Monthly Archives: January 2013

Same-Sex Marriage, Transnational Activism, and International Law

In Kathleen Lahey’s article she focuses on strategies for freedoms that go beyond just marriage for LGBT people on an international scale. The article first shows how marriage equality and spousal rights had been won in 35 countries by 2010, but despite these advances in these countries there is still quite a bit of discrimination based on sexuality and sexual identity. Lahey focuses on Canada and explains the criminal and civil laws still in place that discriminate against LGBT persons and how that trend is seen in most countries that have marriage equality. In addition Lahey says there are 80 countries where it is considered a criminal offense to be LGBT, and it can be especially hard on women in countries where they have less freedoms than men.

Lahey goes on to speak about the role that transnational activism and international law have played in making marriage the forerunner and ignoring the laws that criminalize LGBT persons. Lahey says that for the most part international venues are not concerned about discriminatory laws or same sex marriage. Lahey shows how the EU and the UN fight the battle differently. The EU is very vocal about human rights issues and specifically LGBT issues. Since the EU has its own revenue system they are able to offer “valuable trading and mobility rights, but also project and institutional funding, access to governance structures, post-secondary support, and diverse programming” (Lahey 2010, p. 381). The UN on the other hand, while making strides in women’s rights, “has made it possible for religious, traditional, and conservative governments to block similar work on LGBT issues, and the UN cannot offer financial and governance inducements like those of the EU” (Lahey 2010, p. 381-382).

In her concluding remarks Lahey suggests that queer social movements have a task at hand, and it is a difficult one. In order to further human rights they first have to deal with all of the issues surrounding the representative organizations like the EU and the UN, the specific discriminatory laws in those countries, as well as the heteronormative dominance in the thinking.

Some theoretical research questions to consider are 1) Is it possible to move beyond fixed masculine and feminine roles in order to see everyone as a person? 2) How do we change looking at things from the heterosexual male perspective that dominates theory and research?

Some policy and practice questions to consider are 1) How to implement essential rights in all countries 2) How to make laws that do not separate people by status, but are all inclusive and beneficial.

Same-Sex Marriage, Transnational Activism, and International Law: Strategic Objectives Beyond Freedom to Marryquick view

Update on Violence Against Women Act

Since the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA, was mentioned during our first class period, I thought it would be good to get an update on the challenges facing Congress as well as identify the main issues with VAWA.

Backlash against Russian Anti-Gay Legislation

This article seemed very relevant to the movie we have been watching in class about Russian Pride Parades and the controversy surrounding them. This article shows that some other European cities are not willing to stand for the anti-gay legislations recently passed in St. Petersburg.


“A Lesbian Muslim Unveiled”

While skimming Huffington Post this morning, as I do every morning, I came across an entry from SheWired, a popular blog outlet. The story told is one that we’ve all heard. A Muslim woman is ousted from her religion and family due to her sexuality and the degree to which she chose to embrace it. But, apart from most recollections I’ve encountered, this revealed the overarching theme of dedication to one’s culture, family, and most of all religion. So much that an individual shun’s the authenticity of him or herself for the sake of (in this case) Islam. This begs the age old controversy; what is the role of religion in our lives? Does a culture depend on religious teachings to decipher who is and who is not worthy of “His holiness,” or the abundant life that is said to come with such immense belief?

Thoughts while reading…

Forced Marriage to rapist law

In Morocco, almost a year ago a 16-year-old girl who was forced to marry her rapist. The girl committed suicide, the government of this country has now announced plans to change this law banning this “traditional” practice.

Cory Banks

YouTube Star’s Video Ignites ‘Slut-Shaming’ Reaction

Maggie Frelang’s article YouTube Star’s Video Ignites ‘Slut-Shaming’ Reaction , discusses how Youtube star Jenna Marbles’ (aka Jenna Mourey) recent video, “Things I Don’t Understand About Girls Part 2: Slut Edition”  has resulted in a backlash from viewers for slut-shaming other girls.

Frelang reports that in the video  Jenna discusses how she feels that while it is ultimately up to the women, sex should be between two individuals who are in love and committed to one another. She even likens monogamy to being more highly evolved. This has resulted in a backlash from the viewers who accuse Mourey of slut-shaming girls and judging them based upon standards of the past. Viewers commented that sexual activities of an individuals are nobody’s business, and have nothing to do with how respectful or good of a person a girl is. Not all comments were against Mourey’s stances, as many viewers agreed with her, and some even commented that the backlash must be coming from “sluts” themselves.

Response to Mourey’s video has also come in the form of other Youtuber’s response videos.  Youtubers Laci Green and Franchesca Ramsey both criticized Marble’s video and its attack on women’s sexual freedom. Ramsey’s video and many viewer’s comments also connected the issue of slut-shaming with that of victim blaming in cases of sexual abuse. Frelang explains that victim-blaming often occurs in cases of sexual abuse, in which defendants try and find some aspect of the victim which led to their attack such as what they drank, wore, or said. This has resulted in a movement called “SlutWalk”, an annual event in which both men and women protest victim blaming and slut-shaming.

Frelang discusses how the internet and social media had provided individuals with the organizational tools to join together and form tactics to fight slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Social media is both the tool for perpetuation of and backlash against these issues, as individuals are reaching a sort of fame from the videos and blogs they post on the internet which gives their voices power. She concludes her article by including the remarks of one blogger, Melissa Fabello, on how individuals with a following online must accept responsibility for the messages they are perpetuating to those followers.

With these new found followings, do you agree that those who have a voice on the internet must assume responsibility and caution for the opinions they are putting out to their viewers? What’s your opinion on the topics of slut-shaming and victim blaming?


Frelang’s Article

Jenna Marbles’ Youtube Video

SlutWalk’s Facebook Page

Child Abuse as a Catalyst for Wife Abuse?

Post By: Latoya Alston

This article explains a possible connection between child and spousal abuse, with males being the abusers. The authors do not see the relationship as a causal one, but rather one that seems to have a correlation. They give two explanations that can be used to explain the reasons one becomes an abusive father and partner: 1. The father is able to rationalize or justify their violence. 2. The father has some type of patriarchal believe system that debases the wife as a human, making them a subordinate person.

Patriarchal as defined by the authors is simply a support for male domination. Previous arguments have concluded that patriarchal beliefs lead to a struggle between the sexes; and facilitate domestic violence. While the authors do not dispute this claim, they do believe that there are other factors. It is one thing to be a supporter of male domination, but the authors claim that there has to be a willingness to use physical force.

Patriarchal mentalities in abuse allow the abuser to excuse their behavior through justification. The thing that sets an abuser apart from other people is that they use their “skills” of rationalization to soothe their conscience. The authors bring into this scenario the theory of infantilization. This serves as an explanation of how child abuse leads to spousal abuse. They claim that the abuser begins to look at their wives as if they were a child which makes it easier to transfer the abuse. They point out that there are usually factors such as low income, substance abuse, low education, poor health, and being abused as a child that can serve as explanations to how the male becomes abusive also.

The study is specifically geared towards South Korean men, but can be universally used. The authors used a survey that took place in 1999 of 1,540 couples. The reason that they picked South Korea is because 28% of wives are abused. When there are minor instances of violence, 58% of those relationships had abuse towards the child and 61% when there were severe instances of violence. Another reason that they picked South Korea is because there was a time that divorce was permitted only if his wife committed one of the “seven evils”, however the woman could not divorce her husband. They believed that there may be some patriarchal beliefs that are still in place in this country.

In conclusion, the authors found that “family violence often occurs in the context of neutralizing or legitimizing beliefs, (2) husbands with patriarchal beliefs tend to think of their wives as children, and (3) when husbands have legitimizing beliefs for abusing children and think of their wives as children it is easier for them to legitimize hitting their wives (Emery, Kim, and Song)”. There were limitations to the survey such as: this was an indirect test, there were no valid measurements for the theory of infantilizing or legitimizing beliefs, and the answers are self-reported.

What do you believe are some possible causes of domestic violence? Do you agree with the authors point of view?

Child Abuse as a Catalyst for Wife Abuse?

Images of Women in Maharashtrian Society By Anne Feldhaus

I read an interesting article recently about child brides and how women and gender roles are viewed in societies that conduct such ceremonies between young children.  I found it very interesting that what they view as a solution to their problems was actually creating a cycle of the same problems.  The girls are so heart broken to be forced to become wives and mothers at such an early age when they don’t understand what is expected of them.  I believe that it stems from poverty, being uneducated, and the culture’s ideologies about gender roles.  However, further reading of reputable sources will give more insight to what is going on within the culture.  The listed reference is a book written by Anne Feldhaus.  In chapter 6 of her book,  she talks about child marriages and the image of women in the Maharashtrian Society in India.


Michelle Obama and Anti-Gay Laws in Russia

I found two articles this week that were equally relevant and thought provoking in light of our readings, and I could not choose to share just one.

The first is from the Feminist Wire where the first lady is being criticized for deciding to work in the home and how she is being looked at through the white patriarchal lens of feminism. My favorite quote from the article is from Flavia Dzodan  “my feminism will be intersectional or it will be BS.”

Washington Post and 'Feminist Americans' Won't Let Michelle Obama Have It All

The second article is about anti-gay legislation that is being pushed in Russia. We take our freedoms for granted all too often in the US and forget those that are fighting around the world to be able to kiss their partner or hold a public meeting. This is an excellent article about the LGBTQ movement on a global perspective.

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