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…)

7 Comments

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…)

9 Comments

Star Trek hopelessly outdated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…)

1 Comment

Wedding hell: child brides

Posted on June 22, 2009, by mercedes, under children, culture, human rights, violence, women, men and more.

Too young to carry the burden of marriage. Photo: M. Sayagues

In Bissau - too young to carry the burden of marriage. Photo: M.Sayagues

She was a brave little girl, who believed in her right to choose how to live her life. Aged 12, as a minor she remained nameless in the news.

She lived in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, the green, misty mountains along the Mozambican border. On weekends, people dressed in flowing white robes, the men bearded, holding carved wooden canes, gather under the masasa trees. They belong to the Johanne Marange apostolic sect. Peaceful people – with a nasty habit of marrying young girls.

(more…)

15 Comments

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…)

7 Comments

  Recent Entries »