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It's past time that we see misogyny for what it is and begin to take it seriously.

The other day as I was riding the subway, I saw an advertisement for a new television series centering on Natalee Holloway, the 18-year-old who disappeared when she was on a high school graduation to Aruba in May 2005. The case is being revisited in a new television series on Oxygen, called "The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway", where promises of new leads give audiences a new interest in the case. American audiences are too familiar with Natalee Holloway's name, just as they are with JonBenet Ramsey and other white girls and women whose faces are helmed as the epitome of innocence. This doesn't dispute that they don't deserve any of the harm that may have befallen them – no woman does. However, the ways that white victims of misogyny and gender-based violence are treated in comparison to BIW+oC are staggering and send a clear message on whose lives matter more. Too often, the treatment of Black, Indigenous, and other women of color in the face of violence and misogyny is disregarded and pushed aside altogether. Violence against BIW+oC is not only routine and expected, but celebrated. It's clear that talking about misogyny isn't something new, but the ways in which it impacts our lives are. The danger with oppression isn't with the everyday violence which it allows; the true danger comes from the normalization of that violence. As we've seen with the news surrounding The Breakfast Club and their complacency in transphobia and transmisogyny under the guise of "humor", it is a dangerous thing when we become comfortable with the violence that surrounds us every day.

The upcoming lunar eclipse on August 7th offers us this beginning point. It’s a good time to reset, ground & charge up for the months ahead.

We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We offer gratitude for the knowledge they want to offer us. We thank them for supporting us in developing the tools necessary to draw boundaries and step into our power. We thank them for the opportunity to release. Give thanks for our healing. Ase.
Cleansing was my first bit of magick. From being given ‘spirit baths’ to learning to clean my space(s) in order to accommodate my guides, my first lesson with all of my teachers was how to cleanse. Though each instructor carried a slight variation, the end result was the same: removing the sludge and the static to reveal to yourself where you are at, to open your space to your guides to inform you of what you should be doing and to offer tools to keep clear and aware of where you are going. When embarking on any new journey, it is always most liberating to clear away anything that you may carry that no longer serves you and clear space for new learning, claiming your power and holding new capabilities/gifts. The upcoming lunar eclipse on August 7th offers us this beginning point. It’s a good time to reset, ground & charge up for the months ahead. This is when we gather our energy and give ourselves something sacred, reflect on where we are at and expand into our next steps; clear the unnecessary and prepare space to welcome those who will guide us to our purpose and keep away those who eat off of our fear. The shadow of mercury stationed retrograde is already being felt, so quieting and clearing space and mind to organize these thoughts and sort through how to maintain healthy connection with the relationships that will nourish, develop and sustain us, is ideal.

If I am to live through an afterlife it should be as a churel demon, so I can seek vengeance on behalf of mistreated women across the globe.

By Sarah Khan Like all other cultures, South Asia has its own selection of other-worldly monsters to scare children (and even some adults). None of them really ever frightened me because they all seemed to have a reason for being the way they are. The one that intrigues me the most of them all is the churel. While in Pakistan, churel is also the word for a living witch, I’m going to talk about the ghostly demon in this piece because this female demon is the man-hating, anti-patriarchy, badass ghost that I kinda hope to become when I pass away.
Who Is the Churel?
The legend of the churel reportedly started in Persia, but is currently most prominent in South Asia, specifically India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She is said to be the ghost of a wronged woman, usually one who dies during or just after childbirth. A woman can also come back as a churel if she was mistreated by relatives during her lifetime or if she was sexually dissatisfied. Because of this fear, families were encouraged to take extra good care of women relatives, such as daughters-in-law, especially pregnant ones.
Why Is She So Scary?
The churel is an ugly, horrific-looking creature who can take any shape she pleases. In Pakistan, it’s legend adds on that she cannot change her feet, which are pointed backwards. For this reason, she’s also known as pichal peri, which literally means “back footed.” Generally, the churel will take the form of a traditionally beautiful woman in order to lure men into secluded forested areas. Some say that she’s not malicious while most folklore about her say that she’s vengeful and returns to kill the men in her family, starting with those who wronged her when she was alive.
How Does a Woman Become a Churel?
The most common reasons women come back as churels is if they die during childbirth (sometimes also if they die during pregnancy) or in the 12 days after childbirth, when she is considered “impure”, according to Indian superstition. Other reasons a churel is created is if the woman is unfairly treated by her relatives and even if she is not sexually satisfied. For this reason, when a woman is pregnant, she is taken extra-good care of in order to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth. It’s also the reason why families are likely to actively be humane to the women in their families.
Why Is the Churel My Feminist Heroine?
The fact that people need to be scared by an urban legend into being decent to the women in a family is appalling in itself, but I like to think that the legend of the churel was created by women in order to scare men into treating them like human beings. Women have long been considered second-class citizens and little less than incubators for babies, so I don’t blame women for potentially creating a terrifying demon to scare people into treating them with basic humanity. The idea that a witchy demon who can shape-shift and lures men to their demise exists in a culture that is so blatantly misogynistic is refreshing. While there are those who are deeply engrossed in the misogynistic cultures of South Asia, and even women who have ingrained misogyny they’ve not unlearned (or are simply unaware that it’s there to begin with), will still fear the churel and think of her as something evil and unsavory, I myself find her a breath of fresh air.

As a Black American I am marginalized, my experiences have been tainted by racism. However, when I began my gender transition, those experiences shifted.

Caitlyn Jenner is known as the most famous openly transgender woman in the world. However, to what extent does Jenner's visibility help the transgender community? It can be said that she has helped shine a spotlight on a community that is often left out of our own narratives. But unlike Jenner, most of us trans folks do not have the same agency as her, because Jenner benefits from white, upper class privilege, and in that sense, Jenner's visibility is unparalleled to the poverty that ravages my community and the discrimination that we face in the workforce. As a Black American I am marginalized, my experiences have been tainted by racism. However, when I began my gender transition, those experiences shifted. I recognized it as I was preparing for my first job interview, being openly femme and trans, I found myself worrying about how passable and how polite I would appear to the employer before I even thought about the interview questions. I should note that I am a transgender woman who has the benefit of being cis passing, meaning that I have more access to safe spaces than someone who is visibly trans, and it would be a lie if I said that I do not rely heavily on my privilege as much as I can.

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