Category Archives: Politics

Who are the real Child Abductors?

A police photograph took over the news last week: a tiny girl sitting between her parents, all of them staring blankly into the camera. It is not a flattering picture: the man and woman seem tired,old and dead-eyed, and the little girl looks squeezed uncomfortably between them, with questioning eyes and tangled hair – like a dishevelled version of Maddie McCann. But none of this would have ever sparked anyone’s interest, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the little girl looks white, and her parents brown. Something has got to be wrong with this picture!

Or so the Greek police must have thought, when they found this family in a Roma camp they were raiding. In this environment, being a pale-skinned child that cannot speak Greek is deemed suspicious and reason enough to take her away and submit her to DNA testing. The results seemed to confirm the fears: Maria and her supposed parents were not related, ergo, she must have been abducted. The media was quick to conclude: “Once again”, those criminal vagabond gypsies had stolen a white child! The police, the charity organization responsible for Maria, and the news media started frantically searching for her parents. Where could they be found? Scandinavia was suggested as Maria’s likely origin, because, well, look at her! Continue reading

France: Pomophobia in Action

Not too long ago, I wrote about how in France the enemies of equal marriage outed themselves as the truly hypocritical bullies they are, when they reacted to counter-protestors with physical violence. Since then, I am saddened to report,  the situation has worsened.

Protests and counter-protests are staged at least once a month, with impressive turnouts on both sides, while the law guaranteeing same sex couples the right to marriage and adoption is slowly but steadily moving through the bureaucratic system towards ratification. Like German journalist and blogger Antje Schrupp has said about the women’s quota: It’s coming, no matter what; it’s only a matter of time. The same can be said for equal marriage: In societies that are founded on the principles of democracy and equality, denying certain people basic rights cannot be justified and upheld in the long run. Clearly, Western democracies are at that threshold at the moment, some more than others, but all the signs point towards progress. Continue reading

War – Feminism’s Final Frontier?

Not too long ago I attended an event hosted by a women’s association advocating for women’s equality in the workplace. They had invited an army general as a speaker to elaborate on the military’s investment in ensuring women’s equal representation. The irony of this situation did not escape me.

image by israel defense forces via fotopedia

image by israel defense forces via fotopedia

The business of war – is it feminism’s final frontier? After all, we are fighting for equality in all other aspects of society – politics, media, academia, family, religion – so promoting women’s equal role in the army seems like a logical step. But for what purpose? Continue reading

Positive and Negative Feminism in Campaign Ads

Recently, I have been thinking about the context in which feminist activism presents itself and the rhetoric used to frame the issues.  I have identified two camps, which I would call positive and negative feminism, that sometimes oppose each other and sometimes overlap. To be clear, I don’t mean to hierarchize the two via this labelling, but I am curious which approach would be better suited to aiding certain causes.

What do I mean by positive and negative feminism? Positive feminism to me is the kind of feminism that emphasizes the positive outcomes and benefits of gender equality, the achievements of feminism, and the particular qualities and contributions of women within society.

Negative feminism, then, would be focussing on the problematic issues of an unjust society, would draw particular attention to the discrimination and suffering faced by women and minorities, and would be more accusatory rather than celebratory. Continue reading

The End of Men (as we know them)

This month, journalist and editor Hanna Rosin is releasing her already infamous book “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women” (Riverhead Hardcover). It has been eagerly anticipated ever since the 2010 publishing of her article for The Atlantic which bears the same name. Just a couple of days ago, The New York Times printed a preview under the telling title “Who Wears the Pants in This Economy?”.

shocker! a woman journalist (and with children no less)! clearly, men are on their way out. via wall street journal

The article is an interesting read, if you want to learn about a certain American demographic. That’s right: a certain demographic, because I think there is no way this text can claim universality. It outright ignores the realities of the working poor or of minorities. I sincerely hope that this will be problematized in the rest of her book. But yeah, if you were ever interested in the psyche of middle-aged, middle class, mid-Western white folks, it will surely be enlightening to discover the obvious disconnect between their ideals, and the harsh realities of modern American life. And it tells you about why certain ordinary people still vote Republican. Continue reading

How to be Granted Asylum: Just be a white celebrity

The always insightful Flavia Dzodan (if you don’t follow her already, you should do so now) has pointed out on Facebook that while the whole world is concerned with one white dude’s asylum decision, hundreds and thousands of refugees are constantly dying trying to reach the EU, and no one pays attention. Their bodies remain mostly anonymous. Continue reading

Thoughts on Work

In order to counter the increasing unemployment rates in Europe, politicians and news media outlets seem to agree that the best solution to this problem is job creation.  Their statements generally imply that there aren’t enough things for people to do, so that they need to be artificially created. What a strange idea.

In early utopian socialist ideology a society was conceived of, in which technological advancements will have made work so much easier and more effective, that people would have to do less and less of it, could enjoy more free time and benefit from an improved lifestyle. Well, that technological progress has happened and continues to accelerate; people are being made redundant in factories, public service jobs and even supermarkets. Yet many people are still pulling 40 hour weeks or more, unless they are unemployed, socially stigmatized and dependent on benefits. How did we end up here? Continue reading