As a teacher of women’s studies I often talk about “the gender lens”—the notion of adopting metaphorical spectacles to view the world so that you start seeing things through a special filter and with a special light.
Sherine Hafez and Jessica Winegar examine the role and future of Egyptian women in the Arab Spring Uprising in this quarter’s American Ethnologist by authoring personal accounts of women during the revolution. From the thicket of peaceful protest in Tahrir Square to tending to the domestic duties during such an uncertain time, many obstacles have challenged the role of women in politics.
Jessica Winegar, sociocultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor at Northwestern University, examines the responsibilities of women during the uprising. Professor Winegar was in Cairo during the uprising, however, like many women, she could not attend the protest due to family obligations in the home. “I call attention to the way that revolution is experienced and undertaken in domestic spaces, through different forms of affect, in ways deeply inflected by gender and class,” says Winegar in her article The Privilege of Revolution: Gender, class, space, and affect in Egypt.
Sherine Hafez, ethnographer and Assistant Professor at the University of California Riverside, takes an in-depth look at the role of women after the uprising to surprisingly find this role remains the same, in her article No Longer a Bargain: Women, Masculinity, and the Egyptian Uprising. She notes that “what the events of this uprising have revealed is that notions of masculinity undermined by a repressive regime have observably shifted the terms of the patriarchal bargain.”
American Ethnologist, a quarterly journal produced by the American Ethnological Society (AES), in its February 2012 issue features these articles on the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt. The nine authors are anthropologists with a wide range of specialties who have years of research experience in Egypt. The online and print editions are currently available. Articles and abstracts are available at www.americanethnologist.org
This journal is edited by Angelique Haugerud of Rutgers University and its content deals with all facets of ethnology in the broadest sense of the term. Articles creatively demonstrate the connections between ethnographic specificity and theoretical originality, as well as the ongoing relevance of the ethnographic imagination to the contemporary world.
The American Ethnological Society, founded in 1842, sponsors the journal American Ethnologist. AES is a section of the American Anthropological Association.
-American Anthropological Association-
Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association is the world’s largest professional organization of anthropologists and others interested in anthropology, with an average annual membership of more than 10,000. The Arlington, VA – based association represents all specialties within anthropology – cultural anthropology, biological (or physical) anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and applied anthropology.
American Ethnologist: www.americanethnologist.org
AE Online Issue: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/amet.2012.39.issue-1/issuetoc
Sherine Hafez: http://bit.ly/z30gq3
Jessica Winegar: http://bit.ly/AiiQ2E
Angelique Haugerud, Editor, American Ethnologist: http://bit.ly/wEByYO
American Ethnologist Society: www.aesonline.org
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A new action plan opens far-reaching possibilities to improve the security of women and the world. With some caution, women’s peace advocates plan to monitor its implementation. Click here to read the entire article
Enrich Your Life by Living Gratefully!
By Rabbi Rami
What are you grateful for? Try not to cough up the usual suspects: sunsets, daisies, puppies, babies, and babies playing with puppies among the daisies at sunset. True, I’m grateful that the earth orbits the sun, and I love dogs and babies, but being grateful for these things is too easy. Being grateful requires more than warm fuzzy feelings; it requires clear seeing and right action.
Not long ago a woman shared with me her experience as a lung transplant recipient. She was grateful to the organ donor, and the doctors and nurses who performed the operation. What about the drunk driver who killed the woman whose lung saved her life, I asked; was she grateful to him as well?
She just stared at me. No one had asked her that before. To her credit, she closed her eyes, took a moment to see what was true for her, and said, yes she was grateful to the man who killed her donor and thus saved her life. Then her eyes filled with tears, and said, “And I hate myself for that.”
As we talked she realized that it wasn’t self-hate she was feeling but extreme humility. After all, she neither wished the death of her donor nor did anything to cause it; she simply benefited from this tragedy. But that realization was huge. What if the deceased woman had a family, she mused. What if she had little children who would grow up without a mom? What if she was caring for her parents? A single death can have so many ramifications. How do I live with this, she sobbed.
Your situation may not be this extreme, but the question she asked is your question as well. You are being gifted by people and things all the time. How do you live with this? This is what gratitude is really all about: not feeling grateful, but living gratefully.
Chances are you too have lungs, and don’t need a transplant to be grateful for them. But what about the Brazilian rainforest? Are you grateful for that? After all, your lungs are useless without oxygen, yet neither they nor any other organ in your body produces oxygen. Trees and plants in partnership with the sun do that, and the Brazilian rainforest processes 28% of the world’s oxygen, so the forest is a vital part of your body as well. If you are grateful to your lungs, you must be grateful to trees and plants as well. How do you express your gratitude? What do you do to help secure clean air for your lungs to breathe?
Despite clichés to the contrary, it isn’t the thought that counts; it is the deed that counts. Gratitude that is merely attitude is cheap and meaningless. If you are grateful to your lungs, don’t poison them with carcinogens. If you are grateful for oxygen, protect the living system that produces it. Or, if you don’t, at least have the courage to stop claiming you are grateful for lungs and oxygen.
* * *
I wear Rockport shoes and return them to the company for resoling. The first time I did this the shoes came back in near mint condition accompanied by a hand-written note from the person who restored them. He explained how very disappointed he was that I disrespected the shoes he works so hard to make: the leather was scuffed and unpolished; the shoe backs were broken; and the toe box was misshapen because I didn’t keep my shoes on a shoetree. He concluded by asking me to treat his work with more respect.
That was 30 years ago, and I have never treated my shoes the same since. What about you? You would be lost without your shoes. They support your arches, protect your feet from hot pavements and dangerous debris, and (along with your shirt) allow you to eat in restaurants. So how do you show your gratitude? Look at your shoes and see.
What about the rest of your clothes? Do you keep them clean, neatly folded or hanging properly? When you no longer need them, do you toss them out or do you donate them where someone else can benefit from them?
What is true of shoes and clothes is true of everything. It is easy to assess the quality of gratitude in your life by examining how well you treat the people and things in your life. You are being gifted by people and things—seen and unseen, known and unknown—all day, every day. That should make you feel grateful, but more importantly it should cause you to live gratefully.
Living gratefully means taking nothing and no one for granted. It means treating salespeople, stock clerks, bank tellers, and cashiers kindly. It means not polluting your body with excess sugar, fat, and salt. It means not polluting your community with bigotry, fear, anger, gossip, and ill-will. It means saying thank you to everyone and everything by treating them all with utmost respect.
Be grateful for babies and puppies, just don’t stop there. Join with others to offer a scholarship at a local daycare center, adopt or rescue an animal companion, or support a local animal shelter. Gratitude is not a way of feeling, it is a way of doing. If you aren’t living gratefully, feeling grateful means nothing at all.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, PhD teaches religious studies at Middle Tennessee State University and is the director of Wisdom House Center for Interfaith Studies in Nashville. He has written over two dozen books and a new series, Rabbi Rami Guides: Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler, available at Spirituality & Health Books and Amazon.com; see www.rabbirami.com. SMITH PUBLICITY, INC. 856-489-8654 x326
As reality TV has become staple entertainment for young people and adults alike, tween and teen girls who regularly view reality TV accept and expect a higher level of drama, aggression, and bullying in their own lives, and measure their worth primarily by their physical appearance, according to Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV, a national survey released today by the Girl Scout Research Institute.
The people who were part of what is often called the First Wave of feminism in the United States didn’t identify as “First Wavers.” That designation was applied to the suffragists retroactively after a second swell of activism by American women occurred, in the 1960s and 1970s. Click here to read the entire article
Members of the Nobel Women’s Initiative are marshaling their collective wisdom and experience to tackle the challenge of ending rape as a weapon of war. Certain topics have always been hard to talk about—rape and sexual abuse ranking high up on that list. And yet we must speak up more because of the many women affected.
Women’s History Month is over for this year. But I confess I haven’t been in much of a celebratory mood. March 8th (2011)was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The UN theme for the celebration was “Equal Access to Education, Training and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women.” Ironically, this March was also the 100th year commemoration of the tragedy of the Shirtwaist Triangle Factory Fire in New York City. On March 25, 1911, 146 people died from a fire caused by unsafe workplace conditions.
Celebrating International Women’s Day: Reflections from Natalie Portman, Maya Angelou and Other Renowned Women By Marianne Schnall
For the centenary of International Women’s Day this week, Marianne Schnall samples assessments from a wide range of women on where we stand around the world. Click here for A Woman’s Place song by Sara Thomsen
The author of “Good Catholic Girls: How Women Are Leading the Fight to Change the Church” explains what’s behind the Catholic bishops’ hard-line reaction to President Obama’s compromise. Click here for the entire article
This week in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum will highlight a drive by The Elders to end the practice of child marriage.
Before I Disappear, by Barb Herding, chronicles the story of Lauren Stafford, a 16 year old girl whose self-esteem has been crushed by rejection from everyone in her life. Lauren develops a skewed perception of her body as a result of the rejection that she experiences, which turns into an eating disorder.
When her eating disorder spirals out of control and she is rushed to the hospital, Lauren meets other teens who are suffering from the same problems, and she sees that she is not alone and just how many different types of people are affected by the same affliction. As she is introduced to both males and females, she learns about teenagers from all walks of life who are internalizing different types of pressure. In group therapy, she meets Bridget, a ballerina who collapsed during her solo in The Nutcracker, Paul who should be fighting in his first championship wrestling match, and Vivian, a model who never made it to her first real photo shoot. Then there is Jenny, who does not want to tell her story to the group, as her eating disorder and near fatal episode result from a dark secret rooted in her childhood.
According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, approximately one percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa and another two to three percent develop bulimia nervosa. Alarmingly, one out of every ten anorexia cases is fatal, resulting from starvation, cardiac arrest, suicide, or other related medical complications.
Herding’s story provides an important message about eating disorders, their potential consequences, and the road to recovery, addressing an issue that is prevalent in our society through fiction. Before I Disappear is a heart-rending story that is certain to tug at the emotions of its readers, provide teens with an important message about eating disorders, and help parents to understand their teenagers who suffer from eating disorders.
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Three women are sharing the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace. One is Yemeni human rights leader Tawakul Karman. The other two are African: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s current president and Africa’s only female democratically elected head of state, and her countrywoman Leymah Gbowee who is a peace activist and spellbinding challenger of the ultra-male, brutality-wielding world of warlords.
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When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. (United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.)
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