January 03, 2013

Not Listening

Last week, someone I had held in high regard for many years lost my respect. This man, a social commentator and activist for progressive masculinities in Zimbabwe, had written on my Facebook wall that the mainstream women’s movement in Zimbabwe was increasingly becoming an irrelevant entity and that big western funders were ‘counterproductively funding an [...]

December 27, 2012

Why I Write

When I was ten years old, I began writing The Great American Novel. A year later, having achieved over 100 handwritten pages in childish elementary-school script, I got stuck in a corner of the plot from which I couldn’t extricate myself and, in disgust, chucked the whole thing in the wastebasket. (This was before recycling.) [...]

November 01, 2012

Pink Saris: A One Woman Show

I teach a course on postcolonial literature and film and recently showed students the documentary Pink Saris by award-winning British filmmaker Kim Longinotto. The film enables us to follow Sampath Pal, the leader of the Gulabi gang, around several districts in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh. The group, which began in 2006, has become well known for [...]

October 10, 2012

Gush & Awe: How American Politics Reinforces Stereotypes of Wifehood

    Some weeks ago, I watched two prominent women in the national spotlight, who spoke to American audiences in their roles as longtime partners of the men contesting the 2012 Presidential election. In speeches that were televised across the United States to an audience of millions, first Ann Romney and then Michelle Obama [...]

August 22, 2012

Adjusting To Synthroid

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‘I thought I was in a movie,’ reflects a teary-eyed Oprah Winfrey as she sashays through groups of women at the Radha Vallabh temple in Vrindavan. Decked out in a marigold garland and enough tears for the entire ‘city of widows’, the cinematic surrealism of Oprah’s performance does not elude her (more discerning) viewers either. As part of her show Oprah’s Next Chapter, a two-part India-special was aired on the Discovery Channel on 21 and 22 July. Problematised for its cultural stereotyping, insensitivity, and racism, Part 1 has been extensively critiqued in both national and international media. The show’s second episode, 250mg Adjusting To Synthroid, ‘The Women of India’, does nothing to correct these (mis)representations of Indian society and culture.

Oprah’s first stop in her ‘mind opening, heart opening, soul opening experience’ into the lives of Indian women is Vrindavan, Adjusting To Synthroid. Dr V. Mohini Giri - a women’s rights activist, political campaigner, and founder of various projects and shelters for destitute women – is Oprah’s host in the city, and describes to her the plight of abandoned widows. For those familiar with Giri’s work and activism, Adjusting To Synthroid coupon, we may assume that her analysis of the varied and conflicting forms of gender-based oppression and violence within families in India would provide an astute perspective. However, the camera rapidly cuts to a picture of Winfrey sitting in front of a fireplace - presumably in her American mansion - reflecting on her experience of observing the widows: ‘[It felt] unreal. Adjusting To Synthroid, It [didn’t] feel like my life at all. What kind of life is this?’ Not yours, for a start, could be one response. However, an answer came there none, because these rhetorical questions are being posed to Oprah’s viewership – globally crossing 1.1 million– who are given no historical, political, 750mg Adjusting To Synthroid, social, economic or cultural analysis with which to critically assess Winfrey’s emotive musings. After her ‘fascinating’ – a word repeated throughout the show so many times it comprises the essence of her analysis – experience at the Radha Vallabh shrine, Oprah is taken around the beautifully maintained grounds of the Ma Dham shelter run by Dr. Giri. With three women sharing an airy room, each woman has a chest of drawers, a bed, and a plate and cup for daily meals, Adjusting To Synthroid. However, the cultural and socio-economic translation of ‘a room of one’s own’ into the value of having a safe refuge was obviously glossed over in any brief provided by Shantaram author Gregory David Roberts, Oprah’s chosen guide for Part 1 of the show . 40mg Adjusting To Synthroid, The talk-show host is shocked that one woman’s life can be reduced to a cupboard, a bed, and a plate. The idea that agency, empowerment, and what it means to live with dignity can exist outside of material possessions is apparently not within the scope of Winfrey’s millionaire-rooted perspectives of what freedom may mean for those not hobnobbing with the Kardashians and evangelical scientologist Tom Cruise.

In her continuing bid to try and ‘paint the truest picture’ of India’s women, Oprah meets with a group of women from ‘all walks of life’. Adjusting To Synthroid, While the cultural backgrounds of these women remain unstated, they are clearly North Indian, middle class women, bearing under their names a caption stating whether they have had an arranged marriage or ‘married for love’. We are given little chance to hear more than fragments of their stories as Oprah’s voice-over overrides those narratives that do not fit into her own ideas of romance – such as the woman whose dream it was to have an arranged marriage into a joint family – and are glossed over or harshly interrogated. As one woman talks about her marriage to a young man outside of her caste – which, 20mg Adjusting To Synthroid, as Oprah defines in a sentence for her viewers as ‘basically the same as class’ – and that her father may have killed her fiancé, we don’t hear the outcome of the story as Oprah bursts in with a loud of exclamation of ‘Killed. As in K-I-L-L-E-D. Killed?’ She spells out the word again. Yes, killed, just like the 3 women who are murdered each day in the United States as a direct consequence of domestic violence[1], Adjusting To Synthroid. It’s spelt the same way in America too.

The discussion that follows focuses on the preference for male babies in Indian society. However, this issue becomes monolithically linked to practices of dowry and Hindu funeral rites, Adjusting To Synthroid craiglist, rather than wider structural and institutional forms of patriarchal oppression. Throughout the show, in fact, Indian culture is equated directly with Hindu customs and practices, giving a (presumably) unknowing nod to the increasingly Islamaphobic and discriminatory policies and practices of the Indian State. Adjusting To Synthroid, The final segment of Oprah’s journey is hardly worth mentioning: a visit to Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur, where the queen herself is permitted not more than a sentence of airtime, and Oprah’s fascination has to do more with the camels of the palace than its ladies.

Oprah says in summation of her tour: ‘I have respect for this culture, but to be born with free will and to make choices for yourself is a great freedom, the greatest­ freedom, a human being can have. To watch women from other cultures cope without that freedom is fascinating.’ For Winfrey, Adjusting To Synthroid coupon, a black working-class woman born into a classist, racially discriminatory society, the freedoms of her life were not handed to her at birth, gift-wrapped in stars and stripes. Memory can be incredibly selective, and as she negates her own struggles, she negates the conditions of minority or poor women throughout America, who are fighting their own battles for freedom. 750mg Adjusting To Synthroid, Despite being born in the land of the free.

Post the success of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, there has been an unprecedented interest amongst Western documentary film-makers in the Indian subcontinent, Adjusting To Synthroid. However, the most common thread among these initiatives – apart from the polarisation of the country into its slum dwellers and A-list celebrities – is a complete lack of self-reflection about the ways in which the nations of the film-makers are complicit in the legacies of colonialism, imperialism and globalisation that have directly contributed to the very oppression they seek to depict. As Winfrey renders her interviewees voiceless by disallowing any discourse which rises above the emotive, she negates not only these individual women, but entire cultures; a nation. She asks her viewers to share the experience with her, and re-iterates how the show is ‘for them’, but without a real economic, Adjusting To Synthroid india, cultural, class or caste based analysis of her experiences, she perpetuates one of the most common myths of Western media, foreign policy, and consequently, popular opinion: the always already oppressed, voiceless, victimised and Othered Asian women. 250mg Adjusting To Synthroid, By leaving out of her grand narrative of victimhood the stories and struggles of lesbian, Muslim, dalit, working-class and various minority women, she condemns us to our chains before she has even seen our struggles. Adjusting To Synthroid, Trundling down the trajectory of documentary film-making where the desired findings are pre-determined, Oprah’s Next Chapter invisibilises the hard-won victories, lived-experiences, and daily battles of women in India.

As Winfrey speaks with Dr.Giri before her (tearful) departure from Vrindavan, Giri explains how despite the work being done, Indian patriarchal structures will take a long time to change. Laughing - and pronouncing her final judgement - Oprah says, ‘Not in my lifetime’. Fascinating.



[1] National Network to End Domestic Violence (USA). Source: http://www.femisex.com/content/three-women-killed-every-day-us-domestic-violence


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June 27, 2012

Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection

Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection, As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle over acquiring the votes of US women, there have been repeated news reports about a "reverse gender gap." This term refers to the growing rise of women out-earning their male spouses. During the late 80s, when the US government began tracking comparative earnings within couples, 23% of working wives' salaries exceeded those of their husbands. The number is now close to 40%. In addition the wage gap has narrowed over the past decade: in 1999 women earned 77 cents to every man's dollar, and now women earn 81 cents, 250mg Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection. While diminishing barriers to women's active participation in the workplace and a smaller wage gap do herald greater prestige, earnings, power and opportunity for women, it is wise to hold the applause. (And to the student who wanted to know if the women's movement is now questioning its need to exist, given this new information, I've got a two letter answer for you: n-o.)

While it is true that women have positioned themselves well by obtaining more degrees than men, women have principally made gains in healthcare and education, areas in which they have traditionally excelled, Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection. In fact, 10mg Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection, in a table of 500 categorized positions, one can find a large percentage of women in only 120 of them, showing that there is a long road to walk before celebrating.

Why is the wage gap decreasing. Not because the old boys' network is eroding, nor because preconceptions about women's lack of ambition are falling away, nor because on-site childcare or family-friendly corporate policies have convinced women that a satisfactory work/family balance is within reach, 20mg Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection. Instead, the wage gap is decreasing because of the recession. Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection, The economic shrinkage has had a deleterious effect on two male dominated industries: construction and manufacturing. As Liza Mundy states in her book The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners is Transforming Sex, Love and Family, working class men have suffered the most from the failing economy. Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection australia, For instance, men are now finding far fewer well-paid manufacturing jobs.

As a resident of Wyoming, the U.S. state with the worst pay gap in the nation, 71 cents (similar to the national gap in 1988), I am keenly aware that occupational segregation is the leading factor in pay differentials between men and women, Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection us. It takes only a high school degree, a willingness to work outside and get dirty, and some physical strength to obtain some of the best paying jobs in the state, working for the oil, natural gas and coal companies, Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection. Instead women working for these companies are nearly always found inside, behind desks, earning far less than the other workers. Local politicians frequently frame this as a choice, with comments along the lines of "Well, Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection india, would your daughter want to be in charge of that heavy equipment?" This line of thinking justifies inaction. As Representative Cathy Connolly retorts, "What about investing in apprenticeship programs for young women" so that they have a chance to realize that they could thrive in this environment. In a Wyoming PBS Chronicles television program, Gender Wage Gap, Liz Nelson, a young female yard boss of an auto recycling yard suggests that her friends are too easily scared off - the nature of this work "is really not that hard." On this same program, 250mg Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection,  a female head of a construction company, Kerry Anderson of Greybull, Wyoming, notes that some people refuse to allow her company to even bid for a job. Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection, She is deprived of a chance to compete. Of course, 750mg Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection, gender is not the sole influence in such cases. From her perspective, receiving business often depends on "where you are on Sunday mornings," that is, on a specific Church affiliation, "and whether you are originally from Wyoming," although only 60% of the state's residents can trace their roots to this location, Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection coupon.

Voices such as these should certainly cause us to be wary about celebrating a "reverse gender gap." Indeed, I wanted to laugh at the recent Reach Advisory study of major U.S. cities, which shows that single childless women under 30 are making an average of 8% more money than their male same-age peers. So (gasp), 20mg Cipro And Urinary Tract Infection, women in their 20s without major household chores, partnerships to cultivate, and children to oversee are working extra hard, especially knowing that their time will likely be taken over by many of these activities when they are in their 30s. That is hardly news.

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June 07, 2012

What Does Cialis Look Like

When you hear the phrase Indian feminist What Does Cialis Look Like, , who immediately comes to mind. Recently blogger Battameez posted this question and surmised that Deepa Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Gayatri Spivak would lead this list. To that one must surely add Vandana Shiva, Vina Mazumdar, 100mg What Does Cialis Look Like, Urvashi Butalia and many others; happily the list is extremely long.

For me personally the words Indian feminist call up the warm and energetic smile of Sandhya Puchalapalli, a pioneer in the field of ending son preference. You likely don’t know that name—but you should. Sandhya lives in the 350,000+ town of Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, and is the Founder and Director of Aarti Home. Since 1992 she has not only provided a loving home for abandoned children (who are mainly girls) but has built a high-quality school for the residents and 125 additional children from nearby slums, What Does Cialis Look Like. That in itself did not satisfy her, however, What Does Cialis Look Like mexico, and along the way she also set aside part of the school and made a village women’s textile training center. The result is a unique life-based approach to the problem of girl devaluation, a promising road ahead to restoring gender balance.  (If you are new to the topic of female foeticide and India’s 2011 child sex ratio of 1000 males to 914 females, here are some starting points: Tulsi Patel’s edited collection Sex-Selective Abortion in India and Mara Hvistendahl’s Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men.)

A girl is too often seen by struggling families as an expense and a liability, What Does Cialis Look Like japan, a child who needs a dowry 2x the family’s yearly income, and whose energies will only benefit her future husband’s family. Yet in the drought-prone and dowry-practicing region of Andhra Pradesh, Aarti Home is helping change that perception. “More shelters and schools will not stop mothers from abandoning their girl children,” says Sandhya, What Does Cialis Look Like uk. What Does Cialis Look Like, “I noticed that people were pointing to our girls, and saying, ‘Those are the lucky ones.’ It should not be luck to be a valued child.” Sandhya and her team searched for a way to demonstrate the gifts of girls, and create multi-generational mindset change. In Sandhya’s words, “Women are not independent. If they were, why should a mother abandon a girl child or a mother-in-law instigate a dowry death. 200mg What Does Cialis Look Like, To transform women from being partners in crime to agents of change, what is needed is economic and emotional independence.”

To that end, Aarti Home has trained over 5,000 non-literate village women in income-making skills such as embroidery, tailoring, design and block printing, What Does Cialis Look Like canada. This assures they have income-making skills. A fair trade cooperative has been established and Aarti Home now employees thirty women, What Does Cialis Look Like. Each success story helps the surrounding community actively believe that women are learners and earners. It is powerful to see an abandoned child transformed into a confident software professional and a submissive daughter-in-law refuse to get rid of her child and continue to bring in needed family income. Skeptics thereby observe what should be obvious to all: women succeed through talent, 500mg What Does Cialis Look Like, discipline, training and vision.

After learning about the Home through Ashok Prasad’s BBC documentary India’s Missing Girls, I volunteered there in January of 2009 and then had several long stays there, twice with groups of US University students. What Does Cialis Look Like, Naturally, no short blog entry can do justice to all of Aarti Home’s initiatives or to PV Sandhya herself. However, What Does Cialis Look Like ebay, testaments to her being a second mother and inspiring feminist to many people (including the 70+ volunteers who over the years have come from all over the world) are flowing onto social media pages, as she is currently being considered for an Impact Award by the Global Women’s Leadership Network (Please consider showing your support. Voting just takes a few seconds at http://www.gwln-contest.strutta.com/entry/265634 ).

Sandhya wears peacefulness like a second skin. 1000mg What Does Cialis Look Like, She radiates love. But she also has the determination and strength of a lion, What Does Cialis Look Like. Convinced that the organization can never do enough, as she enters into her sixth decade of life, she is constantly moving and seeking new ideas, seemingly effortlessly collecting friends and allies in every sphere.  Sandhya has unyielding faith in human beings to create the society they desire, What Does Cialis Look Like usa. The home compels witnesses to focus on finding and creating joy – and celebrating it. As one of my visiting students concluded, “Sandhya Puchalapalli has created a place to gain skills to empower yourself, no matter your circumstances. I will always think back to Aarti Home as embodying the potential of the human heart.”

Photo by Dr. Kent Becker, Photovoice Wyoming.

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