Hello awesome Skepchick readers. Have I ever told you that you guys are the greatest audience in all of the intertubes? Well, you are not only that, you are also forgiving of a bad blogger who hasn’t posted an update of Global Quickies in a long time. I hope I can make up for it with the news items I found for you:
The Primer Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is no liberal, much less a feminist. He tried to criminalize adultery, has said he doesn’t believe men and women are equal, that women should have at least 3, preferably 5 children, and that it’s against human nature for women to get into politics. Now, he wants to restrict access to abortion and Caesarean births, because according to him they’re unnatural and prevent women from achieving the 5 kid golden standard. The new law is being drafted by the Health Minister, who also believes abortions should be restricted, so the current 10 week after conception limit might turn into 4 weeks or it could disappear all together. Der Spiegel says Erdogan might be targeting abortion to distract from the massacre of Kurdish civilians. Bonus points: he wants to “raise a religious generation” and he’s been targeting artists for being the liberal elite (and hitting on his daughter).
The Spanish economy is going through a bit of a rough patch (and by that I mean the shit is hitting the fan, hard), and the government has been implementing a series of spending cuts that have been met by public dismay and disapproval. I talked a little bit about the cuts in science spending on a previous post, and a few days after that the Secretary for R&D said in an article in Nature that “the Spanish R&D system is not large enough to justify paying as many researchers as it currently does” (do read the comments to the article). The latest controversy is that the Minister of Health is proposing that the national healthcare system stop paying for medicines for minor illnesses and cover “more natural remedies” instead. I did mention this was the Health Minister, right? She hasn’t clarified whether she was referring to homeopathy, herbal remedies and the like, or if she meant household remedies. I hope she picks the later, I hear the checks from Big Chicken Soup are pretty sweet.
Over 58 percent of Liberian women have undergone female genital mutilation. FGM is traditionally practiced by some Liberian ethnic groups and is performed in schools for girls run by the Sande, a female secret society that swears the girls into secrecy. The Sande also perform FGM on women of other groups as punishment. This was the case of Ruth Berry Peal, who was kidnapped by the Sande, mutilated, and left without treatment for her infected wound for a month. Since she went public with her story, she has received death threats and had to flee her village, leaving behind her husband and children. Her kidnappers were found guilty, but they appealed and are free on bail with no date set for the hearing. Despite having government campaigns to stop FGM, Liberia does not have a law banning the practice and continue authorizing the Sande to run their schools. You can ask the Liberian government to enact a law banning FGM and ensure the swift conclusion of Ruth Berry Peal’s case signing this Equality Now petition.
Mexico, my own country, never ceases to surprise me. With its rich cultural heritage, there is always something interesting, messed up, amazingly awesome, or totally weird to learn about its people. Like the runners of Copper Canyon, the burping ritual in Chiapas, or the third gender in the Juchitán, known as Muxes. NPR did a piece on the Muxe and their annual drag ball recently, and it took me in a very interesting hunt for more information about them. Juchitán is a town in the state of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, inhabited by Zapotec indians. According to legend, god sent Saint Vicente Ferrer to place men and women around the country, but he also had a special sack full of homosexuals to sprinkle around the different towns, and it broke in Juchitán. Most Muxes realize at a young age that they don’t identify as males and go on to live as a Muxe (adopting female clothing, roles, and body transformations to different degrees). Families see them as a blessing, since traditionally Muxes take on household work and take care of their aging parents. Another traditional role Muxes hold is that of initiating young men into sex, since virginity in brides is still very much valued.
Muxes may be a respected part of the community in Juchitán, but most of Mexico can still be quite homophobic and transphobic. With globalization, it is conceivable that intolerance creeps into Juchitán before society at large becomes accepting of non binary gender identities.
You can watch a few clips from a documentary on Muxes (with English subs) here, where you can also buy the DVD. If you speak Spanish, I highly recommend reading this article.
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Featured image from here, where you can buy the print.