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Ebook The Womanist Idea by Layli Phillips Maparyan read! Book Title: The Womanist Idea
The author of the book: Layli Phillips Maparyan
ISBN: 0415886821
ISBN 13: 9780415886826
Language: English
Edition: Routledge
Date of issue: December 20th 2011
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 497 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.8

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Whoah buddy lots of frou frou hippy jesus is magic bullshit up in here. "Love is the bridge between womanist axiology and womanist methodology, insofar as love-based technologies of social and ecological transformation constitute the prototype for all forms of womanist activism. Stated differently, love-based technologies, the ultimate "magic," are at the heart of a womanist idea, connecting womanist metaphysics with LUXOCRACY - a vital love- and light-filled vision of the future" (p. 49).


This book lost me pretty quickly. The Womanist manifesto as described by Maparyan is tangled up with an overly idealistic and illogical idea of spirituality. I say illogical because one of the tenets of Maparyan's womanism is that spirituality, which can include religion but is not religion, will allow humanity to develop past our current systems of oppression and arrive at an egalitarian society. This is a cute idea and it sounds nice to live in a world without racism, sexism, classicism, etc - but it completely ignores the fact that many religious and spiritual traditions encourage their followers to create lines of us and them. Believer and non-believer. Saved and sinner.

The Bible says we should hate the gays, and one womanist thinker profiled in this book fully agrees with this sentiment and wasted her breath trying to convince people that lesbians are icky. So how in the hell is a religiously grounded feminist theory supposed to encourage egalitarianism while staying true to a bronze age philosophy that condoned slavery? It doesn't make any sense to me and Maparyan seems to wear blinders - either the author is aware of this discrepancy and ignores it because cognitive dissonance is weird, or she is, like so many of the faithful, so deep in the shit that she doesn't even realize that something stinks.

Emotionally I have a hard time dealing with homophobic shitheads and it makes me curse a lot so if the book continues to validate homophobia in any form expect me to curse a lot more.

One of the other things that I got hung up on was first illuminated in the manifesto of chapter 1, p. 7. Here Maparyan does something that pisses me off and confuses me - she misuses scientific sounding concepts to lend credence to her manifesto, but her "science" is not science at all. Maparyan states that homo sapiens are experiencing a period of rapid evolution and some scientists say that we need a new name, such as Homo noeticus. The fact is the "authors and scientists" that ascribe to this ARE NOT SCIENTISTS. They are "spiritual development researchers" and a psychologist - these are not people who have credibility in the field of evolutionary biology. I hate this because ignorant people will read it and feel that there is a scientific validity to her beliefs when there is not.

When an author says, "humans are evolving into another species" and the real meaning is "when everyone believes the mumbo jumbo sky god magic I believe then science will mean whatever I want it to mean because WORDS!" then I want to tear out my hair and cry. Words like evolution and species have meaning and here they are used misleadingly.


This type of womanism in some ways cherry picks from so many traditions that every sentence becomes laden with a list of alternate nouns or adjectives. It's tiring. This book is nearly 400 pages long, probably because of this unpleasant writer's tic.


..... there is actually a section in the book about the "What Would Jesus Do" schtick....

The author was raised in the Baha'i faith and grew up going door to door in the "deep south campaign." I can't help but think of the awkward stress of someone knocking on your door to save your soul or preach or invoke. That said, Maparyan was telling people that men and women are equal because they are "like the wings of a bird - both necessary for humanity to fly" (145). This is a lovely statement.

I admire that Maparyan has a very open mind when it comes to learning from people from all over the world. She sometimes spins a beautiful idea, and she wrought many lovely sentences. But she is like the old reminder not to be so open minded that your brain falls out, as she is willing to accept as truth the work of quack snake-oil salesmen like Masaru Emoto (see for more information).


Sometimes these nice turns of phrase makes communicating more difficult!


All of that said, I did enjoy the case studies as then Maparyan writes about the real world instead of the frou frou world that exists in her head that makes no sense to me. Here are some quotes that struck me:


The most important gift a teacher can give his students is dignity. - Sister Chan Khong (159)


Even with an opponent, enter the exchange with respect, focusing on and appealing to that person's higher nature - whether or not it is operative in the moment - and invite the person to help you in the realization of your own higher nature as well as some larger common good. (160)


"We must resist war at any price. Once a war gets started, it has a momentum and intensity that are very hard to stop." Sister Chan Khong (161)


Buddhist nun Chan Khong teaches, "Most of our problems are caused by thinking we see clearly when we don't really, then being attached to what we think we know and getting angry about it." (172)


"[T]he breeding ground of all these tragedies is prejudice: prejudice of race and nation, of religion, of political opinion; and the root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past - imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics. So long as this aping of the past persisteth, just so long will the foundations of the social order be blown to the four winds, just so long will humanity be continually exposed to direst peril." '~ Abdu'l-Baha (196)


"Each one of us, irrespective of who we are or what we are, is a product of our own time management. How an individual spends his or hew waking hours determines the value he attaches to himself and shapes the present as well as the future. ... Whenever determination is combined with innate goodness, anything is possible." - Indian prison reformer Kiran Bedi (223)


The potentials latent in any abominable situation are frequently much greater than we acknowledge or believe. (229)


"I don't know [if God exists]. But I don't really need to know to believe in the power of love or the power of humanity. ... I do not like the language of God, entrapped within its very specific historical and cultural context. But I do appreciate the call - whoever makes it - to respect the love that resides within every human being when we ourselves may have completely lost sight of it." ~ Pregs Govender (248 & 252)


"While there is a contradiction between being a woman and destroying life, there is no contradiction between being a woman and being powerful." - Mercy Amba Oduyoye (248)


You cannot enslave a mind that knows itself, that values itself, that understands itself. - Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmental and political activist (268)


"Overwhelmed, you shield yourself with ignorance, blanking out what you don't want to see. You feel you're incubating some knowledge that could spring into life like a childhood monster if you paid it the slightest attention." Gloria Anzaldua (303)


"What looks like madness in a world that is itself insane may in fact be sanity, and the proverbial madman - or madwoman - may be just the one to lead the whole tribe away from the precipice of self-destruction. If love and peace and interconnectedness and reverence are madness, then let us be mad together; let us collectively ascend into that. If on the other hand, racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism and homophobia, xenophobia, able-ism, ageism, and all other forms of hatred and diminishment are madness, then let us leave this madness behind and build a new village someplace else. Let us build the village of LUXOCRACY." (319)


"There is only one moment when it is essential to awaken, and that moment is now." the Buddha (319)

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