When Violence is Normal and Normalized by Carol P. Christ

Another great article by Carol P. Christ.

Warning: this blog discusses spanking and bodily violence

“No Whips, No Punishments, No Threats: Women’s Control of Social Life” is the title of one of the chapters in Iroquois Women, Barbara Alice Mann’s stunning reconstruction of female power in a matrilineal society. According to Mann, the European settlers were “unsettled” by the lack of strict punishment systems for children in Indian societies. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” was the backbone of European child-rearing practices. The settlers viewed Indian children as naughty, disobedient, disrespectful, and horror of horrors: self-possessed.

It is perhaps no coincidence that after reading this chapter, bodily memories of violence inflicted on me as a child began to resurface. My strongest bodily memory is of being hit repeatedly on my left upper arm by my younger brother’s fist. It is as if my arm is still stinging in that particular place. My mother wanted us…

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