DECEMBER 22, 2017
CLIMATE CHANGE, ORIGINS OF PATRIARCHY, AND THE LOST GARDEN OF EDEN
That whole “man is a wolf to man” bullshit some people use to excuse white supremacy and domination-as-inherent-to-human-nature is a phallusy-legacy based on the short sight of some sexually repressed and frustrated white men like Freud and Darwin. Still to this day we use this tired ass rhetorics as the “objective” measure for a history of consciousness and civilisation…
Someone needs to come collect those two and situate them as what they are: an obtuse product of the colonial expansion/industrial revolution feedback loop that shat all kinds of philosophical crap to excuse the slaughter, rape and pillage of darker skinned folx, womxn, children and the earth.
A good example of how this is absurd and actually obsolete is that we projected competition between the trees in forest ecosystems because we lendt our white supremacist individualist paradigm to all living beings. It has been demonstrated that trees actually cooperate with each other throu an internet of fungui. Likewise, early hunter gatherer matriclans needed to cooperate with each other in order to survive in greening Saharasia. The mother-child symbiotic relationship was the economic model that allowed large groups to live peacefully, specially when situated alongside rivers. Let me tell you a story:
In the beginning, we were wanderers.
This was a time when unarmored matrist tribes roamed what is called in the Bible the “garden of Eden”, situated in upper eastern Africa and central Asia, now the Sahara desert. The “craddle of civilisation” was a greening, vast wetland, much like the fertile crescent situated between nowadays’ Egypt and Syria. The latest embodiment of hunter-gatherer Homo sapiens was born there and thrived, for the wet conditions of the Green Sahara were optimal for pacific expansion.
These hunter-gatherer tribes had behaviours, social attitudes and structures based on physical affection, children’s democracies, playfulness, no female virginity taboo, no vaginal blood taboos, conception/contraception at hand of womxn, matrilineal descent, matrilocal housing and geographic distribution, non compulsive monogamy, freely permitted adolescent lovemaking and sexual experimentation, non-violence, welcomed and institutionalized pleasure, and worship of nature. The economic system was based on mother-child symbiotic relationships and revered the sexual nature of the womb as a place of renewal and death. In the image of the womb, God was the Dark Mother, where it all started and ended: the consciousness of divinity was centered in a shape shifting female creator and destroyer of worlds.
Since their roaming followed food and fertility, these nomad and semi-nomad gineco-groups used the cycles of womxn to count time, for they mirrored the cycles of the earth. The wanderers’ skyes were never the same: the only unmoving cycles was the waters of reproduction (mxnstrual blood, amniotic liquid, breast milk), and so the notion of passing time was at the hands of the fertile bodies, not the patrimony of the stars.
Time, just like God, was drawn as a heavy bottom woman.
Hunter and Gatherer are not to be understood as a biological destiny. Gender was in fact fluid and multiple. Hunters were the executive function of society, employing phallic energy to go outwards and bring back information. Gatherers were the cognitive function of society, using yonic capacities to collect and transmit knowledge. In this symbiotic dynamic, the young phallic function was at the service of the elder yonic function. The first astrologers, engineers, architects, artists, healers and mathematicians where gatherers that weaved information together to create physical and psychic shelter for their children and grand-children: Khunts.
Mainstream educational establishments (from kindergarten to university) have implemented a Biblical/Freudian/Darwinian paradigm that establishes in the West that children are born sinners, are intrinsically ego-centered, and that “survival of the fittest” is our permanent neurological inheritance in terms of evolution. As parents we’re expected to socialize children by censoring their libidinal impulses, and “men is a wolf to men” is studied as an absolute truth and the pinnacle of human self-consciousness, framing the white supremacist patriarchal regime we exist within today as a natural, unmoving, and instinctual basis. This normalizes and excuses all kinds of perverse behaviors such as capitalism, rape culture, white supremacy, and ecocide.
The teaching of this framework as immanent is part of a widespread disinformation campaign aimed to keep us economically, spiritually and physically slept. Aggressiveness is not part of the natural sociability of humanoids: solidarity is, as the mother-child relationship that molded our first expansive instants feeds on an intricate network of mutual support. The basic conceptual dogma we perpetrate today is actually a traumatic reaction to the process of desertification that turned the garden of Eden into the modern Sahara. In other words, white supremacist imperialist individualist capitalist sexually repressive patriarchy is a house of cards built on the trauma of desertification, and we are still functioning on a fight or flight impulse that kickstarted our organisms to be violent and competitive 15.000 years ago.
What happened was climate change.
The desertification process of Saharasia between 15.000 BC and 4.000 BC, part of the wet-dry macro cycles the Earth has been going thou since her beggining, resulted in massive droughts and famines that threw the nomad and semi nomad matrilineal societies into deep distress.
Mothers, the khunt-leaders of these pacific societies, couldn’t feed their children as in the old days, when the greening lowland guaranteed abundance of game and wild crops. Infants suffering from starvation develop emotional responses that are similar to those stemming from maternal rejection, abuse and isolation rearing, and so whole generations of children grew up in a stressed out context, traumatized by the appearance of scarcity. This changed the neurological pathways of peaceful and tightly woven societies, where fertility regulated society, into a society regulated by violence and competition.
Adherence to the old ways of worship, based on pleasure, womb knowledge and cyclic gaze, became synonym of non survival to the consciousness twisted by scarcity. The conceptualization of sinful acts of worship gave room to a binary code of behavior that accumulated honor vs. shame. The Hunter function of society, which was before at the service of the Gatherer function, became prevalent and honorable. Hypermasculinity started being glorified, and elder female leadership was violently overtaken by the law of Men. The “weak”, (womxn, children, elders, cognitively different people) faded into the background.
The patric social group took the forefront: sons were welcomed and wanted more than daughters, patrilineal lineages and inheritances were instituted to ensure protection of private property. Naming and geographical/spacial organisation became a patriarchal attribute: patronimy is a result of this fear-induced wealth miss-distribution. The Hunters soon converted to soldiers under this martial law. Gatherers turned into hoarders, loosing their holy knowledge of “only kill what is needed”. Wanderers became conquerors, intruding and breaking sustainable chains of existence.
For the first time, humans had to gather militias to protect themselves from other hungry humans.
The use of metal to develop weapons instead of ornaments made us step into the Bronze age, and that’s when private property, agriculture and grain storage was implemented, creating the first wealthy families as well as the notion of “undeserving individual”. The seed of neoliberalism was planted and stored then.
Food and water shortage became soon mass conflicts, which resulted in tribal wars. The need to work the land became pressing, and our original adaptation rapport with our environment became one of domination. The end of this symbiotic relationship with the eco-system marked a philosophical, economical and cosmological change. As the dark, wet, fertile soil that sustained these societies began drying out, the scorching sun became omnipresent.
Humans perceived this desertification process as a punishment for the old ways. They started worshipping the sun, a faraway untouchable and merciless presence, and shunning the soil. The female elements of worship became synonym of non survival. This newly acquired framework of domination of the soil soon translated into domination of the womb. The waters of fertility were privatized too, and baby-making bodies went from being in soft-power to hard-slavery. The womb, before revered as sacred for her mysterious self-repairing capacities, became a tool at the service of the law of Men, and the control of the productive and reproductive abilities of womxn throu gendered violence engendered the first slave labourers. The patriarchal mother, herself traumatised into oblivion, made sure to castrate and punish any movement that arose from the hips for healing faculties, and ascribed these movements to a value exchange.
In our angst and fear of the elements, we started building monumental places of worship, abandoning and separating godliness from organic cathedrals. God became an ever-hungry, punishing and demanding male entity, in the image of the unforgiving sun. As we settled to work the land to feed our own, we transferred time counting to this newly patriarchal God, that had delivered intricate and counter-natural codes of life only to the ruling class, the priests, who unlike the open-source shaman or the witch, monopolized the channels to address God and promoted the sublimation of the sexual vital impulses as the basis of a holy body/mind.
We exiled our cognitive faculties to the realm of the ideas, themselves only to be found in the upper parts of the body/the atmosphere. The relationship these traumatized humans developed with Nature, once the Goddess, a female, paradoxical, self impregnating womb where everything begins and ends, befell into one of domination, colonialism, monocultures and empires, instead of the instinctual reverence of bio-diversity and cooperation. Abrahamic religions, with a punishing father in the sky, soon started to emerge.
We are still living within this neuro-wave, privatising and trademarking things that used to be commons. We are now privatising water, the next step will probably be the privatisation of air.
That’s the lost garden of eden: an abundant greening lowland that got desertified within us, the neuro-pathways of central symbiotic mother-child relationship that modeled a social group based on care and interdependance.
DECEMBER 22, 2017
PLEASURE AGAINST THE MACHINE: musings on hacking with care
(this is an excerpt of Sosa’s “Twerk/Torque: anti colonial strategies for thriving and survival in web 2.0 times” PhD text)
There is a widespread campaign of disinformation that pain is completely inbuilt in the femme/feminine/womxn body, and immanently inscribed in our subjectivity. Whether it is in the biologically wronged apparatus inaccurately called “female sexual organs”, or womxnity and/or femmehood as more abstract locations, you have to tend to it infinitely, so as to achieve an always forward moving finite amount of cessation of pain, which almost never gets to the beginning of pleasure.
Being femme, feminine, womxn is to be in pain, be it having your period, not having it, losing your ‘virginity’, transitioning, sustaining the transition, giving birth, being child-less, being “pretty”, being “ugly”, being menopausal, being feminine and visible in public, being, passing, not passing… The choice in this is often non-existant for those of us that identify as femme, feminine, womxn. We are continuously in danger of feeling pain, or in pain.
My experience as an AFAB femme afro-descendant scholar leads to think many of these pleasurable hacks from my own experience of pain, cessation of pain and occasional beginning of pleasure. This does not remove me, the epistemic subject, from the practice of desiring truth, but it does place me in a certain location that needs to be acknowledged. I do not believe in a unique femme/feminine/womxn pleasurable body. Bodies and their pleasure are not natural givens.
In the making of this text I want to keep myself alert to my own gender experience which has traditionally been continuous and remained unchallenged in public and private spheres, and therefore listen and amplify folx who’s experience has lead them to be able to see further and deeper into this particular necro-colonial construct that draws a cartography in the body where there are no-go zones, ghettos, gentrified areas, pretty neighborhoods and towers of control. Embodied experiences of sexuality follow a colonial, kyriarchic spacial distribution, extracting pleasure from the peripheria and accumulating it somewhere else, often a phallocentered, cis gender, hetero, eurowhite elsewhere.
The epistemic ignorance –lack of representation, misrepresentation, incomplete information, lost archives, etc- around pleasurable femme, feminine and womxn embodiment is a fertile site to think about the “epistemologies of ignorance”, such as posited by Nancy Tuana in her essay Coming to Know: Orgasm and the Epistemology of Ignorance. “Ignorance is not a simple lack. It is often constructed, maintained, and disseminated and is linked to issues of cognitive authority, doubt, trust, silencing, and uncertainty.” Paying attention to what is ignored as being as intentional as what is known leads to potentially revealing the role of power in the confection of such knowledge, or a more intersectional understanding of how knowledge is produced and disseminated.
I can therefore posit ignorance is a practice and also a theory, with its pertaining ensamble of behaviours, social sanctions and consequences. “Ignorance and uncertainty can be manufactured, maintained, and disseminated” (1995,8), just like knowledge. “Ignorance effects can be harnessed, licensed, and regulated on a mass scale for striking enforcements” (1990, 5), just like knowledge effects. I’d like to examine the profusion of self-actualizing psychic and physical painful narratives which are more or less democratically available to be known, spread and often “scientifically proved” vs. the absence of pleasurable ones to match two and two together: there is intentional ignorance manufactured, maintained, and disseminated around femme pleasure, and there is intentional knowledge manufactured, maintained, and disseminated around pain in femme, feminine and womxn embodiments.
Our pain being inevitable is part of a necro-colonial extractivist extension that self-actualizes to generate and accumulate wealth. As such, pleasurably hacking femme-hood and womxnity is one of the strategies I’d like to defend in the making of liberatory practices, theories and economies. Orgasmic agency is one of the elements I will use to exemplify a pleasurable hack, but it is nor the ultimate nor the only one. Pleasurable creation and transmission (theoretical and/or practical, artistic and/or scientific, sexual and/or cognitive, etc) are some other ones I am particularly interested in examining through this epistemic lense, and ones I have been actively engaging in even when I didn’t have the language to identify them. I believe there is something evolutionary deeply inscribed in this way of seeking, obtaining and redistributing knowledge.
 Robert Proctor, Cancer Wars.
 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet
SABER ES PODER ES PLACER
Pleasurably obtaining knowledge, fabricating it, and redistributing it, seems to be at the core of an intersectional understanding where knowledges, power, and pleasures and pain are interrelated. Whose pleasures are enhanced by ignorance? and whose are suppressed by knowledge? are complex questions that must be asked repeatedly in any look of liberation.
In her essay, Coming to Understand, Orgasm and the Epistemologies of Ignorance, Nancy Tuana comes all the way through citing scholar LaDelle McWhorter who states:
“Instead of refusing normalization outright, we need to learn ways to use the power of its disciplines to propel us in new directions” (1999, 181).
Though we cannot simply remove ourselves from disciplinary practices, she argues that it is possible to affirm “development without affirming docility, [through] affirming the free, open playfulness of human possibility within regimes of sexuality without getting stuck in or succumbing to any one sexual discourse or formation” (1999, 181).
McWhorter, following Foucault, suggests that one path to this playfulness is to deliberately separate practice from goal and simply engage in disciplinary practices for their own sake, for the pleasures they bring, rather than for some purpose beyond them:
“What if we used our capacities for temporal development not for preparation for some task beyond that development but for the purpose of development itself, including the development of our capacities for pleasure? What if we used pleasure rather than pain as our primary disciplinary tool?” (1999, 182).
Following Foucault, what we must work on “. , . is not so much to liberate our desires but to make ourselves infinitely more susceptible to pleasure.”
McWorther’s concept of “work-as-play” as a potential evolutionary impulse behind non invasive discipline is not new. Gray’s research about pre-desertification Saharasian hunter-gatherer groups situates the existence of a pleasure based sociability that enabled a permanent state of playfulness through adulthood. Work-as-play made possible their egalitarian, nonautocratic, intensely cooperative ways of living.
“Hunter-gatherer bands, with their fluid membership, are likened to social-play groups, which people could freely join or leave. Freedom to leave the band sets the stage for the individual autonomy, sharing, and consensual decision making within the band. Hunter-gatherers used humor, deliberately, to maintain equality and stop quarrels. Their means of sharing had game-like qualities. Their religious beliefs and ceremonies were playful, founded on assumptions of equality, humor, and capriciousness among the deities. They maintained playful attitudes in their hunting, gathering, and other sustenance activities, partly by allowing each person to choose when, how, and how much they would engage in such activities. Children were free to play and explore, and through these activities, they acquired the skills, knowledge, and values of their culture. Play, in other mammals as well as in humans, counteracts tendencies toward dominance, and hunter-gatherers appear to have promoted play quite deliberately for that purpose.”
The existence of a highly cooperative common ancestor transmitting knowledge and building community through play and pleasure is routinely ghosted in the modern vision of human evolution. I can’t help but look at this absence without interrogating how the colonial body of knowledge apprehends transmission and confection of saber -in our body. A disciplinarian version of “education” so as to subdue folx into forced labour has in fact been used to subsume the indigenous and Black bodies of knowledge and ways of knowing related to pleasure, and is entrenched in a judeo-christian sexually repressive organisation of the classroom and an extension of the plantation.
“Disciplines” as a system of categorising knowledge are confectioned with this directive of extending the aforementioned epistemologies of ignorance, sealing the access to any otherness as local to the knowledge, effectively expatriating subjectivities as “non-scientific.”
Linda Tuhiwai Smith mentions how “Academic knowledges are organized around the idea of disciplines and fields of knowledge. […..] Most of the ‘traditional’ disciplines are grounded in cultural worldviews which are either antagonistic to other belief systems or have no methodology for dealing with other knowledge systems. [….] Some of these disciplines, however, are more directly implicated in colonialism in that either they have derived their methods and understandings from the colonized world or they have tested their ideas in the colonies. New colonies were the laboratories of Western science. Theories generated from the exploration and exploitation of colonies, and of the people who had prior ownership of these lands, formed the totalizing appropriation of the Other.” These categories were heavily involved in the “geographical and economic absorption of the non European world by the West.”
This victorian engraving depicts a classroom with “improved arrangement of school desks.”
The student desks are checkered and placed in lines. The teacher desk is bigger, sturdier, and faces the students dominating the space. This, Paulo Freire tells us, is the famous “banking model” of learning. From the age of 6, children are made to sit down in ranks, a formation that stems from the military. This kyriarchic system reposes on the unquestionable authority of a teacher operating as a tower of control to oversee the student population. During the most useful hours of the day, children are made to sit down in the colonial classroom, forbidden to communicate in their mother-tongue, and commence a 12 year long educational praxis primarily based in the disciplining, regulating and rigidifying the child’s body, and more precisely their hips.
This process being gendered, masculine and feminine embodiments absorb discipline differently. Both have the same result: a loss of mobility, sensation, awareness, vitality, flexibility in the lower spine, chore, and hips. Many structural problems ensue in the body of knowledge when this pleasurable, innate pathways is endangered.
In western medicine, when something is in pain, weather the soul or the body, it is recognized as pathological. Many of us are more in touch with our pharmacist than with our own bodies and their cycles, their tides and their boundaries, and the less invasive technologies this inner solidarity proposes.
This is particularly interesting when analyzed in terms of economical gain: “Epistemologies that view ignorance as an arena of not-yet-knowing will also overlook those instances where knowledge once had has been lost. What was once common knowledge or even common scientific knowledge can be transferred to the realm of ignorance not because it is refuted and seen as false, but because such knowledge is no longer seen as valuable, important, or functional. Obstetricians in the United States, for example, no longer know how to turn a breech, not because such knowledge, in this case a knowing-how, is seen as false, but because medical practices, which are in large part fueled by business and malpractice concerns, have shifted knowledge practices in cases of breech births to Caesareans. Midwives in most settings and physicians in many other countries still possess this knowledge and employ it regularly.”
In this excerpt, Tunua exposes that unmistakably, the more pleasurable/non-invasive tools that are part of “common knowledge”, specially surrounding sexual/reproductive functions, are discarded as “unscientific” under capital based economic pressure. As such, a cesarean and its technologies will be constructed as knowledge, but abdominal massage and turning a breech in utero will be constructed as ignorance. It is interesting and exciting for me to imagine/remember a time when a pleasure-centered economy regulated behaviors, social sanctions and consequences.
Orgasm distribution is probably one way to draw intersections among ourselves to examine privilege and oppression. Who is orgasming honestly, mind-blowingly, life chagingly?, Femme folx, feminine people and womxn of color are at clear orgasmic/economic disadvantage.
Femmehood and/or womxnity as pathological is ubiquitous, so our commitment to pleasure needs be transversal, intersectional and anti-colonial. We existed once in pleasure, and feminine folx still know that knowledge produced in pleasure is sustainable.
As an act of rememberance we acknowledge our existence once in pleasure, before the invention of intangible private property laws and regulations. Femme, feminine and womxn orgasmic agency was the pillar of a khunt centered pleasurably self hacking economy.
In McWhorter’s words, im tryina “live our bodies as who we are, to intensify our experiences of bodiliness and to think from our bodies, if we are going to push back against the narrow confines of the normalizing powers that constrict our freedom” (1999, 185)
Pleasure is power. Pleasure is resistance. Pleasure is remembrance. Pleasure is knowledge.
Your pretty doesn’t hurt. Your pretty is the fairy god-entity, the loving guardian warrior of your well being, of your health, of your emotional and physical integrity, your inner sanctuary, your capacity to thrive in any given environment. Your pretty is the calm and compassion you use to look at yourself, because you know that results in how you look at others.
Beauty is such an important concept for you though. You really feel the need to learn how to exist outside feeling attractive, outside being desirable in a way? Because there is definitely an expectation to be something, in your case, you definitely feel like being hot gives you life. It’s so ridiculous. Growing up u had experiences and narratives (or lack of thereof) that informed u that u was too short, too brown, too queer, too precocious, too ambiguous and too fat: short black hair, a moustache and boobs at 10. This invalidated any form of emancipatory speech departing from womxnity in the Argentina you experienced in the 90s. It was all aryan looking skinny long haired tall women, like Xuxa or Valeria Massa, that were looked at and offered agency to exist, to thrive, and to be seen.
“I am beautiful” you claim, “because I exist, and not the other way around”. Your cultural legacy is based on reclaiming pretty, fabulous, beautiful, hot, desirable, attractive… and your compassion. Sometimes you can be bound to it in ways that do not look like liberation. But you keep making sure of something, and that is- that u get your life!
That it feels good.
(and if it hurts, that it’s the kind of hurt that feels good)
2. Not the church, not the state, women must decide they faith
So one of the best well-hidden secrets in this disinformation campaign is the fact that birth is actually an incredibly life-changing orgasmic moment. The faculty of giving birth, bringing forth, dar a luz a new generation is not an inherently painful process. What neurological pathways are destroyed when we’re born from a stressed out mother ripped in two in a sterile white room with an unbothered doctor leading the process?
Hear me out.
Giving birth is not painful. Giving birth is orgasmic. I think it would be useful to start applying this logic to everything painful around femme/feminine/womxn embodiments: the pain replaces the pleasure, there is a reason why and there is a way out.
The technologies around the pregnant person, birthing and motherhood are burdened with the most ridiculous prejudices, and tainted with speciesm, white supremacy, and gender terrorism. Pregnancy is as sexually pleasurable at the beginning of the journey as it is at the end: the baby is born with an orgasm, just like they was conceived: such is the fractal, cyclic nature of nature. I used to resent reproduction narratives where “female” (help) orgasm is not necessary –although beneficial- to conception. Until I realised that orgasm is actually at the other end of the pregnancy, and that the ignorance around the clitoris, the prostate and their role in birthing is one of the extensions of colonial warfare.
Orgasm is the evolutionary tool that our body has kept in place even though its technologies and epistemologies have been assassinated, privatized, demonized, deemed dirty, dangerous, terrorist, morally corrupted, primitive, unholy, neurotic, hysteric, and unruly. This is why the clitoris is still there, unbothered, erectile, and huge under your belly: it is an evolutionary tool that, when knownt, used and explored, offers us sexual, economic, and medical autonomy.
You do not know much about khunt technologies. You try to remember, you talk to the Black orgasmic elders you know about their cycles.
The disinformation campaign is set on divide and conquer, and as such, has divided –yet not fully conquered, because de la concha venimos, y a la concha nos vamos- our reproductive organs from our sexual organs, using a Mother/Whore binary terror to keep us in pain.
The Mother system is the uterus, the ovaries, and the cervix, and they are all crying tears of blood, forever in pain. The Whore is the visible part of the clitoris, the vagina, and the anus, and they better be continuously wet and orgasming with no particular care from your hetero partner, lest you be a frigid, sexually immature individual. The clitoris, the uterus, the ovaries, the cervix, the pelvic nerve, the pelvic floor, the prostate and urethra are thouroughly ignored and/or mis-represented in our pleasurable femme psyche. The only rudimentary narrative of pleasurable organs is an obscure notion of gaping, endless holes, flattening and censoring the erecticle and phallic abilities of the Khunt.
Just like the necro-colon accidently discovered America, because he was looking for business in India, he discovered the G spot, because he was looking for business in the Khunt. He got down from his necro technology, set a diseased foot on this ancient soil, and claimed it property of some inbred king because daddy issues.
To be born in a white room to a parent drugged and cut open by the pharmaceutical military complex is to be divided and conquered, discovered and colonized, and as such we enter this world already defeated, crying, depressed and scared, delivered by a doctor who’s main worry is lunch break.
The myth of the “female” Eldorado, the G spot as the key to sexual maturity, squirting, and effortless hetero sex, reposes on this divide and conquer technique, or this discover and colonise technique. Naming the G spot after a yt man called Graffenberg –or whatever, i just want to forget- has taken our sexual and erotic autonomy away. It makes us dependant on inaccurate medicine to unify our scattered pieces, to treat the alienation this fractured state engenders in our sex.
The G spot is actually the same body than the clitoris. The clitoris is part of the reproductive system, and it has a concrete function: to relax and expand the cervix so it can open, to test out surroundings for possible predators by generating orgasmic cries, and edify and tonify the uterus so it can push the baby or the orgasm out. Orgasm comes from the uterus, just like all life. The erectile clitoris and its technologies are the midwife of generations, the gate keeper of evolutionary, easy, non traumatic birth. Try a wand on your clit when giving birth next time.
You refer to this unified, re-indigenized, decolonial sexual/reproductive system as the Khunt, The Khunt is an orgasmic unified gateway, channel, and resonance box, where reproductive and sexual systems and organs are one and the same, yet distinct, acknowledged, and pleasurable.
Khunt is inherently pleasurable and joyful, as all act of deliverance is. Khunt is Black, wet, deep, and it smells of Khunt, as all places of creation do.
 “Ancient moon priestesses were called virgins. ‘Virgin’ meant not married, not belong to a man – a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’. The very word derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, skill; and was later applied to men: virle. Ishtar, Diana, Astarte, Isis were all all called virgin, which did not refer to sexual chasity, but sexual independence. And all great culture heroes of the past…, mythic or historic, were said to be born of virgin mothers: Marduk, Gilgamesh, Buddha, Osiris, Dionysus, Genghis Khan, Jesus – they were all affirmed as sons of the Great Mother, of the Original One, their worldly power deriving from her. When the Hebrews used the word, and in the original Aramaic, it meant ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’, with no connotations to sexual chasity. But later Christian translators could not conceive of the ‘Virgin Mary’ as a woman of independent sexuality, needless to say; they distorted the meaning into sexually pure, chaste, never touched. When Joan of Arc, with her witch coven associations, was called La Pucelle – ‘the Maiden,’ ‘the Virgin’ – the word retained some of its original pagan sense of a strong and independent woman. The Moon Goddess was worshipped in orgiastic rites, being the divinity of matriarchal women free to take as many lovers as they choose. Women could ‘surrender’ themselves to the Goddess by making love to a stranger in her temple.”
― Monica Sjoo, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth
DECEMBER 8, 2017 BY FANNIE SOSA
BIOHACK IS BLACK
PHOTO CREDIT: MANZEL BOWMAN
“NEVER AGAIN applaud poems about progress while your people die at the hands of the state
NEVER AGAIN allow people to assert a lack of intersections between experimentation and people of color.
experimentation is fundamentally rooted in blackness and wounded life: they don’t get to tell you otherwise
your body is an experiment.
your memories: an experiment
your life: an experiment
every minute is an experiment in survival
everyday is an experiment toward liberation”
The other day I was minding my own business on the Internet when I found this article:
In this article, Rose Eveleth, a “producer, designer, writer and animator based in Brooklyn who explores how humans tangle with science and technology”, establishes an analogy between her IUD and her RFID microchip. One of them lets her control her fertility and the other one unlocks phones and doors by waving at them.
She explains how the uterine device is never frowned upon, but the RFID microchip implant is looked at with suspicion, as if it was a dystopic device of surveillance: “No one has ever jolted backwards and said, “You have a what in your uterus?” They have at the news of my chip. I call them both cyborg implants, but most people would only consider one of them cyborgian at all.” From then on, she analyses how we think about bodyhacking as the realm of men.
A hormone releasing IUD, according to Eveleth, is the most significant bodyhacking device she uses, because ”(…)the ability to control when I conceive is a power unheard of for thousands of years of human history”, making of her a cyborg. Yet, she says, it is not thought about it as such because it is not a “manly technology”.
(disclaimer: this is not, under any circumstance, a critique of no one’s contraceptive methods. It is a critique, however, of modern gynecology and the agency it enables, as well as the systematic erasure of Black and Indigenous knowledges)
The notion of modern gynecology being the pinnacle of fertility management is racist, erasing, colonial and patriarchal. People have been in control of their fertility since the dawn of times. People have been in control of their fertility much more often, in societies that worship heavy bottoms, where heavy bottom epistemologies are allowed to cell divide in the belly. This determinist frame of mind about fertility management as a 21st century western scientific prowess purposefully omits that modern gynecology (the praxis, the tools, the protocols, the language) was born as a tool to ensure seamless production of forced labourers, and is intimately linked with colonialism, slavery and settler capitalism.
If we are examining how technology and how we think about it is oppressive, it seems ridiculous to stop at the gender reading and further a blurry notion that biohackers have been around us under the shape of the womxn on the right side of the barbed wire fence safeguarded by the extractive pharmaceutical complex, that have an IUD.
The invention of modern gynecology, such as practiced today in mainstream medical spaces, rests on the thorough study of how to make Black and indigenous womxn produce and reproduce in captivity, be it physical and/or institutional. Sexual and reproductive trauma, intently caused by the settler, was then dissected, explained and validated scientifically in medical plantations. To a great extent, modern gynecology still exists traumatically embedded in public hospitals, reservations, free clinics, prisons, detention camps, schools, etc. Weather it is forced sterilisation, forced STD/STI inoculation, non consensual drug testing, criminalisation of abortion, discriminatory laws, and inadequate social protection, gynecological violence still regulates Black and Indigenous womxn’s bodies. This traumatic inheritance also regulates motherhood on a larger level, and the whole conceptualisation of the womb as an inherently painful space. Pain is deemed normal through the lense of modern gynecology, be it during the menses, birthing, going through menopause, and all over an active sexual life.
Stating that the unseen bodyhackers are the womxn that have a copper IUD is a way of not so subtly erasing the history of gynecological torture and sexual warfare on Black and indigenous womxn. It is also an unforgivable act of erasure of the long herstory of fertility management, contraceptive, and abortive knowledge Black and Indigenous womxn have protected and transmitted from the margins. These particular knowledges have been purposefully burnt, its recipients persecuted and hunted down, for economic reasons: an autonomous womxn in control of her fertility does not a good slave make.
If we are talking about cyborg capacities and biohackers, we could for example talk about Black womxn forced to birth yearly offspring for 20 years, birthing in the field and continuing to work on the field, still dancing to drums and receiving orixás that safeguarded their health. How did they survive? And how did they not? We can mention Mammies that lived until 125 years old to tell the story of how they protected their 30 plus year forcibly extracted milk: when breast feeding the master’s children they called upon loa to slow down the oxytocin and prolactin release, so coming back to their own lactating children they still had some of the thick milk that was otherwise destined to strengthen white babies.
Can we talk about the descendants of the settlers in places of power, fed with Black breast milk, as a form of bio-hacking too? Can we talk about Harriet Tubman and her invisibility cloak, or how she used her Black womxn embodiment -deemed illiterate, submissive, and disabled- serving at the master’s table, to develop a cross-state abolitionist network? Can we discuss Blackness as a superpower? And can we formulate why the beyond-human character popularised for Black narratives is a less-than-human threatening personhood, the Zombie? Why is the cyborg white? Ain’t I a superhuman?
Moving on and around, let’s talk about the use of phytohormones to hack gender by non binary indigeneity. We could be talking about the practice of burying the placenta/mxnstrual blood near the gardens of the village. The DNA contained in the endometrial tissue is absorbed by the ground, making several plants customise their properties to respond to the needs of this DNA. This ensures food sovereignty and unites all the members of the community on a cellular level as they eat the food customised to best feed the mothers of the clan.
Maybe also let’s mention how mxnstruating people living in physical proximity synchronise their cycles? What about the womb as a bodyhacking technology? Can this lead us to talk about the practice of co-mothering by mutualizing breast-milk amongst the clan’s lactating children as a social bonding rite? The term “sisterhood” becomes much more concrete when you have received care and breast milk from several people, building empathetic pathways transversally across the community. Thinking about this could lead us to remember a consensual Mammie: sharing her breast milk as a way to build kinship and alliances.
Let me remind you, Rose Eveleth from Brooklyn, that before your ancestors went through a mutation that made them white, there were matriarchs that build their progeny, or their lack of, in consent from the womb to their graves. They consented sexual encounters with a partner of their choice, they asked their community and themselves if now was the right time to bring forth life, and then they nested the consensual foetus in their pleasurable womb, until it came out consensually -orgasmically- to further a life based on thriving, in symbiosis with nature.
Do not try to fool yourself and us telling us that your IUD brings you “freedom”, adopting yet another level of colonial imagination to how we understand khunt. Your IUD was built on our back. You have a dystopian surveillance device sunk in your womb. The analogy between your RFID microchip and your hormone releasing IUD is sadly accurate. They are both cyborgian. But this article misses an entire and very important point: they are both surveillance devices, built on the back of Black and Indigenous womxn, serving a (re)productive capitalist agenda, and constituting an extractive cyborg body that I reject.
This particular use of the cyborgian status by the colonial imagination, disengaged from any racial/colonial/climate justice critical reading, is part of the oppressive epistemologies that reinforce white supremacist patriarchy. You cannot address cyborg as male without addressing it as white, cis-gender, able and extractive. Cyborg personhood was born from a critical impulse, as a way to re-think rights based on personhood rather than “humanity”. This critical impulse of enlarging who gets to be considered a person, also present in animal rights, companion species manifestos, dis/ability studies, and queer theory, was fueled, modeled and led by Black and Indigenous womxn’s organised resistance, yet we never see cyborgs as a Black or Indigenous womxn, neuro-atypical folx, non-human people, etc.
Weather cyborg personhood is presented as something critical or uncritical, it is always dystopian when it is not conceived intersectionally all the way to inter-species alliances. The so called post-colonial, post racial, gentrifying, RFID microchip, hormone releasing IUD carrying human body who is cut from the cycles is not the body I aspire to bring forth. It’s not the body of progress. It’s not the body of freedom. It’s not the body of choice. It’s not the default body. It’s not the cyborg body that I imagine when talking about Black futurities. And it certainly is not the cyborg body that I inherited.