31 August 2012

IAC'12 I [Heart] Being a Girl session (THGS12) presentations

Finally, here are the presentations from the session we had at the International AIDS Conference.

As Jessie says in her report:
"Tea Parties are casual safe spaces for girls where anyone who is a feminist can come met up and speak up about their frustrations but also share their hopes for the future. The social pressures put on girls are often hypocritical, including how media portrays women as sexy and sex figures, but young women are condemned for expressing themselves sexually or wearing revealing clothes, or they’re expected to be working professionals taking care of themselves (even with a considerable stagnant pay gap), but once you have a family, you are “supposed” to become domestic and support your husband. Gender is a social construct that does not have to follow your biology. Your gender and how you express yourself should not be dictated by societal norms that are often oppressive. In the words of Leynah Gbowee, “It is time for women to stop being politely angry.” There are various forms of resistance to the prejudice of “being a girl” and support for young women looking to make a difference all over the world. In some rural parts, girls learn how to make reusable menstrual pads so that they can continually go to school, and have their privacy. We should have open discussions about questioning gender stereotyping and combat prejudice social norms, like the pay gap. Places like the Philippines are extremely strict when it comes to reproductive health especially for  women, and the results are harrowing; there are half a million unsafe abortions a year and cervical cancer is one of the top killers in the country. When women and more girls have a stronger and unified voice in civil society, they can start to change those societal norms."

(Yes, the videos are not really there. The first one is the movie from the 2012 AIDS Conference that you can find here. And the second one is a surprise coming... for now we can say that it was made with a lot of help from all our beloved people in HERA, and that it's amazing!)

(And, yes, obviously, this is the example of the simple fact that talking about and exploring sexualities, pleasure, taboos, barriers... well, you know, the empowerment stuff can be positive and can be - at the same time - very local and very universal indeed. Thank you so much, Shubha, for sharing this experience with us!)

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