• Thursday, July 24, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    A New Year for Gender Masala

    02 Jan 2010


    This is truly a New Year in many ways: Gender Masala and I are in transition in 2010.

    I am moving to Maputo, Mozambique,  to work in health reporting. Gender Masala will remain in the IPS Gender Portal with a more collective identity,  infused by several  IPS writers.

    Passenger in transit. Pic by Claudio Corallo

    Passenger in transit: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust. Pic by Claudio Corallo.

    I like the word transitions: it evokes change, birth, adaptation, growth.

    This has been an exciting journey of discovery of a new medium. As the philosopher George Santayana wrote: “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”

    Over seven months, , the pictures got bigger, the voices varied, my style freer. It was intellectually rewarding to look every week at the rich variety of IPS stories on gender and be inspired by them to write a new blog.

    I will miss the weekly postings on gender, although I will continue blogging on health issues in Mozambique here:

    http://knight.icfj.org/OurFellows/FromtheFieldFellowBlogs/

    I want to thank my fellow bloggers, you, the readers, and, most importantly, IPS, for this opportunity to add a spicy mix  to the MDG3 Gender Portal. I enjoyed it immensely and I hope you did too.

    Peace in 2010.

    A spiritual gift

    23 Nov 2009


    Patriarchal in all senses. By M. Sayagues

    Patriarchal in all senses. By M. Sayagues

    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.

    Custodians of tradition

    Custodians of tradition

    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.

    More »

    Jacaranda Watch

    26 Oct 2009


    jac-41

    The magic continues...

    jac-2

    ... with scarlet bougainvilleas for contrast.

    Purple rain, purple dreamscape

    21 Oct 2009


    By F. Beaumont

    By F. Beaumont

    I just have to do it. This posting is not about gender, politics, foreign aid or photoshopped  models.

    It is about beauty. The beauty of nature: the splendid jacarandas blooming just now that turn Pretoria into a lilac-purple dreamscape.

    It s said that  50,000 jacarandas line the streets.   When the blossoms drift to the ground, carpetting sidewalks, it’s like  a magical  purple rain. Awesome.

    By F. Beaumont

    By F. Beaumont

    HILARIOUS CONDOM ADS

    21 Sep 2009


    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.

    Make safe sex fun. By M. Sayagues

    Make safe sex fun. By M. Sayagues

    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 »

    Whose pleasure? Notes about male circumcision and female sexuality

    24 Aug 2009


    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 »