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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

The Miss is not an actual solution.

I have observed the ” Female Titles Act” during the past two days and some women activists slipped out that being a “Miss” (Nang sao) is easier for young women to apply for. So being a Miss or a Mrs (nang) make a different. Then, isn’t it a bigger matter of discrimination against married women so they have to hind their marital relationship away.

The new Act is rather a deadlock for questioning marriage as an institution. Now women, you can get married and retain your title and last name, which is easier for them to make a business or legal transactions. Being a married couple, a written consent from a spouse to enter a legally binding transaction is required. Yet, men escaped because they will not be immediately detected whether they have a spouse from the “Mr” title. Formerly women with a Mrs title are required to obtain consent from their spouses or they must provide legal proof of divorce, and additional document if required, if they are divorcees.

I am just afraid to think that if being wedded or not is not another decisive matter for the ease of transactions. The next move by the Minister of Culture might be a campaign to promote more legally wedded couples.

This change would affect generation of legally wed women. Those who had already chosen not to, or unable to register their marriage will remain a Miss with their father’s surname intact.

If there are surging demand among middle class to change their title even they are married or after a divorce, then it is indicated that gender discrimination against women in active relationship, based on age and title are still going strong and should be immediately investigated. Already many complained that company discriminate against young Mrs. because of mandatory maternal leaves and that married women may have to devote more time to their families.

Women knew this, reverting a Miss title, is to prevent discrimination when applying for a job, to avoid going to a district office and change ID cards, passport, driving license and every important document to match their martial status. The discrimination against women are still practiced and I doubted that this Act will offer temporary refuge until gender discrimination is not eliminated. The Act offered to cover a cause for discrimination, it does not address the discrimination itself.

Me? I prefer to have only my name but if necessary a Ms. Yet but my experience ( as a student in women’s studies department) to help with formating friend’s theses, indicated that female students can only be a Miss or a Mrs. A title can not be left out or you risk not being able to graduate, for the sake of unable to pass “format check requirement.” It is ironic that as women’s studies students, we have to strictly conform to the norms that perpetuate discrimination and practice it on the second pages of our theses. A transgender student had to bear Mr. in front of her feminine name. Needless to say the Act is not applicable to transgender.

So I am not really celebrating.

Filed under: Women Studies

Gigs Buster: the End of Harassment?

Gig buster: the reconstruction of women’s right organization

Women’s right is human right but only a narrow band of topics reach the headline.
A group of women organizations petition for inspection of sexually harassed government officers by their supervisors or other higher positions.

Sexual harassment case and “improper” behavior among government officers had been reported first from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Human Security. The officer in question is now married to his junior staff after a bitter divorce with his wife. Then these women advocacy group scanned sexual harassment petitions in civil services and coined “sexually corrupted” to describe the behavior.

What had been reported was a mixture of consented office relationship when one part of the equation is married, serious harassments and rapes. The degree of gravity was taken indistinctively between two consenting adults who committed adultery and women who claimed to be or had been violated.

When news like these make it to the tabloid headline, the highlight was not on structural oppression of women but on upholding “moral standards” male civil officers. Civil officers of both sex are expected to be human extraordinaire. Yet, to me it would not solve sexual harassment. It even over generalized sexual harassment as having “consenting” gigs, from perspective of some “mia luangs. It would even jeopardizing ideal example of good family and good heterosexual relationship, while marginalizing the others. It underestimates power play in official and unofficial marriage. It makes the relationship public but not necessary political as it allow intervention and governmentality from bureaucracy system. Such intervention may save face of the people who had been offended in case of the husband wanted to disband his wife for a gig, yet it still reply on traditional belief that a husband is a wife’s ego. She must hold on to him at all cost.

The professional ethnic gives a very broad terms of improper behaviors or mis-conductivities. Both problems may be the obvious result of patriarchal structures that allow men to roam free and women bear the guilts and blame as clearly exemplified by the Interior Minister’s comment that it is normal or old men to have “mia nois or gigs.” That said, he did not have any ideas of sexual harassment.

On the other hand, officers who have consenting gigs with other officers in office while they are in official marriage did not harass their colleague, but it was considered that they mistreat their wives or husbands. They they should not be under disciplinary action of sexual harassment. Whether the civil service will interfere with the marriage is another matter. Yet it would be difficult to proof whether it was harassment or consent in the beginning.

The line is thin, yet we have to see the different between sexual harassment (a woman in the office raped or harasses by her colleagues or supervisors )and relationship problems (a civil officer, who is husband of someone has a “gig” with a consenting female civil officer). Improper behavior and violence and harassment must be separated.

We are not getting anywhere.
It make me feel sorry being lumped with some people doing women’s studies.

Filed under: Women Studies

Yellow Scarf Drives

Kwan Reun Magazine and “Sam Sip Yan Jaew” – a 30ish women program at Channel 3 organized yellow scarf drives http://www.kwanruen.com/blog/?p=341. Women are invited to knit or crochet 10”x60” scarf’] and send to either the magazine or the TV talkshow. The scarfs will be donated to soldiers in the South and other people in remote areas affected by the upcoming winter.

 Patterns can be found at http://www.kwanruen.com/yellow_scarf.htm

Last Year I knitted a scarf for myself, as a learning how to knit project,and it cost me 60 B each for acrylic yarn (green of course, not yellow) I used 4 of them , a set of knitting needle at 30 B and about 4 weeks to do it. Yesterday I bought a second hand wool sweater from Cambodia at 20 B, with this amount of money I reckon I can buy aout 12 sweaters.

Scarf drives as ethic of care is not new in the weatern hemisphere where women spen their time apart from caring of herself, her families and her communities to broader aspects. Some may knit or crochet blankets to the needy or send to the troops. In this scarf drives that knit together patriotism (to soldiers serving in the South of Thailand), loyal for the King (the sacrfs must be yellow) and Thai feminity (women should be able to do some of these craft) together, women knitters and crocheters can identify their crafts with various institution in the nation.

Filed under: Ideas, Something To Remember, Women Studies

Me and Myself (plus my biology): A Thai way of Saying boys will be boys?

Me and Myself is not a queer movie per se. it is a queer becoming man movie. Viva la masculinity as “nature” and a love that can help steer nature to the ‘right’ course.

As an infant, Tan was raised in a queer cabaret show where is auntie took care of him. later he performed in show, has many queer friends and thought he liked a male patron. Everything fit in queer cabaret show life until he was hit, literally twice.

He got up, found himself in a man’s body. His body actually. But he has been changed. He developed a passionate life with a female hostess who let him stay in her place. Tan acted as house maid, while the hostess took care of her career and was breadwinner.

The movie presented that they finally love each other, mentally and they shagged, more naturally than Lin Hui, the panda who could not even learn how to despite he was presented with sex-ed video. Out of his memories and cabaret show, he now transformed to a man who could not fight well, fix a light bulb or shoot an air rifle. The hostess finally turned a ‘queer’ or sexually confused young man to a man, as if she kissed a frog and it turned out to be a prince. Well Ananda is better than frog-prince or the Beast.

Whether it was biology as destiny, boy will be boy or love, a boy will be boy and despite losing his way in cabaret show business, his “true” color will show with the right person. I am wondering if it is love or the movie tries to hint that the force of nature will take control. His choice also remain intact with his biology.

I have to go back and read Gender Trouble.

Filed under: Women Studies

The making of “girl guns”

Note: It is “sequel” remark form my concept paper blog post in Thai at chutbloc.weblog.in.th. Blame it on my handy thesis buddy who gave me the book and I have to remember where the points are for her citation, the remark was written to the news posted at Thairath on 12 March 2007 about female volunteer rangers and weapon assigned to them, which also reminded me of my experience of “lightness.”
**********************

Thairath reports M16-A1 as “girl guns ” assigned to female ranger volunteers operating as female mob control in the four Southern provinces of Thailand. My Excellency Fred Lubang kindly explained to me it is “baby” M16. Baby M16? Baby. Baby M16 for commando? Now it is Baby M16 for Thai female rangers. 

If some of you watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith, please think about Mrs. Smith asking her partner if she had to use that “girl guns” her hubby handed to her.

The report said

” ‘[K]nowing that we are safe, I hug my M16-A1 to sleep every night.’ We are accustomed to M 16 and now we just learned that M16-A 1 [sic.] is a personal assault rifle suitable for women. The handle is not to small or too long. The stock is retractable the barrel short and it is light. The firing power is not compromised and it is very precise.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Security, Women Studies

Not Reading Another “Chicana” Feminist Literature.

I was reading “chicana” feminist literature in a private reading group for my friend’s dissertation because it is actually in English with strategic pure or chicana Spanish sprinkled along the book. They were politically placed. I used to think about my place inthe world as a 2.5th world citizen. I change my mind. I am somewhere between 3 and 4 and it is not border transgression.

Spanish is now language spoken among chicana and latina feminists. A language considered minority in English speaking dominant culture. However, not all people who can understand Spanish are chicanas/chicanos. Some privilege gringas and gringod learned it in their high school and in universities. They went to sumer courses in Spanish speaking countries of their choices and they can have sponsored or self-sponsored internship or researches. They would impressive understanding of Spanish– a chic chicana language disguised as minority language (relatively after English). I could not understand French feminists if they are not translated. I envy those gringas and gringo who slip to French literature and the Spanish and then a several languages of their interests. I envy those people in Spanish or French speaking countries.

I like the necessary domination of English. I know Chinese is in right now but I do not have resources and time to study it, let alone Spanish. I felt excluded in “minority” feminist literature but it also make me know my place in the world. A margin of margins butnot the most among most distance reach. However, not minority enough to be recognised minorities. I have to read English because I have to and Spanish would be an extreme luxury for something like me. Yes, I would miss some politics in both language but the one that make me feel my anger of my place in the world is “minorities” or marginalised chicanas.
And who we are? Where do we stand in different tiers of margin?

Am I on the almost outermost rings of rose of paradise in Dante’s Paradise because I do not understand multiple language of “oppressors” or because my poor country had never experience overt and direct colonisation?

If being colonised means I can have more “tongues” and speak more language as a tools for conversing or join the conversations with others. I want to be colonised. I don’t want no-colonisation pride of the royal family and elite who think they possess the country. I am a middle class. My soul is for sale in exchange of practical benefits. I cannot eat pride.

Desperate in Bangkok, Thailand not Taiwan.

Filed under: Women Studies

Breaking the heterosexual culture

Can men be raped? Only by women? If the marital law allow women to rape their husbands as Sanitsuda Ekkachai mentioned we are going no where.

A series of amendment had been made to regarding rapes an personal relationship. Earlier, the new criminal law defines that rape against men is punishable. many people wondered how men can be raped. I don’t need to be graphic about their argument, yet I would like to point out that many people who still think that men could not be rape might forget Brokeback Mountain. They only resume their heterosexual mentality and wonder if women can rape men. In real world, there are more than heterosexuality and all people, regardless of their orientation need to be covered in this law. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Women Studies

Strong Woman

Read this Faith and War from NYT and pondering side effects of “strong woman” American style or woman lib(eration). Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized, Women Studies

Gender loaded-Gender neutral

Was searching stuffs for dissertation. I encoutered this “GUIDELINES FOR NON-SEXIST USE OF LANGUAGE”here

The first time concept of gender-loaded languages was introduced to me as more politically correct term such as “chairwoman,” if the chair is happen to be a woman was in 1999, while I was in an English language and culture class. Later the “s/he” was adopted. In 2002 I heard the word “[the professor in the front] then the ‘lady professor’…”” in a context of a conference, where I might not be sexist to call a woman professor who was amoung other males and females professors who was raising her hand, waiting to give her comment. And the professor in the front seemed to be a male.

Of course both wo/men can be professors, doctors, teachers, chair[person], flight attendants, and it seemed to be awkward to load “lady” or “-woman” in the context beyond what I have experienced.

In the context of having more than two sexes and of course many genders (more than fe/male), gender neutral word choices seem to be an appropriate one to respect the choices of people not the appearance. And this should also be applicable not only to term papers or research.

I sincerely hope that my department will have something like that, too but actually in Thai we do not have engendered terms like chairwoman or chairman. It is chairperson from the start. but the notion and surprise look of people ‘s face when they see female police officers and high rank chairperson who is a woman is still there.

Filed under: Women Studies

Waging Peace and Wars: deconstructed Women in Peace and War

A small disturbing issue at the Thai Social Forum was women and peace program. Yes, I love the idea. I know women, equally or even less trained or “naturally,”would be better negotiators. Women would have to or are made to “negotiate” things in lives, work and family and children and lovers and much more. Ducking and dodging everyday live assault from co-workers, supervisors, family members while maintaining “good” connection with them and trying to achieve the best they can with limited resource.

In work and in daily life, it is harder for many women I know, perhaps with “asian values” to be as out spoken as we wanted to be. Perhaps the price to say “I don’t give a damn. I’d do anything I want” is too much that many of us do not willing to pay. Actually anyone can do that, minus damage. Perhaps we are too caring and too kind so the best option that we like might be substituted by the greater good for almost everybody involved (minus those that we don’t really want to give a fuck.) I personally and gradually learn that from elder friends, sisters, mothers, aunts grand mothers and many women in life. Nevertheless, I still question women’s ways. Was it only anything that women do an women’s ways?

Are women for peace or some of not clearly said voices are caught or engaged actively or subtly in wars.

During the last two years I was reading for my never to be finished dissertation, several ideas came to mind like situatedness and social construction. The ideas remind me the women are becoming “peace wagers” rather than simply natural advocate for peace and the “becoming” is more in their lessons from everyday life that any formal conflict resolution education. This would vary by cultural setting. Since I am not doing any survey in my blog (nah!), I am going to cite example from my own daily life in the following dialogs.

Example 1: Sacrifice
I (about 7 or 8) was playing with something and my brother who is younger by two years grab that stuffs from me. (Notice age factor as well)
Woman 1 (a.k.a. my aunt): Give it to him, you are supposed to sacrifice for your brother.

Example 2: It’s not a girl thing
My male sibling was playing with a tank and plastic M-16 ( PS We are not talking small arms and males now) and a younger girl (not me) want it.
Women 2 (a relative): This is not for girl, why don’t you play with a Barbie doll.

Example 3: State of nature (those we should also question nature and why men have to use force from the start)
Men: Use force
Women: (Who was said to have less force) to confront must rely on something else other than force. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Security, Women Studies