Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This isn't feminism - but it's so important it needs to be spread.

I lifted this directly from my best friend, so none of the wording about from the very last 4 words are mine. I've never been so shocked before - this is a proposal which is almost guaranteed to affect the people of Europe and the USA, and many other parts of the world. At a glance, I can see potential for epidemics caused by highly resistant strains of bacteria, increasing dependence upon drugs and medicines, and the end of truly organic produce. And it's all being forced upon us. Read it.

This concerns YOUR health, and YOUR life, not to mention your (future) children...

Ok, put your hand up anyone who's heard of the Codex Alimentarius?

No one?

Neither had I. But it's going to have a huge impact on your lives, make no mistake.

Here is a video about it: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5266884912495233634&pr=goog-sl

And a website (yes it's American, yes it's relevant to you as well): http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php

Another one: http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/codex-alimentarius.html

And the "official" one: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/index_en.jsp


If you're unable to view the other websites, or the video, or you're just plain lazy, let me summarise. The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the World Health Organisation and United Nations working with the World Trade Organisation and pharmaceutical companies and banks to control food standards. The WTO and pharmaceutical companies and banks, as you may have guessed, have no interest in protecting the consumer. They control things like the level of pesticides in food that are acceptable, which antibiotics/steroids/growth hormones can be fed to animals intended for consumption, guidelines for vitamins & minerals, some labelling of food.

According to the Codex Alimentarius, vitamins and minerals are now classed as "toxins", and as such we must be protected from them. Do you or anyone you know have the desire to be protected from vitamin C? Under their guidelines, any amount of vitamin/mineral/herb that produces a noticeable effect on someone's wellbeing will be forbidden (For example, Vitamin C over 200mg). I thought the point of nutrients was that they produced a noticeable effect, no? And since when were NUTRIENTS (essential for life and functioning etc) classed as toxins? Obviously too much of anything is toxic (even water), and there are limits, but shouldn't that make either ALL food and drink toxins, or NONE?

Under the Codex Alimentarius ALL cattle will be given growth hormones, and antibiotics. ALL animals intended for consumption will be given antibiotics. ALL meat intended for consumption will be irradiated. That includes "organic" food.

Under the Codex Alimentarius, any GMO will not require a label, so you will not know whether you are eating genetically modified plants or not.

Any country that does not follow the Codex Alimentarius guidelines will have massive trade sanctions imposed on it. Britain is definitely going to follow them, as is America, and most of Europe. It supersedes all laws the countries have on food standards, and will reduce our access to information about the food we eat. It will effectively gut the alternative medicine industry, and deprive people of options. Any nutrient or herb over a certain dose will either be illegal, or have to be bought at grossly inflated prices on prescription from pharmaceutical companies.

This will come into effect in 2009, and it's been worked towards for over 40 years. If you're not worried... well, you should be.

I do not know everything about the Codex Alimentarius, and don't claim to. I'm just sharing some stuff that I only stumbled across in the last couple of days. I think people have a right to know what's going on with their food and health. I certainly want to know what's being done to my food, and if any of my healthcare options are being taken away from me. It may seem like I'm talking about some sort grossly exaggerated doomsday theory, but I don't believe I am. You can check all my sources, and help me out if you believe I'm wrong. I just want to know the truth.

Here's a European petition about the Codex Alimentarius: http://www.laleva.cc/petizione/english/intro_eng.html

Spread this around. Talk.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Out of interest...

Are there any Scottish, or indeed Glaswegian feminists reading this?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Sport needs to change" - for women, that is.

Today's Guardian has this article which explores the radical idea that maybe, just maybe, fewer women are taking sport because it's not seen as a very girly thing to do.

"Social pressures which portray sport as unfeminine and encourage girls to be thin rather than fit are an important barrier preventing girls and women from taking part in exercise, according to the study by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation.

Negative experiences of sport in school and low body confidence also put women off exercise, the research found.

The prime minister, in a recorded address at the report's launch today, will warn of a "critical under-representation of women and girls in sport" at all levels, and will urge "a cultural change that allows girls to see sport and physical activity as aspirational".

"Sport needs to change so that it becomes as much a place for women and girls as it is for men and boys," he will say, telling sports bodies to "work harder to understand women's lives".

A failure to reverse the decline in women's fitness will have serious health implications, ranging from obesity and heart disease to depression and low self-esteem, Brown, a former rugby player and keen sports fan, will tell a conference on women's sport, Raising the Game, at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

The prime minister will also attack the "critical lack of investment and profile" at the elite end of women's sport, with no professionally paid women in team sport in the UK."

Finally, after all kinds of hand-wringing about how girls and women are getting too fat/thin, they're actually doing something positive and trying to get us to be... healthy. It's about time. Women's football has it's own league and competitions, but it's not taken as seriously, and female professional footballers cannot have a career focused upon their sport. (Update: The F-Word now has this post on the subject. The players for England's World-Cup-standard Women's Team got a minuscule £40 a day for their efforts, and had to fit their training around university life or work. Many are now unable to train because they must work to make up for lost earnings during the tournament. They feel unappreciated and aren't being given a reasonable chance to maintain their sporting abilities to a high standard. Not quite the same for the male players at the same level, is it?) The mere fact that it is called 'women's' football - as opposed to just 'football' - marks it off as 'other', and reflects a pervasive attitude towards it and other sports; the women's league is not seen as the 'real thing' and is not given as much respect. Tennis has caught up in this area, with women now finally being awarded the same cash prize as men, but not after a lot of pathetic arguments including the notion that, because women (with their slightly different physical abilities in comparison to men) play fewer sets, they don't deserve as much - never mind that they are dedicating themselves to the sport, working just as hard and are just as impressive out on the court. When the women of sport aren't given as much airtime or respect, how can the laywomen be persuaded that it's so great?

Away from the professional side, I can also agree with the talk about girls in general not seeing sport as attractive.

"The foundation's chief executive, Sue Tibballs, said: "To put the challenge into perspective, there has been almost no change in the level of women's physical activity in the UK for the past 20 years. The forecasts show that the situation is getting worse, which points to a real crisis in women's sport and fitness."


Girls and women feel "at best, pretty ambivalent about sport," Tibballs said.

"When you think that the highest profile women in sport are the Wags, is it so surprising that girls have these attitudes? Being active and sporty is not an aspirational place for young women to be."

Sport gets you all sweaty, the clothes aren't stylish, and it's hard to look decorative when you're throwing yourself around the gym. I've noticed girls in gym classes stop applying themselves as much or mysteriously get ill every time a large sports hall was shared with a male class.In mixed classes, some were constantly worried about what they looked like. Somehow, the way you appear under the male gaze became more important than just getting out there and having a bit of fun. And don't get me started on the changing rooms; I'll be here all day. I know that appearance is not - CANNOT - be the sole repelling factor for the majority, but it's worrying that even a few people are put off sport by it.

Personally, I'm glad that the government is finally taking some steps in this direction - in the long term, if successful, it could lead to more positive female role models - and young girls may stop seeing 'footballer's wife' as a more worthy life goal than 'footballer'.

Friday, November 02, 2007

An Incident in the Underground

The following passage was posted in a Myspace bulletin and is an eyewitness account of sexual harassment. It may be triggering, and I found it to make for rather unsettling reading.

How can I explain this story, and why am I starting a topic regarding this? It's just bothering me. Something felt wrong.

After work tonight and meeting my father for dinner, I went to Brooklyn to check out an art gallery a friend was in via the F train. As all was said and done, I had to hop back on the F train and transfer to the J/M/Z to get to Broad St.

This is a very empty and dead stop.

So I sit down and begin reading Kevin's journal, since it is perfect for commuting and a girl around my age (early 20s) sits next to me waiting for the train.

Nothing unusual there.

However a man, late 30s, early 40s appears. And he looks dirty. He gave off this "You don't want to talk to me on the streets, let alone underground" vibe. He wore a busted up cap, and the weirdest accessory of all was a little dog. Something you'd see Hilton or Lohan walk around with. Not to be one to try and fall into stereotypes, even if it means what kind of dog a person like that would normally buy, I shrugged it off.

Until he walks straight to this young woman right next to me and asks "Do you like dogs?"

I'm a bit paranoid in general, and with him going straight up to a girl that has to be about 20 years younger than him and asking if she likes dogs... It felt like he was carrying that thing around as bait. And not like "Girls like dogs and it's a good conversation starter... When you're at Central Park for your morning jog." This was unusual. I immediately could tell she was uncomfortable because she began muttering and mumbling answers to him. "Mmm" was "Yes" after the 4th or 5th time the guy said "What?" to her.

I then get concerned when he began asking her where she lived. How long she has been in New York City, if she lives alone, how much does she pay for rent... What kind of conversation openers are that?!? This guy... Maybe he is just socially inept?

At that point I was noticing I was rereading the same paragraph over and over again, focusing more and more on this guy than our beloved director. I put the book away and tried to give off this "back the fuck off" glare at this guy, which I'm told I can do easily, being the kind of person that can't hide his emotions on his face.

This girl began biting her nails and fidgeting in her seat. I didn't know what to do. I thought in my head to whip out my cell phone and write a text message, but not send it to anyone... Then show it to her saying something like "Oh.. check out this message I just got" Which would read "Is this guy bothering you?"

The everyone's equal side of me fought this urge and I said to myself that this woman can take care of herself. If she was really uncomfortable she would get up and leave to get as far away from this guy as possible. I do not need to intervene.

The realistic side of me said "Doing anything might very likely make her think you're trying to stalk her too. Let them be."

Then when the subway came she gets up and says "Oh. I'm on the wrong side." and walks away from the guy. Immediately in my head I feel relief that she does make a move on her own.

Then the guy FOLLOWS HER. Follows her down the stairs to the other platform. If this guy wasn't going downtown like I was... What was he doing there?

My paranoid imagination kicked in again. I paused before going in the subway knowing it was too late to do anything civil and hoped to god this guy will just be creepy and not make any horrific movie-like moves. I just watched as I went into the subway car. Completely worried about a complete stranger as if she was someone I've known for years.

I feel terrible that I didn't do anything. I called my parents. My mother, a shrink, told me similar things that I was thinking and that ultimately, there was nothing I could do. My father shared other views that was in my head as in, if she was really wanting my help, she would initiate saying something like "Is that a book by Kevin Smith? Have you seen his movies too?" and she would be the one to show the guy to get the hell away.

But I just feel uncomfortable and worried and I wanted to share it to someone.

When I was speaking to the man who posted this to request permission to replicate his story, he mentioned several times how cowardly he feels, how he wishes he'd done something. Yet how many of us can honestly say that, had we been in his shoes, we'd have acted differently? I get the feeling that the women he was sitting next to was going through the same thought processes as he was, and was maybe worried that dragging him into the situation would make it worse.

What I'm wondering is this: where were the security guards? Do they have CCTV in the New York subway system? At near-deserted stops like this, anything can happen. In the Glasgow underground system there are cameras and staff are usually nearby. Why was this woman left to, essentially, fend for herself? I wouldn't want to be left hoping that a random stranger would a) have the capacity and b) not be nearly as scared as I am to help me out. It's not as if sexual harassment is unheard of on the NYC subway system, as this report documents.
(A taster of the report: On the threat of sexual harassment and assault,

· 63 percent of respondents reported having been sexually harassed in the
New York City subway system.
· 10 percent of respondents reported having been sexually assaulted in the
New York City subway system.
· 69 percent of respondents reported having felt the threat of sexual assault
or harassment in the New York City subway system.
· Of those respondents, 51 percent of respondents reported “sometimes” or
“frequently” feeling the threat of sexual harassment or assault in the New
York City subway system.
That's staggering.)

Going back to the man whose account is above, his thought processes also seem familiar. 'Maybe he'll leave her alone when the train comes.' 'She'll ask if she wants help.' 'I can't do anything.' 'What if I make things worse?' And then, hindsight - 'I should have done something.'
We should all do something. We need to combat attitudes towards women. We need to do more to educate everyone on what counts as harassment (anything unsolicited and unwelcome, essentially). It struck me, as I was reading this, that maybe the stranger with the dog thought that his actions were acceptable. Perhaps this could be that his threatening demeanor has, as in this instance, held back others from telling him otherwise.

A final thought from the onlooker - he feels that, if anything, he has learned from this experience and, should there be a next time, will do something - anything - to let the harasser know that what he is doing won't be tolerated.

I hope that woman is okay.