Categories
Women Rights

Happiness is a mindset

Materialistic things gives me happiness

After reading “Joy of living” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, I realized individuals can have everything they want in life yet still be miserable. scientifically, happiness is a mood that is a temporary state of well-being, and in happiness, we feel joy, an emotion that comes and goes. At times we find ourselves looking for happiness in objects, places, and other people but not within. I could be sad and spend the whole day with my loved ones and feel happy for the time being to escape being disappointed and lonely. But after it’s over, I suddenly feel depressed again and try distracting myself with materialistic things. My escape from hurt would be a book, yoga, shopping, or watching a movie.

If I am not happy all the time, does that make me depressed?

Like many other women, I have had an attachment to worldly life. Such as social media, hours would go by, but I couldn’t put down my phone, and when I do put it away, I would turn towards another technological device. I wanted to keep my Instagram and Snapchat stories updated but not my mental health. For me, Social media was a way to cope with my mental health. Looking at the lives of others and picturing myself in their shoes. It wasn’t that I couldn’t go out and have fun I just didn’t want to. At times I did the same things repeatedly to get a better result. EVERYTHING I did had to be perfect. If I couldn’t get it right after several tries, it would leave me feeling anxious and upset, affecting my self-esteem. I would work extra hours, avoiding what was stressing me out. Sometimes I would wonder if what I was going through was depression or another disorder?. So I did what many South Asians find taboo, finally made an appointment with a counselor. 

The ups and downs 

At the end of the chapter, the author has told his readers to make peace with their minds and stop doubting their value. Which is something similar to what my counselor told me. Happiness is a positive emotion that we respond to AFTER enduring painful feelings. Overcoming our stress and worries is what makes us grow. All humans experience up and downs in life; it becomes a problem when we neglect to seek help for our troubled mental state. If you feel depressed, don’t be ashamed to reach out to someone you know or a mental health practitioner. 

Categories
Women Rights

A female’s body used as battleground

“You are disgusting, and this is what you deserve” – slur said to an Ethiopian rape survivor.

‘Look at how many children you can have. Now you are going to have our children. You are going to have our little Chetniks,’ said a Serbian white eagle gunman to a Bosnian Muslim rape survivor.

“Now you’re engaged, but after we rape you, no one will marry you.” – Kurdish rape survivor taunted by her captors. 

There are countless slurs like the ones above that are said to war rape survivors by their rapists. Yet, they can’t do anything but endure the pain. They are displaced, their family murdered, raped, and everything taken away from them, waiting years for justice to be served. When rape occurs during the war, it is very insulting to the community’s honor. Other communities and countires are not as accepting as in the west. Women must cope with the physical and psychological trauma of rape and the possibility of rejection by their families.

Motivation 

Sexual assault in a war has been occurring since the classical period. Before laws against sexual violence during any war came into place, it was acceptable for a man to use a woman as legitimate booty, valuable as wives, slave labor, or battle-camp trophy. Capturing the wealth and property of an enemy was regarded as a legitimate reason for war in itself. Women were considered lawful property of a man. Therefore, the rape of a woman was considered a property crime committed against the man who owned the woman. Even if we don’t see a woman as property owned by men today, females are judged as weak. A women’s sexual purity holds the honor for her and her community. When she is raped, that honor is taken away from her and her people. Her community indirectly blames her for the shame they have to face.

It was not until 1994 that rape was considered a war crime by the U.N. Near the second half of the 20th century, cases of rape were documented in more than 20 military and paramilitary conflicts. The international community became aware of this, especially after reports of mass rape of Bosnian women during the 90s’ Balkan war and the genocide in Rwanda (1994). That sexual abuse is intentionally used as a weapon to destroy whole populations, terrorize people and drive them from their homes. Unfortunately, the government does not give victims of rape proper psychological care, leaving them traumatized.  

Children of war

During the Bosnian war, more than 50,000 Muslim women were raped and forcefully impregnated by Serbian soldiers. There are around 4,000 children born out of those rapes. Many of the children were abandoned right after birth or given up for adoption because the children reminded the mothers of the horror they had to go through. In 2018 Rohingya women shared a similar faith. Raped by Myanmar soldiers and militiamen and impregnated, they were forced to flee to Bangladesh for safety. However, since Bangladesh doesn’t allow abortion after the first trimester, most women had to keep the baby. 

What we can do to help

Educate others that rape in war should be spoken about and brought attention to. Help provide counseling to the victims and those affected. We must change people’s attitudes that women and girls are just as worthy as men and boys. Donate to charities that help survivors of war rape and children born from war rape. 

Categories
Women Rights

Is pretty a privilege or a curse?

I was waiting in the La Madeleine Bakery and Café queue when I noticed a man in his mid 20’s approach two women seated at a table. One of the women had light neutral blonde hair and was wearing a bright yellow dress complimenting her green eyes. She looked beautiful and seemed pretty tall. He requested to get her number which she politely declined. Before he left, he paid the barista for the young woman’s coffee and breakfast with his phone number on a piece of napkin. The lady, though, seemed a bit annoyed than appreciative after finding out the gentleman had made her payment and left his number even after her rejection. I didn’t blame her for being upset.

This incident I had just witnessed made me question if being pretty was a privilege or a curse. However, I do agree that being physically attractive does have many benefits. For example, a good-looking person has a higher chance of getting a job, a date, less severe sentences, and store discounts. But being attractive has as many downsides.  

“ALL THE GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD”

Not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. For example, Lauren, a Doctoral Candidate of Clinical Psychology, has stated that “When someone is deemed pretty, they are presumed to be hardworking, kind, and funny- you name it.” People that are considered attractive are compelled to always live up to high standards. Psychologists believe the Halo Effect is why we subconsciously assume people’s appearances reflect their overall characters. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that physically attractive individuals are perceived as more “sociable, dominant, sexually warm, mentally healthy, intelligent, and socially skilled” (Feingold, 1992). Like in South Asia, when a person is attractive and well mannered, he/she is viewed as ‘smart.’ Girls who are lighter skin are treated favorably and get more employment opportunities and marriage proposals. 

“MAYBE ITS MAYBELLINE, OR MAYBE ITS A FILTER”

Social media has made it more damaging for young women in this generation. Instagram and Snapchat filters that alter our facial features have messed with our perception so intensely that we believe that is how we should look in reality. So when one of our pretty friends uploads a selfie, we can’t help but compare ourselves to them harming our mental health. It has become a competition for young girls to be seen as attractive and become famous. For this reason, women are more likely to have low self-esteem and be lonely. An Article in 2018 stated the females have been getting plastic surgery done to look more like their Snapchat filter, known as ‘Snapchat dysmorphia.’ Around 55% of facial plastic surgeons report seeing patients seeking operations to look better in selfies. Teen girls desire to be like the models and influencers they see on social media, even if they are beautiful the way they are. 

BEAUTY VS THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

Aside from friends being envious of you, good-looking young girls are likely to be sex trafficked. In a recent article by Tina Frundt, during slavery, girls of color with lighter complexion known as ‘Fancy girls’ were sold for sex at a five times higher price than those enslaved for labor. Sex trafficking of young and attractive women of color to white males is still taking place in many countries. Unfortunately, only a few of those men are held accountable and put behind bars.

Research has also shown that people are more likely to believe sexual harassment claims by young and attractive women who act more feminine. For example, the University of Washington asked a group of people to draw two women, one likely to be sexually harassed and another who wouldn’t be in such a situation. The result showed that looks matter even in harassment allegations. Furthermore, there is physical attractiveness bias in the legal system. Good-looking women serve fewer sentences while unattractive defendants get severer punishments. 

IT’S EASIER WHEN YOU ARE PRETTY

In my opinion, being pretty is a privilege that society needs to accept. Attractive people are more readily accepted into society while others have to work for it. But, yes, there are a few disadvantages with pretty privilege, life is not always rainbow and ice-cream. People need to stop being bias and understand that looks don’t define a person’s character and that beauty comes from within.

Written By: Mubina C

Categories
Women Rights

Mia Khalifa Takes to Twitter to Defend Bella Hadid and Palestine

Lebanese adult actress turned influencer Mia Khalifa never fails to publicly share her opinions of conflicts in the world. Over the past two weeks, she took to social media to shed light on the historic and ongoing injustices in Palestine. In recently posted tweets, Khalifa referred to the United States’ support of the Israeli government…

Mia Khalifa Takes to Twitter to Defend Bella Hadid and Palestine
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hate crimes Stop Hate Women Rights

Women of Color

By-Mubina C
I am a woman of color
the one who is racially profiled
and wrongfully convicted
are my race, ethnicity, and faith such a threat?
why do I wanting the same privilege as you
makes you so upset?
I am a woman of color
who is attacked and falsely accused
for starting a pandemic and putting the world in a troubled state
if only they knew a much worse disease is hate
I am a woman of color
who doesn't get a callback or a job interview
for this reason, my name does not sound white enough
but I keep my head high and stay tough!
I am a woman of color
who suffers violent crimes
if I have the freedom to wear whatever I want
why am I viewed as oppressed
when I choose to cover myself?
Or a flaunter if I am provocatively dressed?
I am a woman of color
who is exoticized and hypersexualized
in American films dominated by white men
objectifying and degrading me again and again
I am a woman of color
who is excluded and having my dreams shattered
like my voice never mattered
everyone ignoring my troubles
you see, white women are not the only ones
with tears and struggles

Categories
Women Rights

My Hijab My Choice how to wear it

BY- Mubina C

Stop disparaging other Muslim females in the name of modesty. At times individuals in our community are too quick to judge other Muslim sisters on how they follow Islam just because they see a hijab on their head. There are countless times I have scrolled through social media reading comments by non-hijabis and Muslim men on how a Muslimah should wear her hijab and act. Some passing rude remarks like, “if you can’t wear it right, take it off” on their photos. 

As a Muslim woman who struggles with wearing the hijab herself, I want to make it clear that WEARING A HIJAB DOES NOT MAKE US PERFECT MUSLIMS! YES, WE SIN AND MAKE MISTAKES, WE DO PARTY (HALAL WAY), WE DO HAVE CRUSHES, WE DO HAVE GUY FRIENDS, WE HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF STYLING OUR HIJAB AND LIKE TO PAIR IT WITH SKINNY JEANS. We do the same things that our non-hijabi Muslimahs do. If you feel that you need to advice a Muslim woman on modesty it could be done privately not by publicly shaming them. If they don’t want to take you advice it is their choice and shouldn’t be forced on them.

But even if that makes us look like a not-so-perfect Muslim woman, we dare to roam around in a western country being the face of Islam. Some of you brothers and sisters are so quick to pass judgment but would not be able to walk a day in our shoes. If I had a dollar for every time I have been called a towelhead, terrorist, a F***** Arab, let’s say it would have helped a lot with my college tuition. I have not only been verbally abused but physically attacked just because I chose to cover myself. 

Westerners look at us with piety because they think we are being oppressed. If that isn’t bad enough, we have our brothers and sisters belittling us because we don’t wear the hijab a certain way. I know many other hijabis have experienced the same thing. Yet, we still wear it with pride. Like many of you tell us, we could take it off, and life would become so much easier, but we are not quitters. Our sisters before us didn’t carry a long fight to wear the hijab in a western country just for us to quit. Remember, next time you criticize a hijabi on how she wears her hijab, know that she goes through hell to represent the Muslim community you are part of. 

Categories
Women Rights

Muslim Women Throughout Islamic History – Zaynab bint Ali

This month I am going to share a little bit about Zaynab bint Ali. She was the daughter of Fatima and Ali (ra) and the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). She like her brothers was named by the Prophet (pbuh). We often hear about her incredible brothers, Hasan and Hussain but she was just as […]

Muslim Women Throughout Islamic History – Zaynab bint Ali
Categories
Women Rights

Break the Taboo, Period!

 Period Taboo

      Talking about period has always been taboo, mainly in the 3rd world countries. Women for years have been trying to end the shame associated with it while fighting to make sanitary products affordable. Taboo surrounding menstruation excludes women and girls from many aspects of social and cultural life. It’s time we get rid of the period taboo and have an open conversation with both genders about menstruation and how the female reproductive system works. 

    I remembered when I was thirteen and had suddenly gotten my period on my trip to India. There was an all-women gathering at my friend’s home, and I asked her for a pad. She looked at me in surprise and pulled me to the side. She took out two pads from her closet, wrapped them in a plastic bag, and handed them to me. I didn’t understand what I did that made her feel embarrassed. Why didn’t she want any of the ladies to notice she was giving me a pad. I later asked my mom, who explained that girls in developing countries are not supposed to talk about their period, especially in public. Even if it’s the 21st century, people still believe that menstruating women are impure and dirty. Girls are made to feel ashamed about getting their period and associate it with something negative. That indicates many young girls are not taught safe, hygienic practices or even about the reproductive system due to social shame. 

     I didn’t realize what a vast taboo it was in India until my dad went to pray in a mosque in Bombay, and my mom and I had to stand outside because there wasn’t a women section to pray. Muslim women in India are told to offer prayer at home because it’s assumed to be better for them. They are also not allowed to enter a mosque when menstruating. That is why most mosques don’t have a separate room for ladies to pray their Salah. Hindu women are also asked not to enter the temple during menses. 

    Superstitions about periods around the world

      Many of the elderly population in different countries believe that periods are a curse given to women and hold many superstitions. In India, women are not allowed in the kitchen of their own homes or touch anyone for several days until it passes. In places like Poland and Italy, menstruating women should not touch a flower or plant because it’s believed to die quicker. In Bolivia, you shouldn’t hold babies during the time of the month if you do it can cause them to get sick or die. As more people learn about the female reproductive system and myths, period superstitions are becoming a thing of the past. 

   How education is affected 

    Period taboo doesn’t just stop there. It also affects young girls’ education in India and other developing countries. About 23 million young girls drop out of school every year after their period begins due to the lack of awareness and the availability of appropriate menstrual hygiene products. Many young girls fear classmates would mock them if it stained their clothes. In H.S, teachers find it a delicate topic and avoid talking about it. When they try to discuss it with their students, there are looks of disgust and discomfort on their faces. In India, an H.S teacher stated, “we avoid talking about menstruation because we will then have to talk about sexual education. That is also a taboo topic that parents should discuss with their children, not us. If we talk about it, parents say we are trying to corrupt Indian culture.” 

Period poverty 

Countless women in India cannot afford sanitary napkins. Some females use old rags and cloths repeatedly, causing infections. There are also other countries like Kenya, where 65% of girls don’t have access to sanitary pads and tampons. Females suffering from period poverty resort to using leaves from trees, the insides of mattresses, socks, or even reusing dirty sanitary pads. Places in Nepal have huts away from home where women stay until their cycle is over. 

What we could do to help

Many foundations have been created to educate women and men about menstruating and end period poverty. Your donation can help a young girl continue her education and bring change.

  1. https://mynamahila.com
  2. https://goonj.org/njpc/\
  3. https://www.giveher5.org/our-partners.php
  4. https://onechild.org/enewsletter/tackling-period-poverty/
  5. https://www.actionaid.org.uk/our-work/womens-rights/period-poverty

Written By- Mubina C

Categories
Women Rights

SZA Thinks About Wearing Hijab “All the Time”

If our aspiration is to see reflections of ourselves in the world around us that define us first by our humanity before our identities, then SZA is the embodiment of that dream. We know the Good Days singer through her emotionally raw and achingly open art that has become the captionable battle cry of Gen-Z.…

SZA Thinks About Wearing Hijab “All the Time”
Categories
Women Rights

A 40 minutes train conversation with an escort – M.C

It was the Fall of 2017. I was on the F train going home after a long day at work. It was getting dark, and there weren’t many people in the subway car. After a few stops, the doors opened, and a blonde woman in her early 30’s walked in and sat down few seats away from me. She held this beautiful green handbag.

“Nice purse” I told her. “Thanks” she responded with a smile. We had a 40 minutes long conversation in which one of the questions I asked her was what she did for a living. “I am an escort” she told me. At that time, I had no idea what that was, and there was no WIFI on the train for me to search it up on google.

“what’s that?” I asked with a confused look on my face. “It’s when you get paid to spend time with someone at a social event.” she replied. I was surprised I never heard about people giving money to spend time with them. For a moment, I thought about quitting my retail job and becoming an escort myself. “That’s so cool! how much do you make, if you don’t mind me asking?” I know it was a personal question I don’t usually ask people, but this was the first time I learned such a job exists. “around $400-$700 per hour.” I was extremely shocked. After almost breaking every bone in my body and putting my mental health at risk, that was the amount I made in a one-week paycheck. I have made many friends and spent time with them, but the most I had gotten was a Starbucks coffee.

Before I could start asking her more questions, she cut me off by telling me that being an escort is somewhat like prostitution. At times escorts are paid to have sex with the person they are accompanying. She looked a little embarrassed and continued by saying, “I don’t tell people because they are likely to judge.” I understood what she was trying to say, and it was true. I asked her why she told me a “hijabi woman” wasn’t she afraid I might say something or judge her?

” Yeah. But you seem nice,” she responded. I thanked her and changed the topic before it could get more awkward. We started talking about college courses, and she informed me she had a degree in graphic design. I didn’t understand and had to question her why she worked as an escort after having a degree. She said it was a quick way to give her brother financial help, who was fighting cancer. Her brother was the only family she had. Her mother passed away when she was a teenager, and her father abandoned their family right after her brother was born. She did work as a graphic designer for a year or so. Unfortunately, most of her salary went into paying rent and bills. She made more money as an escort in NYC than two proper jobs and overtime.

She told me many of her childhood friends were Muslim. They would bring her Indian sweets during the month of Ramadan. Some of them she was still friends with and had them on Facebook. “you are a strong woman, and your brother is lucky to have a sister like you.” I assured her. After volunteering at a senior center with many cancer patients last summer, I wanted to help her. I wrote a list of organizations that give cancer individuals financial assistance and ways to get it. She was thankful and relieved that someone was willing to help and not pass judgment. Her stop came, and we said our goodbyes. That was the last time I saw her. When she left, I kept thinking about the struggles and offensive comments this woman must have been facing.

At times we are so quick to judge others we ignore to ask what’s the reason and how they are coping with that problem. Even though sex work is shunned and many reasons why that is. We are all human beings who require emotional support and respect. Someone’s life choices shouldn’t be the reason why they don’t deserve that. That day was the first time I had a conversation with a sex worker. Talking to her made me realize that society looks down on prostitution but not the people paying for it. What about the males who exploit and abuse these women? Shouldn’t they be held accountable?.

Sex work has been practiced since the beginning of time and is illegal in many countries. After society and religion came into existence, governing systems were designed. Whatever disturbs this system, such as prostitution, is criticized. The community believes that prostitutes sell their moral value for money and don’t hold dignity. After many decades, men have never been responsible for their sexual behavior, but women still are. In many cultures, a woman’s body is referred to as a temple and is supposed to guard it and prevent male sexual behavior.

Prostitution may be forced or a choice, but it is our responsibility as decent human beings to not judge and try to understand why and how they are in that profession. Try providing help and not ridicule them. If you feel someone is sex trafficked, don’t overlook it and reach out to authorities.