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Entries in women of India (5)


Berlin Photographer Karolin Klüppel's Mädchenland Captures Matrilineal Village Of Mawlynnong

Mawlynnong is a rarified place in the world. Located in jungle of the northeast Indian state of Meghalaya, just 95 houses and a population of around 500 lives as a matrilineal society on the border of Bangladesh. This small village is home to the indigenous Khasi people. As a matrilineal society, women inherit land, children take their mothers’ names, and men marry into their wives’ family homes.This social organization is striking in India, where sons are preferred without question.

The setting is also unique: lush, and so well-cared for, tourists across India visit to marvel at the lack of trash. Known also for its living root bridges, the place is now called “God’s own garden”.

The setting is also unique: lush, and so well-cared for, tourists across India visit to marvel at the lack of trash. With fines assessed for littering, residents take care of their own trash. All the residents of Mawlynnong can read and write, and their homes have a toilet.

The girls and young women of Mawlynnong attracted the attention of Berlin-based photographer Karolin Klüppel, who originally travelled to Mawlynnong to study these eco-friendly habits among the people. Last year, the German photographer traveled there to photograph the girls of the village in their homes and outdoors. In her series “Mädchenland,” or “girl-land,” Klüppel shows her subjects in classically girlish poses. She did this to highlight how adult they actually are.

In a statement sent to HuffPost, Küppel describes the inverse at play as “a completely opposite impression… namely a certain elevation of the girls above childhood, a strong self-awareness and pronounced air of self-sufficiency.”

At a very young age the children take over the responsibilities of their mother and before they turn eight they do the household chores and care for younger siblings,” she says. “Although this might seem like a limitation of childhood, I’ve never met happier or more self-confident children than in Mawlynnong.”. .

Mawlynnong, though, is a safe haven for girls, who attend the village school until the age of 11 or 12, at which age they go to stay with relatives in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, to continue their studies. After that, they decide whether to attend university or return to the village.


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India's Mata Amritanandamayi American Tour Ready To Roll | Digitizing Jewish History | Returning to AOC Roots

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

India’s Mata Amritanandamayi by Marvin Orellana for The New York TimesIndia’s hugging Amma

The comments connected to Amma’s Multifaceted Empire, Built on Hugs are as interesting as Jake Halpern’s story about India’s 59-year-old Indian guru Mata Amritanandamayi,  known simply as Amma, or “mother.” I’d say that sister Simone and Nuns on the Bus has some serious competition when Amma hits the road on Friday, launching a two-month North American tour accompanied by 275 volunteers. They will ride across the continent from Bellevue, Wash., to Marlborough, Mass with stops in 11 cities, including New York.

It’s said that Amma has performed many miracles, but the greatest one of all is Amritapuri, an ashram so vast that it resembles a small metropolis, one where everything actually works as designed.

While the article is even-handed and generally positive, it does discuss the fact that Amma’s finances aren’t public. However, there has never been a taint of scandal — at least not referenced here — and the comments about this woman are quite extraordinary.

Asked how she manages such an incredible pace, Amma answers, “I am connected to the eternal energy source, so I am not like a battery that gets used up.”

“The guru was someone to be awed,” says Karen Pechilis, an expert in female gurus who teaches comparative religion at Drew University in Madison, N.J. “You stand back, you keep your distance, and you are dazzled.” Gurus weren’t big on snuggling, hugging and holding tight millions of people worldwide.

Digitizing Jewish History

Roni Shweka, left, and his father, Yaacov Choueka, displaying a computerized fragment, one of about 100,000 collected over 1,000 years, that document Jewish life along the Mediterranean. Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

The idea is to digitally cross-reference more than 100,000 document fragments that represent a tapestry of Jewish life over 1,000 years in the Mediterranean region. Relying not on memory but on sophisticated computing to match up pieces of the Cairo genizah and its works of the rabbinical scholar Maimonidea, parts of Torah scrolls and prayer books, reams of poetry, personal letters, contracts, and court documents, the project will become a powerful tool for research.

The genizah project, writes the New York Times, is part of a growing movement to unleash advanced technology in the humanities. It covers a period of time from the ninth century to the 19th.

“The 320,000 pages and parts of pages — in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Judeo-Arabic (Arabic transliterated into Hebrew letters) — were scattered in 67 libraries and private collections around the world, only a fraction of them collated and cataloged. More than 200 volumes and thousands of academic papers have been published based on the material, most focused on a single fragment or a few. Perhaps 4,000 have been pieced together through a painstaking, expensive, exclusive process that relied a lot on luck.”

The current analysis of possible pairings in disparate documents began May 16 and should be finished around June 25, says the project’s website.

It would be so wonderful if international women’s history could be digitized in similar fashion.

Changes At AOC

Anne Rethinks ‘Flawless’, Third-Tier Male Photographers & Values That Matter AOC Anne’s Blog

How fitting that as I sit down to grab time to talk to readers — asking myself what visuals will I use — that I discover these luscious images of Victoria’s Secret Angels Candice Swanepoel and Doutzen Kroes in the new Flawless campaign.

The golden hues of the images remind me of a G5 flight to Paris years ago with three other VS executives — all women. I sat sipping scotch on the rocks, looking down into the Atlantic asking myself how the girl from Minnesota, who used to call the NYPD when she found drunks lying on the streets of New York found herself flying in this gorgeous jet across the Atlantic, listening to a conversation about gold water faucets.

When the jet landed at Paris Le Bourget Airport, our flight met by my regular driver who took us to our regular luxury hotel, I knew that I was leaving my job as fashion director of Victoria’s Secret to return to subjects that matter deeply to me.

After all, ‘flawless’ is not a word in my vocabulary, and I consider it to be one of the most debilitating words to women’s psyches used in the fashion and beauty industries.

You know how a guy will often say anything just to get you to go to bed with him? That can be the case with bloggers and male fashion photographers wanting exposure of a nonsexual nature — and Catholic brothers, too, in my case. Read on for an explanation of my return to values that matter.


Eden Foods Files Suit Against Contraception Mandate, Citing Birth Control As Immoral | G8 Takes On Rape As War Crime

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Eden Foods Says Contraception Is Murder & Immoral

Salon drops the bombshell that Eden Foods CEO and founder, Michael Potter, is seeking in court to deny employees the right to contraception as part of Obamacare. Potter objects to contraception and argues that the contraception mandate violates his rights under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Eden Foods also supports personhood amendments, believing that the rights of a fertilized egg are equal to those of the breast-feeding mom with three kids and an adoring husband who is eating those chips. Eden also believes de facto that this same woman should die in a Catholic hospital emergency room, rather than save her life — if such action could possibly harm her zygote or embryo. Salon continues:

Eden Foods, which did not respond to a request for comment, says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that “these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” The complaint also says that “Plaintiffs believe that Plan B and ‘ella’ can cause the death of the embryo, which is a person.” (Studies show that neither Plan B nor Ella interfere with fertilization, which is the Catholic definition of the beginning of life, if not the medical one. In other words, not the death of an embryo. Also, at that stage, it’s a zygote, not an embryo — let alone a “person.”) The filing also said that “Plaintiff Eden Foods’ products, methods, and accomplishments are described by critics as: tasteful, nutritious, wholesome, principled, unrivaled, nurturing, pure.”

Under no circumstances will Eden Foods ever work its way into my kitchen again — and I’ve bought plenty of their products over the years. ~ Anne

G8 Acts on Rape in War

Hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who invited humanitarian Angelina Jolie to join the G8 ministers at today’s meeting in London, the ministers agreed to set up an international framework for investigating and prosecuting rape” while making no provisions for amnesties ever for sexual violence in peace treaties. 

Hague called the use of rape as a war tactic “the slave trade of our generation.”

Jolie, who is the UN special envoy for refugees, was joined by the the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura.

Hague and Jolie announced a USD 35.4 million international agreement for action against sexual violence in war zone. 

“Our goal must be a world in which it is inconceivable that thousands of women, children and men can be raped in the course of a conflict, because an international framework of deterrence and accountability makes it impossible,” Hague told his fellow G8 foreign ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US in the run-up to the annual summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland in June.

Shocking Anti-Rape Bra

Three Indian engineering students led by Manisha Mohan, an engineering student at SRM University in Chennai, have developed ‘anti-rape’ lingerie in response to the brutal gang rape in Delhi. Mohan calls the bra SHE ‘Society Harnessing Equipment’.  

The garments are wired with pressure sensors and equipped with an “electric-shock circuit board” which delivers up to 82 shocks when the garments detect unwanted force. Using a GPS system, the lingerie is also designed to send an alert to parents or police. 

The students say that the inside of the garments are insulated with polymer — with a circuit placed near the bosom “because in the attempt of rape or roadside-eve-teasing, as per survey, women are attacked first on their bosom.”

A website for the project reveals what looks like what looks like a white nightgown with wiring between the breasts. Mohan cited India’s recent Delhi and Bangalore rape tragedies as inspirations for the development of the product.

Mohan explains that a woman can switch on an electric switch attached to the waist of the garment when she feels she is in potential danger. “When I know that there is no harm, I switch it off,” Mohan says. “But when I’m moving out of my office late at night, I could turn it on.” When the garment is in “on” mode, the sensors would be able to detect force from pinching or squeezing and unleash the shock, writes The Daily Beast.

In a related story, Forbes magazine writes ‘The Culture of Rape’ and a Smart Phone App: Activism Meets Technology in India

Created by a team led by Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman, whose 2009 film The Line plumbed the controversial areas of sexuality and consent, debuted the Circle of 6 app in the United States last year 

“Basically, we saw the number of downloads in India increase by 1,000 percent after the gang rape in New Delhi – making India the No. 2 spot outside the U.S. for downloads,” said Schwartzman. “We were motivated to translate to Hindi and find the best on the ground resources in New Delhi we could find for women in need.”