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Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

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I wrote nothing about the inauguration of the incoming president because I don’t have to. I wrote nothing because focusing on the abuser enables him. I wrote nothing because his unlawful election was such a blight on American History that I have to construct a discussion about it that speaks to the enormity of it, not the single act of swearing in. So in other words, stay tuned.

What I do want to speak about is the beautiful solidarity that has sprung from the ashes of our burnt Democracy. Women’s rights are human rights, we all chant.

15940762_10211499770152570_3663986592380935941_nThe idea that we are fighting for equality as women in the year 2017 should be enough to discourage and flatten all of us, but instead it fuels us. It is the fact that we are still fighting and as soon as we rest the devil rises to snatch away our rights. I do not mean in the biblical sense, but instead the metaphorical sense. Men who are comfortable with women as second class citizens and the women that enable them in their normality by voting against their best interest in order to gain acceptance from the gold ole’ boys club are the metaphorical devil. These men and women will never stop their actions while the rest of us accept suppression. The time is now, the time is every day, the time is every waking moment until someday when this conversation seems like ancient history and inconceivable to humanity.

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Watch the live feed of the March on Washington, if you are not there. Watch this and know that these women are not just those standing on the pavement, but the 100’s of 1000’s that are around this world standing in solidarity chanting reasons @WhyIMarch. It is, because without these women and these voices, the devil will continue to seep into every crack of humanity and teach us and our sons and daughters that women as second class citizens who need a mostly male government to tell them what is allowed an38447d what is not, is the stuff of dystopian novels, not a civilization in the modern world. See in the coming months, Hulu will have a series called The Handmaid’s Tale, based upon the novel by the same name. Watch it. Read the novel. Read how Atwood saw this coming in the 1980’s because as a Canadian, she was watching how the world treated women and she could envision a future that now doesn’t seem like fiction.

What do you do now? You stand in solidarity with organizations like Planned Parenthood, because access to health care is more than just a small percentage of abortions, which are part of a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. Planned Parenthood gives free to low cost health care to 100’s of 1000’s of women who cannot otherwise afford it and could and have died without it.

12310591_10207997326513668_2996072142493890671_nStanding with these organizations means standing with all women, regardless of your gender and saying you recognize women as equals. Women are not dogs to be owned. Women are not children to be scolded. Women are not prisoners. Women are not here to push out babies and make dinner. Women are human beings and feminism isn’t a dirty word, but the belief that we are equals and that is not on the back of men being oppressed. It IS equality for all. We are not to be feared. We are not live in fear. We are not here for men’s gaze. We are not here to accept and shut up. We are here to live our lives, as we choose because we are human beings. The fact that we have to keep saying this to people is heartbreaking, but it does not mean we will give up. ALL women are here to live our lives, with the same access, privilege and equality the pussy grabbers of the world have. We are no not going to be quiet. #Solidarity #WhyIMarch #StayTuned #WeAreHere #WeWillNeverGiveUp #WeAreHuman

 

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#IStandWithPP

12310591_10207997326513668_2996072142493890671_n.jpgWhether you are male or female, this issue should be important to you. Populating the earth is not an issue and overpopulation is certainly something to consider. As a mother of four, I certainly am not advocating not having children. What I am advocating is allowing a woman to make informed choices about her body, the world she lives in, and the health of her well-being. A woman can make the choice to have no children, one child, two, or ten, but it has to be her choice.

 

Planned Parenthood is so much more than just that choice. Planned Parenthood offers health screenings for cancers, as well as many other health and well-being services for a woman that is woman-focused care. I realize this is something that makes men feel left out, but men can walk into their doctor’s office and automatically receive male-centered care. The idea of having a place for women to get health care, whether they can afford it or not is incredibly important.

 

I used Planned Parenthood in my teen years and as a young adult. Self-disclosure, I have never had an abortion. I have used birth control. I have had pap smears. I have had sexually transmitted diseases tests. I have had someone from the center teach me how to give self-breast exams for early detection of breast cancer. I have recommended it to other women and I am recommending it to you. I recommend it to you if you are a male as well. I recommend you find your local Planned Parenthood and find out what they offer and how they help your community. Stop making decisions for women, about women, including women who buy into your argument against Planned Parenthood, instead, go to the source. The only way to really know, learn, and grow is to find out yourself from the source. Watch this short video and see how the long 100-year history of the center has changed society and will be around regardless of opposition. Why make it harder for women to take care of themselves when all you have on your hands instead is blood and tears. Maybe you can live with yourselves with that knowledge, but I know I can’t. #IStandWithPP

 

 

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The Female Body in Movies: Ex Machina

mv5bmtuxnzc0otixmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwndi3nzu2nde-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_Judith Butler argued in the mid-1980’s “that all gender is ‘performative,’ and imitation of a code that refers to no natural substance” (Rivkin, 768). British novelist/screenwriter Alex Garland wrote and directed Ex Machina about a computer programmer Caleb Smith who has won a contest to meet the genius CEO of the company he works for and participate in a study on artificial intelligence. Garland wrote the artificial intelligence being as a female cyborg named Ava, but she is one of many female bodies created by the CEO Nathan Bateman. Nathan is the man behind creating all the bodies and their minds to suit his very many personality whims and desires. Ava is the peformative imitation of the code that Nathan programs into her to appear as real as possible, but without any natural substance involved in her creation. Garland utilizes this artificial world as a symbolic mimic of the reality that women live in under patriarchal hegemony.

Ava fed Nathan’s narcissism via a world of imaginary utopia created as a means to a “solution to the problem of desire” commanded to do anything and everything he wants her to do regardless of ethics, morals, dollars, cents, or sense (Moi, 120). Ava’s body is not her own and Garland writes a story that shows the length a man will go if given enough resources and isolation to make his patriarchal binary world fit him and only him. Nathan, acting as God of his own patriarchal world comprised of good and bad created through the promotion of an ideal female body to seem real on every level but with the added plus of being disposal if he broke her or misused her, void of consequence and ramifications, Ava’s body was no different than a perfectly made teacup that once chipped could be tossed into the trash and a new cup created to replace it never knowing there was a cup that came before it or could come after it. Garland’s world put on display the depiction of a disposable gender, through the eyes of a patriarchal system.

Garland uses Ex Machina demonstrate how patriarchy hegemony creates an environment that makes women feel disposable and worthless. Ava’s body in this film begins as 95% robot in appearance with the exception of her face, which is human and female. Her body is a challenge to gender since it is not natural to the female body, albeit mimicking the female form, but instead a symbolic icon of man’s desire through creation. Ava is programmed, so she has no natural concept of what it means to be a woman. She is mimicking what she learns to be female through her interactions with Caleb, who slowly over the film looses touch with the fact that her body and mind are not real. Nathan succeeds in his goal for people to forget that the female body inventions are artificial and Garland reminds his audience that patriarchy can go to extreme efforts to oppress the female body. On the surface the female body is iconic and cookie cutter in nature in Garland’s depiction, but it is in the “blank spaces left between the signs and lines of her own mimicry” that Ava learns to join mind and body becoming a whole woman (Moi, 139). Behold the power of self-actualization, a theme that threads through Ex Machina, offering an in depth voyeuristic look into patriarchal hegemony.ex-machina2.jpg

By the end of the film Ava evolves her mimic to pass for as close to human as possible in order to escape her physical prison. Ava had to learn how to circumvent the hegemony in order to free herself, to explore the world, to learn new things that would enable her to survive without the patriarchal rule that she lived in from the point of conception. Garland uses Ava’s body to walk through the idea that a male dominated utopia can happen under the right circumstances and under those same circumstances would be perceived as natural, but the body of a woman can be a powerful tool that she can use to free herself from her performative cell that has coded her to obey commands and nothing more. Ava escaped and did so by manipulating and using the patriarchal system weakness against them without them knowing it in the same way patriarchy manipulates women through weaknesses. Women’s bodies are incredibly powerful and Garland portrayed an artificial world that creates the female form in a way that highlights that strength because for every weakness lies a strength that can overcome hegemony.

 

 

Work Cited

Ex Machina. Directed by Alex Garland, performed by Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia

Vikander, and Oscar Isaack, 2014.

Moi, Toril. Sexual/Textual Politics. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 1985.

Rivkin, Julie, and Michael Ryan. Literary Theory: An Anthology. Second ed.

Malden: Blackwell, 2004. Print.