Thursday, August 28, 2008

Follow up to my Thinspiration blog

The French National Assembly has passed a groundbreaking bill which seeks to criminalise the promotion in the media of extreme thinness.

The article.

If approved by France's upper house, those found to have encouraged severe weight loss could be fined up to 45,000 euros and face three years in prison.

This is brilliant. Finally, the country that is the source of the unhealthy obsession with looking like a skeleton (aka the center of the fashion industry) has put it's foot down!

The law could also affect the fashion industry and magazine editors who publish photographs of extremely thin models.

If the bill is passed by France's upper house, the Senate, in the coming weeks offenders could face jail sentences of up to two years and 30,000 euros ($47,387; £23,980) in fines.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Muslim Lite

Interesting article about the double life of Muslim kids in Iran - which is pretty much true for Muslims everywhere. (try googling "muslim double life" and see how many results you get..)

The article says:
The part-time-practicing young Muslim is one of the most intriguing and unworkable things ever created by the Islamic regime. It reveals both the success of the regime's Islamic indoctrination campaign, but also its failure to keep out global culture and to control public space.

Except that it's not just Iran that has this, this exists all over the muslim world.

It also says:
But being Muslim Lite, for all its fluidity, is ultimately messy. At its heart, there lies a tremendous confusion about values.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh My God - I *love* this show!

Comic (old but I just saw it)

Pakistani women (and bringing my pakistani housewife fantasy back to earth)

So I haven't really been keeping up with pakistani politics, and I do care so I am a little bothered about not knowing what I am talking about and not knowing what to believe (though I do think all this celebration over Musharraf resigning and support of PPP is a little short sighted and naive on the "liberal"'s part)... which is all well and good (or not) ... But on a separate topic, I realized something about the not so liberal portions of pakistani society (which I have known for years, but I guess I finally articulated it in a succinct form in my head):

1) The ones that aren't very "westernized" are super insecure about not being "westernized enough".

(-> And others are trying to "take back" the idea, and be proud of their heritage which is great, but at the same time it is sad because most of the ones that are doing that are the more westernized ones (which usually also means, the more privileged ones), rather than the ones who need to start being proud of their heritage - but it's a step in the right direction i.e. towards stopping self hatred).

2) Within the group of insecure people, the men are incredibly sexist, which may have to do with being insecure about losing their hold over the one thing they can feel superior to - women (and other typical sexist macho crap).

Of course, some women are allowed to be smart... I am sure you can guess why though. If you are androgynous enough, then you are allowed.

but pretty AND smart? No f-ing way!

Anywho, this leads to an awkward situation when hanging out with family members who fall into this category. When you challenge the sexist status quo, when you dare to have an opinion or thoughts or you demonstrate an interest in intellectual debate, you are immediately put down or mocked. So then if you try to protest or stand up for yourself, the other WOMEN will call you naive and immature and laraka and bewaqoof etc.

This is probably a combination of two things:
i) Misery loves company. If I cant have an opinion, you shouldn't get to have one either!
ii) Peace. We are financially dependent on the men, so stop being an idiot and pissing them off. Let them think they are smarter.

At which point, you have a few options:

you either have to concede that you are the naive, silly girl who thinks she is allowed to have a brain and as a way of showing your "maturity" start sticking to safe topics.

be labeled someone who thinks she is better because she is "westernized".

be labeled a naive trouble maker (ghuswar, bad-mizaaj).

So yeah.. I am ashamed to say that I took the first lameo option... Of course, the only way I can live with that option is by living far far away.

But now that I have put all this down I am realising there might be other, less obvious options, which I guess I didnt have when I was a teenage girl living in Pakistan. You can actually be the older, wiser, more mature person and try to make changes.

This involves, first of all, to NOT estrange the idiots who are allowing the status quo to continue thriving, cuz then they won't be interested in listening to you. You don't respect people, they don't give a shit about your opinion, it's as simple as that. And fair enough this respect won't be sincere, but it should be. You want to change society, not hate and destroy it. You don't hate the people, you hate the culture. Just remember that.

Second of all, it involves having a little patience, being persistent, but don't expect changes to happen overnight.

That's it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hippies & house wives

So I was having coffee (read hot chocolate) with this guy I know here.. and turns out I had a lot of talking inside me bursting to come out! We started talking about Musharraf's resignation, the fact that my friend (the guy I was speaking to) had just gotten married and was returning from his honey moon and somehow ended up talking about how unnatural urban living is, and religion and life, and philosophy for the next two hours!

I am not feeling particularly articulate or verbose after the long spiels I went on last night, but these were the main topics:
- feeling disconnected and away from nature. Sub topics: processed food, natural unprocessed food more expensive than processed food which technically was more expensive to prepare being totally f-ed up and unintuitive,
- Capitalism, urban neurosis, consumerism, individuality, taking away from the idea of community. Making it virtually impossible to have a community for people who aren't economically and financially blessed/privileged. You have to be extra rich and work ultra hard to have what you would think should be a "normal life"
- Religion as political and as a revelation from god is bullshit. As a guide to a way of life, as a source of ritual and community, as a means to express your spirituality - makes more sense.
- Catholic punishment guilt vs ridiculously opulent churches dichotomy is kind of abusive.

Yes yes we have heard all of this a million times, and for some reason, the ideas are completely prevalent, everyone knows it, but the only people trying to escape the neurosis of modern urban living are hairy hippies who don't shower and who talk in a california drawl even when they are from the east coast. What gives? Being part of a community and eating real food shouldn't be an "alternative lifestyle"! It shouldn't be "leftist liberal socialist crap", it shouldn't be "oh those crazy pot smoking kids". How the hell did this happen? Alternatively it also shouldn't be rich pseudo-intellectual, liberal, leftist crap! I mean this is sensual, real, tangible stuff we are talking about. How did the intellectual leftists or the spaced out hippies become associated with it?? You are supposed to be in touch with your emotions and your body to want these things, not be lost in your brain dammit.

And it really shouldn't be inconvenient and you shouldn't have to go out of your way grmph.

Which brings me to other thoughts I have been having for about a month or so which somehow feel connected.

So emotional "boundaries" are an important issue in relationships, which I may not have been the best at paying attention to in the past, though I think I have gotten better (to the extent of having ridiculously strict boundaries). So my sister mentioned it to me the other day - and I figured I would pay respects to my gods and so I Googled "emotional boundaries" and apparently, people who have trouble with boundaries are people who have a not so completely developed "Ego". It's really bizarre and sad that the word ego has the connotations and meanings it does associated with it (egotistical, arrogant etc), while its meaning in Freudian psychology is completely different. SO I figured the next thing was to pray to my other gods to see what the definition for Ego really was within psychology, and Wikipedia dutifully answered:

Anyway, I think it's worth checking in and analysing how well developed your Ego really is, because having a good rapport between your Super Ego and Id is generally pretty useful. That's all I am saying.

SO the last thing I wanted to say is.. that I have housewife fantasies sometimes. And it bothers me that I can be so lame as to have house wife fantasies... But I broke it down into its sub-parts:
1) house wives get to see sunlight during the day time hours since there is no 9 to 5
2) in my head, being a house wife entails living in pakistan where so far the more natural food IS cheaper, the weather is warmer, mangos and guavas are good quality and easily available, and there is a beach nearby.
3) i dont need to work :P or stress about money, cuz someone else takes care of the finances.

Yeah so... what's wrong with that?