Angela Davis

Angela Davis

“Well for one, the 13th amendment to the constitution of the US which abolished slavery – did not abolish slavery for those convicted of a crime”

Angela Davis is such an inspiring female figure. She became a black power icon when she involved herself in the Black Panther Movement. The Black Panther Party For Self Defense picked up their weapons approximately 50 years ago. They started a revolution because they considered the police to be racist pigs that slaughtered blacks in the streets. Most of the victims were completely innocent, violently beat and thrown in jail for no reason. She became an international icon, who fought for civil rights and black liberation. She was the third women in American history to be put on the FBI’s most wanted list. She was charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy against the government, which meant if she was found guilty she could have been sentenced to death. This was a scary reality for Angela Davis that she was forced to live through three different times, but thanks to many different supporting campaigns she never had to face that reality.

Due to these false accusations she was fired from of her position at UCLA. Even though these were major challenges for her to overcome, she refused to give up her fight for freedom for all African American citizens.

The guns that the Black Panthers had were a symbol of resistance, Angela Davis also armed herself with weapons during this time.

The Black Panthers were so much more then citizens at the time gave them credit for. They provided free breakfast programs for children who were to poor to afford food, as well as free healthcare and education for those in need. Many of these we still use today.

Angela Davis has very strong opinions on the justice system due to her past experiences. She is an advocate for abolishing our current prison system altogether. She does not agree with the three strikes and you’re out policy, due to the fact that so many people have been put into prison due to minor charges like possessing marijuana. The prison rates have risen so high because of minor drug charges.  One in nine people who are put on death row are innocent and she can relate very personally to this. She believes that we need to find a better way to punish those who have committed real crimes, and start using the funds that go to prisons to go to education purposes.

She believes that we need to address the issue at the very roots. Why are these people really committing these horrible acts? No matter how many people we put in prison for committing violent acts against women, it does not stop future generations from stopping violence against women. We need to get to the bottom of why people are doing these terrible acts to begin with.

She also makes an argument that due to the high numbers of African Americans incarcerated that our ‘justice’ system more closely resembles a new form of slavery then justice of any kind. Personally I agree with this, seeing as many statistics of the rates of African Americans are significantly higher then any other race. It is just a new form of oppression that has been created that we must find a way to stop.

Abolishing the death penalty completely is a very hard question to consider. Germany does not allow the death penalty because of their history. Do we really have the right to put people to death ? Personally I believe that most people have humanity in them no matter the worst thing they do. Just because someone tells one lie does not define them as a liar for life. But what about the people who have committed mass murders, and violence against women, child rapist ? Should these people be sentenced to death or put into prison’s on the tax payer’s dime? I believe that no matter what kind of system is set in place for our justice system, its always going to be corrupt, or imperfect. If half the money spent on prisons were funded to our schools, our schools financial situations would be so much more better off.

It becomes a question of what is morally right. Is it morally right to act as god and put people death ? If so many other countries do not allow this then why do we ? Angela Davis raises really hard questions about our Justice system that other people have just been too afraid to ask. Angela Davis is important because she speaks with confidence and fights against injustice. She is not afraid to ask important moral questions that will ultimately lead us to a better world.

She wish for a world where we truly do have equal rights, with no more oppression against African Americans. If people are going to be sent to prison, it should be because they truly did something wrong. Angle Davis is a strong female icon that many young girls should look up to and admire the fearless way she has chosen to live her life.

 

Angela Davis Part 1

Angela Davis Part 2

Angela Davis Part 3

50 years of black panther party (1)

American revolutionary and educator Angela Davis sits with her head on her hand, shortly after she was fired from her post as philosophy professor at UCLA due to her membership of the Communist Party of America, 27th November 1969. Davis followed up her brilliant early academic career by joining the Black Panthers and being listed on the FBI Most Wanted list. She was acquitted of all charges and continues to be a writer, educator, and activist for race, class, and gender equality. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

Eco Feminism

Eco Feminism

Eco Feminism is the connection of feminism and ecology. It combines feminist and  ecological issues, and ultimately relates back to the overall problem of male dominance in society. It is men who would choose to deny us our right to our own bodies, and I feel confident in supporting this statement, because when you look at the people who are in charge of the most powerful companies and countries in the world, most of them are men. Eco Feminism is about the murderous separation of nature and culture. It is no surprise that in our day and age we are hurting our environment due to industrialization.

Eco Feminism recognizes the connection between the abuse of nature and women caused by men. It also recognizes the oppression of animals and women in a society that values men. Ecofeminism is about the idea of everything being connected in some way, it addresses the uniqueness of every living thing.

Most Eco Feminist believe that the only way to heal nature is to trust in feminine instinct. Traditionally this meant upholding feminine values such as trading for mutual  benefit, making sacrifices in order to cooperate, and nurturing the land along with others. Although these traits may seem silly on a smaller scale, its the bigger picture that truly matters. This is how big decisions are made, how a mother and father might come together and decide how to raise their children. Or even politicians working together to make a decision on whether to save an ecosystem or put up building and destroy the organisms home.

Women everywhere can relate to nature because of the similar states of oppression that they have been forced in due to male dominance. I think it is very interesting that women can be linked to nature because of their past traditional roles as nurturer and caregiver. Just like a woman might dedicate her life to feeding and taking care of her husband, children, and the rest of her family, nature has been burdened with the task of providing for all that inhabit it. Due to these traits, women are more likely to want to protect the environment. To me its common sense, why wouldn’t you want to protect the greater being that has done nothing but provide for it’s subjects for millions of years?

 

People in our society need to wake up and realize that if we keep abusing nature, she will no longer be able to provide for us in the way that we desperately need.  Our society is using up our resources to fast and if we continue at this current pace we will destroy our environment to the point where our future children will no longer to be able to enjoy or benefit from it.

Ecology is the study of organisms and their interaction with the environment. This relates because feminism could basically be described as a study of women and society. They are both closely interconnected with the study of reactions, whether it be of plants, animals, or humans.

Ecology includes the study of plants and animal populations, as well as plant and animal communities and ecosystems. Ecology is closely related to evolution, genetics and behavior. In comparison Feminism is related to the study of people’s behavior and why our culture is the way it is today. Our environment is greatly effected by our society and culture. The way we choose to live our lives constantly has a great impact on our environment.

When we constantly damage our environment we are ultimately causing harm to ourselves. We depend on our plants to produce oxygen and if we neglect to take care of them then we will take away our only source of purifying our air. Our environment is very vulnerable, and although some of our most vulnerable resources may not directly impact our everyday lives, over time the destruction could become uncontrollable if change is not made. 

We must stop dumping pollutants into our oceans because if our fish are consuming unhealthy products then ultimately we will be poisoning ourselves, and are at risk for being the reason that an entire species goes extinct. Like the unfortunate fate of many other species victims of human industrialization.

Our society needs a better approach and more accepted feminine approach to taking care of our society. If we’re going to better our culture we need to take the necessary steps to prioritize what truly matters, and our first priority should be preserving our environment. If we are able to do this then we will slowly be able to bridge the gap between the abuse we are causing women and our environment.

Gaia. “Environment and Ecology.” What Is Ecology, environment-ecology.com/what-is-ecology/205-what-is-ecology.html.

Solar Storms by Linda Hogan is a coming of age story about a young girl named Angel. It’s about how she comes to discover herself and define her own identity. She learns about her past, where and who she came from. Angel learns how to absorb and except her past, and also how to forgive and forget events and people that she cannot change. This  novel shows that even though your past experiences may shape who you come to be as you grow, you have the power inside yourself to decide who you want to be, no matter the circumstances you find yourself to be in. Even though Angel comes from a really dark past, and has been tainted by the touch of abuse and hatred by others, including her own mother, she is able to overcome the hatred and find love in herself, enabling her to fight for the land she has come to love with her whole heart.

Angel’s mother is where the majority of her abuse and negativity stem from. Angel’s mother Hannah was known to have a “heart of ice” (76), because of all the men that have abused her. Hannah targeted some of this abuse towards Angel, resulting in an attempt on her life when she was just a baby. Not only was she left out in the snow and almost frozen to death, but her mother physically “like a dog, she bit your face with her teeth” (246).  In result this leaves Angel with physical and emotional scars, even after being separated from her mother.

After being moved around from one foster home to another, Angel is finally reconnected with the women who make her whole again, including Dora Rogue,  Agnes, and Bush. These women help her complete her journey of trying to figure out who she is and where she came from. Not only do these women help her find herself but also help her develop a love and understanding of the natural word that surrounds her.

The connection that stood out the most was the connection that Linda Hogan makes between Angel’s abusive past and the abuse that we put our environment through as a culture in society. The symbol of the hydroelectric dam can be translated as a metaphor for the abuse our society causes the natural world. Angel’s goal is to stop the building of the dam, before it floods the land and causes more harm than good. Another connection that I noticed was the connection between the men that abused Angel’s mother Hannah, and the abuse that the dam was causing to the Native people’s land. When Angel is able to make this connection for herself, she finds it in her heart to forgive her mother comparing both abuses. She sees the land “was being drilled to see what else could be taken, looted, and mined before the waters covered this little length of earth” (219).  Just like her mother was being abused by the men until they took every last ounce of love that was in her body.  It is really interesting to see the connection between the abuse of women and the abuse of the earth, and even more ironic to think that if we did not have women or our earth, life wouldn’t even exist in the first place.

In this novel we learn and understand the importance of taking ones past into consideration and not letting hold you back from shaping your future the way you want it to be. This novel also enables us to see the relationship between shaping our self identity and our culture within society as a whole.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Perhaps it is time to debate culture. The common story is that in ‘real’ African culture, before it was tainted by the West, gender roles were rigid and women were contentedly oppressed.”

The Danger of a Single Story 

Beyoncé – Flawless 

We Should All Be Feminist

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an inspiring African American woman writer. She is the author of the famous novel, Purple Hibiscus. For you to understand my argument you must understand certain aspects of this novel.

This novel is about the inspiring fight of a family who is abused by their father. This novel is also told through the point of view of Kambili, the daughter of Beatrice and Eugene.

Within Purple Hibiscus there are two major religions. One is Catholicism, which is upheld in Papa’s household because he is a devout follower. The other major religion is the Igbo’s polytheistic belief system, which is upheld in Aunty Ifeoma and Papa-Nnukwu household (Kambili’s grandfather), because it is the way of the traditional Igbo people.

During this time in history the Catholic schools taught English to the children in Nigeria, and were regarded as a means of intelligence in colonial society by the Igbo people.

Throughout the novel, Adichie works with many concepts; the one that stood out the most was Papa’s self anointed position of a godlike figure. Papa makes himself a godlike figure by the control he has over his family. Papa takes on the role of the Divine Punisher, punishing his family when he sees fit. He believes that he is doing right by his family, and pushes these beliefs onto them. Kambili’s Papa, or Eugene, is a very violent man. One day after Mass, Mama does not want to get out of the car because she is pregnant and feels sick. When they are home, Papa beats Mama until she has a miscarriage. This is not to say that all Catholic men are bad men, but Papa is an extremist and was unable to realize that culture does not make people but people make culture. Adiche is important within this context because she can teach us something about culture. Culture is not fixed but is constantly changing, and that change comes from people who involve themselves, with a combination of history and their own present day beliefs. Culture is more then just made up stories, or decade old dances. It’s about people coming together and celebrating the traditions of their ancestors, so if people could build culture all those years ago, then we are more then capable of changing it today, even if it takes time. 

Papa expects Jaja and Kambili to remain at the top of their class, and are not allowed to talk back to Papa unless spoken to first without suffering great consequence.  Papa is a very dangerous man because he expects perfection from his family, and when those standards are not met he beats Mama, and Kambili. Mama does not fully comprehends what kind of danger her family is in until Adichie presents the reader with the metaphor of the figurines. This is one of Papa’s first abusive acts when breaking Mama’s ballet figurines. The figurines are a symbol of Papa’s abuse and when Mama is not concerned with them breaking it also represents a soon to be made change in their family dynamic. Papa does these cruel acts to his family because he sees he has to take the position of god within his household. Papa’s beliefs have an enormous impact on how Jaja and Kambili see the world around them. For example, when Kambili ranks second in her class she is terrified and knows she will probably get punished. That same day she waits for Papa to give her a love sip of his tea, and even though it burns her tongue she is convinced it is okay because it burns Papa’s love into her. Papa has taught his children that love and pain are the one in the same. Kambili and Mama loved Papa but also feared him, resulting in respect and obedience toward him. It is because of Papa’s fierce devotion to Catholicism that he convinces his family his extreme punishments are acceptable.

Catholicism differs from the traditional Igbo polytheistic belief system in many ways. For example, Catholics worship only one God and believe that Jesus Christ is a Divine. They also believe that the authority Jesus gives Peter as head of the church on earth is passed on to his successors, the popes. Catholics believe Christ passed his authority to his apostles.  Catholics believe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God, one in substance and will, distinct in some way, but not divided. Catholics believe if one truly loves God, then a person’s behavior toward themselves and others will reflect this commitment. The Catholic Church teaches to strive for holiness and perfection, since Jesus says to be perfect, just as the Father is perfect. The Catholics believe that a person can be transformed from a state of unrighteousness into a state of holiness and the sonship of God, on account of Christ. If a person had committed sin, they would ask the bishop for penance and would publicly live the life of a penitent, which is a life of exclusion from communion as well as a strict course of prayer, and fasting.

The traditional Igbo polytheistic belief system worships not just one god, but many gods and goddess. The Igbo’s polytheistic belief system distinguishes between three types of supernatural beings: God, the spirits, and the ancestors. The Igbo people believe in Ala or Ana, the earth goddess, and also rituals related to many other male and female deities, spirits, and ancestors, who protect their living descendants. The Igbo acknowledge a creator God or Supreme Being, Chukwu. They believe Chukwu created the universe and that the universe is divided into two levels: the natural level, uwa, or human world, and the spiritual level of spirits.

Adichie presents the Igbo’s polytheistic belief system in a much lighter and happier way than she presents Catholicism. This is because Adichie practices the Igbo polytheistic belief system as opposed to Catholicism. Her religious bias may explain why she was able to portray Papa as such an extreme Catholic. Adichie rejects western domination over Nigerian culture, which is why she portrays Papa-Nnukwu and Aunty Ifeoma’s rituals within the Igbo’s polytheistic belief system as just as important as the Catholic ones. For example, there are a few times throughout the novel that Aunty Ifeoma speaks in Igbo while Papa speaks strictly in English. Papa does not have a good relationship with his father, Papa Nnukwu, Kambili’s grandfather, because is he not Catholic, and worships his traditional Igbo Nigerian religion.

Colonialism in Nigeria has offered Papa higher education, but it has also made the Igbo’s polytheistic beliefs less popular within their culture. Papa was raised speaking English and eventually adapted the westernized ways, which lead to him becoming a respected man within the church. Papa recognized this was the reason for his success, which is why he rejected the Igbo religion and forced Catholicism upon his family. Papa has forced his beliefs of Catholicism onto Jaja and Kambili since they were very young, and because of this, they grow up to see him as a god-like figure. However, as Jaja and Kambili become more exposed to the Igbo polytheistic belief system, they begin to drift away from Papa’s beliefs of Catholicism. He uses many types of physical abuse to “save” them from the heathen ways of Papa-Nnukwu and Aunty Ifeoma. When Papa Nnukwu becomes very ill, Aunty Ifeoma fetches him and brings him to her house. During this time Amaka paints a picture of him, another potential metaphor for Papa’s abuse. When Papa finds out Papa Nnukwa has passed away, and that he was staying in the same house as Kambili and Jaja, he takes them back to Enugu. Another example is when Papa finds out that Jaja and Kambili have spent time with Papa-Nnukwu without his permission. This is when Papa decides to “save” them by forcing them into the bathtub in their home and pouring boiling hot water over their feet. “That is what you do to yourself when you walk into sin. You burn your feet” (Adiche 194). Papa punishes Kambili and Jaja for not telling him that Papa Nnukwu was staying at Aunty Ifeoma’s house. The most extreme punishment Papa gives is when he discovers the painting Amanka gives to Kambili of Papa-Nnukwu. “I lay on the floor, curled tight like the picture of a child in the uterus in my Integrated Science for Junior Secondary Schools… A salty wetness warmed my mouth. I closed my eyes and slipped away into quiet” (Adichie 211). He brutally beats Kambili to the point where she is no longer conscious and ends up in critical condition in the hospital. After this incident, Kambili decides to go to Nsukka instead of her home with Papa. Papa also beats Mama, causing a second miscarriage. This exposes blood, which is a metaphor for death within the novel. “You know that small table where we keep the family Bible, nne? Your father broke it on my belly” (Adichie 248). This is an ironic moment in the novel because Papa uses a holy bible to cause pain. He uses a book that expresses peace and love as a weapon. Kambili wants to go to Nsukka because she begins to become aware of how her household is not as accepting and safe as Aunty Ifeoma’s.

Aunty Ifeoma is the only female strong enough to stand up to Papa. Her children grow closer with Kambili and her brother Jaja, in particular Amaka.  Ifeoma takes Kambili and Jaja to a traditional Igbo festival and shortly after Kambili gets her period. When she returns home, Papa catches her breaking the Eucharist fast because she needs to eat something in order to take a painkiller because of the cramps she is experiencing. Papa beats Kambili and also Jaja and Mama for trying to stand up for her. Although Aunty Ifeoma is not as wealthy as Kambili’s parents, Kambili is able to notice a difference in her household in Nsukka, and how there is always laughter compared to their household. Aunty Ifeoma introduces Father Amadi to Kambili and he becomes an important figure in her life. He is a young and handsome Nigerian priest who has a feeling that Kambili is being abused and uses his charm to get her to open up to him. Father Amadi also teaches her to speak her mind, causing the drift between the two households to become even larger. An important point Adichie makes is that through Aunty Ifeoma and Father Amadi, Jaja and Kambili are able to find a place of religious acceptance where they can choose their own beliefs without any physical or emotional punishment. In contrast to their birth home where they were forced to abide by Papa’s beliefs and rules otherwise receive punishment. 

Papa’s intense devotion to Catholicism is so strong that he believes by causing pain to his family he can “save” them from breaking Catholic traditions. For example, Papa throws a missal at Jaja, but misses him, all because he does not want to go to Communion. 

When Mama takes Jaja and Kambili back after was beaten, is when Adichie introduces that Mama was poisoning Papa’s tea, causing his death a few days later. Papa’s death is the only moment throughout the novel that Adichie portrays Papa as a mortal being. This is a metaphor for Kambili, Mama and Jaja freedom and free speech. When the autopsy is finally confirmed, Mama admits that she poisoned Papa, and Jaja takes responsibility for the crime. Kambili finally finds peace when her and her mother visit Jaja in prison to tell him he will be out soon. Kambili visits Jaja with the hope that he will plant Purple Hibiscus’s when he is out of prison, another symbol of their hope and freedom for the future.

Papa’s intense devotion to Catholicism is present in every aspect of their lives. Twenty minute prayers are told before each meal, normalizing it within their household. Mama and Kambili are forced to live in silent fear trying to maintain peace. Papa even forbids Mama and Kambili from wearing shorts in his traditional Catholic household. Papa refers to Papa-Nnukwu as a godless heathen because he practices traditional Igbo polytheistic belief system and not Catholicism. Papa believes that he is God of his household. Papa is a very important Catholic man in their community, in charge of publishing a newspaper called The Standard, the only paper willing to speak out against the Nigerian Head of State. This is made clear in the relationship between Papa’s newspaper company –The Standard — and how he runs his household. The newspaper company is corrupt because Papa has to bribe people to keep it in business, similar to how his household is corrupt because he is physically and emotionally hurting his family.  

After Papa’s death the family is exposed to an independence in their lives that they have never been able to experience before. This is the moment that the family realizes that Papa does not have control over them anymore. When Mama finally experiences the mental awakening that causes her to start poisoning his tea, Adichie provides the reader with the realization that they are now free. Free to have their own beliefs, and not have to live in fear of Papa anymore. Free to make their own ideas about culture.

The whole family’s outlook on Papa changes after his death. Kambili in particular was the most baffled by Papa’s death. She says, “I had never considered the possibility that Papa would die, that Papa could die. He was different from Ade Coker, from all the other people they had killed. He had seemed immortal” (Adichie 287). This quote proves that Papa had made himself a godlike figure in the eyes of Kambili. She did not know it was possible for Papa to die, he had convinced her that he was different from all others. Inevitably, Papa’s death by poisoned tea shows he was just as human as everyone else within the novel despite his corrupt efforts and beliefs. 

Kambili is finally able to find peace within herself by the end of the novel. Peace to love herself and others, and the freedom to make choices for herself, symbolic of the Purple Hibiscus. Choices that even some girls in today’s day and age will never get to make for themselves. Our society must come together to realize that we need to pin point the issues in our home and family lives, especially when related to gender, if we are to ever have hope for future generations.

Throughout this novel the mother, Beatrice, also known as Mama, is constantly tested when caring for her children. She is forced to decide between being a gentle caring mother to her children or sticking by her husband and his poor parenting decisions. The relationship between Papa and Mama raises many questions.

In Adichie’s TedTalk We Should All Be Feminists, she makes a point to say that if marriage was not such a high priority for women, some women may not feel forced to make such bad decisions for themselves. Was Mama really in love with Papa or did she just choose to marry him because she felt like she needed to? Maybe if Mama was more concerned about having a career for herself instead of marriage, she would not have ended up in such an abusive relationship. From a very young age, girls are taught to shrink themselves and Mama sets this example for Kambili by allowing Papa to cause physical and emotional pain to her body. Even though Papa causes great harm to Mama, she continues to cater to his ego because she believes it is what she must do because he is her husband. Aunty Ifeoma is a good influence on Kambili because it shows her that she does not have to make marriage her number one priority, she can go to school and make a career for herself. This is among the reasons that Papa does not like Kambili getting exposure to Aunty Ifeoma’s lifestyle, because ultimately it begins to make her more independent.

In our society today, compromise is expected of women in relationships. For us to give up our dreams and careers if we decide to have children, and be the constant care taker. The problem lies with how our society views gender, it makes us feel that we should act a certain way, rather then just be ourselves. We define being a “good wife” as being “homely” and leaving important jobs such as cooking and cleaning to women when it should be evenly distributed between both parents. We should be focusing on our individual ability and interest as opposed to gender stereotypes.

Ultimately our problem lies with how children today are being raised. In this novel, Mama allows her children to believe that how Papa treats them by abusing them is okay because she continually allows him to do so without standing up for herself. If we started raising our children differently, maybe boys wouldn’t grow up to think that they had to prove their masculinity with money or aggressiveness. Maybe they wouldn’t feel the need to wear a mask and be afraid of showing emotion or weakness. Maybe if Papa was able to define masculinity differently he wouldn’t of grown into such a violent man. Society has this assumption that views men as savage beings that cannot be controlled whether it is sexually or a case of domestic abuse. This is a view that has to be stopped if we want to stop violence against women in the future.

Just to be clear, a feminist is not just a woman who is “unhappy because she cannot find a husband” as critics have tried to impose on Adichie. A feminist is a woman who is not afraid to voice her opinion and take action on the many present day women’s issues we deal with as a society today.

One point I find interesting about this novel is Kambili’s thought process when it comes to receiving what she believes is love from Papa. She waits for Papa to give her a love sip of his tea, and although it burns her tongue she’s convinces herself  it’s alright because it burns Papa’s love into her. Papa has taught his children that love and pain are the one in the same. This is something that is also entirely true for women in society today. Young girls are taught that you cannot have love without pain and sacrifice. In most cases as girls grow into women, they are forced to make very painful decisions. Deciding between a family and a career, whether to stay at home and watch your children grow or to be away from them and provide for them. Women are forced to face these decisions head on where men do not usually have to make these decsions to the same extent. This novel is just one example of how culture is corrupt and in the favor of men. We need to come together and change gender biases to ultimately help change our culture. 

 

 

 

 

Inside a Woman’s Psyche

Inside a Woman’s Psyche

 

 

In Nfah-Abbenyi’s novel, Gender in African Women’s Writing she uses many quotes and references to other popular writers to address major problems in the African community of which I can relate to our present day society for girls all around the world.

Does your girlfriend ever freak out for no reason ? Here are a few reasons why society and evolution has been an opposing team to women for generations.

Although Nfah-Abbenyi’s novel is focused towards African Women, I argue that many of her points can also be made in our society as well as in many other cultures world-wide. She attacks feminist issue’s at the root of the problem, even though she considers herself a feminist with a small f. She does not hate or degrade men, but believes like her colleague Buchi Emecheta, “Personally I’d like to see the ideal, happy marriage. But if it doesn’t work, for goodness sake, call it off” (Nfah 7).

The use of story telling has been a powerful tool for women for generations for many reasons. Women used to only be looked at as sex objects who could bear children. We couldn’t vote or own our own land, never mind stand a chance at a high paying job that could help support our families. At certain points in history there was not many outlets for women to turn to in their lives over which they had control over. Storytelling, writing, essaying, journaling were all outlets that women could turn to in their time of need. Whether it was to talk about the empty feeling inside them from feeling like something is missing in their lives or to write to a friend about their abusive husband because they were to nervous to speak about it allowed. Writing was the way that women stayed sane. It is how they exchanged information that would start movements and marches to fight for their rights to vote, own land, and eventually current day issues like abortion rights.

Nfah-Abbenyi is an inspiring female figure for an infinite amount of reasons. One that stood out to me is explained when she states, “Whether she is elevated to the status of a goddess or reduced to the level of a prostitute, the designation is degrading, for he does the naming, whereas her experience as a woman is trivialized and distorted. Metaphorically, she is of the highest importance; practically she is nothing. She has no autonomy, no status as a character, for her person and her story are shaped to meet the requirement of his vision. She is thus constructed as beauty, eroticism, fecundity—the qualities the male Self values most in the female Other” http://www.gramunion.com/lmagined.tumblr.com/105446709500

I choose this quote because of how beautiful Nfah-Abbenyi addresses this popular topic. She takes two extremely different female figures, the goddess who is thought as the highest of royalty, and a prostitute who is negatively thought of selling her body for money. Although they are of very different class, Nfah-Abbenyi makes an excellent observation. That in both, the woman is degraded because her life story is not told. She is only valued for her beauty and not for her experiences or intelligence. This is a shallow outlook on women and women’s bodies and must be changed if we have hope for future generations of young girls.

Motherhood is something that has been expected of women for generations. Society considered a woman’s life “unfulfilled” if they do not have a husband and children. This ideology is something that drives our society today. Young girls are raised to see this as a mandatory requirement they must fulfill before their lives can be complete. This is “…woman’s attempt toward self-actualization through her ability to bear and raise children” as Nfah-Abbenyi would say. Growing up in a society that pushes these beliefs on young girls, one can start to see the toll it takes on their mental health. Personally, growing up it was tough to be on my own and completely respected at the same time. You compete with your peers to find a nice guy and only then can you be fully respected. Fail to do this and whether you can admit it or not you are looked at slightly differently by society. Having a man enter a girls life can drastically change her life, positively or negatively.

For many decades motherhood has been something that women help identify with to help them find their own identity. A woman’s life is centered around having and raising children. She gives herself over to her husband and children, no longer living her life for herself but for them. Constantly cooking and cleaning to please them, making sure they get to school and work on time. This aspect of a woman’s life may be looked at as easy and expected of most mothers, but what is unknown is the effect it can start to take on the woman’s body. “While women have primary responsibility for feeding others, they often fail to take care of their own nutritional needs” (Kirk 541). Most women are already discontent with their body image, adding more stress and denying themselves the nutrients they need because of their focus on children and husband can lead to developing an eating disorder.

I agree that women should have a choice about how they want to live their lives. They should be able to decide if they want to have a job, children, or both. Nfah-Abbenyi stresses, “For the women who write, identity and “motherhood (become a) site of struggle,” with motherhood often interwoven with or presented as an intrinsic or shifting component of women’s identity” (Nfah 36).  Having children should not be an action that is forced upon or expected of women. It should be a sacred act that it decided between a man and a woman when they believe the time is right for them.

“Pregnancy legitimizes, be it in the traditional or cultural sense, in the eyes of humans as well as in the eyes of the divine, the gods or the chi…Marriage and motherhood domesticate women…Pregnancy and reproduction make a woman, a woman and a man, a man” (Nfah 38). With these being some of Nfah-Abbenyi’s points on the belief of certain cultures, it frustrates me that I do not even disagree with these points. Growing up in a small family being the eldest girl of two younger brothers this is something that has been subconsciously on my mind since I was very young. Different cultures may be slightly different when it comes to their beliefs but I am confident this is a site of struggle for most girls world-wide.

“Motherhood is so ingrained in women’s psyche that the alternative to the loss of a child is the loss of self, of gender and of identity. The woman’s body has no raison d’etre when it cannot fulfill its procreative function” (Nfah 39).  Evolution has created women to fulfill one reproductive task, to procreate. So the next time your girlfriend gets baby fever and keep showing you pictures of other people’s babies, don’t get upset with her and tell her it’s not the right time, just nod your head and say maybe one day. It is subconsciously branded into young girls mind that this is a task they have to have complete. A long time ago in history girls got pregnant at what we consider to young in our day and age. The only reason it was not considered weird back then is because that is the age girls bodies actually start telling them to get pregnant. Even if consciously a girl is unaware of this, everything inside her body is starting to prepare to give birth, so it’s only natural for young girls to become curious of the idea of sex and children early on in her life.

When girls finally grow into woman they are then faced with a whole new set of problems. Should she have children ? If she dare decide to take control of her procreative capabilities and opt to not have children, will she still be accepted by her family and husband? This is a fast growing fear of women in our society today. With more independent women choosing their careers over marriage and starting a family it becomes more obvious that the decision for a woman to have her own child effects more then just herself and husband. Her entire family and society has been pressuring her to have a child since she was young, so it is not unusual for a woman to reject having a child altogether either.

So the next time your girlfriend gets really upset, or has baby fever, or whatever the reason is, just remember that she already feels the world is against her and just wants to know that you are on HER side, no matter what her decision might be. Women will never be done fighting for rights over own bodies, due to our genetic make up. We are cursed to always find ways to cope and live our own lives according to what we believe is right. Long story short, be nice to your girlfriends boys, and remember, it’s 2018 and we still get paid less.

 

 

Therapeutic Writing

Therapeutic Writing

The Key to Therapeutic Writing

Idea centered essay

Use experience (Personal)

Our job as U.S citizens is to write about and spread the word for women who are in need all over the world.

The use of story telling has been a powerful tool for women for generations.

P.142 P.147 P. 151

P.160

Example of how writing empowered me – helped gain my voice

Vulnerable – Diary

I have kept a diary since I was a young girl. Even though I find it a little harder to write in it daily since my life has become more complicated with adult responsibilities I still find it a perfect outlet for when I am feeling troubled. Writing down your thoughts is extremely therapeutic, it’s almost like talking to a friend… except your friend is a piece of paper and pen. They won’t tell your secrets, they’ll keep them forever. It gives you the same sensation as if you’re talking to a friend but the comfort of knowing that they won’t ever tell anyone else. In my first year of college I felt really lost. . I found myself getting extremely distracted from my studies because of how much I missed my family. This feeling completely consumed me. I did not know it at the time, but I was not accustomed to living without my parents and brothers. It was extremely hard for me to live my life and work on my studies without them by my side.

 

This kind of writing makes the writer feel very vulnerable and forces the writer to say things about themselves that they may not be ready to accept. Writing can help you make realizations about yourself. For example if you have a food allergy and write in your diary or journal everyday what you eat, you can be your own doctor and diagnose yourself.

 

The Journey to Finding Your Voice

The Journey to Finding Your Voice

I fell in love with writing around the time I was in high school. I had a teacher who saw my interest in reading and writing who gave me the opportunities to use my writing abilities in the way I desired. When I entered high school I struggled in a lot of my classes except my writing classes. I had an English class with this particular teacher, and she noticed that I was advanced in my reading and writing skills. When she noticed my love of reading and writing she let me excel in these areas and improve my essay writing abilities about the novels we had been reading during our class time.

This particular teacher was open to the use of I in creative and informative essays. This made it easier for me as a beginner writer to allow personal connections in each of my essays as well as give it a personal tone allowing my readers to identify my voice. Writing is very intimate and personal art that can be challenging if you are unsure of the point you want to make in the way you want to make it. Allowing oneself to make personal connections in essay’s is essential to each writer’s ability to develop their voice.  Voice is unique to each writer, no one can ever steal your voice away from you. Everyone portrays themselves in different ways. Even if you try to write like another writer you admire you can never truly write the same exact way, you portray your own ideas in your unique way.

I was very fortunate to of been able to have this teacher when I was still very young and not had a lot of outside influence on my writing. She was open to many different styles of writing unlike some of the other teachers at this school. This allowed me to start to forming my writing in my own voice in a creative way instead of being forced to numb my writing down to sound bland because of a grade or poor expectations. Being able to write confidently in your own voice is essential to being any style writer, more importantly creative writing. Some teachers may not realize it, but restricting students or boxing them in with too many directions actually takes away from their writing and forces them to write in a way that may not be helping them improve. One of my favorite quotes from a text we are reading this semester was written by Phillip Lopate “Essays are usually taught all wrong” (Lopate 128) . This is such an interesting way of looking at essay writing, because there are so many different ways and styles that teachers and professor’s could go about teaching. I know from a students perspective I have been exposed to countless ways each unique in their own way. Some were very beneficial and some were not.

Writing can be a very difficult task if you let it, but it can also be therapeutic and even meditative if you allow it to. I have kept many diaries myself that have helped improve my mental health over the years during some unexpected tough times. Even though by writing I am not directly talking to another person, it feels as if I am and helps me talk as well as think through many problems I have been able to overcome. Every writer experiences challenges in their life and their writing. Sometimes unexpected life changes can negatively impact a writer and give them writers block, or prevent them from expressing an idea in the exact way they wish too. As a semi experienced writer I wish to express to all future writers that this will happened from time to time but it shouldn’t be an experience that makes you want to stop writing altogether. As writers we must come together and help our friends in need, brainstorm, and work through writers block to the best of our ability. Even when experiencing writers block, or being told many unfortunate rules that you do not wish to apply to your writing, essay writers must hold onto their voice and push. Just Add your own unique touch of personality to each of your essay’s even if it’s against the rules, because in the long run it will give your voice the confidence it needs to express to your readers.

 

 

 

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