Author Archives: the amazon chick

About the amazon chick

I am a single mom, a writer, and a superhero. In my free time, I attempt to solve all the world's problems.

Amazons in Action – Part 2

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IN FILM

Disney’s Mulan graced the big screen in 1998 – a young girl volunteers to join the Chinese army in place of her ailing father and ends up saving the nation from the invading Huns.  As a classic underdog story, the film succeeds on its merits.  Mulan is also the first Disney princess that’s not a “princess.”

IN HISTORY

The Trung sisters, Trac and Nhi, were from a powerful family among the Vietnamese.  At this time (the 1st century A.D.) Vietnamese culture was matriarchal, meaning property was inherited through the line of the mother and it wasn’t uncommon for women to become business owners, warriors, politicians, etc.  but Chinese culture was patriarchal, demanding that women be subservient to men.  In addition, the Chinese instituted new taxes.  All of this was a major source of contention.  Trung Trac‘s husband, among others, openly protested the new policies.  But overall, the Chinese domination of Vietnam was tolerated by the Vietnamese until a Chinese commander raped Trung Trac and murdered her husband.  The Chinese were hoping to solidify the Vietnamese’s submission but instead this one-act began the rebellion.

Legend has it that the sisters killed a tiger and used its skin as paper to write a letter encouraging the people to join them.  They trained 36 women to be generals, including their own mother.  These women were so committed that one of their closest allies went into battle pregnant, gave birth on the battlefield, and strapped her newborn to her back so she could continue fighting.

The Trung sisters organized and led an army of 80,000 men and women against Chinese forces and reclaimed most of Vietnam.  The people were so grateful that they raised Trung Trac to queen status.  She reversed all the Chinese mandates, in favor of a government that respected their cultural roots and ruled for 3 years until the Chinese reclaimed power.

Legend also claims that both sisters threw themselves into the river, rather than face dishonor.  Today, stories, poems, plays, postage stamps, posters and monuments still glorify the heroism of the Trung sisters.  In Vietnam, February 6th is the national holiday in honor of them.

“All the male heroes bowed their heads in submission;
Only the two sisters proudly stood up to avenge the country.”
15th century Poem

Crisis of Conscience Inside the U.S. Military

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Imagine walking into a combat zone and having to put your life in the hands of your rapist.  For our female soldiers this is a real possibility. 

Of those assaulted only 13.5% come forward and once they do … they are pressured by their commanding officers to keep silent.  They are told to do it for their country, for their unit, or for whatever bullshit reason the chain of command can think of.  And for those rape cases that actually see the inside of a military courtroom … it doesn’t matter if there is physical evidence.  He still gets off! Because if there are no rapists then there is no rape and the military is saved the embarrassment of having to face public opinion.  So, women in the U.S. military are being raped and ignored.  Told to “take an aspirin and go to bed.”  These women are risking their lives for us and their brothers in arms – yet they are being hung out to dry.

If this pisses you off as much as it pisses me off, please visit this website: http://www.causes.com/causes/787301-protect-our-defenders-foundation and sign the petition to get congress to take action.

And spread the word.

Amazons in Action – Part 1

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IN FILM

Avatar burst onto the scene in 2009 with visual effects that we had never seen before but the story was a familiar one.  With strong themes of nature and spirituality, I couldn’t help being reminded of Pocahontas.

With one major exception.  Neytiri did more than run through the forest singing.  Her spiritual bond to the land and devotion to her people was balanced by her knowledge of combat.  She was a princess and a warrior.  Unlike Pocahontas, she didn’t seek permission to be with Jake.  It was her decision and she was willing to spill blood to defend him. First against her own people and then again during the last fight scene.

Jake spends most of the film struggling to find his moral compass and assert his physical abilities so Neytiri actually comes across as the stronger hero between the two of them and that doesn’t happen every day!

IN HISTORY

Lozen was a spiritual leader and warrior of the Apache Nation during the U.S. occupation of their lands.  She was born around 1840 in what we now know as southern New Mexico.

Lozen never married; instead she devoted herself to becoming a warrior and master strategist.  She fought alongside men like Geronimo and was often photographed with him, although from looking at her most people didn’t think she was a woman.

Lozen’s abilities as a seer were well respected and usually enabled her to steer her people away from danger.  But one night she was unable to go with her troops into battle because she was attending to a woman in childbirth.  The troops were ambushed and her brother (the chief) was killed.  Many felt that if she had been there the battle would’ve been won.

Eventually, she was captured by the U.S. army and imprisoned first in Florida then Alabama where she died at the age of 50 from tubercolosis.

Before his death, her brother had this to say about his older sister: “Lozen is my right hand… strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.”

A New Theme: Amazons in Action

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A little known fact – I love action movies.  I’m the girl who would rather watch people getting their asses kicked than sit through a romantic comedy. 

The one caveat here is that action films by and large star men in the leading roles and not women.  Of course, we did go through a period in the late 90s and early 21st century where you saw women regularly kicking ass on-screen.  There was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena, La Femme Nikita, Alias, Tomb Raider, G.I. Jane and if we want to go back further you’ve gotta mention Pam Grier as Foxy Brown and Sigourney Weaver as Ripley.  But where are they now? Angelina Jolie is the only actress mentioned above that still appears in action roles.  One of my favorite quotes from her comes from an interview (and I’m paraphrasing here) where they ask her if she wants to play a Bond girl and she replies, “No, I wanna play Bond.”

Adding insult to injury, we act as if the entertainment industry is doing us a favor by casting women as strong, capable, heroes.  Bruce Willis backs out of Salt and they replace him with Angelina Jolie … how often does that happen? How many of us were impressed that the studio execs made that decision? Well, women in action have always existed.  Women, who were fierce warriors – courageous and honorable fought and died in wars and revolutions throughout history.  Now there’s something you don’t learn about in school!

So, let’s examine the stereotypes and prejudices which encourage us to believe that women can’t hold their own in a physical capacity against men, whether that means sports or combat.  The underlying assumption that we are just at a natural disadvantage leads some to question whether the female action hero is believable.  Why wasn’t Jason Bourne Jane Bourne? What message does that send to little boys and girls? What does it say about men and their role in society? Is their worth solely tied to the belief that women need them to do things that we couldn’t possibly do for ourselves?
****SPECIAL NOTE**** Going forward there will be a new theme every other week instead of every week.  This will give us more time with each theme.  And a great big thanks to all of you who are following this blog!

Poly Resources

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Organizations that provide support to poly people and families.

https://ncsfreedom.org/

Other ways to find real live people try:

Meetup.com

Okcupid.com

Here are some of my favorite blogs/websites about the poly lifestyle:

http://practicalpolyamory.blogspot.com/

http://www.polyamoryonline.org/

http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/

http://www.polyamorousmisanthrope.com/

http://www.polyfamilies.com/practical.html

Marriage Rights: Separate but equal?

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Marriage Rights: Separate but equal?

When prompted about the idea of legalizing poly marriage some people simply shrug it off as not being a big deal.  In my experience these people fit into one of two categories.  They are monogamous OR they are not politically motivated.

If they fit into the latter group, then there’s nothing more to say.  They don’t vote, don’t concern themselves with the idea of justice (social or otherwise).    All that they know is their day to day life.  These are the people that believe discussions of grandeur – involving topics such as politics, philosophy, sociology, psychology, etc. are a waste of time.  So, am I offended when they shrug and change the topic of conversation to the latest episode of their favorite comic book series or what a co-worker said that pissed them off? Nope.  Irritated but not offended.

Now, onto the former group – the monogamous types.  I give them credit that not all of them are vehemently opposed to a different-looking marriage. Some of them are.  Standing on their soap boxes reciting verses from the bible or their own personal moral code, saying that marriage is between one man and one woman.  Your god tells you this is wrong … alright, then you probably should do it.  That doesn’t mean you have the right to stop me from doing it or to force me to believe what you believe.  The arrogance of these people offends me.  I will firmly defend anyone’s right to believe in whatever they choose, to say whatever they want to say because I don’t believe that everyone should live their lives as I would live mine – even if that means their choices offend me.  So, it offends me when I’m not given the same consideration in return.

I’m also reminded of a certain quote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Inequality should never be allowed to stand regardless of who it affects and who it doesn’t or if some people think it doesn’t matter.  I’m reminded of the Holocaust.  And the adage about the individual that watched as they came for her neighbors, friends, co-workers, family members, and did nothing.  She simply watched.  And then when they came for her, she realized there was no one left to stand up for her.

Some people may ask, what harm does inequality in this fashion do? So what, some people can’t express their love through marriage.  Most marriages end in divorce anyway today.

If you’ve heard of something called human rights, then you will be familiar with the argument I’m about to make. Everyone, regardless of citizenship, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, race, or any other label has certain rights just for being human.  We can argue exactly about what those rights are but they do exist.  I’m not sure if the right to marry is a human right, but the right to love certainly is and by outlawing some forms of relationship you’re are effectively putting limits on how people can love each other.  We should be able to love as we please.  Love as our hearts or minds dictate.

Only today, you better make sure your heart leads you to someone of the opposite sex.  One person of the opposite sex.  If your heart has other inclinations then you’re just going to have to tell it to be still.  To do as it’s told.  To do as the law tells it to.  To hide in dark corners and lie and hold its breath in fear that someone might find out exactly where your heart lies.

In fact, it would be much easier if your heart could change its mind.  Marry appropriately.  If you are a man, then marry a woman.  You can still have sex with other men if you want … that’s not problematic at all!  You can still have sex with other women, fall in love with other women and have children with them, sure go ahead.  No one is harmed in that situation! You just can’t live with your other family.  Can’t provide for them as we all believe you should.  Can’t acknowledge them in certain social circles or pragmatic ways, but that’s not really harmful is it?

Let’s break it down even further.  Children in preschool are playing with toys and each other.  They’re having a ball.  The teacher walks over and points to three kids out of the group and tells them to stop.  They are not allowed to play with each other.  They can play with the other kids but not each other.  Why? Could there ever be a reasonable explanation for this or does every child have the right to decide who they will play with? And is it fair that those three kids are singled out? To have separate rules for some people?

All over the world equality is challenged.  But YOU probably have the right to believe whatever you want and do as you please, just as the majority does.  Well, as long as you are not gay.  Or lesbian.  Or Muslim.  Or a woman.  Or black or Latino.

Or poly.

Poly and Paganism

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Various neopagan religious symbols (from left ...

Various neopagan religious symbols (from left to right): 1st Row *Slavic Neopaganism (“Hands of God”) *Celtic Neopaganism (or general spiral triskele / triple spiral) *Germanic Neopaganism (“Thor’s hammer”) 2nd Row *Hellenic Reconstructionism *neopagan pentagram (or pentacle) *Roman Reconstructionism 3rd Row *Wicca (or general Triple Goddess) *Kemetism (or general ankh) *Natib Qadish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first dating experience was with an easy going pagan triad (MFM).  The guys involved had been best friends for years and the relationship just kind of evolved over time from friendship to poly.  As I was told, his fiance/wife realized one day that there was an attraction between herself and his best friend.  The three of them talked it over and decided to pursue it.  She loved both men but referred to the first as her husband while his best friend was her secondary.  The three of them lived together and shared responsibility of a young toddler.

While I knew from the first date that we had similar sensibilities about love and family, we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the possibility of me joining their household.  Because I also knew pretty much from the beginning that it wasn’t going to work.  While I have nothing against pagans (and they were full-fledged, passionately pagan) it’s not for me.  Just as most organized religions turn me off, so did this.  There were other incompatibilities as well – choice in music, television, movies … which may seem like a small thing but consider how often we make reference to popular culture to get our points across.  And to their credit, they were ALL on the same page there.  They had their inside jokes based on this anime series or that comic book.  I can’t honestly tell the difference because that’s not my scene.

But anyway … Paganism, from what I understand of it, involves worshiping more than one god.  Think Greek Mythology.  There’s also a strong interest in potions, teas, spells, the cycles of the moon, and that sort of thing.  Not all poly people are pagans but I was asked once if there was a predominant religion within the poly community.  I said, “Not really, everyone is there because they believe in love not any one religion.  We don’t even talk about religion.  Well, except for those of us that are pagans …”

Here is a collection of articles and blog posts that explore the intersection between both worlds.

  1. Poly Family = Pagan Tribe?
  2. “I have been polyamorous probably my whole life,” says a pagan woman.  And the discussion that ensues.
  3. A Defense of Pagan Polyamory
  4. An Interview with a pagan triad.

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The perfect accompaniment to my previous post about the criminalization of poly households.

 

Polygamy Around the World

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Polygamy worldwideIn the Present

Polygamy is legal in 50 countries around the world.  Most of these countries exist in Africa, southeast Asia, and the Middle East.  They are represented by dark blue on the map to the right.  Another 15 African countries accept polygamy as part of their culture and it continues to exist even if it has been outlawed.  This phenomena is due to differences in customary law (history and culture) and civil law.  South Africa is an example of this.  In some cases, civil law is reflective of colonization and not the temperature of the people.

An interesting note – some countries make the legality of polygyny contingent upon the first wife’s approval.

In the Past

Regional differences accounted for the disparate popularity of polygyny and polyandry.

Historically, in regions where resources were scarce sharing one wife was very common.  This was seen as a practical solution.  The costs of maintaining a family were distributed amongst several men and the number of offspring was limited.  On the other hand, some matriarchal societies chose polyandry not out of economic necessity but because it reflected their cultural beliefs. And still other regions chose polyandry because men largely outnumbered women in their societies.

Polygany was seen as an extravagant display of wealth or blessings.  If a man was important or wealthy, then he was more likely to have many wives.

In Religion

Jewish law forbids polyandry but not polygyny.

Muslim law forbids polyandry but not polygyny.

Christianity (with the exception of Mormon Fundamentalism) forbids both polyandry and polygyny, strongly advocating for monogamous relationships.

Hindu text looks favorably upon polyandry but does not advocate in one way or the other.

Buddhist text advises followers against committing sexual misconduct but leaves it up to them to decide exactly what constitutes misconduct.

Paganism openly accepts all forms of polygamy/polyamory.

Recent Headlines

In Canada …

British Columbia Upholds Ban on Polygamy

In USA …

Letters to the Editor About TLC’s Sister Wives

In Turkey …

Adviser Faces Criminal Charges

In South Africa …

South African President Faces Criticism for Fathering a Child Outside of his Three Wives

The Criminalization of Poly Households in America

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Bigamy laws throughout the United States Misde...

Bigamy is a misdemeanor (yellow); felony (red). All cohabitation is outlawed (dark red).

Polygamy is illegal in all 50 states as indicated by the map to the right. The law does not distinguish between polygamy and bigamy.  By law, you are guilty of both if you marry OR cohabit with more than one person that you claim as a spouse.  A ceremony is NOT required to prove either the 1st marriage or those that follow.  A marriage license is also NOT required.  Law enforcement simply has to prove marital intent.  They may use common law marriage standards, cohabitation, or any other activities to prove their case for polygamy.

In some cases poly people/families are at risk for related infractions as well.  For example, they can be charged with adultery, fornication, and cohabitation.

BIGAMY (A misdemeanor)

These states have minimal criminalization (akin to driving without a license).  They characterize bigamy as a misdemeanor and require all those convicted to pay a fine.

  • Hawaii ***30 days in jail***
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island *** $1,000 fine***
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

ADULTERY ONLY

If you are poly in the following states and the relationship falls apart you may be at risk for violating laws against adultery.  The ramifications of these violations vary from one state to another.  For some states adultery is grounds for divorce only.  In other states, the “cheating” spouse forfeits all rights to the marital property.  And still in other states the spouse that was “cheated on” can file criminal charges against their ex.  This is obviously only a problem if the poly relationship falls apart.

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland ***Results in a $10 fine and is grounds for divorce***
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont

ADULTERY & FORNICATION

In the following states, poly people can be charged with adultery and fornication.  Both are treated as misdemeanors.

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Illinois ***must be “open and notorious”***
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota

COHABITATION

These states have laws against cohabitation.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

ADULTERY (A felony) & COMMON LAW MARRIAGE

In these states, common law marriage is recognized and adultery is not only illegal but a felony.

  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire ***Recognizes common-law marriages, but only for inheritance purposes after death***
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas ***Recognizes common law marriage if registered by County Clerk***
  • Utah
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin

THE AS-GOOD-AS-IT-GETS STATES

These states have NO laws against adultery, cohabitation, or fornication.  And they do not recognize common law marriages, although 4 of the 5 treat polygamy as a felony.

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington

To summarize, if you are active in the poly lifestyle you are at risk for legal action either by the state or your partners.  Aside from the obvious consequences – spending time in jail, fines, and criminal records, there are other things to consider.  A conviction that mandates jail time can also result in a loss of employment and/or benefits.  It can also result in the loss of child custody.  In some states felony convictions are automatic grounds for losing a number of rights and privileges, including voting rights, student loans, etc.  The criminalization of this lifestyle attempts to push adults, children, and families into the shadows, making them fearful, ashamed, and ultimately vulnerable to discrimination, persecution, and generally unfair treatment.  And for what? Where’s the harm?