From international women’s day to Ms Pac-Man

// 22 February 2008

Ms Pac-ManInternational Women’s Day is nearly here. As well as the Million Women March in London, there’s a whole host of events going on up and down the country. Womensphere has set up a new blog, especially to keep track of everything that’s planned for the big day.

Next week an important UN conference takes place in New York. The Commission on the Status of Women will see governments come together to discuss women’s equality, and the hope is that some more funding can be whipped up to tackle violence against women and other problems that blight women and girls across the world. You can read the draft document, which will form the basis for discussions, here. However, I’m also really excited that the Commission will discuss gender and climate change and work to develop international indicators to measure and record the level of violence against women.

These UN conferences can be a bit mind-boggling, wrapped as they are in technical and bureaucratic language. So Marianne Mollmann of Human Rights Watch’s very personal take on the process is worth a read:

I am a failure. Not because of an early divorce, or a failure to learn Chinese. Not even because, after 15 years abroad, I sometimes sound like a foreigner when speaking my native Danish language. All of those things, while potentially uncomfortable or painful, are the consequences of choices I have made. I am a failure because I have not been able to create equality in my own relationship — despite being defined by my business card as a “women’s rights advocate.”

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Turkey has ended its ban on the headscarf for university students. Yey to that – whatever issues anyone might have with religious symbols such as the headscarf, it should be absolutely clear that legislation that seeks to control what women can and can’t wear is a bad thing:

A strict headscarf ban had been in force in Turkish universities since 1997. The ban came after the staunchly secularist military exerted pressure to oust a government it saw as too Islamist.

Then Speigel has an interview with the directors of a new film about female boxers in Congo. It’s a shame that the interviewer felt it was necessary to harp on and on, asking why these women box (I strongly doubt a similar project about male boxers would garner the same queries – after all, boxing is sport, and men like sport, so the question probably wouldn’t even arise).

I’ve heard about this (and probably blogged about this) before. But it’s not as positive as it sounds in a one line summary. For example, in response to one question:

There is, but they are feminists just being what they are. But they don’t think about their rights, and they never fight back — only if they are threatened with rape or something. But if their men hit them, they won’t say anything. That’s Bantu society. We were amazed because we thought we were going to do a feminist movie; everyone was expecting that with women boxing. But it didn’t turn out that way. In the end, we show them as they are. And in the end, there’s no future for women boxing there.

I suppose that the reason this is so surprising/depressing, is that this story sounds like TV/movie gold. It’s a documentary, but you could sell it to Hollywood no problem. But life isn’t that simple – it’s tough women boxers of who you can say: “if their men hit them, they won’t say anything”.

Figleaf posts about the origin of the word rapture (it comes from ‘rape’).

Via Feministing, we learn of a videogame which involves punching women in the vagina. Go to YesButNoButYes to watch some footage.

Less seriously, BetaCandy at Hathor Legacy destroys the illusion that Alias is unproblematically feminist, much to my personal dismay.

Meanwhile, Dollymix links to a video about “tampires” (they such your period dry). Very funny.

And, finally, a feminist analysis of Ms Pac-Man. Well, not quite. There’s some objectionable stuff in here (Nancy Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are “she-harpies”?!), but I don’t want to rain on the Ms Pac-Man parade too much. Watch here:

(On a similar note, Feminist Gamers posts about a pie chart showing that only 4% of PlayStation gamers are female. This has nothing at all to do with the console’s sexist advertising campaigns, no siree.)

Comments From You

Louise // Posted 22 February 2008 at 10:41 pm

The video of the vagina punch thing is abhorrent. But as comments on the original blog show it wasn’t a game so much as a compilation of clips by one (or more) gameplayers. One has to question why they thought this was either funny or reasonable – no doubt had a woman created a similar video-clip of men being punched in the genitals repeatedly there would have been an outcry from the largely male game-playing community. But making women avatars punch other women avatars in the groin? No outcry.

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