Jun. 14th, 2011

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[personal profile] la_vie_noire
Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

We need to move beyond the shock and titillation of sex crimes. We need to move beyond any scintilla of belief that some men—elite economists, for example—couldn’t possibly be perpetrators and some women—prostitutes, for example, or wives—couldn’t possibly be victims. Haven’t the scandals involving Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, Peace Corps workers, heads of state, and UN Peacekeepers taught us at least this? Haven’t the statistics and personal accounts and visual evidence of the sexual victimization of half of humanity—from infant girls to the most fragile elderly women—taught us at least this? The ubiquity of sexual violence points to some very stark realities about the mundane lives of “ordinary” women and girls, and men and boys.


William Simmons and Michelle Tellez conducted a study in Arizona and northern Mexico that documented the multiple sexual victimizations endured by undocumented migrant women and girls on their journeys to the United States. Though this phenomenon is shockingly widespread and fairly well documented, it is rarely reported in the mainstream media or even among scholars. While estimates of prevalence are difficult to verify, it is clear that hundreds if not thousands of migrants are the victims of violent sexual assaults each year in Arizona. If such crimes were perpetrated against Anglos, or citizens, or visitors from Europe, or just about anyone other than poor, Latina, undocumented migrants, it would be front-page news for weeks.

Far more is known about the horrendous sexual violence in the Eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo than is known about the crimes against migrant women and girls in the United States. Somehow it is easier on our consciences to show outrage at the mass rapes in Eastern Congo than it is to pay attention to chronic sexual violence perpetrated against our migrant neighbors. Clearly, as media coverage of the DSK scandal has illustrated, it is a more intriguing spectacle to focus on sexual violence (allegedly) committed by a high-ranking French economist than to focus on an epidemic of terror and violence in our own communities.
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Reproductive Tourism

The broader practice of reproductive tourism, under which maternity and surrogacy tourism fall, has been addressed by journalists, bioethicists, feminists, scholars, and others. There is no one position in response to this seemingly growing practice, although accurate statistics are difficult to locate, given that the targets are moving. Some commentators view reproductive tourism writ large as unethical, while others see it as an extension of historic colonialism. For some, like Winfrey, practices such as Indian surrogacy expand reproductive options, especially for the infertile. For others, renting a womb is seen as the worst kind of human exploitation and an especially pernicious way in which women’s bodies are exchanged for another’s profit. One critic offers two alternative terms to frame these practices, neither of which quite hits the mark: cross-border reproductive care (CBRC), which is devoid of critical analysis; and reproductive exile, which sounds promising in terms of human rights but is vague and erroneously evokes the biblical.

Rather than attempt to finesse the complex ethics of reproductive tourism here (although these should be widely debated), I suggest that we interrogate the widespread use of the term “tourism” to describe transnational reproductive phenomena. In the commentaries cited above, despite offering varied accounts, none of the authors critique the language of tourism. This is fundamentally a mistake, one that prevents a richer, fuller analysis. Scholars in the emergent field of critical tourism studies extend Malcolm Crick’s distinction between travel and tourism: one travels to discover something about the world, whereas tourism (especially in its mass form) is “experience packaged to prevent real contact with others…a manufactured, trivial, inauthentic way of being.” By this definition, “tourism” could certainly describe empty commercial transactions, such as surrogacy in India. Reproductive tourism is fast becoming a kind of mass tourism for the privileged.

But at the same time, tourism implies a kind of mindless, benign movement through the world; if one participates in a “manufactured” experience, then perhaps one is not especially cunning or adventurous. According to the tourism studies literature, the real travelers are those who go “off the beaten path” with Lonely Planet guides and global positioning systems (GPSs) in hand, eschewing the usual tourist hangouts. Real travelers do not join group tours nor do they visit insincere, crass cultural sites like Disneyworld and Dollywood. Real travelers are self-consciously aware of the marks they make on the world, and they strive, like Girl Scouts in the wilderness, to leave things as they found them. In contrast, while tourism is seen as inauthentic and potentially dangerous to the planet, tourists themselves are perceived as simply blundering through—picture Chevy Chase in European Vacation—engaging in damaging yet good-natured fun.MORE
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via:Cannonball blog

Al-Masry Al-Youm English Edition

The Sexual Harrassment File: Sexual Harrassment begins at Home

Over the coming weeks, Al-Masry Al-Youm each Wednesday will feature pieces that dissect the reasons behind sexual harassment, the coping mechanisms for women (and men) in the streets of Cairo and the system that has been set up to tackle this festering issue. Comments and input are appreciated - send us your stories of sexual harassment and information on any organizations or initiatives that combat sexual harassment in Egypt.

Khaled al-Sayyad is exceptionally proud of his son. The young boy may not be a model student – “his mind wasn’t made for such matters" – but he is, as his father claims, “a prodigy on the soccer field.” In fact, Hisham’s athletic abilities are so extraordinary that his father swears he was just signed to the official Enppi team, despite being only 13 years old.

“He’s also a really decent, polite boy and a firm believer in good sportsmanship,” says the cab driver. A series of anecdotes praising the boy culminates in a story about how young Hisham was recently slapped by an older girl at his club.

“He told the girl she had an impressive division line,” laughs the cab driver. “He’s a cheeky kid. Takes after his father.”MORE

678: Sexual Harassment in Movies

Every time an Egyptian woman leaves her house she must make a lot of calculations. What should she wear? Are her clothes too revealing or too tight? What she is going to ride in and should she walk alone in the street or have a man accompany her? All precautions have to be considered in private in order to minimize her chances of being groped or harassed in public.

The new movie “678” is a tour de force about this very subject. It offers a succinct depiction of the plight endured by millions of Egyptian women who deal with sexual harassment on daily basis in a highly misogynistic society.

With bitterness and finesse, the movie explores the psyche of a harassed woman, emphasizing the level of emotional harm inflicted on her when the privacy of her own body is violated by cold-blooded strangers. A plethora of negative emotions are explored. Torn by frustration, self-hatred and a resilient revenge impulse, she remains disoriented about how to react to such an affront in a society that still blames the victim for “failing to protect her body”.MORE

The Sexual Harassment Files: Can't you girls take a little Flirting?

A lot of people believe that sexual harassment is not an issue in Egypt. There - I said it.

Perhaps it is because the incidences of grabbing and groping are few in comparison (in comparison) to the hundreds of derogatory comments and looks women in Egypt must take in every day, and many men and women in Egypt believe that these comments can be considered "flirtation."

“Girls today are too sensitive,” says Amina, a mother of two and grandmother of three. “The comments on the street are meant to compliment them.”

Amina believes that young men in the street are simply unable to communicate their interest in a girl and resort to comments like this because they are cowardly.

As a journalist, I took the comment in stride. In proper Egyptian fashion, I absorbed the remarks as a young woman would absorb criticism from her own grandmother, but as a woman, I fumed. MORE
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Aminla Rights in Egypt: Truth or Myth?

Although the term “animal rights” may sound like Chinese to many, the Cairene community seems to be becoming gradually interested in the welfare of domestic animals.

“Comparing to other governorates, Cairo is animal heaven,” says Dina Zulfikar, one of the most renowned animal welfare activists in Egypt.

She says there are 11 animal rights organizations and they are all in the capital. “There is Brooke, an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of working animals in poor countries, the donkey sanctuary, and the Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization (EMRO) for Mau cats, which also encourages adoption,” adds the activist, explaining that there are also sanctuaries concerned with the welfare of cattle. Finally, there are three animal shelters: the Egyptian Society for Animals (ESAF), the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt (SPARE) and the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA), which currently shelters 632 animals (cats, dogs and horses).

It is very hard to get correct numbers and statistics on stray animals in Egypt. According to Zulfikar the census office and the American Embassy are the most reliable sources. However, she believes that thorough statistics are really hard to get today because of the increasing number of slum areas in the capital.MORE


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