India Has Problems

India has been in the news lately. In part, for gang-rape (which, as you may have noticed, is a horrific evil on which India does not have a monopoly). A seventeen-year-old girl in India killed herself after she was gang-raped and failed by her law enforcement community. A twenty-three-year-old Indian woman (a medical student) was raped in front of her boyfriend and left in critical condition.

I suggest that you read this post on HelloGiggles (which is an excellent site, by the way, and often covers topics a lot less upsetting than this one). Among other things, it details the struggle that the teenage girl underwent in attempting to file her complaint with the police. Being sexually assaulted is horrible—and that horror should not be compounded by police who try to convince the young woman who survived the assault to drop the charges or to possibly marry one of her attackers. Her attackers were only detained after she specifically named them in her suicide note. Barring the most dreadful of illnesses, I would never counsel suicide as the better option, but I can understand why she did it.

India has more problems than that—and, honestly, nightmarishly high levels of incidents of violence against women should be enough of a problem for any country. I think that a lot of us have read about villages and other local governments in India in which unmarried women are being forbidden from using mobile phones. “Reasons” (using the word reason loosely, here) range from that they might form their own, independent social connections to simply that mobile phone use will “spoil” them. It is disgusting.

Online communication through computers, whether they sit on our desks or we carry them in our pockets, are opening up isolated communities, helping to advance peoples’ educations, and gradually transforming the entire world into one community out of many. It is wonderful. But that is also frightening to some more conservative individuals who believe that too much freedom for younger generations will erode their culture. Honestly, it will. It happens in the US. Sometimes, the internet and television can help a closeted fourteen-year-old boy in rural Alabama …

Continue reading

You Might Also Like ...

Wintry Mix

photo of holiday versus christmas pictures
As I may have mentioned, I can be a bit less than fuzzy during the holiday season for a few reasons. A friend of mine was, I kid you not, referred to as a terrorist the other day at work because she told someone “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”

A terrorist.

Anyway, though I lived in the mountains for five years (not like Katniss Everdeen or actual terrorist Eric Rudolph, but it was the same mountains) and delighted in the weather (it is not often that I feel that it is cold enough for me to need to wear long pants outdoors, but there, I could feel cold even when thoroughly bundled up. A bit of a pain at times, but wonderful, and highly preferable to being too warm. You can always bundle up more—even if you are alone or in the right company, you don’t get any less dressed than naked, and being naked and still being too warm is the worst. And where I live now, well, even a light dusting of snow would be a pleasant surprise. It has been in the 70s for a total of like a week this December, and, as I write this, we are only two weeks into the month. Blurg.

Right, so. This time of year, I do have some music that I enjoy listening to. It is not really the traditional music* for this time of year (i.e. Christmas carols—I don’t really hear Spin The Dreidel in grocery stores too often), but it is my playlist, and I enjoy it. So here it is! Because . . . feminism.

Ahem. Here is my playlist. I call it “Wintery Mix,” because forecasters say that and because I am easily amused.

1) Christmas Tree, by Lady Gaga (featuring Space Cowboy)

This one is pretty obvious. I love this song. I love the sound of this song. I love the lyrics to this song. I love the attitude. If you are, for some reason, unfamiliar, the line: “Ho, ho, ho, under the mistletoe” should provide you with a clue. I love slutty music. Also, I assume that by “Christmas tree,” she means her lady-parts, but I have not the faintest idea how she’s seeing it as a tree. But whatever.

2) Cool, by Gwen Stefani

This one is, um, really just because of the song title? I know, it’s abhorrently simple. But …

Continue reading

You Might Also Like ...

All Aboard The Crazy-Train

photo of republicans versus democrats pictures
Politics can be a very polarizing area. That is never more true than in an election year.

Both major political parties in US politics tend to make certain points—this year, with attacks on reproductive rights from the GOP and very strong language against same-sex marriage legalization, some of these points are more extreme than ever.

The real problem behind our election system (aside from the fact that democracy itself is a terrifyingly flawed system of government and only our well-crafted Constitution safeguards us from the tyranny of the majority) is not SuperPACS or compulsive lying on the part of certain candidates—it’s the crazies.

The thing about crazies is that they exist in any and all political parties. In the case of, say, white supremacist parties or anarchist parties, they are the parties in question. But both Democrats and Republicans have fringe crazies, and I do not just mean people with far-right or far-left views. The insane members of both sides should alarm you.

Over the past few years in particular, the Democratic Party has, economically, been asking the very wealthy to pay their fair share (which means avoiding tax loopholes that really should not exist in the first place), especially in times of a major financial crisis.

This request has, for some, become the beginning of an attack on “the rich” and a vilification of wealth itself. You guys, I know that not everyone who is wealthy earned their wealth. But some of them did. Many of them did. Being rich is not a cause for shame or for guilt. I want to be rich. In fact, I would love to be one of the one-percent. I just wouldn’t be a dick about it or try to hide my money rather than paying my fair share, just like I did when I worked in a grocery store deli (a glamorous life, as you can imagine).

The Republican Party has, in addition to tightening its position on all matters related to reproductive health (views more extreme than those held by Mitt Romney, in fact), had its fringe members latch on to some of the paranoid and explicitly racist theories about President Obama. Paranoid doubts as to his country of origin and his religious beliefs both have a powerful undercurrent of racism. And it is disturbing.

It is important to realize that neither fringe group represents the parties themselves. The Republican Party is not the Tea Party. If it were, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann might be the pair of running-mates in this election. But we were spared that nightmare by the primaries. Say what you will about Romney and Ryan (and I will say quite a bit; to begin with, they certainly aren’t McCain Republicans), they are not that pair of . . . terrors.

The Democratic Party is not at war with the wealthy. Period.

The real danger here is when the parties themselves begin to lean towards their fringe members in terms of rhetoric, because they want to inspire their voting base and because, honestly, crazier people tend to be a lot louder than sane people and so their views are more likely to come across as those of the majority.

And that is not the case. But it is a troubling thought. Please do not hop aboard the crazy-train. If you hear a political ally of yours talking about crazy things, please call him or her out on it.

You Might Also Like ...

Compulsory Sterilization for People with Disabilities?

photo of sterilization pictures

A British court case is raising questions (and eyebrows) about the largely outlawed performance of compulsory sterilizations.  Most of the western world has discontinued the practice, especially as the ethics of eugenics came under fire in the latter part of the 20th Century.  A woman known only as Mrs. P has requested the sterilization of her 21-year old daughter PP suffers from extreme learning disabilities and is currently pregnant with her second child.  Mrs. P plays caretaker to her daughter and grandchild, and claims that if her daughter had more children, she would have to place them in the care of the state. Instead, she …

Continue reading

You Might Also Like ...