Weekly Roundup- 16th to 22nd April

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“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

– Abigail Adams

In today’s world of information overload, we might miss something worthwhile. Every week, I’ll be flagging some of the articles I have read, which I found interesting, for you. Here’s the roundup for the week:

  1. Ruth Marcus for the Washington Post highlights 3 women who have made the news this week-  U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Southwest Airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Army veteran- and compares them to Barbara Bush in a beautiful tribute to the way she inspired change and defied norms present at that time.
  2. The Harvard Crimson muses about sexual harassment and the way it’s dealt with at Harvard University, taking in particular the case of the sexual harassment faced by Terry L. Karl by Government professor Jorge I. Dominguez, along with the writer’s personal experiences.
  3. The Good News Network spoke about the amazing work done by Gulika Reddy, a Fellow in Global Good Fund’s cohort of 2018. Currently a Dubin Fellow at Harvard Kennedy Business School, Gullika is the founder and director of Schools of Equality, a nonprofit that runs activity-based programs that reach young people to shift attitudes that perpetuate gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination.
  4. Nicola Heath, for The Guardian, talks about ‘gender creative parenting’, which seeks raise children in an environment free from gender bias. For these parents “the gender binary must not simply be smudged but wholly eradicated from the moment that socialisation begins, clearing the way both for their child’s future gender exploration and for wholesale cultural change”, writes Alex Morris.

Weekly Roundup – 9nd to 15th April

let's all (3)

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

– Abigail Adams

In today’s world of information overload, we might miss something worthwhile. Every week, I’ll be flagging some of the articles I have read, which I found interesting, for you. Here’s the roundup for the week:

  1. As reported by CNNMoney, the city of New York will now require sexual harassment training for all workers. This new training rule, one of the strongest legislative responses to the conversation that has been occurring increasingly often about misconduct in workplaces, will apply to any private employer with more than 15 employees.
  2. Recently, protests erupted across India after the shocking and gruesome details about the rape and murder of a 8 year old Muslim girl by 8 accused Hindu men were made public. The issue has lead to communal discord, and showed that, despite the strides India has made in the field of safety for women, there are miles to go before we come anywhere close to building a country that is safe for women. One of the more disturbing elements of this particular case, which occurred in Kathua, was that due to the communal nature of the crime, many men, including members of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, came out in support of the accused. Quartz reports on the same, while also highlighting the outpouring of rage and support that India has given to the case.
  3. The Guardian, in an excerpt taken from Healing from Hate: How Young Men Get Into – and Out of –Violent Extremism by Michael Kimmel, published by University of California Press in April 2018, talks about how one thing in common for most violent extremists is their gender. As observed, violent extremists tend to have fragile concepts regarding their masculinity and often feel emasculated.
  4. Nathanial Frank, in the New York Times, outlines why the Pentagon is wrong in their conclusion that people with gender dysphoria, or a history of gender transition have a higher rate of mental illnesses that “unacceptably raise the risks of harm to unit cohesion, lethality, good order and overall readiness.” Frank disputes this, and through research, tries to show the reader how this conclusion has been disproved by many independent bodies and research institutions.

Weekly Roundup – 2nd to 8th April

let's all (3)

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

– Abigail Adams

In today’s world of information overload, we might miss something worthwhile. Every week, I’ll be flagging some of the articles I have read, which I found interesting, for you. Here’s the roundup for the week:

  1. Written by Whitney Bauck, this article speaks about the gender disparity in fashion photography and the need for the industry to actively push for more women behind the lens.
  2. The Jordan Times speaks about how even within the context of extremism, women are treated differently and are usually perceived to have made their decision to join extremism because they were manipulated by men, were driven by maternal instinct, or were ‘monsters affected by mental disorders.
  3. Anoosh Chakelian, for the New Statesman talks about how to respond to people who try to ‘mansplain’ away the gender gap by referring to common quotes of that community including people who say ‘men are just more biologically competent than women’
  4. Israel has banned anti gender discrimination advertisements within its airports, according to this article. The billboards spoke about how women cannot be forced to move seats because ultra-Orthodox men refused to sit with them, and told women to ‘keep their seats’.

What is Toxic Masculinity?

TOXIC MASCULINITY 101

Toxic Masculinity is a term given to the phenomena where to be a ‘real man’, men are expected to be violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, etc. Its most often cited as an example to show how a patriarchal society affects men negatively too.

What’s important to recognize is that toxic masculinity doesn’t and shouldn’t be seen as the epitome of masculinity. Many people identify more as masculine than feminine, which is completely alright. Masculinity, and masculine traits help one understand themselves, and figure out what their identity comprises of. However, toxic masculinity is simply a poisonous byproduct of a society where men were/are supposed to portray themselves as invincible.

Examples of toxic masculinity can be seen everywhere you look. Here are some:

  • “Men are not interested in parenting and cannot handle a family on their own”: This builds on the patriarchal notion that women are made to be caretakers; they should not work and focus instead on family life. What is implied, or in many cases, said outright, is that men are not responsible for raising children, and are unsuited to handling a family, or being a single parent. What this notion does is discourage men from actively participating in their children’s lives, as they assume that is the job of the mother only. Further, it leads to the assumption that in the case of a divorce, the children will live with their mother, hence depriving fathers of their right to a fair custody agreement as it is outweighed by social expectations and norms. Obviously, the above examples assume that we are talking about a straight man, but even a man who is part of the lgbtq+ community suffers similar backlash, as seen where homosexual couples find it hard to adopt a child as many people argue that two men will not be able to take adequate care of a child.
  • Men are always interested in sex and cannot be a victim of abuse: People often say that men are always interested in sex, and are ready to have sex at almost any time. What this notion does is discard the idea of consent for men. By this assumption, one negates their personal right to refuse to perform a sexual act, or respond to sexual advances. It makes men, especially young men, uncomfortable and more likely to stay silent instead of telling their partner they’re not in the mood. This can be seen in situations of abuse, where a common retort men often hear when they share their experiences of abuse, is that since they are men, they cannot be abused. They are often told that they should have just been happy and enjoyed the act, which sets a harmful precedent on how society treats male victims of abuse, especially legally.
  • Emasculation: This encompasses a range of activities that a ‘Real Man’ wouldn’t do, for example taking interest in one’s looks, being emotional and crying, needing help, being sympathetic, appreciating “frivolous” things such as sugary “girly” drinks, romantic styles, cute animal videos, romcom flicks. By belittling activities such as these, which are not seen as masculine enough, and promoting traits like excessive aggression, society encourages the toxic side of masculinity only to gasp in horror when the toxicity seeps into the system.

Weekly Roundup – 18th to 25th March

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“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.”

– Abigail Adams

In today’s world of information overload, we might miss something worthwhile. Every week, I’ll be flagging some of the articles I have read, which I found interesting, for you. Here’s the roundup for the week:

  1. This article in Deutsche Welle, written by Ajit Niranjan, talks about gender budgeting, which aims to remove discrimination from public policy by making policies that are not “gender blind”.
  2. Starbucks has announced that they have reached 100% gender and racial pay equity in the United States, and have stated that they will work to bridge this gap in all the other countries they operate in. In order to help other companies achieve the same goal, they’ve listed pay equity principles – equal footing, transparency and accountability-  that employers can implement to help address known, systemic barriers to global pay equity.
  3. Elena Ferrante, in her weekend column at Guardian, talks about how women are still unable to be fully themselves in a world that’s governed by male needs. She says “Women live amid permanent contradictions and unsustainable labours. Everything, really everything, has been codified in terms of male needs – even our underwear, sexual practices, maternity. We have to be women according to roles and modalities that make men happy, but we also have to confront men, compete in public places, making them more and better than they are, and being careful not to offend them.”
  4. Written by Sushma U N at Quartz, this article talks about how Indian companies are actively trying to recruit more women in order to fix their gender diversity problems.
  5. As part of the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded Family Planning Outreach Programme, which provides much-needed sexual and reproductive health services to rural women, more than 16,000 survivors of gender based violence in Tanzania are receiving clinical services, as well as the referrals required for legal and social services. Intra Health International details how the team responsible for this outcome worked over the past 3 years.
  6.  Yasemin Besen Cassino talks about her new book which studies the origins of the wage gap by studying the teenage workforce. She says “Part-time teenage jobs seem trivial, but they are the first entry into the workforce for girls and boys. In these jobs, they are socialized into the workforce—and they internalize its problems. The wage gap starts with girls—and we need to include them in our movement to close it.”

More than a phrase I

YOU'RE NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS

What this is supposed to mean: Other people, usually of a different gender, say this as a way to make you feel special and unique. They use this tagline as a way of differentiating you from a category you belong to, as a way of explaining why they are attracted to you, or why they want to be around you. By saying you’re not like other girls, they put you on a pedestal, and justify their love or appreciation for you. So you’re not like other girls is supposed to be a compliment, and a way to make you feel unique and special.

What it actually means: When someone says ‘you’re not like other girls’, they’re belittling an entire gender. The ‘other girl’ is an amalgamation of all the negative stereotypes society has about girls– they’re petty, cruel, bitchy, weak, bad leaders, overly emotional, passive, etc. By revealing that this is how they view other girls, a person shows you how they truly view females. ‘You’re not like other girls’ is a statement laden with inherent prejudice.

What it leads to: The statement ‘you’re not like other girls’ pits you against your own gender. It reinforces the notion that the only positive traits are the ones associated with masculinity, and feminine traits are bad, and must be discarded. Especially if you hear this statement as a teenager or younger you’re more likely to distance yourself from feminine activities or traits as you grow older. It makes you believe that to be worthy of attention, you must be less of a girl. Less feminine. The phrase makes you put other people down in order to make yourself feel worthwhile. “You’re not like other girls” sows the seeds of hatred in you. There is power in femininity, just as there is in masculinity, and phrases like this seek to undermine that power, and make you believe to do well you must present yourself as a ‘cool girl’– a girl who has traits associated with masculinity and enjoys activities seen as masculine.

How to respond: When someone tells you you’re not like other girls, correct them. Ask them why being like other girls is a bad thing. Tell them that you’re glad they like you, but you’re proud of the gender you belong to and you would rather not belittle all the amazing girls you know by insisting you’re not like them to satisfy a patriarchal stereotype of what girls are. At the end of the day, all girls aren’t the same, just like all boys aren’t, and it’s harmful to assume they are all different versions of the same mold. So, when someone tells you you’re not like other girls, call them out.