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Posts Tagged ‘imperialism’

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Feminist Africa is a continental gender studies journal produced by the community of feminist scholars. It provides a platform for intellectual and activist research, dialogue and strategy. Feminist Africa attends to the complex and diverse dynamics of creativity and resistance that have emerged in postcolonial Africa, and the manner in which these are shaped by the shifting global geopolitical configurations of power.

It is currently based at the African Gender Institute in Cape Town.

Editorial policy

Feminist Africa is guided by a profound commitment to transforming gender hierarchies in Africa, and seeks to redress injustice and inequality in its content and design, and its open-access and continentally-targeted distribution strategy. Feminist Africa targets gender researchers, students, educators, women’s organisations and feminist activists throughout Africa. It works to develop a feminist intellectual community by promoting and enhancing African women’s intellectual work. To overcome the access and distribution challenges facing conventional academic publications, Feminist Africa deploys a dual dissemination strategy, using the Internet as a key tool for knowledge-sharing and communication, while making hard copies available to those based at African institutions.

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–we are women” : an article by amanda kijera.

The United Nations, western women’s organizations and the Haitian government must immediately provide women in Haiti with the funding that they need to build domestic violence and rape crisis centers. Stop dividing Black families by distributing solely to women, which only exaggerates male resentment and frustration in Haiti. Provide both women and men with job training programs that would allow for self-sufficiency as opposed to continued dependency on whites. Lastly, admit that the issue of racial integration might still need addressing on an international level, and then find a way to address it!

so i have a special research interest in haiti, in case y’all didn’t already know. i found this article to be really engaging, stupendously interesting. i feel so confused by this! i feel confused by one of the responses to the above:

How is it possible, after being the victim of a brutal rape, to absolve the perpetrator of guilt and point the finger at men of another color who are nowhere near one’s body? This projection is absolutely stunning and self-defeating.

The man who committed this crime committed it for his reason and his alone. Without holding him to account, what hope of change is there? If a person cannot own his behavior, he cannot change it.

This sort of rationalization would absolve white slave owners, by the way. They were simply victims of cultural thinking at the time. And the patriarchy? A remnant of twisted religious extremism.

No one would be responsible for any action at any time, anywhere. There is, after all, a context for every crime.

At the root of this absolution is a desire to push personal responsibility on the collective. Unfortunately, the collective was not in that room that night. One man raped one woman.

oh dear. what now? what is this now. why am i so confused? can anyone please tell me what is going on, and who should do what, and why? and how this fits into all of it?

Melissa’s words are so incredibly powerful, and I can’t make that point any better than she can. This is not about the “global hierarchy”. Every person has control over their actions. Amanda’s rapist is no different. Her response is astounding to most – how could she possibly blame the status of the black man in the world society for this? How was the man that beat her and abused her not at fault? We’re right to question that.

oh, i miss Bq, i want Bq to tell me how to think about this real bad!

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So I have these causes that I talk about. Veganism… Anti-racism… Feminism… Fat Positivism… Sex Positivism… Environmentalism… And you know there’s always this tipping point in my mind. Someone or something gets me more or less climbing on board with the cause, then there’s this ultimate point that flings me completely on deck. Like there’s no turning back. It’s just so obvious that this is a problem I need to change my life to start recognizing. Do you ever have a moment or witness an event or learn a fact that completely freaks out to the point of life-alteration? I’m going to give an example, in case you weren’t expecting it:

The Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch, to those of you who are unaware, is a heap of plastic garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean that is roughly the size of Texas. If you had any idealistic visions of our garbage disposal system, I would say now is the time to start poking some holes. This is a result of our relentless production and consumption of plastic things that we throw away every day without a thought. This fucking scared me. I mean, learning about global warming a few years ago was terrifying. I started doing things everyday that I thought helped reduce my contribution to it. But this garbage heap struck me hard. I made some pretty firm resolutions: No more Taco Bell soda containers. No more going to the grocery store and “ughhh. forgetting” my reusable bags. No more tampon applicators. No more water bottles (but I was on that wagon a while ago). And I’m happy about it. I can’t not do it anymore… it’s the way I live, it’s part of my daily schedule. I think I’m a fucking asshole if I don’t. How can you when you know this information? How can you explain it away? Nowadays, I can’t really bear to buy anything new, for fear of contributing more “stuff” that will ultimately end up in the garbage. And I know I’m not perfect… I still buy frozen fruit in plastic packages sometimes… I still buy plastic-wrapped bread loaves all the time… much of our food preservation system is based in our trust of plastic. There just seem to to be some plastic-wrapped things that are so simple to eliminate and I pull my hair out every time my dad comes home from Stop & Shop grocery-shopping with 20 new plastic bags telling me he can’t be bothered to use a few of the 100+ recycled tote bags he’s got stored under the sink. Sometimes I can accept his disagreement with my feminist beliefs, but I really think this is just stubborn idiocy.

So… anyway… this is what I want you to know when I say that the below commercial made me want to weep with joy. I can’t even care about the consumerism of a commercial… if one company is making the leap to reduce a shit-ton of plastic in the world, not only that, but making it compostable… I am a happy bean.

EDIT: munzi recommended a pretty great video about The Story of Stuff (www.storyofstuff.com)–it has cute little cartoons and an exasperated lady telling you WHY THIS CONSUMPTION NEEDS TO SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. So, umm, enjoy. It just changed my life. Again.

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The following excerpt is from Eyes of the Heart, by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first democratically-elected president of Haiti, now in exile in South Africa.

Around the world what is called the informal sector makes up a $16 trillion-a-year economy. Of this women are responsible for $11 trillion. In Haiti, where official unemployment is about 70%, the informal sector is in fact much larger than the formal sector. And the economic strength of this sector in Haiti is a surprise to most economists. It has a total combined asset and property value estimated at $4.71 billion, or more than 72% of the total assets and property of the 123 largest private enterprises in Haiti. It is a complex network of economic activities that extends into every Haitian village and percolates through the urban slums, touching the lives of the rural and urban poor majority. Any economic plan for Haiti must begin here.

Any economic plan for Haiti must also begin with women. In Haiti we say that women are the poto mitan, or “center pole” of the household. During the past 20 years we can say that women have also been the poto mitan of the struggle. We are not surprised then when we see that over 70% of our Foundation are women. As at St. Jean Bosco, the majority of those who attended were women. In the struggle women are always well represented at the bases, if not in positions of power.

Women have unique skills for leadership with cooperation. When we created the cooperative at the Foundation we took some inspiration from the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. We decided to lend money to people in groups of five, with each member being responsible for the others. The women understood and adapted to the system quickly. Many of the men balked. It was not easy to find four others with whom they could form a group, and when it came time to make a loan they did not want to sign for the others.

Studies around the world have shown that when household budgets are in the hands of women, they are more likely to be spent for primary needs (food, education, and health care). I predict that when the budgets of nations are in the hands of women we will see the same result. While I was president, women held major cabinet posts for the first time in Haiti. We had fifteen women ministers in three governments, including a Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Finance, Education, Information and Labor. It made a difference.

Women, children and the poor must be the subjects, not the objects of history. They must sit at the decision-making tables and fill the halls of power. They must occupy the radio and airwaves, talking to and calling to account their elected leaders. Their participation will democratize democracy, bringing the word back to its full meaning: Demos meaning people, Cratei meaning to govern.

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Kristoff wrote a column this Thursday that addressed a very serious issue. It’s a NYT column about how rape kits often don’t get tested. I was glad he pointed out things, and this issue that is rarely addressed.

That said it weirded me out when he ended the piece with:

It’s what we might expect in Afghanistan, not in the United States.

WTF is that? Not that I don’t expect these sorts of xenophobic, warhawking, Orientalist comments. Because I do– I just expect them to be more subtle. And no one seems to call Kristoff out on this racist bullshit. So Kristoff, I’m calling you out:

That quip was unneccessary. It was racist. It was Orientalist. It is totally part of a larger project to re-demonize Afghanistan. And it shouldn’t have been at the end of your column. The beginning of your column. Or the middle of your column. Thanks for being an ass.

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So recently I went to this learn how to network post graduation thing. I won’t say exactly who it was I talked to because I don’t want to jeopardize my career in case someone wants to find this and use it against me. It was a group of older women. The older women at my table (and all the other tables that I could see) were both white. The students at my table, including me, were all South and East Asian.

The younger lady at our table talked about how women have historically been bad at networking. I was like whaa? She clarified by saying that women are better at networking as mothers, not as employees. I was like oh. It kind of made sense. American women didn’t even used to be employees, as in America, it used to be culturally unacceptable until very recently for women to have jobs. So it makes sense that American women, as a group, could potentially be lacking in the kind of assertiveness that is required for successful professional networking. An interesting theory, at least.

The older lady, more authoritative, agreed with her peer. She said something to the effect of, “Yes, that’s true. Especially when you come from a certain country, where if you’re a woman, you don’t just go up to a person and say hello, you don’t just do that.” She went on to look at the student to her left, who had a Vietnamese accent, and nodded understandably at her.

At the end of the meeting, I decided that I really liked both these women who were helping us learn how to network. Overall, they seemed like good people to get to know. But at the time of the above little chat about the inability of women from “certain countries” to network, I felt offended.

Is that reasonable? Does it make sense for me to be annoyed at this white woman for pointing out what she sees to be the truth? And isn’t it kind of the truth, in objective terms? That women from South and East Asian countries aren’t given the latitude to be bold in professional settings? Was this lady being racist, in talking about the passivity of Asian women? Part of me is saying “Yes” and the other is saying “No.”

Furthermore, am I being racist to readily accept that women from South and East Asian countries are forced to assume less-than-assertive roles in their societies’ workplace? I lived in India for 13 years and what I saw completely validates her statement. Should I hold my horses before I extend this observation to large, heterogeneous parts of the rest of the world? Are “Asian” women, whatever that means, actually not passive? Is it anti-feminist to think of them as passive? How is “passive” being constructed in this case?

What is really complicating the picture here? I am so confused. Readers, and I know there are millions of you, feel free to chime in with insights.

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three cheers for eve ensler?

lucie this may be of particular interest to you

i know that we are trying to be more congenial on this blog but if people want to have long debates about this please email me. and if you dont know what my email address is, i guess ask someone who might? (sarah) i dont wanna post it here.

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