The Thug in Velvet – Not Your Dress

Indian women are often judged harshly for the clothes they wear. Either they are too revealing or too boring or too ugly or too scandalous. The idea of the “sexy” Indian woman exists only in the dream state of cinema.

The same men who whoop and holler at the sexy women on the big screen dancing to modern music would be quick to condemn both the music and much tamer outfits among “real women”.

Gauhar Khan is a fairly famous Indian actress who won last year’s “Indian Big Brother”. She was assaulted on stage by a man who took offence to the clothes she wore.

“Being a Muslim woman, she should not have worn such a short dress.”

It doesn’t matter what dress she wears. If you are offended then look away. She is not there to dress to your satisfaction.

I like it when Hera dresses up. It’s not a demand, it’s not even a request. It’s something she chooses to do to surprise me. But I don’t begrudge her in sweatpants and wearing my T-shirt while watching bad TV. The dress of a woman doesn’t allow you to touch her in any way. Her consent does. As any sort of man irrespective of the gods of your fathers, do you think it is acceptable to strike any human in public let alone a woman and promote the status quo of casual violence aimed at women?

And this isn’t the only such story of the casual nature of thuggish behaviour within Indian culture. It is very easy for a young man to be justified in his violence.

A young man belonging to the Scheduled Caste and his Muslim wife were hacked to death in broad daylight in a village of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday – allegedly by the woman’s brother – for defying the diktat of the village headmen and staying married.

Sonu and Danishta Begum got married four months ago and lived in his house in Fatehpur Village around 75 Km from Delhi. In a story that would have made our hearts swell? They were neighbours for 13 years and childhood sweethearts.

Sonu was hacked to death by Danishta’s brother Talib before he cut her throat. Talib and the girl’s mother Noor Jehan have been arrested. Four others have evaded arrest.

While we would think that caste or religion would be the cause of the murder, it wasn’t. It was fear of reprisals from the Village Headmen that drove the killing.  [Read more…]

Elizabeth Lauten – A Note From An Ex-Teenage Dirtbag

I want a tattoo.

See? Indian Culture is seeing a Tattoo renaissance, it used to play a big role in my culture but it lost out to the actions of Victorians and Christian Revivalists who claimed that the Tattoos of our Hindu/Animist past were superficial and invited Satan into your lives.

I would want something medical to celebrate my achievement. I don’t know what I would like yet, but it is something I cannot take lightly.

For those who have seen me online during the Google Hangouts I sometimes slink about in? You may notice I shave my head. The reason I started doing that was two fold.

Firstly? When I was younger I had hair that was rebellious. I dyed my hair Red/Blue and had spikes in it. Lots of product. When I joined Medical School I had to change

Secondly? I lost my hair. My hair never grew back properly after my childhood and my hair began to fall aged 18.

Shaving my head was a fashion choice as much as a choice of rebellion. It was a skinhead cut, the ultimate rebellion for an Indian Man. A shaved head is for those in mourning or in penance.  [Read more…]

Can’t Take A Joke – Veena Malik and Islamic Fundamentalism

Atheists have followed the story of Asia Bibi.

For those who don’t know who she is? Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging. In June 2009, she got involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women became angry at her for drinking the same water as them. The irony is this sort of logic is a Hindu holdover in both religions. It’s a caste issue. Hindus often don’t share water containers with the untouchables. The practice has died out in the cities but in the countryside? Many lower caste and untouchable people often have their own water containers to prevent “contamination”.  [Read more…]

Cherchez La Femme – Looking for Women in Atheism

It’s a bad sign when the Discovery Institute start making fun of you.

There is a problem in atheism. It is a mainly white male dominated issue but it is changing. While we do see people dragging their feet about representation and what it means and we do see people who aren’t conducive to a more diverse atheist demographic with large fan bases, the fact remains that more and more minority atheists are being seen and heard. Put it this way? Just 10 years ago you couldn’t name any south Asian freethinkers.

Today on JUST this platform alone? Taslima Nasrin, Mano Singham, Heina Dadabhoy and Yours Truly. Now I am not as active in meat space as those 3. Taslima’s books are still selling in India, Heina’s a veteran of a bunch of American Atheist Stuff and Mano’s got books out. I just make loud noises and spelling mistakes. [Read more…]

A Response to Gamer Gate

Avi, your current post has lots of topics, tangents, culs de sac, and other offshoots, so it’s kinda hard to decide where to dip one’s toe. I would like to dip my toe into your first topic: the importance of ethics in games journalists.

Its funny how no one else has problems reading my work. Sure it’s a crummy blog filled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes but here is the thing? Everyone seems to get it and LIKE it.

Okay. Let’s discuss ethics in games then. [Read more…]

Ethics in Gaming

I am surprised in general about the whole ethics in games journalism.

Oh I agree that games journalism has problems. Games Journalists don’t make the sort of money they need to review games so are reliant on free handouts. This isn’t a bad thing, most game reviewers of note are pretty biased but they make their biases clear. We have PS4 junkies and XBox Junkies and and PC Gamers all promoting their “master” system.

BUT here is the thing? We have always known that. We listen to the game reviewers of our choice as they share the same biases.

Okay? Gaming is a Subjective Medium. There are people who are enthralled by the plots of games, there are people who don’t mind sprite graphics and clunky interfaces and learning curves akin to rock climbing walls rather than gentle hills. Guess what? These gamers aren’t going to take advice from the Call of Duty Shooter Reviewer. Likewise we have reviewers such as Yahtzee whose snark adds to the experience of the review.  [Read more…]

Rage Against the Machine

It is no surprise that the policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown was not indicted.

I don’t think there is a riot in Ferguson. I think it is just “Hijinks”. After all boys will be boys? I am sorry? Are we reporting two cases of rioting in different ways? Is it okay to riot due to an out of control pumpkin festival but not if you have to argue about the rights of the police?

Activism among White Kids is more acceptable. Possibly because it’s a more genteel form.  It’s people angry about GMOs and Global Warming. But when people of colour get angry about things it generally doesn’t end well. We aren’t portrayed as passionate, we are portrayed as dangerous.

And there are some problems with the dialogue about this. Yes, even among atheists we see the problem. If there was any indicator of “you don’t get it”, there are enough of us who don’t get why people are so angry.

There is a puzzling notion that people should ALWAYS peacefully protest. I agree, peaceful protest is ideal but sometimes it is not possible. The point of powerful pacifist protest is to break the law. Willingly and Deliberately break the law. It is marching miles to make salt. It is purposefully sitting in the wrong seat. It is assembling after curfew.  [Read more…]