Posted on December 21, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, arts, children, culture, health, human rights, media, politics, religion, reproductive health, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
When is a photo of a woman giving birth considered pornographic? Take your pick:
A. When it is shown in a pornographic magazine, film or website.
C. When it is emailed to government officials urging action to improve public health.
One could argue about A and B but this blog is about C.
Earlier this year, in Zambia, Chansa Kabwela, news editor at the feisty opposition newspaper The Post, was charged with circulating pornography with intent to corrupt public morals. (more…)
Posted on December 18, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, harmful practices, health, human rights, politics, religion, reproductive health, violence, women, men and more.
Ask the woman sitting next to you in the bus, train, plane, taxi-brousse or donkey cart what is CEDAW, and most probably you will draw a blank look. C’est quoi?
Yet CEDAW - Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women - has likely impacted on her life and her daughters, if she has any, in many ways, from pension and inheritance rights to the passport they hold.
CEDAW, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 30 years ago today, is the global Bill of Rights for Women, the first international human rights treaty devoted to gender equality.
Through its 30 articles, CEDAW has boosted women’s rights worldwide in many ways.
Posted on November 27, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, harmful practices, human rights, media, politics, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
The buzz in Mozambique during the recent elections was not the TV debate among presidential candidates debate (there is none) or their programs (all vague).
What had tongues wagging was citizen’s journalism, dispatches by ordinary folk about electoral irregularities from the Rovuma to the Maputo rivers.
Good stuff: government cars illegally used for campaigning, with cellphone pics of their registration plates (until officials wised up and started covering up plates and ministry logos with party posters). Reports of youth tearing downs other party’s posters, fistfights, intimidation, and police lack of impartiality. (more…)
Posted on November 23, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, arts, children, culture, human rights, religion, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
What drives a 17-year-old girl to enter a monastery? Today she is 30, and still happy about her choice. Her eyes sparkle and her laughter comes easy. She exudes peace.
I will call her Gabra (gift, in Amharic), for our conversation was private. I met her at a monastery near Lalibela, the mystical city of rock-hewn churches in northern Ethiopia.
Monastic life has a long tradition and prestige in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The oldest monastery dates from the 6th century. A monastic renaissance between the 13th and 16th century brought great moral and political authority to clergy.
Gabra’s rock-hewn monastery dates from the 12th century. Her room is excavated in the pink tufa rock. Two built-in-the-rock platforms, covered with a thin mattress, do as couch and bed. An old cupboard holds a few plates and cooking utensils, three of the long green robes worn by Ethiopian peasants, the white headscarves that nuns wear, and two pairs of sandals.
Posted on October 12, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, arts, children, culture, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Fashion models in ads are optical illusions and the award-winning video Evolution of Beauty, from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty proves the point eloquently. Watch it at:
Digital cosmetic surgery - nip-and-tuck, botox and liposuction, on the screen, with a click - render these models picture-perfect (excuse the pun) and thoroughly unreal.
There is no way a non-photoshopped woman can attain that perfection. Hey, we are human. We have flaws.
Posted on September 21, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, media, religion, reproductive health, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Gender Masala has been dealing with serious topics seriously …it’s time for a fun break! Check out these hilarious condom ads from several continents. They make safe sex fun.
Ranging from sassy dialogue to black humour, these are one-minute comedies with a smart punchline. The Mother from Hell and the Spoiled Brat skits have a Borat-like humour. And who would have thought a condom ad from India would depict anal sex?
Click on the ad from Argentina even if you don’t speak Spanish. Everybody who has been a teenager will chuckle about these teens, their parents and their predicament. (Watch it here)
Laughing got me thinking about how seldom one sees humorous ads about condoms in English-speaking Southern Africa. I have seen some cool ads in Mozambique, though – I think there were Brazilian advisors involved. (more…)
Posted on September 18, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, human rights, media, politics, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Ann Ninan, IPS Gender Editor
The UN has finally decided to stand up for women! A decision to create a new agency for women was taken by the General Assembly on September14.
Our colleague Thalif Deen, IPS bureau chief in New York, was the first and only journalist to report it for the first several hours.
But this blog is not to crow about our scoop.
I’m quite excited by the prospect of a new women’s agency with money and political power. No longer will the world’s feminists have to lobby from the outside to put their views on the table. They have now won admission to the high table.
Any one of those bright, articulate, activist women can emerge to lead the agency. The reality is likely to be less rosy. But chances are that, because it’s new, it will be less under the thumb of the old boy network.
You think I’m a romantic? What the hell, there is no harm in dreaming, is there? (more…)
Posted on September 10, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, human rights, media, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Miren Gutierrez, IPS editor-in-chief
Have you seen the Italian documentary Il corpo delle donne (available with English subtitles)?
It is horrifying, like a horror movie.
“Women –real women— are an endangered species on television, one that is being replaced by a grotesque, vulgar and humiliating representation,” says an introduction to the documentary by Lorella Zanardo.
This picture shows a woman hanged from the ceiling, like a ham, surrounded by legs of ham. This and other images, taken from real TV shows, speak for themselves.
Il corpo delle donne is a 25-minute terrifying documentary that undresses the degradation of women in Italian television. (more…)
Posted on September 7, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, children, health, human rights, reproductive health, stereotypes, women, men and more.
My daughter Esmeralda turns 18 today. Like all parents, I am amazed at how time flies. Like all mothers, I get reminiscent about those days, 18 years ago.
I was very pregnant and very happy. I lived in Rome, Italy, and I wanted a home birth.
I wanted music, soft light, friends, baby on my stomach still attached by umbilical cord, no drugs, and no epidural. A birth by my own rules, not by a cold hospital’s.
I found a group specialized in home births – Il Melograno. Their package included ob-gyn and midwife, courses, support and, more importantly, a woman-friendly feel. A photographer from Marie Claire magazine would do a photo reportage on my happy home birth.
Our premise: pregnancy is neither a disease nor a disability. Pregnancy and birth have become over-medicalized; women should reclaim it from doctors overly fond of control and caesareans. (more…)
Posted on September 4, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, culture, human rights, media, violence, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Glenda Muzenda, Care Work Manager at Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA)
I just attended the Grassroots Women’s International Academy on Home Based Care in Johannesburg, South Africa.
It was a mixed bag of fun meeting women from all walks and works of life from Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, Ghana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
The Huairou Commission and the Land Access Movement of South Africa brought us together to share experiences of home-based care.
It is fascinating how in Malawi the care givers alliance has moved forward. Victoria Kalomba, of the Malawi Group of Women Living with HIV and AIDS told us that the ministry of health and social development had spearheaded a campaign to raise awareness about people infected and affected by HIV.
The process had the ministry informing the support groups of individuals who had tested positive after visiting clinics so they could be reached and helped.
I am worried about this way of outing positive people even in the aim of mobilizing support groups. I feel that it is a human right violation to have to give information of someone’s HIV status.