Author Archives: Helène Aylon

Helène Aylon

About Helène Aylon

Helène Aylon is an Activist Artist whose work has been shown in MoMA, the Whitney and the Warhol museums. Her memoir, published by the Feminist Press, is called <emWhatever is Contained Must Be Released: My Jewish Orthodox Girlhood, My Life as a Feminist Artist.

Gunmen: A Far-Fetched Analysis and Some Temporary Solutions

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whatever.is.contained.must.be.releasedBefore I’m labeled a raging feminist for mentioning that gunmen have been men, I’m telling you I love men but hate machismo. This is a call to purge the world of macho “gunitis” (to coin a new word) like it was hepatitis.

The Gun mystique is glaringly present world over: in every park or city square, there’s a monument mounted on high of some big general flashing his sword or some GI Joe clutching his bayonet. I used to wheel my baby grandson Mendy in Central Park and I made sure to point out (even though he was only two years old) that there was no glory in carrying a rifle, no pride in wearing a uniform. My indoctrination began when I saw his delicate baby face looking up at the fierce military statue on 71st Street and fifth Avenue. A group of bronzed soldiers appear to be falling onto the ground. “Oh,” I whined, “my goodness, look, Sweetie, the soldiers are going to get all dirty; what do you think the soldiers should do?”

Baby Mendy blurted out loud and clear, “they should go home to their Mommies.”

Exactly.

It’s confounding, isn’t it, how some baby boys when they become toddlers, play “bang, bang, you’re dead.” Where did these darlings learn this? Continue reading

Posted on May 9, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Machismo: How The Macho Male Identifies With Wildlife Animals

whatever.is.contained.must.be.releasedRemember the bedtime story about the sly wolf propped up in Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s bed? Little boys must have cringed in fear then, but for some in adolescent years, the big bad wolf became the persona of the big bad guy who is tickled “pink” scaring females and making them uneasy. In the fifties, it was a common practice for street guys to give their jocular “wolf calls” at the sight of a pretty girl walking by; the girl would pretend not to hear the obscene “wolf call” hastening away, as the guys chuckled

At how they were put at their “dis-ease” – the late Mary Daly’s term for the disease of machismo.)

Then there’s the bull, forced to provide the cruelest theater, the bullfight. Picasso’s self-portraits as a bull are lusting – he’s the stud goading the bull to fight; he is half bull charging crazily within the spotlight.

The cockfight is a spectator sport that sets up two cocks to fight each other viciously. The cock is regarded by the macho mindset as the aggressive fowl amid the flurry of mother hens and ducklings. But in reality, the cock is merely a rooster that heralds a new morning much as the Robin Red Breast heralds the spring. The poor cock – not only because of the cockfights; it is the cock’s misfortune to be bestowed with the perverse honor of having male genitals linked to its name.

In juxtaposition to the identification with animals that the macho male perceives as savage beasts, his projections onto domestic animals reveal his misogyny. If a macho male does not like a woman’s face, he calls her a dog. If she can answer back, she’s a bitch. If he can’t handle her pregnant body, she’s a cow. If she’s an elder, she’s an old crow. If she’s young, she’s a chick. And for his pleasure, she may become a Playboy Bunny or land in a cathouse.

Yes, the sick fantasies of machismo – the conniving, plundering, killing and ruling are projected onto the mystical animals and birds in the natural world. After all, male entitlement is a given, prescribed in the bible: “Let man have dominion of his skies with its inhabitants, the earth with its inhabitants.” There is no other recourse for humanity except to leap over the decaying abyss of machismo to land on new terrain – a newborn feminized universe like the first Paradise – that is, until Cain killed Abel. And let’s bring back the 80s slogan when we called for a nuclear freeze, chanting, “take the toys away from the boys.”

The Visiting Scribes series was produced by the Jewish Book Council‘s blog, The Prosen People.

Posted on May 7, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy