Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex

Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex —click this to read a story in the HuffPost. Below is an excerpt – but I would definitely read this article in its entirety.

” I support Malala, I support the right to education for all, I just cannot stand the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media as they pick and choose, congratulating themselves for something that they have caused. Malala is the good native, she does not criticise the West, she does not talk about the drone strikes, she is the perfect candidate for the white man to relieve his burden and save the native.

The Western savior complex has hijacked Malala’s message. The West has killed more girls than the Taliban have. The West has denied more girls an education via their missiles than the Taliban has by their bullets. The West has done more against education around the world than extremists could ever dream of. So, please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala.”

I will be writing a response to this soon – But this is a really interesting read.

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Feeling Safe is a Privilege.

I was walking to school today at about 9 this morning. As soon as I stepped out – I pulled out my phone to turn on some music for my roughly 30 minute journey to school. I look up and there is a guy – mid 20s – staring at me. Okay – that’s fine. I start walking and i see him bend down to tie his shoe lace – he has crocs on. I’m thinking – oh no – I know what’s going on….As soon as I pass him – he starts following me. I promptly take my headphones out – yes, I’m scared. I turn around as casually as possible –

knowing it’s just me and this guy on this street and he is on my heels….

and then he proceeds to talk to me – “Hey girl – you in college?” I say yes…He tries to get my name, number, age….It’s like a damn interview. But why am I engaging in conversation with this person that makes me feel so unsafe? – Because I’m scared – I was intent on studying off of my phone on my way to school but instead I’m forced to converse with this person – because I feel like I cant ignore them – I don’t know if he will get physical.

Just me and this man…walking slightly behind me.

Well – this continues until I reach a part of my neighborhood where other students are also making their way to school and he gives up. And the adrenaline is down now – and I’m furious. I’m exhausted. I’m a nervous wreck. He knows where I live and he is persistent. I didn’t study for my test. And I’m alone on the verge of tears with anger and resentment. Because i am a WOMAN….i naturally must feel unsafe. ALWAYS. I’m subjected to this treatment because of my gender.

I’ve had men say – “oh yeah – I don’t walk anywhere alone when it’s dark.”

It is NOT the same…

I’m tired. I’m so done. Do not tell me I should live in a better location. Do not tell me I have to walk with a buddy. Do not tell me – you don’t need to have your headphones in anyways – you’re just listening to music.

All I’m asking is to be safe. That is clearly too much to ask of a woman.

 

Why I’m Here.

Well, I just dove right into some heavy topics when I started this blog and I wanted to take a step back and do a little introductory autobiography about myself. 

I’m a fourth year at the University of Georgia and I love my school. I”m studying Broadcast Journalism with minors in Women’s Studies and Dance. I recently became a far more vocal person and I love that about myself. I am not afraid to speak my mind, though in writing, I second guess myself. I’m here to mold myself into a more eloquent writer and to share my thoughts and experiences with those who wish to listen.

I’m a dreamer and I’m a fighter. Sometimes I’m so passionate i cannot help but let the words flow but sometimes the passion does not take the form of words; that is the artist in me. What I can’t speak, I dance.

I started out college on a pre-veterinary route. Im the girl who made 4s and 5s on those science based AP exams in high school but struggled through AP language and literature. I’m a slow reader. I often stare at a blank Word Documents for hours even the day before my college essay is due. So why am I here? Why am I choosing a profession that requires non stop writing when it’s a struggle for me? 

I look at it this way: words are so permanent. That is why I hesitate to commit to them. However, now I see the beauty in this permanence and I wish to capture it. I need to capture it.

As a first generation American that belongs to a large conservative South Indian family, I have dealt with such a heavy identity crisis…and it wasn’t any easier for me growing up in the South. I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I know myself a lot more. I’m no longer ashamed of my background. I stand my ground with both communities about who I am and the choices I make. I know now how important of a task I have as this voice for my cousin sisters, my aunts, and my mother. I must be a voice for all the women that are wronged in my community. 

I need the permanence of words to remind myself of the trials and tribulations of my sisters in my community that are not given the opportunity to learn about gender/women’s studies or given the opportunity to voice their emotions, thoughts, or opinions. I am truly blessed to have these opportunities and I intend on using my education and my connections with my motherland to break social norms. 

I want to redefine beauty and kill this obsession with skin color.

I want sex education for women and girls in India to be more comprehensive. 

I want women to know there will be someone to help them escape abusive relationships and that there is no fear is speaking out.

So this is why I’m here. This is why I need to be here. I’m not the least bit eloquent but with practice – these words – my words – will start to empower and change things. I guarantee it. Image

Why I don’t compliment my friends on weight loss

This is one amazing woman!

Terrifying, Strange, and Beautiful

Love your body

I wrote earlier about my recent weight loss and the reactions I received from friends and family. I’m still struggling to maintain my weight and build muscle, and meanwhile I have continued to receive “compliments” about my thinness. I know that people mean well when they point out my weight loss and that it is intended to be complementary. From “you look so tiny!” to the standard “have you lost weight?” I’ve received plenty of opinions from friends and acquaintances. Some friends have expressed concern about the weight loss, knowing that it is related to my depression. Those without insight into my personal life, however, only judge by appearances. And in their eyes, weight loss = good. Skinny = healthy. Whether or not the weight was lost intentionally or healthfully doesn’t seem to cross their minds. Here’s where we run into a problem.

Too many people conflate skinny with healthy

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On Modesty

The following link discusses modesty ‘s place in the lives of women and the current trending bathing suits.

This link is to another woman’s thoughts and experiences while living modestly for a year. (no makeup – no cleavage – full coverage)

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/02/my_year_of_modesty

Both of these women are advocates of modesty but their approaches are different. The first link is a video of Jessica Rey* with the argument that women should cover more of their bodies so that they give men one less thing to objectify them with. The latter speaks louder to me because the author -Lauren Shields*- makes the choice to lead a modest life based upon something greater than statistics that show men’s brains associate women with power tools when they are wearing less fabric (information given by Jessica Rey).

You cannot treat someone like an object because they are different than you.
Once you “other” someone, it is easy to marginalize them. The mental process is: I’m a man and she is a woman. She is different. Im going to treat her different than me because she is different.”
You think any revolution would have occurred if people settled with a majority treating them incorrectly? Instead of choosing to dress modest because of men’s animalistic behavior that they cannot help (sarcasm intended) -women should choose to dress how they would like to without having to consider what the patriarchy dictates them to wear.
Whether that may be choosing to be a nudist or choosing to be a hijabi. Its about choice.

In the end, everyone has their own definition of modesty and though we cannot control what others may think or say about our physical appearance, it is important to know that we can change the way we think. Like Gandhiji said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” What we can change is our own negative attitude towards others’-specifically women’s- choice in clothing, hair and accessories.

I love this Facebook post by Inner Subversion*:

“How to dress for your shape: are you human-shaped? play up your confidence and natural sex appeal by wearing whatever the f*ck you want.

Life Tip: As the weather gets warmer, continue to wear whatever the f*ck you want. Flaunt everything or keep it cool under cover. Dress to make yourself feel rad.

How to get a bikini body:put a bikini on your body

Want sexy own-the-beach summer legs? shave, or don’t because they’re your f*cking legs.”

Realize that everyone has the same rights as you to live a life with infinite choices. Modesty is just a word- a vessel- and there are an infinite number of definitions to fill that vessel.