marlene mountain
as was/is

sexism of

Recently I was telling a friend, a non-game bioligist, my concern about the sexism of bird books. Not only is the female of the species placed behind the male in the pictures (e.g. Peterson) obscuring the wings, etc. (in some books she is not even shown), but the actual names themselves pose a [giant] problem. As is often the case, sexism, racism, etc. keep science from being science. To name a bird for the coloration of the male is indeed unscientific, very unscientific
(Discerning the female of many species is of course a mark of the real birder.) EG. red-winged blackbird, rosebreasted grosebeak, indigo bunting, are not accurate names. In this conversation, I said that at some point this unscientific approach must be rectified. Some generation has to do it. He isn't ready for it to happen in his. But eventually a book titled 'a non-sexist scientific field guide to the birds' will come about. It has to.

In much the same way, at some point, the attitude toward nature in haiku will have to be reassessed. It is not only that nature has been and is currently being drastically and irreversibly altered (in obvious and unobvious ways too numerous and too [ ] to name). It appears that the very concept of nature within haiku (as well as within other arts) is untrue. Nature as nature is not what the Japanese culture is about. [not that this is an exclusive attitude]

Let's examine the prevailing Japanese myth of the birth of nature and the birth of culture.* According to ------------** KJ]2, I & I came down from 'heaven'; she initiates sex; the result is ugly; they are told that females can't; when the male does a better/acceptable result--birthed by the female (nature) from her lower regions {

The male sees her 'reality' is repulsed by it/her and separates himself from the horrifying sight. Then he procedes to 'give birth' (typical patriarchal change-over found in other 'creation' myths) from the upper regions of the male--seemingly the 'cleaner' orificies. From his nose, ears, eyes etc comes culture-- seen as a male proragative/creativity.

---------goes on to explain that what has 'happened' is that nature has been altered/cleaned up. No longer revolting, that is, no longer real. But reshaped, redefined--given an esthetic. An attitude that can be lived with. It is purified. Pure. But no longer nature.

It is not that the bonsai is minature, but that it is removed from nature, reorganized and refined to become culture. With only a hint of nature. It is object rather than subject. It is supernatural (beyond nature). A separation. A parting from reality, from real nature which decays/rots, putrifies, disintergrates. A separation from natural/nature cycles/recycling.

So too with haiku.

*It has been pointed out to me by Sato that this myth was influenced by the Jewish concept of Adam/Eve. **other versions--such as ------ are not quite as revealing.

sexhist sighence sequence 1995

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