Thursday, March 28, 2013

potatoes gonna potate

I'm tired. The greed. And selfishness. Among human beings. It's as if I can't involve myself with what makes me happy without being policed or attracting hostility. I don't understand what it is. Do you dislike me for my sometimes extremist feminist points of view? Or because I'm pursuing the shit I wanna do? Is it my enthusiasm? Independence? Whether you're carving bitch under my name on school property, harassing my writing skills through dumb-shit comments on this blog, or just being very unsupportive by telling me I'm doing too much, that I should cut down on the involvement, or when you learn that I'm pursuing projects in fields that your mind is outright incapable of understanding and you stand there staring at me like, "Oh yeah, that's cool" but your facial expression reads,

I'm not about to quiet down or conform to a generic, unfulfilling lifestyle. If you're that unhappy, you should see someone.

And also, grow the fuck up.

Yeah, I would dedicate an entire post to my haters.

your blog is very successful
it's tough because it comes with enemies
that means you're already in the game

Here's the thing, hate resonates more than positive support. It sticks to me. I remember it and keep wondering why? Should I feel threatened? Anxious. Pooped on. Negativity stinks. Maybe I'm not cut out for what I'm doing. Always giving a two shit flying fuck about what others think and say. 'Haters are my motivators'. Actually, no. My friends, parents&sisters are my biggest motivators. Though my parents have not a clue as to what I'm doing and why I'm doing some of the things I'm doing, they let me do me. I'm going to stop violence against women. Do it. I want Bangladeshi women to have access to reproductive health care [I don't dare say condoms though]. Do it. I'm getting a PhD. Do it. Sabia, Sazia, and friends are very much annoyed by my feminist sermons even when race/gender/sex/sexuality are not implied. But it's totally implied. Always implied. They look out for me though. Continuously fueling me. To continue. Being. Doing (no pun intended). Me.

My sister's gonna help South Asian women, like Bengalis, Indians, and Pakistanis. 
LOL, Sazia. 

Or when I make a fuss about women's rights over dinner conversations which should only be about sex. Because that's just all we talk about now. Sex. Sex. Sex. Who knew that sex is all we'd be talking about once we hit our 20s? Or is that just my group of friends and I?

I like it when you write about the bad things.

On another note though, what about Lupus? I'm in remission and haven't experienced any additional pains or flares [relapse of the disease after a period(s) of improvement]. Or else I'd actually be miserable. At the same time, it's as if no one wants to know about that part of me. The new know nothing about Lupus unless they delve into my blogosphere. Or ask about my scars. Hi, my name is Shahana Hanif and I have Lupus. Maybe not that abruptly. I knew it was visible, and thus, this is how I used to introduce myself. I was Lupus. On the real though, it's very rare to meet someone who actually wants to know you. Me. Relationships are so dull. Fickle. No one talks. It's all laughs and alcohol. And even if we're aware that we're dealing with shit, we're just like life's good. ALL IZZ WELL

But friends who've seen/endured the struggles and have been a part of it...never ask how I'm doing. How I'm handling myself. Before, I was a limping, swollen, anemic mess. Now that I've progressed (as some have mentioned in regards to my weight/appearance), Lupus is forgotten. It's a challenge because even I'm forgetful or apathetic about Lupus. It's there, but not so much. Why is it so difficult to accept this newness? I reward my seemingly improved health by skipping medications. I haven't visited any of my doctors since the Spring semester began. I could be putting myself in a lot of danger, but I just don't know anymore. I don't care anymore. YOLO? This is probably not a good time to make a joke.

Are you taking care of your body/Lupus? Don't forget about your health in the hype of activism. 
Happy to be a part of the Sakhi team.

I don't know. I sound like a big baby. It's difficult. My God, I'm 22.

Welcome back, Sabia.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The following is not written in 'classic' blog format or what you may be used to reading written by me. The piece isn't even from my Women's and Gender Studies classes. Rather, it's from a newswriting course I'm taking and of course, because I take my feminism everywhere, when given an assignment to write a 'special' report about an issue affecting us at large, I chose RAPE. Newswriting is different from a theoretical/analysis requiring essay. I'm sharing this because it's simple to read and understand unlike the other work I do which is indulged in bulky language and theory. You may or may not understand everything I've mentioned in this piece. It might be overly simplified and very broad. It's a good start for me. 

Boy meets girl. Girl plays hard to get. Girl is raped by a gang of street thugs. Boy saves girl and becomes a hero. Typical Bollywood plot? Maybe. But the reality of rape in India is far from classic Bollywood. In fact, the hero is nonexistent. Victims of rape are left to deal with the shame and suffering on their own. As the fastest growing violent crime in the world, rape continues to focus on the victim. This is a problem. However, current feminist activism is allowing women in India and beyond to realize their worth. They are not alone. Sexual violence will not conquer any woman.

In any given rape case, the victim is closely interrogated. The conversation revolves around blaming the victim about where she should have been or what she shouldn’t have worn. The assaulted is held responsible for asking for it. Blaming women for their sexuality is not a validation for raping. Dressing provocatively is not an invitation to rape. Rape is not about attraction or fulfilling a sexual fantasy. Rapists seek vulnerability. Victims can range from a three-and-a-half-week-old baby to a 94-year-old woman. Thus, rape involves male privilege of power, rage, and sexuality over women. It is about the entitlement to control and objectify the female body. Is this how a rapist rationalizes rape? No. In fact, the language surrounding rape does not question the rapist’s motives. Statistics show that 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. While the rapist may or may not receive punishment, it is the woman who deals with the consequences. Victims worldwide simultaneously face emotional, physical, and social trauma. In more “traditional” cultures, women are ostracized by their families and communities. This abandonment often results in forced prostitution or suicide. Instead of empowering the victim to realize it was not her fault, chastity, a constructed virtue associated with a woman’s body, becomes the central focus. 

Losing one’s virtue is attached to what feminists theorize as a rape culture—everyday language, laws, and images that perpetuate rape. Rape cultures condone sexual assault by promoting violence against women as a natural phenomenon. Women are devalued and assumed to have no authority over their bodies. A rape culture makes it acceptable for men to rape. Since birth, it confines women to live their lives in fear of sexual violence. Social movements such as SlutWalks challenge rape culture and the belief that sexual violence is brought on by the woman because of her clothing or sexuality.

If the objectification of women is not challenged, rape cultures will continue to exist. Allowing women to live independently of sexual terror cannot be an afterthought. The dialogue of rape needs to begin with the rapist—not the victim.