Tag Archives: men

Half the Sky

Emphatically – Word of the Day

Cheryl Wudunn speaks at TED on Half the Sky. Wudunn is co-author with husband Nicholas Kristof of the book Half The Sky Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide and they are founders of the Half The Sky Movement .

Wudunn, an experienced journalist and the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer-Prize, has written powerfully about the plight of women and girls in the world today as a result of modern slavery and sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is insidious, and other forms of slavery equally so. There are a number of harrowing documentaries and movies that deal with the subject, the testimony before the US Senate by Ashton Kutcher is brief, graphic and disturbing, as well as passionate. Often conservative groups point the finger at the porn industry, and while I have no doubt it goes on under cover, I beleive that the real culprits are organised crime, prostitution (especially where drugs are used to create an indebtedness), and predominantly – countries whose laws are lax or where such crime can be easily hidden, even encouraged.

Wudunn points out that though there may some closeness in the ideal of male/female being 50/50 in the world, it not true that power and security for women is equal. There are many fact books and expose docos available, but fewer resources on what can actually be done, Half the Sky is one such resource.

The other resource is men! If men don’t add their voice to this critical issue then we simply accede to the status quo, and we are not owning that there is a problem. What clothing labels do you buy, how do you behave at home, at work, how do you treat women? We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that men are directly responsible for trafficking, the evidence is there, but those who stay quiet or turn away are also part of the problem.

Wudunn encourages everyone to do something about this issue, to firstly become aware, then to take action, even if that is only contributing to charitable work, lobbying, writing, whatever you can do – then do it. But do not do nothing! To quote Edmund Burke (or was it Charles Aked?) again: “The only thing necesary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (I’m going to leave that gender specific). There’s always more we can do, must do!

sweet, sweet cherry
the bees will enable us
fruit for all the world

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

20 Comments

Filed under Haiku, life, mindfulness, quote, Trafficking

Frigid or Just Unheard?

via Daily Prompt: Frigid

Cold-water-001-crop.jpg

Photo: http://www.cleverdicc.com

 

There is such a confusion and misrepresentation around this word, instead of being an adjective, it has become a poisonous weapon.

Frigid was, in my learning and memory, principally a word to describe extreme cold. It described being out in the snow, or the wind chill factor in winter, or the bodily reaction to cold water. Who could forget the US giant Frigidaire and the heavy marketing of the 70s and 80s across the world? Their campaign aimed at Australia was one of turning extreme heat successfully in cool temps.

Somewhere, sometime, someone in history used the word frigid to describe women who weren’t deemed sexually responsive. Nothing, I note about men, though if you are keen you eventually find the references to men as frigid as well, but historically it has been used to describe women, because, well, only women could be dysfunctional – as if the planet were so bifurcated, ridiculous thought, but purely old school male thinking. The word was used in the sense that the woman was icy, frosty, frozen shut, cold hearted, incapable of warm response, and so on.

What it denies, is the reality, like all cheap put-downs. A woman, or man, who is (possibly) unresponsive may well be just exhausted. They may be lacking empathy, warmth, connection, romance, validation, equality. They may feel used, objectified, enslaved, robotic. They could well be feeling taken for granted, or stuck in a rut. There is no end to the possibility of why anyone might be (mis)judged as frigid. Australian academic Jill Matthews in her seminal work “Good and Mad Women” shows how women who failed to live up to male or societal (thus male) expectations were deemed mad, and some (too many) were incarcerated in institutions for the mentally ill, and in recent history!

Researcher and therapist John Gottman makes it clear that through his institute’s research over three decades, they have discovered that the real key to any problem is communication. Trivial as that may sound, I believe that in a non-defensive and mindful moment you will find that to be true, if you reflect openly you will know that it comes down how you perceive, how you think, how you respond, often without reference to the other. Gary Chapman, another therapist founded his focussed work on love language and communication which became his best seller “The Five Love Languages.” Clearly, communication is the centre of relational issues, not “I’m right, you’re wrong” or “You need fixing, but I’m good.” To call someone frigid is to hide behind a projection, an intent to wound or put down, a way of controlling another, a way of making oneself look good by comparison (the death of most relationships). It is an avoidance of one’s own part in relationship at the expense of the other, and in some cases becomes abusive.

The upshot of research is that most men don’t listen, I mean really listen, that active listening. If it comes down to sex, and it doesn’t really, solely sit there, it goes back to expectations, often unrealistic and selfish expectations.

Watch your expectations! Don’t hide your own shortcomings behind the other, and check your communication skills.

Just to give you an insight into Gottman’s insightful work:

Paul,

pvcann.com

11 Comments

Filed under life, love, mindfulness, psychology, Science, self-development, Sex, Therapy