Arts, Activism, Awakening in Mind, Body, & Spirit

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OpEd: #SavingChase Court Case Comes to a Bad End as the Mother Signs Consent to Forced Circumcision


The topic of non-consensual cSaving Chase - Mother Consents to Son's Unnecessary Court-Ordered Circumcisionircumcision has routinely made the nightly news as the fate of a four-year-old boy and his intact penis have been the center of attention of news coverage in America and beyond.

As you know, I am a staunch body integrity activist, and in the situation of circumcision, we activists who fight to protect boys and girls from non-consensual circumcision are called intactivists. I have written about circumcision several times on this blog, and I’ve written about this case once before. I’ve even done a radio episode on the topic of male circumcision, and I’ve answered a reader’s question via my YouTube channel regarding the effects of male circumcision on women. But I was waiting to write more about this court case in the hopes that the final verdict would recognize the boy’s right to body autonomy and self-determination. Unfortunately, the result of this case is heartbreaking.

The case involves Chase, a boy caught in the middle of a battle between his two parents, Heather Hironimus and Dennis Nebus. The parents both originally agreed to the circumcision when Chase was an infant, but the mother, Hironimus, changed her mind. Fast forward past a long court battle and skipping town to avoid having the procedure done on Chase, Hironimus has finally given her consent to the unnecessary body mutilation of her son, which shocked and saddened intactivists around the world.

Heather Hironimus has been a heroine to intactivists who have been following the case, nicknamed in social media as #SavingChase. Her motherly instincts to protect her child in full alert, she fled with Chase, staying on the run to prevent her son from undergoing a cosmetic medical procedure to amputate a perfectly normal, healthy, and functionally important part of his penis. There is absolutely no reason for this (or any) circumcision to be performed. Hironimus turned herself in and was jailed May 14, 2015.

Today, she signed the “consent” form to have Chase circumcised, and by “consent”, I mean the court-coerced agreement to have her son’s sexual anatomy harmed in exchange for her freedom. If a woman had “sex” with a man because the alternative was bodily harm to her child, that is not actual “consent” — we would still call that rape. The justice system has ordered the sexual assault on a four-year-old boy, who has actually verbalized his terror at having the procedure done to his body. That means, the owner of the penis has said, “No.” Yet the court has ordered him raped anyway.

Even though Hironimus signed the “consent” to have her son mutilated, The Sun Sentinel reports Hironimus’ legal battles are not over:

Now, she’s facing a criminal charge that carries a maximum punishment of five years in state prison if convicted…. She is charged with interference of custody, a third-degree felony, from her months of hiding with the boy in a Broward County domestic violence shelter.

There is absolutely no reason to violate any baby boy’s (or girl’s) right to body autonomy and self-determination. Every child has a basic human right to decide what happens to his or her body. The lies about circumcision being better or safer are perpetuated here in the United States by medical companies and organizations that profit financially from the sale of foreskins to cosmetic companies and biotech labs.

Female circumcision is now illegal in the United States, and the same lies about removing a boy’s foreskin being safer, healthier, and looking better were all used in the propaganda to justify female genital mutilation in days gone by. In fact, the male foreskin has at least 16 known functions to protect the penis and urinary tract, and it contains cells that prevent bacterial infections and the spread of viruses. But actual science does not seem to matter when a societal and cultural “tradition” is determined to have its way.

And if you want to get into the religious argument, this boy is an American citizen, which means he has a First Amendment right to freedom from religion. Chase and his body have been used in a tug-of-war between two parents who couldn’t get their act together — I am not even sure why the father has gone to this length to have his son mutilated. At least the mother was trying to save the boy an unnecessary medical procedure that no one should be able to order except Chase himself. And Chase HAS verbalized that he does NOT want part of his penis amputated. What about the doctor who is to perform the abhorrent procedure? The Hippocratic Oath instructs to “first do no harm”. Will the doctor heed that oath when Chase is brought in kicking and screaming, “NO!”, to the procedure to which he has not consented?

As any feminist knows, body integrity and the right to choose what happens to your body is a basic human right. If you want your penile or clitoral foreskin removed, you should have the choice to do that when you are 18+. No one should have the authority to force you to have unnecessary, medically unfounded, cosmetic surgical changes to your body that will have lasting effects physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. Your body. Your choice.

In my opinion, the father, this judge, and the doctor will all be guilty of sexually assaulting a minor. And they should go to prison, not the mother.

trish

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TOD: Artists Being Targeted for “Un-American” Activities


McCarthyism House Un-American Activities Blacklisting Hollywood Artists Anticommunist Literature 1950sTopic o’ the Day: Artists Being Targeted for “Un-American” Activities

My daughter is studying McCarthyism in her history class, and they’re watching the Jim Carrey film The Majestic, which takes place during that time of blacklisting artists. I have never heard of this film before, but I will see if I can watch it online.

Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to correlate the Salem Witch Trials with the un-American activities of the assholes running the House Un-American Activities Committee. I composed my magnus opus musical, WITCHCRAZE, to correlate the Salem Witch Trials with the unconstitutional activities and un-patriotic acts of the George W. Bush & War Crimes Cronies administration. Artists are always attacked because we encourage freethinking and individualism, both of which are detrimental to those who run the establishment. And if you have never heard or seen The Cradle Will Rock, you must check it out!

Those of us on the left side of politics see the same fascist, extremist McCarthyism mentality in the Tea Party and the neo-cons of the Republican Party. And those who do pay attention to the lessons right in front of us do indeed notice that those in power keep repeating the mistakes of history for political and financial gain, all to the detriment of the people, all while demonizing those who speak out against their tyranny as “anti-Americans” and “non-patriots”.

Only time will tell if the rest of America will see through their con-game, especially as we head into the presidential election of 2016.

trish

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TV Show “Perception” Canceled Because Mental Health Issues and Good Writing Aren’t Appreciated on TV


PerceptionBecause I’m a nerd and not up on many things in popular culture (quite gladly, actually), I just found out that the TV show “Perception” was canceled. WHAT THE HELL?

The premise of the show centered around a brilliant neuroscientist Daniel Pierce, who splits his time between his duties as a college professor and as an FBI consultant, while straddling the fragile line between reality and his own battle with paranoid schizophrenia.

Another important aspect of the show was the lead female character, FBI agent Kate Moretti, who preferred advancing her career to getting married and did not want to have children. She also was a lapsed Catholic who was not enthused about getting reacquainted with the narrow-minded rules of the church. Aside from the adamantly atheist Temperance Brennan on “Bones”, not enough characters — much less, female characters — question the institutionalized misogyny and patriarchy of religion.

Which brings me to another reason the Daniel Pierce character was such a refreshing persona — he was never afraid to call “Bullshit!” on any social, cultural, political, governmental, or religious roadblock thrown in his way during an investigation.

Where “Perception” truly shined was in its portrayal of mental illness when Daniel would experience hallucinations of past loves or family members or even random people that helped him solve cases. The spot-on writing combined with the wonderful acting of Eric McCormack humanized the misunderstood condition of schizophrenia. In fact, the opener for Season 3 was one of the best-written episodes on television that I have seen IN YEARS. It was an incredible example of suspenseful and meaningful storytelling while further exploring the often-stigmatized issues of mental health.

For me personally, I appreciated that “Perception” was a mostly intellectual show that left the grisly aspect of murders to other shows that sensationalize gore and violence for ratings. And there’s the rub — I bet “Perception” was not hitting the numbers of the ratings game, and so, a great show got the axe.

As a nerd, I grew up watching the arts, literature, and science programming of channels such as A&E, TLC, Discovery, et al., which have now mostly sold-out to reality show drivel. Now, the cancellation of TNT’s “Perception” is another death knell for quality programming that stimulates the mind. There really isn’t enough mind candy on television anymore.

trish

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OpEd: Woman’s photo of menstrual blood removed from Instagram. Twice. 


Rupi Kaur - menstrual blood photos for visual rhetoric course removed from InstagramRupi Kaur has taken on social media and won. Photos from her series focusing on the natural process of being on her period were removed from Instagram, even though there was no nudity or pornographic aspect to the pictures. It was, in fact, the menstrual blood itself that led to the photos being removed by Instagram. Twice.

Instagram has since apologized for removing the photos, but I, for one, don’t believe the social media site is sorry at all. After all, Facebook is notorious for similar removal of photos that show women in the natural act of breastfeeding their babies. However, because women’s natural breasts being used for their natural purpose of nourishing infants is too icky for the patriarchal institutions of social media, breastfeeding and NIP pictures are verboten. And yet, women can always be shown in skimpy lingerie, barely-there bikinis, or sexualized in some other context, and that’s perfectly fine.

Anyone who is shocked or disgusted by Rupi Kaur’s photos is actually shocked or disgusted by the very process that continues this species. Menstruating girls and women are ridiculed on a regular basis by young males, older males, boyfriends, husbands, films, comedic TV shows, and anyone else who doesn’t understand or appreciate what we put up with for decades of our lifetimes.

Our periods begin when we are around 10 years old and happen every month until we are around 50 or 55 — or older. Twelve periods per year, multiplied by 40 to 45 years of menstruation, equals 480 to 540 periods. At an average of one week each, that means women spend 480 to 540 weeks — that is, 9.2 to 10.4 YEARS actively bleeding. Not to mention the spotting before, the spotting after, the cramps before, during, and after a period, the headaches, even nausea, the chaos and uncertainty of peri-menopause, and other side effects men never have to experience directly.

Men also never have to experience the embarrassment of bleeding through their clothes in public; always keeping a restroom within eyesight in case of a flooding emergency; sitting for a time only to stand and see a biohazard stain on the chair; or skipping going out in public all together except for necessities such as work; bleeding through the sheets at nighttime; having to spot-clean the mattress in the middle of the night when you’re half-asleep, then sleep to the side of the bed so you don’t have to sleep on a cold, wet spot; or toddling to the bathroom with your thighs clenched together because you’re afraid of a big, bloody clot sliding out of your vagina and landing on the carpet; having to clean the bathroom floor, even spot-clean the bathmat, clean the toilet seat every time you go, even clean the wall if the weight of a blood-soaked tampon garnered too much velocity when being pulled out, flinging blood outward; feeling the sticky blood stuck in your ass crack; using miles of toilet paper to make sure there’s no sign your blood was ever there. Because we wouldn’t want anyone to know that women’s bodies have a purpose other than being ogled or used by men.

Women are ridiculed for this very basic act called menstruation when it should be celebrated. Without our periods — without our uteruses, humanity would end.

Women put up with a lot just being female. Societal ridicule and male-dominated institutions do not need to add to the shame already heaped on women just for being women. So I congratulate Rupi Kaur for standing up for herself and for all girls and women. See more of her pictures and read her story on her website.

trish

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NEWS: Jon Stewart to Exit “The Daily Show”, Leaving Liberals in Mourning


Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on Comedy CentralI finally got to see Jon Stewart’s announcement that he’s leaving “The Daily Show”. This is very sad for all of us who appreciate the amazing coverage he provides to politics. Stewart’s main audience is the bulk of 18 to 34 year olds and most progressive liberals in every age-bracket, while his arch-nemesis, FOX News (a.k.a. FAUX News) consistently feeds the fears of the 68+ crowd. I can only hope Stewart will change his mind and stick it out until the 2016 POTUS elections.

I remember the 2008 presidential election process. That was an emotional election cycle because, for the first time in my life, I was able to vote for a woman in the primary to have the chance to become the President of the United States. As I left the elementary school where I voted, I remember crying out of sheer amazement at how far women had come just by having Hillary Clinton on the ballot. She didn’t win the primary, but when it came time to vote in the main election that November, I voted for a black man, Barack Obama, another historical first for me and so many others who value justice, equality, human rights, and other progressive liberal ideals.

I watched Comedy Central’s 2008 election coverage online, with Stewart and Stephen Colbert at the anchor desk. It was so close. And I cried with happiness and amazement right along with Jon Stewart when Obama was elected.

I watched online during the 2012 POTUS elections as well. The presidential debates were harrowing as Romney seemed to win people’s favor … until his and his wife’s true colors came shining through with various comments directed at “you people” and his “binders of women”. Once again, Obama won. Thank the gods.

I cannot imagine Jon Stewart not being there when Hillary or Bernie is elected President of the United States in 2016. I hope he reconsiders when he is leaving. The progressive liberals need him. No one will be able to fill Jon Stewart’s shoes.

Thank you, Jon, for so many years of passionate work.

trish

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