Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Womens Center

Did I tell you I have an island? The Grand Opening won't be until the Autumnal Equinox, but Womens Center can be pulled up on the map when in SL and I have started terraforming and creating different venues/ spaces. on the island. I plan to have a conference space with tables, a lecture space with video equipment, a cafe for casual drop in chit chat, several small spaces for quiet talk with friends. The context around these specific places/spaces will be open space (this is an Open Space island with a low prim allowance but as much "space " as on a regular island. But scattered throughout that open space will be info about women/goddesses/saints/wise women/women's organizations...

I'm looking for 5 to 9 advertisers/underwriters to each support one aspect of the island in return for tasteful references to their organization/business/island in that space. I need to come up with at least $90 U.S. a month to make this fly. That would be between $10 to 20 U.S. for these 5 to 9 benefactors/sponsors.

Why do we need this?

Clubs are not the right atmosphere for women's talk about serious concerns, nor for a quiet place for two friends to just talk, many avatars de-select themselves from using feminist or academic gathering spaces if their group needs a space for something informal or something off topic from the theme of the area, sim, or venue.

There were many times in SL when I purchased or held onto land I really could not afford because I wanted to host an event for a group or cause in which I participated and I simply did not want to color the gathering with the venues available to me.

I am also a firm believer that it is up to the women of the world to save what we can of the mess that men wielding power for so many centuries has made of our home planet. We have very little time in which to act before the complete destruction of the biosphere is inevitable. Second Life gives women from around the world the chance to gather together and network in a way that was never possible until the past couple of years. Women have always networked and maximized the energies and resources available to them through sharing, pooling, stepping up, stepping back --whatever was necessary to insure the survival of their children and those family members in their care.

In the U.S., the country with which I am most familiar, women have had suffrage for less than 90 years. The days of merely being a satellite of a male life are very recent and thus the current state of affairs where women have some autonomy and authority to make their own decisions is tenuous.

If we do not wish to settle into the new dark age accompanying the coming environmental shifts and the co-occurant economic collapse and total societal rearrangement that can so easily emerge from that degradation then women have to reassert their organizational, nurturance, and leadership skills and abilities so as to out maneuver the male controlled families and corporations that have brought us to this brink of mass extinction.

How this maneuvering is to be done and what women will build as alternative structures, I cannot prophicise . I do however have absolute faith that if women gather together in peace and joy with a common purpose with positive frames and orientations -- that emergent properties of the system will come out of the new connections and ideas that are forged as women simply gather together to do the things they need to do in a new open context.

The women's center is simply to be a place for women to meet together. If we all have this common understanding of the need for knowledge and new practices as we meet with each other for poetry readings, business meetings, movie viewings, discussions, book groups, whatever, then these bits of information and ways of doing things will come forth. We cannot force specific changes because the world is far too complex of a system to be controlled, but we can nudge trajectories and use our collective wisdom to respond to opportunities as they appear that we might miss as individuals.

SL cuts across geographic boundaries as well as economic and religious divides. This virtual world is a perfect meeting place for the women the world over. If we can establish places women can simply use for their needs, this will go incredibly far into helping to birth new connections, opportunities and ways of looking at the world.

I hope you will come to the Womens Center and help bring this vision to life.

Here is my favorite spot on the island so far. This will be a meditative or quiet conversation area.

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About this blog and Second Ana:

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The Womens Center, Second Life
Ana Herzog, avatar in the virtual world of Second Life, expounds on the semiotics of identity in the metaverse, alternate realities, feminism, artistic expression and the growing use of SL as a a progressive networking tool. Second Ana was born into Second Life on July 8th of 2006. Her island, The Womens Center, will officially open on the Autumnal Equinox. She owns Casita Gaia, an Interior Furnishings Boutique in Barcelona del Oeste. She is the local coordinator for CODEPINK SL. CODEPINK SL is an international chapter of CODEPINK Women for Peace. CODEPINK is also represented by our hut hangout on Commonwealth Island where our neighbors include the ACLU and Green Peace.