GODDESSES, WHORES, WIVES, AND SLAVES

In Sarah Pomeroy’s book titled “Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves”, copyright; 1975, she aims in writing a social history of women through the centuries in Greek and Roman worlds over the period of fifteen hundred years. Compared to the classical and medieval periods, relatively little has been written about women in late antiquity (the 3rd through 6th centuries). The sources for the period pose several problems for understanding the lives of women: they are dominated by law codes, medical texts and patriotic writings by the dominant males of that society which tend to be prescriptive rather than descriptive. I write these words, as a brief short analysis, reflecting on the roles women played at that time and their participation in the cultural, political, and economic life in comparison to the women of Greece and Rome.

The author starts her book with the history of the goddesses and their origins in Classical Mythology. She then continues by mentioning one of the greatest human influencers of that time; Homer. Through Homer’s epics, came the first perceptions of what role women were to play in society. Pomeroy refers to the story of Pandora and how it plays a huge role in the attitude towards women’s role in society reflecting back to the Bronze ages. She then carries a discussion over the roles of powerful goddesses such as Athena, Aphrodite, Hera, and states the influences these goddesses had over the modern women of that time being confused on form their roles as a woman.

“That fact that modern women are frustrated by being forced to choose between being an Athena- an intellectual. Asexual career woman- or an Aphrodite- a frivolous sex object- or a respectable wife- mother like Hera shows that Greek goddesses continue to be archetypes of female existence. If the characteristics of the major goddesses were combines, a whole being with unlimited potential for development- a female equivalent of Zeus or Apollo- would emerge.”

Pomeroy provides a good discussion of marriage patterns alluded in the epic cycles, based on the marriages of such royal women as Helen, Clytemnestra and Penelope. In a patrilocal pattern, the suitor would bring back the bride to his own house and she would be the material emblem of alliance between the households of her father and her new husband. In a matrilocal pattern, the wandering warrior would settle in the country of his bride. A great warrior like Achilles might find many chieftains offering their daughters in marriage in hope of obtaining a powerful alliances.

The next few chapters focus on describing the women of Athens and, later, of Rome. She points out that there is more material, literary, epigraphic and archeological information in this time to discuss the Athenian women. This is particularly valuable not only for the information conveyed, but perhaps even more for the method used. At all times, in her discussion, she carefully maintains the distinctions of class and economic status. At the same time she speaks on the strong female characters of tragedy. Pomeroy states that the mythology about women is created by men and, in a culture dominated by men; it may have little to do with women themselves. The women of Athens and Rome are the focus; the wives and the prostitutes. The Wife Archetype portrayed social respectability, a role that centered on the affairs of domesticity and childrearing. More importantly it was the prostitutes, whores or courtesans who received special status of being the most notorious and sophisticated. The famous courtesan, Aspasia, was vilified by later writers for influencing the Greek General Pericles of Peloponnesian War fame in the 5th century B.C.E.

In comparison to Greek Women, Roman women could be considered more liberated and emancipated. On of the main differences are named by Cornelius Nepos. He says Greek women mainly stay in the house, while Roman women accompany their husbands to dinner parties. Aside from social differences, there were also the economic advantages held by Roman women. They could own property beyond their dowry and inherit from their kin. This was a factor in the kind of marriage contracted, at least in the upper classes. Marriage severed the bride from her father’s control and placed her under her new husband’s, making her a member of her husband’s family and thus eligible to inherit from him. Reviews allowed the women of Rome more freedom, since she was nominally under her father’s control but removed from his direct surveillance. Also, both were allowed to keep their property (the upper class women of wealth) and it remained in her family. The various legal intricacies of marriage, divorce and inheritance were further complicated by the penchant of the upper classes at Rome to use marriages as an adhesive for making alliances in the political arena. The most interesting section in her book is the discussion on the freedwomen and working women of Rome. Most occupations available to women were of domestic service; they were prostitutes, maids, launderers, and cooks. There were also many accounts mentioned of market women from the East importing and exporting luxury goods and selling them. These women would be considered entrepreneurs in these modern times.

In the book’s last chapters, Pomeroy points out the connections between the different cults and myths of that time and how it impacts women of the Classical and Hellenistic period. The cults of Ceres and Isis are among the major cults mentioned. It is particularly interesting to note, that Isis, who became one of the most popular deities in the Greek and Roman world, was praised for making “the power of women equal to that of men.”

Despite the extreme social restraints on women in classical antiquity, it is interesting that they had a number of powerful female goddesses of the type that were never available to women of different dominant religions of that time, such is the case with Christianity. Demeter was able to retrieve her daughter Persephone, Artemis could send a fatal arrow, and Athena had the ability to resist marriage and motherhood, and to provide advice to respected Greek heroes. Aphrodite, Hera, Hestia, and Hekate were also powerful goddesses, intensely honored and greatly admired by women and men alike. Such women exist today and perhaps even more so in history, however were never accounted for, as much of history has been paved by the patriarchy system serving the “protectors” of our human species, the warriors, the lords, priests, nobles, all adhering to the housing of fathers and sons.

I will rise – No one identity “Intersectionality”

Interdependency being the goal OR
Perception defining the reality

Not a tomboy, not quite the girl next door, not your hot chick and definitely not a simple quiet girl

Not my make up, not my hair, not so much even to claim a natural beauty

This or that got to pick a side
Wall street or main street, or just a street in fact

hour-glass, ticking bomb… quick profit- hurry now it’s up for grabs!

Politics or development or rather, rebel for both or against

Tibetan or American or perhaps even a bit Indian and Nepali or maybe even African American- No- perhaps Japanese or Filipina from Hawaii?

Raw, beautiful, pretty, cute, no-no I know “exotic” ooooooh different

From the land of the snowy utopia?

Oh idealist, democratic, socialist, no no activist?

This or that maybe even both or maybe Neither but certainly something?

DECONSTRUCT-

colonialism, nationalism, feminism, individualism, liberalism, ismmmmmmmms humanism?

Post me in your dictionary

Again and again bring on the terms

Pick a name, categorize me, place me in an order, label me with a tag line, prioritize me with your needs and then Define my character according to your “intelligence”

QUICK-

I too will be your study, all with history, so dot me up and place me in the line

Benefit from my existence to uplift your position

Wisdom or ignorance – OR OR OR this or that stay on one side- force a choice

Share your data: Statistics can satisfy your need

Quantify my worth and sell my identity

Binary divisions do not solve anything it does not work for me, I will not choose a side, I do not have one identity, importance of my rights cannot me measured and my experiences of inferiority will not be the same as yours-

Succeed only in Satisfying your thirst to feel you have served some knowledge

Your purpose for me

No validation will be concluded on my side. You may do as you wish with my story but I have felt it always in others’ terms

POINTLESS!

I KNOW!!!! How about an example?

Still I rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like tear drops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Both sides of the story

SINO-TIBETAN RELATIONS: PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE –

THE POTOMAC CONFERENCE, October 5-6, 1992
PHUNTSOK TASHI TAKLHA

After signing the Agreement, a letter signed by Kalon Ngapo was handed over to Premier Chou En-lai. In the letter, Kalon Ngapo requested that other Tibetan areas incorporated into other Chinese provinces be returned to Tibet and put them under the Lhasa Tibetan Administration….Ngapo, the head of the Tibetan delegati…on, did not affix his official seal of the Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet) on the “agreement” paper, although he had brought it with him. The Chinese side, therefore, forged duplicate Tibetan seals in Peking. They made five identical seals for each of the Tibetan delegation members with their names on them. These seals were then stamped on what became to be known as the “Seventeen-Point Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.”…the head of the Chinese delegation, Li Wui Han, reacted by threatening the Tibetan delegation whether they wanted a peaceful or a violent “liberation” of Tibet. He said, “If you want a peaceful `liberation,’ then you must agree to our proposal. But if you want a violent `liberation,’ then all Peking had to do was to send a telegram to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stationed in occupied areas of Tibet. We have no problem.” Read more...


Ngabo Ngawang Jigme (1910 – 2009)

When the Lhasa uprising occurred in 1959, Ngabo initially tried to mediate between the Tibetan government and the Chinese, but in the end he continued to support the PRC: after retaking Lhasa, it was his voice that the PLA played over their loudspeakers urging the people to lay down their arms to avoid the destruction of the city. Although he might never have been powerful enough to formulate policy himself, Ngabo was never purged and continued to hold official positions, including two terms as chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the 1960s and the 1980s. Read more….

Ngapo and the Cultural Revolution

Another day we were called to the main headquarters of the TAR to manage the crowd. Thousands of people were shouting: “Down with Ngapo Jigme, let him be killed”. When we went there, we saw Ngapo in his military uniform; he was lead by some Chinese soldiers. He was brought on the stage and before making his confession, he took out the five stars out of his uniform and put them into his pocket and said: “For years and years my family had been exploiting the Tibetan people, and we will not able to get rid of this [sin] forever.” He just said that and he was quickly taken away by the PLA soldiers. Read more…


Interview with Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme

His third son, Ngapo Jigme, defected 13 years ago and now lives in Washington where he worked for the Free Tibet Campaign and now heads the Tibet section of Radio Free Asia. “In fact the Chinese government has never trusted him. My father has been a figurehead. He never really had any power,” Ngapo Jigme said and he adds that despite their differences, his father has tried his best for Tibet. “When things go wrong, people always look for a scapegoat but it is more complicated than that,” the son said. Read more….


Kasur Ngapo Ngawang Jigme and his Autobiography

It seems Kasur Ngapo has been working on his autobiography although its status is not clear now. Such an autobiography would be useful in enabling us to understand his views. More importantly, it would have an impact on how history will see Kasur Ngapo. It could be that the reason for not hearing about his autobiography is… because it is being screened by the Chinese Government. If this is so, I would feel that it is not only morally just for an individual to be responsible for his autobiography but this is essential for the credibility of the book once it is published. If the authorities were to interfere in an individual’s autobiography it will not be beneficial to the authorities themselves in the long run.  Read More…

Ngapo Ngawang Jigme – a profile

“It is because of the special situation in Tibet that in 1951 the Seventeen Point Agreement on the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, between the central people… See More’s government and the local Tibetan government, came about. Such an agreement has never existed between the central government and any other minority regions. We have to consider the special situation in Tibetan history while drafting policies for Tibet in order to realize its long-term stability. We must give Tibet more autonomous power than other minority regions. In my view, at present, Tibetan Autonomous Region has relatively less power of autonomy compared with other autonomous regions, let alone compared with provinces. Therefore Tibet must have some special treatment and have more autonomy like those special economic zones. We must employ special policies to resolve the special characteristics which have pertained throughout history.” Furthermore, in 1991, Kasur Ngapo asked the Chinese government to abide by the 17-Point Agreement, specifically the commitment “not to change the existing political system in Tibet.” Read more…

PRESS PAGES FOR NON-PROFIT WEBSITES

What is the purpose of an online press page?

The purpose of a Press Page is to be the source of information centered on the needs of journalists and reporters who are looking to cover issues or people that your organization covers.

An online press-room offers journalists 24-hour access to information about your organization in which you control the presentation of your message.

Each section of your organization’s website should have a link that navigates viewers to the press page.

The main essentials?  Organization is a must!

Check out Peace Action West‘s Basic Press Page

1. Contact Information

This is one of the main essentials because the easier is to for them to contact you or someone from your organization, the better it is for you to pitch your organization’s message and build further relationships with media outreach. Journalists write stories, it sounds best when it’s the message is communicated vocally with a personal touch.

  • Designate a primary PR contact or a Media spokesperson with a Name, Phone number and an Email address.
  • A 24-hour media contact is preferred but if that’s not within your reach then provide advanced warnings of delay in getting back to people such as “someone will get in touch with you within 24hours” though info@organization.org is acceptable, it is preferred to use the designated person’s name in the email so that it doesn’t become generic.

2. Search Archives

Journalists tend to be on very heavy deadlines and work off office hours so it is best when for them when they can search archives and everything they need in one place anytime during the day without having to do heavy research and make late phone calls.

  • Make the search functions by keywords to make navigation easy with clear production of contents.
  • Organized (weekly, daily or monthly)
  • Keep your archives available for journalists to view easily. They like to investigate and find information quickly The easier to access, the better!

3. News releases

It is not only important to have news releases but it should be mandatory for this specific section to be updated daily, weekly, or monthly depending on your campaigns and issues.

  • Place them in order of prominence and date
  • Provide a summary of the issue covered in the release then provide the content
  • If the particular event or issue got picked up by the Media, provide a link to the coverage
  • Make the News releases section in a simple way that allows easy navigation to other parts of the website.

4. News Coverage- List by the most recent

  • Try not to bore them with the whole article, you show the coverage on your organization, high light it but it’s not a good idea to have a long story.
  • The point of this section is to show that your organization is news worthy and prove it. Think about the resume you would carry to a job interview.
  • Succinct headlines and prominent release dates
  • Provide links to the news outlets that covered the issue

5. Downloadable Press kits

Have your information ready for print. It saves on paper and provides the press with all the important information you would like to present to them on their own time.

  • Background, Fact Sheets, and FAQS
  • Sample Press Releases relating to issues covered by the organization
  • About us information and Contact information

Other Additions to the Website

1. High and low resolution photographs

-You want to have a back up just incase the reporters on duty do not have a photographer with them and they are on deadline. It’s always best to be prepared.

  • -Especially if an event happened recently and you want press coverage on the event.
  • – This is also a great way to advertise the logo that represents your organization

2. Outside networks such as blogs, social networks and etc.

  • -This provides the press with external information about your organization that can be useful in researching views of the public. Having a open forum for the public to leave comments gives reporters a general feel for others in the community perceive your organization and what kind of an impact your organization carries on the community.

3. Executive biographies – Personalize and SELL to build credibility-

  • – Who runs the place, what are their credentials and what positions do they carry?

4. Events calendar and audio/video files

  • -This allows them to get feedback and updates from locals who attend your events
  • -Also a great way to prepare them for the next event

5. Financial information (Also helps with donations)

  • Providing details to how your organization runs
  • Who funds your organization and whom are you affiliated with.
  • This is a perfect opportunity to nationalize or localize your organization to grassroots alike.

© Tenzin W. Shakya

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Intersectionality and Gender Identity – PRO CHOICE

Intersectionality plays a key role not only in identifying oneself as a person; but between different cultures, religions, and backgrounds; it can influence gender identity. It can affect one’s role in the home, in politics, as well as society overall.

First off, the pressures of a multicultural society can often lead one to conform to social “norms” but it can also have the opposite effect of leading people to rebel against what is expected. And weather an individual or even a community as a whole wants to think of itself as free of predisposed bias, there will always be expectations that are broken. It is all in human nature to categorize people, even in the slightest of way, but ultimately the individual is a strong entity that can vary despite social pressure. For example, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims; there are no gays in Iran. However biology and personal experience say otherwise. Homosexuality is a big variable in society. Many cultures and religions look down upon it. Therefore it is a generally accepted stereotype that highly religious people can never be gay. And yet there are many people who go against the pressures of their friends and families to live their life simultaneously defining themselves as devoutly religious and homosexual.

The differences in people and cultures can also manifest in more subtle ways. A hobby, style, preference, or way of speaking can be completely accepted in a society as a whole, but can be considered foreign to men or women of a certain race. A community may have stereotypes that say that women and men of a certain race like different things from one another and from other races. This would involve mild forms of both sexism and racism. Especially in such a mixed society like the US, the individual should be taken into more consideration than the race, religion, or background.

A person’s morals and values can also define who they are, and can differ between certain cultures. What it is to be feminine is one example, because women have differing roles often depending on their family traditions. Some cultures are defined by modesty in women, while others respect an outward, dominant type of woman. Women themselves can identify themselves with their femininity. In certain cultures the veil that women wear is a symbol of feminine beauty. It is something that makes people judge them by their personality rather than their looks. But some view it as if it is hiding something to be ashamed of. There is nothing wrong with using clothing to express femininity. If that were so, then in the US, maybe all women would just never wear dresses, as it is a typical feminine piece of clothing, and could be seen as a sign of oppression. Too often, personal choice is confused and mixed with cultural phobia, as it can be a sign of culture and religion. After the 9/11 attacks, one woman named Izdihar El-Hilal, a native of Syria who now lives in Pittsburg said, “This is my choice. I am not oppressed.” Veils or turbans are often looked upon with fear and cultural separation. But simply because one wears clothes that are different does not mean they are radically religious or terrorists. On the exact contrary, these symbols often actually have a sign of peace and modesty for the ones who wear them. Expression is ultimately defined by those who choose it and not by onlookers.

This cultural expression can have the same effect on the opposite end of the spectrum. In the US as well as other countries, there are many controversial advertisements that some say objectify women. Often they are described as inappropriate, showing too much skin, etc. But the same can be said about these ads as the veils that other women wear. The models who pose to show off their bodies can argue that it is a form of art. Some passionately say that their body is a temple to be revered. They show it off as art and pride what they have. However, this can, for some, again lead to social pressures to look just like the models. This doesn’t go to say that blatant expression in this form should be considered immoral, but rather that all bodies should be appreciated, and it is the owner’s choice to decide how to show it.