[Breakingthesilence] hello, a few words about me, 9th question and rethoric, understanding block etc...

Bosa Janjusevic bosa.j at yubc.net
Ven 9 Avr 15:45:31 CEST 2004

      Hello there. 

      I've just read all your e-mails posted on the breakingthesilence list and I'm thinking again about what was going on in Belgrade on October preparatory meeting, what happened two weeks later on DSM meeting, list..., so that makes me furious again... 

      Sorry I didn't have time before to read all these e-mails and make comments. Thanks Nico for posting summary of last episodes! Thanks Kevin for sending articles, I'm very interested in getting more! Thanks Fin for your rant about women only spaces! 

      A few words about me: 
      I used to work in Autonomous Women's Center Against Sexual Violence, first as SOS Hotline for Women and Children Victims of Violence volunteer, later in Information and Documentation Center team; it was now long ago, fiev years ago... Now, in Association for Women's Initiatives (AZIN, in Serbian), which is oriented on economic empowerment of women, I'm in team which developed/develops program about identities, gender roles and stereotypes in professions and alternative economical models, mostly for high-scholl girls but planed to be adapted for mixed groups and specially for teachers and school psychologists. (As the part of school reform - started in 2001 and possibly stopped a week ago with the new government - it's possible to propose programs for teachers to the Ministry of Education, and hopefully they will work with children on these issues.) 
      I miss discussions on gender issues very much since we don't exchange our experiences, thoughts and feelings so often, only when we find some time (which is rare) to meet at some birthday party or during the break on some working meeting... 

      I have one comment about the 9th question: 

      a) what do you think/feel about people/groups/classes taking times and spaces to meet specifically between themselves as a tool ... (as women only ... groups/spaces BUT the same question goes for imigrants....) 

      b) what do you think/feel about men taking times and spaces to meet between themselves ... 

      I would put it this way: 
      9) What do you think/feel about people/groups/classes taking times and spaces to meet specifically between themselves as a tool to fight against domination/oppression by others (women only discussions/working/support groups/spaces,  immigrants/"ethnic" minorities in racist society/working class people in a capitalist society/disabled people/ gays and lesbians etc.)? 

      a) what do you think about women taking specific times and spaces to meet between
      themselves as a tool for them to fight against domination/oppression from men and their socially constructed role (not expected to think, to be silent, percepted as sexual object, not adapted to 'male society' perceived as personal problem,.)?

      b) what do you think about men taking the time to meet amongst themselves as a way of stimulating reflection and action about the way that men can (consciously or unconsciously) dominate or oppress women and try to develop constructive strategies in working against oppressive masculine behaviors and the restrictive nature of socially imposed gender

      So, basicly, I wouldn't put women as the part of other groups - "as women only space BUT the same goes for..." - and separate men, because it sounds to me as an excuse for "why women only space". 

      Also, for Rethoric: 
      To - "In our patriarchal society, women are often not so aware of the existence of rethoric and therefore are often less prepared to defend themselves against it", - I would add "which they see as their personal problem/incapability although it's recognised as a problem of socialisation". 

      Nico, I'm not sure that there are people involved in Belgrade preparation process who are involved
      with anti-patriarchal projects. Beti and I tried more informally to talk to people who were interested but during meetings (with same people) it always ended up with "let's go to more important things". As I wrote to Inga some time ago: #There is a long e-mail that a friend of mine sent to dsm list few days ago, and he said: "...anarchy-left ideas in a 'serbian way' - pre-civil ideology which want 'emancipation of the working class' and abolition of the class differences but still accepts all other discriminations, misogyny, homophobia, national-chauvinism, etc." #  
      Also, few people in this group attended women's studies or some related workshops so it's not really that they don't understand the issue at all. They think that having non-mixed spaces is not the good way to deal with it but also they have some idea of "men helping to women to emancipate" and I would say also that they are terrified of being accused for sexism and so are becoming verbally violent. So, to bo honest, I don't really feel that I want to waste time and energy with this group since it's not enough 2 women with 20 men on oposite (?) sides to talk about this. 

      *to be continued*



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