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Pumpkin Bread

The counterculture made it in the news today!  Yay!

Author Ken Kesey poses in 1997 with his bus, "Further", a descendant of the vehicle that carried Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on the 1964 trip immortalized in Tom Wolfe's book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Kesey, who died in 2001, is the subject of the new documentary Magic Trip.

Here‘s a link to the Fresh Air interview on NPR.

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This week I read Mary Jezer’s Home Comfort and The Dark Ages.  I came in contact with Jezer when studying WIN‘s special men’s issue in 1974 for my Masters thesis.  With all of the chaos going on the the world, one of the quotes that Jezer included in The Dark Ages really resonated with me:

“The problem is not how to get rid of the enemy, but rather how to get rid of the last victo.  For what is a victo but one who has learned that violence works.  Who will teach him a lesson?” – Niccolo Tucci in Politics Magazine, July 1945

Home Comforts – a collection of perspectives on creating, living in, and leaving the countercultural commune Total Loss Farm in the 60s and 70s.  Enjoy this delicious recipe:

This kind of reminds me of a recipe  for sour cream waffles I found at the Amelia Earhart exhibit at Purdue University.  The recipe I saw was accompanied with an article emphasizing Earhart’s domesticity despite her (masculine) influence in aviation.  They may not be delicious, but I’m too much of a history nerd not to make them.

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Girls Sweep the Google Science Fair

Winners of the first Google Science Fair (from left to right): Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah. (Courtesy of The Official Google Blog)

From NPR’s Here and Now with Robin Young

The first-ever Google Science Fair ended last month with females winning all three age categories.

The grand prize went to 17-year-old Shree Bose. The soon-to-be senior at Fort Worth Country Day School in Texas won for her groundbreaking findings into how to prevent resistance to the ovarian cancer drug Cisplatin.

Could this be a sign of the strides women have made in science and engineering?

Statistics show though they’re competing equally with men in terms of receiving science degrees, they still make up a significantly smaller percentage of the science workforce.

The key to advancement, some experts say, is what Shree Bose found in the university scientist who supervised her research: a strong mentor.

Bose told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that finding that mentor wasn’t easy.

“I was a 15-year old girl just randomly asking professors if I could work in their lab, and I got rejected,” she said. “The one who actually accepted me was a woman herself.”

Read about their winning projects here.

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Gender and Super Heroes/oines

In light of Captain America’s soon-to-be film debut, I saw this article today on the Good Men Project:

“Captain America is the Best Man” by Mark D.:

As a longtime comics fan, I find inspiration in many of the superheroes whose adventures I read every month, but none inspire me as much as Captain America. Simply put, to me, Cap stands as an example of the best we can be. He embodies all of the classical virtues that are just as important now as they were in the days of the ancient Greeks, including honesty, courage, loyalty, perseverance, and, perhaps most importantly, honor (in particular, military honor). While I can’t be as strong or fast as Cap, I can hope to be as honest, courageous, and honorable.

(Although Mark D. argues that Captain America has moved beyond his jingoist, hegemonically masculine, and paternalistic roots, in a post-911 age these historic roots cannot be denied.)

And that’s great and all.  The guy seems just swell.

But it got me thinking – where are all of the honest, courageous, and strong superheroines?  Most of them are either crazy or can’t control their powers or they’re young with teenage troubles or sex on the brain. 

Literally I can only think of Xena.  Any thoughts?

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Student Activism in the 1960s and 1970s

Most people my age nowadays don’t give a horse’s patootie about politics, human rights, justice, activism, or change.  In my research I’m really interested in understanding what inspired/fueled the social and political movements of the counterculture (’65ish-’75ish), and what led to its demise.

Here’s what I’ve been into lately for my research:

While the first two chapters elaborate on the, economic, social, and legal motivations for youth activism in the 1960s, the third chapter focuses on college campuses where much of the fervent radicalism sprung forth. 

But before I share a segment, you should check out the “documentary” Chicago 10, which combines archival footage, animation, and music examining the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the subsequent trial.  You can rent the film from Netflix and read more info from the wiki page.  Here’s a clip:

Here is a selection from Chalmer’s book, in which he describes the extent of youth activism during the counterculture, as well as the violent repercussions of their actions.  I’ve included some links for more information:

“Students and recent graduates from more than two hundred colleges and universities – public, private, and parochial – took part int he 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.  Swarthmore College students were arrested in Chester, PA; and University of Florida Students went to jail in St. Augustine.  Penn State had its Committee for Student Freedom; a Campus Freedom Democratic Party was organized at the University of Nebraska; and University of Texas students campaigned to desegregate college bathrooms, with the slogan “Let my people go.”  During 1964-1965, there were some kind of protest on a majority of the nation’s four-year campuses.

Vietnam and the draft changed the pattern and intensified the conflict.  Militancy increased on Southern black campuses.  Police and National Guardsmen shot students at South Carolina State, Jackson State, and North Carolina A & T. 

Black student occupied administrative offices at Chicago, Brandeis, and dozens of other colleges, and brought rifles into the Willard Straight Union at Cornell.  At numerous colleges, students sat in against military recruiting and napalm’s manufacturer, Dow Chemical.  Campus ROTC buildings were set on fire.  University officials were help hostage at Connecticut’s Trinity College and at San Fernando State, as well as at Columbia University. 

In the final year of the decade, bombing threats ran into the thousands.  People were injured in explosions at Pomona College, San Francisco State, and Santa Barbara, and a graduate student was killed by a bomb at the University of Wiconsin…The National Guard…was called on more than two hundred times in civil disorders on American campuses.” (72-73)

When Nixon sent troops to Cambodia, violence on college campuses escalated:

“The burst of anger on the campuses became an explosion when National Guardsmen fired into a crowd, killing four students and wounding others at Ohio’s Kent State University.  Ten days later, in an unrelated incident, police fired into a women’s dormitory at Mississippi’s black Jackson State University and killed two more. 

 There were strikes and protests on nearly one-third of the nation’s twenty-five hundred colleges and universities, and tens of thousands of student protestors converged on Washington to gather around the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.”  (77)

As a result of all this student outrage, President Nixon appointed a Commission on Campus Unrest.  Where has all this passion gone?

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China’s Exploding Watermelons

Info from Oiwan Lam at GlobalVoices.org – an international blog for human justice issues.

A few months ago, local state media exposed that farmers in China’s Jiangsu province were affected by the problem of “exploding watermelons” due to the overuse of chemicals. On 5 July, 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture asserted [1] [zh] that the chemical growth enhancer for watermelon is safe as the toxic residue level is low.

The Ministry also stated that if growth chemicals banned in China, the whole agricultural industry sector would be affected.

According to Hutong news summary [2] [zh], the watermelons were exploding in the fields like balloons. The growth enhancer involved in the incident is Forchlorfenuron [3], which is also legal in the United States. As the growth enhancer drains fruit of its flavor, farmers have also been applying chemical sweeteners and dyes to the watermelons.

Don't blame the watermelons, according to the Ministry of Agriculture

Plastic watermelon

The latest scandal is the discovery of plastic material inside a watermelon in Jinan city. Here is a television news segment showing what a plastic watermelon looks like.

Read the rest of the story or comments from other international bloggers here.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/07/08/china-exploding-watermelon-is-safe/

URLs in this post:

[1] asserted: http://www.caijing.com.cn/2011-07-06/110766306.html

[2] Image: http://www.hudong.com/wiki/%E7%88%86%E7%82%B8%E8%A5%BF%E7%93%9C

[3] Forchlorfenuron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forchlorfenuron

[4] Image: http://weibo.com/1642088277/l4EWC7XGN#a_comment

[5] http://t.cn/apCbAA: http://t.cn/apCbAA

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Santa Claus vs. Gender

 

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Photos of Child Brides

Photos by Stephanie Sinclair, as part of her co-authored project in National Geographic, “Too Young to Wed.”
Listen to her interview with Michele Norris at NPR here.
Also, see her photo essay “The Bride Price: In Afghanistan some daughters to be married are just children” in the New York Times Magazine (see the third page – it is precious).

“I strongly believe there is not just a need for awareness-raising and prevention work, but we must find ways to help these girls who are already in these marriages — be it through giving financial incentives to their families to let them stay in school, or vocational training so they can have more say in their lives and households. Quality medical treatment is also needed for girls who are giving birth at these young ages. These girls need long-term solutions. There is no quick fix.”  (Sinclair)

Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic "Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him," Tahani (in pink) recalls of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25. The young wife posed for this portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their mountain home in Hajjah, Yemen.

Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic Although early marriage is the norm in her small Nepali village, 16-year-old Surita wails in protest as she leaves her family's home, shielded by a traditional wedding umbrella and carried in a cart to her new husband's village.

Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic Asia, a 14-year-old mother, washes her new baby girl at home in Hajjah while her 2-year-old daughter plays. Asia is still bleeding and ill from childbirth yet has no education or access to information on how to care for herself.

Stephanie Sinclair/National Geographic Long after midnight, 5-year-old Rajani is roused from sleep and carried by her uncle to her wedding. Child marriage is illegal in India, so ceremonies are often held in the wee hours of morning. It becomes a secret the whole village keeps, explained one farmer.

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NY Times – Undermining Title IX in College Sports

These are some juicy excerpts taken from “College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity,” April 25, 2011, by KATIE THOMAS.

 

Ever since Congress passed the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, universities have opened their gyms and athletic fields to millions of women who previously did not have chances to play.

Title IX, passed in 1972 at the height of the women’s rights movement, banned sex discrimination in any federally financed education program. It threw into sharp relief the unequal treatment of male and female athletes on college campuses…

Over the next 40 years, the law spawned a cultural transformation: the number of women competing in college sports has soared by more than 500 percent — to 186,000 a year from fewer than 30,000 in 1972.

Universities must demonstrate compliance with Title IX in at least one of three ways: by showing that the number of female athletes is in proportion to overall female enrollment, by demonstrating a history of expanding opportunities for women, or by proving that they are meeting the athletic interests and abilities of their female students.

But as women have grown to 57 percent of American colleges’ enrollment, athletic programs have increasingly struggled to field a proportional number of female athletes. And instead of pouring money into new women’s teams or trimming the rosters of prized football teams, many colleges are turning to a sleight of hand known as roster management.

According to a review of public records from more than 20 colleges and universities by The New York Times, and an analysis of federal participation statistics from all 345 institutions in N.C.A.A. Division I — the highest level of college sports — many are padding women’s team rosters with underqualified, even unwitting, athletes. They are counting male practice players as women. And they are trimming the rosters of men’s teams.

According to the most current federal numbers, women make up 53 percent of the student body at Division I institutions yet only 46 percent of all athletes. And that discrepancy does not take into account all the tactics used to boost the numbers artificially.

  • At Marshall University, the women’s tennis coach recently invited three freshmen onto the team even though he knew they were not good enough to practice against his scholarship athletes, let alone compete.

    They could come to practice whenever they liked, he told them, and would not have to travel with the team.

  • At Cornell, only when the 34 fencers on the women’s team take off their protective masks at practice does it become clear that 15 of them are men. Texas A&M and Duke are among the elite women’s basketball teams that also take advantage of a federal loophole that allows them to report male practice players as female participants.
  • Roster management came under scrutiny last year when a federal judge ruled that Quinnipiac University in Connecticut had violated Title IX by engaging in several questionable practices, including requiring that women cross-country runners join the indoor and outdoor track teams so they could be counted three times. The judge found earlier that Quinnipiac had been padding women’s rosters by counting players, then cutting them a few weeks later.
  • At the University of South Florida, more than half of the 71 women on the cross-country roster failed to run a race in 2009. Asked about it, a few laughed and said they did not know they were on the team.
  • Sarah Till, who graduated from South Florida in 2009, was a more extreme case. She said that she quit and returned her track scholarship in her sophomore year, but her name was listed on the rosters of all three squads through her junior year.  “They wanted to keep me on the roster because the more girls they have on the roster, the more positions they have to give for the guys’ teams,” she said, adding that a former assistant coach had told her she would receive running shoes and priority class registration as a reward for staying on the rosters.

Read the rest of Thomas’s article here at the NYTimes.

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Word to the Mother

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Baby Storm, posted with vodpod
 
Kathy Witterick, mother of “gender-neutral” Storm speaks out about being a mother, their family’s decision to keep the baby’s sex a secret, and the hoopla it has caused.  (Posted from Men Stopping Violence)

The bus driver smiled at me, my three children, the snacks that were rolling in all directions and the grocery bags hung too heavy on the back of the stroller. As always, he said, “You got everyone?” Then he added, “I haven’t seen you this week!” I was so relieved. “I’m glad to hear that,” I said.

We went to soccer class, played in the park with friends, read books at the library, learned a little bit about dinosaurs and observed the butterflies that only yesterday hatched from chrysalises in our kitchen. Jazz and Kio drew pictures. Jazz wanted to go to badminton at a local gym. An ordinary day.

My name is Kathy Witterick. I’m shy and idealistic, and all my life I’ve worked in the field of abuse and violence prevention. I married a teacher named David Stocker and we have three children.

Jazz is five years old. Since he was a young baby, he’s enjoyed colour, texture and vibrancy. When he was 18 months, he loved to wear layers of wildly striped and mismatched clothing and when his grandparents took him to get his very first pair of shoes, he chose the ones with orange toes and pink flowers on the side. When his brother was born, I joked I’d grow old as woman in a man’s world.

As Jazz grew, his love of bright colours (especially pink) and lots of fabric (especially dresses) continued, and he wanted to grow his hair. The older he became, the more he met with pressure from peers and adults to adjust his image and “act more like a boy.” Jazz remained committed to his own style.

I re-read the research and approaches of Alfie Kohn, Barbara Coloroso and Adele Faber to find ways to support him. The firm rule around self image became: it has to be clean and healthy, but you can choose the colours and the lengths.

When Storm was near arrival, Jazz was listening to Free to Be You and Me on repeat (it was a gift from a friend). He wondered if people would respond differently if they didn’t know the baby’s sex. What gifts would they bring? If Storm were a boy, would he be allowed to wear dresses? Pink?

There are these moments as a parent when you wish your child could bring a different issue to the table — but there it is, plop! And if you really mean what you say about being kind, honouring difference, having an open mind and placing limits thoughtfully where they help children develop competencies and be safe, then you better walk the talk.

We agreed to keep the sex of our new baby private.

It is true that an infant, at four or five months is still learning to recognize themselves — to look in the mirror and think, “Hey, that’s me!” — and is not ready developmentally to find a place in a gender binary. It is true and demonstrated in research and in the day to day world that strict gender stereotyping causes suffering to both men and women. So surely, we thought, people would understand our five-year-old’s curiosity about why people need to know the baby’s sex.

The events of the last week suggest otherwise.

More accurately, we have received many letters that include intelligent, heartfelt, research and experience based support for the idea. We’ve also heard some articulate and meaningful concerns expressed. We’ve witnessed a discussion erupt that could be transformative. It is important to challenge orthodoxies and raise questions, because the discussion that emerges not only “outs” issues (in a rush to pass judgment, people articulate prevailing views, prejudices, and misconceptions), but also has the effect of helping people examine whether they truly do believe the status quo to be the best that we can do. Will these norms grow healthy, happy, kind, well adjusted children?

The strong, lighting-fast, vitriolic response was a shock. These voices demonstrate how much parents are in the world’s critical eye — in particular mothers, who are judged based on little (mis)information and not offered opportunities to share, grow, learn and be supported and celebrated by the community to raise children.

The psychologist on the Today Show for example, was willing to make strong, unqualified conclusions about a family (and children) he had never met, based on (generously) one per cent of what there is to know about said family. Will that behaviour help grow healthy, happy, kind, well adjusted children? Ironically, the idea to keep the baby’s sex private was a tribute to authentically trying to get to know a person, listening carefully and responding to meaningful cues given by the person themselves.

This short letter won’t help you to know my family. And to protect our children from the media frenzy that we did not anticipate, we have declined over 100 requests for interviews from all over the world, including offers to fly to New York all expenses paid and to appear on almost every American morning show.

We have learning to do, parks to visit and butterflies to care for. But we do feel it’s important to correct clear factual errors in the media, who incidentally have been reporting false information.

Having spent many years facilitating on the topic of abuse and violence prevention, particularly as it pertains to children, I would never tell my children (or anyone) to keep a secret.

Secrets are not safe and healthy. I, like many parents, have taught my children that some things are private matters, and when you want to share them, you need to do so honestly with sensitivity and consideration. If I had to convince my children not to share Storm’s sex (which I don’t because my children simply are not interested at this point) — I would teach them that someone else’s genitals and sense of how they relate to their gender is their private business, to be shared by them or in a context where safety, acceptance and sensitivity are paramount. Storm will certainly need to understand his/her own sex and gender to navigate this world (the outcry has confirmed this clearly!), but there has never been any question that within our family, the issues of sex and gender and the decisions relating to it are open for age appropriate discussion and action.

In my heart of hearts, I squirm when my son picks a dress from the rack (won’t people tease him?), even though I know from experience and research that the argument that children need a binary gender orthodoxy taught to them in order to feel safe is simply incorrect. My children know who they are, through supported and facilitated experience with their world, and I avoid hypocrisy, inaccuracy and exhaustion by saving my energy for non-negotiable limit-setting related to safety, kindness, self respect, health, fulfilment and fairness.

None of my children are gender-free or genderless (and neither am I). It is true that my oldest son Jazz does not have a traditional notion of what boys should wear, look like or do. It is also true that we believe our children should have the right to choose their clothes and hairstyle. Jazz has a strong sense of being a boy, and he understands that his choices to wear pink and have long hair are not always acceptable to his community. He chooses freely to do them anyway, because he also has been taught to respect difference, love himself and navigate the world in a way that is true to his own voice. Kio also strongly self identifies as a boy, and his choices around behaviours and image are different but have an equal amount of two-year-old integrity.

Storm has a sex which those closest to him/her know and acknowledge. We don’t know yet about colour preferences or dress inclinations, but the idea that the whole world must know our baby’s sex strikes me as unhealthy, unsafe and voyeuristic.

Storm is my third child and this is what I know — some day soon, Storm will have something to say about it, so in the meantime, I’m just listening carefully.

— Kathy Witterick is the mother of Jazz, Kio and Storm. They live in Toronto.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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CNN – Egyptian general admits ‘virginity checks’ conducted on protesters

Sexual assault as justice for protest has been around forever, but when I heard this story I was reminded of Chana Kai Lee’s biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, For Freedom’s Sake

After protesting for African American civil rights alongside other SNCC members, Hamer and others were taken into jail and brutally beaten and sexually assaulted by police and prison staff.  Hamer’s beatings in jail left her with a limp, blind in her left eye, with her kidneys permanently damaged (listen to her speech before the Credentials Committee at the ’64 Democratic National Convention here). 

Here, however, the tactic was presented as a “precautionary” measure rather than the demeaning and sexually objectifyng act it truly was.

And think Egypt is the only one doing virginity tests?  Think again.  Try Britain and India.  And really idiotic young American boys.

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From Shahira Amin at CNN > Read the whole story there.

Cairo (CNN) — A senior Egyptian general admits that “virginity checks” were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities.

The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

At that time, Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or “virginity tests.”

But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

“The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).”

The general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn’t later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities.

“We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. “None of them were (virgins).”

Read about Salwa Hosseini’s experience undergoing stun-gun-enduced virginity-testing here.

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