Indian Village Bans Unmarried Women From Using Mobile Phones

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An Indian village has banned unmarried women from using mobile phones. The reason? Village elders fear that unmarried women will use mobile phones to arrange their own marriages behind their father’s backs. Yeah, I’m not kidding. Three words spring to mind here, and I can abbreviate them by just writing – WTF.

The Lank village council has decided that unmarried men can use mobile phones only under parental supervision, whilst unmarried women face a blanket ban on their use. Local womens’ rights groups have criticized the measure as backward and discriminatory, but the council has defended the move, saying that the arrangement of forbidden …

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Scottish Episcopal Church: ‘God is No Longer a Man’

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The Scottish Episcopal Church has this week caused controversy by removing masculine references to God in a revised, newly-published order of service. The new order of service, which removes words such as ‘Lord’, ‘He’, ‘Him’ and ‘Mankind’ from service scripts, has been put together by the church in an attempt to acknowledge that God is beyond definition in terms of human gender.

Episcopalian bishops have approved the introduction of more inclusive language, which can be used by priests if they have difficulties with a male God. But traditionalists have criticised the move on the grounds that it smacks of political correctness and because they believe the changes are not consistent with the teachings of the Bible.

The changes were recently discussed at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s general synod, and the UK’s Daily Mail reports that the minutes …

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Are Elementary School Teachers Perpetuating Gender Based Violence and Stereotypes?

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Now this is something I can get behind.

There is, as usual, a new study making its rounds. However, unlike the past, say, four articles I’ve written, I’m totally down with this one for a couple of reasons.

The British Educational Research Association performed a study on elementary school students centered around gender dynamics between young girls and boys. They came to the conclusion that influential adults (like teachers) were perpetuating gender stereotypes and poor behavior amongst male students with what might seem to be harmless comments. What kinds of comments? Things we use every day — “boys will be boys,” “silly boys,” and “schoolboy pranks,” for example.

I took a politics course last year called Explaining Social Power in which we studied gender dynamics throughout history, starting with Machiavelli and ending with modern social theorist Larry May. I mention these two in particular because they support the findings of this study quite well. In Machiavelli’s The Prince, he insists that to rule a country, a man must be violent, unwavering, unemotional, and instill fear amongst his people. For Machiavelli, who published The Prince in 1532, men were not respected unless they were physically overpowering and unafraid of using unprecedented violence.

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The New York Times Doesn’t Write Obituaries For Women

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The NYT Picker, a blog devoted to goings-on in and about the New York Times, published an interesting piece this week regarding obituaries in the NYT. The NYT Picker reports that, in the month of August 2010, the NYT published 78 obituaries – and only six of them were for women. For the year to date, 698 obituaries had been published in the NYT thus far– 606 of them for men, 92 for women.

This is a totally bizarre statistic, considering that there are more women than men in the US population, and that population numbers of women and men are pretty much equal worldwide. But this extraordinary disparity between genders in newspaper obituary coverage has gone on for years – which is also bizarre, considering that the US granted full equality to women decades ago, and has seen women take more prominent roles in society ever since.

Obituaries go first and foremost to the famous – that’s a given. But the fact that the life stories of more famous men are being published in the NYT makes it clear that Western society is still dominated by a power structure that is, predominantly, male. This is also a bit of a given really– but women have been making valuable …

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