If you’re a woman, you’ve worried about being stranded or stuck somewhere where your safety is at risk. What if it was your job to venture into the world’s most dangerous areas?
Check out my interview with International News Safety Institute (INSI) director Hannah Storm on new research on abuse and harassment female media workers experience at work across the world.
Report raises concerns for safety of female media workers
Members of India’s Assam Photojournalists Association stage a silent protest in front of Guwahati Press Club on Saturday after the gang-rape of a female photojournalist in Mumbai. Credit: TwoCircles via Flickr.
Check out my interview with ABC Radio Australia/News Radio evening host Prue Bentley. We discuss my piece on ABC’s The Drum exploring the controversy around the crowning of the first desi Miss America Nina Davuluri.
Is more diversity a form of progress even if it is within an outdated pageant framework? What about questions Davuluri would be too dark to be a beauty queen in India? Within this framework does her win indicate some kind of social evolution albeit in a limited form?
Check out my interview here:
What do you think?
Check out my latest piece in ABC’s The Drum on the controversy around the first desi Miss America Nina Davuluri. Pageantry has always revolved around stringent feminine ideals and patriotic representation. So what happens when the winners start to challenge national stereotypes?
Rules of the pageant: a challenge to the stereotype
I have to make a confession. As a little girl I loved watching beauty pageants.
I remember in year five my school friends and I used to record Miss Universe competitions and swap videotapes at school. We’d marvel at the sparkly costumes and glamorous-looking women in heavy make-up.
Like little girls playing dress-ups, the accoutrements of femininity the Miss Universe pageant women possessed seemed mysterious and enticing to us. Heels, make-up, curves, desirability, all promising a passport into adulthood.
The topic of sex seems to always draw a crowd. Sex, Islam and the Arab world seems to magnetize one. The western obsession with Arab and Muslim sexuality seems fixated on harems and hijabs with a sometimes prurient and salacious gaze that fetishizes the exotic other.
Former Al-Jazeera presenter Shereen El-Feki, author of Sex and the Citadel is thankfully not part of the ‘harems and hijabs’ brigade. But her book does delve into the bedrooms of men and women in Egypt and across the region to look at the ways in which sexuality intersect with religion and tradition and is linked to politics and the greater fight for democracy in the region.
Check out my interview here with Joy 94.9 FM on my article Dark is Beautiful. I pop in around the 14min mark. Selling aspiration, diversity and representation also get a mention.
Check out my latest piece in Daily Life where I reflect on the desi craze for skin whiteners.
I’m proud to have made it into a mainstream news site with the phrase ‘desi’ unedited. For those who don’t know, desi has come to refer to anyone from the subcontinent. Basically desi is brown.
My use of “desi” has puzzled many non-desis, and slowly I’m trying to make the word part of the Aussie lexicon. So next time you see a whole heap of indeterminate Sri Lankan/Pakistani/Indian/Bengali people, you can be like “There were loads of desis there.”
Here is the full story below. Also worth checking out is Nandita Das’ website where she talks about the pain of remembering her skin referred to negatively in every conversation.
Pakistan has a new feminist superhero. Her weapons of choice are books, pens…and a burqa. Recently I was interviewed by Melissa Wellham from Mamma Mia on my thoughts on the burqa-clad heroine.
For those not familiar with the Burqa Avenger, she is the brainchild of Pakistani popstar Haroon. The animated TV series aims to counter Taliban opposition to women’s education through its heroine- a mild mannered teacher who dons a disguise to turn into Burqa Avenger by night, battling local goons to keep her school open.
Like Kim Kardashian, Pakistan seems to have become famous for the wrong things, like the shootings of schoolgirls, acid attacks and gang rapes. But these high-profile stories have also mobilised thousands of Pakistanis protesting against the degradation of their society. This new heroine I think is part of that protest. Like I told Mamma Mia:
Burqa Avenger is a smart, powerful, subtle, strong Muslim woman.
She’s a fantasy most Pakistanis long for … We wish we had super powers that could magically neuter extremist nuts and the corrupt politicians that enable them, in a society where the right to go to school has exposed women and girls to violence.”
“By having a niqabi feminist heroine – at once both indigenous to Pakistani culture and Islam, it reclaims those forces as a source of power for Muslim women, neutralising criticisms of feminism and human rights as a western impost and cleverly repositioning Burqa Avengers’ enemies as antithetical to mainstream Islam and local values.”
Check out the first episode here:
Burka Avenger Episode 01 with English sub-titles from Unicorn Black on Vimeo.