Women in Honduras protest against the military coup

Women in Honduras protest against the military coup

“What kind of democracy are they talking about?    Democracy should involve the participation of the people.”

“We will not be silent! They will not silence us!”

 CAWN (the UK based Central American Women’s Network) highlights the fact that, as usual, media coverage of the continuing  crisis in Honduras omits both consideration of the impact of Micheletti’s military coup on women and the role of women in protesting against it. In fact, women have been in the forefront of the protest.

“As the threat of a coup loomed, women’s organisations sprang into action, organising marches, mobilising rural and urban women, writing and distributing bulletins, and sending information and eyewitness images around the world by email, blogs and social networking media. Since the mainstream news channels in Honduras are strictly controlled, these reports from women continue to provide crucial information by their immediacy and by giving a voice to ordinary people,” says Katherine Ronderas in a press recent release.

For more information on women in Honduras go to the CAWN website at http://www.cawn.org/html/Honduras.html


You all should read this post from Penny Red, it follows on nicely from my last post and also from brazenshrew’s comment which was this:

It really annoys me that most people don’t seem to think that history can repeat itself. The nazis gained power in very similar circumstances; a weak economy and disenchantment with the political process. It’s scary how easily they could get it, if people are complacent, that is.

History CAN repeat itself and only YOU can make a difference.

I’m going away with JD imminently to York, where I went to university, to stay in a posh hotel and swim and eat dinner out tonight and all that fancy stuff 🙂

Once again, the world proves that it really has its priorities right. In a move that one can only call implausibly bigoted, the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, deemed the recent gay rights marches in Moscow “satanic” and called gays and lesbians “weapons of mass destruction“.

Seriously? How can a person in his position with supposed credibility keep a straight face while saying this? The damning of homosexuality is usually the arena of half-witted religious fanatics, not politicians within a civilised and democratic country (then again the democratic nature of Russia is pretty dubious). It worries me that this positively medieval homophobia is rife so close to home. If Russia hopes that hosting Eurovision will change the world’s perspective of them, then they are greatly misguided. Pretty lights, cheesy songs and awful dancing may provide a glossy vaneer, but it has never prevented the competition from getting political before.

I hope (in vain, perhaps) that the participating countries demonstrate their disapproval, but the sad fact of the matter is that the prevailing attitudes in mainland Europe lean towards latent homophobia, which has meant that people like Yuri Luzhkov have been left unchecked, allowed to hold office and allowed to express the most awful opinions.

*On a slightly lighter note* I shall be eschewing Eurovision anyway, after many years of watching country after country objectify women in what they think would be a winning song. Why do I want to see gyrating-belly-dancing-stripping-nigh-on-pornographic routines with girls who can’t even sing properly? It’s a fucking SONG contest. Tell me when they find some real talent.

In the latest round of Brown-bashing I happened to witness, the usual moaning and grumbling took place, ‘If I was in his position…blah blah blah etc…’ which annoys me enough as it is, as I’m sure we’d all struggle to hold it together, but this time I was especially annoyed. Especially annoyed as someone suggested that if the Prime Minister were a woman, none of this financial mess would have happened. None of this mess, nor indeed most of the mess of the last few years, concerning wars and poverty and general plights on society.

This is when, of course, I stepped in to say what an utter load of bollocks that was. Being a Feminist, I obviously think a female Prime Minister would be brilliant. But, just because she is a woman, does not automatically make her a peace-loving and caring person. Take Margaret Thatcher, for example. She was one of the most formidable politicians, who perhaps ticked all of the ‘masculine’ boxes, and had no problems with starting wars and obliterating whole communities in her ruthless economic plans. In response to her typically masculine behaviour satirists branded her a man and most famously in Spitting Image portrayed her in a suit with a cigar. However, no matter how vile you find the woman, the criticism should rest soley on her actions, not on whether she conforms to gender norms.

This kind of gossipy self-righteous drivel, propagated by the ‘Loose Women’ culture harks back to the Victorian views of women being angels and men beasts. This regressive step is harmful to society and also the political process. The way the media scrutinise female politicians so closely causes them to censor their actions according to how society says they must be; everything they say, do, wear – even their hair styles are commented upon and criticised for not being feminine enough, or being too dowdy or frumpy. Outspoken female politicians are derided for being whingey and nagging – which is enough to put potential female politicians off the job.

None of the women I know are as morally superior as some people would have them. If women ruled the world, wars would still be fought, crimes would still be committed and the economy would still fail us at some point. No one can be a super hero, we are all human and therefore bound to make mistakes. The thing is, at the end of the day it’s not about men versus women, it is about choosing whoever is best for the job.

It must be Valentines’ Day, because with four stories about sex , the BBC are clearly obsessed. There’s that old British repression coming through again! Whether the story is that there’s too much of it, or too little of it, or the wrong people having it, they just can’t stop reporting on it, and evidently I am not helping.

Starting with the story that has created “almost universal outrage”, a thirteen year old boy has clearly been having sex, because he is now a father. And yes, that is how it has been reported. Perhaps the story of a fifteen year old girl giving birth to a healthy baby girl just isn’t as interesting? Still, once again, the BBC have done us proud with yet another headless pregnant woman to illustrate the story. If I got my information purely from pictures, I would have concluded by now that pregnancy makes your head fall off.

The Guardian has “MP ‘saddened’ by father aged 13 urges better sex education“, The Telegraph leads with “boy of 13 becomes a father” and The Daily Mail, who are never averse to slut-shaming if they get the merest hint of a chance have the headline “Teenage sister of boy who became a father at 13 had baby when she was the same age“. Rather amusingly, the Mail’s article also contains the following burst of vitriol:

“But its significance may be lost on Alfie, whose immaturity is evident during the brief video clip, filmed after the couple’s story was sold to The Sun and they appeared on the newspaper’s front page yesterday.”

Daily Mail, meet jealousy; jealousy, Daily Mail. Perhaps their bid just wasn’t high enough!

Moving on, Scotland is reforming its sex laws with a new Sexual Offences Bill. This one bill replaces a number of previous common law offenses – “rape”, “clandestine injury to women”, “lewd, indecent or libdinous practice or behaviour” and “sodomy” – which, if the Bill passes, will all be abolished in their previous forms.

It gives new, broader definitions of rape, which includes cases where the penis or vagina or both are surgically constructed, defines consent as “free agreement” (which makes me wonder what on earth it was defined as before this bill was created) and gives an offense of “administering a substance for sexual purposes”, which, paraphrasing, also states that if one person lets another think that the substance given is less strong or less in quantity than it actually is, then this is equivalent to administering the substance without that person’s knowledge or consent.

Which, shortened again, means that if an aquaintance of mine buys me doubles all evening and tells me they’re singles, that’s just as bad as slipping rohypnol into my drink.

The Bill, which has just passed stage one, now has to pass stages two and three before it can be signed off. Roll on the day because, paraphrasing again, the reason that Scotland’s rape conviction rate is 3% is because a lot of things that should be called rape are currently not, according to Lord Advocate Elish Anglioni.

In other news, the BBC can’t make up its mind. Will the recession lead to more sex, or less? Tough call. They also incidentally mention that the day that the Dow Jones Index crashed (29th September last year), the gay dating site “Manhunt” – so it’s gay to mean men, this time, rather than gay to mean “everybody who isn’t heterosexual” – had its largest membership sign-up.

I confess, I’m not entirely sure what this little nugget of information was meant to tell me. Are all stockbrokers gay men? Or, is Manhunt just a really crap site, that happened to have two people sign up one day rather than one?

Lastly, I’m sure you’ve all wondered just how many of us are illegitimate. No? Well, what kind of stable, non sex-obsessed person are you?! Apparently, “urban myth” gives the proportion at 10%, thus bearing out the allegation that 87% of statistics are made up on the spot. Of course, 7/5 of all people don’t understand fractions anyway, so I don’t suppose it really matters.

Anyway, it turns out that “if you look directly at families without any prior suspicion of non-paternity, then you find a value of about 1% or 2%.” The study naturally (ha!) focusses on men, since with the joys of what the researchers call “hereditary surnames” and I call “the Patriarchy”, only men have a link to their (male) ancestors. Women don’t have a hope in hell, since not changing one’s name on marriage is even now linked to being thought of as a pain in the arse.

Which reminds me: a woman I spoke to recently gave me a “feminist dilemma”; whether to change one’s name, or not, on marriage. Actually, she started it with the words “my boyfriend has proposed to me”, and initially I wondered whether she was asking my advice as to whether or  not she should marry him! Anyway, I gave her a short answer then (roughly, that I personally will keep my name, but do whatever works for you) but I’d like to highlight The F-Word, which has at least two – and probably a lot more – articles on the subject: “in the name of the father” and “a bride by any other name” are the two that I found first.

Yes, the semi-regular news-surfing is back, which will of course mean more spam for me from surfing websites. Joys.

First off, there are a couple of things for which I have no sympathy;

The number of British students at UK universities has fallen for the first time in recent history” and “A boys’ club in Bristol has changed its name after the council threatened to withdraw funding if the club did not show girls were also welcome.

Since I have my crystal ball, I can forsee trouble ahead in the guise of being labeled as either a stroppy student, or a strident, man-hating bitch, or both.  Strangely enough, I am neither of those things.

I’m very grateful that I have the chance to get myself a degree. I really am. I just would have been more grateful if, for example, the student loan I get was guaranteed to cover my accomodation costs, or if it was not assumed that, since my parents earn X amount each year, they would of course be happy to subsidise my adult life, and my sister’s adult life, whilst also paying their mortgage and bringing up my seven year old brother. I’ve never believed that getting 50% of “young adults” into higher education was a good idea, and it seems even less so now –  because who, in these “credit crunch” days, wants to saddle themselves with £20,000 of debt before they’ve even found themselves a proper job?

As for the boy’s club, I find my levels of sympathy greatly reduced by the quotes from the club’s leader. Anybody that says things like “it’s this PC bureaucracy gone mad” has automatically lost any respect I might have for them. Or indeed things like “The boys’ club – formerly the lads’ club – has always been a major service, primarily for boys of course.” Which leaves me wondering who else the club served. Perhaps it’s that old nonsense about “man embracing woman” that means that when they say “boys”, they actually mean “all non-adult people”?

As it happens, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the council’s criteria, which says that “if you want funding, you have to show that you are meeting the needs of all young people”. And given that the club remains boys-only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I’m really not too concerned that boys will suddenly start feeling excluded.

In other news, women can harm themselves in new and exciting ways whilst pregnant, by drinking too much water. Interestingly, this article is written without the usual headless pregnant torso photo which is usually a given, so I’ll give the BBC a bonus point for that. On the other hand, it is yet more conflicting advice about what pregnant women should and shouldn’t do. I have to say, however, that I was greatly amused by the final quote: “the key thing is for the woman to listen to what her own body is telling her“. Well, who’d’a thunk it? Letting women decide for themselves? Surely not!

Moving on, before my sarcasm gets the better of me, and the last story of interest is that women are transforming Welsh politics. Why? Because there’s a 47:53 ratio of women: men. Apparently, “political debates were more consensual than adversarial as a result and had ‘non-traditional’ topics on the agenda such as domestic violence.

Happy times. Interestingly enough, we touched on these kinds of topics back in October last year, when we had two members of the Green Party with us. Of course, back then, what was said was that “the structures of the council are very traditional and adversarial which often puts people off”. It’s a catch-22 situation really; the adversarial format of meetings appears to deter women, which means that there is an uneven gender ratio with more men than women, which makes it more likely that the structure will be adversarial, which deters women….

If that cycle could be broken – as it hopefully has been in Wales – we could be looking at a much better governed country. At the very least, we could aim for “a consensual political style, an inclusive politics, and working arrangements which recognise the caring responsibilities of those working within it.” I can but hope.

Sometimes, I just have no words. Especially when other people have found better ones. This is one of those times.

Read this.

Here’s an excerpt:

“You see, Commander, when you think of a terrorist, you think from a straight white American military male perspective. You get an image in your mind of a guy with brown skin, hijacking a plane or a cargo ship, maybe with a dirty bomb or ricin. You see someone who can be stopped with the right amount of law enforcement and military intelligence, and an operation to stop an attack. Women, particularly minority and lesbian women, have a slightly different perspective….”

Just so we’re clear, troll-like comments will not be given the benefit of the doubt in this thread. Read the comments policy, and don’t say you weren’t warned.