The Lysistrata Movement

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Ah, Aristophanes! How well you understood the martial excesses of your times, and how delightfully did you sketch the true power that need only assert itself in the face of patriarchal ambitions to grasp its ultimate power in this world.

For twenty-five long years during the last of the fifth century b.c.e. the Athenian democracy fought the Spartan oligarchy over the shape and nature of the ancient world. The endless war sucked away the wealth and strength – and sons – of the city-states and territories and spread civil strife throughout the Aegean region. Originally staged in Athens in 411 b.c.e. – seven years before the end of the war – Aristophanes’ brilliant and funny Lysistrata was so popular it still serves as a humorous reminder nearly 2500 years later that the ultimate power of life and continuance, the power men most fear above all things, belongs to women.

Most of us are familiar with the plot line of Lysistrata, how she rallied the women of Athens to seize the Acropolis and convinced the women of Sparta to join in a Sex Strike to bring an end to the conflict. The sex strike theme has been borrowed here and there, and the play recast in modern, more feminist terms many times during the 20th century, and staged every year since 2003 (beginning with an Iraq peace protest) in the 21st. Yet here we are all these centuries later, suffering a new patriarchal shove-down of women’s rights and power by a fearful warrior class and the government that commands them into endless wars for the profit of soul-less oligarchs.

The Stupak amendment is the final insult for me. I have NO reason to believe the misshapen, grotesquely immoral oligarchs in D.C. when they claim they didn’t ‘mean’ to strip us of a long-enshrined constitutional right to privacy for our own bodies and important health decisions when they voted this abomination into the HCR bill. Thus I have NO reason to believe their lying lips when they claim it will never make it to the final law. I would have to be a much bigger fool than I already am to play along with that sort of pure garbage at this point in time – Congress does nothing by accident.

No woman should trust or ‘hope’ that their newly diminished status is an accident, mistake or a temporary roadblock. They mean to keep us down, and our protests will forever fall on deaf ears. They are far more terrified of us than any random peasant or Talibani ‘freedom fighter’ in the Middle East or Central Asia. Or Central or South America, or anywhere else in the world they plan to send our children to die for their greed. It’s time we made good on their worst fears.

I am not a young wife like Lysistrata was, but an old crone with enough vigor and righteous anger left to accomplish the task Lysistrata assigned to the Old Ones – take the Acropolis and hold it as citadel of the resistance. The instinctual drive and emotional appeal Aristophanes wrote about that had the power to force peace in a war-torn world is still the same as it has always been. Human beings have not fundamentally changed their nature in 2500 years, men still need women more than they need blood or glory. No matter how emphatically they deny it.

We need another strike. Not against the men who strongly support our rights and aren’t afraid to stand with us, fight with us, believe in us. But against the greedheads, the war-mongers, the terminally corrupt politicians, the emotionally crippled half-men who believe it is their duty to shame and denigrate women and force upon them unwanted sex and the unwanted children that come from that. While denying women basic health care services, which I warn my sisters will soon expand to include much more than just the choice of who comes to and from our bodies. Why, just weeks ago this same Congress made it okay for corporations to shield their male employees from the law for rape itself! Do not buy the lie that these assaults on our personhood and rights will be rectified. They will instead become worse as our government seals our borders (immigration comes next, it’ll be a bloodbath) and expands its resource wars in coming years.

If I were stupid enough to have married a fundy male-dominant type jerk-off, I’d have begun withholding sex decades ago. If I were a single girl looking for “Mr. Right” I’d be withholding sex from the entire hive of drones more anxious to spill seed than help raise their offspring. I’d remind the sisterhood that there is nothing in this world more overrated than a good f*ck, nor so underrated as a good sh*t. We need not surrender our personhood, our rights, our power to any man.

But in this modern age, when a goodly percentage of the erstwhile ‘enemy’ is actually on our side, a sex strike might not be the best plan of action. Our good guys don’t deserve the denial, our lost sisters in fundy-world, in the ranks of enforced poverty, in the services and risking rape by corporate co-workers don’t have or are not allowed to claim their power effectively enough. We’ll have to do it for them.

Instead, we should use our peripheral, economically-based power to best effect. In such a way that our good men can make up for the self-imposed powerlessness of the lost women. A woman-called, woman-centered general strike designed to protest very specifically these recent and planned abrogations of our most basic rights. Sure, the wars will be a sideways issue – useful mostly to strengthen the association with Lysistrata’s strike in ancient Greece. Heck, we could even name it for her – the Lysistrata Movement – as we organize and spread the word.

Begin now, pick a month in which the strikes begin. Encourage those in support to begin saving now and making plans to survive being out of work for a few weeks, or at least taking sick days or vacation or ’emergency’ time during the period. As was true for the Equal Rights Amendment we never got because we were still the last truly oppressed class of citizens our nation’s leadership deigned finally to enfranchise, if all the women (or most women and many of the men) were to simply “stay home with the kids” for awhile this country would grind to an abrupt halt. The nation is now way too dependent upon women in government, education, business and the work force to function without us.

We just need the participation of half the working population, more than half would give just that much more power to our protest. How do we make that happen? Such things never occur spontaneously (any more than Acts of Congress occur accidentally), there is always a good deal of organization and networking in advance stages to make it happen. Any suggestions? Plans of action? Helpful hints?

28 comments

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    • Joy B. on November 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm
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    and Aristophanes’ brilliant boil-down of where the real power in this world resides…

    • Edger on November 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I suggested this once quite a long time ago here as a way of of curbing the worst of the white christian male power structure.

    Do it! Please. Post this everywhere you can. In fact, maybe it’s time for a matriarchy, eh? 😉

  1. Since the day the Milesians betrayed us, I have never once seen an eight-inch gadget even, to be a leathern consolation to us poor widows

    I don’t think you have to go quite so far. 😉

    • banger on November 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    and it should be aimed at all men including progressives etc. Maybe you can call it a fast — I would support it for a limited time to make us focus on these issues. I don’t like what I see in my fellow males, we have taken sexual equality as a green light to be self-indulgent. I see confused men playing games or watching games rather than doing what needs to be done and making sure our women are not oppressed by the state. Frankly we ought to indulge in a little smashing of the state instead.

  2. hypocracy of our modern Democrats. Certainly, if one sincerely believes in something, it has to be argued with all the might the spirit has to muster. There is no loss in pursuing justice and equality. If it’s political power that is the real prize, then the United States is merely an oligarchy with a democratic facade.

    I hear a lot of nonsense about being patient, it’s a long, long process etc. These pseudo liberals conveniently forget that people only live once, and our Declaration of Independence says everybody has a right to pursue happiness. And I suspect Franklin meant in this life, not in the next one (I think this was Franklin’s phrase and Jefferson accepted it).

    Here’s a toast to Aristophanes, the beneficiary of Periclean Athens!  

    • Edger on November 10, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    You guys like abstinence? We’ll show you the meaning of f’ing abstinence!

  3. You capture the age-old problem poignantly clear.  

    Personally and globally, when men behave with puritanical “yesterday” thinking, IMO, they deserve to have sex withheld!  Too bad!  That’s my attitude!  

    I am and have always been amazed by the assumed “power” of men over women by the sexual act — the sense of “dominance” this seems to give them.  But it’s not the sexual act — it’s centuries of having a “male dominated, controlling” society shoved down our throats, as though it were religion, itself.  

    The worst part for women is that, by and large, NO ONE really listens to them — I’ve experienced and seen this so much over time.  Yeh, well, they will act polite (in some instances), but they (that would be men, for the most part, and even women) REALLY do not listen.  I should think that women, largely, would be quite contented to be truly LISTENED to — different from simply being heard.

    Obviously (and by your very wonderful essay), IT STILL AIN’T HAPPENING!  

    • Inky99 on November 11, 2009 at 7:13 am

    do you think Stanley McChrystal and Robert Gates married women who would go along with that?

    Nah …

    • banger on November 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I appreciate your generosity to your guy — wish it was more common. Lovely description of your daughter’s drama production — must be a good school.

    My larger point is that fasts whether food or sex can clarify matters. But as for those that use religion for control — I’ve noticed that a lot of women prefer assholes, particularly controlling assholes — I think it’s a biological/evolutionary thing. Empowering women to have faith in themselves is harder than it looks.

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