Category Archives: global

Guest Blogger: Courtney Waugh

While at HWS, I am fortunate enough to live with someone from Vietnam. She is an international student and very knowledgeable about gender differences in both cultures. I was reading for this class and decided to ask what the differences were between American and Vietnamese cultures.

The one comment that sticks with me was about marriage and fertility. In Vietnam, a woman is expected to have children and if she does not have children, the woman will be dishonored. Such traditional values are usually kept in the rural communities however; they are lost in the cities. Vietnam is different in that most families in cities are still traditional. Cities, in Vietnam, are not modern cities and have grown with history and traditional values. In the case of Vietnam, many people in the cities are stricter than people in rural communities. One reason may be that more wealthy families live in the city and work to keep traditional ways for their family’s namesake. In keeping with the traditions, if a couple does not have a baby, it is always the women’s fault. The man is not held accountable. If he is married and problems with infertility arises, there is reason enough to ask for a divorce.

If you are not able to have children, you probably will not be able to get married. The traditions are that both extended families meet together and the mother-in-law pressures the couple to have children. If a women is thirty and not married she is considered an “old maid“ and will probably never get married. She will live either alone or at her parent’s house. If you are not married by age thirty then the society will truly look down upon you and will wonder what is wrong with you.

Along with finding a female partner who can become pregnant and the pressure coming from the mother of the male, there comes another challenge. The mothers of the sons are now pressuring the young men to meet young women before marriage to attempt to get them pregnant. The mothers often brag about their families and grandchildren to other mothers to cause jealousy. Therefore, to avoid a marriage where there will not be any children, the mothers are advising the young men to have premarital sex to try to get the young women pregnant. If the young woman gets pregnant then she should then be married. If the man’s side of the family approves of her and he asks her to get married she would have to. It is almost unheard of 24 or 25 year old to refuse a marriage. This is a quest for females. There is so much pressure from the families and society to get married, especially after age 24 or 25 and before 30 that they would almost have to.

As a young girl, she is taught that a perfect wife has three values. She is advised to be pretty, obedient and less intelligent than her husband is. That is what is expected of her then she has to worry about having children and if she is lucky enough one or both of her children will be male.


Guest Blogger: Stephen Raulli

Puppy Love

I’m an animal lover and devout vegetarian. I think any abuse a person inflicts upon an animal should be inflicted upon them. But, a cynic at heart, I can’t help but notice not only people’s connection to animals, but their disconnect from people.

Think about Independence Day; the scene in the tunnel. Mother and son are safe in the tunnel as a fireball rolls through–but the dog has yet to make it. The audience edges closer to their seats as the dog leaps across cars like a gymnast and land to safety. But–what about the dozens of people who died a fiery death?

Let’s look at perhaps the world’s most heartbreaking commercial:

Many people I know can’t bear to watch. The one-eyed kitty, the slipping dog–heartbreaking. I’m not being sarcastic. But, is this commercial making a good argument? Certainly it applies to our pathos. But ethos? What is it assuming? Obviously that we love animals. But, when asked to “be an angel,” is it implying we’re horrible if we don’t call and donate? It is a heartbreaking commercial–but a lousy argument. Where are the statistics of how many animals are rescued and placed into good homes? Could I see that follow up story? The commercial implies the animals will die if we don’t pick up phone.

For such a lousy argument, this commercial seems to effect a lot of people. But, why is it animals bring people to tears, but not this?

Perhaps there are others more disturbed by this commercial than the ASPCA. But, this one is not as talked about. Is the puppy worth more?

Guest Blogger: Courtney Notte

During the August 2010 election, Australia’s political focus shifted from policies and agendas to petticoats and perms. Unlike the coverage of previous elections, news reports of verbal sparring between party opponents, heated exchanges in the chamber and cheap pot-shots at the opposition during press conferences on the steps of parliament took a back seat to the fact that the leader of one of the political parties, a candidate for Prime Minister, was a woman, Julia Gillard.

Never before has political reporting I have witnessed involved a timeline depicting the changing hairstyles or evolving fashion sense of a nation’s leader. The closest Australia’s press had ever come to any form of fashion reporting was making fun of the tracksuits our former PM John Howard would don for his regular walks around Kirribilli House. It was a different story for Ms Gillard though. Not only is she a woman, she is an unmarried, childless woman living with her male partner (who is a hairdresser), a self-declared atheist and a redhead to boot. Her male opponent – new Coalition leader Tony Abbott – was a Catholic former seminarian, a father of three, and a conservative. The press had a field day.

I don’t want to get into politics, but rather how the election triggered an almost primitive response in voters and commentators alike. Labor versus Liberal became man versus woman (or beast if you’ve seen Tony Abbott’s ears). Though neither Gillard nor Abbott inspired much faith in voters or commentators, Abbott was crucified or congratulated for his policy, Gillard for her Prada. Did the focus on Gillard’s gender detract from the conviction of her political standpoint? Maybe not – she was elected after all (though a marginal number of votes decided a hung parliament). Will the focus on her fashion trivialise her new position of power? That remains to be seen.

In the interest of full disclosure, Abbott didn’t manage to completely avoid peoples’ fashion radar, although that may have been his own doing…or should I say daring…

Guest Blogger: Sylvia Scheubeck

In recent media discussions, the Islamic religion is frequently mentioned. Especially the role of the woman in this community is striking and contended. The situation of Muslim women depends on the complex of religion, mostly its religious texts, and the culture or rather history, which is shaped around that texts.

Rights and obligations are crucial aspects, which condition their lives in every way. Their position in society is determined by extensive cultural constructions, which imply civil rights, education, work, dress code and life within the marriage.

It is a myth that Islamic woman have no rights at all. And it is also a false statement that they are not worth to gain education or knowledge. In the modern Muslim world, also woman are allowed to get educated. They even get scholarships for extraordinary activities or may become teachers or business women. There is just one instruction they have to follow: The education has to be restricted to their religion. But this doesn’t only proves true for women, this includes all Muslims, men included. Therefore, it is old-fashioned to think that Muslim woman are not allowed to get any education.

Due to their good education, Islamic females have the chance to find jobs in every sector, for example, in the third sector as nurses or doctors. In the textile industry they even hold a monopoly. As a consequence, they have their own financial resources, if they don’t have to deliver their wages to their dominant husband. In employing women, there’s still one thing lacking: special female property rights. This is one thing which definitely has to be improved in the future.

But on the other hand, there is still the shady side of that religious community. Muslim women still have to be liable to historical obligations, which were constructed by men in former times.

A certain behavior and attitude is expected within marriage. For instance, sexuality is a big part of it, although love is often a longsome process of learning. In many cases, especially in former times, girls were agreed by her father to marry strange men, they never ever met in their life until the day of their wedding.

Within the marriage then, it is expected, that the man is good to his wife (i.e. earning money to feed the family) and the woman is good to her husband (doing the household, raising children, having sex with husband). These are standards demonstrated in the Muslim Koran, the “Bible“ of the Islamic world.

Another often disputed obligation female Muslims have to follow is the dress code. Within the Koran it says that women have to lower their gaze and cover their private parts of the body. This also includes the veil, which is probably the most common aspect which comes to mind when talking about disguising Muslim women. Especially in European countries, this is one fact which cannot be accepted. That’s why many Muslims have great problems to get integrated into the Western society.

As the example of the Muslim world shows, gender behavior and culture are huge factors which determine a woman’s life. Although their status in society has visibly improved, there are still great gaps to advance their position considering emancipation and patriarchy.

I want your bad, bad romance….

…and bad, bad renditions that make me giggle till I hurt.

Welcome back, folks.  Only six more weeks to the end of the semester!

Less than: 24 hours!

the potential for the below possibilities is the only thing keeping me from going into

SVU withdrawl.

(and I LOVE this song)

ETA:  OK.  obviously, I do not, or did not, wish death on anyone in these Olympic Games.

But I will still watch to support and cross my fingers that entertainment comes our way as we are baffled by the amazing accomplishments of the human body.

Oh-lympics! A week and a day!

Have I mentioned how excited I am?!

“I hope he’s ok.”

Do you ever read Dlisted? It’s one of my favorite celebrity blogs. I like it because Michael K, the blog author, cracks my ass up. What I especially like about Michael K is that he likes Anderson Cooper as much as I do (though, perhaps not in the same way). He calls him Mah Boo and that makes me feel all yummy inside.

This is a guy who got his start on one of the early reality shows that hit in the last decade, The Mole:

As a serious journalist, however, Cooper worked his way up to a well-earned spot on the CNN staff. His take-no-prisoners form of reporting is impressive. He has been up against some fantastic names and he has very little tolerance for political bureaucracy. This is one of my favorite moments from his reporting during Katrina:

Anderson Cooper is in the news again this week. I know. You are wondering how this is an odd thing for me to note, given that he is a journalist and pretty much in the news everyday. But this week the news is about him.

I read AC360 pretty regularly—Cooper is one of the first news people to really utilize the form of blogging. He reaches a lot of people in this way and you probably don’t even think about it anymore since quite a few people in the news blog on a daily basis. But Cooper was one of the first.

So not only is he in our living room through CNN onscreen (or dorm room, iPhone, however and wherever you watch TV), but he reaches out to us through his writing. 360 is a great way to stay on top of the most recent news with reporting that exhibits sense of pathos that is not hindered by ignorance of logic.

This week, a new Anderson Cooper video is making the rounds on the blogs. Cooper is in Haiti right now, helping with the rescue of earthquake victims. Notice I say helping with the rescue and not reporting on the earthquake victims. Apparently, while reporting on the quake, Cooper’s crew stumbled on a store being looted:

As things got really out of control, I saw a looter on the roof of the store they’d broken into throw what I think was part of a concrete block into the crowd. It hit a small boy in the head.

Cooper, without hesitation, ran into the crowd and carried the boy away to safety.

There are more images of the incident and a video on AC360, which you can read about in Anderson Cooper’s own words here.

Make sure you watch the video and see Cooper toss his video camera to the side. Compare it to this:

Oh that Silver Fox. I do so love him.