Tag Archives: Women

Saudi women still face inequality after historic elections

Agen Sabung Ayam

Posted December 14, 2015 seventeen:31:forty four

Saudi candidate Amal Badreldin al-Sawari stands outside a polling station Photograph: Saudi candidate Amal Badreldin al-Sawari stands outside the house a women’s polling station after casting her ballot in the money Riyadh. (AFP: Fayez Nureldine)

Human legal rights observers say the inclusion of ladies in Saudi Arabia’s municipal elections is a landmark achievement, even if it is mainly symbolic.

Nonetheless, they say significantly far more wants to be carried out to reduce gender inequality in the conservative Islamic kingdom.

Saudi Arabians have voted seventeen females into community place of work in municipal elections.

It is the country’s very first election the place females could vote and operate as candidates, although councillors have only limited powers and no legislation-producing part.

Human Rights Observe (HRW) said women’s inclusion in the elections was a positive stage towards greater political participation, but that Saudi Arabia ongoing “to discriminate in opposition to ladies by way of myriad rules, insurance policies, and methods”.

“The govt must correct the problems that are making it tough for women to take part and construct on this development to develop momentum for even more women’s legal rights reforms,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Center East director, stated.

Significantly less than 10 per cent of registered voters ended up female

Women made up much less than ten per cent of the voting pool, with a hundred thirty,637 girls voters registered, in comparison with 1.three million males.

Neighborhood activists advised Human Legal rights Look at that women confronted a number of limitations in registering to vote.

Election officials established up single-intercourse voter registration centres, but only one-3rd had been for girls, and many have been hard to achieve or difficult to uncover.

Saudi women also confronted problems proving id and residency, HRW mentioned.

Although registration laws used equally to males and ladies, ladies confronted increased difficulties in obtaining the required files.

A Saudi woman gets into a taxi at a mall in Riyadh Photo: Saudi females are not authorized to travel and confronted problems achieving polling booths. (AFP: Fayez Nureldine file photograph)

Though authorities now permit ladies to get their personal ID playing cards, a lot of girls nevertheless do not have them.

Girls also identified it tough to provide evidence of residence, since ladies do not generally personal house or spend the utility expenses. Instead, a male guardian often holds the residence in his identify and pays the charges.

In such circumstances, females had to show their partnership with the residence owner, this sort of as by way of a family members ID, but the male guardian typically holds that. This intended males could block a woman’s want to stand for election.

Saudi Arabia also bans girls from driving, generating it difficult for girls candidates to vacation to polling booths or campaign before the election with out a male chaperone.

There had been bans as well on male or female candidates campaigning to an individual of the reverse sex, indicating women candidates could only right approach women.

Incremental development optimistic, but region has extended way to go

However, there has been development for ladies in Saudi Arabia and several women are optimistic they will eventually be given far more rights and empowerment.

“Saudi Arabia have to get fast steps to stop all discrimination in opposition to females in the kingdom,” Philip Luther, Amnesty Intercontinental deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa explained, when ladies had been first granted the correct to vote.

“Although relocating in the right direction, Saudi Arabia is shifting far way too slowly and gradually. Ultimately, it is no great accomplishment to be a single of the final countries in the entire world to grant females the vote.

“The complete method of women’s subordination to men in Saudi Arabia needs to be dismantled.”

Saudi officials handle the ballot box. Picture: Saudi election officials seal the ballot box following girls vote in municipal elections for the 1st time. (AFP: STR)

Saudi women face discrimination in nearly every aspect of life. Most girls are not able to vacation, depart the nation, open up a bank account or marry with no authorization from a male relative. They have much less rights when they divorce.

Females have to also adhere to a rigorous dress code — wearing the complete-duration abaya and head scarf when they leave the house.

Even practicing activity or going to a gymnasium was mostly banned until finally a few several years in the past, the same year Saudi Arabia despatched the very first two women athletes to the Olympic Online games.

Regardless of the obstructions to women’s entire equality, many women welcomed the appropriate to vote in the elections.

One girl explained just viewing girls set forward their concepts in the course of the campaign process was a “positive point”.

Another informed HRW: “I said I need to give up, but I am not providing up. I am going to get registered and I did … I said this is our right. It is the 1st time they allow us do something [like this] and we are not allowing go.

“It is a door open up, ajar, and we just have to thrust it wide open.”

Exterior Hyperlink: Saudi females share photos of voting on social media

Subject areas: women, government-and-politics, planet-politics, females-religious, faith-and-beliefs, islam, saudi-arabia

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Victorian women’s festival criticised for not allowing pre-operative transgender women to attend

Agen Sabung Ayam

Up to date December thirteen, 2015 seventeen:forty:46

A 3-day women’s festival to be held in March up coming 12 months at Mount Martha, south-east of Melbourne, has been criticised for not allowing transgender women to go to until they have undergone gender re-assignment surgical treatment.

7 Sisters Competition is explained by organisers as “the only 1 of it truly is [sic] sort on the earth that gives you and a decide on handful of females with an extravagant wonderland to Check out, Increase AND EVOLVE”.

Kylee, who did not want her to use her entire name as her associate Belle is in the early levels of transitioning, wrote to pageant organisers very last month to ask no matter whether Belle would be welcome.

“We have been making an attempt to grow to be far more involved in women’s circles so that she can feel more relaxed, but at the instant she’s retreated a bit from life, so I considered a actually stunning camping pageant with all women would be a really protected spot for her to come to feel recognized,” she explained.

She explained soon after messaging and emailing the organisers a variety of instances, she was advised that her associate would not be welcome at the function.

“Their standard response was ‘we only welcome trans ladies who are put up-op, who have been through all the procedures to turn out to be a girl, due to the fact having men and women onsite who are physically male, would crack the believe in of the attendees’,” she explained.

“I acquired quite ragey over it, and I study it out to my associate and she just variety of sighed and went ‘yep, that appears about right’.”

Kylee’s companion Belle stated although she was not amazed by the festival’s response, it was disappointing.

“The [e-mail] was talking about surgery – so only abundant, properly to do trans females who can afford the full gender re-assignment surgical treatment which is upwards of $ twenty,000 by the time you do every little thing are regarded feminine?” she said.

“Having spent a life time feeling like a woman to finally be courageous sufficient to start off to make the adjustments to do something about that, to then have the very people who you are aspiring to be component of their local community lock you out, it is not a very nice emotion.”

Seven Sisters Fb backlash

Kylee explained she did not reply to the e mail, but she posted it to the event’s Fb web page months later, right after yet another lady questioned regardless of whether transitioning women could go to.

Exterior Website link: Facebook: Seven Sisters

Given that putting up the e mail, the function organisers have been criticised and labelled transphobic by a variety of people on the page.

The put up and Kylee’s reaction have considering that been deleted.

Belle mentioned she hoped that next year, the festival’s coverage would alter soon after the backlash to their plan.

“And it tends to make me really content to see people that are cisgender, or in a diverse placement of privilege, speaking out for that recognition,” she mentioned.

The ABC has contacted the organisers of Seven Sisters competition for comment.

In a post on the event’s Fb page organisers explained they would respond to considerations about their transgender plan by means of email “in doing work several hours”.

“We value everyone has an viewpoint and independence of speech, nonetheless we do not condone any abusive and violent language, for that reason we have deleted and will delete any post that are inflammatory and abusive,” the post read.

“This is an problem we are getting quite seriously and will be addressing with thing to consider.”

Matters: women, group-and-modern society, gays-and-lesbians, local community-and-multicultural-festivals, mount-martha-3934

First posted December 13, 2015 seventeen:36:32

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Saudi women vote in local elections for first time

Agen Sabung Ayam

Posted December thirteen, 2015 06:44:34

Saudi Arabian women have voted for the initial time in neighborhood council elections and have also stood as candidates.

The step was hailed by some activists in the Islamic patriarchy as a historic adjust, but by other individuals as just symbolic.

“As a very first action it is a fantastic achievement. Now we truly feel we are element of modern society, that we contribute,” mentioned Sara Ahmed, a physiotherapist moving into a polling station in north Riyadh.

“We speak a lot about it, it really is a historic day for us.”

The election, which follows men-only polls in 2005 and 2011, is for two thirds of seats on councils that formerly experienced only advisory powers, but will now have a constrained determination creating position in neighborhood authorities.

Around 900 ladies and 6,000 gentlemen are in the race for seats on municipal councils throughout the place.

The legal voting age has also been reduced from 21 to eighteen.

This incremental expansion of voting legal rights has spurred some Saudis to hope the Al Saud ruling loved ones, which appoints the nationwide govt, will sooner or later carry out more reforms to open up up the political technique.

Saudi Arabia is the only region in which girls are not able to drive and a woman’s male “guardian”, normally a father, husband, brother or son, can cease her travelling abroad, marrying, functioning, researching or obtaining some kinds of elective surgical procedure.

Under King Abdullah, who died in January and who introduced in 2011 that females would be capable to vote in this election, measures had been taken for women to have a even bigger public position, sending a lot more of them to university and encouraging female employment.

Nonetheless, whilst women’s suffrage has in numerous other countries been a transformative instant in the quest for gender equality, its effect in Saudi Arabia is likely to be much more minimal thanks to a broader absence of democracy and ongoing social conservatism.

Ahead of Abdullah introduced women would get component in this year’s elections, the country’s Grand Mufti, its most senior spiritual determine, explained women’s involvement in politics as “opening the doorway to evil”.

The pace of social reform in Saudi Arabia, whilst ultimately dictated by the Al Saud, is also strongly affected by a tussle in between conservatives and progressives above how the country must marry its spiritual custom with modernity.


Topics: planet-politics, elections, community-and-society, girls, faith-and-beliefs, government-and-politics, saudi-arabia

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Saudi Women Vote for First Time

Agen Sabung Ayam

Saudi females headed to the polls in a nationwide municipal election on Saturday, voting and operating for place of work for the first time in their country’s heritage.

Out of 6,900 candidates competing for 2,a hundred elected seats in Saudi Arabia’s regional councils, 979 are women, but couple of are predicted to acquire a seat. There are 3,159 seats in complete, but a 3rd of the representatives are appointed by the minister of municipal and rural affairs.

The Persian Gulf kingdom is an absolute monarchy and nearby councils are the only popularly elected bodies that exist. Their powers are limited: They oversee urban development initiatives, but have no final say on how the cash is expended.

But in a nation exactly where females are deprived of numerous fundamental rights, which includes the capability to push or travel overseas with no the authorization of a male guardian, several female voters see their inclusion in the election procedure as a turning point.

“Even if the change takes place in the following technology, what issues to me is that I’m component of it now,” mentioned Rozana Al Banawi, as she created her way to a polling station Saturday early morning in the coastal town of Jeddah.

But even with the opening, only one hundred thirty,000 girls registered to vote, compared with 1.36 million gentlemen. There are about seven million suitable male and feminine voters in the place.

Amid the women trickling steadily into a girls’-faculty-turned-station in the northern city of Jeddah was seventy three-year-previous Ehsan Shallan, a widow and former worker of the country’s ministry of schooling.

“It is anything that I deeply wanted—being capable to give girls a voice,” she said. “I never ever imagined this would take place.”

Jedaia al-Qahtany, the spokesman of Saudi Arabia’s election commission, on Saturday mentioned he is optimistic that some women would earn a seat.

“We foresee the victory of ladies, God prepared,” he mentioned.

Ladies could also safe seats in the local councils via appointments, he stated.

Compose to Margherita Stancati at margherita.stancati@wsj.com and Ahmed Al Omran at Ahmed.AlOmran@wsj.com

WSJ.com: World News

Saudi Women to Vote for First Time

Agen Sabung Ayam

RIYADH—Saudi ladies can not marry, enroll at university or journey abroad with no authorization from a male relative. But on Saturday, they will vote and run in a nationwide election for the initial time.

Critics say the alter is mostly for foreign intake and will have small effect on the standing of women in the kingdom. But several feminine voters see the vote for municipal councils as a milestone in turning this ultraconservative Gulf monarchy into a a bit much more democratic area.

“It’s a first action. It’s the commence of us turning out to be a lot more active citizens,” said Salma al-Rashid, who performs for Al Nahda Society, a team that released a countrywide marketing campaign to get out the female vote.

Saudi ladies are steadily using a much more prominent function in community lifestyle. The government is introducing a series of socially fragile reforms, like bringing more females into the place of work. Many have taken up senior positions in the personal sector.

So far, there has been astonishingly little opposition to woman voting in a nation in which ladies are not even authorized to drive. One online video on social media demonstrates a male slashing the campaign poster of a feminine applicant. One more states: “We are not able to settle for this.”

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy with no elected legislature and minimal place for political participation. The initial municipal elections have been only held in 2005.

6 many years later on, the country’s late monarch, King Abdullah, mentioned that women, way too, would soon be authorized to vote. The announcement was hailed as a breakthrough for women’s rights in the kingdom, and it is regarded as one particular of Abdullah’s most essential legacies.

King Abdullah also introduced females on to the Shura Council, an appointed entire body which advises the federal government on policy and serves as a quasi-parliament with limited legislative powers. Ladies make up a fifth of the council.

Women who registered in advance of this municipal election depict only a small portion of the electorate. They make up around one hundred thirty,000 out of the country’s one.49 million registered voters.

The issues assortment from opening of new working day-care centers to repairing potholes and selling more healthy ingesting.

The variety of registered voters is a portion of the inhabitants of about 31 million, roughly a third of whom are migrant personnel and not suitable to vote. Fewer than 50 percent-a-million new voters registered this time about.

There are approximately 980 woman candidates out of a whole of much more than 6,900 and few, if any, are predicted to in fact acquire a seat.

“This is to confirm that we are citizens—and that is more critical than profitable,” said one particular prospect, a Riyadh-primarily based physician. She didn’t want to be named since Saudi election principles prohibit candidates from supplying interviews in the two months prior to the vote.

That is one of many restrictions that have contributed to generating the election unusually quiet, at least compared with countries like the U.S.

Saudi candidates are barred from exhibiting their personal photos on any campaign substance. And, in keeping with the kingdom’s rigorous policy of gender segregation, they are not permitted to straight interact with possible voters of the reverse intercourse.

Since the overwhelming vast majority of registered voters are males, this rule has posed a bigger impediment to woman candidates. Some experienced to count on male proxies to do the conversing for them. Other people communicated to possible male voters via screens or with the aid of digital products.

At her campaign headquarters in a higher-end Riyadh lodge, one prospect set up a audio connection to speak to males sitting in a nearby space. For many of the candidates, most campaigning took place on-line, through social media and web sites abundant in visible material that comprehensive their software.

Even with these endeavours, the solitary biggest challenge candidates have confronted is apathy.

“I do not see what the level is,” explained Mahassen Bilal, a Riyadh resident, as she strolled with her partner. He as well stated he would not vote.

To inspire participation, the authorities decreased the voting age from 21 to eighteen, and released its very own marketing campaign.

Jedaia al-Qahtany, who heads Saudi Arabia’s election commission, explained he is happy with the numbers.  

“It’s a new encounter,” he said.

Candidates are competing for about two,one hundred seats in neighborhood councils, which have some electricity to approve budgets and to oversee the servicing of community services this sort of as roadways and colleges. Two thirds of three,159 seats in whole are elected, while the relaxation are appointed by the minister of municipal and rural affairs.

But some ladies see the election as a distraction from other, far more vexing difficulties, these kinds of as the problem of male guardianship or inequality of rights in divorce, custody and inheritance circumstances. Or the reality that they still aren’t allowed to drive.

“It’s not about the proper to vote, as considerably as getting simple civil legal rights,” mentioned Al Hanouf al-Dahash, a 27-yr-aged banker.

WSJ.com: World News

Indigenous women ‘invisible’ in family violence system

Agen Sabung Ayam

Posted December 08, 2015 06:37:47

Delegates at a domestic violence prevention conference in Canberra have been told Indigenous ladies victims are getting “systemically silenced” by a damaged program and insufficient representation.

Far more than 300 individuals are attending the three-working day meeting Cease Domestic Violence: Connecting the Dots, which is becoming hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Mental Well being Association.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) associates described a “broken” program and stated some female victims of domestic violence feared the program much more than their abusers.

“The responses that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females get for when they last but not least do get up the courage to report that violence are truly poor from law enforcement and from mainstream companies,” Antoinette Braybrook, chief govt of the Aboriginal Household Violence Prevention Authorized Support, mentioned.

The provider operates fourteen centres across Australia and Ms Braybrook has spent 13 many years in the sector.

“Some of those activities from the law enforcement consist of minimising the violence with: ‘he’s only punched you in the head this time. Final time he laid the boots in, he seems to be obtaining better’,” she explained.

“That just breaks believe in with that woman and the community and they think why report when I am not going to be thought.”

Ms Braybrook stated Aboriginal women were 34 occasions much more likely to be hospitalised as a outcome of domestic violence, and 11 instances a lot more very likely to be killed.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youngsters in violent residences are nine moments a lot more likely to be positioned in out-of-residence care, typically with non-Indigenous carers according to Ms Braybrook.

“It can be devastating for numerous young children witnessing that violence, it can be with them for life,” she explained.

Ms Braybrook mentioned Aboriginal young children accounted for nearly 35 for each cent of all youngsters in treatment, even though they make up only four.four for every cent of the national child population.

“The children are currently being removed from their loved ones home, from their mom,” she explained.

“That has a direct influence on their society and their id and as soon as the little one is taken out from mum it is quite tough to get the little one back again.”

Ms Braybrook stated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ladies currently being the swiftest increasing phase of the jail inhabitants and family members violence the prime driver for youngster removal, it is no surprise numerous ladies worry the system.

“If they report violence then they are most likely to have their young children eliminated,” she mentioned.

“Numerous of the women that we occur into contact [with] in prison are in there due to crimes connected to poverty or homelessness.”

‘More expenditure in Aboriginal legal companies needed’

Ms Braybrook mentioned racism was even now extremely considerably alive and well in Australia right now and she regularly listened to stories firsthand from females attempting to entry providers.

“Fearing the program is at the epicentre of our country’s national [domestic and family violence] disaster,” she stated.

The Govt can’t on the one hand phone domestic and loved ones violence a countrywide shame and then not prioritise funding to [Indigenous] females.

Antoinette Braybrook

Ms Braybrook mentioned the absence of expert ATSI authorized illustration on the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence in opposition to Ladies and their Children was a “missed prospect” and an additional type of silencing women victims nationally.

“It is annoying [and] we would like to see more on the floor skills on that committee,” she mentioned.

She stated she welcomed previous prime minister Tony Abbott’s $ 100 million Women’s Security Bundle declared in September, but she there was still no expenditure in professional Aboriginal lawful solutions nationally.

“We ended up dissatisfied to see that significantly of the Indigenous cash went out to rural and distant places for law enforcement and we never think that law enforcement are the only remedy,” she explained.

“The other money went out to mainstream Local community Authorized Centres and that is yet another barrier to our girls accessing providers.

“Our females are invisible.”

She is now contacting for reinstatement of the National Family members Violence Avoidance Lawful Companies Software and a for a longer time-expression determination to funding local community-controlled and culturally appropriate government services for Indigenous ladies.

“The Authorities are unable to on the a single hand contact domestic and loved ones violence a countrywide shame and then not prioritise funding to [Indigenous] females,” she explained.

“We never want any girl since of their geographic place becoming excluded from accessing a culturally suitable service.”

Subject areas: domestic-violence, local community-and-culture, indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, legislation-criminal offense-and-justice, law enforcement, authorities-and-politics, federal-govt, canberra-2600, act, australia, nt

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Meet the women of Australia’s street art scene

Agen Sabung Ayam

By Eliza Buzacott-Speer

Updated December 05, 2015 07:fifty three:09

However its status as a “boys club” persists, street artists who happen to be female — numerous shun the “woman artist” trope — are professing their area on the streets.


Street art by Baby Guerrilla in Footscray's Madden Square Picture: Street artwork by Baby Guerrilla on the again of the previous Grand Theatre in Footscray’s Madden Square. (Supplied: Infant Guerrilla)

‘A wish to reclaim community place’

She goes by the identify Infant Guerrilla, and the figures she generates soar across the partitions high earlier mentioned the streets of Melbourne, free of charge from the confines of the conventional, four-walled art gallery space.

The road artist, who prefers to stay nameless, states there are several motives — both personal and political — why she operates on the road.

“I am fascinated in approaching place and viewpoint in new and innovative methods that have interaction beyond the parameters of a gallery or conventional art room,” she says.

“I also grew to become included since I was discouraged with the art planet hierarchy.

“On the street I did not have to request authorization to convey myself it was a way of using back some of the power from an frequently rarified, elite and exclusive art world.”

Founder and director of Citylights Tasks, Andrew Macdonald, who was greatly concerned in the increase of street art in Melbourne, suggests avenue art has its roots in graffiti tradition.

He suggests the graffiti motion reached its peak in Australia in the early nineteen nineties, and then commenced to decrease, leaving a hole out of which the avenue art motion grew.

I don’t imagine that companies and media moguls must be the only types in modern society permitted to have a voice inside public room. I am enthusiastic by freedom of speech, a wish to reclaim public area, to contribute to the urban atmosphere and discovering an substitute to bland paperwork and vapid partitions.

Infant Guerrilla

“What grew to become road artwork — stencilling, postering, installations, painting on partitions in a way which is stylistically different to graffiti — starts off to fill that vacuum in the late 90s,” he suggests.

It is probably many thanks to these graffiti roots that street art, in its beginnings, was a male-dominated movement, in accordance to the Affiliate Dean at the Sydney University of The Arts, Jacqueline Millner.

“Not to say that even in its early manifestations there were not ladies lively, but evidence suggests it was a pretty macho lifestyle,” she claims.

“Its roots in graffiti — which includes the often dying-defying acts to spray out of get to areas for kudos, and its conjunction with early rap — associates street artwork with a certain teenage bravado far more typical among males.”

Mr Macdonald says the “danger-taking” factors of graffiti and road artwork tended to entice teenage boys, and that also, the timing and locations frequently alienated ladies, for basic safety reasons.

“There are many, numerous scientific studies about what young teenage boys do in that time of life and it is about proving themselves to themselves and each other and their peer teams, and chance-getting is element of that,” he states.

“Usually it is young teenage boys sneaking out to do this at night time.

“Women have been significantly less drawn to sneaking close to the streets and practice yards at evening time, and I guess there are clear reasons for that.”

But Mr Macdonald states the present iteration of street artwork is significantly considerably less covert or unlawful than that of the early days.

“It truly is turn out to be an progressively legitimised tradition and a professionalised tradition,” he claims.

Baby Guerrilla at work on a mural at Victoria University Picture: Baby Guerrilla at function on a mural celebrating the electricity of relationship, on the walls of Victoria University. (Supplied: Baby Guerrilla)

That is not to say that avenue art has lost its rebellious, defiant edge — much from it.

Infant Guerrilla claims avenue art makes it possible for regular individuals make their voices read in a quite public way.

“I never think that businesses and media moguls ought to be the only kinds in society permitted to have a voice in community space,” she claims.

“I am determined by flexibility of speech, a want to reclaim public area, to lead to the urban surroundings and locating an option to bland forms and vapid partitions.”

But Mr Macdonald states that now, many road artists are “commissioned by the owner of a wall” and there is considerably less need to go underground.

He suggests this has broadened the spectrum of artists, which includes an enhance in the participation of females.

‘You have to function 2 times as hard’

But despite the fact that there are an more and more amount of ladies coming into the scene, the gender harmony nonetheless swings substantially in the direction of males.

Charlotte Clemens, who, as one particular of the leaders of Community Art Staff, aided pioneer some of the earliest items of road artwork in Melbourne in the seventies, claims the male-dominated tradition is a reflection of the wider artwork entire world.

Vexta (right) with French street artist Fafi, participating in the GMO Curvy project Photo: Vexta (appropriate) with French street artist Fafi, taking part in the Curvy venture on the partitions of Citylights Projects’ Hozier Lane. (Provided: Andrew Macdonald)

“[Street art] is quite a lot a male domain, but I consider the art scene is also rather considerably a male area as nicely,” she says.

Child Guerrilla says this is mirrored in the palpable sexism that will come in when street art “is taken off the road and positioned in galleries, public festivals, personal collections, or in the documentation of it”.

“Public artwork festivals without any feminine street artists [or] graffiti artists represented or galleries and studios that specialise in road artwork [or] graffiti with hardly any woman artists is poor for art and bad for diversity in standard, nevertheless it really is nevertheless a standard incidence in 2015,” she suggests.

“All artist residencies need to permit ladies to provide their children and infants.

“I locate it disappointing that the art planet mirrors mainstream electricity buildings and values instead of questioning them and is, in truth, powering on so several of these troubles.”

Dr Millner suggests the gender disparity is also partly owing to the legacy of “public area” getting gendered — the social assemble that encourages men to interact in more public area than ladies.

“There is also little doubt that one’s partnership to public area … is dependent on gender to some extent, at minimum in how females and gentlemen are acculturated,” she suggests.

Vexta, a veteran figure in the Australian road art scene who is now based in New York, states it is challenging not to be aware of the gender disparity.

“Any girl doing work not in a usually woman role notices the variations,” she claims.

“A lot of time the time you have to work 2 times as tough and be twice as very good to get noticed.”

Some artists, which includes American Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, have tackled this idea head-on.

Her Cease Telling Females To Smile street art marketing campaign functions images of women’s faces captioned with statements such as “my outfit is not an invitation” and “you are not entitled to my space”.

The marketing campaign “requires women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street — creating a bold presence for women in an atmosphere where they are so usually manufactured to feel uncomfortable and unsafe,” Ms Fazlalizadeh’s internet site reads.

Mural by Baby Guerrilla at Victoria University Photo: A mural by Little one Guerrilla on the walls of Victoria College, commissioned by the college. (Equipped: Andrew Haysom/Child Guerrilla)

‘They can have the spotlight’

Like Child Guerrilla and Vexta, Kaff-eine is generating waves in the Australian street art scene.

Because she even now had a company day work, Kaff-eine painted anonymously for the very first handful of many years of her profession, that means folks did not know if she was male or woman.

Work by Vexta in the Retali8 project, which she also curated Image: Work by Vexta in the Retali8 undertaking, which she also curated in collaboration with Citylight Assignments. (Supplied: Andrew Macdonald)

“That truly suited me simply because my operate did not get judged as getting an ‘artist’s’ or ‘female artist’s’ work and I was truly happy with that,” she claims.

“I’ve by no means truly viewed myself as a female artist — I’m an artist — and which is how I have absent by way of most of my daily life.

“Even to appear at the artwork, you can’t tell which is by a male, which is made by a woman.”

Kaff-eine claims road artwork has a feeling of democracy that does not exist in the globe of curated art.

“Avenue art is a really democratic medium, and that makes it possible for anyone to pick up a paintbrush or a pen or a marker and mark surfaces,” she says.

Melbourne-based road artist Klara claims street artwork is “for absolutely everyone”.

“I like that you never have to go to a gallery or museum to see some amazing artwork,” she suggests.

“It’s also excellent for folks to have a voice anybody can do it, with or with out pretence.”

For Little one Guerrilla also, this is portion of the charm.

“In Australia no-one particular can genuinely quit any individual from likely out onto the road and obtaining a wall,” Little one Guerrilla suggests.

Sure, I could be being an idealist as it does come in to enjoy occasionally, but I am going to only let it encourage me and make me work more challenging.


“I like to believe great art will usually locate an audience the public will vote with their ft.”

Klara suggests that for this cause avenue artwork ought to be void of gender, but that this is not usually the scenario.

“Most road artists’ gender is assumed. How do we know the media’s beloved Banksy isn’t a female?” she states.

But the overriding emotion between these females is that no matter the gender politics, they will hold portray and making.

“I think females are making their possess options, banding together against exclusion, forming their own networks,” Baby Guerrilla claims.

“Feminine artists are feisty … I also believe they are disappointed with unequal representation and opportunities.”

Work by street artist Klara Image: Perform by Perth-born, Melbourne-based avenue artist Klara. (Equipped: Klara)

Klara claims gender need to not have something to do with accomplishment.

“Indeed, I might be being an idealist as it does arrive in to perform sometimes, but I’ll only permit it encourage me and make me perform harder,” she suggests.

“Girls are not represented by the media or those in the scene as considerably as our ‘male’ friends, but to me that is not why I generate artwork.

“They can have the spotlight … I am going to just keep carrying out what I adore and am happy to provide any assist or support to any person who feels it has, or is, influencing them.

“And we absolutely have the sisterhood to match. There would seem to be a distinct dynamic to what we do as girls — we seem out for every other, assistance every other where we can.”

Kaff-eine also suggests she does not apologise for “getting up public place, which is often noticed as a masculine thing”.

“I would hope that as we development as a modern society — the far more that females feel able to engage in general public place — I would hope that extends to visible arts and road art as nicely,” she says.

Subject areas: arts-and-amusement, avenue-artwork, up to date-artwork, well-liked-lifestyle, group-and-culture, melbourne-3000, australia

1st posted December 05, 2015 07:fifty one:56

Just In

Indian women protest menstrual scanner with #HappyToBleed campaign

Bandar Sabung Ayam

NEW DELHI, Nov. 24 (UPI) — A feminist team in India launched a Facebook marketing campaign in response to a controversial assertion from the chief of the Sabarimala Temple in regards to women’s menstruation.

Prayar Gopalakrishnan, president of the Travancore Devaswom Board, mentioned that he would feel about permitting women into the temple if a device that could “check the purity of females” was invented. His statement was achieved with a response from the Fb website page Feminism in India, which released the #HappyToBleed campaign.

“Ladies are denied entry to the temple simply because of the belief that menstruation can make them impure,” a post on the website page study. “We have commenced a campaign, #HappyToBleed, as a sort of resistance in opposition to patriarchal beliefs about menstruation, and chauvinist notions that contemplate ladies the house of men, or culture.”

The campaign encourages ladies to photograph on their own with posters and sanitary napkins exhibiting the message “Pleased to Bleed” in purchase to spread awareness and problem patriarchal ideals.

“A lot more than one hundred girls have posted their photographs to Facebook keeping banners and placards, with catchy slogans, and several far more have shared these images on their timelines,” Nikita Azad, who initially proposed the campaign informed the BBC.

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State of Terror: ISIS Women and Enforcers in Syria Recount Collaboration, Anguish and Escape Agen Sabung Ayam

Agen Sabung Ayam

SOUTHERN TURKEY — Dua had only been working for two months with the Khansaa Brigade, the all-female morality police of the Islamic State, when her friends were brought to the station to be whipped.

The police had hauled in two women she had known since childhood, a mother and her teenage daughter, both distraught. Their abayas, flowing black robes, had been deemed too form-fitting.

When the mother saw Dua, she rushed over and begged her to intercede. The room felt stuffy as Dua weighed what to do.

“Their abayas really were very tight. I told her it was their own fault; they had come out wearing the wrong thing,” she said. “They were unhappy with that.”

Timeline | The Women Who Left ISIS

Dua sat back down and watched as the other officers took the women into a back room to be whipped. When they removed their face-concealing niqabs, her friends were also found to be wearing makeup. It was 20 lashes for the abaya offense, five for the makeup, and another five for not being meek enough when detained.

Their cries began ringing out, and Dua stared hard at the ceiling, a lump building in her throat.

In the short time since she had joined the Khansaa Brigade in her hometown, Raqqa, in northern Syria, the morality force had grown more harsh. Mandatory abayas and niqabs were still new for many women in the weeks after the jihadists of the Islamic State had purged the city of competing militants and taken over. At first, the brigade was told to give the community a chance to adapt, and clothing offenses brought small fines.

After too many young women became repeat offenders, however, paying the fines without changing their behavior, the soft approach was out. Now it was whipping — and now it was her friends being punished.

Interactive Map | Inside Raqqa, the Capital of ISIS A bustling city has been transformed under the group’s brutal rule.

The mother and daughter came to Dua’s parents’ house afterward, furious with her and venting their anger at the Islamic State.

“They said they hated it and wished it had never come to Raqqa,” Dua said. She pleaded with them, explaining that as a young and new member of the Khansaa Brigade, there was nothing she could have done.

But a lifelong friendship, with shared holiday gatherings and birthday parties, was suddenly broken. “After that day, they hated me, too,” she said. “They never came to our house again.”

Dua’s second cousin Aws also worked for the brigade. Not long after Dua’s friends were whipped, Aws saw fighters brutally lashing a man in Muhammad Square. The man, about 70, frail and with white hair, had been heard cursing God. As a crowd gathered, the fighters dragged him into the public square and whipped him after he fell to his knees.

“He cried the whole time,” Aws said. “It was lucky for him that he had cursed Allah, because Allah shows mercy. If he’d cursed the Prophet, they would have killed him.”

Today, Aws, 25, and Dua, 20, are living in a small city in southern Turkey after fleeing Raqqa and its jihadist rulers. They met up here with Asma, 22, another defector from the Khansaa Brigade, and found shelter in the city’s large community of Syrian refugees.

Raqqa is widely known now as the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate and as the focus of heavy airstrikes by a growing number of countries seeking revenge for the Islamic State’s recent terrorist attacks. But the city in which the three women came to adulthood used to be quite different. Identified here by nicknames, the women spoke for many hours over the course of two visits this fall, recalling their experiences under Islamic State rule and how the jihadists had utterly changed life in Raqqa.

All three described themselves as fairly typical young women of Raqqa. Aws was more into Hollywood, Dua into Bollywood. Aws’s family was middle-class, and she studied English literature at a branch of Euphrates University, a three-hour bus ride away in the city of Hasaka. She devoured novels: some by Agatha Christie, and especially Dan Brown books. “Digital Fortress” is her favorite.

Dua’s father is a farmer, and money was tighter. But her social life was closely intertwined with Aws’s, and the cousins loved their charming city. There were long walks to Qalat Jabr, the 11th-century fort on Lake Assad; coffee at Al Rasheed Park;and Raqqa Bridge, where you could see the city lights at night. In the gardens and amusement park in the town center, there was ice cream and communal shisha pipes to gather around.

“In the summer, everyone went out at night and stayed out late, because it was so hot during the day,” Dua said.

The women keep pictures of their old lives in Raqqa on their cellphones, scenes from parties and countryside outings. Aws’s gallery includes days on the lakeshore, her friends in bathing suits, dancing in the water.

Asma, with a bright gaze, was another outward-looking young woman, studying business at Euphrates University. Her mother was a native of Damascus, the capital, and Asma had spent some of her teenage years there seeing friends, swimming at pool parties, going to cafes. She is also an avid reader, fond of Ernest Hemingway and Victor Hugo, and she speaks some English.

Interactive Feature | State of Terror Articles in this series examine the rise of the Islamic State and life inside the territory it has conquered.

All three belonged to a generation of Syrian women who were leading more independent lives than ever before. They mixed freely with young men, socializing and studying together in a religiously diverse city with relatively relaxed mores.

Many young women dressed in what they called sport style, baring their knees and arms in the summer and wearing makeup. And while Raqqa’s more conservative residents wore abayas and veils, women were going to college in greater numbers and getting married later. Most men and women chose their own spouses.

When the uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad began rippling across Syria in 2011, it seemed distant from Raqqa. As news of fighting and massacres started filtering in, it was mostly from faraway cities in the country’s west, like Homs. Even as displaced people began appearing in Raqqa and the city’s young men started to sign up with anti-Assad groups in the area, including the Nusra Front and what is now the Islamic State, the fabric of life seemed intact.

At the start of 2014, everything changed. The Islamic State wrested full control of Raqqa and made the city its command center, violently consolidating its authority. Those who resisted, or whose family or friends had the wrong connections, were detained, tortured or killed.

The Islamic State has come to be known around the world by acronyms like ISIS and ISIL. But in Raqqa, residents began calling it Al Tanzeem: The Organization. And it quickly became clear that every spot in the social order, and any chance for a family to survive, was utterly dependent on the group.

Not only had Raqqa residents become subjects of the Organization’s mostly Iraqi leadership, but their place in society fell even further overnight. As foreign fighters and other volunteers began streaming into town, answering the call to jihad, they became the leading lights of the shaken-up community. In Raqqa, the Syrians had become second-class citizens — at best.

Dua, Aws and Asma were among the lucky: The choice to join was available to them. And each chose to barter her life, through work and marriage, to the Organization.

None of them subscribed to its extreme ideology, and even after fleeing their homes and going into hiding, they still struggle to explain how they changed from modern young women into Islamic State morality enforcers.

In the moment, each choice seemed like the right one, a way to keep life tolerable: marrying fighters to assuage the Organization and keep their families in favor; joining the Khansaa Brigade to win some freedom of movement and an income in a city where women had been stripped of self-determination.

But every concession turned to horror before long, and the women came to deplore how they were pitted against their neighbors, part of a force tearing apart the community they loved. Only months in, widowed and abandoned and forced to marry strangers again, would they see how they were being used as temporary salves to foreign fighters whose only dedication was to violence and an unrecognizable God.

Each of them was driven to the conviction that escape was a last chance at life. And each joined the flow of Syrians abandoning their country, leaving a void to be filled by the foreigners who held nothing of Syria in their hearts.

The Betrothals

The day Abu Muhammad, a Turkish fighter for the Islamic State, walked through Aws’s front door to seek marriage, she made her first concession to the Organization.

Her father and grandfather met with Abu Muhammad in the living room, telling Aws that she could see him at a second meeting if he offered a suitable dowry. But Aws was too much of a romantic, and had seen too many Leonardo DiCaprio films, to agree to marry a man whose face she had not seen.

When she knelt down behind the living room door to leave the thimbles of coffee she had prepared, she peered in for a moment and caught a glimpse of him. He had winged eyebrows, light eyes and a deep voice. As she waited for the discussion to conclude, she tried to imagine what their life together might be like. By the time her father called her in, she had already nervously decided to say yes, for her family’s sake.

After their wedding, she was surprised to find that the marriage felt real — even affectionate. Abu Muhammad liked to trace the two moles that made a constellation on her left cheek; he gently teased her about her accent when she tried to pronounce Turkish words.

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But he often did not come home at night, and was sometimes gone for three- or four-day stretches to fight for the Islamic State. Aws hated being left alone and would pout about it when he finally came home; he answered with silly jokes, cajoling her into forgiveness.

She tried to keep busy by socializing with other fighters’ wives. Among them, she felt fortunate. Some were married to men who were abusive.

Everyone had heard of Fatima, who had killed herself by slitting her wrists after being forced to marry a fighter, and there was the Tunisian girl next door who burst into tears every time someone mentioned her husband’s name. And even they were considered luckier than the captured women from the Yazidi minority, who were being smuggled into town as slaves for other fighters.

Mostly, though, Aws’s days became an intolerable void. Sociable and lively, with long, curly black hair and a gamine face, she was bored and thoroughly unhappy. She finished her housework quickly, but there was nowhere to go. New books were nearly impossible to find after the jihadists banned almost all fiction, purging the bookshops and local cultural center.

The Organization also cast a long shadow over her marriage. Though Aws had always wanted a baby, Abu Muhammad asked her to take birth control pills, still available at Raqqa’s pharmacies. When she pressed him, he said his commanders had advised fighters to avoid getting their wives pregnant. New fathers would be less inclined to volunteer to carry out suicide missions.

This was one of the early, devastating moments when Aws saw that there would be no normalcy or choice; the Islamic State was a third partner in her marriage, there in the bedroom. “At first, I used to keep bringing it up, but it really upset him, so I stopped,” she said.

For Dua’s family, money had always been an issue. Her father was still farming, but many lawyers and doctors who had lost their jobs when the jihadists took over had also started selling fruits and vegetables to get by, creating new competition. The Organization imposed taxes, which cut further into the family’s income. When a Saudi fighter came to ask to marry Dua, in February 2014, her father pushed her to accept.

The Saudi, Abu Soheil Jizrawi, came from a wealthy construction family in Riyadh and promised to transform Dua’s life. She deliberated and eventually agreed. She met him for the first time on their wedding day, when he arrived bearing gold for her family. She liked what she saw: Abu Soheil was light-skinned with a soft black beard, tall and lanky, with charisma and an easy way of making her laugh.

He set her up in a spacious apartment with new European kitchen appliances and air-conditioning units in each room — almost unheard-of in Raqqa. She eagerly showed off her new home to friends and relatives. Her kitchen became the place where the other fighter’s wife in the building, a Syrian who, like Aws, married a Turkish recruit, stopped in for coffee. Each morning, Abu Soheil’s servant shopped for them and left bags of meat and produce outside the door.

In the evenings, the couple lingered over dinner, and he complimented her cooking, especially when she made his favorite kabsa, a spiced rice dish with meat and eggplant. Abu Soheil did not even mind the little rose tattoo on her hand, though permanent tattoos are forbidden in strict interpretations of Islam.

“He changed my life completely,” Dua said. “He persuaded me to love him.”

Filling Empty Hours

While a little light, at least, had come into the lives of Aws and Dua, Asma’s living room in Raqqa was perpetually dark and stifling. She kept the curtains drawn and windows closed so that no one would know she had her television on inside. Television, music, the radio — everything was kept at the lowest volume she could hear.

Even that escape was becoming scarce for Asma as electricity in Raqqa dwindled to two, sometimes four, hours a day. She certainly could no longer go to the salon to fill the time.

The Organization decreed that the Internet could be used only for critical work, like that of the painstaking recruiters who went online to woo new fighters and foreign women to Syria. Asma, who had previously been on her laptop a few hours each day, found herself disconnected from the world.

“But it was O.K. for them, contacting all those girls to bring them in,” Aws recalled later, as the three women sat together here in Turkey. They all rolled their eyes. “That was work.”

In February 2014, two months into her marriage and unable to persuade Abu Muhammad to let her get pregnant, Aws decided to join the Khansaa Brigade. Dua joined around the same time, and they started their compulsory military and religious training together.

The cousins had their misgivings about joining. But they had already married fighters, choosing to survive the occupation of Raqqa by aligning with the Organization. Working with the brigade was a chance to do more than just subsist, and it paralleled their husbands’ work. And the full extent of the brigade’s oppressiveness would only emerge with time.

A number of Asma’s relatives had already started working for the Islamic State in various ways, and she deliberated carefully before joining in January 2014. With her family already enmeshed with the Organization, it seemed the most logical choice.

“For me, it was about power and money, mostly power,” Asma said, switching to English to describe those motivations. “Since my relatives had all joined, it didn’t change a great deal to join. I just had more authority.”

Though the women tried to rationalize their enlistment, there was no way to avoid seeing the Organization as the wanton killing machine it was. But all of Syria, it seemed, had become about death.

At night, Aws and Dua heard attempts at self-justification from the husbands they had waited up for and would go to bed with. They had to be savage when taking a town to minimize casualties later, the men insisted. Mr. Assad’s forces were targeting civilians, sweeping into homes in the middle of the night and brutalizing men in front of their wives; the fighters had no choice but to respond with equal brutality, they said.

All three women attended the training required for those joining the Khansaa Brigade. Roughly 50 women took the 15-day weapons course at once; during eight-hour days, they learned how to load, clean and fire pistols. But the foreign women who had come to Syria to join the Islamic State were rumored to be training on “russis,” slang for Kalashnikov assault rifles.

Religion classes, taught mainly by Moroccans and Algerians, focused on the laws and principles of Islam. Dua, for one, was pleased; she felt she had not known enough about Islam before the Organization took over.

By March 2014, Aws and Dua were out every day on the brigade’s street patrols, moving about the city in small gray Kia vans with “Al Khansaa” on the sides. There were women from across the world in the brigade: British, Tunisian, Saudi, French.

But both within their unit and more broadly across Raqqa, the Organization had issued a strict decree: No mingling between natives and foreigners. The occupiers thought gossip was dangerous. Salaries and accommodations might be compared, hypocrisies exposed.

Status within Raqqa — how it was derived and how it was expressed — was becoming a grievance. Dua explained openly, with a modest but satisfied expression, that she had enjoyed more status than most because of her wealthy Saudi husband, who was said to be high up in the Organization.

“As women, our status depended on his status,” Aws said, referring to husbands in general. Among the male fighters, this had been clear from the beginning: Salaries, cars, neighborhoods and housing were allocated in large part by nationality.

It soon became clear that the foreign women had more freedom of movement, more disposable income and small perks: jumping to the front of the bread line, not having to pay at the hospital. Some seemed to have unfettered Internet access, including multiple Twitter profiles.

“The foreign women got to do whatever they wanted,” Asma complained. “They could go wherever they wanted.”

“They were spoiled,” Aws said. “Even the ones that were younger than us had more power.”

“Maybe it’s because they had to leave their countries to come here — it was felt they should be treated more specially,” Dua said, as usual more reluctant to criticize.

“We couldn’t even say anything,” Aws said. “We couldn’t even question why.”

The Organization had no outlet for grievances. It seemed to operate by stealth, and being married to its fighters offered no real information about its operations and ambitions. Senior figures like the caliph himself, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were never seen in public. Even within Raqqa, he remained a shadow, the women said.

Asma’s role in the Khansaa Brigade involved meeting foreign women at the border with Turkey, 50 miles north, and accompanying them into Raqqa at night. With her smattering of English and cosmopolitan air, she was well suited to the task. She would receive a slip of paper with names, and the crew — two or three brigade women, an interpreter and a driver — would start up the highway.

Many women were arriving from Europe. One spring night this year, Asma and her crew received three British girls, dressed in Western clothes but with their hair covered. “They were so young, tiny, and so happy to have arrived, laughing and smiling,” she recalled.

She accompanied them to a hostel and helped them get settled. As with most of the foreigners she escorted, she did not see them again. It was only later that she saw their faces plastered across the Internet, identified as schoolgirls from Bethnal Green in London, migrating by choice to join the Islamic State.

Asma was bewildered by their decision to so cheerfully embrace a life that was sapping her every single day.

Before, Asma had a boyfriend from college. Their relationship was complicated: He had urged her to start wearing a head scarf and to dress more conservatively even before the Islamic State took control of Raqqa, but she refused to have her worth judged by the amount of skin she had covered. After the takeover, he moved to Jordan to finish his studies.

Now, she wore her hijab all day and enforced it for other women. But at night, she listened to the rock group Evanescence on her phone and mourned.

One spring day in 2014, the women in Dua’s police unit went to one of the city’s main squares to watch the stoning of two local women, supposedly for adultery. Dua refused to go. She did not like how the militants prized spectacle over correct implementation of Shariah law. “In Islam, you need four witnesses to the act to carry out such a punishment,” she said.

Within hours, word spread that one of the women had not been involved with a man at all. She was said to have shown up outside the city’s Police Headquarters holding a sign that read, “Tasqoot al-Tanzeem.” Down With the Organization.

By the time the trees blossomed that spring, it was common to see the heads of captured soldiers and people accused of treason hanging in the main square near the clock tower. But most who had stayed in Raqqa were either too afraid to rebel or had no desire to.

Horrified, the cousins kept trying to cope, soothing themselves with the thought that, though they had joined the Organization, at least they were not personally killing anyone.

“We saw many heads being cut off,” Dua recalled.

“You saw the heads — it was just the heads you saw,” Aws corrected her.

“Well, it is forbidden in Islam to mutilate bodies.”

“I saw bodies that lay in the street for a whole week.”

Asma, unsettled at the turn in the conversation, tuned out and started looking at Facebook on her phone. Of the three women, she was the only one who read Western news coverage online: She knew the world considered the Islamic State grotesque, and she was haunted by how she had tainted herself at the very outset of her adult life.

Within the brigade, women had started using their authority to settle petty quarrels or exact revenge. “Girls who were fighting would go to the Organization and accuse their enemies of some infraction,” Aws recalled. “Even if they had done nothing wrong, they would be brought into headquarters.”

Their job, inflicting fear on their neighbors, was agony. That everyone was probably two-faced was the only reliable assumption.

“Many times, I saw women I knew smiling at me when they saw I’d joined,” Aws said. “But I knew inside they felt differently. I knew because before I joined myself, when I saw a girl I knew had started working with ISIS, I resented it.”

Wives of Martyrs

As with Aws’s husband, Dua’s, Abu Soheil, did not want children. But Dua was not in a rush, and she did not press him.

One week in July 2014, he did not return for three nights. On the fourth day, a group of fighters knocked on her door. They told her that Abu Soheil had blown himself up in a battle against the Syrian Army at Tal Abyad, on the border with Turkey.

Dua was devastated, especially when the commander told her Abu Soheil had requested a suicide mission. He had never told her about such a plan, and she broke down, shaking and sobbing, at the men’s feet.

She tried to console herself with the thought that it was honorable to be a martyr’s wife. But days later, she learned a fact that made things even harder to bear: Abu Soheil had killed himself in an operation not against the hated Syrian Army, but against a competing rebel group that the Islamic State was trying to wipe out.

“I cried for days,” she said. “He died fighting other Muslims.”

Just 10 days later, another man from her husband’s unit came to the house. He told Dua she could not stay home alone and would need to marry again, immediately.

Again, the Organization was twisting Islamic law to its own desires. Under nearly universal interpretations of Islam, a woman must wait three months before remarrying, mainly to establish the paternity of any child that might have been conceived. The waiting period, called idaa, is not only required but is a woman’s right, to allow her to grieve. But even in the realm of divine law, the Islamic State was reformulating everything.

“I told him that I still couldn’t stop crying,” Dua said. “I said: ‘I’m heartbroken. I want to wait the whole three months.’ ” But the commander told her she was different from a normal widow. “You shouldn’t be mourning and sad,” he said. “He asked for martyrdom himself, and you are the wife of a martyr. You should be happy.”

That was the moment that broke her.

The Organization had made her a widow and wanted to do so again and again, turning her into a perpetual temporary distraction for suicidal fighters. There was no choice left, no dignity, just the service demanded by the Islamic State’s need to feed men to its front lines.

“I had a good marriage to a good man, and I didn’t want to end up in a bad one,” Dua said. “I knew it would be painful for me to marry someone only to lose him when he goes on a martyrdom mission. It’s only natural to have feelings and grow attached.”

She knew she had to escape, even though it would mean leaving the house that should have been her inheritance.

The news came for Aws not long after it did for Dua. Abu Muhammad had also killed himself in a suicide operation. There was no funeral to attend and no in-laws to grieve with. She was devastated.

She had no time to recover before the Organization came knocking. “They told me that he was a martyr now, obviously he didn’t need a wife anymore, but that there was another fighter who did,” Aws said. “They said this fighter had been my husband’s friend, and wanted to protect and take care of me on his behalf.”

She agreed reluctantly, despite being one month short of her three-month waiting period. But things did not click with this new husband, an Egyptian who turned up at home even less than Abu Muhammad had. Everything about him — his personality, his looks, their sexual relations — she shrugged off with a sour expression and a single word: “aadi.” Regular.

When he ran off with his salary two months later, without even a goodbye, Aws was left abandoned, denied even the status of widow. Back at her parents’ house, she wandered from room to room, grieving for the life she had had before and stunned by how far away it seemed from where she had fallen.


To the outside world, the territory controlled by the Islamic State might seem to be a hermetically sealed land governed by the harshest laws of the seventh century. But until relatively recently, the routes into and out of Raqqa were mostly open. Traders would come and go, supplying the Organization’s needs and wants — including cigarettes, which some fighters smoked despite the fact that they were banned for Raqqa residents.

Dua, unable to bear another forced marriage, left first. Her brother made calls to Syrian friends in southern Turkey who could meet her on the other side, and the siblings boarded a small minibus for the two-hour ride to the Tal Abyad crossing early this year. The flow of refugees into Turkey was still heavy then, and the two passed through without being stopped.

When Aws decided to leave four months later, it was harder to cross the border because Turkey had started tightening security. She contacted Dua and was put in touch with the man who had helped Dua get out.

The man is part of a network in southern Turkey that has made a cottage industry of extricating people from Islamic State territory. When Aws got to the border crossing, one of the man’s colleagues was waiting with a fake identity card that showed her to be his sister if she should be questioned.

Her heart was in her throat, but when the moment of crossing came, the men at the checkpoint never asked her to show identification, much less to remove her veil.

By early this past spring, Asma was agonizing about whether to flee as well.

Raqqa had been transformed. Before, she would see someone she knew every 20 paces; the city felt small. But those who could afford to had fled. On the job in public, she was surrounded by strange faces and foreign accents.

The Organization disapproved of young women’s remaining unmarried, and Asma’s situation had grown complicated. She became deeply depressed, her days stretching before her aridly.

“You couldn’t go to the doctor without your father or brother. You couldn’t go out to just take a walk,” she said. “I just couldn’t bear it anymore.”

She felt her identity was being extinguished. “Before, I was like you,” she told a reporter, waving her arms up and down. “I had a boyfriend, I went to the beach, I wore a bikini. Even in Syria, we wore short skirts and tank tops, and all of this was normal. Even my brothers didn’t care — I had no trouble from anyone.”

When she and a cousin plotted their escape, they told no one, not even their families, and took nothing but their handbags. A friend inside the Organization agreed to get them out, and fear for him made the night journey even more terrifying. The friend guided them through three checkpoints, and finally, just after 1 a.m., they arrived at the border crossing. They showed their ID cards and murmured goodbye.

“The guy at the checkpoint, I was convinced he knew we were trying to escape. I was so nervous and scared,” Asma recalled. “But then I realized it only looked suspicious in my head, because I was so scared.”

The car meeting them on the other side looked gray in the moonlight. They got in and drove away from the Islamic State, from what was left of Syria.

Little Syria

The Turkish city the three women now live in sits on a dry grass plain, its outskirts dotted with almond and plum groves, pine and olive trees. Low-slung apartment blocks were put up during a housing boom a few years ago, providing the cheap accommodation that has made it possible for many Syrian refugees to rebuild lives here.

There are scruffy Syrian children begging and selling tissues in the street, just as in Istanbul or Beirut, Lebanon. But there are opportunities for work, and the rent for a two-bedroom apartment is not staggeringly out of reach.

There are, by now, enough Syrians that the city center has its own Syrian restaurants and baklava shops. The merchants in the bazaar are now practiced in saying, in Arabic, “This price is just for your sake.”

But not all of the city’s Syrian émigrés were Islamic State collaborators, and Aws, Dua and Asma tightly guard their secret. They are stateless and dislocated, hiding pasts that could hurt them.

All three are taking English and Turkish classes, hoping that will someday help them chart a future elsewhere, perhaps in a more cosmopolitan part of Turkey. They live with Syrian families who are more established, whom they know from home or who had connections there. The families cover much of their living costs, and what they brought from home is enough for their language courses and daily expenses.

Aws wakes up and listens to the Lebanese singer Fayrouz as she makes her morning coffee. She is cagey about her social life, but she shows part of a new cellphone gallery that seems to echo her old life in Raqqa, before the Organization took over: handsome friends, endless shisha cafes. She speaks with her family by voice chat a couple of times a month over WhatsApp.

She wants to find a way to finish her university studies, and to feel normal. “But here, walking on the street, they never let you forget that you’ve had to leave your country,” she said. “Once, someone told a friend of mine, ‘If you were a real man, you wouldn’t have left your country.’ It killed me when I heard this.”

Asma is more fearful and rarely goes out within the town. She has severed contact with her family, worried that the militants will punish them for her escape. Once a week, she emails and calls a friend in Raqqa to complain that her family has spurned her. It is untrue, but she hopes that if she says it often enough, it will spread and perhaps even be heard by Islamic State intelligence, and that she will protect her family from any consequences of her departure.

After years of shame and disappointment, none of the three said they could imagine ever going back, even if the Islamic State falls. The Raqqa that was their home only exists in their memories.

“Who knows when the fighting will stop?” Asma said. “Syria will become like Palestine; every year, people think: ‘Next year, it will end. We will be free.’ And decades pass. Syria is a jungle now.”

“Even if one day things are all right, I will never return to Raqqa,” Aws said. “Too much blood has been spilled on all sides — I’m not talking just about ISIS, but among everyone.”

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Same old story: women paired with younger men remains a cinematic rarity Agen Sabung Ayam

Agen Sabung Ayam

Kate Winslet has expressed shock at the publicity surrounding the adore scenes amongst her and co-star Liam Hemsworth in The Dressmaker. Photograph: Allstar/Universal Images

In interviews this week, Kate Winslet, 40, expressed surprise at the publicity getting presented to the age of her on-screen lover in her most recent movie, The Dressmaker, which attributes a nonetheless exceptional pairing: an more mature girl and a a lot youthful gentleman. Her 25-12 months-outdated co-star, Liam Hemsworth, might not have assisted, nonetheless, by admitting that he initially concerned about regardless of whether their scenes with each other may possibly seem to be bizarre.

In contrast, Hollywood major males are frequently cast in co-star mixtures in which, if the ages of the performers at the time were represented as American soccer scores, it would be a excellent evening for property followers: 62-38 among Robert Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas in The Horse Whisperer, and 62-34 for Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt in As Good as it Gets, even though Clint Eastwood had a sixty three-39 advantage over Rene Russo in In the Line of Hearth, and Monthly bill Murray bested Scarlett Johansson fifty three-19 in Missing in Translation.

Clint Eastwood and Rene Russo in In the Line of Fire

Clint Eastwood and Rene Russo in In the Line of Fireplace. Their 24-12 months age discrepancy is not that abnormal in Hollywood films. Photograph: Bruce McBrooom/Channel 5

The prevalance of these kinds of discrepancies, says Prof Linda Ruth Williams of Southampton University, has resulted “in a cultural revulsion against Might-to-December onscreen relationships in which the lady could only be Might even though the man could be any month up to and including December”.

Increasing sensitivity to the notion of the filthy previous gentleman was maybe the purpose that, in Lost in Translation, the link amongst Murray and Johansson remained at the level of ambiguous flirtation, and it might also be significant that the director was a girl, Sofia Coppola. It was also a feminine movie-maker, Jocelyn Moorhouse, who authorized Winslet her forty-25 margin in The Dressmaker.

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A complication in these cases is that there is typically a contradiction in between the chronological and character ages of an actor. The septuagenerian Harrison Ford nevertheless plays men in a obscure late middle age, and the age hole among Winslet’s and Hemsworth’s figures in the script of The Dressmaker is intended to be considerably less than in the actors’ passports. In general, even though, the age of an older gentleman is disregarded by the tale even though woman seniority tends to be a plot level.

But Winslet, whether by accident or design and style, has turn out to be something of a poster female for female-male age disparity in cinema. In the German wartime story The Reader (2008), she performed enjoy scenes with David Kross, an actor who was also a ten years and a fifty percent younger, a reality that was central to the narrative.

The truth that Kross was actively playing a teen led to accusations of paedophilia, with Winslet’s character acquiring as significantly flak from some for currently being an alleged little one abuser as for her character’s past as a Nazi concentration camp guard. Equally, in The Piano Instructor (2001), the center-aged actor Isabelle Huppert’s onscreen relationship with a 17-calendar year-outdated boy, although just about legal, is sado-masochistic.

Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet and David Kross at The Reader premiere

Kate Winslet and David Kross were onscreen lovers in The Reader, which also starred Ralph Fiennes. Photograph: Photograph Ideal/Rex Features

These films distinction starkly with Summer of ’42, a well-known 1971 film in which an American teen is sexually initiated throughout the second planet war by an more mature woman. Coming four a long time following The Graduate, in which the fortysomething Anne Bancroft confirmed a very good time to a 21-yr-outdated Dustin Hoffman, that movie was 1 of a amount of what may well be referred to as publish-Graduate movies that dramatised the schoolboy fantasy of seduction by a experienced lover. Late illustrations are Tadpole (2002), and Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001), which claimed higher sexual leeway by currently being set in Mexico.

In the US and Britain, enhanced legal and social regard for the age of consent have decreased the recognition of this genre. Undoubtedly, it is difficult to envision the creating these days of Research (1982), a comedy in which Joan Collins plays a instructor who sets out to “make a man” of a teenage pupil. The trope of becoming shown the ropes by an skilled female still exists but the females included are reduced to ridicule in gross-out comedies such as Cougars Inc, Cougar Club and Milf.

Even in significant dramas, the older female lover, though not laughed at, is frequently at risk of loss of life or social exclusion. In Unfaithful (2002) and In the Bedroom (2001), Diane Lane and Marisa Tomei unleash events that guide to murder by taking boyish enthusiasts. Just this calendar year, in The Boy Subsequent Doorway, Jennifer Lopez places herself in horrible risk by hitting on the youthful hunk in the next apartment.

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Between the extremely couple of examples of consensual romances in which the woman is old sufficient to be the man’s mom are the Catherine Zeta-Jones romcom The Rebound (2009) and, most notably, The Mom (2003), in which the feminine lead, Anne Reid, was aged enough to be the lover’s grandmother.

The film’s director, Roger Michell, remembers there was force from potential financiers to cast a performer with a history of sexual attract, this sort of as Julie Christie or Charlotte Rampling, but he held out for Reid.

“Anne is very appealing,” he stresses. “But the level of the movie is that it’s a sort of sexual Pygmalion, in which the character begins off invisible and gets to be radiant. If the audience already experienced a memory of lusting after that actress in film sex scenes, it is a cop-out.”

The Mother is practically distinctive in treating a mature woman’s passion for a youthful male as enthusiasm instead than perversion. It’s a film, Michell claims, about a grandmother “who wants to have intercourse with James Bond”. Which, as Reid’s lover was played by Daniel Craig, she did.

“What is so superb about Reid’s performance in The Mother,” says Williams, “is that it gestures to an apparently infinite highway in advance. It is a new kind of coming-of-age story. At the stop, Might is witnessed packing her bag and passport and merely disappearing down her suburban highway. She may well be simply heading to the shops. But she’s slipping off the edge of the sorts of movies girls of her age utilized to feature in.”

Anne Reid and Daniel Craig in The Mother

Anne Reid and Daniel Craig in The Mother. Photograph: Everett/Rex Shutterstock

In a even more endeavor at stability, Michell and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi went on to make Venus (2006), in which a partnership in between an octogenarian man performed by Peter O’Toole and a woman nearly six a long time his junior benefits, really unusually in motion pictures, in rejection and humiliation for him.

Michell and Kureishi also collaborated on Le 7 days-Conclude (2013), in which, Williams details out, Lindsay Duncan, now sixty five, “is wooed by a dashing, younger urbane Parisian, who tends to make her husband Jim Broadbent appear all the greyer by comparison”.

Michell is about to direct Rachel Weisz, forty five, and Sam Claflin, twenty five, as eventual fans in an adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 novel My Cousin Rachel.

And, even though Williams laments that The Boy Subsequent Doorway, launched as lately as January, confirmed the Jennifer Lopez character as being “punishable exactly due to the fact she took the risky phase of enjoyment with a a lot youthful man”, she is hopeful that a change is taking place, via motion pictures this sort of as Le Weekend and The Second Best Unique Marigold Hotel (2015), in which Judi Dench, 80, has a romantic storyline with the sixty five-calendar year-outdated Invoice Nighy.

“I feel,” states Williams, “that there will be an improve in films dramatising older girls as sexually just as entitled to all sorts of activities as has been traditionally the scenario for older men.”

Information: Primary section | theguardian.com