Archive for 'media'

Runner Caster Semenya: gender, sex and discrimination

Posted on August 26, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, health, human rights, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.

Open letter by South African gender activists

Courtesy of Zapiro, Mail & Guardian

Courtesy of Zapiro, Mail & Guardian

Some of those championing Caster Semenya’s cause accuse those wanting to sex-test Caster of imperialism and racism (as well as sexism). Others plead to wait before reaching a verdict, arguing that the realities of sex testing are enormously complex

Firstly to address the issue of terminology, over which there seems to be confusion. Gender is the dominant society’s views on how women and men should look, behave, what roles they should play in society, how they should perform and frequently what rewards they receive – hence gender inequity. This has usually led to lower status and discrimination against girls/women but has increasingly been seen as limiting the options and potentially harming boys/men too.

Gender is not a politically correct term for sex. Sex testing would be just that - establishing whether a person is biologically female or male. So gender testing is not the term that should be used this case, but sex testing. (more…)

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Whose pleasure? Notes about male circumcision and female sexuality

Posted on August 24, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, culture, health, media, women, men and more.

Guest blogger: Pierre Brouard, Deputy Director, Centre for the Study of Aids, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Permanent erection, permanent pleasure?

Hard task: defining sexual pleasure. Photo: M. Sayagues

So what headlines have grabbed you lately about male circumcision in South Africa? These caught my eye:

“The death toll in the Eastern Cape’s winter circumcision season has risen to 31”
“Circumcision ’scam’ probed”
“Two on run after initiate dies”

As alarming and distressing as these headlines are – and the sad, desperate and greedy subtexts embedded in them – they don’t say much about the other big debate that is raging across southern Africa: the value of male circumcision to prevent HIV acquisition in heterosexual men, and what’s in it for women. (more…)

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Rubbing it the wrong way: condom-grabbing tourists

Posted on August 20, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, health, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.

A Femidom demo

A Femidom demo. Photo: M. Sayagues/Irin

In a contest for irresponsible tourism, taking the last two female condoms at a Botswana border post as a souvenir would run neck-and-neck with littering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve with soda cans. Hey, spare a thought for a sister: a local woman might need them. I mean the condoms, not the soda cans.

Journalist Bridget Hilton-Barber writes, in the South African weekly Mail & Guardian, about the female condom’s popularity among Batswana women. (Femidoms rub the right way, 14 August). Then she plucked the last ones at the border post, as a souvenir, to lie  in her office drawer.

Well, their popularity is a very good reason to leave the condoms in the box for someone who wants to use them.

Correction:  Someone who needs to use them.

An average of three out of ten pregnant women at public antenatal clinics in Botswana are HIV-positive. This is an improvement over ten years ago, when four or five out of ten pregnant women were HIV-positive. Condoms helped achieve this drop. (Read about AIDS in Botswana here(more…)

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Getting the UN into GEAR!

Posted on August 17, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, human rights, media, politics, women, men and more.

By Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, founding coordinator,  femLINKPACIFIC
Contributing blogger

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

Getting into GEAR! What does this really mean in a Pacific Island state, surrounded by an ocean rising rather too quickly, that some of us are thinking about getting into gear before it becomes a sink or swim situation?

Does it mean we switch from paddling our own canoes at the pace known as “Pacific time” to powering our way into the future with the assistance of fuel guzzling outboard engines?

And as we rapidly negotiate our way through the waters, will we be protected by life jackets should there be any mishaps along the way?

(more…)

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Star Trek hopelessly outdated

Posted on August 7, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, media, women, men and more.

Guest posting by Miren Gutierrez, IPS editor-in-chief

Master and commander - a male.

So 1960s...Star Trek masters and commanders are all men.

The other day I saw Star Trek. What an uncreative film. Listen, women: in the year 2387, men will still wear the pants and command the ship, while leggy women are busy being ornamental in mini skirts.

I don’t expect films to campaign for human rights, especially films of this nature. Space odysseys just have to be entertaining, surprising, ingenious. But Star Trek was just unimaginative, reproducing the social prejudices of the sixties, when the TV series on which this film is based started. As if nothing had changed…

(more…)

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Re-inventing the Warrior

Posted on August 3, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, media.

Old and new values in contemporary masculinities

Guest post by Trevor Davies, Director, African Fathers Initiative

Strong and caring men. Photo: Trevor Davies

Strong and caring men. Photo: Trevor Davies

This week I’ve been trying to get to grips with what at first glance seemed a real backward step in the struggle for gender equity.

For a long time, in my work around masculinities based on feminist analysis, I’ve opposed the idea that there was some golden age of manhood when men were strong and women were weak and needed to be looked after.

The premise of much of the mytho-poetic approach in masculinities is that we need to return to male power positive and caring values to cure the ills of our society such as gender-based violence, child abuse and crime.

I have found an intriguing manifestation of this idea in South Africa this week in The Mankind Project and its New Warrior programme. Their intention is twofold:

-  To enable men to live lives of integrity, accountability, and connection to feeling.
-  To be of service to the community at large, both as individual men with a renewed sense of passion and personal responsibility, and as communities of men working together to build sustainable relationships.

Sounds good!

(more…)

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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.

(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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Women, justice and memory

Posted on June 29, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, arts, human rights, media, truth commissions, violence, war rape.

Remembering in Rwanda. Courtesy Anne Aghion

Remembering in Rwanda. Courtesy Anne Aghion

What happens when the relatives of the murdered confront their murderers? What happens if they have to live with the murderers?

This is the theme of “My neighbour, my killer”, a film about Rwanda’s extraordinary attempt at reconciliation. This documentary by Anne Aghion, which premiered in New York two weeks ago at the Human Rights Watch film festival, follows a gacaca or community court during five years.

Rwanda has set up some 12, 000 gacaca where killers face the relatives of those they killed during the genocide in 1994. (Read an interview with Aghion here).

(more…)

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The shutter that shatters gender stereotypes

Posted on June 16, 2009, by mercedes, under media, women, men and more.

Photo:Sudiptorana/WACC

Photo: Sudiptorana/WACC

The women paddling in this stunning photo are having fun and a good workout - while breaking cultural barriers. They are competing in a traditional race against men in their village in West Bengal, India, racing against the gender-based division of labour and leisure, paddling energetically into a male space. (more…)

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