The New York Times reported on new campaigns in India that are pushing for more restrooms – both public and private – for women. Reporter Nilanjana S. Roy explained that women who live in slums without proper toilets are more susceptible to reproductive tract infections and are at greater risk of rape, due to the great distances they have to walk to find a toilet. For many women, this shortage prevents them from working, and therefore making money. Just how many toilets are there?
In a 2009 study, the Center for Civil Society, a nonprofit organization, estimated that the capital had only 132 public toilets for women, many of them barely functioning, compared with 1,534 for men. The effect of this, in Delhi and across urban India, is to severely limit the mobility of women and their ability to work efficiently.
In response to the blogosphere’s response to a viral video of a white student complaining about the presence of Asian students in her university library, Tami of What Tami Said, urged us to reconsider our word choice. That is, the Internet was collectively “shocked” by the video, but, as Tami noted, anyone who’s paying attention knows there’s nothing shocking or unusual about racism:
“Shocking” may simply be a benign word choice – an editorial decision designed to spice up a headline. I use a fair amount of hyperbole here. I understand. But it’s not just in the media that I hear about the “shocking” nature of racism. I hear it from regular folk, too. A friend (a white woman) who did some Democratic political canvassing here in our red state was genuinely taken aback at the level of naked racism she encountered. I wasn’t and I told her so.
Chloe Angyal of Feministing is embarking on a personal project that we here at Canonball can really get behind: she’s rereading the Anne of Green Gables series as an adult. She characterized the undying appeal of Anne:
Like my other favorite fictional heroines – Lizzie Bennet, Ginny, Hermione, and Jo March from Little Women – Anne is smart, kind and observant. Like those other women, she has a vision of the kind of woman she wants to be, but she doesn’t always live up to that ideal. Her vanity and pride get in the way sometimes. Like them, she is torn between the desire to fit in – to be pretty and ladylike and coupled – and the desire to defy convention. Like them, she is capable of deep, profound love, not just for the man she eventually marries, but for her friends, her family, and for the pursuit of knowledge.
Shakesville republished a classic post as part of its Helpful Hints for Dudes series. (You should also check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 – great reads for dudes and non-dudes, newbies and feminists looking for some succinct inspiration.) On playing devil’s advocate:
There are the occasions that men — intellectual men, clever men, engaged men — insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun — and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.