11th of October: International Day of the Girl Child

In case you haven’t heard, today is  International Day of the Girl Child and this year’s theme is Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence (As a side note, I fully support empowering adolescent girls – actually people of any gender and age – and ending the cycle of violence…I’m just not entirely convinced about the presentation of this theme as if empowering adolescent girls was THE one and only element necessary to end the cycle of violence. I mean what about, for example, working with boys and men, ending impunity for violence, or addressing child abuse…?)

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Source: Plan.org.au

Anyway, today is, regardless, a day worth celebrating and generating debate around so here are a few, very different, articles to get us all thinking:

* In his post, “Why I HATE Malala Yousafzai,” Kunwar Khuldune Shahid poses some strong thoughts that may get you thinking about why an International Day of the Girl Child is so needed. And, if he hated her last year, I can only imagine how he must feel now that she’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

* And, for something completely different, here’s an article of 21 interesting – and important – things to know about the clitoris, because all girls deserve to understand, appreciate and celebrate their own bodies!

* And, along that line of thought, two New York teenage girls have created a video game about tampons. I don’t really care if it’s a good game or not – it’s awesome that they decided to take on a theme that is so nonsensically taboo.

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Masculinities Mondays: 6th of October 2014

This week we bring you a few follow-ups from recent weeks and some new developments.

* First up, to mark last week’s International Day of Action on the Decriminalisation of Abortion, The Guardian has created a fascinating interactive data visualisation about abortion rights around the world. Look up information by continent and country to learn more about where abortion is permitted, and under which circumstances, and where it is not permitted in any situation – there are some surprising results! And, for a deeper look at all sides of the issue in Mexico, have a check out The Guardian’s video series on the topic as well.

Abortion Rights

* Just a few hours ago in San Francisco, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled against gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, meaning that same-sex couples will be able to get married in those states as early as this week. Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt commented on the ruling:

The lessons of our constitutional history are clear: Inclusion strengthens, rather than weakens, our most important institutions…When same-sex couples are married, just as when opposite-sex couples are married, they serve as models of loving commitment to all.

This ruling comes in the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court decision to allow appeal rulings legalising same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. And, for those who are just not sure what this will all mean for them, I encourage you to watch the year and a half-old but still brilliant speech by New Zealand MP, Maurice Williamson, on the passing of the country’s Marriage Equality Bill. Williamson explains:

I give a promise to those people who are opposed to this bill right now…the sun will still rise tomorrow. Your teenage daughter will still argue back with you as if she knows everything. Your mortgage will not grow. You will not have skin diseases or rashes or toads in your bed…the world will just carry on.

Watch the whole video below:

* If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, Eric Michael Johnson’s article, ‘Misogyny is Not Human Nature,’ is a worthwhile read on the topic of trolling and sexism. Citing both a study on a baboon population that transitioned from being aggressive and violent to being peaceful and caring, as well as a recent study on human societies which found that rates of early death were higher for both women and men in more patriarchal communities, Johnson argues that there is nothing natural about patriarchal dominance. He also quotes bell hooks, which just awesome: “Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their sense of self and identity, their reason for being, resides in their capacity to dominate others.”

* Focusing on the recent suspected murder in Brisbane, Australia, of a young woman by her boyfriend, Amy Gray of The Guardian calls out misogyny in the Australian media coverage of the case and highlights the problematic treatment of sex workers and transgender people in the news.

* Finally, we end with the news of a new app designed to help people ensure that the sex they are about to engage in is consensual. While the Good2Go concept does try to make use of young people’s ubiquitous use of mobile technology (well, those young people who can afford smartphones…and live in countries with regular and affordable internet…), as Amanda Hess reports, it seems there’s still a long way to go before this app could actually work as an effective rape prevention method.

Good2Go

Photo credit: Good2Go