Month: January 2017

Female Sexuality in the Trump Era

The photo of Donald Trump signing a ban on funding to organizations involved in abortions (even if just by providing information!) has been all over the net this week. That image makes me think of a recent post in a closed, all-female Facebook network – a post about abortion but also, on a deeper level, about our views on female sexuality. One of the members of the network wrote a very naked post about her visit to an abortion clinic. She had made friends with the girl in the bed next to hers, and as they opened up to each other, it turned out that they were both there for the same reason: they had been convinced to accept sexual intercourse without protection. Both girls had felt uncomfortable, unwilling, and pressured, but had in the end given in to the man they were with. Now the girls found themselves dealing with the aftermaths of unprotected sex: not only taking that test, finding a doctor, taking time of work, enduring bleedings and pain, but also living …

This is What Democracy Looks Like

I started the morning bright and early at 6:40 and headed to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. The metro was packed with chatty passengers wearing pink hats, carrying signs and snapping pictures. Every time a new group of riders boarded the train erupted with cheering. The excitement was contagious, and we all cheered and clapped are way to D.C. They called it the Women’s March but it was evident that it was everyone’s march. We were all there, and everyone had a message to deliver, whether through song, chant, cheer or shouting. And we delivered those messages – with Love, Faith and Courage. Some called themselves Nasty Women, nasty like Rosa, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle and Hillary, while others simply stated they were PISSED OFF. Regardless of the countless voices that were represented in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017 we all stood together for equality. So if you ask me what Democracy looks like, this is it – An inclusive, reflective representation of all kinds of voices and stories.    

My Attempts at Facilitating Change in Rural India

In my final year of medical school, as I was reading a chapter on Maternal and Child Health, I came across a table of mortality rates elaborating the health status of mothers and children of my country. They were dismal and though I could see that progress had been made, to my 20 year old brain, it seemed insufficient and too slow to be accepted. After all, these were lives and not just numbers! The rural-urban difference made the figures look worse. I was restless. How could I bridge this gap? I reasoned – a woman was the base of the society’s pyramid and if I could do something to strengthen her I could attempt to address this gap. I was also convinced that since most of India’s population lived in rural areas, in order to make a significant impact, I should focus on rural areas. Though I had been reared in a city and had never seen what a village looked like, I was ready to learn along the way. Itching to materialise this dream, …

Why I Stopped Combing My Hair

I have to say this, I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation about my rather unusual decision. Moreover, I am by no means imposing my views on other black women. I further declare that I do not represent anyone or any group of people in particular, this is me and it is my personal decision. I cut my hair short in the year 2014, and did a series of cuts then finally decided to start growing it natural. I only applied dye, just to have it colourful and not too boring. I also applied moisturising creams to keep it strong and healthy. My hair is curly, just as black hair should be. I used to comb my hair to have it look ‘neat’, but it would sadly break. The curls are so fine, every time I rubbed a comb, a lot of my hair would go out with it. The process of combing was painful. I then resorted to doing braids, putting on wigs and headwraps to protect my hair from breaking. Much of …

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

An interview with Henry Sawyer.  This Friday, I’m letting my sixth grader skip school. We’re making the long drive from Massachusetts to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington, an event that has become, at least in this mom’s mind, an ethical parenting imperative in teaching about justice, kindness, and citizenship. With feminism at the core of my  mothering a son towards an inclusive concept of manhood, we’ll join the protest chorus with his tween voice and the fire that’s been in my throat since November 8. In this two-part blog post, we’ll publish our pre-march interview on Henry’s thoughts about what it means to be a boy joining the March followed by our experience among hundreds of thousands of people descending on Washington. The morning of Martin Luther King Day, we sat down on the couch, where this mom interviewed her 12-year-old son about the election, the March, and what it means to be a middle school feminist boy. How would you describe yourself? I don’t want to sound braggish. It’s okay to be confident in what you think …

I Survived for a Reason

By an anonymous writer from Afghanistan My parents wanted a son, My birth disappointed them. A few weeks after I was born, My grandfather was killed. My mother thought I was bad luck. When I was 6 years old, Our neighbor’s boy sexually harassed me. I spent my childhood in fear. The Taliban closed my school, They ruined my best days. I was unable to go out without my father, brother, and a burqa, Like a prisoner in my own home for six years. My body was a sin to them. They attacked our home a few times because we were Shia Muslim. They beat my parents and brother in front of me. They hanged my mother’s two young cousins from a tree. Deprived of their own humanity, they dehumanized the rest of us. I had my first marriage proposal at the age of 10. I saw my cousins getting married at the age of 12, 13, and 14, While still children, they had to become mothers. I felt sorry for them and wanted to …

Speak Out: A Million Women’s Voices

As we welcome in the new year, we also welcome a new family to the White House. On January 20th Donald Trump will be inaugurated the 45th President of the United States and it is scary. Throughout the campaign season and the weeks since the election, feminist communities around the nation have rallied together in a collective outcry against Donald Trump. In the past eighteen months we have seen him call women fat, ugly, pigs, dogs, losers, slobs, disgusting animals, and pieces of ass. We have seen him poke fun at menstruation and support lawmakers who want to take away our rights to our bodies. But we have not been silent. From blogs to Planned Parenthood donations, from art installations to painful conversations, we are building community. And for many Americans, that means joining the January 21st Women’s March on Washington where millions of women and allies will take to the streets in protest against the rhetoric of misogyny, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia perpetuated by our current President Elect. But what about the millions of …