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Entries in women's rights (99)

Tuesday
Jun112013

Italy's Conflicted Soul: In This Sensually Rich Country, Violence Against Women Rises

Photographer Szymon Brodziak shoots a visually delicious, mysterious spy story for Martini Cava in Rome. Ironically, in this AOC feature that links one of the most sensual countries in the world with its severe problem with violence against women, everyone is mentioned in the credits but the models.

Born in 1979 in Poland, Brodziak shoots only in black and white.

Violence Against Italian Women

Many women were horrified to read in May that acid attacks against women are escalating in Italy. It seems a total contradiction in reality that a country so drenched in sensual beauty and authentic joie de vivre Italian style leads the European continent in violence against women. 

The rise in assaults against Italian women in which they are murdered by their lovers in acts of jealousy causes particular concern. One of the latest victims was a 15-year-old girl beaten, stabbed 20 times and then burned alive, allegedly by her boyfriend who has confessed.

It’s said that Fabiana Luzzi bled for two hours in the southern town of Corigliano Calabro, when her jealous boyfriend returned with a tank of gas. The young woman tried to fight him off when “he doused her with fuel and set her afire.”

A recent UN Report says that homicides against men have fallen in Italy, as violence rises against women. Author of the report Rashida Manjoo says  that 78 percent of all violence against women in Italy is domestic in nature, with one third of Italian women reporting facing physical or sexual violence during their lifetimes. It’s believed those numbers are underreported.

Even on television, Italian women keep their mouths shut. Manjoo cited studies that found that 53 percent of women appearing on television in Italy didn’t speak, while 46 percent of them “were associated with issues such as sex, fashion and beauty, and only 2 percent issues of social commitment and professionalism.”

Italy Ratifies Istanbul Convention

On June 7 Lithuania signed the Council of Europe Convention dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Called the Istanbul Convention, the initiative was introduced in May 2011 and has been ratified by only five other states — Albania, Montenegro, Portugal, Turkey and most recently Italy.

It’s not clear how many delays in ratification are cultural versus institutional. New Europe reports:

“For example, the convention requires a free national telephone hotline for victims of domestic violence. In an interview this month, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told the French press that – starting next year – such a nation-wide telephone hotline would be made available. France is among the 25 states which have signed, but not yet ratified the convention.”

In its essence, the Istanbul Treaty says that domestic violence is not a private matter, that states have an obligation to prevent violence, protect victims and punish the perpetrators.

Like the recently passed UN Treaty to protect women, opposed by the Vatican, fundamenalist Islamists including the Muslim Brotherhood, the treaty bans cultural customs based on religion and ‘honour crimes’. In fact, the Vatican led activity at the March UN Summit, trying to defeat the measure.

Religious Bodies

Satan, Yoga & Fashion Monasticism Challenge Our Embrace of Body & Self? Questions Worth Considering Anne’s Blog

I was rather shocked to read that yoga is considered the work of the devil. Sure enough, former Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says that yoga — along with Harry Potter — are the tools of the devil. And retired Pope Benedict has warned that yoga “can degenerate into a cult of the body.” Bottom line, in the case of Christianity, ambivalence about having a healthy relationship with one’s body and sexuality are a daily struggle.

 

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Thursday
Apr252013

Anne Slams Kylie Bisutti As Agent Of Women's Oppression In Her Message That Women Must Cover Up & Be Modest

British Vogue appears to be dailing for page views today, with their headline Former Angel Slams Victoria’s Secret. Thinking I would be reading about a real Victoria’s Secret Angel, I ran into the self-serving, highly-promotional, born again Kylie Bisutti who “has clarified the reasons why she quit as one of the faces of Victoria’s Secet.”

There is no clarification because we read this story before.

“That’s when it hit me,” she recalled. “I was being paid to strip down and pose provocatively to titillate men. It wasn’t about modelling clothes anymore; I felt like a piece of meat. The next day, I broke down and started sobbing. I was in my bedroom and dropped to my knees and started to pray, saying: ‘God, why did you have me win the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition if it was going to make me feel this way? I’m not honouring my husband. I just want answers!’”

Bisutti — now married and living in Montana — is launching the next version of her public face with a book and clothing line designed with modesty in mind. Today’s women have no trouble covering up if they choose to do so, and I pray she’s not launching a line of burqas. I say that — not because I have a deep-seeded problem with burqas — but because I do have a problem with conservative religions that focus on female modesty.

The women of Egypt are living through this very nightmare as we speak, as the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to reintroduce burqas into public life for Egyptian women. In my long-standing involvement in trying to stop the brutal flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan for not wearing proper clothing, I assure Kylie Bisutti that her message only fuels the global surge of right-wing radicalism that is taking control of the bodies of American women. Think transvaginal ultrasounds; using an IUD is called murder; and the founder of Eden Foods now facing a boycott for suing the Obama Administration over the contraception coverage piece of the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods founder Michael Potter believes that people engaging in birth control are unsavory people performing unnatural acts.

Religion & Women’s Oppression

Jimmy Carter on Religion As Agent of Women’s Oppression

Speech by Jimmy Carter to the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Melbourne, Australia, Dec., 2009

I am pleased to address the Parliament of World Religions about the vital role of religion in providing a foundation for – or correcting – the global scourge of discrimination and violence against women. As will be seen, my remarks represent the personal views of a Christian layman and a former political leader.

There are international agreements as well as our own Holy Scriptures that guide us:

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, origin … or other status …”

The Holy Bible tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

All of us have a responsibility to acknowledge and address the gross acts of discrimination and violence against women that occur every day. Here are some well-known examples: continue

Anne’s Big Fight Ahead

Controlling Women’s Bodies Is A Fight To The Finish

Male-dominated global cultures continue to wrestle with female sexuality. The most repressive forms of Islam are at war with womens’ bodies, throwing head-to-coverage on the female form.

Simutaneously, Western societies, led by the Internet, unveil women’s bodies as never before, rendering us all voyeurs.

Some women do what they are told, having no political or cultural voice in how they are packaged for consumption. Others express their discontent of cultural realities around women’s bodies, making clear that they are ‘good girls’, when others are ‘bad’.

A third group, led by celebrity sensations like Shakira and Angelina Jolie, are using their fame to articulate a holistic essence of womanhood.

Shakira’s vision of woman as ‘she wolf’ outrages some people. But the Smart Sensuality women’s movement is growing culturally in its influence, and Shakira is a strong global voice in articulating this ‘new woman’.

Religions, led by Conservative Islam — but joined by the fundamentalist wings of most large religions — condemn immodesty in women. Just when it seems that we face nothing more than a black hole, a new dialogue is emerging from darkness on two fronts. The Internet dialogue that allows articulate people of diverse cultures to communicate about female sexuality and physicality is making for strange bedfellows. I wrote a life-changing journal essay a few weeks ago about burqas, prompting a rare exchange between Western and Muslim women who choose to veil themselves. (continue right column)

Shortly after that jolt of Internet traffic, I became the lead Western woman’s voice — in terms of expressed Internet support and number of postings — in the Lubna Ahmed Hussein case.

Refocusing my own mind around Khartoum’s intention to flog Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, I confront the reality of the subliminal, global passions that remain about female sexuality.

The very cultures cutting out the female clitoris are huge consumers of Internet porn. I have seen the statistics — no the IP addresses — with my own eyes. A male colleague showed me, and I was astonished. And women are dying because a glimpse of ankle has dishonored the family in these same countries.

Screaming that female sexuality must be contained, men also can’t get enough of it. This is a very dangerous, pathological reality for global women.

In America, Too, Hypocrisy Rules

Just this week I took a look at porn subscriptions in America.

As you might surmise, even in America, the states that yell the loudest about the need for women to ‘cover up’ and control their animalistic urges, sign up monthly in numbers that exceed New York, California and more liberal states — the ones with ‘no morals’.

This is the abyss of hypocrisy threatening women’s lives on a daily basis.

From my perspective, female sexuality is front and center, in the ‘battle for civilization’, even though the fight is clothed in religious identities.

One wonders if there is any light at the end of this tunnel.

As the women of Khartoum yell to the world that they’re not returning to the Dark Ages, and young female converts to Islam in America, Canada and France willingly take up the veil — often against the wishes or recommendations of their husbands and mothers — a strange voice came out of Khartoum the other night.

Roba Givia, a male Sudan Tribune journalist, reflecting on the whipping of women in Khartoum, wrote a superb piece Sudan is still living in an era of Arabs before Islam.

Many Local Sudanese Horrified By Flogging Woman Video Dec. 11, 2010

The horror of flogging in Sudan reared its head this week in a video that’s no less riveting in its inhumanity than the details of Lubna Hussein’s indencency hearings that went on for months in 2009. For new readers at Anne of Carversville, I became very involved in Lubna’s case in the summer of 2009, after being contacted by a loosely-confederated group of concerned men in the region.

My closest ally in that 2009 group returned to Facebook this week and contacted me with the video that frankly causes me nightmares. I have played this video over and over in my head awake and asleep.

There aren’t words to express my revulsion at the administering of ‘justice’ Sudan style to this young woman and the 40,000 more that will probably be flogged in 2010, based on Sudanese court records of 40,000 floggings in 2008.

Nesrine Malik wrote about the flogging for The Guardian today: Sudan’s public order laws are about control, not morality.

After being pulled down repeatedly on YouTube, with complaints coming fast and furious from the believers in flogging episodes like this one, the video is now alive on AOC. It is also on CNN and Al Jazeera, says my friend, although I can’t find it in the international editions.

 

Saturday
Feb092013

Kate Upton Covers Sports Illustrated 2013 | Kate Moss, Lara Stone & Natalia Vodianova in W Magazine March 2013

Lara Stone by Mert & Marcus for W Magazine March 2013

Models.com features this fabulous images from W Magazine’s March 2013 issue, a preview of ‘From East to West’, starring Lara Stone, Kate Moss and Natalia Vodianova, lensed by Mert & Marcus with superb styling by W Fashion & Style Director Edward Enninful. 

W’s Editor in Chief Stefano Tonchi provides context on these cover story images, channeling the great Diana Vreeland with this recollection:

As I was editing the images for the March issue that were hanging on the walls of the W art department, I thought of a quote by the late Diana Vreeland about fashion and the power of the imagination. I had trouble recalling the exact words, so I called my friend Alexander Vreeland, who is working on a book about his grandmother’s famous maxims, and asked for help. I promptly received an e-mail— though I’d like to pretend it was one of Ms. Vreeland’s memos, beamed from the afterworld. “We live only through our dreams and our imagination,” it read. “If it is not there in fashion, fantasize it. Fashion must be the most intoxicating release from the banality of the world.” And so, for this big fashion issue, our team of editors, photographers, writers, stylists, makeup artists, and hairdressers took the most exciting ideas from the runways one step beyond.

Take Note

Anne is reading …

Our girl Kate Upton has landed her second Sports Illustrated cover, fronting the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue going ‘Polar Bare’. One question? Can we agree that Kate’s breasts have been photoshopped to the size of her head??? If we get our the ruler — this is the measurement.

Thankfully, Kate Upton has way more brains than the male fantasies ready to pounce on her sexy pics. This could be a reason why women are poised to outearn men in the future. Read ALL Kate Upton at AOC

From the earliest days of humankind, carvings of ‘Gaia’ and all the goddesses as fecund life bearers covered walls and monuments. In our collective unconscious, perhaps some things never change.

Joining the 2013 Sports Illustrated cast as ‘rookies’ are Emily DiDonato, Hannah Davis, Kate Block and Natasha Barnard. 

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Anne on Facebook

In comment to friend feminist Soraya Chemaly’s BuzzFeed post ‘Dead’ Models in Fashion Ads

Anne took issue with BuzzFeed including the Wrangler’s ‘We Are Animals’ campaign as really bad news. Anne loved it and wrote positively about the campaign by Jeff Burton. This led to conversation about the European campaign being sensationalist, a charge Anne rejected given Europe’s commitment to environmental values and advancing the nature and humanity connections in their public policies.

After saying that American fashion media is pure milk toast and rarely a source of inspiration for serious thinking on Anne of Carversville, Anne wrote in her comment:

“One of the most defining experiences on this topic for me was a MET show at the Costume Exhibit on supermodels a few years ago. When you see American Vogue in the late 60s and 70s, you wouldn’t recognize it.

The imagery was so strong — and yes there was nudity, god forbid! Women were going places and we were smiling, optimistic and powerful in our bodies.

I can’t help but think that a study of the changing images of American Vogue would coincide with the rise of social conservatives against women in America, our collective pursuit of materialism as that which defines us, and this wave of pc behavior coming out of women ourselves.

Maybe it’s pure coincidence that today’s American Vogue and Anna Wintour would be picketed by both sides for showing a nipple and the fact that in Iowa a bill was introduced yesterday making abortion and the morning after pill murder. Or that right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson says our wombs are full of embedded dead babies if we’ve used birth control.

For me, the changing images of American Vogue tell more about the forces against women in America than just about any other visual document that comes to mind. One thing I can say for certain is that Vogue doesn’t offend. They meet all the criteria for not using any shocking visual impact to make a point. God, I wish they did! Because we need some shocking visuals on our side of this war against women.

An American media editorial that does ask probing questions is W Magazine’s February 2013 ‘Heavenly Creatures’.

Connect with Anne on Facebook. Like our Sensuality News fan page. 

Related Reading

Nomi Leasure On Why America Needs An Equal Rights Amendment

Sign Our Petition in Support of an Equal Rights Amendment for American Women

Repressive Societies Prioritize Controlling Women’s Reproduction 

Kate Moss and Natalia Vodianova by Mert & Marcus for W Magazine March 2013