During the coronavirus pandemic, pediatric endocrinologists saw a new surge of referrals for girls with early puberty—the number of these referrals doubled or even tripled during the lockdown periods of 2020, recent studies show.
”In the very beginning of her life, the girl-child has direct access to the spirit of life. It is as near to her as the breath that fills her. And it connects her to everything. She is not alone. Her spirit is one with the spirit of her beloved grandmother, her favorite rock, tree, and star. She develops her own methods for contacting the spirit in all things.
She climbs a tree and sits in its branches, listening. She loves the woods and listens there too. She has a special friend—a rock. She gives it a name and eats her lunch with it whenever she can. She keeps the window open next to her bed even on the coldest of nights. She loves the fresh air on her face. She pulls the covers tight around her chin and listens to the mysterious night sky.
She believes that her grandmother is present even though everyone else says she is dead. Each night, she drapes the curtain over her shoulders for privacy, looks out the window near her bed, listens for Grandma and then says silent prayers to her.
Her imagination is free for a time. She does not need priest or teacher to describe god to her. Spirit erupts spontaneously in colorful and unique expressions. God is Grandma, the twinkling evening star, the gentle breeze that washes across her face, the peaceful quiet darkness after everyone has fallen asleep, and all the colors of the rainbow. And because she is a girl, her experience and expression of spirit is uniquely feminine. The spirit of the universe pulsates through her. She is full of herself.
Eventually the girl-child will turn away from the Spirit-filled One. Her original spirituality will become confined within the acceptable lines of religion. She will be taught the right way to imagine and name god. “He” will be mediated to her through words, images, stories, and myths shaped, written, and spoken by men. She will adopt the god she is given. It is too dangerous to rebel. If she dares to venture out of the lines by communing with the spirit of a tree, the mysterious night sky, or her grandma, she will be labeled heretic, backslide, or witch. She is told:
Prideful One, your grandma is not god; neither is your favorite star or rock. God has only one name and face. You shall have no gods before him. God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He is found in the church, heavens, and holy book, not in you. God is the god of the fathers and sons; the daughters have no say in the matter. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be.
The Spirit-Filled One falls asleep. Occasionally she awakens to remind the girl-childturned-woman of what she once knew. These periodic reminders are painful. The woman fills her life with distractions so she will not hear the quiet inner voice, calling her to return home. Years later, new teachers enter the woman’s life—a therapist, a self-help group, a support circle, a beloved friend, or perhaps this workbook. They remind her of what she once knew:
Spirit-filled One, your grandma is god and so are your favorite star and rock. God has many names and many faces. God is Mother, Daughter, and Wise Old Crone. She is found in your mothers, in your daughters, and in you. She is Mother of all Living and blessed are her daughters. You are girl-woman made in her image. The spirit of the universe pulsates through you.” -Patricia Lynn Reilly, A Deeper Wisdom, The 12 Steps from a Woman’s Perspective
Painting by Helena Nelson Reed
“Rather than fighting for every woman’s right to feel beautiful, I would like to see the return of a kind of feminism that tells women and girls everywhere that maybe it’s all right not to be pretty and perfectly well behaved. That maybe women who are plain, or large, or old, or differently abled, or who simply don’t give a damn what they look like because they’re too busy saving the world or rearranging their sock drawer, have as much right to take up space as anyone else.
I think if we want to take care of the next generation of girls we should reassure them that power, strength and character are more important than beauty and always will be, and that even if they aren’t thin and pretty, they are still worthy of respect. That feeling is the birthright of men everywhere. It’s about time we claimed it for ourselves.” -Laurie Penny
Painting by Leticia Banegas
A must-read. Yes, everyone.
“The dude on Twitter says: “I was having sex with my girlfriend when she started her period, I dumped that bitch immediately.”
Dear nameless dummy on Twitter:
You’re the reason my daughter cried funeral tears when she started her period. The sudden grief all young girls feel after the matriculation from childhood,
And the induction into a reality that they don’t have to negotiate,
You and your disdain for what a woman’s body can do.
Herein begins an anatomy lesson infused with feminist politics
Because I hate you.
There is a thing called the uterus.
It sheds itself every 28 days or so, or in my case every 23 days,
I’ve always been a rule breaker.
That’s the anatomy part of it, I digress.
The feminist politic part, is that women know how to let things go,
How to let a dying thing leave the body,
How to become new, how to regenerate,
How to wax and wane, not unlike the moon and tides,
Both of which influence how you behave, I digress.
Women have vaginas that can speak to each other,
And by this I mean, when we’re with our friends, our sisters, our mothers,
Our menstrual cycles will actually sync the fuck up.
My own cervix is mad influential,
Everybody I love knows how to bleed with me.
Hold on to that, there’s a metaphor in it.
Hold on to that.
But when your mother carried you,
The ocean in her belly is what made you buoyant, made you possible.
You had it under your tongue when you burst through her skin,
Wet and panting from the heat of her body,
The body whose machinery you now mock on social media,
That body, wrapped you in everything that was miraculous about,
And then sung you lullabies laced in platelets,
Without which you wouldn’t have no Twitter account at all motherfucker.
See, it’s possible that we know the world better
Because of the blood that visits some of us.
It interrupts our favorite white skirts,
And shows up at dinner parties unannounced,
Blood will do that, period.
It will come when you are not prepared for it;
Blood does that, period.
Blood is the biggest siren, and we understand that blood misbehaves,
It does not wait for a hand signal, or a welcome sign above the door.
And when you deal in blood over and over again like we do,
When it keeps returning to you, well, that makes you a warrior.
And while all good generals know not to discuss battle plans with the enemy,
Let me say this to you, dummy on Twitter;
If there’s any balance in the universe at all,
You’re going to be blessed with daughters.
Etymologically, bless means to make bleed.
See, now it’s a lesson in linguistics.
In other words, blood speaks, that’s the message, stay with me.
See, your daughters will teach you what all men must one day come to know, That women, made of moonlight magic and macabre,
Will make you know the blood.
We’re going to get it all over the sheets and car seats,
We’re going to do that.
We’re going to introduce you to our insides, period
And if you are as unprepared as we sometimes are,
It will get all over you and leave a forever stain.
So to my daughter:
Should any fool mishandle that wild geography of your body,
How it rides a red running current like any good wolf or witch,
Well then just bleed, boo.
Get that blood a biblical name, something of stone and mortar.
Name it after Eve’s first rebellion in that garden,
Name it after the last little girl to have her genitals mutilated in Kinshasa,
That was this morning.
Give it as many syllables as there are unreported rape cases.
Name the blood something holy,
Something mighty, something unlanguageable,
Something in hieroglyphs,
Something that sounds like the end of the world.
Name it for the war between your legs,
And for the women who will not be nameless here.
Just bleed anyhow,
Spill your impossible scripture all over the good furniture.
Bleed and bleed and bleed on everything he loves,
~ Dominique Christina, ‘The Period Poem’
Art by Helen Claira Burt
A rite of passage is complicated by the specter of climate change in coastal Colombia.
— Read on www.theatlantic.com/video/index/605146/dulce/
Too much buried horror history , with held …
Hellstorm: The Rape and Mass Murder of German Women after WWII – Archives | Veterans Today
— Read on www.veteranstodayarchives.com/2014/11/26/hellstorm-book-review/