Hardly comical…

Noted cartoonist Scott Adams (Dilbert) authored a post on his blog earlier this month covering what he termed as men’s rights, including a “laundry list” of examples where men’s rights are encroached on by, or in deference to, women.  Most of this piece comes off as an sad, failed attempt at satire, but then…he pops this in there:

The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.

Congrats, Mr. Adams. You’ve covered offensive, demeaning, sexist and more in one brief paragraph. More interestingly, you didn’t even have the guts to back it up as what you truly believed, deleting the post later on (perhaps you forgot that nothing is ever REALLY deleted on the web?). Tell you what, if you truly feel that you’re so marginalized, put yourself in the shoes of this girl, and then tell me how you feel.

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Women as Global Actors III – Summer Course Open at NYU

New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies is now accepting registrations for the summer course, Women as Global Actors III: Conflict and Peacebuilding.

The course is slated to run on Tuesdays, from 6:45-8:30pm for 8 sessions, beginning on May 24th.

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Iman al-Obeidi seized by government forces after claiming rape

Iman al-Obeidi, the Libyan woman who drew international attention and concern after reporting to journalists that she was raped by pro-government militia members, is being held hostage at Gadhafi headquarters in Tripoli, according to a statement by her mother.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42301603/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/

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Afghan Torture Victim Bibi Aisha’s Father-in-Law Arrested

News reports out of Afghanistan indicate that the father-in-law of a disfigured Afghan woman has been arrested and is being questioned by police in relation to her brutal assault. Nineteen year old Bibi Aisha had her ears and nose sliced off in retaliation for fleeing her abusive husband and in-laws.  Her father-in-law, Haji Suleman, maintains his innocence in the attack, stating that Aisha’s father, identified only as Mohammedzai, proposed killing the young woman for bringing shame to his house.

News reports linked below for more detail:

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Another look at “us” vs “them”

Like most of our class, I’ve been interested in the discussion revolving around honor killings. The mere idea that someone could take another person’s life because they felt they had been shamed or dishonored was really almost unbelievable to me.  Add in the fact that family members, the same ones who have laughed with, told stories with, and nurtured the victims, are often active accomplices if not outright murderers…well, needless to say, the thought of it still spins my head a bit.

About halfway through our first class discussion on honor killings, Sylvia said something that really struck me to the core.  To paraphrase, she likened honor killings to cases of domestic violence, an issue to which we in the U.S. have grown so accustomed that it barely registers a blip on the radar unless it’s affected someone we know, or happens to be a particularly gruesome instance.  By making this comparison, she made me recognize that I, even as a member of this class, had really remained in my comfort zone of thinking that the issue of honor killings was a problem with “them,” and not a problem with “us.”

Holy cow.

The normal active class discussion ensued, but I had a hard time not coming back to that comparison. I did more research and what I found really infuriated me. The numbers of killings that are reported and identified as honor killings are enough to drive you mad, even more so if you consider that most honor killings are not identified as such.

Arguments are made, sometimes almost convincingly, that honor killings are a cultural issue and need to be considered in the context of the perpetrator’s cultural beliefs. In the context of my “new” revelation, though, what does that say about our own Western culture? Does that argument hold any weight?

My gut reaction is to say, “No, of course not.” But then I stop and look at the evidence. Our culture, while not overtly embracing the violence towards women, certainly doesn’t do a lot to stop it. Popular culture, often the easy target of loud-mouthed political panelists, is certainly an easy place to start: men’s undershirts now commonly (and proudly) called wife-beaters, and “light-hearted” depictions of violence against women in shows like Family Guy and songs like “Every Breath You Take.” Who can forget the almost startling reaction of many teenaged and pre-teen girls when pop singer Rihanna was beaten up by boyfriend, Chris Brown? “She deserved it.” “She shouldn’t have thrown his keys, I’d have hit her, too.” “I think Chris Brown did what he had to do; she shouldn’t have gone through his phone.”

Take it a step further. How many reported cases are there of domestic violence in our country alone? How stringent are the penalties for domestic violence in the U.S.? In cases of rape, how many times is the question asked, “Well, what was she doing there at that time?” “Why was she dressed like that?”  “What did she think was going to happen?”

Claiming that any violence against women, particularly honor killings, is part of a cultural “norm” isn’t ok. Killing isn’t ok, period. At the end of the day, we need to take a look at the culture that we’re reflecting out onto the world at large. If we don’t want to accept violence against women from other countries and cultures, we can’t afford to ignore its prevalence in our own apartments and neighborhoods.

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Hallyu

One of the things that we’ll discuss in class tonight is the concept of Hallyu, and its impact on women, particularly in the Middle East. Below are some links to articles that I found informative in researching this topic. Enjoy!

http://goldsea.com/Text/index.php?id=8520

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2010072579067

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/09/229_12812.html

http://video.phpmyanmar.com/english/video/article/1635/hallyu-korean-wave-to-flow-on-in-the-middle-east.html

http://services.inquirer.net/print/print.php?article_id=20080127-115082

http://www.scribd.com/doc/34042665/KOREA-magazine-July-2010-VOL-6-NO-7

Hallyu in Nepal:

http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/nepals-cool-kids-craving-the-south-korean-cutting-edge

Impact:

http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20100625000730

Fans as Active Cultural Agents:

http://thelearnedfangirl.com/2008/12/28/book-review-catch-the-hallyu-wave-two-recent-books-on-korean-pop-culture/

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Welcome

This blog is designed to host information and discussion about women’s empowerment around the world. We welcome your thoughts and ideas.

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