Monday, July 28, 2014

Cross-pollination

We're just meandering around
Trying to forget the old conditioning
Offering up parcels of innovation
For each other to refine

It's taking a ridiculous amount of time for women to shine








Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Global empathising

These days I receive tweets from Cairo about Gaza, Facebook posts from North Carolina about the Bay Area, read the blog of a mixed race, Jewish Londoner about the reception to her book worldwide, exchange emails with a Sydneysider who wants to help communities in Cuba and Venezuela, and much more. I'm inundated with information about world events. Sometimes they're underwhelming, leaving me to wonder why the perspective I've been exposed to isn't as deep as I'd like. Sometimes they're overpowering, and I need some time to digest the narratives they bring to my attention.
As long as it's in English (or Bulgarian, but let's face it, that hardly ever happens), I can access the story. It's easiest to relate to the narratives of the nations I've already visited, but that doesn't stop me from immersing myself in the politics of other places at will. I enjoy having much to learn - I constantly thirst for information.
Through my engagement with a fellow traveller (an American with a love of Asia and Europe) I found out about a small village in Italy where I could perhaps set up a non-conceptual home in the future. I would be following her example and adding to a small but artsy expat community. Or perhaps a more alluring narrative will reorient me to another place. You never know.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Supporting the End of FGM

Have you heard of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)? This is a common practice in Africa and sometimes happens overseas when Africans immigrate as well. It has been practiced for about 5000 years, and it's supposed to bring purity to the girls, to mark their journey into adulthood, to prevent them from being promiscuous (or even sex workers) and, according to some people, to stop the clitoris from growing in size until it becomes like the penis. These beliefs are all based in ignorance, and the action can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
I've heard it described as the most intimate kind of betrayal - when the females of your family hold you down and proceed to tear off your clitoris using a knife. On many occasions knives are hard to get hold of and the ones that are used are rusty. On many occasions the woman doing the "circumcising" cut off more than the clitoris, leaving girls incontinent or worse. Not only is this a traumatic experience on an emotional level, it can leave behind lifelong pain and problems with menstruation (to name but one example). It's no surprise, then, that FGM has been categorised as a Human Rights abuse.
What can we do to stop it? If you're in Australia, you can Like or follow No FGM Australia on Facebook or Twitter, or even email them to ask how you can help. They'll be happy to get back to you. If you are located elsewhere, just search for your local anti-FGM organisation online.
Why does this issue affect Westerners? Because many immigrants bring their pro-FGM mindsets with them, and this can lead to young girls being taken back to their parents' country of origin for 'holidays' where they are taken to special places and forced to undergo the procedure. These are the young girls that move freely among us, and we should do whatever we can to protect them.
In the light of the grave medical consequences of FGM, it may seem like a minor issue that without the clitoris a girl or a woman loses one of the most potent sources of orgasm and sexual pleasure, but this is the saddening effect of all of these procedures. I want to live and love in a world where women's right to an orgasm is never seen as a threat, and is honoured by leaving their vaginas intact.
So get educated, get active, and get behind the modern grassroots movement to educate Africans (especially those in the country, and the nations which don't have a law against FGM yet) - African women are going out into their worlds and spreading the message that the end of FGM doesn't mean the loss of all African customs and traditions, that the women who currently perform the rituals can earn money doing other things, and that FGM has no benefits and many (huge!) drawbacks.