Cute. Isn’t it?
Amnesty International said marking the 10th World Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October:
The last decade has seen significant progress towards abolishing the use of the death penalty worldwide, but serious challenges remain before capital punishment is relegated to the dustbin of history.
But there is a hope. [Read more…]
The reason I am a feminist is really quite simple: I am a feminist because I am a Humanist and a socialist. I am a Humanist and a Socialist because I am a human being and I have a single guiding principle which, like a coin, has two sides:
No one is endowed with the right to assign status on another at birth. No one has the right to restrict the right of another to make their own choices and to take their own decisions in life. If anyone claims for themselves that right, then, with equal ease, I claim the right to remove it from them.
In the words of John Donne (slightly modified)
No person is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each person’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
To me, Women’s liberation was always a part of people’s liberation and liberation is about freedom to choose. Socialism can never be achieved whilst half the population remain subjugated, restricted, repressed and dependent on the other half.
How pathetic, how utterly shameful for one half of humanity to try to maintain their privileges with bans and proscriptions on the other half. How pathetic for men to use their physical strength, not to liberate women but to maintain their subjugation.
To me, feminism is not about what women should do but about what they have the right to choose to do. If they choose to be miners or lumberjacks, doctors or architects, lawyers, barristers, engineers, emptiers of rubbish bins, fire-fighters or soldiers, they should be free to make that choice. If they chose to be full-time mothers they should be free to make that choice too but they should also be free to expect their partners to take on that role if that’s the right choice for them both.
People liberation cannot be achieved by assigning stereotypical roles and expecting people to fit themselves into those stereotypes. People liberation is about choosing the role you want for yourself in consultation as an equal with others involved in and affected by that choice.
It would be easy to blame religions for the institutionalised misogyny women have suffered for centuries. Though they are undoubtedly now complicit in it’s retention in many parts of the world, and especially in the more fundamentalist area where women are required to cover themselves or take the blame for men seeing them as mere sex objects, and even for ‘loosing control’ and raping or sexually assaulting them (what a grotesquely pathetic abdication of personal responsibility that is!), I’m not convinced religions cause misogyny. I think religions are, at least partly, the product of misogyny. It is surely no coincidence that gods are overwhelmingly seen as male and that the Abrahamic religions have a god which closely resembles a despotic Bronze Age tribal chief.
When the origin myths were being invented and written down, and the early laws were being codified, the people who wrote them were almost certainly high-caste males from already misogynistic cultures and women had already been relegated to chattel status. Even the creation myth of Adam and Eve results in Eve being told her role, and that of all women henceforth, was to satisfy the desires of man with “… and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:16).
Of course a misogynistic male god would put men in charge with the right to rule over women and to have them merely for his convenience. What could be more natural and ‘right’ than that? In the blog The Evolution Of God I have shown how I think religions could well have evolved out of the pre-human or proto-human social structure with an alpha male leader. It could have been from this evolved dominance and the assumed right to have first access to the females and to control their sexual activity, that both male dominance and an obsessive interest in the sexual activity of others may have developed and entered the human meme-pool. Having invented gods and religion we then handed over responsibility for our moral development to the high priests of these gods, as I argued in Religion: An Abdication Of Moral Responsibility.
But, however it evolved, there is no excuse for it now. We are a very different species to that evolving millions of years ago on the plains of East Africa and we have a very different culture now to that of Bronze Age nomadic goat-herders. We have no use for many of the memes they generated or many of the rules they codified.
It used to be said of Britain that 17% of the people controlled 94% of the wealth. We have a long way still to go to rectify that obscene statistic. The women of the world are said to do 90% of the work but to control only 10% of the wealth. That is an even more obscene statistic which no civilised society or fair-minded person should tolerate.
We are free now, to paraphrase Richard Dawkin’s, to liberate ourselves from the tyranny of unthinking replicators in our meme pool. We no longer need to check with sanctimonious moralising high priests and wizards in silly dresses whose living depends on maintaining the status quo and who consult their books of magic words and miraculously come up with the answer which always suits them and those they serve.
We are free now to ask if it is right or wrong that half of humanity should still be a lesser people; a subject people subject to the whim and fancy of the other half and to always be at their disposal. And women are free now to decide whether they will continue to accept this abrogation of power and authority or whether they will deny men this right and take their own lives back under their own control and assert the simple slogan:
“No man is better than me because I am part of humanity. Until I am free, humanity will not be.”
One of my relatives living in the USA had a 8-year-old girl. I was shocked when I found out she desperately wanted to look sexy, and more desperately wanted to have a boyfriend. She reached puberty at early age. Her paediatrician said that girls hitting puberty earlier than ever because of hormones in food. I noticed she watched TV non stop and she never listened to her parents.
A new study says, most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex-objects.
Another study says, 30% of Girls’ Clothing Is Sexualized in Major Sales Trend.
6-year-old girls chose the sexualized doll as their ideal self. After seeing it, the researchers said, ‘It’s very possible that girls wanted to look like the sexy doll because they believe sexiness leads to popularity, which comes with many social advantages.’ Because of this, girls as young as 6 are already feeling the pressure to be sexy. It is definitely very alarming if little girls feel the pressure to be sexy.
The researchers say:
Media consumption alone didn’t influence girls to prefer the sexy doll. But girls who watched a lot of TV and movies and who had mothers who reported self-objectifying tendencies, such as worrying about their clothes and appearance many times a day, in the study were more likely to say the sexy doll was popular.
Mothers’ religious beliefs also emerged as an important factor in how girls see themselves. Girls who consumed a lot of media but who had religious mothers were protected against self-sexualizing, perhaps because these moms “may be more likely to model higher body-esteem and communicate values such as modesty.
Another interesting finding:
Girls who didn’t consume a lot of media but who had religious mothers were much more likely to say they wanted to look like the sexy doll.This pattern of results may reflect a case of ‘forbidden fruit’ or reactance, whereby young girls who are overprotected from the perceived ills of media by highly religious parents … begin to idealize the forbidden due to their underexposure. It means, low media consumption is not a silver bullet against early self-sexualization in girls.
I believe ‘the proliferation of sexualized images of girls in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development’. I also believe that ‘parents can play a role to protect girls from the sexualizing culture. They can help their daughters navigate a sexualizing world by instructing their daughters about their values and by not demonstrating objectified and sexualized behaviors themselves.’
I do not think religious mothers can ultimately save their daughters from self-sexualization. Non-religious mothers who want women to live with dignity and rights can do it. The difference between religious and non-religious mothers is, religious mothers believe in patriarchal religion, so obviously they do not believe in women’s equality or women’s freedom. Women who believe in religion believe that women are somehow inferior to men.
Treating yourself as an inferior being is not less dangerous than treating yourself as a sex-object. The two are related.
Parents have no right to snatch the childhood away from their daughters. Children deserve a childhood. But I think it will not always be possible for parents alone to save their girl children from self-sexualization if the sexual objectification of women in the media continues.
Men throw acid on us with the intention of injuring or disfiguring us. Men throw acid on our bodies, burn our faces, smash our noses, melt our eyes, and walk away as happy men.
Acid attack is common in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, and a few other countries. Men throw acid on us because men are angry with us for ending relationships and for refusing sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, proposals of marriage, demands for dowry. They throw acid on us for attending schools, for not wearing Islamic veils, for not behaving well, for speaking too much, for laughing loudly.
She was 18, a college student. Three of her neighbors sexually harassed her for more than two years and then threw acid on her. Her skin on the skull, face, neck, chest and back were melted away. After nine years of that attack Sonali Mukherjee is now blind in both eyes and partially deaf. Her father spent millions of rupees for her treatment. They have now no money. The attackers got bail from the High Court, continued threatening to kill her. She is now asking the government to help her or allow her to end her life.
The face of Sokreun Mean, who was blinded and disfigured by an acid attack.
Carsten Stormer, a German journalist & photographer said,
“Acid attacks deprive people of more than their looks and sight. Families are torn apart. Husbands leave their wives. Children are separated from their parents. Jobs vanish overnight, turning professionals into beggars. Many victims cannot get through a day without constant assistance, becoming burdens on their families. All bear the mark of the pariah.
“What remains is a traumatized society in which domestic disputes, unhappy love affairs, and professional rivalries are nearly always resolved through violence. Hardly a family without its members lost to the ideological battles of the Khmer Rouge – a curse that is passed on from parents to children. Battery acid is known to be most uncomplicated way of causing lifelong suffering. A dollar will buy you a quart of acid on any street corner. The perpetrators are seldom punished. Their targets become outcasts.”
Fakhra Younus was attacked by her husband Bilal Khar, ex-MPA of the Punjab Assembly and the son of Pakistani Politician Ghulam Mustafa Khar. He threw acid in her face after they split up. Tehmina Durrani, the author of ‘My Feudal Lord’, the former step mother of Bilal Khar tried to help Fakhra. She was sent to Italy for treatment. After having 39 re-constructive surgeries, Fakhra committed suicide.
The stories of the girls, from left to right:
Ten years ago Shahnaz Bibi was burned with acid by a relative due to a familial dispute. She has never undergone plastic surgery. Najaf Sultana is now 16. At the age of five Najaf was burned by her father while she was sleeping. Her father didn’t want to have another girl in the family. Najaf became blind. Shameem Akhter (20) was kidnapped and raped by a gang of men who then threw acid on her 3 years ago. Kanwal Kayum, now 26, was burned with acid one year ago by a man whom she rejected for marriage. Bashiran Bibi was burned at her husband’s house just after her marriage. Nasreen Sharif was a beautiful girl. When she was 14, her cousin poured a bottle of sulphuric acid in her face. He did it because he couldn’t stand boys whistling at her when she crossed the street. Her skin melted away, her hair burned away. She is now blind, she has no ears and she has no sense of smell.
Among others, there is Shaziya Abdulsattar, an eight-year-old girl. Shaziya’s father threw acid on her and her mother Azim last year after the mother refused to sell their two boys to a man in Dubai to use as camel racers.
It is very easy for a man to get sulphuric acid if he wants to attack a woman he does not like. The country has become a hot spot for acid attacks. A disfigured woman is not able to get married or get a job. She becomes a financial and social burden on her family.
Neela was forced to marry when she was 12 years old. Her husband threw acid on her face when she was 14. He was angry with Neela because her family was unable to give him the dowry money he asked for.
Ameneh Bahrami rejected the offer of having a relationship with Majid Movahedi, a fellow student at the University of Tehran. He then threw a bottle of acid in her face.
A man threw acid on a 13-year-old girl’s face to take a revenge. The older sister of the girl said: “You have to grow crocodile skin to clean the wounds of an acid survivor. The worst ordeal was while in the hospital, as the skin kept peeling off. I didn’t realize that the tongue skin was also peeling off. The young girl was pushing something in her mouth. I opened her mouth to see and found that almost the whole tongue had come off. I had to pull it out like you do with a cow and only a little red thing (tongue) remained.’
Nitric acid, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid are today’s weapons of choice for criminals who hate women. These acids are easy to buy, easy to hide, easy to carry, and easy to throw. A person who witnessed many acid attacks , said, ‘in a less than a minute the bone under the skin can start to be exposed. If there is enough acid, the bone itself can become a soft mass of non-distinguishable jelly. Internal organs can dissolve. Fingers, noses and ears can melt away like chocolate on a hot day.’
Twenty-one-year-old woman Kamilat Mehdi’s life was changed forever when a stalker threw sulphuric acid in her face. Ismail, Kamilat’s brother said: “The man who attacked her stalked her for a few years. He gave her a hard time but she didn’t tell the family for fear that something would happen to them. He was always saying he would use a gun on them.” Ultimately the stalker’s weapon of choice was not a gun, but a bottle of acid. He used it on Kamilat and destroyed her entire life in one second.
Her lover did it. Richard Remes threw sulphuric acid on Patricia Lefranc. Her nose and eyelids were melted away, she lost sight in one eye and hearing in one ear, she also lost a finger. She came close to death, as the corrosive substance nearly burned through her heart and lungs.The horrific attack physically and emotionally scarred her for life. What was her crime? She ended her relationship with Richard Remes, a married man.
We are more abused, harassed, exploited, kidnapped, raped, trafficked, murdered by our lovers, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, or men we know well than by strangers. Whatever happens to us, we never stop loving men.
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of herself/himself and of her/his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond her/his control.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
There are few things we find common among people in the East and people in the West, or people in the South and people in the North. There are rich and there are poor.
The rich in every country are having the same luxury lifestyle. They have everything including expensive houses.
It is nice to have nice beautiful houses. I wish I had one. I wish everyone had one. But I would like to know whether Mukesh Ambani from his 1.8 billion dollar tower home with 27 floors, nine elevators and three helipads can see Mumbai slums where almost half of the city’s 20.5 million population live.
People are homeless both in developed and developing countries. More than 100 million people are homeless worldwide and over 1.2 billion lack adequate housing. 3 million people are homeless in European Union and 18 million live in inadequate housing. 100,000 people sleep on the streets of Australia everyday. 44% of homeless people in Australia are female, 12% of homeless people in Australia are children under the age of 12. Women and Children are the fastest growing group of those who are homeless in Canada.In Brazil, there is a deficit of 6.6 Million housing units, equaling 20 million homeless people, who live in favela (shanty town), shared clandestine rooms, hovels or under bridges and viaducts, or are squatters. 1 million people are homeless in France. 78 million people are homeless in India despite the country growing in global economic stature. India is home to 63% of all slum dwellers in South Asia. 25,296 people are homeless in Japan.In Mexico City an estimated 40% of people live in informal housing.More than 70,000 people live in shack settlements in Namibia. 30,000 people are homeless in the Netherlands. By 2015, there will be an estimated homeless population of 24.4 million people in Nigeria.Around 24,145 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territories since 1967. 40% of the population,32.8million, in Philippines, live in slums. 5 million people are homeless in Russia. Around 17,800 people are homeless in Sweden. Homeless figures in the United States range from 600,000 to 2.5 million.
There are different contributing causes for homelessness. 1. Family breakdown 2. Armed conflict 3. Poverty 4. Natural and man-made disasters 5. Famine 6. Physical and sexual abuse. 7. Exploitation by adults 8. Dislocation through migration 9.Urbanization and overcrowding 10. Acculturation 11. HIV/AIDS 12. Drug and Alcohol related problems 13. Unemployment 14. Low wages 15. Mental disorder 16. Physical Disabilities 18. Domestic violence 19. Lack of affordable housing 20. Social exclusion etc.
Homeless people in five continents. America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe
The world has enough money to solve the problems of homelessness but to my surprise I see that the number of homeless people worldwide is increasing.
I often think of a totally different kind of homelessness. They are not literally homeless but they feel homeless. Many women who live in a nice big house know very well that the house belongs to someone else. They are scared to be ‘homeless’, so they compromise with their abusive husbands to get a space in the house, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop them from having a feeling of homelessness. It is a very hopeless and helpless feeling.
I am homeless too. I do not sleep on the street but I feel homeless. I was thrown out of my home 18 years ago. My husband did not do it because I did not have a husband. It was the government. The government literally drag me out of my home and locked the door forever. The religious fanatics demanded for my execution by hanging, instead of supporting me and my freedom of expression, the government supported the religious fanatics for their own narrow political interests. I have been forced to live in the places I do not like to live. Not only me, hundreds of thousands of people are forced to live in exile. Many of them feel homeless for the rest of their lives.
There are more than 1200 billionaires in the world. They have absolutely an insane amount of money. It is true that the number of billionaires is increasing. It is also true that six million children die of hunger every year.
Every five seconds one child dies of hunger.
There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of USA, Canada, and the European Union. 925 million people do not have enough to eat and 98 percent of them live in developing countries. 578 million in Asia and the Pacific, 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 37 million in the Near East and North Africa, 19 million in developed countries.
There is enough food available to feed the entire global population of 7 billion people. But one in seven people go to bed hungry every night. Whereas good progress was made in reducing chronic hunger in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, hunger has been slowly rising.
There is a hunger map.
People somewhere starve to death, while we waste our food. Food waste always reminds me of the ‘famous’ picture of ‘a starving Sudanese girl who collapsed on her way to a feeding center while a vulture waited nearby.’ Kevin Carter, a free-lance photographer, took the picture in March 1993. He did not help the girl to reach the feeding center. She could have survived.The girl was probably eaten by the vulture. Critics said, ‘The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.’ Kevin Carter got The Pulitzer Prize for this photograph.
The memories haunted him. In his suicide note he wrote “I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen”.
Trigger-happy madmen are on the rise. If we reduce arms production just a little bit, we will be able to save big money, and we will be able to provide food, water, shelter, clothes, health, education for everyone. I doubt we will do it. We are just apes with slightly larger brains. We love to kill people. We do not care if people die of hunger. In India, parents adopt new methods to kill their baby girls. They do not feed girls, girls must die.
Even educated women still practice various customs, cultures and traditions that are anti-women.
A woman wears Mangalsutra, a black beads necklace, for her husband’s health and well-being. Would a man wear a Mangalsutra for his wife’s health and well-being? Hell no!
Married women wear vermilion or Sindoor on the forehead and along the hair parting line. The Sindoor symbolizes the deep respect, devotion and dedication of a Hindu woman to her husband. Would a married man wear Sindoor on his forehead for the same purpose? Hell no!
Sankha Pola Loha
Married women wear bangles: Sankha, Pola and Loha for husband’s health. Did a man ever wear Sankha, Pola, or Loha for his wife’s health? Hell no!
‘Bhai Phota’ is performed by women. They fast and put an auspicious mark with sandal wood paste on their brothers’ foreheads, feed them sweets, give them gifts and pray for their health, happiness and prosperity. Is there a system that a man also fast and put an auspicious mark on his sister’s forehead and pray for her health, happiness and prosperity? Hell no!
People still believe that abstaining from meals, or fasting, can prolong the life of a loved one. Women fast for 24 hours to ensure that their husbands live long lives. Do men do the same for their wives? Hell no!
Touching husband’s feet
A woman bows her head, touches her husband’s feet, takes the dust from the feet and put them on her head on her wedding day to show her submission to her husband. Would a man ever do this? Hell no!
Jamai Sasthi or Son-in-law Day
Jamai Sasthi ritual is celebrated for health and well-being of son-in-law. The son-in-law is invited to a grand celebration in the house of his in-laws. He is served delicious food. Is it possible to have a similar celebration for health and well-being of daughter-in-law? Hell no!
There are hundreds of anti-women rituals that Hindu women perform without questioning. It is alarming that women still perform these rituals in the 21st century. Throughout history sane people have made many misogynistic cultures go extinct. But in some countries, patriarchal traditions are celebrated more ceremoniously than ever. You may say only illiterate women do it, women’s education will solve all the problems. But the truth is, educated women perform anti-women patriarchal rituals more perfectly than illiterate women, because educated women have better learning capacity. They learn every small details of patriarchy that illiterate women can not learn.
Who will fight misogynistic tradition if modern women remain busy practicing it? A few reformist men in the 19th century fought for abolishing Suttee (widow burning), for women’s education, and for widows’ remarriage. In the 21st century, a new set of enlightened revolutionary men is probably needed to save women from the darkness.
Millions of men are crazy to sleep with virgins. They marry children because children are most likely to be virgins. Men go to brothels and pay a lot of money only to fuck 5 to 10-year-old children. Men love hymen that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening.
The man who created Islam knew about the desire of men to have sex with virgins. He tempted men whoever convert to Islam with seventy two virgins.
In some parts of the world a white bed sheet is put on the bed to see virgin’s blood on the first night of wedding. Women are forced to give proof of their chastity. Female ‘purity’ is an asset for patriarchy.Unfortunately their Purity, chastity, virginity, morality all are made available nowhere but in vagina. Women get divorced or tortured or even murdered if their hymens are not intact on wedding night.
They do not wear chastity belts made of Iron anymore. Today’s chastity belts are made of different or they are just invisible. There is no change in the mindset of controlling women. Male domination or patriarchy has reduced women the half of the world’s human population to mere sex objects.
Hymens can be broken because of physical exercises, tampons, traumas etc. But men are not ready to accept any torn hymen. Women have to give their husbands or masters or lords the proof of their virginity. Before wedding, out of fear women rush to doctors for having hymenoplasty or hymenorrhaphy. Women’s dignity and honor are based on whether or not their hymens are intact.
Women’s sexuality has never been a private thing. It has always been the property of men and society. They throws stones towards women if their hymens are broken.
Women are also forced to have a hymenoplasty to tighten vagina so that men can feel that they are having sex with teens or children. Doctors are now becoming expert in tightening vagina or restoring virginity. Women have been taught for centuries not to have respect for themselves. They are taught to hate their own bodies. They are taught to live for men and men only.
What if women did not have but men had hymens covering their penises! Men would face no problems if men’s hymens were broken because of horse back riding or masturbation or sex or something else. Would women ever ask men to give proof of their virginity? No. Rupturing hymens would be a man’s proof of masculinity. Men would be treated as uncouth and retard if their hymens remained intact after puberty.