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Archive for the ‘Women’s rights’ Category

boschsevendeadlysins

The Seven Deadly Really Sucky Things

It just so happens that today, the 9th of November in the year 2016, I am rereading Richard Leakey’s  1994 take on how we became what we’ve become, “The Origin of Humankind” . The timing of the read was dictated by nothing more than it being the only hardback book on hand after relocating to Italy, but it all seems somehow prescient upon awakening this morning.

Why?

Donald Trump has been elected to be President of The United States. Wow. Aside from underlining just how good an idea it was to leave the US almost 25 years ago, there are no positive points to this now being the actual reality. (Had it been scripted and edited as ‘reality shows’ actually are, no one would ever have believed this situation even remotely possible … no matter how clever the contrived convolutions.)

The New York Times conveniently compiled a list of The Donald’s tacky snipes , so there’s no reason to dwell on the nasty divisiveness that spews forth from His Orangeness, but it does rub against the grain even more abrasively when juxtaposed aside the anthropological construct that says humanity itself … the very basics of what makes humans human and separates us from apes … began evolutionarily with sharing.

As Leakey states in his 1981 book, “The Making of Mankind”, sharing is THE factor that puts us where we are, “ … the food sharing hypothesis is a strong candidate for explaining what set early humans on the road to modern man.”

The Smithsonian’s Richard Potts notes in “Early Hominid Activities at Olduvai”:

The home-base, food-sharing hypothesis integrates so many aspects of human behavior and social life that are important to anthropologists — reciprocity systems, exchange, kinship, subsistence, division of labor and language.

Yet 1.5 million years later where are we?

We are in a world that just made a lying bigot with zero experience, no integrity, ethics or morals the most powerful man on the planet, not only suggesting democracy is a failed system, but also that evolution has come to naught. Sharing made us human, now not sharing will reduce us to whatever form of cockroach-like scramblers we are destined to become as Earth revolts against perpetual rape and some learn the hard way that avarice is actually one of the seven deadly sins.

And … just FYI …

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I am so confused …

Apparently we now live in a world where men are so impressed with balls they have their dogs fitted with fake ones so the world can see their stuff wag, yet women can’t seem to decide if their lips should be bigger (see photo) or smaller.

While those stuck to a woman’s face are seen to need invasive plumping, trimming the lower lips is the nip-du-jour for the tuck down under

Dr Sarah Creighton and colleagues believe the future demand for so-called “designer vagina” operations or labial reductions is potentially infinite and is driven by society’s wider and growing desire for cosmetic surgery in general and changing expectations about what is a desirable appearance for women.

“It’s shocking, particularly because we are seeing girls who are really young. They are asking for surgery that is irreversible and we do not know what the long-term risks of the procedure might be.”

She said latest figures for England show about 2,000 of the procedures are paid for by the NHS each year.

“That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a massive boom industry in the private sector.”

According to the BBC, girls as young as 11 are lining up to have their lines lined up.

Sigh …

It has long been the case that while people are starving to death in some parts of the world, others are busily clogging their arteries every day with stuff containing enough calories to sustain entire villages for a month, but this idea that women in flourishing societies are queuing and paying for a version of the cut that can be called mutilation in the ‘developing world’ is also appalling.

Female genital mutilation is the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia. In its most severe form, a woman or girl has all of her genitalia removed and then stitched together, leaving a small opening for intercourse and menstruation. It is practiced in 28 African countries on the pretext of cultural tradition or hygiene.

Sure, FGM should be considered brutal abuse, but it is at root a cultural dictate that demands women’s bits conform to whatever it is a culture decides the form must take. Are we now moving toward the same, albeit with surgical blades instead of broken shards of glass?

While men so proudly dangle and fondle the holy scrotum no matter how unbalanced the hang, how hairy and wrinkly and bumpy and squishy the bag, it seems women have come to the thought that anything excess of what they had about age five is somehow obscene and in need of surgical intervention.

Really now, Ladies, it’s 2011! Did we not fight long and hard for the right not to have to be tight-lipped?

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Let’s hear it for the United Nations and their brave and “historic step” to pass a resolution supporting “equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation” … or let’s not.

Suzanne Nossel, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, told CNN, “It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights and that that has to be accepted globally.”

“It talks about the violence and discrimination that people of LGBT persuasion experience around the world,” she said, “and that those issues … need to be taken seriously. It calls for reporting on what’s going on, where people are being discriminated against, the violence that is taking place, and it really puts the issue squarely on the U.N.’s agenda going forward.”

Woopie fuckin’ zoopie doo.

Anyone with a lick of sense and a brush with recent history will get what a limp dick sits squarely on the UN’s fat ass agenda. Take, for example, the great job done in Sudan, the effectiveness of their “Racism Forum” that featured “that wonder of gentle tolerance, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Holocaust denier extraordinaire”, and the “Climate Change Summit” in Copenhagen that did such wonders for promoting the case of prostitution but little else, then the one in Cancun that accomplished even more bugger all.

“Their insatiable lust for power is only equaled by their incurable impotence in exercising it.” ~ Winston Churchill

Subtract from all the job they’ve done … or not … in protecting children in places like the “Democratic Republic of Congo, in Haiti, infant mortality in general, female genital mutilation and the rights of children and women to education and a normal lifespan.

It all rather pulls one hand away from any applause the United Nations gigantic PR machine solicits with statements like:

Friday’s vote “marks a victory for defenders of human rights,” said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “It sends a clear message that abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity must end.”

Can you hear the sound of one hand clapping? No. Me neither. But that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the bullshit spreading one little bit …

Nossel told CNN, “it’s not like discrimination or violence are going to end overnight” because of the U.N. resolution, “but now … when there are proposals in parliaments or legislatures around the world to illegalize gay activity or repress people because of their sexual orientation, opponents can point to this and say, ‘Hey, the U.N. has spoken out, there is a resolution that rejects this squarely.’

“That is the way these international norms are built,” she said. “It’s not from scratch. On women’s rights, on minority rights, it builds up over time. So this is really a critical beginning of a universal recognition of a new set of rights that forms part of the international system.”

International norms? New set of rights? International system?

Go ahead … pull the other one.

The UN does have a place and a purpose; the place is New York … and Geneva … and on First Class seats toward Five Star hotel rooms in some of the poshest places on the planet. The purpose is to keep a bunch of people highly-paid, well-dressed and traveling while seeing the sights from lily-white convoys of SUVs …

“Our chief usefulness to humanity rests on our combining power with high purpose. Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity, and high purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power to put it into effect is lacking.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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I’m not much in the mood for blogging this week, but can’t let it be said I don’t rise to an occasion when a topic rears its ugly head. Not that I’m throbbing with any desire to stand at attention, nor to prostrate myself in order to take in the hard issues, but do feel it apt to take it in hand to act as an organ of communication, to attempt to erect some sort of rigid structure from which to dangle a thought or two since I’ve yet to go either soft or squishy when it comes to items in the news, no matter how resistant I may be to swallowing what’s rammed down my throat.

Yes, peeps, it’s Penis on Parade Week, an event designed to illustrate for once (or a whole bunch of times) and for all (within a certain age range) that the brain is actually a superfluous body part undamaged by redirection of blood flow.

I know by now it’s a case of flogging a deceased well-endowed equine, but REALLY! Could anyone have written a tale of a guy named Weiner taking his sausage social? If something like that had come across the desk of someone other than a teacher of twelve-year-olds it would have been tossed straightaway.

As fodder, of course, the story is quite the tempting mouthful, as Andy Borowitz reveals in his usual kinda-like-a-twelve-year-old fashion as he slides in his jabs:

Traffic snarled for miles around the Capitol building as the streets filled with the penis-photo recipients, whom police sources said ranged in age from 21 to 22.

While there was no official count of the marchers, Fox News estimated the size of the crowd at twenty million while MSNBC said the number was closer to fourteen.

But seriously, folks …

I am rubbing up against a hard issue today, too.

It’s this business over taking tips that has me grabbing for the tissues.

Those San Franciscans may not be the only ones voting on whether or not to make circumcision illegal for minors.

The New York Times reports “intactivists” are fighting for a similar ballot issue in Santa Monica, arguing that the procedure is “male genital mutilation.”

“This is the furthest we’ve gotten, and it is a huge step for us,” Matthew Hess, who wrote both bills, tells the newspaper, adding that folks in other cities have been calling for help, as well. “This is a conversation we are long overdue to have in this country. The end goal for us is making cutting boys’ foreskin a federal crime.”

Although I am all in favor of moving past the point where baby boys were all but automatically circumcised … and that was the case in America for many years … this palaver seems misguided, at best, perhaps racist and possibly a dangerous diversion.

Esthetically, it’s neither here nor there to me since flaccid form seems to have no influence over function, but I do know some men long for their lost foreskin … a few with the same passion they carry resentments for stolen toys. I suppose it does give a bit more to play with, and a bit more can make all the difference in the world to some guys and the idea that they should have had some say in the matter does have merit.

From a medical perspective, phimosis must be considered. Although this super-tight foreskin problem can sometimes be stretched away, very often the only solution is surgical.

Given the drastic reduction in rates of HIV transmission circumcision offers, there also seems to be a more general advantage.

Not particularly tolerant of religious dictates, especially those involving a blade, ritual circumcision seems an unnecessary harkening back to ancient times when bathing was unusual and cheesy foreskins invited infection, then passed those along.

Cutting your kid so he looks like you seems another silly reason, and any guy who spent time in the locker room checking out the extra bit at the end the quarterback’s dick and found it unattractive was doing too much peepee peeking and should make the decision on their own sons out of more solid objectives.

The main reason, however, I’m going at it on the topic is that diversion thing I mentioned. Making a big thing out of the business of mohels … and, by the way, I understand they aren’t paid; they only take tips … is a muddying of the waters that run between removal of penile foreskin and the horrors of what is euphemistically known as female circumcision.

No matter how often the “Intactivists” toss around the words “genital mutilation” what is done to boys is NOTHING like what happens to millions of girls around the world.

From WHO:

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.

Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.

It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.

In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.

FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

If a bunch of people in Santa Monica want to go all high and mighty over the issue of circumcising boys, so be it, but I won’t respect them in the morning.

By the way, is Weiner with, or without?

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Caution: do NOT click on the link to the ref to this post unless you are of age and prepared to see images that some may find disturbing … if real women’s bodies can be found to be disturbing. I offer a half-assed apology to any who may be offended by this post, the subject matter being considered taboo in some quarters, but suggest those who find it a bit unsavory get the fuck over it …

With a recent post prompting a spate of speculation over the possible reasons women subject themselves to all sorts of painful and expensive surgeries in hopes of somehow improving their … what? … looks? … chances? … futures? … whatevahhh … this article, “Why Australian law demands all vaginas be digitally altered”, really got my knickers in a twist.

Although there’s a flap in the comments over the writer’s terminology, she does admit that out of some drive for easier digestion she uses “vagina” when she should be calling the parts to be altered “vulva” and I’m not bothered.

A couple of things do bother me, though, and a lot! First, the fact that I’ve gone through my whole life having NO idea that some of what went on in the world of pornographic images of women was happening. Second, the impact on the generations of women who’ve been living during the time of this ruse.

Although familiar with the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, I must admit to being completely surprised by the fact that women in “civilized” countries have been lining up for not only boob jobs, but labiaplasty, and for many of the same reasons.

Porn, apparently, not only touts plastic tits, but altered twats. No shit?

Pardon my naiveté, please, but quite honestly I’ve never been in a position to examine another woman’s private parts, and even on the occasions I have seen pornographic images … and there have been many of those since no few men I’ve been around have found porn “entertaining” … I found myself paying more attention to the pestles than the mortars, and absolutely none to the dialog. Given the issue of location, I’ve rarely even checked out my own all that often or thoroughly, so it’s safe to say I’ve given little thought to vulvas.

I am appalled, however, to learn that even that most girly of girl parts has been subject to the airbrush, the tidy-up, the alteration.

If I handed you a pencil and paper and asked you to draw a vagina*, odds are you would come up with something like this:

Which is interesting, considering only a small minority of mature females actually have fannies that look like that. Little girls – yes, that’s pretty much what they all look like. But grown women? The vast majority have a least a peep of their ‘inner lips’ showing, even when standing upright with their legs together while sipping Earl Grey from gold-rimmed Royal Doulton and nibbling on homemade shortbread. For many women, it’s more than just a ‘peep’ – some have full-blown dangly blossoms on display. This has nothing to do with how much sex they’ve had, their state of arousal or whether they’ve borne children (although, so what if it was?). It’s simply the way they are built.

So, getting this straight … men are being taught through the handbooks most end up learning from that women should look like little girls. That sucks!

And that’s not all that sucks …

Girls are also given one more fucking thing to feel insecure, different, weird about. Another impossible Barbie image … Great. Just great.

And the terminology!

Many of those models actually have outies in real life, which have been ‘healed to a single crease’ …

Healed?

Don’t mean to pull a tit-for-twat here, but … REALLY NOW … is there anything esthetically pleasing about a pair of hairy, puckered testicles? Yet, as pointed out in the article:

Imagine for a moment if someone in the censor’s office had decided that testicles were too ‘explicit’. Imagine that to be sold over the counter at a normal newsagent, your naked pictures of men had to have their testicles digitally removed.

Yes, digital castration. Think there might be an outcry?

I know Ken has no balls, but how many men ever felt pressure to be anything like that bit of plastic?

If someone had told me there was something else to be shocked about in the world of sex, I’d have thought them underestimating my scope, but this has really thrown me, and I’d not suspected labia to be a flash point for women’s rights.

Yes, I do know there are legions of straight men who would rather not spend time looking, up close and personal, at what they consider heaven … and, quite frankly, I’ve always rather doubted the commitment to the female form in guys not totally immersed … but the knowledge that they’ve been led down some trimmed rose path has come as a surprise.

Perhaps it’s time women developed a bit of the overblown pride men sport when it comes to their sexy parts, some of that fall-to-the-knees fascination glorifying every lift and tilt and ooze that can occupy a man for hours on end.

Sure, we won’t be able to wag it over the fence with a “Lookie what I’ve got for you, Baby!”, but we don’t have to hide ours away just because it doesn’t stand quite so high and shout for attention.

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You know how some news stories grab attention and make sense on some level, yet grate away for a while leaving enough of a raw spot to require examination?

No, I’m not talking about spending any time pondering what that fuckwit Camping is thinking as he has shifted doomsday to October since he’s clearly hoping to clear a few more million before the world or his credibility finally comes to an end. (And if you happen to know anyone stupid enough to even think about sending him some dosh, have them send it to me instead. I’ll get the word out just fine, thankyouverymuch, and I won’t publicized the idiocy of handing a load of cash over, so no worries about something like this showing up in the media:

“I’ve been mocked and scoffed and cursed at and I’ve been through a lot with this lighted sign on top of my car,” said Hopkins, 52, a former television producer who lives in Great River, New York. “I was doing what I’ve been instructed to do through the Bible, but now I’ve been stymied. It’s like getting slapped in the face.”)

What a moron … but not today’s topic …

The story that got me was this from the BBC: India’s Unwanted Girls.

India’s 2011 census shows a serious decline in the number of girls under the age of seven – activists fear eight million female foetuses may have been aborted in the past decade.

Horrible. Just horrible. But this is not a story about abortion. It’s not even a story about the illegal practice of prenatal determining of the sex of a fetus with the intention of aborting girls. It’s not about the consequences the imbalance of girls-to-boys when it becomes women-to-men, how few brides there will be, how many guys will be left high and dry and how that will impact future generations.

Nope. This is about the simple fact that in 2011 the female gender is disregarded to the point of being considered in negative value to the point of genocide, or “gendercide” as some choose to call it.

It’s not new, as Gendercide Watch makes very clear:

In many cultures, government permitted, if not encouraged, the killing of handicapped or female infants or otherwise unwanted children. In the Greece of 200 B.C., for example, the murder of female infants was so common that among 6,000 families living in Delphi no more than 1 percent had two daughters. Among 79 families, nearly as many had one child as two. Among all there were only 28 daughters to 118 sons. … But classical Greece was not unusual. In eighty-four societies spanning the Renaissance to our time, “defective” children have been killed in one-third of them. In India, for example, because of Hindu beliefs and the rigid caste system, young girls were murdered as a matter of course. When demographic statistics were first collected in the nineteenth century, it was discovered that in “some villages, no girl babies were found at all; in a total of thirty others, there were 343 boys to 54 girls. … [I]n Bombay, the number of girls alive in 1834 was 603.”

So neither new, nor improved.

The BBC’s take focuses around the availability of ultrasound technology and subsequent abortion and quotes someone who apparently didn’t study up on this history much …

Until 30 years ago, he says, India’s sex ratio was “reasonable”. Then in 1974, Delhi’s prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences came out with a study which said sex-determination tests were a boon for Indian women.

It said they no longer needed to produce endless children to have the right number of sons, and it encouraged the determination and elimination of female foetuses as an effective tool of population control.

A 1994 law outlawed sex-selective abortion, but the government has “been forced to admit its strategy has failed to put an end to female feticide.”

Well, yeah … Since laws against murder did squat to stop female infanticide, why would anyone expect this to work?

As illustrated well in my friend Rihaan Patel’s award-winning short film “The Death of Daughters” girls born does not lead to girl living. (Yeah, that’s a plug. He’s young and just getting started, so I thought I’d give him a mention.)

From Gendercide Watch:

Lakshmi already had one daughter, so when she gave birth to a second girl, she killed her. For the three days of her second child’s short life, Lakshmi admits, she refused to nurse her. To silence the infant’s famished cries, the impoverished village woman squeezed the milky sap from an oleander shrub, mixed it with castor oil, and forced the poisonous potion down the newborn’s throat. The baby bled from the nose, then died soon afterward. Female neighbors buried her in a small hole near Lakshmi’s square thatched hut of sunbaked mud. They sympathized with Lakshmi, and in the same circumstances, some would probably have done what she did. For despite the risk of execution by hanging and about 16 months of a much-ballyhooed government scheme to assist families with daughters, in some hamlets of … Tamil Nadu, murdering girls is still sometimes believed to be a wiser course than raising them. “A daughter is always liabilities. How can I bring up a second?” Lakshmi, 28, answered firmly when asked by a visitor how she could have taken her own child’s life eight years ago. “Instead of her suffering the way I do, I thought it was better to get rid of her.”

Another cultural quirk like female genital mutilation, preventing women from participating in life through bans on voting, owning property, driving, getting an education, leaving the house?

Can there be any doubt over why it’s okay for many to kill baby girls when the world has yet to come to any meaningful consensus on their worth? When the simple possession of a penis bestows esteem … no matter how stupid, useless, debauched, evil, profane or disgusting the bearer … and societies encourage this view, the issue of allowing more girls into the world can seem a silly waste of resources at best, and a dangerous game of numbers to some.

Zero tolerance for such attitudes is the only answer; international courts where offenders, both individuals and offending nations are called to account as well as local jurisdictions with the will and the power to enforce laws demanding equal treatment, equal rights. Poor countries with stone age perspective and well-entrenched customs should be sanctioned out of their socks, taken to task, forced in all possible ways to abandon the old traditions and move the female portions of their populations into the mainstream of everything.

It will happen. Not in my lifetime, for sure, but it will, and maybe even before the rapture … rupture … whatevahhh. If it does take that long, watch out, because God is going to be really pissed off at how her girls have been treated.

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Although I understand the BBC feeling the need to place a few items of “good news” on their website since there’s so much nasty crap going on in this world of hurt, they shot wide of the mark with this story on a “baby bin” in South Africa.

As if the photo alone doesn’t provide quite enough bleak, the copy in the report is gag-invoking on many levels and was very obviously written by someone who has no clue to the sensitivities of the adoption world.

Most people would not give a second glance to the metal hatch on a wall in Hillbrow Street in Johannesburg’s tough Berea suburb.

But the “Door of Hope” is saving the lives of scores of unwanted babies.

Mothers can place their babies, usually newborn, inside and leave them anonymously to be found and cared for.

Awww. How warm and fuzzy, heh?

Well … no.

The reality being that much of Johannesburg is dirt poor, AIDS infected, drug-riddled and that many pregnancies occur outside the realm of ability to care for a child, there are many, many babies born in conditions that offer few options.

Yes, putting a baby in a “bin” that will lead to food and warmth, rather than death, is an option and it does save lives, but the fact that an average of sixteen babies per month are being deposited is not “good news”.

These are the lucky few – they are alive and have someone to care for them.

And if the orphanage has its way, they will soon be adopted by families who can provide for them.

The lucky few … hm …

Sure, when paragraphs like that are juxtaposed against the following, it can warm some cockles …

Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA) – the country’s largest non-governmental organisation – says more than 2,000 children are abandoned in the country every year – a 30% increase in the past three years.

Many of them are found near death in rubbish bins, wrapped in plastic bags, inside toilets, shoe boxes, open fields and parks and often die within hours of birth from dehydration, starvation or hypothermia.

Horrific thought, heh? Sure. An orphanage is certainly a better fate, and those who get the baby bin rather than the rubbish bin can be considered “lucky”-ish, but stories like this miss the point by so wide a margin.

For starters, the issue isn’t one of babies, but the entire shredded fabric of South African society, and a piece here and there about a few babies being “saved” does nothing but provide a tiny diversion from the truth of the matter that is life in Johannesburg.

As adult adoptees will point out through the benefit of their experience, there’s nothing lucky about being stripped of all history, and although I have often taken issue with those who state they’d “rather be dead than adopted”, starting life in a loss as great as abandonment is devastating at a cellular level.

Orphanage care, no matter how compassionate, is still institutional, and orphanages in South Africa are far from well-funded. The more babies they have, the more institutional the care out of necessity.

We then come to specifics on the adoption thing, of which even a mention is ridiculous to the point of cruelty. South Africa is such a bloody mess that potential adoptive families in the country are almost nonexistent. As for adoption by families from other countries … well … here’s how it looks from the USA.

South African law recognizes two kinds of adoptions by foreigners:

1) Local adoptions of children resident in South Africa by foreign residents of South Africa, and

2) Intercountry adoptions of children resident in South Africa by foreign citizens residing abroad.

The first category (“non-Hague adoption”) requires the foreign adoptive parent(s) to be resident for five years in South Africa, and the adoptions are handled by an accredited agency and finalized by the Department of Social Development under laws relating to local adoptions. Note: Under applicable U.S. laws and regulations, children adopted in non-Hague adoptions will only be eligible for immigration to the United States after a waiting period of two years’ residence and two years’ legal custody with the adoptive parent(s).

The second category (“Hague adoption”) is only available to citizens of countries with a working agreement between the prospective adoptive parent’s country of origin and South Africa. As of this writing, there have been no working agreements finalized between South African and U.S. adoption service providers. Please contact the U.S. Consulate Johannesburg Immigrant Visa Unit (contact information below) for the latest information regarding adoption in South Africa.

There have been a number of cases in which American Citizens have been issued “Guardianship Orders” from the South African High Court. These orders do not constitute “irrevocable release for adoption and immigration” as required by United States Immigration Law. As such, they cannot be used for immigration purposes.

In other words … uh … nope.

Bottom line on the BBC’s “feel good” efforts?

Show us something on real efforts tackling AIDS prevention, controlling drug cartels, rights and education for women, stemming violence and alleviating poverty.

Yes, I know. That’s not easy, is it?

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