Fighting Against Women’s Oppression All Over Again

I’ve such a horrible case of déjà vu right now. Anyone else remember how the oppression of women in Afganistan was used as a polemic and rhetorical device to justify the occupation of the country and distinguish between “us” and “them?”

Of course, taking nothing away from this woman, my statement does not mean that Qaddafi and his troops are not horrendous and guilty. I’m just interested in how the crisis of women’s oppression has been used to justify war efforts throughout our history. We are so concerned about women’s rights abroad but not so much at home. A really good recommended reading is Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars.

Cover Up Kareena!

Never one to be a Kareena Kapoor fan (let alone a Saifeena one), when the Shiv Sena took out a ‘morcha’ against the new poster of Kareena in Kurbaan, with her back in nude, I momentarily agreed to not just cover her back but the whole poster. Just get the ungodly and offending sight of her away from my eyes.

http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/834/kurbaan.png

A Shiv-Sena activist said:

“We objected to the posters as they showed the actress semi-nude and we found to be in very bad taste. It violates our Indian culture.”

Well, a semi-nude Kareena is certainly bad taste but I am not sure it violates our culture. Maybe all our other senses. Still, it is a wonder how and why the Shiv Sena is attacking the posters a whole month after they were plastered all over the city.

My ragging on Kareena is in jest. She has the freedom to pose with her back nude. We have the freedom to avert our eyes. The Shiv Sena has a right to take to the streets for our pure entertainment, and as a result, create more publicity for the movie that they are ‘morally policing.’

What is disgusting about claims of ‘bad taste’ by the Sena is that Kareena is the one being morally policed even though we see no ‘offending’ parts of her body. Why is Saif Ali Khan allowed to show his bare-chest? Why isn’t anyone covering him up? Double-standard much?

Gunda-gardi (gangster tactics) is not new to the Sena. A month ago, the Sena objected to the use of Mumbai’s name, Bombay, in Wake Up Sid (another Johar production), and he bent over backwards to insert a disclaimer in the film.

Wake Up Sid turned out to be a hit. I wish the same luck to Kurbaan.

Maybe the Sena is lucky for Johar after all.

I wonder what they think about L word posters.

House Passes BailOut of Insurance Companies Bill

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962 (Affordable Health Care for America Act) known here as a bailout for private insurance companies, in what is lauded as a victory for Obama and health care in America.

I’ll be damned. The only worthwhile compromise is that the bill requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and does not include a 5-year bar for legal immigrants.

Here’s my problem with the bill:

  • Mandates that all Americans, including undocumented immigrants, buy health insurance from predatory for-profit insurance companies, given them an additional $70 billion in new annual revenue.
  • Starting 2013, penalizes us if we don’t want to give money to health insurance companies or obtain health care under a public option that might have higher premium rates since it might draw less healthier patients, depending on how strongly the government can battle with private insurers on reimbursement rates.
  • A watered-down public option plan after the loss of a ‘robust public option’ tied to Medicare rates.
  • Provides no coverage for transgender health care
  • Final bill stripped an amendment, according to One Sure Insurance, that would have allowed states to have their own single payer health care (and quite possibly killed private health insurance companies)
  • Prohibits federal funding for women’s reproductive health except in dire circumstances and blocks insurance companies from providing any abortion coverage.

Congratulations, America, the wingnuts would like you to believe that you are ‘socializing medicine’ when you are actually doing ‘defensive healthcare’ and stepping towards more privatized health care on the backs of taxpayers. With a weak public option plan, we will be back here within a decade to argue why the United States needs to catch up with the rest of the industrialised world in providing single payer health care, medicare for all.

Next up is the Senate and then a tough Conference convening to hammer out a compromise that will further weaken the bill.

Short Story – Discovering Sex Through Crossword Puzzles

I have decided to share a short story from my life every week so that my readers and friends would get to know me better and get some insight on how I grew up. Maybe I should do a Videoblog, but I am camera shy.

This is from Nehru Memorial Primary School in Suva, Fiji and the year is 1995. I was in class 6, bored and doing some crossword puzzles on the back of some magazines that I had brought to school. Now, it was ‘Woman’s Day’ and may have had some provocative pictures but I was completely clueless as to what provocative meant. I was a square: went to school, came home, did homework, went to school, always came 1st in class, came back home.

My ignorant and perverted peers saw ‘Woman’s Day’ and reported me to the principle who called my father and made an example out of ‘a girl who brings dirty magazines to schools.’ Ms. Nair and Ms. Narayan gave me a thorough lecture about how they were appalled that someone with my level of intelligence and good character, could possibly bring ‘porn’ to school? (Now I understand that these women have probably never seen Playboy).

I was confused–‘What, I like doing these puzzles? Why do I care about the rest of the content that adults read?’ Was it that strange to believe that someone with my level of intelligence would rifle through women’s magazines for crossword puzzles? Dad was thoroughly embarrassed but to his credit, he knew I was interested in puzzles and not the least bit into the blonde, leggy, white woman on the cover (I wish he could have retained that common sense for 6 years later). He went back to school the next day and clarified the matter. I got an apology from the principle but never a clarification. And due to that one incident, I was completely overlooked for any leadership positions in grade 7 and 8. Usually these went to the smartest people in class–I was probably the only square to miss out on these so-called ‘honors.’ In hindsight, it doesn’t matter.

Thanks to that incident, I finally started becoming aware of women in a new light. I started thinking of women’s bodies as sexual beings. Talk about creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perversion and sexual awareness does not happen in a vacuum. It is behavior that is sometimes encouraged by our peers and often sanctioned by the state and society.

P.S. I haven’t done a crossword puzzle or picked up a copy of Woman’s Day since then. I hope Ms. Narayan and Ms. Nair burn in hell.

No on 8 – Taking to the Streets! Viva La Revolution! The Second Stonewall is Underway.


First they came for the Communists,
  and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
  and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
  and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
  and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me.

A large majority of people taking to the streets in California were NEVER involved in the ‘No on 8’ campaign. This is no longer a top-down, disorganized effort that some accused of being ‘colonial’ in nature. Let the people who voted ‘Yes’ for discrimination see the result of this ban–galvanizing and moving more people than ever before to come out for civil rights. This ban may just have woken the civil rights movement from its deep slumber, woken up people like me who could care less about marriage but LOATHE and CANNOT DIGEST the concept of putting minority rights to majority vote and taking them away.
The energy and enthusiasm is refreshing and exciting, save for the random acts of violence and scapegoating. Keep this up California – organize and join as many rallies as you can.

Record and put your videos and demonstrations on Youtube, Facebook, IReport.com and Twitter!

For blog entries, I suggest using the noonprop8 and repealprop8 tags.

What do we do Now? – Resources

TAX PROTEST

http://gaytaxprotest.blogspot.com/

Melissa Etheridge refuses to pay taxes. All LGBT and allies should also hold back taxes from the state of California till our civil rights are restored:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-06/you-can-forget-my-taxes/

Organizing Tools

http://kickingalion.wordpress.com/

They also launched for donations you can make in the name of the leader of the Mormon Church.

www.InvalidateProp8.org

Make a donation, in the name of the president of the Mormon Church, to support the legal organizations working to invalidate Proposition 8 and to fund grass-roots activities in support of full marriage equality. For every donation of $5 or more, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will send the following postcard to President Thomas Monson’s office in Salt Lake City, acknowledging your donation in his name

Look up your local businesses that supported the Yes on 8 campaign, WRITE LETTERS and BOYCOTT!!

Boycott these businesses

http://www.afterellen.com/node/39787

http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?m2m2y2zd53m

Information on Protests

http://stoph8te.blogspot.com/

ANSWER LA

http://www.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANSWERLA

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com/

http://lezgetreal.com/2008/11/no-on-h8-protests-update.html

Main site: http://www.jointheimpact.com/
San Francisco: http://protest8sf.wordpress.com

Black LGBT

http://www.faithish.com/

Conservative Christian case for Same-Sex marriage
http://www.musingson.com/ccCase.html

Mormons

(Lets approach this in a ‘legal’ way rather than by showing hatred and intolerance).

March on Salt Lake City

Sign the petition to strip the Mormon church of its tax exempt status at http://www.mormonsstoleourrights.com!

Get Sundance Out of Utah

customerservice@sundance.org, sio@sundance.org, programming@sundance.org

Dear Sundance Institute,

The LGBT community needs the support of the SUNDANCE INSTITUTE. I request that the SUNDANCE INSTITUTE move the film festival out of Utah.

link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j3xrKGCR3_Lr31cirVMS_5fY_8igD94ADR9G0

Top-down Orgs

No On Prop 8 — We Are Not Done

ORGANIZING ON FACEBOOK

Courage Campaign is expected to announce a 2010 ballot measure to repeal this so-called Constitutional amendment. Let this not be another top-down effort that alienates the core of the LGBT community and especially ethnic minorities.

Read More …