Vilma Reynoso

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Threats and Misogyny (Dislike of, Contempt for, or Ingrained Prejudice Against Women)

We live in a cruel world. But, you are already know that, right?

Today, I felt the nudge to pass on someone else’s blog article not only in hopes of bringing attention to the embedded and horrific abuse pointed out by the article’s author (and victim), but in hopes of encouraging you (especially if you are a woman) to stand up, speak up and never stop asking for change.  I am forwarding this blog because what happened to this women is WRONG, and the neanderthal-istic (yes, I concocted a word) and barbaric thinking that is the culprit of this misogyny needs to end. It needed to end a long time ago.

To be honest, this blog post left me feeling pretty numb. I wanted to retrieve into my own cocoon and never again share a word on social media (or out in the “real” world). However, I soon realized that giving into that fear will never change a much troubled world. This article says it all, and so without further ado, here it is: Is That a Threat? The Slippery Slope From Disagreement to Harassment.

Let me  know what you think.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being

 


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February Book Review: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Vagina MonologuesThe Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler is a poignant and witty collection of informal interviews, stories and experiences related by women from all different walks of life celebrating female sexuality and bringing to light sexual violence against women. The book is hilarious, entertaining, poetic, at times jaw-dropping and admonishing. As an unexpected success, The Vagina Monologues has evolved into a play that is performed in cities across America and in hundreds of college campuses. Although this compilation of stories grew to become very successful performances nationwide, Eve Ensler admits that the idea of its success is not something she even imagined. In her words,” I was never a performer. It did not occur to me that I was actually performing the Vagina Monologues until I had been doing it for about three years. Before this point, I felt merely as if I were telling very personal stories that had been generously told to me. I felt strangely and at times, fiercely about these women and their stories.”

The brilliant winner of the Obie Award, The Vagina Monologues, has inspired the creation of V-day, a dynamic grassroots movement to stop violence against women worldwide. V-day creates awareness through events and the media and also raises funds (over $90 million so far) to support organizations working to ensure the safety of women everywhere. A big rally is held every Valentine’s day in cities worldwide. The vision of V-day is a civilization where women live in freedom and safety. V-day will continue until all the violence ends. When it does end, V-day will be renamed, “Victory Day.”

I recommend The Vagina Monologues to men or women in search of understanding female sexuality, the plight of women, and the unnecessary violence perpetuated towards women. I especially recommend this piece of literature to those who are afraid to read this book (perhaps by the title alone you have preconceived notions about the book; if that is the case, you especially need to read it or view a performance). And, of course, I recommend this book to the feminist or student exploring feminist politics and women’s issues. You will not be disappointed!

The Vagina Monologues will be performed in Denver at the Mercury Café on February 25th, 26th and 28th. Tickets are only $10.00. The volunteer actresses do not receive compensation and all money is raised for organziations helping to end violence against women.

Vagina M Performances

To purchase your seat, please visit: EventBrite.com.

A bit about the author, Eve Ensler:Eve ensler

Eve Ensler is a stand-alone visionary. She is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright. In addition to The Vagina Monologues, her theatrical works include, but are not limited to: Necessary Targets and The Good Bodies. She is author of Insecure at last, a political memoir, and I am an Emotional Creature, a New York Times best-seller, and In the Body of the World, her latest brilliant work.

Eve Ensler has won numerous awards for her plays and has been given two honorary doctorates. Eve’s mission is to end all violence towards women and girls worldwide. To join Eve in her mission, to learn more about this incredible woman, or to purchase a copy of The Vagina Monologues, visit her website, EveEnsler.org.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso


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Want to Know What is Truly Creepy on Halloween?

It’s that time of year when all the goblins and ghosts and scary monsters come out of their holes. Some are utterly frightening and some are mildly irritating. It’s all pretty creepy, if you ask me. But, what monsters am I referring to? Creepy men (yes, this blog is about creepy men, but stay with me here). Creepy men who demean, stalk and harass women. That is what is truly creepy. So, on this day we call Halloween and the last day of October, Domestic Violence Month, I will deal with an important and often misunderstood topic related to domestic violence and abuse: Harassment.

Street Harassment, HollaBack

Harassment is defined as the act of “systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group; or, the act or an instance of disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly.” There are many types of harassment such as (but not limited to): psychological, sexual, gender, workplace, religious, cultural, racial and street. I will discuss street harassment by men towards women in this blog.

I came across the following video of an actress hired by a nonprofit called Hollaback, an organization who is working to end street harassment. She was hired to walk the streets of New York City as an experiment. Please watch this short clip before reading on.

The real motive of street harassment is intimidation. It is to make the target scared or uncomfortable and to make the harasser feel powerful. With worldwide local activists, Hollaback’s goal and mission is to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces. Their vision is a world where street harassment is not tolerated and everyone enjoys access to public areas without intimidation.

According to HollaBack,

  • If you’ve been harassed, you’re not alone.
  • Street harassment is used to exert control over others by making them feel scared or uncomfortable. It is much more than individuals just acting inappropriately.
  • There are street harassment “hotspots” in most cities often centered around high pedestrian traffic areas.

If a woman walking down the street does not want to be spoken to or bothered, it is her right. If I am walking down the street minding my own business, I am not looking to meet men, say hello to everyone, smile at everyone, or have a conversation. I am only focused on getting from point A to point B. If I were looking for a conversation or had the desire to talk to a man, I would go to a bar, a place where people socialize or a join an online dating service. Cat calls, stupid remarks, telling me I have a nice ass, staring me down, whistling, making a disparaging comment, and/or following me is harassment. It is harassment because it is behavior that is NOT wanted and is degrading. If it is not wanted and continues, it is not only harassment, it is creepy.

The above video is only an example of what happens to women worldwide. Women are harassed in malls, on the subway, at work, at home, at the doctor’s office, at the coffee shop, at the grocery store, on the bus, at the airport, at the post office, and the list goes on!  Why does this happen? It happens because it is allowed, and it is not only accepted behavior by both men and women, but it is also ignored and made light of (I am sure some of you reading this are thinking I am going overboard with this). It is the result of patriarchy: the belief that woman is created for man and is or is to be the possession of man. Street harassment of women also occurs because of a lack of healthy boundaries and respect for one’s self and others. Men who harass cannot see the woman as a “person;” they only see another “chick” to be conquered. Until this mentality and behavior changes, nothing will improve for women and society in general.

As a woman, it is sometimes frightening for me to walk down the street in broad daylight (much less in the evening), alone, without having to be on guard every moment. I have to have eyes on the back of my head (How is that for Halloween-ish?) and make sure no one follows me, sneaks up behind me, knows where my car is, tries to attack me or rob me. If a man talks to me, he could be my rapist. This is how I have to think based on past experience, and as is demonstrated by this video above. This is how most women have to think when walking alone in order to best protect themselves. I do not live in constant fear of men, but I have learned to be weary of them when out alone and feel that I need to always be on guard. So, when men approach women who are waking on the street (no matter what they say to them), it feels creepy. And, if a man should follow a woman and/or keep bothering her, it is especially frightening.

So, on this Halloween, I challenge you to think about what is truly “creepy.” If you are a man, I encourage you to see women as human beings and not as your entitlement, someone to conquer, or a piece of meat. Women DO NOT have to talk to you, smile at you, give you the time of day, acknowledge your statements (especially if demeaning), smiles or gestures if they do not wish to do so. As a matter of fact, no one is obligated to respond to anyone. We all have the freedom NOT to respond. If you are a man reading this, I encourage you to think about what you were programmed, taught or indoctrinated to think with regard to women. I challenge you to look at yourself and alter your behavior (if harassing) to make this world a kinder and gentler place. I challenge you to stop cat-calling women or viewing them as objects. The next time you see a woman walking alone on a busy or empty street, please remember this blog and act accordingly.

As a woman, I have been “creeped-out” in one way or another, by men, in various circumstances throughout my life. If you have a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, a mother or a sister, I can guarantee that they, too, have been “creeped out” at some point in their lives.  As a woman who has had to deal with this type of harassment my entire life, this blog was very hard for me to write. My intention is not to disparage men; it is to bring this topic into the open in hopes of shedding some light into how it feels for women in a man’s world and to inspire respectful behavior from men. Please take it as that.

The creepiness, whether on Halloween or not, must end.

To learn more about street harassment or to get involved in ending the violence, please visit iHollaback.org.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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October Book Review: Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Controlling Men

Domestic Violence

This month we become aware of what occurs behind closed doors that is rampant in our society: domestic violence. October, the month of pumpkin lattes and autumn-rich colors, is also deemed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a subject of interest and experience, I have decided to feature Lundy Bancroft’s, Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, as October’s book review.

What is domestic violence and why should you care?

According to Wikipedia, “Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context [in order to control the other], such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner. Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationship [and can take] a number of forms including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse that results in disfigurement or death. Globally, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation. Domestic violence often occurs because the perpetrator believes that abuse is justified and acceptable.”

A growing epidemic, domestic violence affects individuals in every community worldwide regardless of age, economic status, education level, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or gender. It has been passed on from generation to generation, and if not eradicated, it will continue to destroy equality, freedom and peace, all of which, as inhabitants of this planet, we all seek and deserve.

Lundy BancroftAs a very informative and compelling read, Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Bancroft explains why men specifically choose to control and abuse women. He begins by thoroughly explaining the abusive mindset, followed by the behavior of abusive men in relationships and in the world, and concludes with how we can attain a violence-free world. His book covers early warning signs of abusive relationships, ten abusive personality types, the role of drugs and alcohol in the abusive relationship, what you can actually fix and what you cannot, and how to escape from an abusive relationship.  If you are a woman who believes you are in an abusive relationship, or you have experienced violence in a past relationship, this book will teach you the truth about why abuse occurs and what you can do to protect yourself.

A bit about the author, Lundy Brancroft:

Lundy Bancroft has spent over twenty-five years specializing in domestic violence and working with abusive men. He is also the former co-director of Emerge, the nations for first program for men who abuse women and teaches state and judicial agencies in how to best help and handle abusive men. In addition to Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Mr. Bancroft has written other books including: When Dad Hurts Mom, The Batterer as Parent and Should I Stay or Should I Go?

To learn more about Lundy Bancroft or to purchase a copy of Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, please visit: Lundybancroft.com.

To learn more about Domestic Violence, please read: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Fact Sheets.

To learn more about abuse, control and abusive relationships, or if you are in an abusive situation and are in need of help, please reach out to a trained counselor 24/7 at The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso

 

 

 


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September Book Review: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen

“The goal of abusive conduct is to destabilize the other person and make them doubt themselves and others.” – Marie-France Hirigoyen

Stalking the Soul

The (destructive) art of making someone doubt themselves is only the beginning of emotional abuse. If a person is able to make another doubt what they just witnessed, heard, or felt, then that person has just gained control over the other, and thus, committed the very misunderstood but definitely widespread and deliberate act of emotional abuse. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. The intent of many abusers is to systematically confuse their victims with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim’s fears and self-doubts. The end result is an erosion of the soul or spirit.

Marie-France Hirigoyen in Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity brilliantly and clearly demonstrates the dynamics of emotional abuse. Her book identifies emotional abuse in couples, in families, and in the workplace. She explains thoroughly what emotional abuse is, what an abusive relationship is, the consequences of living with abuse, and ends her book with practical advice on how to handle this type of abuse. What I especially found fascinating about Hirigoyen’s book are the several dialogues she included between partners in an emotionally abusive relationship. I found this part of her book very poignant.  I recognized my past abusive relationship in these dialogues and realized how damaging the process of control is and how it almost destroyed me.

As one the best books I have read on the subject of abuse, I highly recommend Dr. Hirigoyen’s, Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity to anyone who seeks to learn what emotional abuse is, or anyone who wants to identify if their current relationships are abusive. You will not be disappointed!

A bit about the author, Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen:

Ms. Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and psychotherapist specializing in mobbing, a form of bullying. Marie-France Hirigoyen does research on psychological violence and has published several books since 1998. In 1999, she participated in creating a law against workplace harassment, which led to a debate about workplace abuse in France. To learn more about Marie-France Hirigoyen, visit her website: Marie-France Hirigoyen (Please note it is in French).

To purchase a copy of Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen, please visit Amazon.

Lastly and most importantly, if you think you are in an abusive relationship, or you feel that something is not quite right in your relationship, the chances are high that you are being abused. Seek help. It is there and free for you. Contact The Crisis Center or call 888-247-7472. Stop the slow and poisonous erosion of your identity now.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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July Book Review: Woe to the Women the Bible Tells Me So: The Bible, Female Sexuality & the Law by Annie Laurie Gaylor

“It is the contempt that the [biblical] canon and civil law alike express for women that has multiplied their hardships and intensified for man’s desire to hold them in subjection.”  – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Woe to the Woman, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Vilma Reynoso

I never really considered myself a feminist: a person who advocates or supports the rights and equality of women, until the moment I heard my father tell my mother in a demeaning tone that I would never graduate from college. The belief that my father held bothered me for decades and influenced my (sometimes disastrous) decisions I made as a woman. Over the years, I have realized that he was wrong, not only about me, but about women in general. I have come to believe that I am capable and have the right, as a woman and a human being, to live my life as I choose. I chose to graduate from college; not only did I graduate, but I graduated summa cum laude. Now, as a writer and as a somewhat prolific reader, here is a short summary of my latest read:

Woe to the Women the Bible Tells Me So: The Bible, Female Sexuality & The Law by Annie Laurie Gaylor is a compilation of the many biblical references and stories portraying women, as the author states, “as either superfluous or as diabolical.” In the bible, women are deemed the “cause of all sin that entered the world” and are instruments and instigators of evil. Gaylor argues that the bible is a handbook for the subjugation of women. The first part of this book summarizes the different areas of oppression of women in the bible, and the second part is a thorough compilation of biblical scriptures to support her assertions that the bible denigrates and subjects women to men.

Woe to the Women the Bible Tells Me So: The Bible, Female Sexuality & the Law examines biblical teachings about women’s “nature,” prostitution, sexual assault and incest, so-called “uncleanliness,” motherhood, divorce, adultery, grooming, abortion and more. Annie Laurie Gaylor makes apparent the biblical stories of women who are bought and sold, used as commodities, made to become wives with no rights, who are raped, mutilated, stoned to death, and makes apparent the story of a woman who was later chopped into pieces after she had died from enduring a gang-rape all night long. (Yes, this is all in the bible.)

As a product of a religious Catholic and Christian upbringing, this book was rather shocking for me to read. I had never been thoroughly exposed to the undeniable violence towards women in the bible, and to the contemptuous belief that women are instruments of evil whose very existence is to be subject to men, until I was exposed to Annie Laurie Gaylor’s book. There is no possible way to misinterpret the atrocities that are explicit in the bible as shown by Gaylor that deny human dignity to women. My conclusion is that the only way to do so would be to deny what is explicit in scripture, and I cannot do that. My view of the bible, therefore, has forever changed.

A bit about the author, Annie Laurie Gaylor:

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Annie Laurie Gaylor, along with her mother, is founder of Freedom from Religion Foundation, the largest national association of free-thinkers working to protect the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. She is editor of Freethought Today, the foundation’s newspaper, and has a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Gaylor is also the recipient of the 2010 Humanist Heroine award by the American Humanist Association. To learn more about Annie Laurie Gaylor, please visit Freedom from Religion Foundation.

To purchase a copy of Woe to the Women the Bible Tells Me So: The Bible, Female Sexuality& the Law by Annie Laurie Gaylor, visit: Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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February Book Review: In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler

February Featured Book, In the Body of the World

As a lifetime lover and student of literature and as an author myself, there are no words to describe Eve Ensler’s absolutely stunning, courageous and profound book, In the Body of the World It is nothing less than a 21st century original masterpiece! Ensler’s prose is so poignant, original and raw; it will ignite the passion and fire in your own body and emotions. Her metaphors left me speechless, her story left me breathless, and her courage is incredible. This is by far the best-written memoir I have ever read! There are no words to explain the magnificence of this book!

In the Body of the World is a story about the author, Eve Ensler’s, battle and healing from very advanced uterine cancer. Using rich and original metaphors that leave you wanting more, Ensler combines her experience of being sexually abused as a child by her father, growing up with a distant, non-protective mother, her fight with cancer, her love and commitment to the ending of the genocide and brutal rape of millions of women in the Congo, and her disconnection to mother Earth to produce a very inspiring memoir. She brilliantly describes her dissociation from her emotions due to her tumultuous childhood and reconnects with her body, mind, emotions and soul as she heals from cancer. She writes, “Because I did not, could not, inhabit my body or the earth, I could not feel or know their pain.” The metaphorical weaving of this text is nothing less than first rate!

A bit about the author, Eve Ensler:

Eve Ensler is a visionary. She is an international bestselling author and an award-winning playwright. Her theatrical works include but are not limited to: The Vagina Monologues, Necessary Targets and The Good Bodies. She is author of Insecure at Last, a political memoir, and I am an Emotional Creature, a New York Times best-seller, which she has adapted for the stage as Emotional Creature.

Ensler is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls that occurs in various cities worldwide every Feb 14th, and which has raised over $90 million for local groups and activists and inspired the global action, “One Billion Rising.” Eve Ensler has won numerous awards for her plays and has been given two honorary doctorates.  Eve’s mission is to end all violence towards women and girls worldwide. To join Eve in her mission or to learn more about this incredible woman, visit her website, EveEnsler.org, or join her on V-Day, Feb 14th, every year, until all violence ends.

In the Body of the World is her latest book. To purchase a copy, visit her website: EveEnsler.org.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com. Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso