Anonymous asked: Hey simone interesting post and no I'm not a Woman but a Man. I agree with what your saying, since believe me or not have self-control. Anyway since we both are qualified in Sociology at the tertiary level let me ask this question. There is as you know a psychosocial relationship between the sexes. So is it that if a woman wears a short skirt she herself thinks its sexy or is that men like to see more skin and they think its sexy? in other words is a woman's thoughts on what is sexy based on men
I’m not sure I know exactly what you mean by “psychosocial relationship” but I do know that the relationship between men and women is influenced by many factors: physical/hormonal; cultural; social.
So, it may be perfectly natural to want to be sexually attractive to the opposite sex, but perhaps the way one determines what that looks like, depends on our cultural definitions of what is ‘sexy’, as well as social ‘gender scripts’ about how women should behave towards men, and men towards women.
Certainly, we know that all modern societies are still greatly driven by the ‘male perspective’. So that the way both women and men come to view the world is based on a male-centred value system. Therein is the conundrum faced in the above quote by Margaret Atwood.
Were you alive when baby-doll dresses were all the rage? I loved me some baby-doll dresses. My boyfriend hated them. Loose and shapeless; not what he thought of as sexy. So maaaaaybe when I was going out with him, I miiiiiight have maybe put on something else. Or not.
What am I trying to say? Well, just that it’s all mixed up and although we are all influenced by these various cultural, social and biological factors, each individual may be more, or less influenced by one factor over the others. In turn this will therefore differently determine the way we relate to men or women, or the choices we make about how we want to present ourselves - in dress, in attitude, in demeanor.
What is important to remember in the context of gender equity and justice is that regardless of a woman’s choice of dress, and for whatever reasons she has made that choice, it does not give others the right to infringe upon her human rights to safety, freedom of movement and freedom from harassment - verbal or physical.
Deputy Prime Minister of SVG tells women - Dress properly. Don’t tempt men
Deputy PM and Education Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines makes incredibly outrageous and dangerous statements which essentially blame women and the way they dress for the violence perpetrated against them by men. This is the reason why violence against women is so rampant throughout the Caribbean: because we have a culture which tacitly excuses and tries to explain away the murders, rapes and beatings as something that women contribute to by the things they do, the clothes they wear, the places they go. As long as people feel they are justified and have ‘cause’ to ‘put women in their place’ this violence will continue.
“I want to ask our young women, in particular to dress themselves properly. I know that sometimes, their mode of dress is not good at all and it is important that they dress themselves and do not give temptation to our men.”
SVG: Deputy PM tells women to dress properly and not tempt men. She says that women’s breasts are intended to feed children and comfort their husbands. This hetero/sexist drivel was offered in response to the high level of violence against women and girls and femicides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What do you think of the Deputy PM’s remarks?
Fathers and Daughters by Simone Leid
Fathers. Whether they’ve been a constant presence in our lives or they’ve been absent -by choice or circumstance - our fathers’ influence in our lives is manifest. For some women, he is the embodiment of what we expect a man to be. For others, he is our first lesson in heartbreak, the cautionary tale, the bitter medicine and the ill.
Our parents are the first ones who teach us how to navigate the world. Fathers and mothers, being our primary agents of socialization, influence the way we see ourselves, how we interpret various situations and the values and codes to which we adhere. And even though we may change our outlook as we grow up, our fathers, and our relationship with them, always serve as a point of reference.
For me, my father has been a loving parent: the provider, the protector. Yes, the stereotypical “man of the house” who worked hard to ensure his children were taken care of. I cannot deny the importance of these traits and roles that my father played in my life. I have never felt abandoned or concerned for my welfare. This ‘comfort’ has enabled me to pursue my ambitions without fear. Even when there have been failures that left me feeling broken, I always knew that my father, along with my mother, had created a home for me - physically and emotionally- that I could always turn to.
Anonymous asked: Would you consider T&T a developing country when it comes to issues of gender? Our women do have access to health, education, ownership of resources etc. But we still suffer from gender discrimination, gender violence. So what do you think?
I think any definition of a country’s development status must take into account the degree to which human rights are protected. Issues of gender discrimination and gender violence are human rights issues. Far too often ‘development’ is thought of in terms of economics and infrastructure alone. But when we drill down to the lived experiences of men and women we get a very different story. Institutions - the social structures, policies, frameworks, systems that guide how we confront issues impacting gender and human rights is the place we need to interrogate.
So what does Trinidad and Tobago have in terms of institutions
- We have a National Policy on Gender and Development which was laid in Parliament as a Green Paper for further comment in 2009 but hasn’t been heard of since.
- We have ratified CEDAW, the major international treaty on women’s rights.
- Our constitution recognises equal rights and equal access to men and women.
- We have laws on domestic violence, marital rape, maternity benefits.
Sounds fairly good, no? So what’s missing? Lots!
Sexist attitudes and stereotypes still persist which make the enforcement of laws and the recognition of the rights to which women are entitled difficult to exercise.
There is still unequal pay. There is still unequal representation in certain industries - usually the more lucrative ones. There are no policies to protect against sexual harassment in the workplace. There are many more women graduating university but much less of them that reach top managerial positions. There is an unwillingness to accept that provisions need to be made for working mothers and fathers who are primary caretakers. Women are too often victims of domestic abuse and murder and rape.
Moreover, there is not enough critical analysis of the ways in which the policies, programs and structures in our different sectors affect women and their lives. There seems not to be a real recognition that these are issues that are important, serious. Not enough national resources are dedicated to providing the kind of support systems that women need to be able to access all the country has to offer. It is not enough to have systems that are neutral. Women and men do not experience their lives in the same way and typically the rules were designed to accommodate men. We need to understand that. Women are living under a status quo that makes it difficult to achieve equity.
And it’s not just Trinidad and Tobago. These issues are also present in the so-called ‘developed’ world as well. It will not resolve on its own. There needs to be a commitment to achieving gender equity. If you look at the Millennium Development Goals, achieving gender equity is listed 3rd. But really, NONE of the MDGs can be achieved without addressing the position and welfare of women.
Anonymous asked: Hi, I think your website is GREAT! My sister and I had a similar idea for a site, it would have been called "today you made a womon uncomfortable".
The idea was that often in the moment of being made to feel uncomfortable you're without the words, action or environment to respond in a way that affirms you and let's the other person know what they have said/done and why it should never be said/done in the future. It would be so much easier if you could just hand them a card on which you tick a category  gendered violence,  street harassment,  being ignored etc. and/or facts about gendered violence and its many forms.
All that to say it's great to see this site speak to what I and so many womyn endure and often cannot name everyday. Thank you for creating this site. If there's any way in which I can support this effort please let me know.
Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s wonderful to see that there are other women out there who are also thinking of creative ways to get the message out that discrimination against women is a real problem. Each of us, in our own way, can contribute to making a more equitable, free and just society.
And yes, I do need your support; to share the site with your friends and co-workers, to talk about the issues highlighted on the blog, to share your stories and encourage other women and girls to share theirs and to participate in the discussions on twitter and facebook.
Great to have you on board,
The Working Woman: Elka
- WomenSpeak: What do you feel is your greatest challenge being a woman
- Elka: Getting things done. I can't do it all, and need help and no one helps me fast enough. I think of all the ideas, time, dates. I am too demanding I guess, which trickles over into relationships. Because I have to deal with men all day at work, I don't feel like taking shit. Sometimes I have to take a step back and realise that I have to be patient. I can't fix everything or help everyone. I need to let some of it go. These are the reasons for my sleepless nights I guess. My mind races with ideas all day long.
- WomenSpeak: Do you think things would be different if you were a man?
- Elka: Yes, sometimes. I have to literally fight for respect. Or not to be ignored. And I can't get away with shouting and cussing cause then I will be a bitch, whereas men can do that and it seems fine. I have to be creative in how I communicate and dont be overly emotional. I swear if men had PMS things would be different.
- WomenSpeak: So why do women care so much if people think they are bitches?
- Elka: Cause no one listens to you after a while. When men have to deal with an unapproachable woman boss they wont be honest. I mean, I actually care if they are honest. Some people don't. It makes my job easier when I know whats really going on.
- WomenSpeak: So they dont care if the male bosses are bitches?
- Elka: No. They expect men to be harsh and hard. And then, as a woman, if you're too nice you're taken advantage of. So there has to be a balance.
- Tell us what you think of Elka's statements: Is it more difficult being a woman who has to manage men in the workplace? Is it fair to expect women to be more creative in their communication styles than men in the workplace? Do women put too much pressure on themselves to be the best at everything? Is Elka an exception or do many women feel this way?
Anonymous asked: My gf & I watched a movie that raised a debate between us. Does Marriage Imply Consent?
No. Absolutely not! When we marry we do not become property. We have a right to our own bodies. Marital Rape is said to occur when a spouse or domestic partner engages in sexual intercourse without the woman’s consent or reckless disregard for such consent, or such consent is extorted through threat or fear of bodily harm.
Marital rape is a form of domestic violence and is often preceded by or accompanied by other types of domestic abuse such as verbal threats and denigrating language, physical assault and other actions aimed at maintaining control and dominance over a partner. The results of Marital Rape are just as traumatic as other forms of rape and can result in physical, emotional and psychological trauma where the rape survivor has feelings of fear, revulsion, depression or anger. Because the perpetrator was at one time trusted and loved, the survivor is likely to deal with bitter feelings of betrayal, confusion and powerlessness.
In Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica and other countries in the Caribbean, Marital Rape is a crime punishable by imprisonment. In Trinidad and Tobago the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2000 states that a husband or cohabitant who is guilty of rape “is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life or any other punishment which may be imposed by law.” The Act also protects in cases of “Grievous Sexual Assault” which are sexual acts that do not include penetration vaginally or anally with the penis.