Gender violence

Obama, women and hope

There I sat, five hours after leaving home, sunburned and wind chapped. I was hungry and thirsty and had spoken about engineering and women’s rights and weddings and which city in South Africa was the best. I had travelled thousands of kilometres the day before, and despite the anticipated excitement, at that moment I just…

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Frogs and queens: Crossdressing, spirituality and Feminism (II)

“The moral failing most common to men is brutishness.” So says “Jill” the wife of a crossdresser. “Jill” writes this in the context of having learned – with limitations – to accept her husband’s crossdressing behaviour as outlined in an appendix to Bert & Lori: The autobiography of a crossdresser, written by Robert J Rowe…

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Name and shame?

I got taken to the doctor. He sat opposite me and said exactly nothing, not even hello or how are you. Pale and discomforted, he looked everywhere. And then I saw his cold hand, white shirt cuff, soft beige jersey, slowly pushing one small white tranquiliser halfway across the polished desk. I asked what it…

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I thought I was alone

Today, for the first time ever, I read a short piece about why some women have an orgasm during rape. It included: “Orgasm during rape isn’t an example of an expression of pleasure. It’s an example of a physical response whether the mind’s on board or not, like breathing, sweating, or an adrenaline rush.” You…

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‘Unwanted, dirty’: The ‘fictitious’ gang rape (II)

(Continued from previous blog) Bend, Not Break largely shifts between Ping’s nightmarish childhood and her adult life in the US. In America she grows, step by painful step, into a successful businesswoman in the software industry. Before this, sometime after the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government demanded she leave China. This is because of the…

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‘Unwanted, dirty’ – reading a Chinese woman’s memoir (I)

— Written while recuperating from a broken hand and wrist How everything is already memory. His broken hand cradled, cupped and listened to as its slow bones knit back. The wonder of watching his fingers and palm go through their re-blooming: the fingers learning again to outstretch, then bunch up like an evening blossom that…

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On not just walking past

It’s Sunday. I go to a mall to get some art supplies. It’s an ordinary mall, outdated even, with strange linoleum flooring and an assortment of second-hand stores and haberdasheries. It’s the type of mall your gran goes to for wool, or other assorted items needed when growing older. So imagine my surprise when I…

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Independent women

When I found out that I was pregnant I felt sorely close to falling into the trenches of a “black stereotype”. I already had no man and no job, all I needed was a Standard 8 qualification, a monthly government social grant, a mkhukhu (RDP house still pending), and I would have been well on…

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Beyond the noise: Acting against rape

I am a panellist on SABC2’s Big Debate. The subject is violence against women and the discussions dense with the mismatch of ideas. A sample: Satanism stalks our schools. We live in a demoncrazy — not a democracy. Women who wear 3cm skirts abuse men. Patriarchy is deeply rooted in our lives and thinking. The…

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On sexuality and freedom

“It is not enough to inquire into how women might become more fully represented in language and politics. Feminist critique ought also to understand how the category of ‘women’, the subject of feminism, is produced and restrained by the very structures of power through which emancipation is sought.” Judith Butler: Gender Trouble. At first read,…

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