Stories from Quick Reads and Women & Gender
In an opinion piece published in alternative magazine Conexiones, Katya Najlis explores the ideas that lead to women being harassed on the street in Nicaragua. The essay presents multiple examples and reflections linking the majority of theories defending the right of Latin American women to move about freely without concern for safety to the social conventions that perpetuate gender inequality:
Los estereotipos hacia la mujer nicaragüense se convierten en otro método de violencia que nadie regula. El machismo asume el cuerpo de la mujer como un objeto público. El uso de imágenes sexistas contribuye a esta realidad, violentándola de forma implícita y posicionándola como un objeto. […] Lamentablemente, algunas mujeres hemos llegado a pensar que es “normal” o que “por nuestra culpa” somos víctimas de este tipo de abuso, y es que los acosadores aprovechan las unidades de transporte –sobre todo las rutas–, para ofendernos sexualmente.
Stereotypes have become another way to commit violence against Nicaraguan women that nobody regulates. Macho sexism assumes that women's bodies are public objects. The use of sexist images contributes to this reality, violating a woman implicitly and positioning her as an object. […] Sadly, some of us women have been led to think this is “normal” or that “it's our fault” we are victims of this type of abuse, and it's because our aggressors use public transport — and especially the streets — to offend us sexually.
Mohammad Moghimi, the attorney of the Iranian activist and cartoonist Atena Faraghdani was arrested on 10 June following a visit to his client in jail. His charges are based on the fact that he shook Faraghdani's hand. Faraghdani was recently sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for posting drawings and content critical of the government on her Facebook page.
According to the Human Rights Activist News Agency, Moghimi has been transferred to ward 10 of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. His bail has been set to 20 million tomans -approximately $7000 USD. It is likely Faraghdani will face similar charges.
— Mansoureh Mills (@Mansourehmi) June 14, 2015
— Katniss/Lisbeth (@shokufeyesib) June 16, 2015
The social media campaign for Faraghdani's release can be followed under the #freeAtena hashtag.
Residents of the city of Medellín, Colombia, are asking themselves if the metro is the place to talk about abortion, stemming from an ad by the #ladecisiónestuya (the decision is yours) campaign that's running in the public transit system's cars, as shared by user Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S):
— Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S) May 26, 2015
The Decision Is Yours pic.twitter.com/Nbaq2zJHXn
— Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S) May 26, 2015
The campaign is being spearheaded by a non-profit organization offering sexual and reproductive healthcare services, carrying the message: “398,000 abortions should not be illegal.”
Under the hashtag #Abortonoesculturametro (Abortion Is Not Metro Culture) referring to the set of rules governing Medellín's Metro called “Cultura Metro” (Metro Culture), people have been sharing their opinions for and against abortion, in the same way that the mass transit system installations’ cars are used on a daily basis to post messages using other graphic material.
Under the hashtag #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less), Argentina is mounting a campaign against the alarming increase in the number of femicides, which shows no signs of going down. Many of the country's public personalities have joined the campaign, like cartoonist Liniers, who used one of his best known characters to participate in the movement.
— Liniers (@porliniers) May 12, 2015
3 June. Plaza Congreso. No more femicides.
Femicide, understood as a hate crime against women, poses a serious problem in Argentina. Despite the passage of laws that deal with and criminalize violence against women, these crimes continue to be numerous. The protest will take place on 3 June in the Plaza del Congreso.
The movement gained momentum following the murder of 14-year-old Chiara Paéz. She was allegedly killed at the hands of her boyfriend and had been expecting a child at the time of her death.
The NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, which runs support groups for victims of domestic violence, reported that since 2008 in Argentina 1,808 women were killed by domestic violence, 261 of these girls between 13 and 21 years old. Last year alone, 277 femicides were documented in Argentina, according to Buenos Aires Herald.
Junio del 75 en México no te asombres
Se juntaron mil señoras para hablar mal de los hombres […]
Liberación absoluta es meta de la mujer
Pero aquello de que hablamos
Que no lo dejen de hacer aunque sea por favor
In June of '75 in Mexico don’t be surprised
Thousand of women came together to criticize men […]
Absolute liberation is women's goal
But that thing we talked about
Please don’t stop doing it even if it’s as a favor
The popular Mexican corridos usually refer to women as wives, girlfriends or lovers, but there was a time in history when feminist liberation was reflected in their lyrics. Angie Contreras, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), explains the double interpretation of feminism in that age which still continues today:
El corrido puede tener un sinfín de lecturas, […] explicare dos:
La primera de ellas, una cultura machista muy arraigada en el mexicano, donde la mujer debe asumirse en un rol de casa, educadora y sobretodo de cuidado, es donde recae la frase “que no lo dejen de hacer”, se nos da la libertad pero deben de seguir haciendo lo que ya sabemos hacer […]
Y una segunda está idea que el feminismo es sinónimo de odio a los hombres “para hablar mal de los hombres”, y esto es una malinterpretación del concepto […] la búsqueda del feminismo es una “liberación absoluta”, cuando se buscaban cosas concretas como el acceso a la educación, el derecho a votar y ser votada, la igualdad de salarios.
The corrido has unlimited interpretations, […] I'll explain two of them:
The first one, a sexist culture deeply rooted in Mexicans, in which woman should assume the role of a housewife, a teacher and caregiver, that is what the phrase “let's hope they don't stop doing it” refers to, that liberty is given to us but they must continue doing what we already know how to do.
And a second one is the idea that feminism is synonymous with hating men “to criticize men,” and this is a misunderstanding of the concept […] the search for feminism is an “absolute liberation”, when concrete things were requested such as access to education, the right to vote and be voted, equal wages.
Dr. Claire Kinuthia, a Kenyan doctor and blogger, writes about how she fell in love with medicine:
How it all began.
Medicine found me when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I have a particularly vivid memory of hearing my dad get up in the middle of the night to go attend to an emergency in the hospital. Dad was already a hero in my little beating heart but that night, lying in bed imagining what he’d been called to do and how many lives he’s get to save, he was elevated to superhero status. I remember trying hard to stay awake and wait for him to tell me all about his “adventures”. Sadly, sleep won that battle. However, the seed had been sown and I always knew I’d be a doctor one day, a superhero who saved lives
As the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada started kicked off on June 6, a number of organizations joined forces in launching the #GirlsCan advocacy campaign. Women Deliver, UNICEF, Right to Play, GAIN and One Goal are using the FIFA as a backdrop to raise awareness of how sports can positively influence girls’ lives and call for more research and funding for girls’ sports.
Lauren Himiak, Women Deliver's Communications Manager, explained it to Global Voices:
The #GirlsCan hashtag and campaign kicked off encouraging the public to share photos of themselves playing sport and talking about why it was important in their development. We have seen everything from female racecar drivers in training to boxers in Africa participate, and we cannot wait keep the buzz growing. The great thing about #GirlsCan is to see the messages coming out of Twitter…”#GirlsCan change the world; #GirlsCan do everything boys can do; #GirlsCan be the next president”!
The campaign is calling on people worldwide to take action, either by participating in the #GirlsCan campaign and advocating on girls’ involvement in sports in their communities, or by spreading the word on social networks. Those interested in the on-going campaigns can follow hashtags #GirlsCan, #PowerInPlay or #InvestInGirls.
Sports programs represent a highly effective, low-cost means of addressing some of the most pressing global development challenges. Involvement in sports improves the overall health of adolescents and young women, including sexual and reproductive health, and it gives children and youth opportunities to be more successful and achieve gender equality in their communities.
Part of the campaign is the Girl Power in Play Symposium which will be held June 18-19, 2015, in Ottawa, Canada. The symposium's agenda this year focuses on the most pressing global gender issues, including girls’ right to play sports and related topics within the fields of health, education, nutrition, life-skills, and gender norms. The pinnacle of the #GirlsCan campaign is expected on October 11, 2015, when the organizations will share collected stories, research, blogs, and ideas on how can sports empower girls on and off the field.
— Periódico La Tribuna (@PLaTribunaFunza) May 8, 2015
Pregnant 11-year-old who refused to abort creates controversy.
We wrote recently about about a 10-year-old pregnant girl from Paraguay who was allegedly raped by her stepfather and who was unable to have an abortion because of legal limitations in the country. Now, in Uruguay, where abortion is legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the case of a pregnant 11-year-old who refused to have one has shocked the country.
This girl, who has been said to have an intellectual disability, was raped by the 41-year-old grandfather of her half-sister. This man is now in custody and will be prosecuted for rape, Uruguayan officials told Agence France-Presse.
Family members, doctors, social organizations, and the media have encouraged the girl to terminate the pregnancy. They have even pressured the government to try and force her to go through with it, according to Pangea Today. The response was, however, not favorable to them:
“There is no risk for the life of the child or baby, so we cannot force her to have an abortion,” the director of INAU, Monica Silva, said.
Zachary Rosen interviews photographer/poet Amaal Said. Amaal was born in Denmark to Somali parents and is currently based in London:
AIAC: Your photographs are remarkable in how they challenge and evolve notions of beauty in mainstream Western media by featuring intimate portraits of melanin-rich young people – with piercings, in headscarves and with natural hair. What experiences inform and shape the content of your photographs?
Amaal Said: I try my hardest to keep close to beauty. I grew up in a neighbourhood referred to as a ghetto in Odense, Denmark. I went back two years ago and all I can remember is how many shades of green I saw. I wish I had captured more of it. My own memories of Odense are at odds with what I read about it and hear from family. It’s always been a beautiful place to me, which doesn’t mean that a lot of sadness and tragedy didn’t happen there, it just means that both elements can exist at the same time.
I’ve spent most of my life in London and I’ve had the pleasure of being in communities with other artists who are doing really important work in the world. I never felt alone in that case. Negative opinions of the countries we came from and the communities we lived in existed. I was in classrooms with other children who claimed that people that looked like me were dirty immigrants who stole jobs and cheated the system. I feel like I spent a lot of time at secondary school fighting people’s opinions. And I’m not in those particular classrooms anymore, but I’m still trying to combat those negative portrayals.
I never saw the documenting I did as particularly hard work. I asked to take people’s pictures because I found them beautiful, because I recognised myself in them. I realise now how important the work is and how necessary it is to push against the images that do not represent us in our best light.
The battle of a French mother to recover her son held in Ecuador by his Ecuadorian father, a case characterized by sexism and misogyny, had been followed closely on Ecuadorian social networks. Valeria Coronel and Antonio Jurado relate for the blog Plató Mundo:
Arianais Alezra, la madre de Gaspard Bruzzone, denunció hace unas semanas el secuestro de su hijo. Ella notificó que el niño se encontraba retenido por el padre […]
En una página web llamada: SalvemosaGaspard.com El padre redactó una carta diciendo que el secuestro es justificado, ya que estaba salvando a su hijo de una sociedad pecaminosa y liberal como Francia […] “las pruebas” de por qué Alezra no estaba capacitada para ser madre […] unas fotografías donde vemos a la madre posando desnuda, bajo intenciones artísticas. […] Aclarar que si las intenciones de posar desnuda fueran o no artísticas, no imposibilitan a una mujer de ser madre.
Arianais Alerza, Gaspar Bruzzone's mother, a few weeks ago denounced her son's kidnapping. She announced that the child was held by his father […].
On a web page named: SalvemosaGaspard.com (Save Gaspard) the father wrote a letter saying that the kidnapping was justified, because he was saving his son from a blasphemous and libertarian society as France […] “the proof” of why Alezra was unqualified to be mother […] some photos of her posing nude, with artistic purpose. […] To clarify that whether or not her motives for posing nude were artistic, this does not preclude a woman of being a mother.
José María León reports on GKillCity how the pressure on social networks (“#FindGaspard was used on about 6,000 tweets in a week and the child's name nearing 10,000 more”) forced the court to return Gaspard to the custody of his mother and allow him to join her on April 8 so they could return to their house in Paris.
— GkillCity.com (@GkillCitycom) April 14, 2015
Gaspard demonstrated that social media does much more than discharging the bile excess.