Sangre Menstrual, a Spanish performance group, took to the streets wearing white pants and shorts stained with menstrual blood in support of their“Manifesto for the Visibility of the Period.” Sangre Menstrual wrote the manifesto to point out that, by attempting to hide our periods, a perfectly natural bodily function, we are participating in the patriarchal system and effectively punishing ourselves for being women.
But why? Why does menstruation make us so uncomfortable?
The ladies at The Red Web Foundation are working to promote a more positive and healthy approach to menstruation through education, healthy menstruation products, and the creation of a period-positive community. And their work can’t come a moment too soon. I mean, have you ever heard a woman say excitedly “Oh, I can’t wait! Aunt Flo’s going to be visiting soon!”? No, instead you hear groans and lamentations about the onset of “the curse.” Indeed, the Red Web Foundation states the reason for its existence as being “[b]ecause menstruation is misunderstood or often times considered inconvenient in mainstream culture, it can be difficult for a woman or girl to find comprehensive information and guidance” about her body or her “place in this world” as a woman. Menstruation has been culturally constructed as a period of punishment associated with the onset of womanhood, and while we could take it as an opportunity to celebrate what it means to be a woman, we instead deplore the pain and discomfort in our bleeding lady parts.
In her short essay “If Men Could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinam explores the sexism behind this period-negativity. She asks, for example, why the ability to give life didn’t lead Freud to theorize about “womb envy” instead of penis envy. She also vividly constructs the world which would arise “if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not… Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much. Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day… Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ("men-struation") as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat ("You have to give blood to take blood"), occupy high political office ("Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priests, ministers, God Himself ("He gave this blood for our sins"), or rabbis ("Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean")… TV shows would treat the subject openly…Of course, intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguments. Without the biological gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets, how could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics-- or the ability to measure anything at all? In philosophy and religion, how could women compensate for being disconnected from the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic death and resurrection every month?… In short, we would discover, as we should already, that logic is in the eye of the logician.” Read the full essay here!
So, yes. Being on your period can suck. Cramps are painful. Your emotions go haywire. But if menstruation is part of being a woman, isn’t that something that should be celebrated?
Amazing, just amazing.
The Swiss Government has just launched the most honest, happy, real and accurate campaign for condoms and HIV prevention.
The swiss Federal Office for Public Health has called this entire campaign: Love Life.
Not only did they make a point in trying to showcase a variety of sexual preferences(maybe one black person could have been nice though), but the idea of using Edith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien" ('I have no regrets') as a slogan/line/song, is a brilliant parallel to no having to worry about someone's past, when you have protected sex with someone.
A few weeks ago, my fellow DFB blogger talked about Tarzanitis. And after my experience, I've decided it's time to take a stand against this nonsense.
I've worked where I work for almost two years. A few months ago, a man, approximately 20 years older than me, suddenly took an interest in me. He stops by my office multiple times a day - sometimes to talk about nothing, sometimes to just stare and smile at me for a few seconds, but never to do/say anything related to his or my job. He's begun to ask questions about where I live and suggest that we should hang out and wink or raise his eyebrows at me. In response, I stare at him with a mixed look of shock and disgust and stutter words related to how I don't think that's a good idea. But seriously...WHAT?
A few days ago, he sat down in my office to talk about nothing, interrupting my day and my workflow. Though I told him I was busy, he didn't leave, so I ignored him and typed forcefully and quickly on my computer. When my boss walked in to ask me a question, he stayed and stared at her as if she was in the wrong for coming into my office and talking about work.
Now, I am happy to be a sweet, nice woman. In fact, it's my default. I am likely too nice and too sweet to too many undeserving men. And I don't know what cocktail of social skills and grace he lacks or why he feels entitled to interrupt my day, ruin my work progress and potentially make my boss uncomfortable, but it's gotten out of control.
Today when he stopped by to smile at me, I said "Please stop stopping by my office." I think that should clear up any confusion.
[Reprinted from the New York Times. Original available here.]
What's So Scary About Smart Girls?
by Nicholas Kristof
WHEN terrorists in Nigeria organized a secret attack last month, they didn’t target an army barracks, a police department or a drone base. No, Boko Haram militants attacked what is even scarier to a fanatic: a girls’ school.
That’s what extremists do. They target educated girls, their worst nightmare.
Why are fanatics so terrified of girls’ education? Because there’s no force more powerful to transform a society. The greatest threat to extremism isn’t drones firing missiles, but girls reading books.
In that sense, Boko Haram was behaving perfectly rationally — albeit barbarically — when it kidnapped some of the brightest, most ambitious girls in the region and announced plans to sell them as slaves. If you want to mire a nation in backwardness, manacle your daughters.
What saddens me is that we in the West aren’t acting as rationally. To fight militancy, we invest overwhelmingly in the military toolbox but not so much in the education toolbox that has a far better record at defeating militancy.
President Obama gives the green light to blow up terrorists with drones, but he neglects his 2008 campaign promise to establish a $2 billion global fund for education. I wish Republicans, instead of investigating him for chimerical scandals in Benghazi, Libya, would shine a light on his failure to follow through on that great idea.
So why does girls’ education matter so much? First, because it changes demography.
One of the factors that correlates most strongly to instability is a youth bulge in a population. The more unemployed young men ages 15 to 24, the more upheaval.
One study found that for every 1 percentage point increase in the share of the population aged 15 to 24, the risk of civil war increases by 4 percent.
That means that curbing birthrates tends to lead to stability, and that’s where educating girls comes in. You educate a boy, and he’ll have fewer children, but it’s a small effect. You educate a girl, and, on average, she will have a significantly smaller family. One robust Nigeria study managed to tease out correlation from causation and found that for each additional year of primary school, a girl has 0.26 fewer children. So if we want to reduce the youth bulge a decade from now, educate girls today.
More broadly, girls’ education can, in effect, almost double the formal labor force. It boosts the economy, raising living standards and promoting a virtuous cycle of development. Asia’s economic boom was built by educating girls and moving them from the villages to far more productive work in the cities.
One example of the power of girls’ education is Bangladesh, which until 1971 was (the seemingly hopeless) part of Pakistan. After Bangladesh gained independence, it emphasized education, including of girls; today, it actually has more girls in high school than boys. Those educated women became the backbone of Grameen Bank, development organizations like BRAC and the garment industry.
Likewise, Oman in the 1960s was one of the most backward countries in the world, with no television, no diplomats and radios banned. Not a single girl attended school in Oman. Then there was a coup, and the new government educated boys and girls alike.
Today, Oman is stable and incomparably better off than its neighbor, Yemen, where girls are still married off young and often denied an education. America is fighting Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Pakistan with drones; maybe we should invest in girls’ schools as Bangladesh and Oman did.
Girls’ education is no silver bullet. Iran and Saudi Arabia have both educated girls but refused to empower them, so both remain mired in the past. But when a country educates and unleashes women, those educated women often become force multipliers for good.
Angeline Mugwendere was an impoverished Zimbabwean girl who was mocked by classmates because she traipsed to school barefoot in a torn dress with nothing underneath. She couldn’t afford school supplies, so she would wash dishes for her teachers in hopes of being given a pen or paper in thanks.
Yet Angeline was brilliant. In the nationwide sixth-grade graduation examinations, she had the highest score in her entire district — indeed, one of the highest scores in the country. Yet she had no hope of attending seventh grade because she couldn’t afford the fees.
That’s when a nonprofit called the Campaign for Female Education, or Camfed, came along and helped pay for Angeline to stay in school. She did brilliantly in high school and is now the regional director for Camfed, in charge of helping impoverished girls get to school in four African countries. She’s paying it forward.
Educating girls and empowering women are also tasks that are, by global standards, relatively doable. We spend billions of dollars on intelligence collection, counterterrorism and military interventions, even though they have a quite mixed record. By comparison, educating girls is an underfunded cause even though it’s more straightforward.
Readers often feel helpless, unable to make a difference. But it was a grass-roots movement starting in Nigeria that grabbed attention and held leaders accountable to address it. Nigeria’s leaders perhaps now realize that they must protect not only oil wells but an even greater treasure: the nation’s students.
Likewise, any of us can stick it to Boko Haram by helping to educate a girl. A $40 gift at Camfed.org buys a uniform so that a girl can go to school.
Boko Haram has a stronghold in northeastern Nigeria because it’s an area where education is weak and women are marginalized. Some two-thirds of women in the region have had no formal education. Only 1 in 20 has completed high school. Half are married by age 15.
Obviously, the situation in the United States is incomparably better. But we have our own problems. It’s estimated that 100,000 girls under 18 years old in the United States are trafficked into commercial sex each year. So let’s fight to #BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria but also here in the United States and around the world.
In a little over a week after it's creation, #mystealthyfreedom Facebook Page has reached 143K followers. Now this page is not like these "let's share fake quotes about peace and inspirational feedom phrases copied from corny sites about freedom" pages. No, this page, created by Masih Alinejad, invites iranian women to uncover their hair and take pictures of themselves doing it. An act of simple freedom that is against the iranian law. Here are a few examples of these courageous ladies and girls taking a step against oppression on women. (because, of course men can go around in tank tops and no hats.) You go girls, Nobody nor no law should ever tell us what to wear, nor make society shame us if we show our naked head.
I saw this sentence written on a wall, as big as you can see, and I said to myself that I was not gonna walk past it without taking a photo with this piece of art! What a skin deep perception of the words Sister, Hijab ,and Heaven.
The sentence on the wall reads: My sister, HIJAB is your entrance ticket into heaven!
This photo was taken in autumn ( in Sorkhehesar Park). My mind was busy with freedom; but my body all trembled with fear; I trembled as the autumn leaves in the wind! yes, my moments of stealthy freedom have always been full of fear. freedom is the oldest dream of all Iranian women I hope one day this dream comes true at last
I found this wonderfully beautiful place in the alley next to there. I took my headscarf off without worrying at all and took a photo. Post my photos if you feel like doing it. Just please do not mention my name.Hoping for the day wind will dance with our hair in the air. Dear Masih, I have never stopped breaking this ugly chain that impediments human-being . I have never been negligent to this matter and I have always taken action toward this compulsory hijab, I have ignored wild and blaming looks on people's faces and done what I've thought has been more appropriate and human. I'm sending these photos to your significant page as a proof (of my stealthy freedom). May the day come when we don't have to leave our home country in order to reach basic human rights that we are entitled to.
We only live once, we won't let this chance go without enjoying our freedom. Here we are in a village called Biyazeh located in a desert.
Neither a subversive nor a dangerous person I am! Neither a whore nor necessarily against this system. Can you understand that?! Stealth freedom in Dasht-e-Havij It is not that it happens once every six months or once a year that I feel that I hate this scarf they have forcibly made me wear. I hate it each and every day! Every day as I put it on and get out of the house I hate myself for having it on. I feel bad for my hair, who is thirsty for dancing with the wind in the park and on the street. One of my close friends, who is dear to me as my own brother, always says “I'm ashamed of wearing a T-Shirt in front of you girls while you have to stand all those clothes on, in such hot weather”. Neither a subversive nor a dangerous person I am! Neither a whore nor necessarily against this system. I just can’t stand the heat in these clothes! As simple as this! Can you understand?! In this summer heat (over 40 degrees centigrade) my brain starts to boil under this piece of cloth covering it. Mr. Policeman, Why don’t you try it yourself?! Wear a scarf on your head only for two hours and stand under the summer sun.
There's no pleasure beyond Freedom. I want my hair to be caressed by the kind hands of wind. It might be the smallest kind of freedom one could ever wish for; but I have been robbed of it.
Fire under the ashes...burned generation(term to reffer to those who were born in Iran between 1970 and 1980) just like the way they burned us each of us too gonna burn them so that our name will become fire generation we are the fire generaion announce that everywhere we are the fire generation.
I'm not talking about lady pussies, these are actually great. No, i'm referring ( with a word that really should be a compliment, anyway..) to these guys that go through your entire instagram but don't like a single pic, but then can refer to details of your last summer's outfit. The ones that don't " follow" you but text you about your latest selfie. The ones that will never like pics of you or with you, but the images right before or after.
This shit doesn't make you look cool, nor "exclusive".