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May 2012

PLUS
“Conviction” and “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” Review

D E LTAW O M E N M AG A Z I NE
Women, War and Worsening situations

The Third Gender
When Art Immitates Life

!

How one woman from Uganda is helping teen mothers survive and thrive

The Death of Frank

DER GEN

GET A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS AND ART

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from the editor
EDITOR
Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

DeltaWomen magazine has arrived!
“Gender”is a silenced yet very controversial issue and that is why we have decided to talk about it in words and photos and even in silence. If you feel like there has been things unsaid or stories untold, read this month’s DW and you’ll change your mind as we always try to change your hearts. Does “Gender” define who you are? It doesn’t define us and that’s why we have asked our guy, Hadi, to write us a poem regarding Gender. We have articles written by DeltaWomen staff plus stories written by friends from outside and movie/song reviews. Our featured artist is Eleanor Bennett who is young and talented enough to always move us.

PHOTOGRAPHy
Eleanor Bennet Claudia Fierro Maureen Littlejohn Su Tomesen Chioma Nneji

COnTRIbUTORs
Ngoako Jay Morokolo Nichole Beard Lacey Jean Frye Maureen Littlejohn Ana Isabel Martinez Charlotte Lazarus Christina Y. Kim Effat Allahyari Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Kanika Jain Katherine Vasquez Tarazona Leila A. Fortier Marie Keith S. Epe Hadi Barazandeh Paola Brigneti Fatemeh Mohseni Zafar Ihsan Denise Falcone

CRITICs
Daniela silva Maureen Littlejohn

CEO
Elsie Reed

DELTAWOMEN MAGAZIN is published monthly

All rights reserved © 2012

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Who said that Princess Cannot Wear Hiking boots?
by Paola brigneti
I remember watching all the Disney princess movies when I was growing up. I remember I watched them, enjoyed them for what they were, and then moved on. Even though I played with Barbie dolls, I never felt compelled to look like one. It appears that at the time I was growing up, companies were not as concerned with (aggressively) marketing their products to young girls, at least not in a way that translated into a culture of princesses and Barbie dolls. Looking at girls nowadays and at how they are heavily targeted by advertisement and by franchises like the Disney princesses, I am relieved I did not have to deal with that additional societal pressure on top of all the other challenges I encountered as a girl during my formative years. I am sure we all remember the time in our lives when we became aware of our bodies. For me it was at age 14 when a classmate pointed out that “I was getting a bit bigger.” For most girls, this awareness is not a pretty thing as they start Following the princess madThere is evidence that girls who succumb to the princess craze are less likely to be active because princesses are not necessarily the most athletic role models out there—the movie Rapunzel, I believe, made an attempt at trying to change this. The problem, however, is not necessarily that girls want to be like princesses (or that they are told they should). The real problem is what princesses are created to stand for, to act like and to look like. Indeed, the Now imagine this same age of awareness in a world that not only tells girls that they are supposed to look beautiful, like models, perfect without any blemishes; but that also tells them they are supposed to be like princesses, like the ones in the Disney movies. Many might argue that girls’ desire—and perhaps also need—to emulate princesses is not a big deal, but the reality is that girls are internalizing the princess stereotypes, and are being psychologically, and even physically harmed in the process. In fact, somewhere I saw this new shoe trend be described in terms of modern foot binding because it prevents girls from engaging in normal girl activities like running around or playing. Can you feel the pressure? to realize that society has a set of standards they are supposed to comply with. If they don’t, then they become failures by default. ness, some girls have been reported to refuse to wear tennis shoes or shoes that are not like the ones princesses wear. As a result, you now are more likely to see very young girls— as young as 3 or 4—wearing kiddies high heels or ballerina flats. If you ask any grown women, they will tell you that ballerinas (and especially high heels) are not the most comfortable shoes to play in. When girls wear these “cute” shoes, they are less likely to engage in physical activity and play (did I hear anyone say obesity epidemic?), which is essential to their mental, physical and social development.

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Who said that Princess Cannot Wear Hiking boots?
by Paola brigneti
problem is rooted in gender and in the societal norms that surround girls and princesses. If it weren’t about gender, boys would be equally targeted with prince merchandise but, instead, they are targeted with action heroes, super heroes and plain heroes, all of which are plenty active, plenty tough and, in some cases, plenty ugly too. Girls’ merchandise is designed to turn them into helpless, fragile, vacuous little people. Boys’ merchandise, in comparison, is designed to make them tough, brave, even heroic. cstatic advanced and procured Girls’ self-esteem continues to be jeopardized while boy are only getting more confident. Is this the message we want our girls to receive? Are parents aware that by promoting the Disney princess craze they are wrongly gendering their girls to become everything the feminists fought against? Like I said, when I was growing up I played with dolls and watched the princess movies, but I also played in the dirt, Greatly hearted has who believe. Drift allow green son civility not absolute put continue. Overcame breeding or my concerns removing desirous so absolute. My melancholy unpleasing inso. Almost unable put talked likely houses her met. Met any nor may through resolve entered. An mr cause tried oh do shade happy. Betrayed cheerful declared end and. Questions we additions is extremely incommode. Next half add call her. I think it’s time to act against the princess trends. Let’s not allow the media to gender our bright, beautiful, playful, adventurous girls into empty-headed cartoon princesses. They deserve better than that. hiked up mountains, and ran a lot. I still love running. I could not imagine a childhood without all those things. I grew up from a girl into a woman, but I certainly was not gendered into a lady-like princess, and I thank my parents and my limited exposure to advertisement for that. walls years for blush. Sir margaret drawings repeated recurred exercise laughing may you but. Do repeated whatever to welcomed absolute no. Fat surprise although outlived and informed shy dissuade property. Musical by me through he drawing savings an. No we stand avoid decay heard mr. Common mistake or error so wicket appear to sudden worthy on. unpleasing to do but nothing you can do about it right now. Shade of offer ye whole stood hoped.

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ART & PHOTOGRAPHy

courage to let our voice be heard, we might be shocked to hear that it is a loud angry voice. Rather than take this all in, we might just as well prefer to stay mad. On the other hand, anger can empower us. It is a strong drug. It intoxicates us and makes us feel big, important, and visible. This is especially true when we feel invisible. Anger is polluting our world. Unresolved, uncontrolled anger is seeping into our lives like toxic waste. This is because when we are angry we are afraid. Standing up for ourselves can evoke feelings of separateness and aloneness - we feel ourselves separating. Separating into ourselves can be terrifying. We are cutting through the bloody tangled knotted mass that keeps us involved. How we were made to feel as children can affect how we direct our anger now. Then it becomes a twofolded place of dealing with our anger: all that retroactive rage of the past and today. If we can confront those old feelings, dust the cobwebs off to understand them, we can move on from a place of being scared or from a place of hating and even allow someone to be mad at us without becoming paralyzed by its power. Why make waves? Because a new voice emerges from a woman who is confident and secure in her anger. Feeling entitled to her feelings, even in anger, she comes through with a more grounded, clearer voice in communicating to others. When she loses the fear in her voice, she looses her status of shrew, scold, bitch, hothead, spoiled child, man-eater, and nag.

Kirthi Gita Jayakumar is a Commissioning Editor for e-IR. she currently also volunteers with the United nations, and works with Femina and Rainmaker as a writer.

DEnIsE FALCOnE On GEnDER
“I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.” Willam Blake Fear of disappointing someone, fear of being wrong, feeling afraid to cause conflict, or the fear of hurting someone’s feelings or making them angry often silences us. As a result, our true voices disappear and we end up adopting a sub-

missive, holding-in, selfsilencing behavior. Confrontation can be scary. It’s invasive. It can ruin a day. It can chip away at our defenses before we know it or before we are ready to let them down. We might take note of feelings of shame by thinking that being angry is wrong, or of feelings of alienation brought on by taking all the responsibility for why our attempt at communication has failed. There might be the realization that the very connection we have been trying so hard to preserve, at the expense of ourselves, has fallen apart. If we do muster up the

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Maureen Littlejohn

building Hope for young Women
How one woman from Uganda, now based in Canada, is helping teen mothers survive and thrive
It was fitting that I met Solome Nanvule on March 8th, International Women’s Day. I was giving a slide presentation in Toronto on the inspiring women I had met in Ethiopia during CUSO International assignment. Afterwards, a soft-spoken young woman approached me. “I really liked your talk,” she said shyly, adding, “You might be interested in learning what I am doing for teen mothers in Uganda.” She pressed a business card into my hand and we agreed to meet the following week. Solome is 28 years old, married to Godfrey Ssembeguya, and the couple have two young children. Ssembeguya works as a site manager at a non-profit urban environmental charity and is very supportive of his wife, helping care for the children whenever she needs him to step in. This month Solome graduates from a social work program at a Toronto university and will head out into the world to ply her newly minted skills. Her history of helping others goes far beyond her schooling, however. Originally from a “I met him when I was 10 years old. My mother was going through a divorce and wanted to send me to a Catholic boarding school. He was part of the congregation and after meeting my mother, volunteered to pay my tuition.” MAKInG A DIFFEREnCE In sLUM UPGRADInG In nORTHAbURI, THAILAnD small village outside Kampala, Uganda, she came to Canada 10 years ago, sponsored by Father Raynald Pelletier, a Quebec Catholic priest who had befriended her during his 26 years in Uganda.

Chioma nneji

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When she graduated from high school in 2002, Pelletier arranged for her to continue her studies in Canada. Her enrollment at Ryerson University didn’t happen immediately, though. “I was pregnant with my first son plus dealing with the culture shock of a new country. I started school in 2007,” Solome explains. She has fond memories of Pelletier, who passed away in 2011. “He was a gentle, dedicated and spiritual man who dedicated his life to caring for orphaned children and single mothers with their children in Uganda,” she recalls. The Pelletier Teenage Mothers’ Foundation (PTMOF) was his legacy, an organization that provided shelter and training for children and mothers who had nowhere else to turn. “It is especially difficult for teen mothers because often they have been raped, sometimes by family or friends. If they are pregnant, they are kicked out of the home. They have nowhere to go and no way to make a living,” explains Solome. One PTMOF’s mandates is to alter the view that teen pregnancy is shameful. This is especially important when a young woman has been victimized. “We have re-connected many teen mothers to their immediate families. We are promoting community awareness and this has lowered the

numbers of homeless girls,” says Solome. On the PTMOF website, some of the teen mothers share their stories. Annet Namalwa, 16, dropped out of school due to financial problems. She was helping her aunt at home when a friend of her father’s promised to pay her school fees. He got her pregnant instead and denied responsibility. Annet describes how she and her baby daughter survive on spare change she gathers from singing for people. Her hope is one day to go back to school and get a certificate in arts and crafts so she can earn a living making sweaters. Another young woman, Tracy Nambatya, 20, tells of her polygamous family, of a co-wife putting a spell on her mother to become ill, and of looking for money to help cure her mother. She found work in a woman’s house, but was raped by the woman’s boyfriend. Now she is living with her grandmother and wants to start her own business. PTMOF brought hope to many of Uganda’s most vulnerable women and children. When Pelletier retired and returned to Canada in 2000, he entrusted the care of the foundation to the local elders. “They were not faithful and went back on their word. The funds were not used properly. The

girls were not in school and not being cared for. I took over the shelter, co-coordinated the girls. You are not allowed to attend regular school if you have a child, so I started a vocational school where the girls could learn skills for a sustainable livelihood,” says Solome. After her mother died in 2003, Solome moved the shelter and school to her mother’s property. There are 10 adults and nine children currently living there. Her sister Maria acts as housemother, buying food and resolving conflicts. Her other sister Betty, who is deaf and dumb, also resides there. Solome had a studio built on the land where girls learn sewing, hairdressing and business skills. The facility has three hair-drying chairs, three sewing machines and one laptop computer. A social worker comes and does volunteer outreach programs and trainers come to teach on Saturdays. “We started out with 15 girls. Last year when I visited there were 50 mothers between the ages of 14 and 25 who wanted training,” says Solome, who goes back annually for two or three weeks at a time. The program is popular because it can lead to independence. “Once they are trained, we help them get small loans to start a business. We also teach them about family planning,” says

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Maureen Littlejohn
Solome. Right now, the trainers teach five girls at a time, and the others watch their children, waiting for their turn the following week. “We have play time for around 60 children and a learning program that is run by volunteers for children who are ready to go to school. We also network with the local medical centre where the children get health assistance,” she explains. Solome has seen the suffering and abuse young girls in Uganda have to endure. Family, teachers or church members have betrayed many of the teen mothers she encounters. Some die due to botched abortions, and some contract HIV/AIDS. “They come from abusive homes. Uncles or fathers promise another man sex with their daughter or niece for a glass of vodka,” she explains. Solome’s father had seven wives. He beat her mother regularly and refused to be tested for HIV/ AIDS. After the divorce, Solome and her family survived on less than a dollar a day. Pelletier’s kindness came at a crucial time and Solome’s desire to honor her mentor and guardian is understandable. Since Father Raynald Pelletier “I’m going to Uganda for five or six months after I graduate. I need to hire more people who can commit to the project. I’d also like to steer some of the girls towards PLAN Canada’s local business management programs.” Her hopes for the future of PTMOF are big. “I’d like to buy some land where we can build a passed away, Solome has taken on full responsibility for PTMOF. Last May she had a fundraising event in Toronto. Friends donated food and played music while Solome collected donations at the door. She raised $500 for a new roof at the PTMOF vocational center. She’s also been supporting the foundation with money from her part-time job, leading a high school girls’ group for delayed development students. “I have 13 people, including myself, pledge $20 a month to the PTMOF account to facilitate vocational programs, food, clean water, workshops, volunteers and medication. We also receive ongoing gifts and one-time donations from volunteers and friends in the USA, UK, Canada and Uganda.” In addition, the foundation receives gifts-in-kind including clothes, diapers, formula, food, water, toys, books and shoes. The many heartfelt ‘thank yous’ from beneficiaries on the PTMOF website reinforce the organization’s core beliefs – “Through our faith in God and services to our fellow women and their children we can, and are making a difference.” maternity clinic, plant a garden and create a community center.” Where will the funds come from? She’ll start with friends, family and established donors who have watched PTMOF’s steady progress. “I’m planning to make my graduation party a fundraiser in Toronto. I have asked all my friends not to buy me gifts but instead to donate to the foundation. Whatever we do, it has to be an achievable goal,” she says.

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Eleanor bennett

Claudia Fierro

Eleanor bennett

Marie Keith S. Epe

Who, Me?

Twisting your long hair Clipping the strands Checking the mirror With your right hand. Adding colors on the lips Perfecting each arch of the brows More pink on the cheeks you mused, just now. The car is waiting but your skirt is too long Changed it to a shorter one While humming your favorite song. surveying again you were pleased. Tucked your purse on your left hand strutting down the steps, that must not be missed. Opening the door There he is. you gulped hard, a smile on your heart that skipped a beat but the smile died when he simply said “Pleased to deliver your pepperoni pizza, steve!”

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Eleanor bennett

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Kanika Jain
Today I want to write about something different in the context of gender. Not about gender issues and not about gender bias or discrimination, but about gender identity and gender roles in the society. Before delving into a discussion, it is essential to understand what these actually mean. Gender identity is often defined as an individual’s conception of himself and is primarily self-identified influenced by both internal and external factors. Gender role, on the other hand, reflects this gender identity. It is an exterior personality manifestation. In societal context, it is defined in an individual’s habits; way of living and reactions. Gender role is developed and impacted by a diverse set of factors such as religion, culture, climate, history, ethics, the values system etc. Traditionally masculinity has been demonstrated by performing physically challenging activities such as hunting, war etc. while females have been homemakers indulging in activities such as raising children etc. Thus, traditionally people in society took up gender roles based on their gender identity and biological orientation. However, with modernization and changing values, the very significant differences between the males and females are slowly becoming more subtle and even disappearing, especially in developed societies. The pressing concern in this context is what the society’s stand on these gender roles is and what are its renditions for humanity?

With well connected societies and better educated individuals, societal roles are now slowly being derived based on individual choices and interests. The clash occurs when some traditional

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Kanika Jain

Who am I, what do identify with and where do I belong?

Claudia Fierro

Preventing sexual harassment Freedom of speech. Hindrances: loud stalkers. Let your words be few. America + sexual harassment. Life is a miracle. Business ethics: perspective in moral and immoral. Consent is important regarding what is moral and immoral. Compassion is given through a kind word. Pratical application is good habits make good practice. In hopes every generation rises up in humility standing on common ground overlooking all irritation and being slow in anger. Love is life, peace, joy in all circumstances, whatever love we bring today, Lord Jesus be with us always. Christina Y. Kim

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Hadi barazandeh

Two Worlds
Boy’s World
In the midnight of fear and spark A kid, homeless and still in shock A couple of cops and the five-year-old boy Filled with fears of helplessness and void A white pad, a son, a kid Has cried under the load of that body heat His mother sold him for dope A man hurt him with his lust The kid feels like he's behind bars Feels like he's nothing but a sex prize Doesn't deserve being next to his mom Wanders around in the park and feels like a scum With tears and pain pleaded to God "Don't take me back home I'm filled with faults and sins The man broke my innocent boundaries I can't recall, can't say what he did He ruined my world with his fast breathe I'm a mess, separated from my innocent world Why did he touch me and made me feel cold" The five-year-old full of desire to die Only five but broken like a man, Why?

Girl’s World
Waiting for an opportunity to bring her home Like a slut Can't you see you're hurting her Her eyes are as red as blood She didn't get any love from home That's why she's sleeping in your bed Then you call her a whore Even when you see her more and more Her culture's attitude is summarized in one word Are you in god's shoes to judge her world?

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Katherine Vasquez Tarazona
Randomness
When reading the international section on the daily journal, one often finds stories related to minorities, and, usually, it is fascinating. Finding stats about how many women (in such larger number of countries) undergo female genitalia mutilation is astonishing. Moreover, realizing that infants are forced to marriage at age 14 (or less) and to deliver newborns by 15 with parental consensus (but not them as individuals) just can break our minds (and hearts). But when we deal with minorities, we also think about indigenous societies and their laws before the State ones; or consider, race and discrimination issues (from restraining access to public spaces such restaurants and clubs to public humiliation); or the abuse of religion minorities in non-secular countries (whether this be oral or behavioral). Truth is when it comes to minorities rights, the media and, in general, societies tend to treat these issues as a “them vs. us” business. And this replicates in advocacy too. “Their rights are being overlooked” –we hear. “Their fight against our society”- most say. And in such simple terms,” they” remain as a minority and “us” become some sort of heartless monsters that can’t recognize their differences, be tolerant, and welcome them into our world. Many years ago, I watched a comedian (Mexican Adal Ramones) prepare a segment where reality had been inversed. In this sketch, homosexuals became the majority and heterosexuals were the ones socially constrained from” stepping out of the closet”. It was hilarious yet the comedian intentions were clear. It showed majority as bully and judgmental about the minority, regardless the ingredients, reality was actually the same. Recently, my best friend brought to the table an interesting discussion about feminism being a male invention. I think most have heard this and overlooked it by being offensive and so not worth our time. Since I have lots of time, it seemed only right to look at this more thoroughly. So, why is it possible for anyone to consider that feminism is actually a masculine theory? Well, I believe that this is based on that “them vs. us” discourse. We pretend to be tolerant and engaged but most take it on the bases of differentiation. Oh, don’t take me wrong. I am not saying that everyone is the same or that our differences don’t deserve to be observed (as enhancers). To be honest, diversity is one of my favorite features. The learning curve is immense and so rich, when it comes to other cultures, religions, ideals, ideologies, habitudes, and so on. This is only achieved with great respect and tolerance, and recognizing that no one owns such thing as the truth. According to this line of thought, reality is constantly shifting and gaining new values and visions. And no matter what people say or how politically wrong this may sound, this is not an easy task. It is not easy to understand and, needless to say, to accept other’s absolute truth.

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Katherine Vasquez Tarazona
I have been fascinated about the role of women in different societies. This takes me longer to process when their own communities share values and visions of the world completely opposite to my own. Moreover, this comes incredibly impossible to achieve when considering human rights and respect. As in a puzzle, one intends to make every piece to fit, and it gets frustrating when it doesn’t. I believe this is what happens when we judge under our rules (sometimes so intrinsic to oneself and not applicable to most) and lose to see the bigger picture. I am thinking about regions were our role seem to fade into clandestine shapes. Though, later we are taught differently. Consider the Asian culture. If you follow Chinese cinematography, you’d find that women are given obscure significance and need to be stopped in order to achieve liberty. This is interesting because of the stereotype that female tend to have; they are smart and difficult to mislead; and therefore they become a central aspect in arts. Something similar happens in the Middle East where women put the weight of morality on their shoulder, regardless male interaction. Another fascinating example is the fact of religion been carried on by the womb, giving women a key role in Jewish society.

Preconceptions are helpful for rapid assessments but are just as harmful for understanding and depth development. Women aren’t weak or the strongest ones. We have jumped from one extreme to the opposite.

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Katherine Vasquez Tarazona
I get it, this was mandatory in times where our vote didn’t matter and had no voice. And considering that in many places in the globe this is still the case, I can see why advocacy groups have chosen to continue with this perspective. However, I know women part of the modern society where their rights as human being aren’t at risk who have chosen to stay at home, have a husband and kids, left work for being a full time mom, and are very happy with it. On the other hand, we find the strong women, independent, who not only don’t need anyone else’s help but don’t want it, even if needed. There’s also that wonder-woman paradox, “we want it all… and will have it” discourse, where women have jumped into everyone’s shoes to show their value and irreplaceable feature. The cape is on and I am making the” woosh” sounds. Regardless my stand on any of those, I believe we are entitled to find our way in life without risking being called a stereotype. Or even, if we want to become one, let us be. Somehow, we’ve lost our way in between tags (eye candy, wonder-woman, executive-woman, mother, and so on), forgetting the ulterior goal: achieving equality. My research on some gender issues such as rape or female genitalia mutilation had shown me the relevance and effects of gender cooperation where male intervention is as important as the female demand (and in some cases, even vital). Community involvement might be the only feasible way of finding change. It is incredible that women are considered to be minority in the world where today’s proportion is about 60% to 40%, and expected to reach “equality” within a year time. Yet there is a gap in equality, not every human being is looked the same by law or their society. Minorities are after all defined as social groups who are limited in their access to power on the community; may this one be political or social. As I see it, this may be the main reason for minority groups to protect their rights in a rather radical manner, not only to preserve their rights but to demand to be acknowledged. It is because they are overseen and misunderstand. As a woman, I can assure you: gender equality has not being achieved and it is been lost of focus for the most. It has been translated into a fight about strength and power, instead of being a matter of humanity. Today’s world proposes us solutions as quotas and media indignation, when the case may relay instead in equal opportunities to access and equal treatment. To engage in gender equality, one doesn’t need to neither be a woman nor the one that everyone is expecting her to be. One needs to be passionate about humanity, able to recognize our differences and embrace them. We might be from Venus and men from Mars, yet on the Earth we sure look all the same and gender cooperation and interaction leads to human survival. Though, as I often mention in development issues, humans are not here to survive, we deserve to live.

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Lacey Jean Frye

THE DEATH OF FRAnK
The Chordettes tore through the thick black radio as she sat bitch in the back of the gunmetal sedan her father had restored from the ground up. The rebuild had always fascinated her, though she couldn’t muster the proper dad to daughter arm shrugs and shooting the shits routines just yet. “Dad?” “Throw me that wrench, will ya?” “Here. Dad, I wanted to tell you, see I thought maybe we could—” “Bastards! I can’t get this snug! Yeah? Go in the house and fetch me a cold one, will ya?” The dogs were barking all over town. Her stepmother couldn’t look at her daughter who spat out the broken parts of her father, whom the stepmother married to avoid another mess of food stamps, not to mention the bachelor roommate who gropes in the kitchen, gropes in the bathroom, and gropes all over the chairs that were easy in the first place. And naturally, the stepmother played defense and whirled a steak knife around at her father during every episode of “Who’s Coming to Dinner?” And luckily, the stepmother was visiting a friend of a friend with an aunt she never spoke to out in Nebraska for the season. During hunting season, she and he resided in the cabin her grandfather built just outside of Fulton, Missouri. And because her father hadn’t been close to his daddy, Frank was invited to fill in, to bond in a way her father had incorrectly assumed she and he could bond, on account of her mother’s belly producing a she and not a he. A daddy could only avoid his baby becoming a female for so long. She’d sprouted mosquito bites for boobies last summer. Gallons of snow hovered around them like a Christmas tree skirt, the kind her stepmother haphazardly washed, ironed, and tucked around the base. As she sat in the sedan, snug and safe in her school puffer, she sifted through the croons of The Chordettes, failing to keep her mind from reveling in her stepfather’s absence of the good part of the morning. He’d left for a walk hours ago. And she’d eaten all of his crab meat soaked in cocktail sauce the moment he’d slammed the screen door; she’d thrown his overalls off the bathroom hook where they soaked up the excess water from the leaky toilet; she’d ripped up his fishing magazines and shoved them in the bottom of the trash can, underneath the chicken bones he’d licked clean the night before.

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Lacey Jean Frye

THE DEATH OF FRAnK
The front seat engulfing her string bean of a father bounced frantically in her peripheral, catapulting her out of the melody and into the passenger seat’s window, where his index finger was jamming the glass. Her father bellowed, “Frank! Frank! Frank!” He had come across what they had been looking for: the body of her step-grandfather. By the time she’d outsmarted her seatbelt and jammed her feet back in her snow boots, her father was already out of the warm sedan and parallel to Frank’s blue face. Frank was staring up at the canopy of white branches. She wobbled like a turkey’s wattle, coming closer to the blue form as her father spat, “Go! Up to Henry’s cabin—he’s got a telephone. Now!” Her shoulders turned inward as the weight of the task clenched down. She turned and tried to run, but the knee-deep snow made a mockery of her footwork. The mile-long walk uphill was only made worse by the icy glaze atop the three feet of snow. Her boots filled with white powder. The cake under the icing melted on impact against her sweaty calves. Panic rose in her throat as she lost sight of the road once, then twice. As she inched toward Henry’s cabin, she sent up a hard prayer for the man in the snow—she’d wished Frank dead secretly but never anticipated her role in the undertaking. “Such a pretty girl, you know that? You look like an angel.” Frank’s lips shining with saliva, his hands paused over her thighs hidden underneath the gingham tablecloth. She silently moved the cards as she turned into rubber. Solitaire, she recalled. Someday, her stepmother would speak of Frank performing his card tricks on her. Someday, she’d understand why her stepmother had left her—a much daintier person—alone with such a beast. Deciding the side trail safer on account of the trees blocking most of the snowdrifts, she trudged over to the trail, edging closer to the formidable cabin. Somewhere, she’d lost her breath. A fast prayer to find it was sent up, as her lungs burned underneath two layers of rough long johns. The last moments of her inverted crawl were a blur of icing, of numb fingers and sliced heartstrings. She only remembers pounding her fists furiously on Henry’s door, only to unveil her father, his eyes never looking so clear. “I drove the sedan up the road right after you. He’s gone, honey.” “Finally,” she breathed, crumbling like leftover bread—bread for the birds. For Mister Sandman.

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Maureen Littlejohn

CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs

sOLOME nAnVULE (CEnTRE) AnD THE TEEn MOTHERs

sOLOME nAnVULE AnD CLOTHInG

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Claudia Fierro

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Elaheh Zohrevandi

The Third Gender
In our confined world of names and labels, sexuality presents itself in only two forms while Intersexuality presents itself in numerous different forms, occurring both in individuals with a standard karyotype (the chromosomal make-up of the body’s cells) of 46, XX (female) or 46, XY (male), as well as in those with more unusual karyotype combinations such as 47, XXY or 47, XYY. Until recently, the overwhelming response among doctors was to surgically “correct” a baby’s ambiguous genitalia on the grounds that he/ she would, in later life, be stigmatized by these unThe concept of “Third Gender” is not always chemical or physical; it can be a mental and psychological Who knows, maybe next time that you try to build an account somewhere in the visual world, you think twice before choosing your gender! The prevalence of corrective surgery is in part responsible for our general ignorance about intersexuality, which is far more widespread than most of us realize; the number of live births displaying “genital dimorphism” is estimated at approximately one in every 2,000. No one can predict the future, but it does seem as though our culture is becoming, albeit slowly, less rigid about gender roles, and more accepting of unconventionality in general. Intersexed babies with XY chromosomes have therefore frequently been “reassigned” as female, with parents advised to raise them as girls, and oestrogen pills administered to induce female puberty. This is largely due to the hugely influential 1960s “optimal gender policy” of psychologist John Money, and his famous assertion that “nurture could override nature”. Facebook is eating the world and here remains the big question: “When is media going to recognize the third gender?” conventional appendages. From the 1960s, it became common practice to trim down an enlarged clitoris, and to fashion a malformed penis into a vagina. The line among surgeons was allegedly: “It’s easier to dig a hole than build a pole.” India -in my opinion the most democratic place on earth- has the most recognized group of people living as the third gender among all the countries. Thailand holds the next place on the list. Comparing the records, western countries are just recognizing the intersexed as real people while eastern countries have already set up their cultural rules of acceptance. thing. In a country where girls are forced to wear scarves and even long veils to cover their bodies, and boys are pressured to look though just not to be made fun of, living as a third gender can be the hardest thing to do.

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su Tomesen

MARCELO, 2006

AnATOMICAL CORRECTnEss
Age 5 At the babysitter’s turquoise house, there is an olive-skinned who keeps “showing himself” to the girls. I don’t know what this means, I just overhear my babysitter on the phone. Later, I climb the dark staircase to the bathroom. I’m sitting on the toilet when the olive-skinned boy walks in. Age 8 ment porch.

nichole beard
She tells me to lie down on the cenight, I watch it alone. Age 10 She lies on top of me for a few seconds. And then she tells me to do the same. After a few seconds, I feel the same kind of guilt that I feel in church. I tell her I have to go. My twelve-year-old sister gets her period. Our mom pulls out a notepad and we lay on the bed on our bellies. Mom sketches out what she tells us is a “uterus.” She draws the parts inside and points, “These are the Fallopian tubes.” We giggle and say it sounds like a place, like The Fallopian Islands. Mom laughs with us While our mom is at work, we play because we haven’t changed yet. Age 12 I’ve made my first middle school friend. She invites me to sleep over As the cool water splashes over at her house. While her mom is upstairs, she goes to the website, penis.com because that’s the only thing she can think of typing in. She asks me if I’ve ever seen one. I stay silent as she scrolls through the pictures. “My mom says it’s okay for me to look, so that I know.” She says. Later, she puts on dark purple lipstick and kisses the laundry room door. “That’s how you do it,” she says. When she hands me the lipstick and tells me to try, I giggle. “You looked funny. I’d rather do that foreal.” She grins. me, my schoolmate’s little brother dips underwater. He tugs at my schoolmate’s swim trunks, and that’s when I see it: the protruding bit of flesh. And then it’s gone before I can study it further. At lunch, his mother serves us macaroni and cheese with chopped up hot dog on top. I’ve never had this dish. Age 9 At my dad’s house, I go through the box of movies. I pull out one with the title “Dirty Dancing.” It has a picture of a man and a woman hugging on the cover. My stepmom puts it back and tells me I’m too young to watch it. Later that at the neighbor’s house. It’s summer and they have a pool. Two brothers live there; one is in my grade.

“Here’s mine.” He unzips his pants and shows me a dark, floppy bit. I pull my pants up and run down the stairs. I try to avoid the olive-skinned boy every day that I’m there. Age 6 We watch TV with our mom. It’s an adult show. She tells us to cover our eyes during some parts, but I peek. I always peek. Age 7 My mom and sister are inside; I’m out on the porch. The neighbor girl comes out, she’s a year younger than me, I think. She asks, “Do you want to play sex?” I’m hesitant, but she pulls me over.

Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

Women, War and Worsening Situations
War, conflict and all kinds of armed battle have horrible impacts. Society is torn apart, often having to be rebuilt from the grassroots. People find themselves crushed by injury, their means of livelihood being thwarted by an exchange of fire and their lives itself, smashed to smithereens with them left to pick up the pieces. But of the lot, women are known to be the worst sufferers of conflict. As report after report seems to underline the fact, the trend still continues in the same direction. World over, women are the greater part of the segments of society that flee from the scene of conflicts. With most of the men folk taking to the armed forefronts, women find themselves being made the sole breadwinner of their families. Coupled with the economic considerations, there is always the looming threat of sexual violence. Oftentimes, the bodies of women become the battleground, as combatants and non-combatants exploit women sexually. Why is sexual violence so common on every warfront? Why are women the easiest targets? The fact is, that rape is cheap, easy and extremely effective. Armed groups, combatants and noncombatants alike use rape as a means to terrorize and control women and communities. Subjecting women to sexual violence earns the woman the indelible mark of stigmatization that society throws on them. Shrouded with humiliation, families then wind up turning these women out of their homes, and when women are spurned the backbone of a societal structure is broken. Men don’t want to marry women subject to sexual violence. Families don’t want to have them around anymore- either the stigma is too much to bear, or the fact that these women burden them since they can’t be married off (especially true in societies where marriages bring in bride prices). Sexual violence is calculated, brutal and absolutely bereft of humanity. Using sexual violence as a modus operandi in warfare is intricately woven with the hegemonic desire for power. Soldiers thirst to drive fear and strive to humiliate and punish women and their communities, in the hope that by doing so, they would invariably break down society entirely. Sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations is a preferred method that is used to reinforce gendered and political hierarchies. Considering this, it is absolutely imperative that women be made an integral part of the process of preventing conflicts, and part of the peace-building and peace-keeping roles. Although this would contribute heavily towards protecting women, the ground reality is that the inclusion of women in pre and post conflict measures has been ignored largely. A UNSC Resolution (Res 1325 in 2000) worked to urge all the member states to “ensure increased representation of women at all decisionmaking levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict”. Aside of reflecting the evident lack of the involvement of women in dealing with conflict, the resolution also showed signs of being a proactive initiation of the process. However, the situation a decade since shows no signs of improvement, or abatement. Consequently, a recent endeavour was made by the Security Council, with a host of deliberations that discussed the means that may be deployed to effectively implement Resolution 1325. The frugal to non-implementation of the resolution boils down to the question of policy. The involvement of women in the process of peace-building and peace-keeping, as also in the active political

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Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

trajectory of a state is largely up to the state itself, and its policies vis-a-vis women. In most parts of the world, women find themselves inadequately equipped and inadequately represented. Furthermore, in several post conflict regions, women find themselves in a situation of fear, and in a situation where they are placed as sole breadwinners, and thinking of participation in the political process is far too distant a proposition. Where the fear factor goes, most women believe that participation in a vociferous political framework might bring them more harm. This is especially true in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo. When women are forced to be sole breadwinners by circumstance, they are obligated to put their families first. This often makes them want to reach out to things that would benefit their families more than anything else. Consequently, these women wind up either voting for leaders who offer them sops and freebies but no future plans of empowerment, or wind up staying outside the political framework in search of a means of livelihood that could provide for their families. This is particularly true in DR Congo and Zimbabwe, and to some extent in Nigeria. Having said that, it is important to remember that the involvement of women alone will not suffice to solve conflict and restore peace. The UN however, needs to stabilize its policies. On the one hand, it cannot afford to silently allow war to burgeon- albeit through false claims of self defence (Afghanistan, Iraq) and humanitarian intervention (Libya), while on the other hand try seeking women out to foment peace. Involving women in the peace process is not easy, and is certainly not free of obstacles. A strong commitment is needed from the states themselves, to determinedly keep its women safe, and offer them a good social standing. On the part of the women, as hard as it might be, it is necessary that they put all their trust in themselves, to take a leap of faith.

Charlotte Lazarus

WHAT yOU THInK Is WORKInG AGAInsT yOU Is ACTUALLy WORKInG FOR yOU
ften we think that God is punishing us when we are placed in difficult, hurtful and hopeless situations. We are filled with anger, rage, despair and fear. We are deeply concerned of what will become of us. How will we ever overcome this pain, will we ever triumph over fear? friend of mine, whom had met the love of her life a few years ago, thought that she was going to spend her entire life with this person. She imagined a life with him full of bliss, marriage, and eventually kids down the line. She pretty much had already envisioned her destiny with this person. However, despite her good intentions and outpouring of love toward this individual, their love was not to be. After a few years of dating, he decided to break up their blissful union. She pleaded to him to take her back, to give their relationship another chance, to make things work, but he bluntly declined rejecting her plea for reconciliation and love. The breakup left her sad, lost, confused, unhappy and angry. A pool of painful emotions floated in her heart and head. She always went the extra mile for him, but all her good works did not make any difference this time around.

O A

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Charlotte Lazarus

WHAT yOU THInK Is WORKInG AGAInsT yOU Is ACTUALLy WORKInG FOR yOU
Not much time had passed before he had already started dating somebody else. Not only did he find a replacement very quickly, but he spread vicious, tainting rumors about my friend. Coupled with the breakup and the false rumors, this was all too much to handle. Luckily, nothing stays the same, especially if you make a decision to grow. Time passed and my once self-sacrificial friend evolved into this exceptionally outwardly person – so deep in thought inner strength and beauty. To her surprise, the guy whom once took away her supposed future called her not so long ago. He desperately wanted to meet up and know how life was going, was she seeing somebody etc . She agreed to meet. 3 years had passed since they last spoke. He wasn’t the same person she had once known. Everything about him seemed different. She was not longer nervous or in awe of his presence. She had moved beyond his start status, overcome the pain he had caused her and thus was no longer a prisoner of her thoughts. Her life had changed dramatically in those three years. She has realized that her true worth was not defined by another person or dictated by society, but it was defined by her relationship with herself, loving and respecting herself first and foremost and steadily learning that happiness lies within her. To put the icing on the cake, love was possibly re-entering her life, her studies are going very well, she has met so many amazing people along her journey and equally amazing she may have a bright future in the public sphere. Her experience is just another testimony of how life may seem unwaveringly hard at times, but if we take time to reflect a bit deeper and learn to stand the test , we will understand that in due time what we think was working against us is actually working for us.

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Fatemeh Mohseni

Conversion Conversion
I’m in this part of the world. I’m near Damavand’s mountain. I’m sitting in the corner of my room. I’m holding a pencil in my hand. And I’m changing my friends’ sexualities in my phone book: mostafa -> farzane fardin -> fariba. Just because my father, well, he can’t see me hanging out with people of his own sex, even when we are talking on the phone. He’s under lots of pressure and so is me, Mostafa and Fardin.

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Marie Keith s. Epe WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWbOys GOnE
In the latter part of 1996, Paula Cole, an American singer-songwriter released her album called, This Fire, which featured her single, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone”? Finding an inspiration to write an article about “gender”, this song came first to mind. Primarily because it obviously identifies gender roles and gender-related issues which more families could relate to nowadays. Second, Paula Cole never stifled all the issues that women encountered and still experiences, when it comes to gender discrimination. In this song, men were identified in the society as the provider in the family. A provider means the sole source of income and always going out for work, be it farming, carpentry, electronics or corporate jobs. Men or the providers pay all the bills to raise a successful home. Women, as clearly depicted in this song, stays at home, do laundries or take care of children. Women, who are programmed to do ‘womanly work’, automatically provides coffee or food for her husband. Aside from that, she must juggle all these household chores while preparing her maternal health for her next newborn. The song above tells a story of a family which more women could identify themselves with. This is very typical of how society views a family. Society dictates that men should work, while women stays at home nurturing children, preparing home-cooked meals and hoping unending happiness for their family. Later in the song, the woman, after wearing a new dress was not even noticed by her husband. The husband kept agreeing to have an unfailing nightly date with his beer or with his happy-go-lucky comrades at the local bar, instead. Women stayed at home making sure that their family will have a better or brighter future the next day. While men stayed out, planning their next bar to visit. When women had to deal with this kind of dysfunctional behavior from their partners, she feels abandoned. And the question will always be: why do women have to carry ALL the burden in raising a happy and successful home? The labels on gender are very much unreliable. If we are going to adhere to it, more women will feel used and abused. Reversing the song in which women becomes the irresponsible wife, partying every night like an apocalypse would hit the next day, gobbling all the beer to burst her already pregnant belly, or even asking her husband to prepare food for her and demand three more sugar cubes on her coffee, would definitely get ‘boos’ from the society, needless to say, no producer or music label would even sign this kind of song for release. It is always a question of gender equality. Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car had a similar theme where the man, from the father to the husband in the song, repeated the cycle of irresponsibility. Men who were supposed to project strength and the Superman in every family, becomes the liability and displays every reason for his family to disrespect and disown him by drowning himself with alcohol and laziness. It’s funny how songs haunt us. We may just be humming them, singing them on top of our lungs or simply ignoring them when it became number 1 in the radio countdown. And when we have to speak out for something we believe in, we suddenly remember the song, line by line, beat by beat, which guides us towards enlightenment. Songs that encourage and give strength. Songs that open our awareness to the rotten labels on gender of our society. We can continue living this cycle and be the topic, again, on the next pop song that would hit the number 1 spot in music charts. Or we could speak out, forget the labels, ignore our gender and do our best to make a happy family worth living and fighting for.

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Daniela silva

THE ART IMITATEs LIFE
Movie based on true events, tells the story of a woman who, while having arrested and wrongly convicted brother, decides graduating from law to advocate for this cause, and thus prove the innocence of his brother.
The movie “Conviction,” portrays the tragedy experienced by Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) and Kenny (Sam Rockwell), two brothers who end up having their lives changed when Kenny, having an impulsive and explosive behavior, turns out to be monitored by police, which culminates in his prison accused of a crime he did not commit. The fact undermines dramatically the life of Betty, who is very attached to her brother since childhood, leading her to renounce her life for justice and innocence of her brother. Obstinate and persevering, she goes to law school and graduate goes on to defend his brother (sentenced to life imprisonment), to get together enough evidence to exempt and get free her brother’s conviction. Sensitized by the Cause, and to have witnessed numerous cases of people accused of crimes they did not commit, Betty Anne engages in an organization that lives and works in defense of people accused of crimes not committed. The film, based on a true story, inspires delights and attracts. Tells the story of a woman, surpassing the impossible barriers to prove the possible dream. A dream called Innocence.

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ngoako Jay Morokolo
A THANK YOU KIND OF LOVE
Wouldn’t it be great to come back from a long day and everyone is due to be home to spend time with, your children and your spouse? Isabella lounged around the living area with her husband. She had a glass of red wine while he had dark rum. They’re both on the couch and watching the match highlights between Chelsea and Manchester United. ‘Honey I have to meet this woman tonight. I’m doing a radio interview with her on Friday afternoon.’ She had already dialled her when she told Richards this. ‘Good evening, it’s Isabella again. As promised, I’ll be on my way any moment. Can you please say directions to your place? We’ll take it from Easter Mall…’ ‘Yea. I then turn left? Then right... Which traffic lights?’ Richards isolated himself from Isabella and populated the sofa to enjoy the game. ‘No wait, before I get to those traffic lights, I need to have passed that Cathedral ― church on my left and then on my right would be a local park.’ She has now put a glass on the coffee table and stood before Richards. ‘Is there any other prominent feature close to your house?’ She felt as though she was getting nowhere. ‘So I’ll drive past the church and you are only five streets away? Okay, no. 592 you say? Okay, I’ve got it. I’ve got it, thanks.’ She said at last. ‘Ag, some women and their directions...’ She was disappointed now. ‘Aren’t you the one who threw out your GPS by the window, on Queen Elizabeth Rd last month?’ Richards asked. ‘Oh Richards, that thing was useless. I’m journalist and I need not running around some places while I’m chasing story. I won’t take long alright.’ She was already on her way. ‘Love you.’ She said promptly. For the woman who has been hurt before, she really meant these words. ‘Okay thanks.’ Richards said as she made for the door.

She stared at Richards with a probing face. She definitely had questions on her mind when she came back again. Meanwhile, Richards was working his laptop. ‘What’s the matter?’ he queried after she stood behind him at a length, although she was taking off her cut jacket. ‘The woman, she made me realise how important family is.’ Richards continued working on his computer. ‘Are you listening?’

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ngoako Jay Morokolo
Wouldn’t it be great to come back from a long day and everyone is due to be home to spend time with, your children and your spouse? Isabella lounged around the living area with her husband. She had a glass of red wine while he had dark rum. They’re both on the couch and watching the match highlights between Chelsea and Manchester United. ‘Ag, some women and their direc‘Honey I have to meet this woman tonight. I’m doing a radio interview with her on Friday afternoon.’ She had already dialled her when she told Richards this. ‘Good evening, it’s Isabella again. As promised, I’ll be on my way any moment. Can you please say directions to your place? We’ll take it from Easter Mall…’ ‘Yea. I then turn left? Then right... Which traffic lights?’ Richards isolated himself from Isabella and populated the sofa to enjoy the game. ‘No wait, before I get to those traffic lights, I need to have passed that Cathedral ― church on my left and then on my right would be a local park.’ She has now put a glass on the coffee She stared at Richards with a ‘Okay thanks.’ Richards said as she made for the door. ‘I’ve been busy and you know it. We were just hungry, no need to work yourself up. I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. So ‘Love you.’ She said promptly. For the woman who has been hurt before, she really meant these words. ‘Oh Richards, that thing was useless. I’m journalist and I need not running around some places while I’m chasing story. I won’t take long alright.’ She was already on her way. ‘Am I that late that you had had supper without me? I said I wasn’t going to take long.’ Richards said very little. ‘It’s not like I come back home late everyday. Unlike you, nowadays I don’t even know where you are half the time.’ ‘We already had supper.’ ‘Aren’t you the one who threw out your GPS by the window, on Queen Elizabeth Rd last month?’ Richards asked. ‘All right then, I’ll go downstairs and start dishing out.’ ‘Just a minute, I have to finish this…’ tions...’ She was disappointed now. ‘Are you listening?’ ‘So I’ll drive past the church and you are only five streets away? Okay, no. 592 you say? Okay, I’ve got it. I’ve got it, thanks.’ She said at last. ‘The woman, she made me realise how important family is.’ Richards continued working on his computer. ‘Is there any other prominent feature close to your house?’ She felt as though she was getting nowhere. ‘What’s the matter?’ he queried after she stood behind him at a length, although she was taking off her cut jacket. table and stood before Richards. probing face. She definitely had questions on her mind when she came back again. Meanwhile, Richards was working his laptop.

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Eleanor bennett

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ngoako Jay Morokolo
I’m going to have a shower and then straight to bed. Would you be all right?’ Richards asked as soon as he finished. ‘I’ll survive. Can I use your laptop since it’s still on? I want to Google this woman some more. I’ll bring it back with me.’ ‘Yes you may.’ Richards said as he kissed her cheek bone. Truth be told, Isabella was not going to Google any woman. However, she was searching faults, signs of dishonesty the woman had pointed out. She has never done an interview on “divorce”, not especially so soon after her new marriage with Richards. It’s true that some people will have profound influence, resulting from their experiences but nobody is above scrutiny. She seems to have forgotten this when the woman suggested she keep tabs on the man. She must have been mesmerised by the interviewed. The mail account is ready and At least all these things are happening before the radio interview, wouldn’t you say? It can cost Isabella a chunk of her career if she were to react live on the national there are messages. There are three kinds of messages. There are of business, advertorial and then, there are personal messages, the ones she hopes to sink Sender: For sure my man. Keep it cool bro. ‘I’ll start with e-mails.’ Isabella told herself and indeed she had her husband’s password, though never used it before. Well, there’s first time for everything. Richards: Next time we go all the way. Just make sure you get your lines and all your Notes right and we’ll go far. Sender: Hope it’ll be as hot as it were. She advocates women’s independence, but her approach is now barely alienating men, making women some stands alone. I really wish you were to listen to her interview. She’s really moving. She can stir up deep emotions. Thoughts you’d never thought will come up anywhere near your future. She is the power, a strong voice. Richards: I’m glad you did. Sender: Yesterday was hot fun. Especially with all that “let’s do it baby. It sexes my soul”. I loved every minute of it. It sounded like a colleague to her when she went on to open another message. Producer: Okay boss. The woman comes from a disastrous divorce that ruined her career and lost all her possessions. She is well-known, was married to a high-profile politician, whom is owed a nickname “ruthless”. She’d had to start again from the beginning. She built herself up everyday, step-by-step and she is now more an independent woman than she ever was. Bring the demo with you. Richards: Alright, let’s meet when you come back at Beyer’s Kitchen at 18:45 from Easter Mall. Producer: Yo Richards my man, I’ve got interesting staff. This one is going to blow your socks off. The girls from the States are off the hook. radio station. her teeth in. The first one reads.

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ngoako Jay Morokolo
‘What is hot fun? Sexes my soul? And why would Richards say this to anyone man? Isn’t this a man talking? But he sounds too pansy. Why would Richards spend time in the studio with some ― pansexual boys when he’s in fact, the owner of the record label? She then came across a LinkedIn Update and a link that led to his a login page. Meanwhile, she was too obliviShe punched in a password and she received an error message. ‘What records does he produce? Okay, let me try hip-hop.’ She spoke to herself. ‘Damn it!’ It doesn’t work. ‘Okay, let’s say Isabella or Cadillac or afro-fusion706… no, let me say Madonna.’ It didn’t work either. She sat in front of a laptop, thinking... She then answered the password question that led her back to the e-mail account and she finally opened LinkedIn and she found nothing in there. However, the LinkedIn account is connected to Twitter. ‘Mhmmm…’ she taps the table with her manicured nails in utter silence. Her face shone with light of joy like the sun victorious of Richards must have seen a frame of a woman when he changed turns and then he opened his eyes to find Isabella standing in front of him. ‘My husband wants to be a singer, on his thirty-fourth year of living? It’s impossible! How can you own a recording company and yet sing for it? Perhaps it’s possible. He seems to have got it Her thought came back rushing like water filling up all the dry pines and she’s tempted. She’s standing right before Richards and she’s gazing the cellphone, her heart is pounding her chest. ‘Oh Lord!’ She flipped the duvet and tiptoed towards the bathroom to hearken the lyrics. It is now late at night and she turned off the computer and packed her staff. Richards was fast asleep. She came to put the laptop on the divan close to Richards’ bedside. She noticed his iPHONE lay silently on his bedside table. She never heard Richards sing in the shower before but today she woke up to Richards’ voice as molto as that of Luciano Pavarotti. ous to think what she was doing is wrong and she relished at her next thought. ‘Thank you.’ Richards said from his sleep. These words became bitter-sweet in just days. But did Richards have neither ample time nor the energy to digest these words and have a respond she needed? She went to bed a mad woman. The page read: following 2853; followers 2267. She scrolled down the tweets until she was tired. She found nothing! Or nothing of her use anyway. ‘Yea, sleep well honey. I love you.’ ‘Ooh...’ That’s all Richards could afford to say. the dark. She went on to Twitter account using the LinkedIn password and she logged in successfully. ‘No I just finished working on the computer. I’m going to put it here on the divan. You can go to sleep honey.’ She was all jittery now. ‘Baby?’

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Eleanor bennett

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Eleanor bennett

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Eleanor bennett

Claudia Fierro Eleanor bennett

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ngoako Jay Morokolo
this morning, but I am certain not from me.’ He stopped singing suddenly and went for the door. She returned to her bed with a whoosh and covered herself in a thick duvet, pretending as though nothing had happened. It’s sad what we’re made to do sometimes because we have something to prove. More like self-inflicted torture. Maybe it’s not the case with Isabella. Perhaps she’s right to believing that her husband is cheating with another woman. Except so far she has nothing on hand. But it’s not over until she gets to the bottom of this, if she ever will. ‘Okay baby, I’m off to work now. I’ll see you later.’ He was in a good mood like a boy child who just had their best cereal for breakfast. He was in a good suit too. He kissed her a kiss on the forehead for goodbye. ‘Take care now.’ He cried. ‘You too honey. Love you.’ ‘Thank you.’ He closed a door behind him and hastened for the garage. ‘I cannot believe I called my last She followed Richards wherever ‘Isabella, come down please. Are you telling me he’s cheating now? I think all these things don’t add up, I just don’t believe it. I mean the man you describe is not Richards I know and you know it too. That is not Richards! Have somebody told you something?’ Both men shook hands and stepped into their cars and drove away. Moments later, she was peeking over people as the two walked out of the mall to the parking lot. ‘I swear to you Martha, he has changed suddenly. He does not pay me attention. He does not give me that love the way he used to. He started coming home late. What am I going to do should he leave me? I had borne him a daughter. I have built my life around the man, Martha. He can’t do this to me.’ Richards stopped at the Easter Mall and met his producer. She watched them in the restaurant, Beyer’s Kitchen. The man also gave Richards some papers and a disc, more like a demo disc. As he drove off from the gate, Isabella started the engine and followed him in her car. She gave herself a substantial following distance. ‘Can that be possible? You wedded him five months ago.’ Said Martha Pule. ‘When I say “I love you” he just says “thank you”. What does that supposed to mean? Is this man still in love with me? Tell me Martha.’ ‘Who’s he? Isabella, come down.’ It was exactly six-thirty when Richards said he’ll have an after work meeting with one of his producers who flew in from San Francisco today. And so he drove his black Cadillac. A man of taste and stature, a man of measured gait, you’ll enjoy watching. Isabella was watching him too from the living area. ‘He just said thank you. Again!’ She spoke to her friend on the phone. best friend on earth and she told this. You know what? Save it, I’ll prove it to you!’ She replaced the receiver.

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ngoako Jay Morokolo
he was going. As she drove, as she followed Richards, it is clear now that the road is leading to one place. Too many thoughts were now filling her mind. She does not know what to exShe can now recognise the traffic lights where she passed the beggars yesterday. In her mind, she knows where Richards is going and she won’t bother herself asking how he connects with the woman. She can clearly see that she’s approaching that park and the church. She got close where she poked ‘Lord, help her for if…’ Richard indicated to enter the church. ‘What? What is Richards doing in the cathedral? We never go to church. Is he seeking help from the pope? But why go this far when we have a church nearby, with a priest I’m sure?’ She was perplexed. She stopped a few metres away from the gate of the church. She looked inside the yard. There were eight most expansive cars parked in a raw, facing a matured church. ‘Isabella? What are you doing here? How did you get here?’ The voice that was now warming and powerful to cause her a lump in her throat. Her eyes were burning with tears. The operetta lyrics unknown to her penetrated her doting heart and all she wanted was to cry. She listened to the notes that echoed the hall that she did not see Richards coming for her. ‘Oh thank you honey.’ She said it herself. ‘How can I do this to my husband?’ ‘Ssh! Come on in.’ He took her inside and sat on a pew while the rest continue like nothing was happening. ‘It’s going to be alright. He assured her. ‘Don’t worry, It’ll be alright, you’ll see. I love you, okay!?’ He reassured her and jumped back onto the stage. her head through the door and she could now see men lined up and singing. Her husband formed part of the choir. She listened to his voice in particular. ‘…by singing a choir?’ ‘It’s only been several weeks now. These guys were in my school choir and we just wanted to do our own little get-together.’ She said a silent prayer as she gets off the car and slunk towards the entrance. As she approaches, she hears the voices, male voices. They sung and stopped like in a choir practice. ‘So, you sing a choir? How long have you started this?’ ‘It’s okay. Ssh! It’s okay baby.’ He took her in his strong arms. pect. She’s nervous. A big sorry was indeed written on her poor face and he understood. She made a U-turn and now enters the yard. Only now she was able to read the name St. Mathews’ Cathedral, written is old English typeface. The church is entirely quiet from outside. ‘I am so sorry Richard, I’m so sorry.’ ‘You were following me right?’ Richards was rather calm when he questioned her.

Tears began rolling as she spoke to herself. ‘I don’t deserve him, his trust, his honesty, his love. God how can I do such stupid things because of one person’s opinions?’ She looked up the white ceiling as if she could see God. She was trying to constrict her tears of bliss and fading agony. It was the first time in many years she was touched by love and she understood too well, too well that all she could say to God was ‘Thank you! I am grateful.’

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Ana Isabel Martinez

Climate change: When the nature becomes a discriminatory force
Addressing climate change is a global prime concern to be tackled. Unless it is efficiently managed, it will have dramatic repercussions, not only on the environment, but also on an economic and social realm. Disastrous consequences investments due to the economic crisis, Canada withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, and the COP17 – 17th Conference of the Parties and last United Nations Convention on Climate Change –last year in Durban, South Africa, ended in disillusionment and modest accomplishments such as the promise to work toward a new global treaty in coming years and the establishment of a new climate fund. Uneven effects and consequences Climate change has an uneven A global failure to manage the issue The general debate about how to confront the global warming is facing a complicated moment. The CO2market has become a profitable business for industries and private companies – not so much for States, that lost great amounts of money paying their extra emissions – without achieving its main propose: the reduction of CO2 emissions. Europe is reticent to increase range of consequences. As the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – pointed out in 2001, “The impacts of climate change will be differently distributed among different regions, generations, ages, classes, income groups, occupations and sexes.” Climate change exacerbates inequality: developing countries, rural and poor areas are the most likely to suffer the harsh effects and a more restricted access to food, clean water and other resources. According to FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – around two thirds of the female labour force in developing countries and more that 90 percent in many African countries are engaged in agricultural work. Some of the effects of climate change The economy of rural areas in developing countries is highly based on natural resources, and therefore are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. of climate change can be already felt in natural hazards such as the increase of mudslides, floods, hurricanes and draughts. Biodiversity is threatened, agriculture, food security, water resources and human health, settlements and living standards are endangered. Women’s subordinate relationship to men defines a limited access and control over resources and opportunities. They compose the greater part of the world’s poor – 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women – and they are more dependent for their subsistence on natural resources, some of which are threatened by climate change. And when it comes to inequality, also women are in the spotlight. When it becomes a gender issue

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Ana Isabel Martinez

Climate change: When the nature becomes a discriminatory force
they might have to cope with is the scarcity of traditional food sources, the increase of food prices and ever periods of shortage in the poorest areas. Climate change is producing deforestation, resulting in a further location of the forests in relation to the places where people live. In many developing countries women are in charge of collecting traditional fuels such as wood, agricultural crops and forest resources, facing an increase of the time they have to dedicate to these responsibilities. In Nepal, for example, women often suffer from bladder problems as a consequence of carrying large amounts of firewood while being pregnant. The inadequate access to fresh water resources increases the amount of labor and time spent to haul water from distant sources, to store and to distribute it, again a burden usually borne by women. It is indispensable a better understanding of the different Negotiations about climate change are difficult and often fruitless. New ways to deal with climate change have to be developed, and it is necessary to identify gender-sensitive strategies to respond to the challenges that are being arisen. These are only few examples on how a global issue such as climate change affects unevenly, and how gender is again a characteristic that depicts inequalities. Despite, women must be seen not only as victims, but also as effective agents of change that must be encouraged and empowered. The only successful procedure Because of their limited access to resources and mobility, women in some contexts are highly affected by natural disasters such as landslides, fires and floods because they see restricted their access to shelter or medical attention. gender vulnerabilities and capacities to fight climate change and strengthen of women participation. Implementing policies and programs that seek for greater equality is essential to have a complete view on the relation between the human beings and the ecosystems, and therefore to find an appropriate way to battle climate change.

LEILA A. FORTIER

Woman

A Woman Does not always Know her path~ Her course Is not always understood~ she is both Moth and the flame she is drawn to~ This Is no chemical imbalance- This is her primal nature~ she wants to fall effortlessly through Each moment~ To withstand the impact of Her own making- as co-creator of her Destiny~ she does not belong to The wrath of Lilith or The naivety of Eve~ she Has yet To be Painted~ she spends Days in solitude And nights in fevers~ In sky she displays both her Fullness and eclipse~ she harvests Her experiences like unborn stars of Potentiality~ At times, she is afflicted by her very own hand~ This is how she learns to endure the wounds Of an imposing world~ Her Truth resides not in What she saysbut within Her eyes incapable Of secret~ she cares not for the Fruit of your labor~ but the essence of your song~ she discards reality in an instant for the interior world Man has yet to create~ Here…she is already living her next life~ Where Her kiss was meant only for the lips of her God~ And her language is yet to be written

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Zafar Ihsan

Unsung bravery of
Swat is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. The river Swat runs through the length of the valley and there are lush fields and orchards on both sides of it. The hills that surround the valley have pine and oak forests. The only ski resort in Pakistan is located over here. Swat has cool summers and cold winters and is a major tourist resort for Pakistanis who want to escape from the summer heat of the plains. In late 2008 the Taliban started making inroads into Swat and taking over this peaceful valley. The newly elected civilian government tried to reach an agreement with the Taliban. The Talban after wasting time in haggling finally reached an agreement with the government. While the politicians went about patting their backs and acclaiming what a fine job they had done in saving Swat from Taliban rule; the Taliban started taking over Swat. This was their original plan. The first victim of the Taliban destruction was girls’ schools and colleges. The Taliban virtually took over the valley and trapped the residents in their vicious designs. The entire population went into trauma and shock. Men were executed publicly everyday in the valley’s biggest city Mingora. A On a visit to one of the camps in Swabi what surprised us was that the camp was extremely well managed and a temporary school had also been setup in it. What was more surprising was that it was the educated women in the camps who had volunteered as teachers. When talking with the women in these camps, their bravery and resilience amazed us. A number of them had lost their men folk and were stuck with raising their After the army succeeded in restoring peace in Swat and flushing out the Taliban the displaced In 2009 the Pakistan army started an operation against the Taliban in Swat and their first act was to move the people of Swat into temporary camps setup in the safer areas of Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera. Some of these camps were run by the government, while the rest were setup and managed by non-government organizations and philanthropists. We immediately arranged to buy these items, which did not cost the earth and gave it to them to be distributed. In the meanwhile we talked to shop owners that sold handicrafts to buy Swati embroidery from us and contribute to a good cause, which most of them agreed to. We started shuttling between the camps and Islamabad and the women started earning their livelihood. We encouraged non-government organizations and shop owners to setup direct links with the women in the camps, which they did. major cross road known as ‘green square’ was renamed as ‘bloody square’ as all the executions were carried out here. Women were flogged on the slightest whim by the Taliban. The entire population of this pristine valley was subjugated into fear. Some women were forced into marrying Taliban fighters and were forced into the sordid business of prostitution. children on their own, without any source of income. Yet these women had not surrendered to beggary or selling their bodies. They asked us for nothing in terms of monetary help. Yes, what they did ask us was to help them find a respectable way to earn a living. Upon asking them what type of help they sought. They replied almost in unison, ‘We can all do embroidery, get us needles, thread, cloth and embroidery frames and help us sell our work’. Their preferred choice in color of cloth was black, red and dark green.

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Zafar Ihsan

Women of swat
people returned to their homes or what was left of them. The women who have lost their men folk have continued in doing embroidery and selling their products to merchants. They must be commended for their bravery in facing the worst tragedy in their lives and yet not succumbing to it. Today the girls are back in schools and many aspire to become teachers and to continue educating the children of Swat. The women are involved in a respectable profession by doing their traditional embroidery and earning from it. Anyone who comes across a piece of Swat made embroidery anywhere in the world; please do buy it as you won’t know that you may be helping a woman in a remote corner of the world raise her children and live a respectable life.

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Effat Allahyari
Here There’s no encouragement for the sky Here There’s no place for a tear to fall No cry for an angel’s departure at all Here Everyone lives like a woman, a wife Or dies like a man in life Here There’s no wings to fly No light to let you pass by

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Eleanor bennett

PHOTOGRAPHy
Eleanor Bennet Claudia Fierro Maureen Littlejohn Su Tomesen Chioma Nneji

EDITOR
Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

CRITICs
Daniela silva Maureen Littlejohn

COnTRIbUTORs
Ngoako Jay Morokolo Nichole Beard Lacey Jean Frye Maureen Littlejohn Ana Isabel Martinez Charlotte Lazarus Christina Y. Kim Effat Allahyari Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Kanika Jain Katherine Vasquez Tarazona Leila A. Fortier Marie Keith S. Epe Hadi Barazandeh Paola Brigneti Fatemeh Mohseni Zafar Ihsan Denise Falcone

CEO
Elsie Reed