Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hypocritical Female Respecter

I'm the hypocritical female respecter,
I have my own rules as to "when" I respect her.

I think rapists are horrible,
but she was dressed for rape.

Only characterless women,
put their sex acts on tape.

She can have her freedom,
after she fulfills her womanly duties.

Caring, chaste & obedient,
like the good women in movies.

She doesn't need more rights,
but a man to keep her safe.

Acceptable threats of violence to,
occasionally show her her place.

Traditional restrictions are in place to protect her,
so that men like me can love and respect her.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Google Play’s Stripshow Apps' Threat > The Immediate Threat of Rape?!

…At least that’s what the newspaper Mumbai Mirror thinks. Stripshow apps are guilty of many crimes, and I don’t intend to downplay the seriousness of any of them. Sure, they're distasteful but declaring them a BIGGER threat to women that when women are in a real world threatening situation is RIDICULOUS. Here are a few crimes these apps and Google are guilty of:

Crime One: (As far as I know) They take images of women (mostly celebrities) and allows users to undress them. I doubt they take the necessary permissions required from the celebrities in question because “consent” – gee, whatever could that be? Google’s policy violation aside, if an actress, model or any woman consents to having her pictures used in a stripshow app, we shouldn’t have any problem with it.

Crime Two: They violate Google’s policies or my interpretation of Google’s policies. Pornographic content, in my opinion, covers anything that’s sexual. Stripshows sure as hell aren’t educational anatomy applications. While I don’t have anything against porn itself, if their policies say ‘no’ to nudity and sexual content, then their policies should be respected especially since they’ve already been agreed to at the start.

Crime Three: This time, Google’s the culprit. Google needs a better team to help remove material they claim to not provide on their site. It does not matter to me whether Google’s policy aims to exclude such material on moral grounds or legal grounds – if you said that it won’t be made available, it shouldn’t. It also shouldn’t take Google an eternity to take the apps down. You’re a rich company. Hire more people. Enforce your own damn rules if you want netizens to take your commitment seriously.

Now what’s wrong with the Mumbai Mirror article:

Mumbai Mirror lunges straight for Google Play’s jugular with the headline “After the Shakti Mills Horror, Google rubs it in with sick stripshow apps”: I’M SORRY – WHAT the fish fingers & HOW the fish fingers did you come to that conclusion? What on earth does the Shakti Mills incident have to do with Google Play’s stripshow apps or vice versa? Adult entertainment has been available for decades. It is not part of a deep “rub it in” conspiracy.

The fail-proof your-children-are-exposed-to-this-vulgar-monstrosity card: Obviously, when it comes to “saving the kids”, all other arguments can pack their fancy, rationalizing bags and walk off the nearest cliff. The “threat” must be eliminated. It cautions parents that kids can download these apps without the parent’s knowledge – because that isn’t taken for granted when you hand a kid A PHONE WITH AN INTERNET CONNECTION. It does not, however, remind parents to talk to their kids about “consent”? If they’re old enough to own smartphones, they’re ready for “the talk”. It’s not something they need to be protected from but something they need to know about, especially know why it’s wrong (for all the right reasons). If they're too young to be talked to about sex, you should probably hold out on that smartphone for a little longer. 

Evidently aimed at men”: …because all lesbian and bisexual/bi-curious women have fled the planet and the women that stayed back by default are incapable of liking stripshow apps? Ok :|

“Dangerous” because they provide an “intimate, private experience”: I don’t know what to make of that choice of words, but I guess I’ll have to conclude that Mumbai Mirror would consider it less dangerous if the experience provided was… public (?!). *gasp*

The rapists photographing the girl during the Shakti Mills incident with their phone or the ward boy filming women secretly with his camera phone have nothing to do with Google or Google Play.

We’re all heartbroken, angry and disappointed with the women’s safety situation in India – no, not just Bombay (I said “Bombay”, bite me) and Delhi. We need to channel this anger in the right direction by focusing on real solutions to security issues. The tiny section dedicated to the need for multi-layered privacy laws and the harmful attitude towards women from which India continues to suffer, should have been the focus of the article, not a mere footnote. However, hitting the panic button on “pervy” apps or printing scandalizing, false, accusatory headlines don’t help. We will be fortunate if the Government of India does not notice this article and decide to use it as a quick-fix pacifier by blocking Google Play all over the country – a move they’re more than capable of pulling off.

By the way, Mumbai Mirror, what were you looking for when you “stumbled upon” the ugly, threatening “stripshow app” underbelly of Google’s Play Store? :/ *runs*

Friday, July 12, 2013

If Guns Were Vaginas

If guns were vaginas,
the gun cause would be liberal,
And the matter of protecting ourselves,
would no longer be trivial.

If guns were vaginas,
we'd be subjected to fewer background checks,
Carry permits would be a given,
without a government breathing down our necks.

If guns were vaginas,
"accidents" would not be overanalyzed,
Ammunition not restricted,
Pro-gun arguments not infantilized.

I am pro-gun,
I am pro-choice,
I'm glad the vaginas are speaking up,
Let's not suppress the pro-gun voice.

Katie Heim read an amazing poem before the Texas state Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. You can read the entire article here. Since we're comparing guns and vaginas, I figured I'd give it a shot too. Please nibble at my poem with a pinch of salt.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Of Rape Apologists, Good Advice & Good Intentions

Why is Azam Mahmood Butt a rape apologist?

Recently, the article “Of Rape Apologists, Whatever That Is…” published in Pakistan Today, by the Assistant News Editor, Azam Mahmood Butt (the article is being reviewed, since March 02, 2013 but you can read it here) unleashed a storm online that sent a few 'well-intentioned' tweeple into a tizzy. What’s the big deal about an article that judges women’s opinions based on the length of their heels, their ability to pronounce certain Western brands, describing rape as a ramification of ‘privacy’ & ‘my own choice(?!)’, blaming the raped women for getting into ‘dangerous situations’ like getting drunk, blaming ‘mental sicknesses’ for rape – all this while speaking of ‘depriving a rapist of his manhood and feeding it to him in order to set an example’, thus proving that he’s really on the women’s side here and hates rapists just as much. Then he managed to squeeze in some anti-homosexual comments too, because this was a relevant situation and made one ‘individuals should be on the lookout’ suggestion that’s painfully obvious even to a 5yr old and miles away from absolving him of anything on the checklist below.

Check List:
                Liberal Hater -> Check
                Rape Apologist -> Check
                Homosexual Basher -> Check
                Western Influence Blamer -> Check
                Victim Blamer -> Double Check

Good Advice & Good Intentions:
Whenever we give advice to someone we care about, we do it with good intentions. Good intentions, however, don’t necessarily lay the foundation for good advice. One such form of advice is the ‘cover up’ advice well meaning men and women give women when they step out in ‘dangerous areas’ dressed in ‘provocative clothing’. That seems like harmless, effective advice until we think it through.

“Cover Up” & “Provocative Clothing”- When I just got out of school, I went through a tom-boy-ish phase. I loved my neck-high t-shirts worn under long-sleeved, loose shirts, heavy metallic watch, cap on backwards and dirty worn sneakers. Make-up was for people who had time to iron their jeans, and so were earrings. I had time for neither. That didn’t stop men from getting sexually harassing me on the street. Forget dressing provocatively, I was dressed like a boy. All the times I’ve been subjected to street sexual harassment in the form of cat-calls, brushing past me, trying to lean on me in buses – I’ve been ‘covered up’, even after I started dressing like a ‘normal girl’, sometimes even wearing a dupatta over my head. None of these incidents happened after dark or in lonely areas. Every area was and is dangerous. Gang rapes in moving vehicles and in homes have made that obvious. Some areas may be lonelier than others, but a woman is rarely safe anywhere. If covering up hasn’t spared me from street sexual harassment, I doubt it would save me from getting raped if the rapist were presented with the opportunity. The idea of a properly covered up body differs from person to person, and thus from rapist to rapist unless they follow a code which we have no way of knowing, and the idea of such a code existing sounds ridiculous. When we ask a woman to ‘dress modestly’, we are imposing our idea of modesty on her. We’re doing it with good intentions, but it’s extremely unlikely that a rapist will share our idea of modest clothing. Suggesting that a woman wear appropriate clothing is a superficial way of ‘doing our bit to keep her safe’. Will a burqa be enough to protect a woman from a rapist?

Drilling the idea that ‘modest clothing’ will reduce a woman’s chances of getting raped may give women a false sense of security.

60yrs-70yrs ago, an Indian woman would think twice before stepping out in India in a pair of trousers and a shirt. She must have not even thought about it. Saris were inconvenient, so were salwars. Modesty has trumped comfort and common sense over the ages for women, while ‘showing skin’ is normal in the case of men, without questioning its necessity. Today we have women stepping out in jeans, skirts or whatever makes their life a little easier. This has been possible because at some point, a few women decided to throw the then 'unspoken laws of modesty' under the bus and put themselves and their happiness first. Had they been stopped by concerned relatives then, would any of us dare to go down the jeans' road? A pair of jeans once was the equivalent of today's mini-skirt. In some circles, a woman wearing a pair of jeans is still considered ‘indecent’, ‘bold’, ‘too modern’ and ‘immoral’. After decades, we haven’t been able to give women the basic freedom to choose comfort over modesty and we’re pushing women’s clothing trends backward in the name of safety, rather than pushing it forward in an attempt to make it the new ‘normal’.

Three cans of pepper spray, sharp nails/rings and a solid course in self-defense may save a woman from rape. Draping her in extra layers of clothing won’t. 

Criticism of a woman’s choice of clothing may not do anything to prevent rape, but it sure does mountains to hurt rape survivors. Surely, we won’t tell a rape survivor that the choice of clothing led to her being raped, but if we had, in the past mentioned it as a cause of rape, she will remember it for years to come. When we openly support theories that claim that ‘immodest’ attire is one of the causes of rape, we are not only blaming women who have already been raped, but are declaring that women who may be raped in the future are partly responsible. As well-wishers, victim blaming is not our intention for any of the women we care about. Being supportive is excellent. We need to try to be supportive without curbing a woman’s freedom of choosing her own clothing. We need to kill the idea that a woman asserting her freedom through her clothing (or her career, or her behavior) invites dire consequences. It won’t yield instant results, but if we see a small positive change in the right direction because of our efforts before we leave this planet, it’s worth it, isn’t it?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Change Must Begin at Home

But don’t touch my entertainment.

Ideal, chaste women,
Worshiped as goddesses,
Choking and suffocating,
In patriarchal bodices.
Misogyny dripping,
From statement after statement,
Change must begin at home,
But don’t touch my entertainment.

Slaps, taunts, insults,
Domestic violence,
Are social norms to be borne,
In complicit silence.
Respectable, good women,
Only wear Indian attire,
But don’t touch my entertainment,
Or the consequences will be dire.

Moral bullying,
‘Western-culture’ demonizing,
Stereotype reinforcing,
Victim re-victimizing.
Crime tutorials,
In the name of infotainment,
Change must begin at home,
But don’t touch my entertainment.