Friday, January 22, 2010
Mysogyny and Superstition
In Japan the fire horse woman is considered headstrong and deadly to men. The herd of 1906 suffered extreme poverty, homelessness and isolation associated with not being able to marry and raise families. This discrimination made national news when on New Year Day 1928 two hinoeuma women, lamenting their misfortune, threw themselves from the Tokyo Pier. Ironically, there has been a positive side for my 1966 herd. As it turns out both men and women born this year in Japan have married much later in life, if at all, instead choosing education over tradition.
Misogyny is often born from superstition, not just in this case, but the world over. Religious texts including the Bible have placed women in an inferior position to men, making the abuse of women easier to justify. A woman suspected of being a witch would be examined publicly for any marks of the devil which included birth marks and supernumerary nipples (used to suckle demon children). For this, women were publicly tortured and slowly but ultimately killed. The basis of the mass slaughter of women during the witch craze came directly from the church leadership.
But that was a long time ago right? Don't women have it much better today? Well, at least those of us fortunate enough to be born in the right place, enjoying the rights won for us by the hard work and sacrifice of our mothers and their mothers. In Africa where the superstition has spread that a man can rid himself of AIDS by sleeping with a virgin, the women are not faring so well. In cultures where a woman must bleed on her wedding night, otherwise be stoned to death, they are not faring well. Now that rape is officially recognized as a weapon of war, women are not faring well. Wife burning, female infanticide, genital mutilation, acid disfigurations, brutal rapes, forced sexual slavery, prostitution, etc, etc. Violence against women has not gone away, in fact it's worse than ever. The types of torutre used on women equal and surpass the worst the Inquisotors could have imagined. For those of us fortunate enough to live in a place and time where we can shout, fight and write, we must do so for our sisters. In honor of our Mothers, Grandmothers and all the gentle spririts burned on the pyre as witches or hung or crushed by stone, we must take up this cause. Engage your inner fire horse and demand change.