Tag Archives: feministe

All-American Muslim, profit and representation of Islam

Several prominent US businesses have withdrawn advertising from the television show All-American Muslims.  They were pressured by right wing anti-Muslim groups who believe the show humanizes humans.

Well dang.

Here is Edward Said explaining the early days when there were only a few dozen so-called-experts who exploited the moral panic over Islam to earn money.

There’s a whole group of these people, numbering thirty or forty, who are trundled out whenever there’s a crisis, a hostage crisis, a hijacking, a massacre of some sort or another, to demonstrate the necessary connection between Islam, Arab culture and the Arab character, as it’s sometimes referred to, or the Islamic character and random violence.  To my mind, the great misfortune is that these Orientalists whose role is to understand, to interpret the culture of Islam and the Arabs, and it’s a culture from which they earn their living, and in fact have no sympathy with it.  They deal with it from an adversarial and oppositional position.

– Said & Barsamian The Pen and the Sword 1994 p.27-28

Thanks to Feministe we get a list of the cowardly businesses who bowed to pressure.

Anyway, the companies who pulled their ads include Lowe’s, Bank of America, the Campbell Soup Co., Dell, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Goodyear, Green Mountain Coffee, McDonalds, Sears, and Wal-Mart. So many don’t give your money to those companies this holiday season? Or call Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock at (704) 758-2084 or Executive Support Mr. Andrew Kilby at (866) 900-4650 and let them know what you think about this decision (keep it respectful, please).

via Ads pulled from All-American Muslim — Feministe.

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Filed under academics, colonialism, representation

Femonomics on forced sterilization

I am appreciative of the thoughtful engagement given to a doctor who brags about sterilizing an Tanzanian woman while saving her life during childbirth.  I first read about  it on Feministe, but followed the original authors back to a new intellectual hotspot: Femonomics. Check out my favorite two paragraphs:

No matter how benign this paternalism masquerading as benevolence might sound, forced sterilization is a crime that is committed against women (and sometimes men, such as in Indira Ghandi’s India), stripping them of free agency and human dignity. Patients get to decide what medical procedures are performed on them for a variety of reasons. They get to decide because there is no medical procedure that does not have risks as well as benefits, no matter how enormous the benefits or how small the risks. They get to decide because lots of things that doctors used to think were really good (e.g., hormone replacement therapy) are sometimes really bad. They get to decide because what makes sense for one person may not make sense for someone else. Fully informed consent, where someone is told of the risks and benefits of a procedure, and allowed to make their own, non-coerced, lucid decision, is one of the hallmarks of ethical medical care.

In the case of sterilization specifically, the stakes can be incredibly high. For some women, being able to produce children may be their guarantee of economic security. If they stop producing, their husband may seek another wife, and cut off spousal support. In Zambia, infertile women have told of being divorced and treated as a burden by their community. In South Asia, failure to produce children has been offered up as one predicator of bride burning. In an environment where women lack access to many conventional forms of capital, their ability to produce something valued by society in the form of children may be vital to their physical and economic security.

via femonomics: Involuntary Sterilization, Cowboy Doctors, and the West in Africa.

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Filed under colonialism, feminism, health, human rights

Dumb arguments about breastfeeding

Just to speed  up your life, Feministe has outlined the more idiotic arguments against public breastfeeding.

Here are the tired, stretched-out, armpit-stained arguments that won’t fly:

1. Breastfeeding is comparable to pooping. One is food at the beginning, the other is food at the end. One has everything the body needs, the other is everything the body has decided it doesn’t need. Changing a diaper != breastfeeding. (Also, public sex != breastfeeding.)

2. Breasts are sexytime. For some people, necks and knees and earlobes are just as erogenous as breasts, and yet we’re allowed to walk around in shorts and boatneck tops. And unlike the aforementioned body parts, breasts can be used to feed people.

3. Breastfeeding is a private, intimate moment between mother and baby. And dinner is a private, intimate moment between me and my cheeseburger. Breastfeeding = hungry baby + accommodating, lactating woman. Which is not to say that breastfeeding isn’t intimate–and natural and beautiful, too–but it’s also functional.

4. Breastfeeding should take place in bathrooms. Generally, private, intimate moments in public restrooms are frowned upon (and that’s a mistake you only make once–sorry again, Georgia Dome!), but apparently it is appropriate to feed a helpless infant in a place where people are pooping.

5. Moms can always pump or use formula. Not every woman can pump, not every baby will take a bottle, and even then trying to schedule the pumping and the feeding and the toting of perishable bodily fluids can be a hassle.

6. Ew, I don’t want to see that. Yeah? Well, I don’t want to see your FACE.

via Extreme Debate Makeover: Public breastfeeding edition — Feministe.

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Filed under communication, feminism, human rights