You know you’re concerned with gender issues when a rainbow automatically makes you think of LGBT rights.
Let’s talk about child marriages. I was recently disgusted by an article about how an 8 year old girl died on her wedding night as she was raped by her 40 year old “husband” (read “rapist”):
Ok, so the practice of marrying girls to older men is not something new, by no means exclusive to Yemen, and we all know it exists, as this documentary shows:
The reasons for why it happens are claimed to be numerous, but one main reason which is often repeated is the wish to protect girl’s chastity and honour, especially in societies where family honour is considered as more important than respecting individuals’ human rights. It is also considered a good idea to marry girls off before they get too many opinions of their own, become stubborn and “difficult” (read: “independent and form opinions of their own”). And then, in times of poverty and crises, families can be tempted to marry off their daughters because they will get money or other benefits from it.
Child marriages are also wrongly excused with religious and cultural arguments, which are (as often) twisted in ways to serve status quo rather than to disseminate religious imperatives of doing good and respecting others.
But I think it’s about time we start calling child marriages by their real names: 1) Pedophilia and 2) Slavery.
How can any man commit a sexual act with a girl, especially a pre-pubertal girl, without being pedophile? And… are they born with pedophile tendencies, or does the society they grow up in breed and encourage acceptance of pedophilia in a way which instigates pedophile tendencies in men who don’t naturally have those urges? Food for thought.
The second point is that child marriages are glaringly similar to slavery. Child marriages are forced. Children are sold off to someone who owns them, in a way which does not allow them to break the bond if they want to. They have to do labour, and are exploited sexually.
More on this from Anti-Slavery International.
This is not to say that child marriages do not also happen to boys, because they do. But in those cases two children are more often married to each other. And yes, men may also be forced into marriages against their will, which is a violation of their rights as well. But again, more often than not, the men still have the power in the relationship due to gender stereotypes.
How to prevent child marriages? It’s a very complex challenge which needs a multitude of approaches, and it will take decades to eradicate the practice and acceptance for it. But first of all, clear laws must be established to ban it, and the judiciary systems must be functional and willing enough to enforce the law and state examples. The police must uphold the laws and abide by them themselves. Then, there must be a widespread awareness change in society, by pointing out all the negative effects it has on the child, the community and the country, in terms of health, education, and economy. Traditional and religious elders and authorities must be convinced and advocate for the ban. Child marriages is a form for gender based violence, which is linked to how women in so many societies in general are discriminated against and considered to be inferiour. So all these initiatives must go hand in hand with similar messages about women and girls’ rights, and recognition that women should have the same freedoms and possibilities as men.
Right. Perhaps we’ll see the end of child marriages in some generations or so. But that in the meantime, we have to keep fighting it.
A new study from Emory University in Atlanta, USA, indicates that men with smaller testicles spend more time with their children, and are more faithful to their partners. The researchers believe the link is the level of testosterone in men and their behaviour. However, the question remains: what comes first – testicle size or behaviour?
Well, good for ladies to know what indicator to look for?
- Testicle size ‘link to father role’ (bbc.co.uk)
If anybody recalls about a year ago, the previous Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gilliard, made a very convincing speech about the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, of how he had been making some pretty outdated and outrageous statements about women in general, and herself.
Now he will be the next Prime Minister of Australia. Oh my…
Apparently the ujjayi breathing in ashtanga yoga is different from women to men. At least that’s what my male yoga teacher told me today when I asked him for more in-depth explanation: “You’d better ask (female colleague), she can explain it better for women.”
Yes, I can understand that various positions might affect women and men differently considering our different physiology. But… breathing? Oh well.
What are some of the characteristics one looks for in a bike? Functionality and ease of use would be two of my priorities. So I have to admit that I cannot for the life of me understand why the typical bicycle model for men has this awkward bar situated horizontally high up on the frame. It really makes mounting and descending much more difficult. And it can cause some serious harm and injuries in sensitive places. Why are they constructed that way? I find it hard to see the logic. Unless they were invented as some early form for birth control method?
I just bought a new digital camera. To my surprise I see that in the scene mode I can choose between Portrait Man and Portrait Lady. I’m puzzled as to what the different settings are for the two sexes. Blue or pink background? Added or removed beard?
Walking along in the streets of the old town in Pondicherry, among flaking paint, rickshaws and dust, I see this painting rising in front of me on a wall. A small detail, but still important in a country from where we have heard too many ugly stories of violence against women cases during the last few months.