Women as Catalysts of Roman History?

Women as Catalysts of Roman History?

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From the very beginning to the end of the monarchy, Roman women made their presence known. For a society that was known for suppressing the fairer sex in favor of a more patriarchal system, it is interesting to fathom that women still managed to make their mark. Servius Tullius, for example, would have not been a king had it not been for Tanaquil’s intervention. By that same design, Tarquinius Superbus would have never been king had it not been for Tullia’s conspiring. Even going as far back as Romulus, the first king of Rome, the Sabine women became the harbingers of organized Roman society when they intervened between their warring fathers and husbands. Fast-forwarding from there, we can see that the end of the monarchy happened because of the rape of Lucretia, a woman.

So despite the overbearing male presence in Roman history and authority, women were still very influential in the conspiracies that took place both behind the scenes and center stage. Of course, even so, their histories are often written by men such as Livy or the poet, Ovid. For example: Lucretia’s story was written as that of a chaste woman who could not live with the dishonor of having her chastity taken from her, so the fall of Rome came about because a woman lost her honor, thus pushing forth the patriarchal agenda. Ovid’s lyrical verses makes this clear: “now day had dawned. She sits with her hair disheveled/Like a mother due to visit her son’s pyre… She is silent for a long time, and veils her face, in shame…”. Though written of poetically, Lucretia’s rape is described as the death of her own self, as she is veiled, with disheveled hair, and looks like she is in mourning. This can be akin to the death of the monarchy that Rome would later suffer in the after math of the crime, which further proves a possible parallel between the death of Lucretia’s honor brining about the death of Roman monarchy itself.

Modern scholars also make note of this rather profound patriarchal take on a horrendous crime. According to historian Victoria Emma Pagan, “sex and violence define Lucretia’s fate and resulting the establishment of the republic”. In so many words, Pagán makes it clear that it was Lucretia’s rape that led to the fall of the monarchy, but the crime itself was one of sex and violence. A woman so noble and so chaste was brought down by a sexual assault, thus disrupting her honor, and thus leading to an entire shift in the governing of a society.

So are women catalysts of Roman history? Or are the men writing about them trying to push forward an agenda, that a woman whose character and honor is put to question becomes a breaking point in Roman society itself? In so many ways, though women are very much so present in Roman conspiracies and history, it can be argued that their presence served as mere examples of what could happen if they stepped—or were violently forced—out of line, and for society to function, women had to know their place. Arguments can be made for either, but in a society as patriarchal as Rome, such an analysis would not be shocking.

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But That’s Just My Opinion

But that’s just my opinion…

And yes, it is. It is just your opinion. But it’s also worth remembering that opinions and the truth are separate for a reason.

We don’t state opinions anymore that take a stance or form an alternative argument. We state opinions as contenders for the truth. The fact of the matter is that the truth is something that cannot be argued. The fact that water is wet and that we need oxygen to survive are not opinions. However, there are topics that warrant spirited debate, such as politics. Those are the times when opinions come in fruition, but not in the way they should.

We argue as a way of finding either a common ground or seeking out our own personal truths. We do not argue for the sake of listening and learning from opposing opinions. The pursuit of the truth is what separates opinions from what we think they are and what they actually are. That is the issue that has come up in this political climate, one that has divided us as a nation.

“The sky is blue.”

“Well I think the sky is red.”

See a correlation? I do. And that is the point that is trying to be made.

More to come later…

We, the people?

We, the people? 

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I’ve posted little snippets of my thoughts on the election on my Facebook and Instagram. However, no small status can shape what I’m really feeling, even if I’ve tried to convey that in concise words. I told my father earlier today over the phone that I didn’t want to talk about it, and I shun conversation about it because that is the only way I can keep from flying off the handle. Thing is, I want to talk about it, because it is worth talking about. But I don’t want to break it down and analyze it. Instead, let’s try and figure out how to get through it–live with it.

I also do not want to discuss the implications of electing a monster like Donald Trump for president. We know what they are. We, the women. We, the minorities. We who have been attacked in his rhetoric and by his supporters. Not we, the people, but we who have had to sit in fear of what will happen to us and our families following this election. We know what the implications are. So I won’t get into the details. You need only look to your friends, your dear ones, who fall in the category of people he has attacked to know exactly what those implications are.

A friend of mine told me to be careful, that she was concerned for me, for my safety. I  confess I thought about it. I tried my best today to move through my day as normal, and was not treated differently. But the concern, the fear was there. I am a young, Indian woman in America, and to those who supported the monster, it does not matter that I was born here. It does not matter that I was educated here, raised here. All they see is brown. And all they see is someone to attack. Now that their sex symbol is in the big seat, what is stopping them from attacking me? I should have every reason to fear.

But here’s the thing: I am not afraid. I was horrified, yes. Disgusted? Absolutely! Disappointed? You bet! But scared? No. I do not fear ignorance, and I want to say that to everyone who is experiencing the same fear as me. This is not a time to wallow in fear, this is time to rise in the purest, and most peaceful way possible. This is the time to embrace yourself in every way possible. That is how I feel, not fear. If we want to stand by our anthem, the land of the free and the home of the brave, then we have to stand by it in all respects. It should not be we, the victims. Those who supported the monster need to know that we are not here to be branded by them, we are here to exist and thrive, which is our right.

So it begins, the presidency of Donald Trump, a man with nothing but hatred in his bones. There are many things that we need to consider coming out of this, the main one being what we are going to do when faced with the hatred of his supporters. Do not be fooled, it’s already happened. A monster and  his minions, and there are millions of them. But there are also millions of us who stand for peace, love, light, and hope. It’s time we start to let that spread far and wide, from sea to shining sea.

I am not here to tell you how to think. I am only relaying my thoughts. Your opinions are your own. If you are Trump supporter, all I am going to say is I hope you can face your female and minority friends after voting for him. I hope you can look them in the eye and explain why they mean so little to you. I do not wish ill on Trump’s presidency, rather I pray the negativity we are expecting never happens. I pray it goes smoothly, for our sakes. I pray that he proves us wrong. I do not want to “fight back”, I want to spread the love, the peace. We need that now, in these dark times, more than ever.

This does not need to be the beginning of our own dystopian film trilogy. If we know we are good at heart, then we can conquer hate with love, and darkness with light. We do not need a singular Mockingjay, a face of a violent revolution. We, the people, are the Mockingjays, and we will take this country back with peace and love, that’s our revolution. Life stops for no one, keep living it!

“My soul may set in darkness, it will rise to perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” -Sarah Williams

Facebook Politics

Facebook Politics

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Social Media politics, as a concept, aggravates me. It’s a common concept, and it is extremely prevalent in society today. It is the comfort of letting forth your deepest, darkest political opinions behind the safety of a computer screen. It is posting statuses on Facebook and pictures on Instagram as a way of expression your “intellectual” political opinion. And how is this post any different? I am not expression a political opinion, rather, my criticism of it. But does this make me better than the rest? I will leave that to the jury to decide.

Facebook politics is something I personally like to refer to as “Bandwagon politics”. What is the popular opinion is usually what people will follow. What makes you look cool will be what you gravitate towards. What seems easy to reason with will be what you decide to preach. What makes you seem like the better person is the badge you will wear with honor.

Basically, you join the bandwagon that suits you and, in the world of Social Media, there are many, many, many bandwagons.

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Facebook politics looses its legitimacy to this ragged idea of “joining in on something because it’s the trending topic”. Things trending is just one of many things that affect the forming of intellectual opinions. If you do not follow the trends, then you are the one who breaks away from the mold. A long time ago that would have made you the cool guy, the Rebel. However, on Social Media, if you do not follow popular opinion, then all it does is put a target on your back for people to attack, people who are protected by a computer screen. They know you are not going to hunt them down and make them stand by their statements made on Facebook.

Social Media is a safety blanket for bullies and trolls, and those two types of people, though often not taken seriously, can affect public opinion. After all, why would you want to be attacked by these trolls for standing by your opinion when you could avoid that and join one of the bandwagons?

I do not mean to make this particular post very long. I think I have covered the most important base. However, Facebook politics is a huge issue. Intellectual thought is fading and people following what is popular is on the rise. That is not a good thing when it comes to politics. Don’t get me wrong, Social Media is built on people’s opinions. But the purity of those opinions is totally lost to trends and trolls. That’s the scary part.

Basically, maybe log out of Facebook sometimes and join in on actual conversation. People are far less ballsy with their opinions when speaking face to face, after all.

Crime vs. Culture

Crime vs. Culture 

Part 1

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I use this image because, to me, I see it as the hand of justice with the snake of culture coiled around it, ready to strike, and this will be relevant to my series of posts.

I don’t want to start this out with some witty opening. That’s getting old, and this is a serious matter. I want to talk about this not because I am learned in the topic, but because I have seen and observed how society reacts to rape. It is disturbing and insulting to the “modern” century that we claim to live in. There are several concepts that I want to cover, and this would never blow over as a Facebook post.

Women and men alike suffer from this crime. I feel the need to reiterate that because it is often brushed over. We cannot associate crimes to genders. The reason why men who are raped do not come forward is because of that: society scoffs in the face of the idea that men are raped. How can a woman rape a man when women are inferior to men? That is a cultural mindset, and I have always felt that, for the sake of being helpful to victims of rape and not hurtful, that we as a society need to start removing culture from crime. Those two should never be put together. A portion of being a decent human being is realizing that laughing in the face of victims because of what society taught you about a concept is wrong and sick.

Men do not want to step forward as rape victims because men are supposed to be strong in the eyes of society. Removing that concept and allowing men to be human and not robots forged through the eyes of societal stereotypes is what will allow us to move forward. Rape is not a crime that occurs due to a person’s personality or gender. Rape is a crime that occurs when a rapist wants to dominate a victim, and it can be anyone. Rape doesn’t care if you’re a man or a woman, and neither should justice. If a man is raped, he has the right to come forward. If a woman is raped, she has the right to come forward. In the eyes of the law, there should be nothing else but serving justice and allowing the victims to see their rapist go to jail for their crimes. That is what should happen, however, we all know that that is not often what happens. Why? There are many reasons.

Privileged, we know, is one. Brock Turner is the face of that. He raped a young woman behind a dumpster during a party, got sentenced to 6 months in jail (which many of us found abhorrent) and only served three out of those six months, after he was released after displaying “good behavior”. He was white, he was a start athlete, and came from privileged. That is the formula for creating a monster who can get away with murder. How do we know that? Society. Culture. What we perceive in our lives. Mix that into the law, and Brock Turner is what you get.

In a perfect world, he would have served his time and the entire time, because he is a rapist and he deserves the maximum prison sentence. But because culture had a part to play in his trial, he got off easy. We know that is not okay, so why do we continue to allow culture to mix in with the law? Why do we stand for men like his father chalking an actual crime down to “20 minutes of action”. Instead of mugshots, we got his smiling yearbook photo. Instead of discussing a crime, we got in swimming records. Society only wants to focus on what will paint a white, male criminal from a privileged background with the most positive brush. If culture didn’t have a place in the law, which it doesn’t, that would not have happened.

Mixing in societal culture with the legal system is why everyday we are failing rape victims.

We need to view rape as a crime, not as a culture. Rape Culture is the same thing as Legal Culture. It’s like mixing oil and water. They do not and should not ever go together. When you take a cultural aspect into a courtroom, you get your Brock Turners, and once again we are left sitting here, wondering what is wrong with the court system. Why do women not come forward more? Why do men not come forward, essentially, at all? Why do rapists get lenient sentences? Why aren’t we doing more? All it takes it removing culture from the court room. Look at a case as it is, and do not bring society into it.

Brock Turner is not a student or star athlete. He is a rapist. He raped a woman. He committed a crime. If that was all that was on the judge’s mind, he would not have only gotten three months in prison.

That is all for Part 1, I will post Part 2 soon!

-Mira

Ahimsa

In light of recent events, I thought I’d share this with you all.

You cannot end violence with more violence. 

Thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas PD, and the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. 

To change, we need to stop thinking with bullets and instead with our hearts and minds.

The Chagres Challenge 

       Not to get cheesy… But it was challenging!!! At 5:30 AM on the dot, a van that looked ready to go on a safari came to pick us up from our hotel in downtown Panama City. From there, we were taken up a winding and rocky road. It was one way and–seriously–TURBULENT! Two or so hours after that, we arrived to our destination and, after breakfast, we then started our hike: almost 5 hours of crossing rivers, pushing ourselves uphill, downhill, sidestepping potholes and ditches falling down the side of the mountain. Not to mention the HEAT and burrs that took hours to get rid of afterwards. Needless to say, we dived in the river when we arrived, only to be whisked away onto the rafting portion of this adventure. Again, 5-6 hours of pushing forward or back, smashing against rocks and nearly tipping over! I had to forgo my phone for this whole endeavors, so no pictures of the beautiful river :(… But the scenes were lovely and we passed by many villages where adorable children threw about fire crackers to get our attention.

Finally we arrived to the place where motor canoes took us the rest of the way. By night time we had arrived to where the same van would return us to our hotel. An all day, grueling and almost soul crushing endeavor that, for sure, I would do again in a heart beat! If you’re into adventure and pushing yourself to your limits, the Chagres Challenge is for you! Just don’t believe the website! 🙂

On the road at the crack of dawn, en route to the Chagres Challenge!
Shot of the jungle on the way! Beautiful scenes all throughout!
Edgar and Raul are two of the capable men leading this expedition. Just ahead is the most important part of this drive: the food truck!
Stopping for a quick bite while the horses carrying the rafts are prepared! Still early morning.
From here I had to put my phone aside, as it would prove a hinderance. From then on, we started the challange!
After surviving the challange, took this shot of the moon over the Chagres River as we waited on our Safari vans!