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Size, stigma and shaming: Toward a new politic of solidarity

Like many gender-related issues, body politics is deeply personal, and many people feel passionately about their stances. For something that inspires so much rage and discordance, many don’t delve particularly deep into this topic. If we don’t look beyond discussions of the pros and cons of the Dove campaign for real beauty, how will we move past the disagreements body politics often inspire? Specifically, how do we talk about the periphery of what racist/sexist/colonial/ablest mainstream U.S. culture views as desirable?

On the heels of the video (and accompanying controversy) over Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” a friend posted this article about “The Myth of Skinny Shaming.” The comments it has generated, both on the article’s page itself, and on social media, ...

Like many gender-related issues, body politics is deeply personal, and many people feel passionately about their stances. For something that inspires so much rage and discordance, many don’t delve particularly deep into this topic. If we don’t ...

Balkans_RegionalWomensLobby_DSC_0698_400x267 2

Balkan women make inroads in peace and politics

Cross-posted from UN Women

With support from UN Women, women leaders in the Balkans are putting gender issues at the centre of politics and fueling women’s empowerment in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

Through the cracks of a tragic history, decades after the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the subsequent conflicts that engulfed the Balkans in the 1990s, a powerful group of women are uniting to overcome ethnic and political differences and build a better future. 

(From left to right) Memnuna Zvizdic, Slavica Strikovic, Edita Tahiri and Dijana Vukomanovic discuss the role of women in speeding up the implementation of the Brussels Agreement at the International Conference in Saranda, Albania. Photo: Art Murtezai/UN Women

 

With financial support and sustained ...

Cross-posted from UN Women

With support from UN Women, women leaders in the Balkans are putting gender issues at the centre of politics and fueling women’s empowerment in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

Through ...

Cultural tourism and its discontents: A personal essay on the ethics of travel

Probably not many people can say that they bought an international airline ticket to Bali, Indonesia in a state of blissful ignorance towards the island’s mythic image as a timeless and exotic Eastern paradise. A place just waiting for Western visitors to lose themselves along the white sand beaches of Sanur and rediscover their true selves across the expansive rice terraces rising along the Southern volcanic slopes.

But I did.

All I knew about this island as my best friend and I finalized our flight information in a delirious, admittedly ill-informed and adventurous moment three months ago from his bedroom in California was that it was humid, probably had some vegetarian food I’d never had before, and that people played gamelan there. ...

Probably not many people can say that they bought an international airline ticket to Bali, Indonesia in a state of blissful ignorance towards the island’s mythic image as a timeless and exotic Eastern paradise. A place just ...

Let them be who they want to be

Once upon a time, sometime in the spring, I visited one of my favorite art museums in the city. There was an interdisciplinary exhibit exploring the changing meaning of pink in art and fashion. Here I am thinking that this exhibit would showcase the evolution of color associated to gender, however, it did not. It was a room with pink jewelry and dresses and only two pieces for men.

As far as the exhibit goes, my thoughts may have been disconnected from what it was really supposed to signify but I really wanted to see that pink is not representative of femininity. I left upset thinking why does a specific color determine gender. Why can’t I be feminine wearing another color ...

Once upon a time, sometime in the spring, I visited one of my favorite art museums in the city. There was an interdisciplinary exhibit exploring the changing meaning of pink in art and fashion. Here I am ...

Braving dust storms, women plant seeds of hope at the Dadaab refugee camp

Cross-posted from UN Women

Turning dry lands into fertile fields, a livelihood project is helping Somali women refugees in Kenya make a living and prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

Women take part in a business management training workshop at the Ifo 2 camp in the Dadaab refugee complex. Photo: UN Women/Tabitha Icuga

In the world’s largest refugee complex — the sprawling Dadaab settlement in Kenya’s North Eastern Province —  women listen attentively during a business management workshop held at a hospital in one of its newest camps, Ifo 2. 

Leila Abdulilahi, a 25-year-old Somali refugee and mother, has brought her 5-month-old along, while her four other children wait at home. She asks question after question, eager to learn more. Leila ...

Cross-posted from UN Women

Turning dry lands into fertile fields, a livelihood project is helping Somali women refugees in Kenya make a living and prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

Women take part in a business management ...

To the guy I punched in the face in Prague

Dear guy that I hit on the sidewalk in Prague, c. 11:30 pm, Saturday night, August 12, 2014:

First off, I don’t exactly know why I’m writing this, or even who I’m writing it to, because I’m pretty sure you don’t speak English, guy-I-may-or-may-not-have-physically-assaulted-in-Prague, judging by the fact that when I yelled in your face “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO DO THAT,” you guffawed at me and giggled “oh yeah, what the FUCK, BABY,” in what I can only describe as heavily Czech-accented, alcohol-flavored English. 

Now, look, I don’t usually go around assaulting strangers, but apparently you do, as evidenced by the very apparent (to me as well as to random people milling around) hand-so-far-up-my-dress-that-it-was-literally-painful ...

Dear guy that I hit on the sidewalk in Prague, c. 11:30 pm, Saturday night, August 12, 2014:

First off, I don’t exactly know why I’m writing this, or even who I’m writing it to, because I’m pretty ...

Shouting back: Laura Bates on Everyday Sexism

“I’m sorry to anyone who received a flyer on their way in” Laura Bates, author of Everyday Sexism began. Bates was referring to the attempted boycott on her talk at Waterstones by pamphlet wielding member of the “Justice for Men and Boys (and the women who love them)” party, who dished out vitriolic leaflets reading “feminists lie about rape” to attendees of the Hampstead event.

This comes just days after feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel her speech on video games at Utah State University after staff received an anonymous threat of a “Montreal Massacre-style attack” against all present. Bates has also received multiple, anonymous threats of death and rape since starting the Everyday Sexism project – but two ...

“I’m sorry to anyone who received a flyer on their way in” Laura Bates, author of Everyday Sexism began. Bates was referring to the attempted boycott on her talk at Waterstones by pamphlet wielding member of the ...

Much Ado About Feminism

So I had a very interesting conversation with my mother last night. I was telling her about some issues at work and she responded: “Alexis, you talk so much about feminism and women’s rights but respect is not just about men and women. It’s human rights.” That is probably the best thing I heard all week. She’s right.

But let’s talk about feminism. I had no idea what it was until I started at my university. I’m not going to get into details about my assault, which drew me towards the feminist movement, that would definitely be for another day; but it changed my life. I joined Women’s Rights Alliance in the Fall of 2010. I met so many wonderful, beautiful ...

So I had a very interesting conversation with my mother last night. I was telling her about some issues at work and she responded: “Alexis, you talk so much about feminism and women’s rights but respect is ...

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