107Worldpopulation07-
ON.html

only in Grist: The deep six -- the day the planet's population
reached six billion -- by Donella Meadows
http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/citizen/citizen101299.stm?source=weekl
y


=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 9 Nov 2001 19:04:33 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/9/01 2:53:43 PM Central Standard Time,
lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK writes:

<< I understand that this is one of those persistent historical myths and
not
 something anyone has ever found in legal textbooks, judges' rulings, etc
>>

Hmm, I'll have to look out for the sources I've found it under. But I
don't
think it would be legal sources, as such. What's the source for it as a
"persistent historical myth"?-Joy


=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 9 Nov 2001 19:25:29 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/9/01 2:53:43 PM Central Standard Time, - writes:

<< >in Western history of course the rule, similar, was you could beat
your
>wife with a stick no bigger than your thumb

 I understand that this is one of those persistent historical myths and
not
 something anyone has ever found in legal textbooks, judges' rulings >>

Just now, with a little checking on google what I found was this: a long
article talking about how the phrase 'rule of thumb' had been turned into
a
feminist myth, by the association with 'unproved' legal precedent. The
article continues on about how it's always been against the law -or, for
a
long time- in the West to beat your wife. A. 'rule of thumb' is a phrase
I
use a lot; it has nothing to do with the aforesaid beating your wife
idea,
except apparently that some people - on various sides of the political
spectrum- have muddied the waters by acting as if the issue was the
phrase
'rule of thumb'. Furthermore, the article had links to a nice little
propatriarchy site. And whether wifebeating was against the law or not
isn't
the point, but that against the law or not, it has been treated as a
private
matter.

Secondly, further searches pulled up information that no, it wasn't a
law,
but it was used in legal precedents (mostly to decry the precedents). But
there are historical connections found in various sorts of literature,
back
well before the second wave of feminism.

So, not to beat a dead horse (another phrase we could probably make much
of),
I'd still like to keep looking for where the sources are I've heard it
used, but the main point to be remembered is: it's only in recent history
(within my adult lifetime) that any effective response to wifebeating
through
official channels has taken place in the West, and that only because of
persistent feminist organizing. Thus, it's not surprising to also find
it's
common elsewhere in the world than in the West. -Joy Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 17:54:33 +1100
From:         Maire <mairen@BIGPOND.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Lesley, I am pretty sure that in fact it was written into the law, in 15
C
England, give or take a few centuries, IIRC my 1st year criminal law
Maire

Hard SF- Nov discussion "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hardsf>
=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 17:56:41 +1100
From:         Maire <mairen@BIGPOND.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

ALl true Marilyn, yet I am suprised its only the deve,oping world getting
it- since US and other developed nations use far more greeenhouse gas,
non-renewable resources etc per capita
From the developing countries POV, we already stuffed up our environment
and
reaped the huge economic gains and power, why shouldnt they be given the
chance just because we dont wnat them to?
Maire

Hard SF- Nov discussion "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hardsf>


>   -----Original Message-----
>   From: Feminist SF/Fantasy and Utopia Literature ON TOPIC
>   [mailto:feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU]On Behalf Of Marilyn Gibson
>   Sent: Saturday, 10 November 2001 10:41 AM
>   To: feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU
>   Subject: Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
>
>   Maire,
>       This stance seems unconscionable given the following information:
>       Marilyn
>       www.hangingbyastring.com
>
>   The environmental outlook for our planet is bleak if we cannot
>   control mushrooming birthrates, according to the United Nation's
>
>   annual "State of the World Population" report, released
>   today.


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 14:25:46 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

>article talking about how the phrase 'rule of thumb' had been turned
into a
>feminist myth, by the association with 'unproved' legal precedent.

It's more than a 'feminist myth' - this was a persistent popular belief
a
long time before 'the second wave'. I'll try and dig up my copy of the
standard study of the Victorian campaigns against matrimonial cruelty
(Maeve
Doggett, _Marriage, Wife-beating and the Law in Victorian England_, 1993)
and see if it was cited by them. I think what's happening here (as you
point
out) is that something that was more or less outwith legal attention is
being restated _as if_ there were actual legislation ( I can't help
thinking
of the persistent myth about Queen Victoria striking lesbianism out of
the
Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1885 - no way was it ever going to be
included
in the Act). However, I should add that as just mentioned, there were
major
C19th campaigns against wife-beating, and also, it was grounds for legal
separation (though not divorce, except in combination with adultery) in
the
UK, _well_ before 2nd wave feminism (like at least 100 years).

I'm pretty sure there were discussions on the 'rule of thumb' on either
the Victorian studies or H-Albion list within the last couple of years,
but
haven't kept the refs.

Lesley

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 15:43:53 +0100
From:         Torreif <torreif@YAHOO.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Friday, November 09, 2001, 9:31:07 PM, Lesley Hall wrote:

>>in Western history of course the rule, similar, was you could beat
>>your wife with a stick no bigger than your thumb

LH>   I understand that this is one of those persistent historical myths
and   not
LH>   something anyone has ever found in legal textbooks, judges' rulings,
etc
LH>   Lesley Hall

It was part of British Common Law and is pretty well documented by
historians.

--
Wildbird
mailto:torreif@yahoo.co.uk

"You know, if you're considering having sex, Emily, you should make sure
that
they're properly educated. Otherwise you could hurt them severely,
honey."
Susan: Alien Nation, Body and Soul

Owner/Moderator of:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MoonShield_WingSisters
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/magevale

ICQ:   82980723   Authorization required

OutVale Wizard for MageVale MUSH, an adult kink-friendly role play MUSH
Telnet:MageVale.mudservices.com:3333


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 14:53:06 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] 'rule of thumb'
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Actually derives from 'the use by many craftsmen of the thumb as a rough
measuring device'. Useful citation about: (quote) 'the false etymology
spawned by a handful of jurists to justify wife-beating (as long as the
stick
was no larger in diameter than the husband's thumb), see Henry Ansgar
Kelly's
article "'Rule of Thumb' and the Folklaw of the Husband's Stick" in the
_Journal
of Legal Education_(Sept. 1994).'

(I find 'folk-law/lore' - what people believe, wrongly, to be the law, a
very interesting subject. However, this all seems to be getting a bit
remote
for an 'on-topic' group?)

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 10:02:09 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/10/01 8:29:31 AM Central Standard Time,
lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK writes:

<< However, I should add that as just mentioned, there were major
 C19th campaigns against wife-beating, and also, it was grounds for legal
 separation (though not divorce, except in combination with adultery) in
the
 UK, _well_ before 2nd wave feminism (like at least 100 years). >>

I'd never want to discount the efforts of the first wave. And perhaps
this
is another forinstance of how feminism reaches peaks, then valleys, since
the
first wave didn't end wifebeating (and neither has the second wave,
yet,though legal remedies and police and court response have improved).-
Joy
Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 11:26:31 EST
From:         Joy Martin <JOYJoytotheWorld@CS.COM>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

In a message dated 11/10/01 8:28:57 AM Central Standard Time,
lesleyah@primex.co.uk writes:
<<However, this all seems to be getting a bit remote
for an 'on-topic' group?)>>

Yes, no doubt we are ranging a bit afield. Apparently because I made a
comparison between the Koran citation - beating with the force of a
bird's
wing- and the common-law notion of only beating your wife with a
thumbswidth
stick. Whether this is in the lawbooks, or was an expression of common
practice, mattered little to the point I was making.

<<C19th campaigns against wife-beating, and also, it was grounds for
legal
separation (though not divorce, except in combination with adultery) in
the
UK, _well_ before 2nd wave feminism (like at least 100 years).>>

Del Martin's overview says "[in England] the law [in the 1880s] was
changed
to allow a wife who had been habitually beaten by her husband to the
point of
'endangering her life' to separate from him, though not to divorce him."
She
goes on to write, "Also, a law was passed in 1885 prohibiting a British
husband from selling his wife or daughter into prostitution - but only
if
she was under 16 years old. In 1891, special legislation was passed
preventing a husband from keeping his wife under lock and key. Since
then
the trend in England has been toward making wife-beating a crime.
But...the
application of the law is another matter." So, to state the obvious,
there's
been progress in 100 years, but the popular conception of legal rights
looks
to me to be, if anything, more generous then the actual law provided at
the
time.- Joy Martin


=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 10 Nov 2001 16:51:43 -0000
From:         Lesley Hall <lesleyah@PRIMEX.CO.UK>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

>stick. Whether this is in the lawbooks, or was an expression of common
>practice, mattered little to the point I was making.

I really don't want to prolong this debate. As a historian I tend to pick
up
on the historical equivalent of 'urban myths' when I come across them.

Lesley Hall
lesleyah@primex.co.uk
website http://homepages.primex.co.uk/~lesleyah


=========================================================================
Date:         Sun, 11 Nov 2001 20:15:07 +1100
From:         Julieanne <jalc@OZEMAIL.COM.AU>
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

At 05:56 PM 10/11/01 +1100, Maire wrote:
>ALl true Marilyn, yet I am suprised its only the deve,oping world
getting
>it- since US and other developed nations use far more greeenhouse gas,
>non-renewable resources etc per capita
>From the developing countries POV, we already stuffed up our environment
and
>reaped the huge economic gains and power, why shouldnt they be given the
>chance just because we dont wnat them to?

Yes, it is very racist - its not population that's the problem, its
over-consumption and wastage. A Western family of 4 consumes about 250
times more electricity, food, water etc (and most of that is wasted, or
unneccessary) than an African family of 12. So who is over-populated?
And
who forces developing world peoples to stop growing food for themselves
and
grow cash-crops like coffee, just so we can sit in our cafes and enjoy
unlimited free refills with our bagels & hash browns? And what is the
biggest health problem in the Western world? Obesity, diabetes and
heart-disease.
Besides, lowering birth-rates will have absolutely no impact for decades
-
meanwhile the richer countries will have continued to decimate whatever
remains through over-consumption and wastage. You should read 'Sex &
Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility" - particularly the chapter on
"The OverPopulation Myth" - which documents how the 'population time-
bomb'
mythology from the 60s onwards was brought to you by the multinationals
which also brought us styrofoam disposable cups and packaging, and is
designed to blame all those brown, black and yellow babies for being
born....(who don't eat much, nor do they turn on air-conditioning anytime
they feel like it etc) and allowing us to not feel guilty, change our
own
consumption patterns, or take any responsibility for the policies which
brought us here in the first place...

J


=========================================================================
Date:         Mon, 12 Nov 2001 20:38:42 -0600
From:         Deborah Oosterhouse <daohuis@WMIS.NET>
Organization: Editorial Services
Subject:      Re: [*FSF-L*] Atwood
To:           feministsf-lit@UIC.EDU

Julieanne wrote:

> Yes, it is very racist - its not population that's the problem, its
> over-consumption and wastage. A Western family of 4 consumes about 250
times
> more electricity, food, water etc (and most of that is wasted, or
unneccessary)
> than an African family of 12. So who is over-populated?   And who
forces
> developing world peoples to stop growing food for themselves and grow
> cash-crops like coffee, just so we can sit in our cafes and enjoy
unlimited
> free refills with our bagels & hash browns? And what is the biggest
health
> problem in the Western world? Obesity, diabetes and heart-disease.

Hmmm, I'm not sure that over-population itself isn't the problem. I think
it's
more that people in industrialized nations believe it's only a "third-
world"
problem that doesn't affect them because they have their advanced farming
techniques to provide enough food, their advanced building techniques to
provide
enough housing, their various forms of entertainment to keep everybody
happy (or
at least distracted). I think you touch on this idea a bit with the ideas
of
getting people in less technologically developed nations to produce our
convenience foods and that the major health problems of the Western world
are
those related to distraction -- eat three big meals and countless snacks
in a day
so you will feel prosperous and superior and not think about living in a
society
where many people don't know the people who live around them, even within
a few
houses away.

> Besides, lowering birth-rates will have absolutely no impact for
decades -
> meanwhile the richer countries will have continued to decimate whatever
remains
> through over-consumption and wastage. You should read 'Sex & Destiny:
The
> Politics of Human Fertility" - particularly the chapter on "The
OverPopulation
> Myth" - which documents how the 'population time-bomb' mythology from
the 60s
> onwards was brought to you by the multinationals which also brought us
> styrofoam disposable cups and packaging, and is designed to blame all
those
> brown, black and yellow babies for being born....(who don't eat much,
nor do
> they turn on air-conditioning anytime they feel like it etc) and
allowing us
> to not feel guilty, change our own consumption patterns, or take any
> responsibility for the policies which brought us here in the first
place...

However, I don't think that lowering birth rates should be dismissed
simply
because we won't see immediate effects. The sooner it starts, the sooner
the
results will be felt. But it shouldn't be concentrated in developing
countries,
but more in the industrialized nations who are relying too much on
technology to
save them from their own bad policies. This book that you mention sounds
like an
interesting one -- I'll have to check for that at the library. I'm sure
the way
that Western multinationals would approach the issue, it would come out
as
overwhelmingly racist. After all, they don't want to decrease the
population in
the countries where people actually buy their stuff.

Deborah

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:0
posted:10/31/2012
language:Latin
pages:31