In light of this weekend’s tragic shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we thought our readers would be interested to learn more about this religion. We reached out to the Sikh Feminist Research Institute for some thoughts on Sikhism.
Often I am asked of when I first became aware of being a feminist. This question takes me back to the deepest recesses of my memories of early childhood, since it was my mother who was my first feminist role model. She would frequently give me feminist pep talks: “You want to be a pilot? Yes, of course you can become a pilot!” or “Your favourite color is blue? Sure, blue is a great color.” Often defiant of male authority, a natural and equal partner in running the household, she was both bread-winner and the CEO of our home.
As I grew older I would often wonder about the origins of my mother’s feminist ideas. Not having had the opportunity of a formal education due to the poverty following forced migration at the time of Partition, it was apparent she had no access to the feminist theorists I would come to prize in later life. Instead her ideas emerged from the Sikh historical narratives she was raised on and the strong women in her own life. The re-telling of the lives of Sikh women would provide fodder for bed-time stories, both awe-inspiring but also re-assuring of a universe that made sense where women and men are equals. Keep reading »
Last night at her concert in Moscow, Madonna appealed for the release of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band which has been jailed for five months after speaking out publicly against President Vladimir Putin. This video sent chills up and down my arms as Madonna spoke about censorship, democracy and freedom. What an incredible reminder not to take our freedom of speech for granted.
The three women were charged with hooliganism for performing a “punk prayer” at a Moscow church and praying for Putin to be removed from the presidency. During their five months of imprisonment, the women say they’ve been mistreated in jail. Their trial began on Monday and the women have said their judge is biased against them. I’ve been writing about Pussy Riot daily in Today’s Lady News, but Mother Jones has a good recap here. [YouTube]
Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »