30 November 2012

#IPPF60 in numbers



Ever wondered how much does IPPF actually does around the globe? Watch and get educated.
And surprised, and proud.

Happy birthday IPPF!

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Rent (2005)

#inspirational movies 

While marking a World AIDS Day in the calendar again tomorrow, putting your red ribbon on (though we hope you raise HIV/AIDS awareness all the other days of the year too) and going to do some activism...

We suggest you combine the useful with the entertaining and turn to Rent (2005) for this week's inspiration. This is a screen version of a ground-breaking Broadway musical, adaptation of the Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème, that was the first musical that was explicitly - and in a normalizing way - featuring bisexuality, homosexuality, transsexuality, sex work, the urbane HIV/AIDS crisis, drug use... not your classical fluffy musical!

On the other hand, it's still very scenic, very melodic, very romantic, very musical, really, and, yes, inspirational too.

And reminding that HIV/AIDS is not what it once was provided that you have access to treatment.

28 November 2012

IPPF ♥ for #IPPF60



"IPPF started its journey in 1952, when 8 family planning associations joined together to fight for a cause.
60 years later and the organization is nearly 20 times larger. It works in 172 countries, delivers millions of services all over the world. And drives major changes in global policy.
Together, IPPF’s family makes up the largest sexual and reproductive health and rights organization in the world. None of this would have been achieved without the untiring efforts of IPPF’s staff and volunteers, and our partners in government, civil society and business.
There is so much the Federation can be proud of: it continues to improve the health of millions by contributing to health systems strengthening around the world. It provides services where no government facilities exist, it trains health workers, reacts rapidly in emergency situations and provides expertise that others can learn from."

This is the cake that IPPF Western Hemisphere Region enjoyed!

23 November 2012

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Stealing Beauty (1996)


There are lot of bad news going on lately... Go, Google Savita Halappanavar, Tonio Borg, Malala Yousufzai... Google Operation Pillar of Defense... sometimes it hurts so much to read the news.

So, although there is quite a lot of socially critical and tough movies we have prepared in our "feministing / SRHR" filmlist, this week our offer is that you go soft and kind on yourself. Some self-care, you know.

Stealing Beauty (1996) is a poorly recognized feature Bernardo Bertolucci. A sweet, sensual coming-of-age story set in an eccentric social circle/family and filmed in Tuscany (go, now Google "Tuscany" for a change). Featuring a very young Liv Tyler discovering smaller and bigger pleasures, autonomy and authenticity.

A very nice way to say goodbye to this November-November...


20 November 2012

WSYA Power 2 Women: GotStared.at / Saransh

As you should know by now, I ♥ Being a Girl received one of the 2012 World Summit Youth Awards. The award showcases the best ICT solutions made by young people that moves us closer to achieving the MDGs. Ours is - obviously - in the category Power to Women.

As we are far from being the only ones doing things around gender via the internets and such, here you have some more:   

Saransh Dua, @SaranshDua and GotStared.At

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and traveling.

GotStared.At has grown a lot as a campaign in terms of the core idea behind the movement. Now it is a movement that aims to create a counter culture amongst the people in our society where respecting the other gender would be considered cool.

Over history it has been realized that certain trends tend to catch the fancy of the common man. AIDS awareness, education for the poor, green energies, etc. are examples of causes which, obviously being quite relevant, managed to gain wide spread public support in India when compared to many other pertinent issues as well. We aim to create something similar with the idea of gender as the central theme.

For too long the idea of gender debates, discussions have been a talk amongst the elitist in India. This needs to be converted into a discussion amongst the masses and we aim to do just that. We are all about simplification of complex issues which the public tend to shy away from discussing simply because of the jargon used in the messages sent to the public or the fact that in the age of twitter and face book people tend to be drawn more towards graphic driven content. We create posters and other visualizations portraying complex issues in the common mans parlance. The result of this is that rather than people tuning into what maybe a few experts have to say, to tune into what their community has to say and engage with them on the online platforms provided by us.

The idea behind #itsnotherfault came out at a time when most of the public in India was extremely hassled over the widespread assumptions that the girls who were getting molested on the street of India were the ones who were asking for it. This meant that the short clothes and bar hopping lifestyles were causing a rise in the “testosterone” levels of the Indian male and the poor guys had no option but to sexually harass the women as she was apparently “asking for it”.

So the site GotStared.At was initially developed by Dhruv as a place to come in and post what they were wearing while they were harassed. This led to a tremendous amount of virality as it was tackling a very pertinent issue of victim bashing as described above.
People from all over the world started posting pictures of the clothes that they were wearing when harassed and the flow of entries still hasn’t stopped as everyday there is more proof of the fact that no matter where you are, the only thing that will cause the harassment is the perpetrator and his intentions and nothing else.

The world would be a better place if everybody would:
  - See something new every week.
  - Listen to The Beatles, Pink Floyd and the list goes on...
  - Read The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Poor Economics, Think, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
  - Try being genuine and humane.

Before I'm 80, I'd like to... travel the world.

19 November 2012

Let the bodies be!

Yes, somehow we have ended up speaking about the Dove campaigns again...

Stumbled across a post in BBC News called Five photos that sparked body image debates. Fair enough. The message? The usual one. Do what you want people will never like actual bodies. The bodies not being allowed to be what they actually are - vehicles. Very diverse vehicles if you look for differences. And very similar vehicles if you compare them to anything else. Facts of life.

They have to be about something else. Like, sexualization of the pregnant. Or being too fat, too thin, too short, too hairy... blah, blah, blah.

Mind that the only male among the 5 cases reviewed is a person with disability that took the Body for Life challenge and ended up with a body many people did not believed to be real.

All the women featured have suffered media-storms of not being perfect enough (as they say, "only decades earlier maternity dresses tended to sport large bows at the neck to direct attention away from the baby bump - and the mother's femininity"; no the naked pregnant famous lady photos were not normal before 1991).

It's about being too real. Too exposed. Too vulnerable.

And, yes, the story is about media and fashion industry as those are cases of outrages about people with public female bodies. As Demi Moore. As Lizzie Miller. As Isabelle Caro. And not yet touching the question how that spirit of body-watch, that constant scrutiny affects all of us.

While it's perfectly fine to take pictures while you are pregnant. While we are happy about every model that have some body fat (although it's unclear why they are specially marked as +models). And while anorexia might certainly be a dangerous and very painful thing to deal with.

...it is not OK to police bodies.

18 November 2012

IPPF ♥ - YSAFE SC - Thomas

Name: Thomas Goyvaerts, member of the YSAFE Steering Committee.

I enjoy taking challenges, traveling and going out with friends.

I became aware by being active in the social circuit since I was 15. Every opportunity or challenge I faced helped me grow and helped me get more aware about all kinds of social topics that were now to me. For example, right now I'm doing an internship with male sex workers, something I recently learned about and immediately wanted to know some more.

I joined my IPPF Member Association, Sensoa, because to me it was one step up in the whole social staircase; I tend to travel a lot between organizations so to learn and grow even more.

The world would be a better place if everybody would:
   - See a starry midnight sky in the mountains to make you feel small, the view from a high mountaintop to make you feel big and the look of love in that one special person's eyes just so you really know how special you are. If you can do this and be happy with yourself, you can face any storm.
  - Listen Everybody's free to wear sunscreen by Baz Luhrman.
  - Read the stuff you wrote when you were young; love letters, diaries, school reports, cards, letters... So you can see how you've grown, see what possibilities you had but didn't know about and realize that you still have so many possibilities right now that you don't know about.
  - Try many new directions, and if they don't turn out to be like you wanted then at least you made one step in the right direction.

Before I'm 80 I want to have traveled a lot, I want to be able to say that I found true love (even if I lost it by then) & I want to be proud of who I am and stick by it for the rest of my life.

16 November 2012

Poetry time: For the Men Who Still Don't Get It

Sunday Afternoon on White Crest Beach (1984) by Carol Diehl

"What if all women were bigger and stronger than you?
And thought they were smarter?
What if women were the ones who started wars?
What if too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos and no K-Y Jelly?
What if the state trooper who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike was a woman and carried a gun?
What if the ability to menstruate was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs?
What if your attractiveness to women depended on the size of your penis?
What if every time women saw you they'd hoot and make jerking motions with their hands?
What if women were always making jokes about how ugly penises are and how bad sperm tastes?
What if you had to explain what's wrong with your car to big sweaty women with greasy hands who stared at your crotch in a garage where you are surrounded by posters of naked men with hard-ons?
What if men's magazines featured cover photos of 14-year-old boys with socks tucked into the front of their jeans and articles like: "How to tell if your wife is unfaithful" or "What your doctor won't tell you about your prostate" or "The truth about impotence"?
What if the doctor who examined your prostate was a woman and called you "Honey"?
What if You had to inhale your boss's stale cigar breath as she insisted that sleeping with her was part of the job?
What if You couldn't get away because the company dress code required you wear shoes designed to keep you from running?
And what if after all that women still wanted you to love them?"
For the Men Who Still Don't Get It by Carol Diehl (1, 2)

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Kinsey (2004)

A shout-out to our dedication to comprehensive sexuality education, here we go with a feature film about Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956), the entomologist turned sexologist that opened eyes in USA regarding what people do with their sexualities and the great diversity that exists in human sexual behavior (yes, even in places where sex is claimed to be sinful and desire - always heterosexual!).

Kinsey (2004, Bill Condon) establishes a link between personal struggles and what becomes a vocation to a man who changed his scientific interest from gall wasps to human sexual behavior in the USA of 1940's and 1950's. 

A reminder that the work of an activist / expert / researcher might not be all that rosy, especially if it's something new, even revolutionary that she is doing.
And that - despite oppositions and people afraid to stand with you - it is worth to follow what you (and the Scientific Method) find to be the right thing to do!

14 November 2012

Right to Education: Bibliophilia!


Following up with the Malala initiative, here we have girls reading in Spain and in Slovakia.

And some of this seems to be a clear dedication to Naomi Wolf's Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood (or a Secret History of Female Desire) (1998).

Keep reading!

11 November 2012

Inspirational (short) movie: Gordita (2009)

"GORDITA is an HD short film about a young, plus size Latina who reconnects with her lost confidence through the help of a cassette tape she recorded as a sassy, booty-shakin’ teen in 1994.
We all have moments of self doubt and depression, but sometimes remembering who we were before the pressures of adulthood consumed us helps us get out of our funk and realize our full potential."
Here we are back to talking about bodies and how to inhabit them. This time, a short and very moving gem that brings together the intersectionalities of body expectations and race, culture, class. 

More info here.

10 November 2012

Right to Eduaction: Malala


We have been talking about education and books before but this is different.

Suddenly EVERYBODY is concerned about the fact that so many girls in the world are out of school. Aha, much more girls than boys. And you know, if both Madonna and the UN Secretary General are talking about the same issue at the same time, it's important.

And the reason is a girl. Malala Yousufzai (and bunch of Talibans but they are the really-really bad guys in the story) is the reason. And so is her resilience.

We are celebrating her and all the activists fighting for access to education. And we are doing this by joining the #girlwithabook initiative.

Intimate bibliophile portraits of you and some books can be a part of the movement for Universal Access to Education.
Get your camera and your favorite book... 3, 2, 1, say "Malala"! 

Source: @Half

09 November 2012

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Dirty Dancing (1987)

Yes, you are allowed to be surprised. Dirty Dancing (1987, Emile Ardolino) might seem to be the close-to-last movie when it comes to empowerment if you haven't really stopped to think about it. Yes, it is about the very sexist dancing industry that teaches you how to bend your wrists in a feminine way. And, yes, it is the all over good-girl-falling-for-the-bad-guy story. Sort of.

But then again, it is a story of a young woman breaking away from the taught perfection of being the ideal daughter and decides to grow up. By doing things. By daring. By challenging her parents and other authority figures. By dancing. By learning to live with her body. By having sex with a man she wants to and doing it on her own terms. That is a whole lot of things.

Also, there are subplots of class conflicts, on the importance of intergenerational communication, on the importance of the access to safe and legal abortion, on how complex (and counterproductive) is to - contrary to what Baby does - to try to use sex and virginities as means to maintain somebody's attention/affection...

+ The soundtrack is really cute. Go, download it from the internets!

And if it's not enough for you, read a whole essay on the topic by Melissa McEwan in the Guardian: Dirty Dancing, Feminist Masterpiece.

Now, think again while we dance away.


04 November 2012

WSYA Power 2 Women: React & Change / Renato

As you should know by now, I ♥ Being a Girl received one of the 2012 World Summit Youth Awards. The award showcases the best ICT solutions made by young people that moves us closer to achieving the MDGs. Ours is - obviously - in the category Power to Women.
As we are far from being the only ones doing things around gender via the internets and such, here you have some more:   

Name: Renato Dornelas, @renato0dornelas
React and Change, @React_n_Change

I enjoy traveling, photographing, and talking.

I am the Head of International Affairs of React & Change. Basically, it is an online-driven, youth-led, non-profit organization committed to activating youth to combat gender inequality and its derivates, such as bullying, unemployment, violence against women, racism and poverty by educating and empowering youth through social entrepreneurship, leadership skills and advocacy.

We hold a diverse of events across the country, gathering young leaders, social entrepreneurs and community activists from all 26 states of Brazil for high-level trainings, free of any costs, in order to share best practices, educate about and learn how to end and approach gender inequality effectively.

I began to work with React & Change because of a desire to take action against domestic violence statutes in Brazil that had forced a member of my family to remain in an abusive relationship for five years because domestic violence is considered a "private" rather than state matter, and thus not grounds for divorce. This personal tragedy empowered me and helped me to discover how I can make an impact on the world.

Our website and social media work as main tools to spread the information from the forums for people who could not attend the event, as well as it works as an interactive platform for young people to share ideas and discuss gender-based issues.

The world would be a better place if everybody would:
- see Oklahoma! (1955, 1999), it's lovely,
- listen Change the Sheets by Kathleen Edwards,
- read =DLe Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
- practice Taekwondo!

I only have short-term plans, but before 80 I'd like to speak at least 6 different languages and have visited all my friends around the world!

02 November 2012

WSYA Power 2 Women: Moraba / Mxolisi

As you should know by now, I ♥ Being a Girl received one of the 2012 World Summit Youth Awards. The award showcases the best ICT solutions made by young people that moves us closer to achieving the MDGs. Ours is - obviously - in the category Power to Women.
As we are far from being the only ones doing things around gender via the internets and such, here you have some more:   

Name: Mxolisi Xaba, Moraba, @afroesgames

I enjoy football, contemplative and introspective conversations, and being in the field taking social messages to youth challenging them to interrogate the choices they make for themselves.

Moraba came around because there was a need to begin to address young boys who were inheriting and receiving false messages and definitions around how to relate to their female counterparts. We were conscious that, although we wanted to address young boys with our intervention, we also did not want to make it exclusive to them because the most important attribute of our application is the fact that girls have a space in what is incorrectly considered a a male domain (gaming) to challenge these misconceptions through game play around issues of equality, forms of abuse, expectations in relationships, consequences of abuse, rights and responsibilities of persons. What we subsequently found after users engaged Moraba was that Moraba provided a platform for youth to engage each other on issues and questions they had regarding their gender roles. 

Moraba Gender Game from Phil G on Vimeo.
You can download the game here!

Listening to the music of Basement Jaxx vs Metropole Orkest, Buena Vista Social Club and Ladysmith Black Mamabazo would make the world a better place.
So would reading the Bible, selected speeches of Marcus Garvey and a Biography of Yourself.
And watching the movie I don't ... a movement (1, 2) by Thuli Thabethe and Nonkuleko Ndlovu.
Trying to say nothing (keeping quiet, you know) for a week would do, too.

Before I'm 80 I would like to forgive those who have hurt me and be forgiven by those I have hurt.

Body image, again... (the topic that never gets old in Patriarchy)

Since very young age...

Surrounding us everywhere...

Affecting all of us, all the time... unless we rebel against it!

Although these are Dove ads and a submission for the Dove Fund, the conversation on bodies and how we inhabit them is relevant. Refuse to chip into the "I hate myself so much" bla-bla!

Think about the relationship you have with your body.
Read about it*! Get inspired!  
Organize a Tea Party and talk about it. 
Eat cake and love every bite of it! 

* Some reading matter on bodies (there's a gazillion out there, happy reading!):

01 November 2012

The double shift: Are women made of cast-iron?

"As they passed the rows of houses they saw through the open doors that men were sweeping and dusting and washing dishes, while the women sat around in groups, gossiping and laughing.

'What has happened?' the Scarecrow asked a sad-looking man with a bushy beard, who wore an apron and was wheeling a baby carriage along the sidewalk.

'Why, we've had a revolution, your Majesty -- as you ought to know very well,' replied the man; 'and since you went away the women have been running things to suit themselves. I'm glad you have decided to come back and restore order, for doing housework and minding the children is wearing out the strength of every man in the Emerald City.'

'Hm!' said the Scarecrow, thoughtfully. 'If it is such hard work as you say, how did the women manage it so easily?'

I really do not know,' replied the man, with a deep sigh. 'Perhaps the women are made of cast-iron."