Women’s bodies, who do they belong to?

06.04.2015 - Barcelone - Antonia Utrera

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Women’s bodies, who do they belong to?
(Image by www.femen.org)

Regarding the feminine as an object. Women’s bodies, who do they belong to?

According to Silvia Federici, feminist historian and activist, in the Europe of the middle ages women still exercised undisputed control over their bodies and giving birth. It was with the advent of capitalism that new ways were introduced to supervise pregnancy and maternity and the crime of infanticide was established (when a baby was still born or died during birth, blame was attributed to the mother). It’s from then on that women lost control of their bodies and reproduction. Employment became the main source of wealth, and in this light, control over the bodies of women acquired new meaning when they were seen as production machines for manpower. Today these machines continue to be crucial for the accumulation of capital. The production of manpower continues to be controlled, with decisions made about how many workers are being produced and in what conditions.

The control of women’s reproductive capacity is also a means of controlling their sexuality. The church has contributed enormously with their attacks on feminine sexuality, they have tried to humiliate women in multiple ways, treating sexuality as an original sin and the cause of perversion in men and obliging women to hide their bodies, as if they were contaminating.

Not only in Spain, but also in the USA and other countries are there attempts to introduce laws that seriously penalise women and limit their capacity to choose if they want to have children or not. Currently the system bases its economy on technological advances; in the USA, birth has become mechanised. In some hospitals women give birth in a production line, with a set time assigned for birth, in such a way that if this time is exceeded a caesarean section is performed.

Throughout history, and despite the stages in which societies were organised in a matriarchal form, respecting the strength and power of the feminine, women have constantly suffered from violence, harassment and their value has been shortchanged, de-linked from the real.

Creative women, artists, writers, scientists, thinkers have been silenced throughout the years in favour of what is masculine.

Today we are witnessing a brutal degree of violence: 1.2 billion women in the world suffer aggression from their partners or ex-partners or sexual attacks from third parties. This is the panorama that one in every three members of the female sex confronts: 133 million women have suffered some kind of genital mutilation in 29 countries of Africa and the Near East. 700 million have been married before the age of 18. One in every 10 girls has been subject to forced intercourse or obliged to partake in other kinds of sexual activities.

This is the death knell of a patriarchal system which is wounded to its death: in all places of the world women are rising up. We are witnessing the emergence of numerous groups, associations, communities of women who are uniting to defend their bodies, their lives, their lands, their children and their food. They are profoundly spiritual women who have connected with their own power and the wisdom of their instincts which have always accompanied them; they know that the time has come to rise up and they are doing so with resolution.

email: a.utrera@hotmail.com

 

Categories: Europe, Humanism and Spirituality, Opinions
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