Newt In A Tea Cup











{February 23, 2007}   …T’ill my mood does us part…

February 24, 2007
Married and abandoned – the 30,000 wives ‘duped by Westerners’
Jeremy Page in Barapind

October 28, 2002, was the happiest day of Parveen Paul’s life: she was 26 years old, newly graduated from university and she was getting married.

What is more, within three months she planned to leave her village in Punjab and move to Bedford to live with her new British Indian husband.

As she watched the 300 guests dancing and feasting on sticky Punjabi sweets at the Anand Palace wedding hall, her head spun with excitement.

“I felt like I could fly,” she said , leafing through the wedding album that she keeps under her bed. “What a joke.”

Five years after her wedding, Mrs Paul is still sitting in her village with no hope of joining her husband in Britain and few prospects of marrying again.

She is one of tens of thousands of Indian women abandoned by Indian émigré husbands — many of them British — after hastily arranged marriages.

Some husbands simply lose interest after their brides fail to obtain visas, but many pocket their wives’ dowries or demand money to support their visa applications.

Others are already married and use their Indian brides as “holiday wives”, often leaving them to bring up children on their own.

There are no official statistics, partly because so few victims speak out, but the Government estimates that 30,000 Indian women have been duped in this way since 2004.

Of them, an estimated 15,000 come from Mrs Paul’s native district of Doaba, which accounts for the majority of Punjabi émigrés.

“This is ruining the lives of thousands of Indian women,” said B. S. Ramoowalia, an MP and former Cabinet minister, who is campaigning against the practice.

“The boys in Britain or wherever have absolutely no fear of any legal action against them in India. They can exploit this craze for emigration.” The problem is not new: Indians, especially in Punjab, have long regardedthe marriage of a daughter to an Indian émigré as a way to get the whole family to the West.

It has become so acute in the past two years that the Indian Government now wants Britain and other Western countries to deport errant husbands. It also wants Western governments to carry out background checks on nonresident Indians (NRIs) applying for Indian visas to find out if they are already married.

It wants foreign laws tightened to stop NRI husbands getting divorces without the wife being represented in court, and it is drafting new laws at home to protect abandoned wives’ rights. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs announced that women who are divorced or deserted within two years of marriage to NRIs would be entitled to legal and financial aid of up to $1,000 (£510).

“We need more dialogue because it has become like a disease in the last few years,” Girja Vyas, head of India’s National Commission for Women, said.

“We are also raising awareness in India so these girls realise that all that glitters is not gold.”

The British Government has yet to receive any formal requests from India, although British officials say that they have also become increasingly concerned about the problem.

Mrs Paul and her husband, Gulshan first met through a relative when he came to look for a bride in October 2002. He was divorced and a little on the old side at 35, but she was marrying late and could not afford to be picky. Also, his family did not want a dowry.

So the two families arranged a meeting and six days later the couple were married. Three days after that Mrs Paul applied for a British visa and Mr Paul returned to Bedford alone.

The problems began when her visa application was turned down because the couple falsely stated that they had known each other for two years.

Mr Paul says that was a genuine mistake. Mrs Paul says he instructed her to lie on the application form and then deliberately contradicted her in front of consular officials. She also alleges that her husband demanded 500,000 rupees (£6,000) to continue supporting her visa application. When she refused he filed for divorce in Britain.

“That’s a lie,” Mr Paul said. “Why would someone in Britain demand money from someone in India?” He says he helped his wife to appeal the High Commission’s decision twice and filed for divorce only when it was clear that she could not live in Britain.

“I’m ready to live with her in the UK but I don’t want to move to India — what would I do there?” he said. “Her family must accept that the marriage is over and find a new husband while she is young enough.”

That is easier said than done in a small village in Punjab, where divorced women are strongly stigmatised.

“I want him to come back to get divorced and face trial here,” Mrs Paul said. “He took my youth. Now my life is ruined.”

Wedding list

For a husband or wife to be allowed to settle in Britain, the married couple must:

— Prove the marriage is legal and that they have met

— Prove that they intend to live together permanently

— Prove that the British partner can support the emigrating partner without relying on public funds — providing evidence in the form of bank statements or a letter from their employer

— Show that they will live in unshared accommodation

— Fiancées are also eligible, provided the couple can show that they plan to marry within a reasonable time, usually six months If a man has more than one wife, only one will be allowed to join him in the UK

Source: UK Government

The thing that strikes me about this is the very strong dependence that the women have on men. The woman in the first paragraph is educated at university, strong, and still she hinges completely on her absent husband. Their financial, social and emotional standing is literally in these guys hands and yet the alternative isn’t that great either – why else would you marry someone you’ve only known for a week?

With the rate of marriage in the UK at an all time low this reinforces what’s been there all along. For no matter how beautiful a loving, mutual, equal marriage can be, it is founded in a tradition of ownership. Perhaps the women are valued, but in the same way as property, and harm against them is a type of human vandalism. For women dependent on men to live a marriage is joyful because she is now told she is guaranteed a good meal and bed. However what she is told is not always true. If a guy doesn’t place much worth in his “property” it is much too easy for him to throw her away without a second glance. I’m not saying they should stay with those jerks but they have to bear an unjust weight of consequences. A single, older and especially divorced women is obviously a disgrace- why else would he have left her?

Women don’t have a leg to stand on either way. Doomed if you’re married, doomed if you aren’t. Marriage has not been a successful institution because it was a success in of itself. It’s been successful because for many women there aren’t many other options. That and dowries, which don’t exists here any more and are also illegal in India but still common. It’s the physical gain from the union that has always been at the forefront.

It’s so important to teach all women how to develop financial independence – one of the reasons why the pay gap needs to be universally closed. Women should never have to be scared of being single, and they should never suffer for their partners thoughtless actions in such a way. Being in control of your finance, of what you own is a huge part of this.

Don’t be scared to end up single. That is not alone. Single can be one of the most satisfying states of being if you are comfortable with yourself and secure with the world, emotionally and financially and intellectually.

It is when you have had your promise of love and protection grabbed away from your hands and are left gasping for it, that true loneliness invades.

When your self is dependent on someone else- when that someone haunts your self respect without caring; One can be very alone with that company.

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{February 16, 2007}   On Breaking Up (Friday’s word?)

The other day a friend told me that she’ apparently a “slut, a cunt and a whore”.

She just broke up with her boyfriend. He’s the one who threw out those words. She’s said it’s taken him about two weeks to calm down. Now, what kind of guy (whom I previously thought was nice) is able to regurgitate such things so easily?

She’s not the only one who has gone through that. Instead of calling her something else like “spoiled”, “boring” or any number of insults to do with personality, guys tend to fall back on gender as a defence mechanism. There is no thought; only the default put down implied by the “other-ness” of the subject. I haven’t been bloging long but I’ve already been called a bitch, a hag and told to abort myself (I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of that one). The fact is that every single one of those insults defers to biology in some way and suggests an inferiority of biology.

Instead of calling up what the real issue is with her, the ex resorted to insulting who she is on a gender level. The trolls insulting me have a specific problem with my biology so I guess that’s natural.

Secondly- why on earth is it that guys can’t take any rejection? Why do they go so psycho?

To be honest I feel sorry for them. It must be hard to be brought up with the belief of superiority and the importance of macho-ness only to see that all of logic and practical life shows that it’s not true. Reality must create a lot of insecurity shown the way they are so undermined by women being equal in the way they act.

What do I mean? Like I said to her “How dare he call you a whore? You didn’t do anything he didn’t do too!”

The double standard isn’t realistic but people cling to it. It’s okay for me, but not for you…

Oh and girls- anyone who thinks “cunt” is something to be offended by needs a slap. Go ahead, I’ve got your back.

(and I’m working on the second part of the slut series- RL just keeps interfering)



Uncle charged with infant’s rape and murder

Wednesday February 14, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

The uncle of two-year-old Casey Leigh Mullen was charged today with her rape and murder.

Michael Patrick Mullen, 21, was arrested after the toddler was found in a pool of blood at her home in Gipton, Leeds, on Sunday night. He will appear before magistrates in Leeds tomorrow.

“Police have now charged a 21-year-old male with murder and rape and he has been detained to appear at Leeds magistrates court tomorrow,” a West Yorkshire police spokesman said.

A post-mortem examination revealed the two-year-old died from “compression of the neck”, police confirmed earlier.

Casey was discovered by her mother, Samantha Canham, 21, at their home at around 9.30pm on Sunday.

The child lived in a rented house with her older brother Darren, aged three, her mother and her 20-year-old father, David Mullen.

Two other men who had been arrested in connection with the murder, aged 19 and 20, were released without charge yesterday.

It is understood Casey’s parents had moved into the house around eight months ago. Neighbours said they called Casey “Smiley” because she was such a friendly and happy child.

Try to tell me she was asking for it, that little Lolita- go on!

What people don’t realise about rape is that it isn’t fair. I know that sounds stupid but it’s true. We like to believe we live in a just world. That’s why we think that rape victims must have somehow asked for it – because it means that if someone asks for it, we can somehow not ask for it and be safe. Well, we’re not safe. We never are. Not from the second you are born. The second a girl is born she becomes a target for the simple fact of having a cunt and that is all. It’s not fair.

People don’t realise that when talking about child porn, it isn’t always “provocative”, early-matured teenagers. There is plenty of porn out there showing eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and younger children being raped, abused, violated, beating and destroyed. Watching those horrors should be illegal and subject to imprisonment by itself. It is accomplice to rape, accomplice to the murder of this wonderful little girl. I’ll bet you anything that the uncle, a seemingly nice guy, was one of the millions who watches child porn.

Her uncle. These are the men bringing up and killing the hearts, minds and bodies of our children.

You can tell a society by how it treats it’s least empowered members. We enjoy watching our children raped.

There is no fair world. There is no security and no justice in this world. Not for any woman whether two or on her death bed. It is only in death that there is any semblance of peace, release from the vigilance and fear we face daily.

On a completely personal level I somewhat envy Casey. She’ll never grow up, true. But she’ll no longer be afraid the way I am. You see, child rape is so common the only uncommon thing about this is that she was murdered. And that statement is what is truly remarkable.

I’m a Christian feminist and I centre my views around the belief that all are made in God’s image and granted free will and autonomy. To deny that to the least of these, is to deny the holy imprint of God in them. I do not wish to force these beliefs on anyone.

I believe in an afterlife and I believe that Casey’s troubles are over. She’s been removed from this crap world before she’s ever understood it and in a way that’s a twisted blessing. Her family’s troubles are just beginning however and I pray for them.

So, Dear Smiley Casey,

I don’t know you, but I know plenty of little girls just like you and for what it’s worth I love you. I love the fact that you have brought so much happiness to those who love you, and I love you because I believe you to be made in God’s image.

I’m so sorry that you’ve suffered so much. I’m sorry that you’ll never experience so much. I’m sorry that you died abused, confused and scared. I’m sorry that one who claimed to love you clearly didn’t. I’m crying for you and longing to help create a world where no one will go through what you did.

Dear, dear Casey,

Happy Valentine’s Day.



{February 13, 2007}   Slut part 1

Slut.

You dirty slut. Filthy slut. Shut your trap slut. Stupid, bloody slut.

Slut.

Sounds familiar?

Sluts are bad, we are told. Sluts are women who have strayed and don’t follow the laws of the way things should be. Or they follow the wrong laws or they follow them in the wrong way. Either way, sluts are out of line. Uncontrollable. Wild.

Men hate sluts.

And yet, they are still largely attracted to them, for the simple reason that they have a parasitic relationship, where they want to take something (sex) that they believe a proper woman, a Madonna, would not give.

Men want sluts. And they hate them because of that very reason.

Misogyny is a form of selfishness. In a relationship there is give and take but in the world of the patriarch all they have to do is take. Sex is important to them, because it is raw human emotion and physicality at its peak. It is the ultimate release. Controlling someone’s sexuality is a form of controlling their innermost emotional being.

A Madonna does not enjoy sex unless there are conditions. Marriage (meaning financial and domestic dependence here) seems to be the main one. Sex has grave consequences for these women, and it is that unequal share of responsibility that helps keep men at the top.

Sluts don’t follow that rule. They give a quick fix but they are also receiving something for themselves. They are aware that both people are using the other for something. It is a mutual and equal transfer.

The patriarch doesn’t like being equal to a woman. And he certainly doesn’t like feeling that women have something that he wants. He doesn’t want to be dependant in any way, shape or form on a woman.

A slut throws everything out of kilter for him.

She has the agency to give or refuse him sex because of her own desires. She is sexually independent from him and isn’t hung up only on him and his ego.

He has a sneaking suspicion that she is just like him in many ways. She is usurping his manly role, rejecting the virtuous female role and therefore threateningly emasculating.

Sluts are bad for that reason.

And yet, I’m not quite sure what the word entails.

We’ve got the definition as

a. A person, especially a woman, considered sexually promiscuous.
b. A woman prostitute.
2. A slovenly woman; a slattern.

Okay. Who exactly is a slut?

Sexually promiscuous women, prostitutes and slovenly women. That is still too vague for me.

Let’s focus this part on definition b.

The Prostitute

So we’ve got the entire female population.

Remove every single woman who has been involved in the sex industry.

Those are all sluts.

The problem with prostitutes is that men aren’t happy with just the body. They want the woman to be desperate for him. It’s about power. There is a power trip in knowing that she is dependant on you for her food, that she is desperate for you. But that trip is compromised when it is revealed to be a short term dependence (once the fee is paid that it) and that she can always find someone else to pay that fee. The power and control isn’t exclusive and therefore the notion that a woman in the industry is “tainted goods” comes in.

You may be a porn star and have all the so-called power that entails but you are still a slut at the end of the day.

But wait; here is the hypocrisy. Don’t men use prostitutes? Don’t they watch porn?

If a woman sells her body she is a slut. If a man buys it he is a… what? He is just a man. A real man. Possibly a “john” but he casts off that title the second the purchase is over. A woman cannot cast off “slut”. Once she is a sex worker she will always be viewed in that capacity.

Observe the obituaries of Anna Nicole Smith. Here is a woman who made a living off her looks and her body. It does not take long at all for the papers to mention this. However if a man dies and is known to have used these services time and again, this is not mentioned unless it is to say “he loved women”.

Or perhaps let us contemplate when the Ipswich women were murdered. Or perhaps “vice girls” and “prostitutes” first of all as it was reported. Many men are equally murdered but the attention seems to be drawn first of all to the crime not their status or sexual history.

Women’s involvement in the sex industry makes them sluts. Men’s involvement doesn’t really define them. You see they have personalities.

(Hugh Grant has bounced back pretty well, hasn’t he?)

Men aren’t labelled – they don’t even have the chance to be labelled

There are after all 220 English terms for a “promiscuous female” and only 20 for a male. (Stanley 1973). There exists 350 terms in the English language to say “prostitute”.

That sounds slightly excessive to me and also like an unhealthy fascination with labelling (therefore passing judgement and controlling) women’s sexuality.

To adopt and invent that many terms means that this is a big topic expanding a lot of energy. Who is it who controls our language? Historically that has been men. Women’s words have been lost since no one bothered to write them down or educate women so we could write them down ourselves. We are still emerging from that, believe it or not, and in many parts of the world that is still the case (two thirds of the worlds illiterates are women). So women have always been defined by men. And what aspect of women have men chosen to focus on?

That’s right.

Sluts.

So to sum up; women in the sex industry are sluts and therefore beneath contempt but they are also something that men in a patriarchy can’t seem to do without.

This leads to self-hatred. Self-hatred leads to hatred of the scapegoat.

The cycle continues.



{February 6, 2007}   Reality body check

Ever heard someone say that porn culture is a celebration of the female form? Newsflash! I don’t look like that! It’s only a celebration if you happen to complete the rigid check-list and if you like men’s capability to wank over your body and nothing else.

The way we see our bodies is so governed by external factors: what we are told to value through lighting, colouring and positioning. Life tries to imitate the art we see and the art we see the most is the art that least applies to us. All the bodies of women I see around me are completely unattainable. There is no way I can achieve that standard and I know that there is no way anyone else I know can either. For one thing it costs a heck of a lot of money. For another it takes up a lot of time. For a third there are natural physical barriers- I don’t tan at all, I’m ridiculous short and I’ve got chubby cheeks that will only go away if I’m near to anorexia.

Celebration of the female body (as marketed by Nuts, Zoo and FHM) is not the celebration of any female body I have ever faced. I do not recognize those bodies and to be honest, the stiff poses, harsh lighting and plastic feel of the affair leaves me thinking that it’s not very… well… skillful? Appealing? Or am I setting the bar too high? It just feels like titillation over a doll to be honest.

Now, I love nudes in art. I think that the human body is one of the most fascinating subjects to look at. I think that tasteful nude photographs are sometimes breathtaking.

It’s the difference between naked and nude.

One is a factor that others remark upon.

The other is a human state of being.

Maybe I’m thinking this through too much. Maybe I’m being too philosophical about everything. But I think that it’s okay to celebrate our bodies – our real, honest, un-retouched bodies with dignity and that being unclothed does not have to feature the degree of exploitation and shame that it does.

Don’t say women in those magazines aren’t ashamed. Maybe they aren’t. But their very function and selling point is based on shame; the shaming of the women who aren’t them. They work by creating a shame in women on how they look and a dissatisfaction in men with their perfectly normal partners.

We can’t live up or with that kind of naked. It’s depressing. Hardly a celebration of being womanish.

But I think that nude is what makes us women; average, normal, of all shapes and colours and sizes, feel happy and thankful for our bodies. It’s what tells us we are beautiful, that there is something gorgeous in us.

Here’s what I mean:

Scott Hutchinson Nude Art Gallery- not worksafe obviously

Maybe it’s just me but those paintings made my day. The lighting, the fat curves – truly beautiful.

I love the serenity of her expression

Another by the same artist as above- Boscoe Holder

Nude by Renoir

SHOCK! Men can be nude too!

I tried to find some more recent stuff but there’s no surprise that there was little supply of what I wanted. Obviously I’ve just exposed myself as a snobby art lover. That done, I’m signing off.



et cetera