Posts tagged feminism

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I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage - as Tang has - all women to start being more forthcoming about different forms of gender-based abuse they’ve suffered to raise awareness about just how poorly women are treated all over the world.

I recently told my partner about sexual abuse I experienced when I first came to Britain in 2009, in York, in an Indian restaurant, right around closing time. A young man was helpful and friendly as I waited for my £2 samosa. When he brought it to me in the bag, I handed him £2 and instead of handing me the bag, he grabbed my breast. 

I don’t remember what happened next other than me leaving as quickly as possible. This incident was so minor (in threat and act) compared to the numerous other encounters of gender-based abuse I have suffered, it almost didn’t register to me. I had never told anyone about this incident, but it encouraged me to tell my partner about more instances of abuse I have and continue to suffer … like just last week whilst waiting for my bus, around 4 pm, on a very busy roadway in Manchester.

And now I want to say this… Over 2011 to 2012, when my partner returned to the US because of visa complications in the UK, I suffered so much gender-based abuse that I developed an anxiety disorder. I became so afraid of suffering more abuse and violence if I left my flat that for about 2 months, I only left my flat to attend weekly counselling at my University.

I asked for a 6 month interruption of studies from my PhD, providing them with detail about my developing an anxiety disorder as a result of gender-based abuse and isolation, combined with the deaths of both of my grandparents and my partner’s absence. I was granted a 1 month interruption (30 days), and I have no doubt my University being audited by UKBA at the time and my status as a student migrant played a role in the denial of my interruption. I took 9 months off my PhD to recover. I will be applying for an extension of studies to complete my PhD because my interruption was denied.

Ellen Paige’s recent appearance on Ellen has helped me see that staying silent is the worse course of action (and on that note, I’d also like to ‘come out’ as a proud bisexual woman - something I feel shame for not disclosing on countless University surveys) if we want change for the better. It’s not as if I want my colleagues to know gory details of abuse I’ve suffered, but I want them to know that gender-based abuse happens, a lot, to a lot of women, and it’s not acceptable. Something that is emerging from treatment of female migrants at the Yarl’s Woord migration detention centre in the UK.

None of what happened to me was my fault, and none of it was acceptable or appropriate. I’m too tired to stay silent any more.

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Utterly amazing <8minute account of female photographers in war and conflict zones.

The first woman has been appointed to command a United Nations peacekeeping force – a Norwegian general who has served in Lebanon, the first Gulf war, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
[Major General Kristin Lund] told the Associated Press she was proud to crack the glass ceiling in UN peacekeeping. &#8220;I think it&#8217;s time, and I think it&#8217;s important that other women see that it&#8217;s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander.&#8221;
She said that was where she fell in love with the UN and learned that &#8220;maybe the most important weapon that you have is communication and to build relations&#8221;.

Photo: Xinhua /Landov/Barcroft Media
Text: AP at the Guardian

The first woman has been appointed to command a United Nations peacekeeping force – a Norwegian general who has served in Lebanon, the first Gulf war, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

[Major General Kristin Lund] told the Associated Press she was proud to crack the glass ceiling in UN peacekeeping. “I think it’s time, and I think it’s important that other women see that it’s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander.”

She said that was where she fell in love with the UN and learned that “maybe the most important weapon that you have is communication and to build relations”.

Photo: Xinhua /Landov/Barcroft Media

Text: AP at the Guardian

I’m a romantic love junkie just like the rest of you.

A quote of excellence from Betty Dodson on masturbation, feminism, and romantic love.

To be followed by:

Women tell me they worry their fantasies aren’t feminist enough. I tell them: ‘Honey, the dirtier and nastier, the better.’ I have a Rolodex, a whole series. My fantasies are so dirty, they’d put me away.

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From Bronwen Clune of the Guardian:

It’s time we stopped using the ‘boys will be boys’ line.

Men are not inherently violent, degrading and predatory and women are not inherently victims. We need to move beyond the oversimplification of these constructs.

(Source: Spotify)

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It’s a myth that street harassment is just a bit of harmless fun. It’s about about power and control – and, as I know from personal experience, can so easily turn to violence

Laura Bates: Women should not accept street harassment as ‘just a compliment’ (via guardian)

This quick read helps me express and better understand why I developed such fear and anxiety when leaving my flat after street harassment turned physical.

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“Every day in Africa, hundreds of thousands of women cross borders to deliver goods and services from areas where they are relatively cheap to areas in which they are in shorter supply,” says Paul Brenton, Africa Trade Practice Leader for the World Bank.

However, Africa’s trade potential is undermined by constraints that women face. The contribution of women to trade is much less than it could be because of nontariff barriers that impinge particularly heavily on the trade activities of women and women-owned enterprises. These barriers often push women traders and producers into the informal economy where a lack of access to finance, information, and networks jeopardizes their capacity to grow and develop businesses.

Women and Trade in Africa: Realizing the Potential, a new report from the World Bank Group’s Africa Trade Practice, demonstrates how women play a key role in trade in Africa and will be essential to the continent’s success in exploiting its trade potential.

From the World Bank.

THIS is exactly the sort of research I’d like to be doing post-doc. Yes, nontariff barriers to trade! Yes, empowering women in business. Yes, development of infrastructure in Africa. Oh, worldbank, if you’re reading this, I will be available for employment winter 2014; just please don’t ask me to spend too much time or be based in Washington, DC. That place kills me.

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Of all women over 50 in work, average pay is £15,000 a year; for women over 60 it is £11,000. The gender pay gap is also higher than for any other decade of life, with average full-time hourly earnings for women 18.4% below those of men.

The TUC says this is because women are still being penalised, in terms of pay, for having children. “Women in their 50s are effectively still paying the price for having taken time out of the labour market and having worked part time. Many of these women now find themselves still juggling low-paid, part-time work with caring responsibilities – those that no longer have dependent children may be doing regular care for their grandchildren, elderly parents or a sick or disabled partner.”

The report adds: “Many returned to work after having children and struggled to combine work with childcare at a time when few employers offered flexible working. The fact that this generation of women earns a fifth less than their male counterparts and less than any other age group of women should set alarm bells ringing.”

The report finds that half of the women in work are part-timers, many of whom want to work longer hours.

From the Guardian/Observer today on women 50 and over in the work force (from the Politics editor).

Interesting 10-minute feature, role-reversal take on sexual harassment and assault en français (avec subtitles).

Warning: (nongraphic) sexual violence

H/T: K Starnes

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Nora Ephron, in her ode to ageing, I Feel Bad About My Neck, wrote: “If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini and don’t take it off until you’re 34.” Somewhere in the history of womankind, mother nature was consulted and apparently the age at which we are beyond our use-by date is around 35. This cloak of social invisibility is of course the age our fertility drops and that, according to internet sources, means women without children become both “desperate” and ugly.
Excellent read from Bronwen Clune on feminism, ageing, and invisibility.

Well, I want to be seen as who I am. I am a Muslim, I am a woman, I am an African and do what I think is my best ability for my people. My people are part of humanity and the globe and Mother Earth and whoever wants to support our initiative, we are grateful. Those who want to put me in a box- that is their problem because I will not fit.
Somali Environmental Activist Fatima Jibrell in response to the question “As a covered Muslim woman how do you want to be perceived by the world” (via somaliwomen)

It’s taking a lot of self-control not to reblog every post! Truly inspiring blog for all, especially women, especially …

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Pussy Riot members freed from prison
December 19, 2013

Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova, 24, andMaria Alekhina, 25, were released from prison, three months before their scheduled release, according to Reuters. The two women and fellow band member Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested for performing 
Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away from Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on February 21, 2012. Their crime: “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.”

While Samutsevich successfully appealed her sentence, the other two punk rockers remained, despite global cries for the their release. Earlier this week, a new Russian amnesty law was passed. According to The Associated Press, prisoners “who haven’t committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children” are granted amnesty from their imprisonment. During their time, Alekhina went on a hunger strike and Tolokonnikova wrote an open letter, protesting the treatment of prisoners. Just days after that letter was posted, she disappeared for 21 days during a prison transfer, showing up in a Siberian prison hospital.

In a news conference, President Vladimir Putin expressed no regret for the Pussy Riot members. “I was not sorry that they ended up behind bars,” he said. “I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behaviour, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women.”



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TW: rape

Women’s groups are calling on the police and prosecutors to treat abuse of women and girls online as “robustly” as they do offline, as a report published on Thursday reveals the extent of sexual harassment on social media sites such as Twitter.

Holly Dustin, director of End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) said: “Rape threats online should be treated with the same seriousness as if they happened in the street or on the bus. They need to treat abuse online in the same way as they do offline.”

Excellent read by Jane Martinson on current work to increase awareness and for online harassment to be treated the same as ‘offline’, ‘real world’ harassment.

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Why are women’s tattoos often viewed in terms of their sexual attractiveness, or the indicator they are perceived to give about her availability? Why is women’s skin still considered public property she has no right to alter? Apparently, these marks of mine are a waste of money and they’re just going to fade, blur and sag.

It’s true. The ink will age at the same rate as I do – just like my grandad’s did. That’s fine with me. The marks aren’t decoration, aren’t designed to draw the gaze or enhance a feature, and even if they were, what’s wrong with skin that looks the age it is, rather than the air-brushed and painted flawlessness of an eternal 20-year-old? What’s wrong with bellies, arms and breasts that loosen and relax as the years pass? I want my tattoos to look the age they are.

For others, I suspect the vehement dislike of tattoos is really a fear of women’s skin. When a woman makes her own mark on it, she isn’t quite as available to receive whatever fantasies you might want to project on to her. If skin is a screen, and a woman writes on it, she is telling the world (or even just herself) that her own standards of attractiveness are more important to her than the standards of anyone else who might cross her path. She is taking ownership.

Painted ladies: why women get tattoos by Jenn Ashworth.

I got my first tattoo at 18 - the word karma on the back of my neck. From 18 to 29 I identified as buddhist (small b), but after my PhD-life crisis I don’t identify as much of anything. This doesn’t mean I regret my Buddhist tattoo. We should all strive to be better to others, regardless of the repercussions in the afterlife, if there is one. The next tattoo I got was on my leg, high enough for it only to be revealed in the most intimate of moments; I still thought tattoos, on women, should be hidden.

I didn’t get my next tattoo until 23, when I started my half sleeve. Years later a tattooist would remark how it was so unusual to have a lower half sleeve, as most women who have half sleeves get them on the upper arm, so it can be covered in professional settings. My half sleeve is my ‘arm of death’; tattoos were always my way of coping. Working at Tower Records, people would see my body as public property. They would reach across the tills and touch me; they would ask me, ‘What’s that mean?’ It was always so strange to me; why would a stranger feel this was acceptable?! I would look at them with dead eyes and say, ‘It’s for someone who’s dead now’, hopefully instilling that it is never appropriate to ask a stranger about their tattoos. Tattoos are personal, and if you and I haven’t shared a meal (H/T: J Corrin), you shouldn’t feel comfortable enough to ask me about my body.

I got two of my tattoos in Texas, the vast majority in Colorado, and one in Manchester (UK). These places all have significant ‘tattoo cultures’, particularly Colorado; almost everyone in Denver has at least some small amount of ink. When I first started my sleeve, people would ask, ‘but what will you do for work?!’ Again, with dead eyes, ‘I’m an academic.’ I’ve interviewed a former Prime Minister and elite leadership within the WTO and the World Bank; I’ve worked government jobs, and I teach at University; no one has ever treated me any different if they catch a glimpse between my long sleeves. If anything, they’ve treated me as more of a human.

Anyone who holds such perceptions about women and tattoos in this century should be relegated to obsolescence. Small-minded people have, likewise, asked me, ‘Yeah, but you don’t want to have kids, right’, as if motherhood and body art are incompatible.

And, of course, people have asked, ‘What will that look like when you’re 80?!’ Dead eyes: ‘Like someone who has lived their lives as they wanted to, not how they were told to.’

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