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Coming Soon: "Finding Bibi" - a film about being a woman, between cultures

Bita Haidarian, an Iranian American filmmakersets off on a journey around the world to find out where she is from and who she is.

Born in America to Baha’i refugee parents from Iran, Bita tells the tragic-comic story of her family coming to America, her childhood in Texas, trying to fit in, and competitive cheerleading – all part of the quest of a girl who knows more about MTV than Al Jazeera.

Bita wanders through the US, Europe, the Middle East and Pakistan examining the cultures at play on her life and the lives of women in these places.  It looks thoroughly engaging and we're lucky, I'll have an interview with Bita here in the near future for you all to read.

The overwhelming trailer response has inspired us to build an organization around the movie.  Our goal: to bridge the gap between east and west by sharing the compelling stories of women - some empowered, others seeking empowerment - from both hemispheres. (website)

And Bita’s plea to public – please watch my film!  If it doesn’t succeed, I’m going to have to get married.

They have a website, a facebook page and a twitter account.


arvan's picture

Petition: Support Victims of Violence against Women & Women's Rights Defenders in Albania

Please, sign the petition below by February 28, 2010, by sending an email message to that says:

I sign the Petition in Support of the Victims of Violence against Women and Women’s Rights Defenders in Albania.

Please, provide the following information in your message: first and last name, organization, country, and email address.  Thank you for your support!


Directors of public and private TV and radio stations in Albania

Editors-in-Chief of daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Albania

The Albanian National Commission on Radio and Television


Dear Madams/Sirs:

We would like to bring to your attention recent regrettable cases of incorrect and unfair media reporting on cases of violence against women and the work of the organizations that provide support and shelter to the victims of this violence in Albania. The most recent case was a report by the program “Fiks Fare” in Top Channel related to the case of a woman victim of extreme domestic violence that has included severe and repeated physical violence. Inexplicably, “Fiks Fare” sided with the perpetrator, who exploits the victim’s children to stop his wife from divorcing him after years of severe domestic violence. This perpetrator, other than repeatedly abusing his wife, has over the last four years threatened and intimidated several women’s rights defenders who provided assistance to her.

arvan's picture

An Appeal from Khalida Brohi to Fight "Honor" Killing

Ending the custom of Honor Killing by changing tribal perspectives, Empowering local women & promoting positive customs!

For the cost of a few cups of coffee, you can help save lives!!!

Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI), a youth-led civil society organization in Pakistan, has taken the bold step towards injecting life into traditions of death and headed towards abolishing the custom of Honor Killing in Pakistan!

The most unreasonable idea and the dynamic changemaking strategy is attacking the crime strategically by promoting the diverse positive tribal traditions in patriarchal societies of Pakistan, and actually taking the whole community itself towards changing the tribal codes of Honor.


arvan's picture

"Spratz - a feminist kidzine"

A brand new feminist 'zine is out, aimed at kids.  It is called Spratz and you can download it here for free.

spratz_readable.pdf2.11 MB

spratz_printable.pdf1.95 MB

It is published by the CRAP! (Child Rearing Against Patriarchy) Collective over at their blog - Feminist Childrearing.

It includes contributions from kids and adults.  It is free (as in free beer).  This issue includes a nice send-off of Barbie, some musings on Cinderella, defining sexism & feminism and a crossword.  I definitely suggest you look it over.  We don't get much in the way of child-ready study or workbook material, based on feminislm and even less in the new media formats.  My favorite women & children / lesbian bookstore has much to offer, but it's still the old school printed formats of paperback and hardcover.  This zine gets the conversation out into the spaces that a great many, if not most young people are spending most of their time.  Plus, it's fun.

If you would like to join the collective or contribute to their blog or their zines "Raise Some Hell! a feminist childrearing zine for everyone" and "Spratz! a feminist kidzine", please email them at


rabbitwhite's picture

Reflections on Graphic Sexual Horror

Graphic Sexual Horror is a documentary film about the late, hardcore BDSM pornsite, To me, this film can be succinctly described as a brain virus. Since the seven days that I have seen it, I've not quite been able to shake it from my head. The images of women chained, cropped and tortured for viewing pleasure continue to project themselves into the dark of my eyelids, and my brain is still working overtime to try to make sense of it all.

Part of the reason why this film is such a mind-fuck is because of the utter lack of positioning on the part of the documentary makers. The film took a stand back position, gracefully allowing the porn and this company to be shown for what it was, without any sway on what we as viewers were to think of it. The film was neither a monologue at or a dialogue with the viewer on the subject. Rather, it felt  like some omniscient third party, passing along information and images to be burned into our retinas.

Here is what you need to know in order to understand the film: Insex was a brainchild of BDSM enthusiast and artist, PD. The site employed models, many of whom that weren't into BDSM, to engage in hardcore BDSM play on camera for a generous amount of money. There was always a safeword any model could use to end the session, but the women were also rewarded with more cash, the longer they went and the more they endured. This site was eventually shut down by the State.

arvan's picture

Stop the Anti-Family Law ratified by Iran’s Parliament

Reprinted from Change for Equality

People of Iran, men and women

The Legal and Judicial Commission of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of the Parliament, has recently re-introduced the so-called “Protection of Family Bill” to the parliament with changes to articles 23 and 25 and rushed it through parliament for ratification among the political chaos in the country. This bill is ineffective to support the institution of family and is far behind the bill that was ratified some 35 years ago in 1974.

According to the new bill, polygamy is legalised and men are given further powers to re-marry without the consent or even the knowledge of the first wife. According to the new amendments if a woman contracts a terminal disease or is away from home for 6 months or is imprisoned for a bounced cheque, her husband can take a new wife. On the other hand, women’s right to divorce is very limited.

In July 2007, a draft of this bill was introduced to the parliament for the first time but faced with widespread objections by women activists and other civil rights groups. The objections focused on articles 23 and 25, where the first was given further rights to men and the second introduced tax on women’s Gift Money which is allocated to her on marriage and is women’s only guarantee and safeguard in case of divorce and maltreatment. The new bill has omitted the tax but has divided the Gift Money into ‘conventional’ and ‘unconventional’ without setting a standard for this, thus restricting the only legal mechanism women had within the institution of family.

arvan's picture

Rising extremism, war on terrorism and women’s lives in Pakistan

By Bushra Khaliq [International Viewpoint]

Genesis of Extremism

Sixty two years ago at the time of Pakistan’s birth in 1947 as a result of partition of United India, the majority of the population in this part of the world was not fundamentalist. The state structures, though weak, nevertheless had chances to grow as a democratic country but on account of repeated interferences by Military regimes, the state started adopting Islamic ideology, giving maximum space to religious extremist forces to promote their non-democratic agenda in the country.

Many religious political parties and sectarian groups were pampered and encouraged to grow by military regimes. Millions of petro dollars were poured in by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to strengthen these parties and groups under direct state patronage. The Islamist forces had a quiet walk over democratic and progressive forces, to consolidate their socio-political spaces in the country. Religious schools (madrassas) were set up to groom and recruit jehadis. These madrassas emerged like mushrooms across Pakistan particularly in tribal areas, which served as real breeding grounds for religious fundamentalism.

The Constitution of country was injected with pro-Islamic clauses, imposing restrictions on women rights, curtailing their mobility to participate in social life. Burka culture was promoted and women were pushed inside the four walls of the house. Segregation on basis of gender was introduced at all levels in the name of Islam. Military dictator Gen.Zia-ul-Haq enacted discriminatory laws against women to please religious forces. Parallel Islamic courts were established by Saudizing the constitution. Under Evidence Act women’s’ evidence was declared half in comparison to a man. Burden of proof of rape was shifted on woman, while in case of unwanted pregnancy as result of rape, victim was used to subject to punishment by lashes, prison and stoning to death. Women movements and progressive forces though in their limited capacity reacted to these barbaric state measures but could not stop the ugly onslaught of extremist forces.

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African Women's Economic Summit: Investing Differently in Women

From: 19/03/2010 - 20/03/2010

Location: The Windsor Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

Contact: Pénélope Pontet

Summit objectives and outcomes:

  •  The Africa Women’s Economic Summit will:
    • Identify the issues that limit women’s access to financial products and services
    • Explore the business opportunities and innovations to expand the reach and scale of financial services to women at all income levels.
    • Cultivate the leadership required to introduce new ways of thinking, and build an African financial system that is more inclusive of women.
    • Identify measures that will ensure women take their rightful place as decision makers within the governance and management structures of national, regional, continental and global financial institutions.

arvan's picture

Film Review: Graphic Sexual Horror

Last night, I attended a screening of "Graphic Sexual Horror", directed by Barbara Bell and Anna Lorentzon.  The venue was the Leather Museum & Archives (LAM), who also sponsored the event along with The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum as part of the Sex+++ Documentary Film Series.  The event was presented by Dr. Jennifer Tyburczy, Ph.D. Director of Programming for the LAM and Clarisse Thorn.  Present for the showing and taking questions afterward, was Barbara Bell herself.  I was joined in the audience by blogger Rabbit White and her husband Ned.

So, the warning and disclaimer: This could easily trigger you.  I'm not even kidding.

This is a documentary about the creation of a website that produced media of women being tortured for people to watch as they masturbate.  BDSM porn...torture porn...whatever you may call it.

This is striking stuff and I found it difficult to separate my thoughts about the porn from my thoughts about what I thought of the film.  Which, I suppose is a nod toward the directors for presenting the subject without overtly interjecting themselves into the process.

The film is about 120min long and covers the story of how this website was conceived, launched, operated and finally shut down.  It starts right out off with a grainy film titled "worm" being shown.  The narrator, "pd" - is describing that this is his wife at the time, wrapped in vinyl, bound and laying on the floor.  The film then continues on through a series of interviews done recently, with staff members of relating their experiences on the site. 

arvan's picture

"Ask Me" [The Line Campaign] Valentine's Day video

A Valentine's Day video featuring @ingridivanna, consent + candy (get more here:

"Ask Me" from Nancy Schwartzman on Vimeo.

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