Monday, August 29, 2011

What Feminism is to me.

OK, this is one of my getting rare “Hard hat” posts. It is prompted by James at Nourishing Obscurity

He is constantly posting about Feminism recently, and he seems to have such a jaundiced way of seeing it. Really negative. He seems to see it as some sort of variation on socialism and really destructive.

Well I think he is wrong. I think he is conflating two different things. Socialism and Feminism. It seems to me he has a very different definition of Feminism to mine.

It does make me wonder.. Is it him misinterpreting it, or do I misunderstand it? Feel free to comment anyone who reads this.

To me Feminism is about giving women a "level playing field" not stacking the odds against. It is about listening to what is said and if it makes sense not about who is saying it.

It is about the ultimate trump card not being that men are stronger, or a woman's opinion being discounted just because she is a woman.

It is about getting the same money for having the same ability, qualifications, experience and seniority and doing the same job. It is about being equal before the law.

In a way it is not just for women either. It has to be about men too, that both men and women get an even deal with neither being badly done by.

When it is all said and done men and women generically need each other. They each have strengths and weaknesses that balance each other out in partnership. We are all people. Human beings.

To me it is absolutely not about "Quotas" and ticking boxes, quotas. I just see that as destructive to all. It poisons, causes resentment and undermines the position of any group who's "box is ticked". It fosters an unreasonable feelings of entitlement.

It is not about Women being in charge or being dominant (tho whatever floats your boat in private ^_^). It is not about turnabout being fair play, two wrongs don't make a right, or even cancel each other out. They just make a sense of injustice and two wrongs. It is not about women trying to be men, or dispensing with them.

To me the heart of it is about Equality of opportunity, equality before the law, freedom from coercion. Basically freedom and liberty.

I figure things like "box ticking" are basically wrong, coercive and make everything that a person achieves tarnished and suspect. It takes away from the individual. It is about the Government saying how we can, or can not, live and that it not really the government’s business to do. It should not be about asking the Government to pretty please give us what should be ours anyway, being a supplicant or a client. That is just what we wanted to be free from.

Now Some people latch on to the fact that some people who call themselves feminists are also socialists, or propose coercive solutions that basically involve force at some level. That some of them do seem to see nothing wrong in "Turnabout is fair play"
To me this is missing the point, people are more than one thing at once. They might be Christian, but they can still be to the left or right, they could be a sportsman too, or a couch potato, and be a commuter, a music lover, a Star Trek, a member of the Women’s institute, whatever. The thing is you should not go mixing all Trekkies up with all sportsmen.

And the thing about Feminism is that no one can absolutely argue it is no longer needed. You might say, “well you got the vote didn't you? You are allowed to own property. It is not legal for your husband to beat you these days…” in the west.

I say sure. But that is here and now… and mostly.

And yes, whenever things change everyone gets a bit unsure of how things are, especially if they keep changing. People feel unsure how to behave and that makes them uncomfortable. The rules of being polite and what is expected change a bit. People make mistakes.

Maybe sometimes in some ways it has gone too far the other way, in others not far enough. But! That is just here and now.

The thing is some places in the world things are not that way. In Saudi Arabia women don't have the right to drive a vehicle. In Birmingham in the UK there are Sharia Courts sitting, not as part of the British legal system yet.

But the Arch Bishop of Canterbury himself sees that as inevitable.

Sharia law is actually Islamic religious law. where is there separation of church and state in that?

As far as I can see Sharia law is pretty cruel and has an anti female bias built into the very heart of it. It says it is ok to beat a women if they disobey their husband. (Quran 4:34) I also read somewhere a woman's word only counts half as much as a man's.

If I looked I expect I could find more, stuff like women being stoned to death for being unfaithful and guys being able to divorce their wife just by telling her three times he divorces her. You can bet a woman can't do the same.

So if you ask me if there is still a need to watch out for women's rights, then I would say, absolutely. It is not a done deal, written in stone, share prices can go down as well as up.

I don’t think it is safe to take your eye off the ball, or before you know it.. well you had better hope that the guy who basically owns you and who you never had a choice about belonging to is not too mean.

Thomas Jefferson once said "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." I think he was right. But that is only half the price. You have to be willing to defend and protect it, with force if you absolutely have to.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Daring Rescue.

It was still night, the dark before dawn. I stepped off the ferry after being away for a week.

I heard and could make out movement into the forest. There was a thwack!

I ducked a little knocking an arrow myself and a deer went down thrashing not to far away. I slipped into the trees and spotted a Panther stalking another deer a way into the trees. I took it out before she could just to see if I could and to show off. I have been practicing.^_^

I got another one too almost straight after, so we had plenty of meat for the camp for a while. She came round to where I was and we introduced ourselves and swapped news and gossip, while the first rays of the sun were stealing through the leaves.

Together we got the carcasses dressed, back to camp and strung up to finish bleeding. Then we decided to slip back into the woods for a patrol to see what was about.

We went together for a while and then I spotted a Kajira (slave girl) sitting quietly on the Town battlements in the morning sun. She looked familiar, so I said I was going for a closer look and peeled away, while my companion followed the contour of the Town wall within the forest.

I got close enough that I was fairly sure the Kajira might be “Y” who I last saw as a fellow Panther. I had heard she had been captured and thought this might be a chance to rescue her.

It was quiet, hardly anyone was about, such a chance might not come so easily again..

I slipped into the river that separates the town from the forest and quietly swam across. I snuck up to the base of the wall and listened. I could hear the Kajira speaking to a free male and could tell it was “Y”.

I waited till I could hear the guy wander away and then got set with a grappling hook.

I called out, “Psst! Y…!”, so there would be no alarm from her, then threw it, setting it in the battlement and swarmed up, jumping onto the battlements. I grabbed her, she struggled. I thought it was like swimmer’s panic and feeling a need to be back in the forest real quick I (as they say) "slugged" her.

Then I grabbed her and flung us both back over the battlement before I got spotted, slowing our fall with the rope. We came down hard. I un hooked the grapple and whipped the rope round her wrists to make sure she didn’t go adrift and then ran like the wind dragging her along back to the camp.

Once we were safe back behind our palisade I untied her and we hugged. She was glad to see me (except for acquiring bruises and scratches and getting messed up) and to get to see the camp again, but not overjoyed to be rescued.

We caught up on things and she confided her master had “lit her fire”. She was in love and he was talking manumission papers. Maybe even making her his woman. So my daring rescue was.. um.. not entirely what she was hoping the day would bring.

Awsome! parade.. on.. rain.. my.. make a poular phrase out of those words.

I thought about ransoming her back to him, but could not do anything to mess her chances of being happy. So I let her out of the compound and together we ran back towards the Town.

Near the town “Y” continued on over the bridge and I peeled away keeping out of arrow shot range, spotting my earlier companion coming back from the opposite direction.

She had been busy also, finding and capturing a male slave in the forest, while I was off rescuing people who didn’t actually need rescuing.

She was planning to trade him back to the town for golds.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Saturday Photo Hunt --- One


For the theme of ONE I am using another of my heron photos, taken very recently. He was fishing in the shallow pond on our Granville Island walk, nonchalantly ignoring the nearby swimming mallard ducks and the pigeons and the passersby. Yes he did catch a fish, but naturally I missed it!

One lone heron on the hunt


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished

Mercenaries. Mercenary, the word has a negative meaning, money is all important.

Throughout much of history the quality of Mercenaries varied from highly effective to little better than marauding bands. Throughout much of history the average population had good cause to fear the military and mercenaries. Foraging often amounted to stealing and rape.

Victors sacked cities and the countryside, more murder rape and pillage and retreating armies.. you guessed it.

I know all this! So you would think that I would know better when I crossed paths with a Gorean mercenary, wouldn't you?

I returned to our camp, jogging through the forest from the ferry, as I neared camp I thought someone was somewhere nearby threshing through the forest. Then I was through our gate and into the compound and there was "F" keeping watch.

We heard crashing round near to the camp. We could tell it was one of the Mercenaries who had set up camp near the Town. "F" said she thought there was supposed to be some sort of truce with them just then, so we cautiously went to check he was ok.

He was making an awful noise and waving his sword around like to take his leg off. A huge bear of a man mostly in furs but with a crested metal hoplite style crested helmet.

"F" and I decided to be good neighbours and tried to make sure he came to no harm. We got him to sheathe his sword and peace tied it in with a neat bow and sat him down then unstrung his bow and rested it against a tree. Without his helmet he was scarred but handsome.

After a little we talked him down and he seemed calmer. "F" had to go on other business. I thought he might go to sleep and sleep it off, so I stayed near to keep watch...

A few moments after she went he attacked me with his fists, unprovoked and beat on me. I have had the same sort of training and got in some good strikes back. But the fact is he surprised me, I only came up to his chest and his arms were bigger round than my thighs.

I just couldn’t win a straight barehanded fight. If I tried I would just get beaten unconscious. I knew then that if I did that then I would wake up with collar and a “For sale” sign round my neck for my troubles. Gee thanks!

I got in one more good strike, turned and ran as fast as I could back to camp with him thundering close behind making horrible threats. I was faster and more lithe. I made it through the stockade gate a little ahead of his pursuit.

Once I was in camp he shouted threats. I told him to “just go away” maybe opined he was a brute too then he actually went off, restrung his bow and came back.

I called to him to "Go away" (and yes ^_^ it was just “go away”) but he shot arrows into the camp that hit me and threw stones at me.

I shot back at him then, once he broke whatever truce there might have been.

An ungrateful beastly mercenary with no sense of obligation.

Eventually he got tired of shooting at me and dodging my arrows, I managed to avoid falling off the stockade ^_^ and he went away.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Painted


With my Thursday walking group yesterday I came upon this mural painted on the back of the buildings for maintenance equipment in a park by the Vancouver harbour beachside. Click to enlarge for more detail.

Blue for by the sea?

It was certainly very colourful although I had no idea what the
imagery meant.

The centaur seems a bit outnumbered and outweaponed by
the king and his cohorts

The Mural was painted in June 1992 by Los Artistas Mexicanos under the auspices of the Arts in Action Society.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Earth Girl's Rough Guide to Gor

Falling for Petra

A change of pace... in case you were getting a bit punch drunk with all the skirmishes and chases.

I am becoming quite amazed by sl Gor the more I find out about it. Gor is a whole virtual counter world.

Well at least the known map is a huge continent that spans from inside Gor's verion of the arctic circle to the tropics past the equator. You saw the map.

Imagine it covering everything from Greenland to beyond the Sahara and from Cape St Vincent in Portugal to maybe at least the Urals? That looks like a single continent. Are ther others as yet undiscovered?

I have also mentioned how beautiful some of it is. The forest I live in and our caves you have seen pictures of. Well I am finding that is not just true of our little corner of Gor. The work and creativity and sheer detail and even artistry of the sl users who have created it all, every last blade of grass and brick is wonderful when you stop to think about it.

Now Panthers sometimes travel in disguise to spy and buy goods. They quietly slip into towns and cities disguised as Karjia, or Free (free women).

I wasn't quite ready to rp being a spy, but I was curious, especially when a friend mentioned some interesting places.

So I disguised myself and slipped off to explore at a quiet time of day ...and being cluck-cluck chicken I also collected an official observer's tag to wear, just in case. I didn't want to come unstuck half a continent away from help armed only with a dagger ticked into my gladiator sandals.

Far to the south and east, by the ocean, is the port city of Petra... Someone told me it was beautiful. I went to look.

Petra (πέτρα) is Greek for rock, as in petrified... turned to stone.

In rl on Earth it was "a rose-red city half as old as time" strategically placed in the desert in what is now modern Jordan where it grew wealthy on the caravan trade. Spices and Myrrh passing through...

So it was that early one morning (local time) suitably veiled and metered I stepped off a ship and down the narrow gangplank onto the docks of Petra.

The sun was casting a pink glow on the cream stones of the city. The sky was a perfect Mediterranean blue the waves were gently cresting and foaming out beyond the breakwater and lighthouse. Brightly coloured birds were wheeling in the sky.

I turned left walking along towards what I took to be harbour docks and warehouses. It reminded me strongly of old Mediterranean towns with a hint of the east. It was beautiful as it opened up before me.

There is a place to traders to deal there, but it was deserted as I walked on past. In fact there did not appear to be a sole about I had the city to myself.

I explored until I came to what I think must have been the library. It was like the rest of the place wonderful. I explored and looked in on the library, but I am not in the group so could not access any materials.

Eventually I came out on a high roof terrace where a giant chess set was laid out ready. Standing facing it looking on was a tall handsome, solidly built guy, frozen, as if by magic (he was away, but yes there is some magic in Gor).

It only seemed to add to the magic and beauty of the place that the only obvious inhabitant, possibly the ruler of the city seemed frozen in place, as if by some powerful spell. I sat on one or the benches placed nearby, I guess for people to watch the game and just enjoyed the place and the atmosphere for a moment to two.


It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

But from the rock as if by magic grown,
eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
where erst Athena held her rites divine;

Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time.