Ms Musings is such a good blog

Christine Cupaiuolo’s Ms Musings blog is one of the best blogs out there – and I’m not saying that just because she’s a fellow Buffy fanatic. Here’s just a few good recent posts:

Ms Musings looks at how the media covers women’s sports, and is not impressed – the coverage of talent too often takes a back seat to babes and blondes.

Someone please tell Deford – who’s been at this long enough to know better – that admiring beauty is not the issue; undercutting the growth of women’s sports is. As the media’s focus increasingly ignores women’s athleticism, the game becomes incidental. Unlike with men, women’s organized sports do not have a long and privileged history. They are still, in fact, battling for legitimacy as watchable sports (see above). An obsession with style over substance only confirms the prejudices against them.

There is some good news – the “participation gap” between girls and boys who participate in high school sports gets narrower every year. Currently, there are about 2.8 million girl athletes and 3.9 million boy athletes in high schools; the gap is almost entirely accounted for by the million or so high school boys who play football.

Ms Musings also has some information and links on the First Music Festival of Iran’s Regional Women – which is not the good news it may at first appear to be.

One Iranian musician, who did not want to be named for fear of professional repercussions, agrees, saying the point of these festivals is not music at all. ‘It’s all about publicity,’ the musician says. ‘In the US and Europe they say that Iranian women are under pressure, so they hold these festivals so they can say that Iranian women don’t have any problems.’”

Finally, in the “depressing but notable” catagory, everyone should read this post of horror stories of how women are abused in China, Uganda and Kenya. The stories have many common links, but for me the big one is the connection between economic power and sexual freedom – if women and girls don’t have the former, too often they won’t have the latter.

The story from Kenya – in the Washington Post - is about the African tradition of “cleansers,” men whose job is to have sex “with women after their husbands die to dispel what villagers believe are evil spirits.”

As tradition holds, they must sleep with the cleanser to be allowed to attend their husbands’ funerals or be inherited by their husbands’ brother or relative, another controversial custom that aid workers said is causing the spread of HIV-AIDS. Unmarried women who lose a parent or child must also sleep with the ritual cleanser.

The custom has always been unpopular among women. But in midst of an AIDS pandemic, which has led to the deaths of 19.6 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, having relations with the cleanser has become more than just a painful ritual that women must endure. Cleansers are now spreading HIV at explosive rates in such villages as Gangre, where one in every three people is infected.

The good news is, some women are organizing to overturn this deadly tradition.

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3 Responses to Ms Musings is such a good blog

  1. 1
    John Isbell says:

    I had a student who worked with the Peace Corps in Kenya, and she also told me about a male belief that having sex with virgins could not only prevent catching HIV, but remove it once you had it. The virgins are generally very young, often prostituted or raped, and often contract HIV. AIDS education and law enforcement could reduce that awful pattern. I’d talk now about the Bush AIDS in Africa initiative, except that he seems to have abandoned it.

  2. 2
    Eli Stephens says:

    Too bad they haven’t yet discovered Baghdad Burning (, which describes one of the most important ongoing struggles for women’s rights in the world today – the plight of women in Iraq as a result of the U.S. invasion of that country.

    Eli Stephens
    Left I on the News

  3. 3
    Raznor says:

    John, the topic was somewhat discussed in a post at Alas a while back on baby rape. It’s an old, strong myth that sex with a virgin will cure a venereal disease, where the majority of the population isn’t educated in science. (The myth was even held in England by all classes until relativelyrecently, when science and biology became common fare for schools) Thus education is the only way to eliminate that myth.