resistance

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plain donuts and the normalization of normalization

Originally posted on (in)visible

       Today at work—i work at a coffee shop—someone asked me for a donut. However, she (i read her as a she, and will own that) didn’t simply as for “a donut.” She asked for “a plain donut.” This is where the challenge ensued.

       Now, i knew exactly which donut she wanted. There wasn’t an ounce of doubt in my mind, and, for the record, i ended up being right. But i have a bone to pick with the concept of “plain/normal/regular.” Fortunately, in my line of work, there are literally hundreds of opportunities to pose challenges to this way of thinking.

       So i drug the moment out. It could have been over in a flash of money and smiles; i could have sent her on her merry way quite easily. But i chose not to. i pretended not to know what she meant. “Which one?” i asked.

       “The plain one,” she repeated herself as if the issue were one of decibel level instead of clarification.

       “i don’t know what’s ‘plain’ to you, that’s very subjective,” i began playfully. “This one is covered in powdered sugar, is it ‘plain?’ What about the frosted ones, those look pretty ‘plain’ to me. Then, of course, you’d have to choose what’s more ‘plain,’ black or white?” i framed with a wry smile.

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Taslima Nasrin: Speech from Women's Forum

This speech was given by Taslima Nasrin in France, on October 15, 2005 at The Women's Forum.  Little has changed for herself or women around the world, since then.

          I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for having been invited to the first International Conference by   Women's Forum.  Today I would tell you a little bit about my life. 
          I was born in 1962 to a Muslim family in a small town called Mymensingh  in what then was East Pakistan. Now, after it gained its independence in 1971, the country is called Bangladesh
          Bangladesh, where I was born, is a nation of more than 140 million people, one of the most populous countries in the world. It is a country where 70 per cent of the people live below the poverty line, where more than half the population cannot read and write, a country where there is insufficient health care, and where infant mortality is high. Nearly 40 million women have no access to education nor do they have the possibility of
becoming independent. 
        In my country, my childhood was not much different from that of other girls of my generation. Like other girls of a middle-class family, I was sent to a  school. Girls frequently dropped out of school when they were fifteen or sixteen, ages at which they often were given into marriage by their parents. Few girls had a chance to continue their studies, for after an arranged marriage they were not allowed to continue studying in school or college or university nor could they take a job. They became totally dependent upon their husbands, in other words.

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