sexism

arvan's picture

Undesired: A Short Film About Discarded Girls

India is a diverse country separated by class and caste. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son.  This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy.  No woman is exempt.

This preference originates from the belief that men make money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs, are a financial burden.  As a result, there is a near constant disregard for the lives of women and girls.  From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.

The numbers are staggering.  Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are 'missing,' by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N., aborted solely because they are girls.  One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes.  Countless others are never known.

The government has tried to intervene.  Dowry and sex selective abortions are illegal.  Yet both practices still thrive, in large part because of deep-rooted cultural prejudices.

Today, eighty percent of Indian states are now facing a shortage of women.  To compensate for this differential, young, unknowing women are bought from surrounding countries like Bangladesh and sold to young bachelors.  Not knowing a word of the language, these trafficked women now face the same kinds of violence as other Indian women.

Read more: Mothers of a Hundred Sons: India's Dying Daughters.

Links:
The Alexia Foundation
Visa Pour l'Image: Astrada's back with new chapter in ongoing project
Visa Pour l'Image: Interview with Walter Astrada
United Nations Development Programme: Power, Voice and Rights (pdf)
Disappearing Daughters: Action Aid & International Development Research Centre (pdf)
NYT: Missing: 50 Million Indian Girls
The Guardian: Women fight for life

Jaded's picture

A Woman Like That

Last year, I met an extremely interesting woman; she was fierce, passionate and charming. She had one ‘problem’, she was a part of the bigger sect we post-caste Indians have conveniently labelled ‘Dalit’. And to advance her (un)popularity, she was a former sex-worker. She worked as a maid in one of my aunt’s houses and I spoke very briefly with her before my aunt reprimanded me for talking to a woman like that. As if, whatever ‘problem’ or ‘disease’ she had, it would somehow seep through my skin too, or worse I’d become a woman like that too! Or maybe she just really hates two utreuses talking — and you know utreuses,  they ruin everything! — and that’s why she made me go to another room. Or maybe having a woman like that under your roof makes the air contaminated and you need to make sure that her ‘stench’ leaves with her. I for one am confused as to why would you let her work in your house if you feel it’s necessary to douse the house with ‘holy’ water after she leaves (think of the water waste daily!), obviously considering you can’t stand to be in the same room as her. I’d rather not employ someone I have a problem with than to employ them and treat them as less than human. But, that may just be me. I’m just a sillyarse LadyBrain after all.

I’ve heard about women like that since I figured out ‘that’ was a part of the Secret Indian Code parents or grown-ups use when referring to sex-workers. Or a woman who commits adultery – are you shocked that some women out here have affairs? Perhaps you should really give up thinking that all we do is squat in the mud all day. It might make comprehension of humans as a species a tad easier — or perhaps she’s a woman who had pre-marital sex. A woman like that always had to correspond with any vulva going out of line. Somehow circumstance, context and coercion wouldn’t be a part of such a discussion, just emphasis on how wrong the sexual transgression was and it ends with the same bleat of These Modern Women Racing To Be The Next Best Prostitute. Imagine my shock when someone I know called Arundhati Roy a woman like that. It shook the ground beneath my feet — take that Rushdie! — when I realised I didn’t know the Secret Indian Code at all. Turns out, a woman like that doesn’t require special prowess or inclination to indulge in more than socially sanctioned amounts of coitus but rather any woman whom the DudeCouncil considers ‘going out of her place’.

arvan's picture

ZOMGitsCriss: Preventing Lesbianism ?

She's at it again this week and going off on this year's Eugenics poster child.

LaPrincipessa's picture

Collection of Sexist and Inappropriate Halloween Costumes

I haven't dressed up for Halloween since I was 14. I dressed up at the girl from 16 Candles, no one got it, but I thought the costume was cool.

So needless to say, whenever Halloween comes around I am appalled by the sexy outfits that websites and specialty stores advertise to women. There is the message inherent in this annual sex-me-up trend that says "Women, you can be sexy and overtly raunchy on one day of the year- any other day of the year you must follow our rules of purity and conservatism". 

Pizza Delivery Girl , see the text right over her vagina, "Hot Dish". Nice. 

There isn't an official "taxi uniform". So I guess dressing as a taxi means, "come ride in my taxi". Cool.

Oh this is rich. Dressing up in a sexy version of your child's favorite cartoon character. Sick. 

Ohh, "Indian Princess". Nothing is more offensive than this outfit, which is racist and historically inaccurate. Not to mention totally inappropriate considering the sexual trauma and sordid history of Native American women. 

LaPrincipessa | Email | Twitter 

Picture: Huffingtonpost

(Posted at Women Undefined)

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".

arvan's picture

Gov’t Hems and Haws Over ‘Honour Killings’

By Sujoy Dhar

NEW DELHI, Sep 9, 2010 (IPS) - Instances of ‘honour killings’ in Indian communities still steeped in traditional beliefs continue unabated. Yet the government has not enacted tougher laws that will deal a decisive blow against this societal scourge.

For bringing dishonour to the family, couples defying time-honoured traditions in many orthodox Indian villages must flee for their lives lest they become victims of ‘honour killing’ committed by kin or members of their own caste.

Some of the couples on the run were either caught unawares or hounded out and killed by their families who were determined to restore honour to the clan.

"Young couples live in fear. They are often driven to suicide, if not killed," Nishi Kant, who runs Shakti Vahini, a non-governmental organisation researching honour killings in India, told IPS.

Marrying outside one’s caste or within one’s lineage (‘gotra’), or outside one’s religion is still tabooed by many Indian families, who believe such "aberrant behaviours" deserve the most brutal punishment, often in the form of death.

Over the past months, horrific reports of honour killings have been pouring in. About 45 people have died as a result of such killings in the past 19 months, according to Shakti Vahini. Despite the spike in honour killings, the state remains a mute spectator, said Kant.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance has condemned the killings but has not acted decisively on the sensitive issue, fearing a dent in its traditional vote banks.

arvan's picture

Retro Sexism and Uber Ironic Advertising

Created for Bitch Magazine's Mad World Virtual Symposium: http://bitchmagazine.org/blogs/mad-world

Marketers are increasingly using Retro Sexism to sell products. This form of advertising uses irony and humour as a way to distance itself from the sexist and/or racist representations and stereotypes they perpetuate.

Retro Sexism (n.): Modern attitudes and behaviors that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.

More info and links available at www.feministfrequency.com

(h/t jaded16)

Jaded's picture

Re-Making While Break-ing Bodies And Meanings

The past few days have been emotionally as well as physically taxing, as I prepared for a seminar, re-wrote, re-edited and then wrote again my paper. Then deleted it and started all over again. A few years ago I had the nasty habit of never saving any of my writing, so I went along and got me an auto-saving program. Now all I need is a program that will swat my hand away every time I try to delete my writing. So you can understand, dear reader why I didn't want to open or even read any of my TrollMail. Turns out, had I opened it earlier I wouldn't be comatose in front of the computer screen, losing the battle against writer's block. Some days, the universe just provides you fodder, while on other days it spews slander all over you and your virtual space.

Questions like, "Must you use such harsh language, when you talk of your body or anyone else's body?" or another states "It's not proper for Indian women to talk of the body in such terms. You sound Western when you do write like this. Indian women don't and shouldn't talk of their private organs so blatantly. This isn't our culture". And I edited this one, because I distinctly remember my LadyBrain slammed itself shut after these lines. Forgive me for not reading any of her remaining eight e-mails for my eyes blurred over as soon as she started defining what "Indian women" should do or rather shouldn't do. And just as I start to write this, another e-mail scurries forward bearing the words, "What is the point of breaking up your body to show what you mean? Aren't you mutilating yourself, under the name of using poetic devices? Also, isn't this an extremely Western method of articulating ? Doesn't this stand against everything you supposedly believe in?". As I mentioned before, the Interwebes can smack any semblance of the Writer's Block right out of you, on a day like this.

LaPrincipessa's picture

Iphone App Features Absurdly Sexist Wallpapers For The Iphone 4

in

I was browsing the iPhone app store looking for some new images to download for my phone's wallpaper, when I happened upon these four images from A+ Wallpapers HD , filed under "funny".




Description and website information here:  A+WallpapersHD .

After seeing these images, I immediately trashed the app and sent an email to Apple. These images are depraved, sexist, misogynistic, degrading, and most certainly not "funny".

LaPrincipessa | Twitter | Email

(Posted at Women  Undefined)

LaPrincipessa's picture

The Frisky Lists Stuff Men Want Women To Do In Bed

Another day, another list of shit women need to remember so men will like them.  The shit that gets published these days that is aimed toward women is getting increasingly preposterous and it is worrisome. Take for example this list comprised by the benevolent Amelia of The Frisky, a sometimes cool website. She wanted to know what men like best in women during sex, so she magnanimously interviewed "3 guy friends"  who spilled all their deepest desires.

Or something like that.

1. Tell Him What To Do: This was the most common request from the guys I talked to—they’re dying for a little instruction. Guy parts are different from girl parts and sometimes they need to hear what you want.

Oh women, we already know you are so worried about performing well in bed that you usually forget to focus on yourself and gettin' yours, so make sure to remember to tell him if what he's doing feels good! This will help him get better and perfect his technique, you know for the next time he has sex with someone else!

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