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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in gender
How Stories Can Change the World and Ourselves

Stories matter. In fact, human beings have been called “story-telling animals.” Every day we consume stories on the media and in books, films and TV shows. We can spend hours on Facebook reading the posts of friends, relatives, and even total strangers. We hunger for narratives that give us hope but all too often run into descriptions filled with horror, abuse and despair.
 
The narratives we’re told and the ones we tell ourselves interact to shape our way of thinking. They provide the context in which we place our experiences and the lens through which we interpret what happens to us. Stories affect our self-esteem, our emotions, and our mental health. They can be empowering or debilitating, life-enhancing or toxic. Though we seldom realize it, our relationship with ourselves and the world depends on stories, especially on the ones we’ve come to accept as “objective truth.” If these tales happen to be destructive, they can wreak havoc on our inner world.

Stories have a powerful grip on the human mind. Research shows that most people are unwilling to change their beliefs even when confronted with facts that contradict them. Facts appeal to the rational mind; hence their power is limited. Beliefs, on the other hand, are often rooted in narratives that we’ve been told from a young age or myths that are constantly cultivated by the media and which we’ve come to accept as facts.

We live in a society that relies on oppression and exploitation, hence the narratives we’re told are meant to maintain the status quo. For example, even though the story of Adam and Eve is an obvious myth, it's still used to stigmatize women, sexuality, and everyone who doesn't conform to gender norms. Furthermore, those who are at the top of the social hierarchy maintain power by portraying human beings as inherently greedy and aggressive, blaming on individuals all the evils created by the system itself. We learn that injustice, violence and war are inevitable because well, that's human nature, so what do you expect?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gendering Animals

 We be of one blood, you and I.

 

Animals have gender.

Animals—by which I mean, of course, non-human animals—are male and female, just like we are.*

Why then, in English, do we refer to animals as “it”?

If you think that there are religious implications here, you're right.

“Animals” are our kin. As such, they deserve to be accorded dignity and treated with respect.

As such, they deserve to be spoken of as he or she, not it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Yes, thank Goddess English shed its grammatical genders 1000 years ago, as Old English morphed into Middle. But no, there's no con
  • tehomet
    tehomet says #
    The distinction between (biological) sex and (ascribed) gender that you speak of is a function of the human animal. Quite.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I'm afraid you're confusing gender with biological sex. Gender is grammatical, a product of language, which is a product of cultur
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Virginia: the better that we know others, the better we know ourselves. That said, in the nature of things, we're probabl
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    Well, if you are discussing mammals and birds, yes. With snails and slugs, they are either "it" or "both gendered." Going further

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Of Beans, Rice, and Thinking Tribally

Back in the 70s, I was a good, doctrinaire Diet for a Small Planet vegetarian.

Frances Moore Lappé's epoch-making cookbook was based on the notion of protein complementarity: in order to get a complete protein, you need both beans and grains. Eaten together, you get more nutritional benefit from the combination than you would if you ate them separately.

So, religiously, I ate my beans and rice together at meal after meal after meal.

Since then, we've learned more about how the body handles these things. In fact, the body and its digestion is more flexible than we used to think. If you eat, say, your whole wheat toast for breakfast and your lentil soup at lunch, you'll still get the full protein benefit from the combination.

And that's another thing that the tribe does for us.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Powers That Changed Gender

One of the things people coming from either Wicca or Christianity to Asatru notice is that the idea that the sun god gets resurrected at Yule doesn't fit in our culture, because to heathens the sun is she. Yet, people still try to wedge the sun god into heathenism, and go looking for a sun god, and identify Baldr as a sun god-- correctly! -- and end up trying to celebrate Baldr's resurrection at Yule, although the lore says he won't come back until the after the end of the universe. 

I have novel gnosis on this topic, that is, gnosis that I received while writing my overgrown unpublished novel Some Say Fire. In the Fireverse, powers that are transferred to another host upon the previous host's death always swap to a host of  the opposite gender. Thus, when Baldur died, the sun power was transferred to Sunna, who became the sun goddess. When Baldur's wife Nanna died, the moon power was transferred to Mani, who became the moon god. Like many things in the Fireverse, that's an oversimplification of the process, but has a kernel of truth in it.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Hi Anthony, that's cool, I didn't know about that manga. Yes, heathens did "Thor loses his hammer and then gets it back" AND "Thor
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In the manga series Oh, my Goddess the three Norns become goddesses and the middle one Verdandi (called Beldandi in the series) se

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A small piece of a much larger story

This is a small part of my story, a small part of my experience of being female.  This small piece of my story is a minuscule piece of all the different stories of billions of transgender and cisgender humans who self identify as women, or gender fluid folk who have their own rich and diverse experiences and stories around flowing through and holding woman as part of their identity, or some gender neutral folk (or trans men) who deal with being mis-identified and treated as girls and women despite their self identity. No, this part of my story is most certainly not the whole story, and in fact is even a small part of my story, and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why I’m sharing it now.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    https://www.amazon.com/Microaggressions-Ministry-Confronting-Violence-Everyday/dp/0664260578 You probably know this book Unfortun
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thanks Carol, yes that was certainly a huge reason I marched last Saturday! How powerful that there were close to 5 million of us
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    I love reading about your life, and your journey.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    As you know Elizabeth, it is a mutual admiration society

There's been a powerful disturbance in the Force the last couple days.

Yesterday, the group that calls itself the Asatru Folk Assembly left a Facebook post which I have screen-cap't at right. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
    Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker says #
    Erin, Good work-- glad to hear this. Greybeard, I am simply reporting based on what I have seen and heard. I am nor "hurling hatr
  • Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
    Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker says #
    Erin, Good work-- glad to hear this. Greybeard, I am simply reporting based on what I have seen and heard. I am nor "hurling hatr
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    The American Asatru Association is against racism, homophobia, misogyny, and other hatreds.
  • Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
    Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker says #
    Greybeard, do I understand you to suggest that I (and others) are "hurling hatred" at the AFA? Nothing could be further from the t
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Yes, there is a huge amount of intolerance and hatred being hurled at the Asatru Folk. Sad. Often those who shout the loudest a

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
No Less a Woman

 

I ran across a fascinating word while copyediting a book a few years ago. Naditum is one of the five genders in Sumerian paganism. It's a gender, a biological sex-- meaning those born female appearing who turn out after adolescence to be infertile-- and a social class, the priestess caste. The idea really resonated with me, even though that’s not my tradition. The various heathen traditions don’t have a specific gender word for those identified female at birth who cannot have children and instead become priestesses. In heathenry, that’s still a woman.

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