Friday, July 15, 2011

Declaration by AWAN members Cherry Smiley and Fay Blaney at Women's Worlds, 6 July 2011 ECD

image is from here

Non-Profit Organization · Vancouver, BC, Coast Salish Territories

All that follows was found on Facebook. I post this in alliance with and support for AWAN, Cherry Smiley, and Fay Blaney. Thank you for all your hard work!

Declaration presented by AWAN Members Cherry Smiley & Fay Blaney at Women's Worlds 2011, July 6, 2011

by Aboriginal Women's Action Network on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 8:47pm
As Indigenous women living on occupied territories now known as Canada, who have survived over 500 years of attempted genocide, we declare:

1. We, Indigenous women, will not allow anyone or anything to break the ties that bind us. Despite the  impacts of colonialism - the racism, sexism, poverty and violence that pervade our lives and communities, working to divide us both inside and out - we are profoundly aware of our connected ness to each other as women, to our ancestors, and to our lands. No man, men, or external force will ever ultimately sever these ties.

2. Our analysis of prostitution as a form of violence against women and as a system of colonialism is the result of over five centuries of resistance stories, stories told to us by our Grandmothers, who have retold the stories of their Grandmothers, who have retold the stories of their Grandmothers. This analysis is based on our own life experiences, on the life experiences of our mothers, our sisters, and all our relations. It is based on theory and knowledge constructed collectively by Indigenous women.

3. Purposeful legal tolerance of prostitution and pornography, as with the Indian Act and the residential school system, was and is an external colonial system imposed on Indigenous women and girls in continued attempts to harm and destroy us.

4. We, Indigenous women, reject the racist assumption that prostitution was ever part of our traditional practices. We denounce the idea that we are objects to be bought and sold.

5. We, Indigenous women, reject the capitalism that has resulted in the theft and destruction of our homelands and our environment. We reject the International capitalism and greed that also drives the “sex industry”, an industry that regards Indigenous women and girls as objects to be sold at the highest price, should we survive the transaction. We reject the colonial terminology of “sex work”, as it hides the racist, sexist, and classist realities of prostitution. “Sex work” masks the violence that our sisters struggle against on a daily basis and repackages that violence as a form of freely chosen labour.

6. We, Indigenous women, reject the imposition of patriarchy, which has had devastating and deadly effects for Indigenous women and girls. We face male violence within our own families and communities, and often we are pushed out of these very communities seeking safety. We are forced to migrate into cities where we continue to face physical, emotional, and sexual violence at the hands of men, including at the hands of johns, pimps, brothel owners, and traffickers. We demand a return to our traditional values that place women and girls in high esteem.

7. The Nordic model of state policy will give Indigenous women and girls the best chance of not only survival, but life. This model includes law reform that criminalizes the male demand for paid sex and decriminalizes prostituted women, offers comprehensive social programs to all women and girls, and educates the public about prostitution as a form of male violence against women and girls.  We, Indigenous women, believe this model encourages true social change that works in our interest.

8. We, Indigenous women, reject the total decriminalization and/or legalization of prostitution as an acceptable solution to sexual violence. The total decriminalization and/or legalization of prostitution only encourages the racist and deadly male demand for access to the bodies of women and girls, with Indigenous women and girls being disproportionately targeted.

9. We, Indigenous women, reject the patriarchal, colonial, and capitalist male perception that our sole worth is as sexual objects. We recognize that prostitution and pornography, incest, physical and sexual assault, and murder exist on a continuum of male violence and hatred toward Indigenous women and girls. The tragic outcome of that hatred is the over 580 documented cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

10. We, Indigenous women and girls, have survived over 500 years of attacks on our cultures, our bodies, our lands, and our lives.  We refuse to abandon our future generations to the colonial sexist violence that is prostitution and we demand an immediate end to the male demand for paid sex.

*All Indigenous Women - First Nations, Inuit, Metis - who are in agreement with this Declaration are invited to sign on as individual endorsers or organizations.  You can contact us at to do so.*

**Update: Due to demand we are compiling a solidarity list for non native women and orgs to sign in support of the declaration**

To Hugh Hefner: Old Pimps Don't Die, You Just Keep on Pimping
photo of Hugh Hefner with three young extremely white women is from here
Above, Hugh demonstrates, in action, his racist, heterosexist, misogynist values. He surrounds himself only with the most narrow understanding of female people. Apparently, if you're not Aryan-looking and made up in CRAP-loaded ways, he doesn't want to know you. And even if you are Aryan-looking and made up in CRAP-loaded ways, he doesn't want to know you, he wants to sexually exploit and domineeringly control you.

If you're looking for ageist jokes about an elderly man's penis and Viagra, you've come to the wrong place. This post is about the alleged humanity of Hugh Hefner, not his age or genital functioning.

As Mark Twain said about reports of his demise, rumors of Hugh Hefner's death recently have been greatly exaggerated. What cannot be exaggerated is the extent to which Hugh, over more than half a century, has made US society a far more classist-racist-misogynist society, promoting ideals of women's beauty that has been so horrifically harmful that he ought to be charged with crimes against humanity—the humanity of women, and girls.

To an alarming number of white men, he is seen as a hero; to liberals he is also seen as a fighter of civil liberties and human rights—claims of his humane humanity have also been greatly exaggerated. Not too long ago his soon-to-be wife, Crystal Harris made what some viewed as a surprising decision: she elected to not wed and also dump Hugh Hefner. If anyone doubts the wisdom to be found in women who appear to be what Hugh insists women must look like, let it be noted that before she signed away her rights to self-possession, she got the hell away from this controlling, domineering, manipulative, oppressive play-prick. Hugh is to human rights what B.P. is to environmentalism and what General Petraeus is to the Peace Movement.

On Piers Morgan Tonight, last night, he put forth the nonsense that we can't really know why she dumped him. We can: he was an oppressive, misogynist prick. No, she's not likely to say that on television or in print media. He thinks a case can be made for them not having much in common intellectually. Perhaps: while a successful business-man, he's not especially smart at relationships or anything else that doesn't have to do with his own ego, his compulsively racist-sexist-heterosexist value system, and the bank accounts he has due to profiting off of those values-in-action. Hugh isn't just a pimp; he's also a filthy white supremacist, and an anti-Lesbian activist, and a virulent misogynist.

Hugh is not a lonely man; he makes sure his economic clout and social stature keep women around—women who would not likely know life without economic woes without him. I doubt they are anything resembling economically free while living under his roof—by many accounts he is so controlling that he wouldn't let anyone else co-own his money, not even a spouse.

He brought with him to the program, to wait for him backstage, two “new loves”--both blond, both young--briefly referred to by only their first names as if they were his daughters: one woman has been a girlfriend for a couple of years. Hugh made polyamory into a lifestyle well before it took off in progressive queer community. His brand of polyamory is insistently WHM supremacist. So when I say things like “polyamory” and “monogamy”, what I mean is possession and oligarchy.

Hugh believes liberalism is a solidly good ideal. But when it comes to him hoarding male supremacist power he's entirely conservative.

He says he wanted to give Crystal “what she wanted” by marrying her, but if she wanted freedom and economic independence, he wasn't likely to support her having either. He speculates she had another man, as if this is a reason to not marry—clearly for Hugh it's not a reason—he's never been monogamous. He says “I never played shady. I've always been who I am.” Yes, a pimp. But I doubt he ever tells anyone that's exactly what he is—to the core of his being. Nothing he's done with his life was not done to serve himself.

Hugh and Piers sat together speaking about politics, the kind organised around elections, not erections. Piers remarked: “Like everyone, I'm sure you've been through a very tough time in the last couple of years.” Huh? Right, Piers: most folks live in their own mansion, have plenty of access to health care, and have enough social-sexual capital to sell women and his own image.

Hugh got in a xenophobic slam against China's economic power, and at least Piers reminded him capitalist China's values are largely [US] American. What could Hugh say: he agreed.

He said he didn't think Casey Anthony acted like “an innocent person”; I'd argue it takes one to know one. I don't mean that Hugh is a murderer of children. I mean he has done gross harm to children—far more children than Casey Anthony ever could. Yet she will continue to be demonised as evil, while he got a film made about him proclaiming him a great human rights activist. This could only be true—well it could never be true—but it could only be proposed as possible truth if we pretend girls and women are not human deserving of the human rights fought for by groups like Amnesty International—not that they have a great record on fighting for rights for women against patriarchal atrocities. He once refused to do a pictorial of Vanessa Williams, a former Miss America, because he knew it would ruin her career. He pretends to actually care about women by stating insincere things:
"They clearly weren't authorized (by Williams) and because they would be the source of considerable embarrassment to her, we decided not to publish them," Hefner told PEOPLE in 1984. [source: here]
He hasn't given enough thought to how perpetuating heteroracist-sexist standards of exploitative femininity harms Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous women and girls, I guess--as well as white women and girls. When asked if he thought of Playboy as exploitive, he unsurprisingly, if bewilderingly, said “I don't”. Fortunately Piers reminded Hugh he has his own moral compass on such things. Well, a pimp's moral compass that is not quite only his own. Hugh has a new show, The Playboy Club, coming onto US television this fall; it will likely attempt to airbrush or Photoshop the heterosexism and racist-misogyny of the time and re-present them as forms of liberation for young blond white het non-Jewish, non-Muslim women. The program Mad Men deals with the same era and economic culture, but has reportedly attempted to show sexism as sexism, not freedom.

At the end of the show, Piers misogynistically verbally welcomed Hugh to go off-stage to the “comforting bosoms” of his two girlfriends, who had been shown a few times through the show, never allowed to speak. Hugh chuckled in a unsurprisingly creepy way—these are women who are not yet old enough to be the average age of his own children.