The Struggle.

I prepared the following for my grad seminar on “Women, Globalization and Religion” earlier this evening after a) reading an account of a Catholic-Muslim alliance against an international effort to improve the political and economic situation for women around the globe and b) learning about the murder of Safia Amajan, Afghani campaigner for women’s rights, … [Read more…]

First Female Muslim and First Iranian in Space.

40-year-old Anousheh Ansari entered the International Space Station today. All of the newsfeeds I read bill her as “the first female space tourist,” but al-Jazeera (via Reuters) also notes that she is the first female Muslim and first Iranian in space. I have to admit that I have a little web-crush on her: she’s Persian, … [Read more…]

Introducing mindonfire’s first Guest Blogger: Miko!

When I started mindonfire many internet generations ago, I felt like each post submitted was like a note-stuffed bottle tossed into the dark sea of web-humanity. Incredibly, messages came back–not Sting’s “hundred million bottles,” but a few poignant notes from other castaways and drifters on the same great spiritual ocean. Many of my favorite messages … [Read more…]

A Belated Post on Harlan Ellison’s Sexual Assault of Connie Willis at the 2006 Hugo Awards Ceremony.

This is a screencapture from this Google video of washed-up SF writer Harlan Ellison placing his hand on Connie Willis’ left breast during this year’s Hugo awards ceremony. I’m glad that there’s been quite an uproar in the SF blog world. I refrained from chiming in because a) this isn’t really an SF blog, so … [Read more…]

Mormon Women, Take Note:

The following quote is from an LA Times article covering the priesthood ordination and possible excommunication of fifteen Catholic women: Presiding over some of the ordinations were three European women recently consecrated as bishops in secret ceremonies allegedly led by five bishops who remain in good standing with the church. The identities of the male … [Read more…]

Silence is Complicity.

[This post grew from a comment I left on a discussion of female genital mutilation on Feminist Mormon Housewives.] In her book No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women, Estelle Freedman explores the reasons for and the fight against female gential cutting. Where Western opposition focused on violation of individual … [Read more…]

Save Malak Ghorbany from Stoning!

This was a difficult subject to write about, so I chose the following approach: First, you are a woman. You are accused and convicted of adultery. Your hands are tied behind you. You are wrapped in a white sheet. You are buried up to your chest. Between the tightly packed earth and the cloth over … [Read more…]

“Traditional” Marriage.

I’m not opposed to the contemporary American notion of “traditional marriage.” After all, I’m (happily) participating in the institution. But I do have a problem with how the modern definition is presented as something timeless (and by extension, sacred), as if we could find the Cleavers in ancient Israel (“Gee Wally, guess it wasn’t very … [Read more…]

Latest Feminist Rant.

This is an edited version of a response to an email query about feminism: As a historian and as comparative social scientist, I had problems with three thoughts: the nuclear family is traditional. The nuclear family is in many ways a fairly modern construction. The extended family was the primary family unit in many pre-industrial/urban-era … [Read more…]

Religious Syncretism.

[The following is part of my response to a Sunstone West paper on women who self-identify as both Mormon and Pagan:] I was intrigued by the themes of syncretism and religious identity running through Does presentation. Im no stranger to syncretismI spent several years growing up in my mothers hometown in Japan. The Japanese say … [Read more…]

Clothesline Project, UCI.

If you walk past UCI’s main library tomorrow, you’ll find a colorful display criss-crossing the plaza, flapping in the wind like Tibetan prayer flags. If you examine them more closely, you’ll find that they are inscribed with prayers of a sort. They are memorials of abuse. Some are sorrowful, others angry. Every year I try … [Read more…]

Hail Heavenly Mother…

I’m beginning to really like certain aspects of Catholicism. I’m not sure if I could get over all of the being ruled by (frustrated?) celibate men, but I like the emphasis on ritual over belief. And in spite of the male hierarchy, there is some powerful, powerful womanly divine energy. To pray one rosary, you … [Read more…]