Archive for July, 2009

Taboo word out in the open

Posted on July 27, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, human rights, women, men and more.

Sometime in this century, a taboo word crept out of the dark, dusty basement of journalists’ lexicon and acquired legitimacy and visibility, both as a word and an issue: menstruation.

Bring it into the open: it's our right. By M. Sayagues

Now we can talk about it.

Neither impurity necessitating reclusion nor social blunder, our monthly cycle is now recognized as part of women’s sexual and reproductive needs and an issue of hygiene and dignity.

(…and I wrote “our cycle” on the third edit, it´s still not that easy to be public about it…)

Something similar happened with cancer. As philosopher Susan Sontag noted in her classic essay “Illness as a Metaphor” of 1977, the standard euphemism used in obits was that someone had died after a long illness. Ten years later, she noted “a new candor”, the word cancer uttered more freely.

Regarding menstruation, surprisingly, TV ads did not shy away from comparing pad brands. But the press lagged behind the ad agencies.

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Fake watches, artificial limbs and real needs

Posted on July 20, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, human rights, media, violence, women, men and more.

Ads about diamond-and-sapphire studded watches don’t turn me on. But this one gripped me. fake-horiz-croppsp

A screw-on  hand and the slogan:  “Fake watches are for fake people. Be authentic. Buy real.”

The ad is part of a campaign against counterfeiting launched by the Geneva-based Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie last month.

I might have ignored it but the day I saw it in a magazine, I had been interviewing amputees and photographing artificial limbs, not unlike the hand in the ad, for a story.

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Soccer, xenophobia and masculinities

Posted on July 13, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, human rights, violence, women, men and more.

go-home-or-die-psp When friends ask me about the World Soccer Cup in South Africa in June 2010, I say there is only one if, but a big if.

What if another wave of xenophobic violence unfurled, like the one that shook South Africa to the core a year ago? It left 50 dead and about 150,000 displaced, terrified and destitute immigrants – black, African and foreign. (Click here to see a slideshow)

The army stepped in and the violence subsided. But xenophobia still simmers. In June, IPS reported on yet more murders of Somalis in the Western Cape province. (more…)

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Can u Talk? Cellphones and Girls in South Africa

Posted on July 6, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, media, violence, women, men and more.

Guest posting

by Sally-Jean  Shackleton, Executive Director, Women’s Net

brochuregirl cellphone There has been phenomenal growth in the cellphone industry in Africa. It is clear this technology is essential in a continent with failing land line telephony infrastructure and development.

The opportunities for development that have resulted from this growth is clear. Cellphones are used to communicate HIV information, send market prices to rural small farmers and to collect data in rural health care. (more…)

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