Jaded's picture

Musings From The Empire

So this Link Fest is two weeks late. In my defense, I was super busy, away on weekends and lazy the days I wasn’t away. But this means there are more links while I try to drag my lazyarse into writing more regularly. I’d like to remind you nice People from the Olde Interwebes that we have an open guest-posting policy here if that sort of thing interests you. Also, this time around in the link fest, why don’t you drop in a few links from your own blog or anyone else’s writing that you enjoyed reading? This way sharing becomes truly sexay!


1. Kuzhali Manickavel in oh little flower. see you lover. see your chittu kannil pattu pattu sikki konda lover (which has got to be the best title for a post yet)  talks about povertyporn, Previlege Denying Dudes among other things:


I think we can all agree that orphans with AIDS have enough issues to deal with without having to also deal with multiple abandonment issues from wealthy temp caregivers from other countries who are hoping to do something exotic and charitable for their summer holidays. And so I nobly offer this alternative. Voluntourists, come take care of me. I live in third world country, hence the third world name of this third world blog. I don’t have any major diseases but almost all my acquaintances have had diseases like typhoid, malaria, dengue fever, jaundice, chikungunya, cholera and one person even has TB! So you can come down here and wash my clothes and cook for me and buy me stuff  (you can’t touch me though) and I won’t talk in English at all, we can communicate using sign language to make your experience more authentic. Then you can give me lots of money and you can go back home and tell everyone you were a caregiver for a third world ghetto vampire in India. That’s way haut, trust me because it’s like poverty porn and Twilight mixed together. Massive street cred.

2. The Indian Homemaker discusses how patriarchy percolates in women’s friendships and makes dichotomies between then in A Woman is Not A Woman’s Worst Enemy. Patriarchy is :

Traditionally women’s partners are discouraged from seeing their marriages and their wives as important parts of their lives. It’s common for men to be shamed and taunted for showing they care for their wives or marriages.Jokes like ‘Shadi ke laddu, jo khaye wo pachtaye‘, or taunts like Joru ka gulaam are common. And this when women must move in among near strangers and depend on the spouse’s support to feel at home in a new environment.

Traditionally men’s partners are brought up to believe that finding a partner and ‘keeping him’ is their only goal in life. The education they receive, how they talk (softly), walk, look , respond to questions (always respectfully), the careers they choose (no jobs that require traveling) – everything is permitted keeping the comfort and approval of a future husband and his family in mind. Women are brought up to seek approval.

3. Desi Girl talks poignantly and beautifully about the plight of Desi Parents when their children abandon them and how they are stuck between two lands effectively in Desi Mothers: Lost In Translation :

In two years the couple had a baby; MIL immediately took off from work to take care of the baby and the new mother. Once the new mother was out of childbed things started to change, MIL’s work load increased, she was the one responsible for the baby and gradually two more children followed along with new dramas. Once bahu had a baby she became edgy, she started having problems with everything MIL did and she would not let her husband be alone with his parents even for a minute. Their son started acting up, yelling and screaming at the mother and often times not talking to the parents at all for days. After second child bahu asked MIL to give up her job for good as she wanted to work. MIL took it as a retirement bonus to be with the grand kids. Managing two homes across the border and three children under five became a full time job for MIL. Gradually the quarrels became so frequent that MIL felt she was a prisoner in her own home. It is then she asked her husband to move out.

4. Sharanya Manivannan’s poem Parampara among others in Softblow :

I willed my bleeding to

coincide with full moons.

It’s easier for them to

attribute my lunacy that way.

Rumour has it that I do my

sprinkling at the stroke of

midnight. I do it in the late

afternoon, after the radio

switches to news. I don’t

care for news.

5. KJB rebuts an article by Rita Banerjee in Locating Gandhi where she smooths out more than a few factual mistakes :

One of the best quotes I ever read about Gandhiji and women came from his great grandson Tushar Gandhi -

“I would say that Bapu was a champion of gender equality. But the moral strength that he imputes to women has an almost inborn, genetic complexion to it, which bears little or no relation to the exploitation, humiliation and hardship that has been women’s lot, historically speaking. Bapu remained fixed on the symbolism of the Mother. His was a passive picture of womanhood, of a person who undoubtedly possessed freedom but functioned within narrow parametres [sic] and defined boundaries.”

arvan's picture

Is That an 'Honor Killing' In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy Not To Be Me?

There are some crimes that are just gut wrenching to think about.  "Honor" killing, the murder of a someone (usually a woman or girl) by family and friends over sex / marriage is an awful thing. 

I object to it personally.  as a father of a girl, I shudder to think what could bring a father or brother to slaughter their own kin.  It cannot end soon enough for me.

There are some great resources committed to ending 'honor' killing, listed at the end of this post.  If you know of others not listed here, please leave them in the comments field.

What has my mind today is not the 'honor' killings themselves but how the topic itself is discussed, presented and marketed in western societies - the EU and US.  The news reports and accounts of these killings reveal these deaths in terms of the way they are carried out, along with details of religious and cultural practices that seem primitive, cruel and that fly in the face of any rule of fairness, reasoning or legal structure.

Sure, we get upset by such murders, but are these 'honor' killing being used to reinforce a "single story" about the populations where these killings occur?  As Chimamanda Adichie illustrates well, repeated and dramatic negative images about a culture other than one's own, can reduce our own awareness to a "single story" of who those people are.  It lumps people into one-dimensional creations, not as complex and alive in our minds as we hold ourselves.  It strips individuals of identity and reduces people to "one of those people".

Chimiamanda talks about people being framed in a  "patriarchal, well-meaning pity" by holding them in a "single story of catastrophe".

Christina Engela's picture

Sorry, I'm Hatred-Intolerant

Why do some men feel that being gay is somehow an affront to their masculinity? What are they so afraid of?

Their own sexuality and of falling out of the closet? That, or are they afraid gay men have bigger dicks? I know some women who have bigger balls. Oh wait, I am one.

Let a girl just choose a girl over a man, and they feel they are "less of a man" for it and get all defensive, as if it has anything at all to do with them. That's right - they seem to think that a woman's taste in men (or women) actually affects them! Geez! Talk about insecurities, issues and mental problems! ... or is that ego? Nah, try arrogance.

Take for example the turd that beat up the three lesbians in the bar in Jeffreysbay last weekend. That's right, a turd. Why? Because he saw three girls there and approached them, and when they politely told him after his badgering, that they weren't interested in his advances because they were gay, he took it personally tried to force himself on one of them. Then he decided to beat up on them for daring to reject him.
Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Pelvic Exams Done Without Consent

My friend Liz sent me a link to an article in The Globe and Mail, she was pretty appalled by what she had read and wanted me to help spread the word. So here I am spreading the word that in Canada medical students routinely perform pelvic exams on unconscious women who are about to undergo gynecological surgery and as the title of the post clearly states the pelvic exam is done without the patients consent.

I too was pretty appalled when I read this, that is until I realized that the exams were only performed in the context of a gynecological surgery. The idea that you could go in to have your tonsils removed and unknowingly have a med student riffle around inside your vagina while you lay there unconscious was a horrible thought. Obviously, there is still the issue of consent, but at least the exams were done in context. For some reason, that makes me feel better about it. Sorry, Liz.

No matter how warranted these exams are in the context of a teaching hospital, the patients consent should be at the forefront of the issue. No consent, no pelvic exam. Seems like a rather simple conclusion, no? Well, apparently in Canada the patients consent is implied rather than explicit (they perform the same exams in the U.S. and the U.K. but require the patients outright consent). Canada what happened to your usually well earned good manners?

arvan's picture

Jennipher, the woman thrown to the dogs

By The Independent

When Nathan Awoloi bought his wife for two cows, he believed it gave him the right to treat her like an animal. Claire Soares reports from Pallisa, Uganda, on the charity that saved her

Hunched over a sewing machine, Jennipher Alupot is an unlikely poster girl for the women's rights movement.  In fact, the young Ugandan mother is totally unaware of how her story – almost too horrific to be believed – has caused waves across the country and down the corridors of power, ultimately giving thousands of abused women the chance of justice.

For seven years, Jennipher was forced to breastfeed the puppies of her husband's hunting dogs. After drinking and smoking heavily, Nathan Alowoi would appear at the marital bed, bind his young wife's legs and hands together and force the mewling animals to her nipple.

He had handed over two cows to his father-in-law as part of the "bride price" for his new wife.  So, he reasoned, if the cows were no longer around to provide milk then his new purchase would have to provide for the pups.  "I had to feed them all through the night; then in the morning he would untie me," his wife, now 26, explains matter-of-factly.

arvan's picture

Not Under the Bus

By Gloria Feldt

If we’re going to be thrown under the bus, let’s not be ladylike about it. Kick and scream and make your voice heard.”
—Linda Lowen,

I couldn’t agree more with Linda.  That’s why I’ve dropped everything else and am working with the Women’s Media Center to raise awareness about what is at stake with the current health care bill over at

We just released a new video to increase the sense of urgency about women’s rights in the health care bill.  The fight isn’t over yet, and the next week of conference committee deliberations between the House and Senate will be crucial.  We need to be calling Congress and making sure that our rights are not thrown under the bus in the debate on health care, and we need our blogosphere to be heard loud and clear by the media and Congress.  One thing for sure, anti-choice forces won’t stop just because it’s Christmas, and neither can we.

View the video here:


arvan's picture

Shame: A film about 'honor killing' (aka ignorant murder)

5000 women yearly are still getting killed for ‘honor’.

Shame (2005)

Director: Sharjil Baloch

Genre: Documentary

"Shame" is part of the honor killing awareness-raising campaign in rural Sindh and southern Punjab.  The directors take to the road, documenting shocking interviews that uncover a deep-rooted gender bias in rural Pakistan as well as the first ever footage of a karion jo qabristan, an unmarked graveyard where victims of honor killing are buried without any ritual. An important and timely film. 

arvan's picture

U.S. Christians Encourage Murder of Gays in Uganda

By Christi van der Westhuizen

CAPE TOWN, Nov 11 (IPS) - The Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in Uganda was sparked by a conference in Kampala earlier this year at which fundamentalist Christians from the U.S. identified homosexuality as a threat to "family values".

The draconian law will institute the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" and criminalise human rights work.

Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican bishop from Uganda, and Reverend Jide Macauley, from Nigeria's House of Rainbow church, told IPS that a conference took place on March 5-7 this year, arranged by Stephen Langa, the director of a Ugandan fundamentalist Christian grouping called Family Life Network (FLN).

The FLN invited speakers attached to U.S.-based religious and "educational" organisations that propagate the idea that homosexuality is an "illness" that can be "cured".

LaPrincipessa's picture


My heart hurts. Never before have I felt so betrayed. I have been deeply involved with getting health reform passed. As a volunteer, donor and blogger, I feel I have invested a substantial amount of time and energy on this very important issue. I believe all humans have equal rights and deserve fair and equal healthcare at an affordable cost. I believe the rising costs of healthcare are damaging our economy so quickly that if something isn't done immediately the repercussions could be far reaching. When the United States House of Representatives passed the landmark legislation, I rejoiced, and then I read this:

Pro-choice lawmakers and organization leaders are firing back after the House passed its landmark health care reform legislation late Saturday night. The bill included what's known as the Stupak-Pitts amendment, language offered by Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) that prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion services in any health exchange be it public or private

arvan's picture

Armenian Radio Show About Sexual Minorities 11-4-09

British Council Armenia presents Wo/Men in Politics' Black & White
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Radio Hay: (104.1 in Yerevan, 106.6 - Gyumri, 106.3 – Vanadzor)

As part of the British Council's committment to Equal Opportunities and Diversity our next programme on Wednesday, 4 November will be addressing the issue of sexual orientation, discrimination and stereotypes against sexual minorities in Armenia.

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