Cultural Whores No More … Chick Flick Power Arise!

I don’t know about you but I am bored out of my mind with the images we get fed from movies and television. I am bored looking at hardware chases, sweaty male faces and guns spewing forth bullets, (hardly ever hitting their target, except the end), running around trying to SAVE the world from other males who are equally out of control. Die Harder, Rambo 7, Lethal Weapon 5, and its spawn ad nausea. Interchangeable movies with each other drone on. Clearly Hollywood loves males with a passion, treats females as marginal, and treats female writers/directors with exclusion and contempt.

Why is it that male executives who make programming decisions want purposefully to make movies for other men rather than women??? Because they don’t have to. They say “women go see anything” with a date. In other words women are cultural whores. We sit through, bored, or are insulted by the content, we allow the movies to portray us as marginal humans (one female part to ten male roles ), we pay our good chick dollars , hold our noses and go see movies that we just don’t like at all because we are women, we go with the male tide. Who me? Am I to complain about no entertainment for more then half of humanity? No problem as long as we are on a date. This is how we are seen. Powerless cultural whores who will see any crap the males churn out. I want to change that within my lifetime.

Chick Flicks Versus Dick Flicks

Supposedly males will not go see the ‘chick flicks.’ On a date somehow they will resist going to see a movie where feelings are featured, women’s feelings especially. Chick flicks are defined as having to do with feelings and relationships, maybe even a little crying is involved. Supporting women to get their movies on screen is not likely ever to come from men. They would rather put gay males into their dick flicks. The new dick flicks go as far as showing males pissing in stalls , we have to watch them do the little after ‘shake’ and see them not washing their hands afterwards. Is this culture??? Just a second while I throw up.

When a so called ‘chick flick’ makes a ton of money, most often they do, it’s termed as ‘a fluke’. Let’s just list a few flukes who either won an Oscar or were nominated for writing.

Thelma and Louise
Howard’s End
The Remains of the Day
The Piano
Sleepless in Seattle
Heavenly Creatures
Il Postino
Sense and Sensibility
Wag the Dog
Primary Colors
Erin Brokovich
The Lord of the Rings
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

These are the ‘flukes’ men like to call not profitable, yet they all were!!! Lies! They are flukes all right, because against all odds, somehow they got made.

I am a professional writer and I also dream about writing movies that sell and get made. So far I have written 10 books (in print) 3 screenplays, with 2 more in mind, 2 sitcoms, and the ideas keep coming. Each time I feel the spirit fill me with new work, I look at my professional field, and all the excellent screenwriter women who live and work in Hollywood. They have agents and connections, and yet NOT ONE sold an original screenplay last year (2002) Not once did we break through the male celluloid wall. How can I then dream of selling a property without an agent, without connections, to even have a chance of a snowball in hell?

Then I have compared this dismal situation to what was there 3o years ago. It is the same! In many ways its worse. Back then when we first fought for women’s culture .we really thought our efforts will succeed in time.(we were told over and over again to be patient.) After all women have gained many rights since, but Not on the cultural field. We can have a legal abortion but not a good flick to see with our girlfriends. I am not even asking for good lesbian movies. Just something with some imagination and entertainment value for women.

Its is said that if a woman director gets a hit movie made she will not work for ten years. If a male gets a hit movie made, he will work for ten years more. This is so unfair to woman artists that it chokes me with tears. The male justification is once more :women will see anything. Anything. No need to fear our demands. Chick dollars will be spent every weekend on dick flicks.

Let’s Give Them Bad Blockbuster Weekends

Chick dollars withheld from the box office is LONG overdue. Somehow we never quite believed how bad it is being excluded from our times’ culture, marginalized like a minority, when we are majority. Get it through your head! Women are most of the human beings on earth. We buy most of the books, we read more then men, most of the movie goers are female. And we don’t need a date to catch a flick.

Being culturally marginalized is to accept second rate citizenship. Just because women have been too NICE and go to all the male crap they call movies, dick flicks. We are being punished for our writers and directors having a vagina, having excess to their feelings and liking to entertain thoughts other than killing people as problem solving devise.

How do we do this?

Hollywood depends heavily on their weekend intake on any new release. This is where they want to see their money returned to them. If women don’t go to Dick Flicks they will feel our financial sting. Hollywood respects financial power. Let’s give them Bad Blockbuster Weekends.

The definition for dick flicks is this:

  1. When you see the advertising/promo, do you see mostly males on it and just one female on the poster? Unless the woman is the lead character it’s a Dick flick. Avoid it, the woman is not you, she is just a prop to assure you subliminally that these guys are still heterosexual. She probably has five minutes airtime, tops. All of that as a sex object or grieving for her man. Whichever male character has a girl usually dies in dick flicks.
  2. Rule number two: The savior theme, males saving the world without women. This is the prototype of the dick flick, they get a male star to carry the movie (to bring in the women who are enamored with male stars and please tell me why ), sell it as adventure, but it’s just a lot of hardware stuff, special effects and debris flying through the air. Millions of bullets are fired, never once hitting the dick heroes. Cost tons of money, all the males involved make out with fat checks, it’s a dick fest. Avoid this kind of movie, and if your date wants to see it, let him go alone. You are no longer a cultural whore.
  3. People of color in dick flicks without the women are still just crap. It doesn’t matter if we now replace white dicks with black dicks, it’s still not going to entertain feelings, create an emotional effect, not even good fantasy. Believe me you have eaten this cultural food before, and it left you empty and unappreciated. Boycott it.
  4. War movies. No matter which war it’s about, it’s a dick flick. Glorifying senseless violence and manhood in time of crisis. You have seen this movie thousands of times . Don’t buy that ticket no matter who is the good looking guy in it. It’s against your values as a woman, and you are excluded. They made this movie for males.
  5. Sports movies with all male cast. Dick flick. You know what to do.

Imaging, creating movies, giving communal dreams to the people is a privilege.The people is mostly women. It’s the best work in the world. Pays outrageously well when it pays. Men like it and want to keep it amongst males. We all sit there in the dark experiencing together something where humanity is grappling with some problem, feelings of all kinds, the pangs of love. It’s not only business it’s a commitment to be entertaining and to cater to women who are most of the movie goers.

It’s rare that movie directing falls into a women’s hands, unless she finances it herself and gets it done in Europe. Or she is a famous star and agrees to do a small budget movie which then gets the proverbial ‘fluke’ success and makes a lot of money.

Hollywood argues women are not good enough to write good scripts, yet when they buy a script from a man, it’s women they hire to ‘fix’ it. To do the pages. The same important pages they claim are all that matters to them. These women writers in the backrooms never get their name amongst the credits, and hence they are not paid the same nor respected.

Unless women become conscious of their own cultural demands, us, the female writers and directors and actors will not get hired.You would for ever watch dick flicks in the movies and on the small screen. Rambo clone after Rambo clone . Now a whole generation later, it is time to pay attention how we spend our entertainment dollars. Keep those chick dollars in your pocket on blockbuster weekends.

Women must show their demand that hits Hollywood in the pocketbook. We have to stay home, on big blockbuster weekends nationally (you can do videos). We are not culture whores. We want our own sex to have access to the creative tools of the dream makers. We want our own sex to dream up some entertainment for us. We want our own sex to give us stuff to laugh about, TV sitcoms and movies, breakthroughs in programming. Let women make fun for us, let them bake their excellent cultural feasts, let our sex play and write, direct and produce. With a majority of females in the world, and the majority of movie goers women, demand some better, higher FUN.

Z Budapest, BWH October 2003

(Bored With Hollywood)


Teaching the Goddess Online

What an addictive tool the Internet! I can’t wait in the morning to run to my online school and see what my students have written! They have homework, they have destiny work, they have Tree work, and they chitchat with each other forming/nurturing an international women’s community.

I am very impressed. I started teaching in the days of the mimeograph machine (early seventies). Yes, Virginia, we cranked the pages out one by one by hand, and got a lot of ink on ourselves in turn. The ink didn’t come off for weeks.

Then we advanced to Xerox machines, expensive but faster. Printing the first women’s liberation newsletter SISTER was a later development, after we mastered the art of asking for money and taking on regular subscribers. History just went fast forward from then on.

In the early eighties we still didn’t have computers; the machine we had was big and not much more than a glorified typing machine. But the times went into warp space, and suddenly we had computers, and email, and the works. Internet came as the topping on the cake. It has leveled the field all around the globe. Suddenly we are one not just in theory but as a tangible global community. I know what my friend in Budapest is cooking in her pot, and what my other friend in Brazil is reading. They know if I have some troubles with my IMAC, or the email is acting up. I bought me a pair of boots online and they fit! This must be the ultimate victory, saving time for fine things like nature walks. Smelling the roses.

I am an Aquarian with Libra Moon, Sagittarius rising. As a teacher I am best when I get to talk to my students in person, but I had to learn new tricks.

How to establish a school, online, where the students won’t get bored, won’t feel abandoned, and how do I urge them on to actually invest the time and finish the homework I have assigned to them?

How do I reward them? Do I need to give out grades? How often do I need to comment on their work? What about the peer review?
Isn’t that more exciting?

Life has stepped in and I had to go away to Europe to get some surgery done. I had double hip replacements and in that time I had a crappy computer to work on with not the American keyboard available, but a European one, with the letters and Y all mixed up. It was a nightmare.

But never mind. The Information Age has not let me down. My students have endured valiantly my misspelled words. They were kind about the long pauses when I was post-op and unable to sit without pain at the computer. I managed to hold on to my website. New students have come, and in fact my business doubled while I was laid off getting better.

Now we are nearing the 3rd year anniversary for the Dianic University. We have amassed a lot of homework in our resources; students and I started seeing that some reward IS in order, like a certificate that they had completed my curriculum. I am working on that now.

What are we learning?

My idea was to create a place where women can come and study as they have time. These women are new moms, some are students at Universities, some are professional women, some are kids. The Goddess is a family-friendly study. The Wisdom Track is a journey around the sun, taken together and taken consciously.

Each month has a Goddess monolog, and seasonal information about the sacred trees, birds, stones, and inner life. We share these with each other. Yes, its based on my book Grandmother of Time, but my books are to be lived, not just read. Reading about nature helps, but living it makes the journey visceral, makes it personal, something to share with each other.

What I found most exciting all my life is getting to know the trees. Sacred trees, every one of them. Some of them are more famous than others, but I think all trees are the very lungs of the beloved blue planet. Lungs and breath, spirit.

To make acquaintance with a local tree is to spend time with her: Hang out around her; Make some contact; Touch her; Kiss her bark. Tree-huggers dream assignments! The tree is not fast in responding, but when we take them seriously, the trees are direct phone lines to LIFE. A couple of heartfelt visits, maybe asking for a wand. These visits can become prayers.
I am very close to two trees in the cemetery park where I walk my dogs in Oakland. Here the trees are allowed to grow big and stay alive.
My beloved FRIEND, a yellow poplar, greets me as I start my walk. She sees me from afar, waits until I too can see her. Then, like a person, she begins to dance with her leaves. First just a few on the outside. Closer I come, more and more. This is independent from the wind conditions. When the wind is blowing of course she is more active. She can express excitement, she can express love, she can say yes and no depending on how she moves. I have learned her leafy language, I know what she is saying most of the time.

I tell her about my life. I ask her to send me more friends. (I have actually met two women later in the park after I asked her to help my social life). I asked her to send me more students. Most of the time I bless her and she in turn blesses me.

I have introduced her to friends of mine who do not walk this park, she approved on one, she wasn’t quite as enthused about another. Just like a person.

I urge my students to find this kind of deep personal relationship with a good tree. Many have managed to find their Tree Sisters, but some are more in tune with flowers. Some love stones better, have personal relationships with rose quartz, opals, amethysts, moonstones, and even diamonds. These human-to-planet experiences are prayers. We realign our souls with the natural world. No longer orphans, us women. We belong here. This is our time and our space. This is our planet.

Spell casting is expected from us witches, so there is a good amount of suggestions towards successful practice. But we don’t consider spell casting a daily chore. We use prayers, and abundant blessings on everything, mostly the water from which all things emerged. Than you water! Thanks and blessings change the molecular picture of water; it changes when receiving gratitude. It’s magic on a daily basis.

I have another Tree Friend. I call her Cork Mama Oak. She is magnificent. Her strong limbs reach out in a effortless stretch, her arms are thicker than my trunk. She has the sexiest groove between her main branches, and I bury my face in there and whisper sweet nothings to LIFE. She is also my Altar. Here I cast my most urgent spells just with words into her cork skin. I can hear my voice echoed back. (How does she do that?) When I finish, I leave with a much lightened heart. I kiss her several times before I leave. The feel of her cork skin feels dry but wonderful. I know I am the only one who has ever kissed her with deep love; maybe the only one to kiss her at all.

As part of our learning, we come together and talk about what has happened. How our prayers were answered by the trees. How our connection to nature created for us a family. How our love for the planet is growing. This love often gets translated into action for the environment. For peace. For each other.

The Goddess Wiccan Movement: Interview with Z Budapest

with Gayle Kimball

GK: You mentioned your life work was “Priestessing a feminist /womanist community.” How has that developed and changed over the last two decades?

ZB: I am no longer a dimple-cheeked agile young women with an attitude. I am a new Crone groping confidently for the third destiny. While I was having other plans, like becoming a great Hungarian novelist, LIFE has directed the essence of what I was to bring back the ancient Goddess into women’s lives. LIFE is the final editor. What she writes is often better than what I have thought up. She writes bolder herstories.

For the past 30 years I acted as priestess, as well as a writer, initiator, conceptualizer. Priestess is the oldest profession by the way, not prostitution. What does it mean? I facilitated hundreds of circles of women with a spiritual content and experience. I taught women how to pray to the Goddess from the heart. I was the closest to this information. I had all the stars, the Aquarian sun, the Libra moon, humanitarian and equality minded; it all hung together imperceptibly. Plus, I had a psychic mother who prayed on the winds to our ancestors. I inherited the witchy genes that manifested early in my life.

When I was four years old I could frighten away Russian soldiers from our bunker during the WW2 in Budapest. Even as a toddler I had certainty that I could pray aloud to the heavens for a protection with my skinny little arms outstretched. The soldiers were undone by this picture. They knew I was in contact with God. I have always prayed the Big Prayer to the Goddess Boldogasszony. (She was a fairy queen for the Hungarians who birthed a girl, not a boy. We renamed her for political reasons. Mary got assimilated into the local tradition, all the churches were finally to Mary, or her mother Anna, or her friends St. Katherine, or our homegrown saints St. Elisabeth and St. Teresa. There are no churches built in my country to Jesus Christ that I have ever seen.

This prayer is older than Hungarian Christianity. Boldogasszony (Glad Woman) was the power over everything and it saved us many times during the war. I still do this prayer in Hungarian when I do healing work. It goes like this in mirror translation: “Now is the time to help me, oh Maria! You merciful Virgin Mother! The deep prayers of your children you never, never deny. Where humans cannot help, you alone have the power to deliver. Where the need is keen and hopeless, your power alone can turn the tides. Show us that you are our mother! Now help us oh Maria! You merciful Virgin Mother!”

GK: The archetype of the great mother, to use Jungian terminology, always surfaces, despite patriarchy’s efforts to suppress her. What do you think about the appearances of Virgin Mary in Mexico, the US, and various parts of Europe?

ZB: All healing sites are connected with the Mother of God. All springs, healing baths and rivers are the Goddess. She is everywhere and pervades the entire culture. I think humanity noticed that the Mother of all Gods actually does good things for us, heals the sick, gives hope to the hopeless, and warns of pending disasters. She is a working God, a God who never deserted us. A true Good God. Eventually it will be normal to love nature, to love peace.

GK: What is the evolution of your personal relationship and understanding of the Goddess?

ZB: I am still a work in progress. Nothing can be more powerful; nothing is more exuberant in the evening, nothing more worthy to dress up for than a ritual circle with a sacred fire and a few hundred women ready to dance and pray. Nothing compares to the oneness we feel when imagining the Goddess together. When women imagine the world, the world actually gets better. When blending action to our inner life, we are shapers of the new mythology that has bigger power then any President. Imagination and humor has toppled the powerful before.

The spiritual revolution is imperceptible, a stealth revolution. The Goddess is coming in little pieces, a woman at a time. The great awakening is in its almost maturity, we’re almost all getting it. LIFE doesn’t mind discord or unpleasantness, or even death. LIFE doesn’t mind because she made more of us yesterday. It’s a huge continuum. LIFE runs the show.

Our Zeitgeist ( Right now Pluto in Sagittarius) is the humanistic coming to consciousness as the human race. Women always stand for all of humanity, since we have created everybody from scratch; there are only two kinds of people on Earth, the mothers and her children. This is why the Madonna with child is essentially the symbol of our human race. This is the image that occurs in every culture over and over again.

GK: What do you see as the focus of young women today?

ZB: They want to make everyone feel included, not hate each other. They enjoy a gender continuum; the whole arch from extreme masculine and feminine to androgyny they see as “cool.” They don’t hate each other for sexual orientation. They’re kick ass wonderful, they know more than we did. My sons’ girlfriends were feminists; I used to be girlfriend bait. Young women like we had before them, looking for their mission in life.

A young woman like Julia Luna Hill loves nature and acts on her beliefs; that’s is what I hope they all find, a noble mission. More women are graduating from universities with degrees, streaming into white-collar jobs. Women will run this country in ten years. They still need women’s study groups, women’s centers and bars, as existed in the 60s and 70s, although women’s centers do exist in the universities and you don’t have to pay rent for Internet chat rooms.

GK: Is the Sisterhood of the Wicce still an organization? What about other wiccean organizations around the US and other countries? Are there still goddess and wiccean conferences, newsletters and magazines?

ZB: Oh yes there are! The organizations and their public visibility have moved to the Internet. You type in Witchcraft, or Goddess, and hundreds of things will pop up, including my own website, and the Dianic University. The space where the Aquarian Age can grow up is the Internet.

In the 80s I started the Women’s Spirituality Forum, our own San Francisco Bay Area non-profit, and lead it still. We organize women’s festivals and celebrations. We come together in a special place–the redwood forest; we circle to celebrate the seasons eight times a year. For example, Halloween is the New Year when the new calendar begins. We mourn people we lost, lament, speak out, then play music to come back to the present. We use the spiral dance, the most ancient symbol, the Milky Way, spiral down to the center to the house of death, commune with ancestors, and bring them offerings. We spiral back out, purified; the soul comes out as we hold hands with the women and spiral in and out. We dance for health, for peace, what ever the high priestess puts out. She sends a kiss around, a group hug, and then we do final chanting and release it into the universe. (For more details see The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries available only on my website).

Each holiday is different as we celebrate the seasons. Winter solstice is where they stole Christmas (it used to be January 6 and still is for the Greek Orthodox church). Pick a holiday and revive it with friends in your own tradition. We opened up Pandora’s treasure chest, but there’s tons more to do to create a culture with meaning. When everyone feels included, there’s no war.

At a recent festival, we did a big Peace Ritual where we entwined a sword with olive branches and offered it to the Goddess, left it over night in the woods. We burned rose buds in the sacred fire. Working on the ethereal plane is important because manifestation begins there and then we kick it into the physical world. Women’s mysteries, where we celebrate the moons and the seasons, are the fastest growing religious activity in the pagan movement. We’re creating a new mythology, leaving behind patriarchal gods. Old Testicles and New Testicles have been cast away. The goddess represents plurality; the life force is one but it enjoys diversity. The impulse of life has to be diverse.

GK: What have you published over the decades since the first edition of the women’s culture book?

ZB: I published seven more books since the first one, The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows, which is now The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries and twice as long. I published with Harper and Row The Grandmother of Time, about the lost Earth holidays, and Grandmother Moon about the lost lunar holidays.

For example, in Rome, March 17 was Liberale, the celebration of freedom, when slaves were allowed to speak their mind, the foremother of speakouts. The Greek festival of Astarte was the coming together of male and female principles. One of my favorites is Hillaria, the Roman laughing day, the original Easter celebration.

Goddess in the Office was the book for the 80s as women went to work in heels and rode home in sneakers. They were on the edge, the first inheritors of the second wave’s fruits of feminism. It’s still my best seller. I created for them magical spells to do in the office. It aligns office work with the universe, each day has a meaning; I include a scent, color, and gemstone for each day as a way to align your consciousness.

Goddess in the Bedroom is for working women when they return home. It suggests varying your posture in intercourse: When the woman is on top she controls the rhythm of the thrusting. Being a wild woman allows you to revel in your lovemaking. Lesbian sex focuses on the whole body, a spiritual and emotional experience. I also write about solo sex, bedtime stories, and fairy tales from Hungary.

Summoning the Fates was about TIME and Fate and planets and herstory and the three Weird Sisters who rule over life, death and beauty. A sister book about the Spirit of our Times is the Celestial Guide for Every Year of Your Life which came out in 2003, focusing on the transpersonal planets and how they mature our spirits. For example, if you have a Saturn return you can’t unchoose it. It must be lived. The first Saturn return is age 28 to 30; it flips bright women out because things are unclear until the dust settles around age 33 and they see their second destiny and its life mission. The third destiny from 60 to 90 is the most important. More and more I am looking at on-line publishing, and an on-line business selling new books and CDs of the old ones. Being an Aquarian I like change.

GK: Do you think it would make a difference if more women were political and religious leaders? What about Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, and others who don’t seem to lead any differently than men? You hoped for revolution; is it on its way?

ZB: Those leaders were better then men, but were token women and had no role models, almost like orphans without mommies. They only had the ancient queens to look to, and that was too archaic. At least they all fought short wars and won; short wars equal less corruption. They were there first and made sure there will be more women leaders, letting down the mythical roots. We need generations of women leaders, before we can develop the most excellent ones we admire. We need woman leaders who also make mistakes; how else do they develop? Call together Mrs. Arafat, and Mrs. Sharon, and the wives and sisters of all the male leaders in power now and see what they are thinking.

How about the women who have brought down male corruption? In 2002, women exposed Oracle, like Debbie Leibrock. Sharon Watkins brought down Enron, and special agent Colleen Rowley exploded the CIA. Are these women/sisters not our frontrunners? Our noble generals? They don’t have to be witches; we are all used by LIFE

The culture changes, right under our feet, and then the rest follow. We listen to music from the all ages now and from all countries that had a recording machine. We watch TV about historical events reenacted, we look and watch ourselves from around the world. Humanity is watching, bonding, witnessing themselves; the world is shrinking. Bitterness issues are being worked on. Women must resolve their own inner conflicts and step up and take more responsibility for what’s going on in the world. The questions of war and peace must be addressed publicly by women. We also must lift our voices and dare to call on the men to take responsibility for themselves as a group.

GK: What’s your focus for the future?

ZB: For the future I say let PAX, the Goddess of PEACE, manifest with us. Without Peace there is nothing, because all evolution stops when war scorches earth and her culture. All resources are sucked away. Women and children once again go back to the bottom of the list. Have you asked yourself why we never ask how is the Iraq war going to pay for itself? There is unlimited money to kill, and here hospitals are closing down, schools too. Stupefying our population is only good for cheap labor. There are 7 million more women voters registered then males, why don’t we use our votes to rule out all wars? Let a woman be elected President.

I conceived of “The Global PAX Project,” creating infomercials for PEACE. Pax is the only one who doesn’t have her 15 minutes of fame. I think Pax should have infomercials where the women solve problems the men could not. Peace should be not politics; it is the basis for commerce and arts and civilizations.

Women must be visible in the media where our realities blend. “If its not on TV, it didn’t happen,” said Flo Kennedy, the civil rights lawyer. Waiting for the male leadership to make peace when they didn’t do so for 5000 years, is like waiting for fish to grow legs. Now we are in position to make female issues mainstream. And Pax is the number one female issue.

The big picture is that patriarchal wars must fail and become obsolete. I thought this would be done by now, thirty years after Women’s Liberation, thirty years after women coming into consciousness.

After wars there is no victory for anyone, mothers cry and burry their children on both sides; there is only famine, and poverty. The reasons for the wars are quickly forgotten, or never had any (WMD in Iraq) but its takes three generations to recover from a major war.

Women voters are the Sleeping Goddesses, snoozing on their sides. They need to wake up, to use the vote in a block. Only once did we vote with power, when women put Bill Clinton in the White House. We need another gender gap, to vote out war, to vote in as many women as possible. Then we’ll have generations of women with earthy powers as well as spiritual ones, supporting each other, growing out of self-hatred and self-defeat into diverse expressions of freedom and culture.