women’s liberties and war terror

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Credit: Adam Ferguson, New York Times

In the news: how to salvage rights for women and end a war at the same time.

Afghan Women Fear Loss of Modest Gains By Alissa J. Rubin

‘Women’s precarious rights in Afghanistan have begun seeping away. Girls’ schools are closing; working women are threatened; advocates are attacked; and terrified families are increasingly confining their daughters to home. For women, instability, as much as the Taliban themselves, is the enemy. Women are casualties of the fighting…’

Credit: Jodi Bieber / INSTITUTE for TIME

Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban By Aryn Baker

‘As the war in Afghanistan enters its ninth year, the need for an exit strategy weighs on the minds of U.S. policymakers. Such an outcome, it is assumed, would involve reconciliation with the Taliban. But Afghan women fear that in the quest for a quick peace, their progress may be sidelined. “Women’s rights must not be the sacrifice by which peace is achieved,” says parliamentarian Fawzia Koofi.’

Portrait of Pain Ignites Debate Over Afghan War by Rod Nordland

“That is exactly what will happen,” said Manizha Naderi, referring to Aisha and cases like hers. An Afghan-American whose group, Women for Afghan Women, runs the shelter where Aisha stayed, Ms. Naderi said, “People need to see this and know what the cost will be to abandon this country.” … “The image is a window into the reality of what is happening — and what can happen — in a war that affects and involves all of us.”

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Written by carolinashley

August 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm

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in the news

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On trafficking and slavery, sexual and domestic–

yes, slavery still exists in the United States:

Credit: NACOP Child Abuse Committee

Human Trafficking In The U.S.: One Woman’s Story by Sara Lerner

This NPR article begins, ‘This year, for the first time ever, the U.S. included itself in the State Department’s annual report on human trafficking. The report said the U.S. has a serious problem with human trafficking — a practice they call the equivalent of modern-day slavery, including commercial sex exploitation and forced labor — as a source country, and as a destination for victims.’ and continues on to relate the story of one woman trafficked into the United States to work as a domestic slave.

Sold on Craigslist: Critics say sex ad crackdown inadequate by Steve Turnham and Amber Lyon

Video and article on Craigslist as the Walmart of sex trafficking today. One quote reads, “We hear this story every single day of girls who are being bought and sold, American girls who are being bought and sold through the internet,” said Malika Saada Saar… She believes many Americans are either unaware of just how many girls are being sold on sites like Craigslist or simply chose to ignore the problem.’ Time to stop ignoring this problem.

Credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

10 Things Men and Boys Can Do to Stop Human Trafficking by Jewel Woods

Article begins, ‘Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person to provide labor or commercial sex against their will, and it is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. The Renaissance Male Project believes that men are complicit in this crime when they purchase sex because they create the demand by allowing others to exploit women and children for profit. Men must play a role in ending this form of modern-day slavery, a vicious industry that exploits and perpetuates the suffering of hundreds of thousands of women and children in the United States and around the world.’  It goes on to list ways men can help put an end to the exploitation of women. Some of the things may not be something you personally engage in as a male, but you probably have a male friend or acquaintance who does and continues to popularize degrading attitudes toward women. Stand up to them. Express your reasons for supporting, respecting and valuing women by condemning industries that violate and reduce them.

Credit: NP! ID: 2421732, http://www.nowpublic.com

Written by carolinashley

August 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm

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short film

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A short video by Turkish filmmaker Zeycan Kaplantas about a Bosnian woman who is assaulted and exposed to torture and genocide in Bosnia/Herzegovina. The story explores her past, post traumatic stress, and attempt to build a new life in Turkey. English subtitles are not perfectly translated but still this is a vivid portrayal of what women all over the world experience every day– rape as a weapon of war.

Written by carolinashley

August 2, 2010 at 10:43 am

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Briefly on Foster Care

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I just got into a critical discussion of the problems in US state system with my friend Sarah; during discussion, we came to foster care….I know individuals who’ve experienced abuse growing up in foster care, so I googled quickly to find some statistics. I found this 2005 article that numbered the many abuses and lack of education that children in state care experience. The only thing I can see is, this needs serious reform. More money needs to be donated to protect these kids and perhaps we could go so far as governmentally run “boarding homes” for children in state care which would be strictly audited and followed by psychologists, teachers, caretakers and officials to reduce/eliminate abuse and protect the children. Ideas?

Written by carolinashley

July 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm

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in the news

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Every now and again if I get a second break I cruise through the headlines and see what is happening that is especially pertinent for women and gender issues.

Some days there aren’t particularly big stories, but today’s front page on the nytimes was titled, “African Studies Give Women Hope in H.I.V. Fight.

photo from Joao Silva for The New York Times

The study places protection against HIV in the hands of women and girls since they are the majority infected. It is a positive step; it gives women and girls a way to protect themselves (through using the gel) and economic power (through the cash allowances) so they do not turn as quickly to sex as a means of earning money to help them survive poverty. Writes the author of the article, “The likelihood that the girls would agree to sex in return for gifts and cash declined as the size of the payments from the program rose, suggesting the central role of extreme poverty in sexual choices.” So protecting yourself and being given options toward empowerment are integral to helping women escape the HIV epidemic.

What drew my attention as an issue is the very first line of the article that ends, “women and schoolgirls, who make up a majority of the newly infected in sub-Saharan Africa.” Why? Why are women and schoolgirls the majority of newly infected? Women are being infected more than men, so that must mean infected men are recklessly going out and bedding women and schoolgirls– one man for multiple women, logically– and giving them the disease. Women then are the majority of newly infected. One man exploiting his societal sexual power turns into seven girls with HIV. Where is the responsibility there? Women are being given a gel cream and told, protect yourself against the men. Yet, the responsibility should be on the men too, to not just reduce their own risk of infection through circumcision but to be the sexual responsible ones– to not exploit and abuse and infect women and young girls. The culture and society of course is one of male-dominance and female submission — but there should be an increased push for holding men accountable. For example, the article talked about women being infected and about their chance to protect themselves but it never mentioned who is infecting the women. Let’s put some responsibility there.

Other gendered articles in today’s nytimes:

Looking for Time Bombs and Tea Leaves on Gay Marriage” — “An aside about laws affecting gay men and lesbians in a recent case is being viewed as a potential signal for a future Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage”

A Gay Campaign? Both Sides Demur” — “Brittany Novotny, a Democrat and Oklahoma’s first known transgender candidate, is running for a seat in the state House against a Republican incumbent.”

In Los Angeles, Unsolved Killings Reflected Era” — about serial murders of women and prostitutes in L.A

Written by carolinashley

July 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

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female, poet

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As I got the news this morning that a second poem of mine is being published, I went on a backtrack to the first time a poem of mine got published– in UNC’s literary magazine, Cellar Door. It was called “Morning Traffic” and I had revised it until it evolved into something about human sex trafficking, a brothel, something I imagined that was horrible and painful and enclosed. Now, The Raleigh Review has offered to publish my next poem, “Casual Interaction” in their online archives and a print edition. I am beyond lucky and thrilled, but I look at my mini-profile of publications and I see the trend already– women, violence, voice. I submitted many other poems (often 5 at a time to each place) and I was careful to provide a range of choice, taste, forms and subjects. I only ever submit one truly feminist poem per 5 that I submit, yet of my two-for-two hits, the editor has always chosen the one that was exploring women, our issues, our voice.

My favorite modern poets are Marie Howe, Kim Addonizio, Rita Dove, women. I go out of my way to select a woman poet when my creative writing professors ask me to do a recitation or analysis. I went out of my way to introduce myself to the writing of Carol Ann Duffy, the first female poet laureate in Britain, and checked out at the very least four of her books out of Davis last semester. I also intentionally shopped around to get to know Mona Van Duyn, Louise Gluck, Gwendolyn Brooks (I’m sure if you checked my library lending history, you would find a long list of strong women authors) and other women laureates in the United States. Why? Because I read (and yes, enjoyed and admired) Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Yeats, Cummings, Frost, Whitman, Wilde, Tennyson, Arnold, Apollinaire, Byron, Blake, Shelley, etc, etc, etc, and the list goes on….. but in my English courses, Emily Dickenson was the proud, lone woman poet hanging around along with an occasional Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

It’s better and better in modern times of course for women to be up there with the men in the annals. I mean, my modern/contemporary poetry book has far more women than my 19th century literature classes, but as I found from my own experience, if you just skim around the book, picking up whatever poem and never stop to think how women have fought to be published there too, then you don’t recognize half the beauty that women and their sexuality, struggles, and lives have there… Women’s experiences are being voiced by women poets today, and one day, those will be the material for “21st century literature” courses, and young women students in the 22nd century will hear those voices and know what it was like. I would love it if more people went out of their way to support and read women poets (and especially feminist poets because they are hilarious and sassy)  much more, and if more women took courage to write about the women-things that twist and feel (some great women poets in my classes in the past wrote about first periods and awkward love affairs and food and parents and everything that poets talk about but from that female perspective; that’s my favorite). I am always really happy to see the attraction and intrigue in female voices in poetry; it entices and teases and teaches.

Of course I love guy writers, too, and talent is important but it’s so imperative to think about such things as gender.. many women are just as talented but much less featured. SO go out and find a great woman writer and celebrate her! Celebrate the way literature is being shaped now to create more equal, welcoming classrooms for women and girls in the future. Dream of the English classroom where women’s voices are featured in equal numbers beside men’s and it’s not called “women’s studies.”

Written by carolinashley

July 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm

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The Daily Show’s Woman Problem

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A friend of mine posted this on her wall and I was so disgusted and shocked I had to share it here. Be sure to watch the video halfway through of Olivia Munn’s work in the network….

The Daily Show’s Woman Problem

What we watch, we support, right? If we’re the consumers of shows and media in general without making an outcry for more women on these shows and more women in respected positions (not munching hot dogs and having whipped cream in her face when she’s on her knees, like Olivia Munn) than we are supporting the way it is. How is that ok?

Written by carolinashley

July 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm

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