Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Youth Warned Against Emergency Contraceptives

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The youth have been cautioned against the use of emergency contraceptives as they were not designed to be used on regular basis and their abuse could be detrimental to one’s health.

Mr Michael Tagoe, the Youth Programme Officer of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), for the Western and Central Regions, expressed worry that the misuse of contraceptives was high among the youth and could have dire consequences to their reproductive system.

He was addressing some members of faith-based youth groups at a capacity building workshop on “Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR),” at Twifo Hemang in the Central Region.

The workshop was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Council and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Mr Tagoe said the youth must be educated on their reproductive sexuality and its related issues to equip them with knowledge, which would also help in reducing sexually transmitted infections.

“A lot of people have suffered some sexual challenges and infections because of some bad decisions,” he noted, adding that the youth experienced unintended pregnancies due to curiosity and lack of knowledge.

He advised the girls to stay off self-induced abortions because it was unsafe and criminal.

Corporal Richard Twum, the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Relations Investigator at DOVVSU, who educated participants on sexual offenses and related punishments, cautioned that perpetrators of rape, defilement, incest and indecent assault could face a number of jail terms.

He condemned parents who sidelined issues of sexuality and failed to expose perpetrators who were either friends, relations or acquaintances, thereby exposing their children to danger with the culprits walking free.

Mr Emmanuel Martey, the Regional Director of the NYA, said religious organisations were often reluctant to openly discuss sexuality or reproductive health issues on the basis of morality.

That, he said, kept majority of their youth in perpetual ignorance and called for more awareness to sensitise the youth on the subject.

The Sunflower of Self-Love

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Self-love: a term that worms its way into countless young females’ lives yet is often overlooked as something unattainable or unnecessary – and so it becomes somewhat neglected as fundamental to our wellbeing as women.

I like to think of us as intertwined with nature; I see many of our behaviours easily explained as a parallel to flora, thus the sunflower is going to be a running theme from here on.

This is going to be quite a personal and informal account of what self-love means to me, but I hope that by looking at it from my perspective it may help you make sense of what seems like a rather complex phenomenon.

Before I found feminism, the roots of my personality were struggling to take hold of the ground beneath them. I was thus held back from discovering who I was, what I was doing and where I was going.

Like many teenage girls, I found comfort in the worst place: calories. Before I knew it, I had become obsessive; my relationship with food and my body was at an all-time low and I was struggling to see any beauty in the world around me.

My petals were wilted, and my roots still couldn’t find their source of vitality to enable my whole self to bloom. I continued through the storm that I liked to call life, only finding short-term sanctuary in things which masked the underlying issues.

After a couple of years, I found focus in academia and I believed I had escaped the lost, depressive teenage girl that I had once been, and I began to see myself brighten up again into the sunflower yellow I had yearned for; yet the whole time I was failing to acknowledge that for so long I had never shown myself any gratitude or kindness. Thus, this new way of life was infertile and could never harbour a wholly prosperous spring bloom.

Focusing your mind elsewhere without tackling the root cause of your problems will only produce limited results: soon you will burn out and will still be unable to feel genuinely, completely happy.

I have only recently been able to comprehend the fact that my mindset needs to change: I need to be my own best friend and recognise that I am worthy of love and kindness, every single day. Self-love can be understood as the water and sunlight that our sunflower needs in order to grow to its full potential; in human terms this can be defined in whichever way you like, as long as it makes you feel loved by yourself.

Your worth is not defined by your appearance, your weight, or the media; it is defined by your compassion, character and attitude.

We all deserve to feel loved, but we cannot accept love from others until we accept love from ourselves.

My journey to self-love is just beginning; I am still a sunflower seedling trying to find my patch of sunlight, and I struggle at times, but I have the potential to bloom into whatever I want to be. As females, we are subject to infinite forces that try to knock us down and dull our sparkle, which is why it is so important for us to support each other whilst we are trying to take root.

Find the love for yourself that you deserve: be your own sunflower.

WOMANHOOD SERIES: Are Feminism and Femininity Mutually Exclusive?

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Feminism

Are we really progressing as a society if we still expect women to conform to beauty and moral standards that serve as the backbone for a sexist and patriarchal society?

Feminism as a movement has always sought to break down the social establishments that have institutionalized gender roles and stereotypes forced upon on us by the patriarchal world in which we exist. Of these institutions, by far the most prominent is the one that stipulates a clear distinction between male and female space in the public arena. In its most primitive state, men are the hunters, leaders, protectors, inventors; which in modern society has translated into heading innovation and technology based industries, monopolising the political domain, and undoubtedly being at the forefront of business, medicine, and the backbone of most entertainment industries.

Ultimately carving out a remaining gap for women to assume as caretakers and the upholders of society’s moral compass. Because no matter how much progress societies have made in terms of gender equality, men and women are invariably held to different moral and physical standards. In effect, what women hear is “be free but not too free; be educated but don’t be threatening; you can have a few flings here and there but don’t be a slut; of course, you’re equal but its only right to keep up your appearance…because no matter how ‘liberated’ you are, you still have a duty to look good, weigh under 60 kgs, have a few degrees under your belt, establish and maintain a successful career, find a man, start a family and hold down a household all while looking like there are more than 24 hours in a day”.

As expected, this observation has drawn extensive criticism, specifically directed towards the beauty industry (and to a lesser extent our celebrity culture) for spearheading unrealistic expectations of women to have it all, while not really ‘enjoying’ it all. Are we really progressing as a society if we still expect women to conform to beauty and moral standards that serve as the backbone for a sexist and patriarchal society? Moreover, aren’t women that continue to indulge in such practices setting back the progress that feminism has made all these years?

he widespread view of the stereotypical feminist. Bra burning; angry; man-hating; always complaining; loud; bossy; butch and not yet in touch with her feminine side.

Well, quite simply no. Because why does feminism and femininity have to be mutually exclusive? Why is it so hard to visualise an intelligent and successful woman exploring her sexuality and feminine identity while still believing in the inherent equality of the sexes? Why can’t a woman choose to wear heels and makeup and still go into a board of directors’ meeting to discuss marketing strategies with potential investors?

For one thing, it is because of the widespread view of the stereotypical feminist. Bra burning; angry; man-hating; always complaining; loud; bossy; butch and not yet in touch with her feminine side. But while this image is undoubtedly a way of invalidating the struggle of women with regard to gender equality, it also shows our reluctance to allow the individuality of women without compartmentalising them into sections based on the idea of existing outside the societal construct of male domination.

Because once we start finding it hard to accept the ability of a woman to explore her sexuality and femininity without taking away from her mental and physical capabilities, then we also do men the disservice by expecting them to complete the circle, or be ‘the other’. In other words, men that seem to encroach on the ‘female’ public space are seen as confused or not ‘man enough’. We cannot allow the movement of gender equality to be invalidated because women have the gall to look a certain way or interact with the opposite sex in a manner that would make the Pope curse.

Femininity and feminism are not mutually exclusive because although femininity as it stands has always been defined by men, it is possible for women to explore their feminine identity outside the arena of a man’s sexual high, while still expecting the same rights and respect as any man, or better yet, any individual.

John Lewis Says Goodbye to Gender Specific Clothing

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THANK GOODNESS NOW JOHN LEWIS IS SHOWING US THAT GENDERED CLOTHING SHOULD BE A THING OF THE PAST.

Ah, John Lewis. Not only are your Christmas adverts unmatched, but now you are taking the lead in the battle against gender stereotyping, and I love you even more.

I remember a few years ago when I was childminding the boys who live across the road from me, and I was puzzled by the older boy’s choice of clothing. He was wearing leggings, and I remember thinking “weird for a boy.”

Then pretty much immediately after this judgemental thought, I realized that there existed no reason that it was weird for this child to be wearing leggings, because why on earth shouldn’t he? Leggings are cosy, something members from both sexes can appreciate.

I was a victim of my own reaction, of my own thoughts. I had been indoctrinated by society and the divisive clothing aisles and the exclusive labels which told me that some clothes are for boys, and some are for girls.

Thank goodness now John Lewis is showing us that gendered clothing should be a thing of the past.The first UK retailer to remove gender labels from its children clothing, the store chain has sacked off not only gender-specific labels but mixed all the clothing together in a section for both boys and girls. Integration is a beautiful thing.

Far more beautiful than a National Trust property gift shop selling pink hats for girls which told them and everyone unfortunate enough to see the hats being worn that the little girls were “[f]uture footballers’ wife [sic].”

Don’t you just love it when girls are encouraged to achieve great things?

Integration is more beautiful too than Gap’s distinction between girls as “social butterflies” and boys as “little scholars” in an advert promoting a new clothing range.

Weird, since girls have made higher grades than boys throughout their school years for nearly a century and, as a generalisation, girls tend to have a smaller group of ‘best friends’ boys tend to have a wider social circle.

In a move away from this gender-lunacy, John Lewis’ labels will read as either “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls.” Pink flowery dresses and t-shirts with trucks on them will still be available – but John Lewis is making the point they both boys and girls can wear them. In fact, a new official unisex range has been launched, including dinosaur print dresses (a relief to me personally because I think dinosaurs are very cool) and spaceship tops.

While I have nothing but praise for John Lewis for this brave and progressive move, certain non-liberals are not best pleased.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen scoffed, “I have no idea what would possess John Lewis to do this.” (Equality and the erasing of illogical gender presumptions?) “Boys and girls labels are informative. I think removing them could be very confusing for the consumer.” This MP appears both to support damaging gender division, and to insultingly underestimate the common sense of British consumers. Somehow, I think we will manage to decipher whether an item of clothing is appropriate for our children without a label reading “Boys.” More to the point, if a little girl wants to buy a t-shirt with a football on it, she will no longer be confused as to why she isn’t allowed it because of a label that tries to exclude her whole gender from expressing her like of a ‘boy thing.’

Ultimately, those opposing the move need to relax. John Lewis won’t force your son to wear a dress or your daughter to wear a t-shirt with a football on it if they don’t want to.

But they have the option to do so if they want.

Caroline Bettis, the head of children’s wear at John Lewis, said: “[w]e do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”
It’s a good day for John Lewis and children across the UK who will for the first time not have their identity confined by clothing labels. Just imagine now how good their Christmas advert is going to be.

WOMANHOOD SERIES: Girls vs Girls

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In the wake of feminism, we are witnessing attempts to incorporate larger women into a narrow view of what is beautiful. While magazines geared towards a male audience, such as MAXIM were celebrating curves, women’s magazines such as VOGUE were inclined towards the image of a slimmer woman. In reflection, I am not sure if we are trying to impress men or if we are participating in a competition in which women are trying to define beauty into our own harsh standards. It made me ask; why am I trying so hard to impress women?

In a time where we should be each other’s greatest allies we are segregated into two groups; those that feel that they fit societies image of an ideal body, and those that do not

While the media has been trying to be inclusive of various body types; the backlash, especially from women has been harsh. Meghan Trainor’s “All about that Bass,” an empowering message to larger women, was discredited with accusations of skinny shaming. This is reminiscent of the cry bully culture we live in where it is difficult for one group of people to receive an uplifting message without the other group taking offence.

A message that was meant to be inclusive segregated women into two different kinds of body types. Ironically, the other side in a similar situation received the same message. This was seen in the Protein World poster controversy in the London tube; it is difficult to see a picture of a skinny woman without taking offence to your own shape. In a time where we should be each other’s greatest allies we are segregated into two groups; those that feel that they fit societies image of an ideal body, and those that do not. It is unfortunate that appearance is ingrained in us to be so fundamentally important that we are prepared to degrade any body type that is not our own.

We are sacrificing the right message for a futile attempt at an empowering conversation. While women of all sizes should feel beautiful, this hollow back and forth that we are having is not the right way to approach the situation. While clothing companies are trying to be more inclusive by suspending the use of photoshop and replacing it with plus size models; well meant intentions are pushing a message that has been repeated for centuries; that a woman’s appearance is a defining part of her identity. Young girls are receiving a paradoxical message that we should find men who ‘like us for us’ and yet society is pushing an almost unobtainable ideal of what we should look like. I wonder if the better way to pursue self-confidence for women is to discredit the idea that appearance is significantly important rather than telling all women that they are beautiful in their own way. Appearance should be one of many qualities that make up our worth as a woman. Our sole societal responsibility as women is no longer bearing children; our wit, intelligence and personality are equally as important as our appearance, if not even more.

The media is spending an awful amount of time trying to be inclusive of all body types, but this is detracting from the original problem that made women insecure in the first place. Personally, I would love to see more advertisements inspiring women to join fields such as science rather than seeing ads for makeup. However, for now, that goal seems to be in the distant future. Until then, women should spend less time pursuing this insignificant argument of who is or is not beautiful. We should all be seeking to break boundaries and shatter these archaic ideals that a woman’s worth is tied to their appearance. Rather than finding self-worth from the media, other women and society, we should find it within our own accomplishments and aspirations.

WOMANHOOD SERIES: A Woman is Able

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I grew up thinking violence was the way forward,
I grew up thinking violence was love
I mean I can’t blame the young me when all the adults around only knew how to get their point across by putting their fist in the air.

All men around me saw me as a sexual object, I wasn’t even a woman yet
had me wondering what would they do to me when I grow up?

What would they make me do?
Horrifying images, horrifying scenarios for just a kid.

My mother is my daily inspiration I mean how does one lose some, produce more gets beaten down in every way, emotionally and physically fragile
so delicate for such a strong flower
the most beautiful one in fact.

Years and years go by trying to escape this prison we’ve been placed in torture for years, mentally draining.

We ended up hopeless and homeless mama
how’d you stay so strong mama?
So many things I want to ask”
but we have this policy

“observe and don’t ask”
we shut down our hearts for so long,
we were alive but our hearts gave up on us
that never stopped u mama.

Nights where you didn’t know what we’d eat but yet fed us anyways and where was he? far far away not giving a damn
then they ask me
“why do you hate men so much?”
“who hurt you?”

You never needed him, you never needed anyone.
Remember when you were studying for your tests? deadlines after deadlines? with never ending stresses? but you still brought the certificate home mama.
I can barely cope, tell me how you did it mama.

Life comes at you fast but life at the time seemed to be going 100mph it’s been a hell of a ride.

Growing up and thinking love didn’t exist
or love was just way too harsh, didn’t make sense when you have a mother whose able I mean who are they to hinder your shine mama.

Did it all for me, showered me with love when I felt lost and hopeless
wiped my tears when it all came falling down.

A strong black woman who fights against the typical stereotypes,
a strong black woman who is ABLE to do it all without any help.
She’s my hero and she doesn’t even know it.

– Ricapenwrites

Kanye Meets with Trump: Is he onto something?

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wo days ago, Kanye West met with President-elect Trump at Trump Towers in New York much to the dismay of many. With Kanye being hospitalised for temporary psychosis and with his behaviour in the last few years being nothing less than erratic many have brushed off this meeting as nothing more than another Kanye stunt, taking it as yet another example of his eccentricity.

IT has to be business as usual

In a tweet after the meeting Kanye stated that he met with Trump to discuss “bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums and violence in Chicago”. One cannot deny that these are issues of importance and that he is bringing these issues directly to a man who is soon to be one of the most powerful men in the world.  He then went on to something particularly poignant “I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future president if we truly want change”. He’s not wrong. In the wake of the election results we’ve heard pundits and satirists alike calling for the American people to ‘give him a chance’. Indeed in Clinton’s concession speech she said “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead”. It’s a bitter truth for many that come January, if all goes to plan, Trump will be the President of the United States, regardless of whether he is in fact what people say he is: a bigot, unqualified, egomaniacal, he will be the President. So along with this is the truth of the situation, it has to be business as usual. The usual politicking, lobbying, dinners and meetings. There is a very real danger in ignoring Trump. If we can in any way talk to him, get him to consider a diverse range of opinions shouldn’t we? Like we would any other president. Now, this is in no way a call for full support of Trump it’s simply a call for pragmatism.

Pragmatism and opportunism are quite different, the latter being inexcusable

I am cautious, however, of this pragmatism going too far, slipping into the real of opportunism. Mitt Romney has met with Trump a few times since his elections, sparking rumors of his inclusion in the Trump administration. This has led to criticism heading his way, he was very much against the idea of Trump as a candidate in the months leading up to the election. A figurehead, along with John McCain, of the Republican establishment’s opposition. Romney has seemed to have abandoned his previous position where he had called Trump a ‘phony’ and appeared to be playing the game in a bid for Secretary of State. If you abhorred Trump before he came into power surely one should stick to their guns. It’s one thing to approach the Trump presidency with acquiescence but it’s a completely different issue to abandon beliefs and assertions when presented with a role in an administration you didn’t want to happen in the first place. Pragmatism and opportunism are quite different, the latter being inexcusable.

Was Kanye right to meet with Trump? I’d say that the Kanye situation highlights the need for pragmatism and the fact that we need not vilify everyone that displays this pragmatism, though I am doubtful that Kanye sees Trump presidency as a bad thing. But we need to distinguish between pragmatism and opportunism. Those who don’t support Trump need to protest but also approach the Trump with acquiescence and maturity. It should be business as usual.

The ‘Entitled’ Generation

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I suppose what really grinds my gears when I hear older generations talking about how spoilt we are is the array of assumptions that are made.The last 10 days has been a political roller coaster to say the least, and as a politics student, I have never felt more overwhelmed with questions, thoughts, and ideas. An aspect that I have found particularly prominent in all the political discourse is this question of a generational divide. Old people want to dismantle the establishments that have ‘destroyed their livelihoods’, and young people want to continue to live and grow in a system that they hope will deliver on the ‘American dream’. For whatever reason, no one can deny that this rise in conservatism and anti-globalisation has just about climaxed in the last 6 months. So why does there seem to be such a generational disconnect that could see major economies rolling back on what we would consider years of post-war political and economic development?

I suppose what really grinds my gears when I hear older generations talking about how spoilt we are is the array of assumptions that are made.

Well I find a big part of this is due to what different generations expect of modern government and their promises of globalisation. Older generations expect security, stability, preservation of their livelihoods and traditional societal values. We expect opportunities, freedom of movement, the expansion of libertarian values, but most importantly, a chance at life. A chance that the baby boomers of the 60’s no doubt benefitted from. For example, 30-40 years ago, it took between 2-5 years to save up to get a deposit for a house. Now, it takes people about 10-12 years. In the same way, the post war generation could comfortably survive on one income and have as many children as they could physically house. Today, the birth rate is as low as it has ever been. And while it is easy for prominent political figures to fob this off as a decline in morality and family values, the reality is, most people can’t afford them. I suppose what really grinds my gears when I hear older generations talking about how spoilt we are is the array of assumptions that are made. More often than not you’d hear discourse along the lines of “young people don’t want to work; young people have it so easy with all these fancy gadgets; young people have no sense of family; young people have lost their way; young people have been ruined with all this feminism nonsense, etc.”boomer-v-millenials

Yes, technology and social media has made things a lot easier for us. More so than anyone could have ever anticipated. But it has also been a curse in many ways. While the media and internet has given everyone a voice, it has not given all the right people a voice. I mean, could we possibly ever imagine a mass of racist, sexist, homophobic and close minded individuals banding together to form a political movement that could one day represent the majority of individuals in a country? No…just impossible. And yet, we see that the number of hate crimes around the developed world have increased, hate groups have become more emboldened and scores of young people are subject to ‘keyboard warriors’ that consistently call into question the legitimacy and rights of individuals to exist as just that- individuals.

The bottom line here is, we don’t have it any easier. We are not warped or socially inept; we are not any more greedy or selfish than previous generations that sought to pave their own way in life. We are no less ambitious or less willing to be good members of society than generations before us. We are however, dealing with an extraordinary set of circumstances; more than the people who could just toss their political sensibilities into a red or blue hat and call it a day. We ARE more educated and that is just a consequence of the times and the amount of resources at our disposal. Let’s think of this the next time we consider writing off a group of people just as anxious and motivated and confused as all 20 year olds have been since the genesis of humanity.

Brazilian Student Catarina Sells Her Virginity for US$780000 to Japanese Man Natsu

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A 20-year-old Brazilian student has sold her virginity in an online auction to a Japanese man named Natsu for £483,000 ($772,000).

Catarina Migliorini’s virginity was bid on by 15 people, with Lucas Zaiden placing the starting bid of $1 on 7 October on the website Virgins Wanted.

The auction was organised by Jason Sisely, an Australian filmmaker, who started work on the Virgins Wanted project in 2009.

A man, 21-year-old Alex Stepanov from Sydney, also put his virginity up for sale, but only garnered £1,860. His virginity sold to Nene B from Brazil.

Migliorini will be flown to Australia where she and Stepanov will meet the winning bidders. They will then lose their virginities in a secret location.

Before the auction, Migliorini said she had not found the right person to have sex with and that taking part in the auction was “more sane” than having sex with a stranger drunk at a party.

She also denied being a prostitute. “I saw this as a business. I have the opportunity to travel, to be part of a movie and get a bonus with it.

“If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer,” she told Folha newspaper.

Sisely told the Australian news website Ninemsn: “The auction closed last night and Catarina is extremely excited. She was speaking to her family in Brazil online and they were extremely happy for her. But I guess they didn’t expect her to do something like this.”

Migliorini reportedly plans to use the money to build homes for poverty-stricken families.

Under the terms and conditions of the auction, the winning bidder must have a medical examination and a police check. Rules stipulate that they may not be intoxicated during their time with the virgin, kiss them, involve anyone else or sex toys.

They are also prohibited from recording the encounter or expect to have any fantasies or fetishes fulfilled.

The minimum time the virgin must spend with the bidder is one hour and in that time “the virgin must engage in sexual intercourse with the highest bidder”.

Lady Pours Faeces on Husband Snatcher in Bank

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There was commotion at the Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, main branch of the First Bank of Nigeria Plc on Friday afternoon when a young lady, Miss Sade Babatunde, entered the bank with a polythene bag full of faeces packaged in a can and allegedly poured the content on a cashier who was attending to customers.

Our correspondent gathered that Babatunde, who came to Akure from Owo town, went straight to the cashier, Miss Agnes Olasehinde, and accused her of snatching her husband in the presence of other bank workers and customers inside the banking hall.

It was further learnt that Babatunde opened the polythene bag and, before the security guards could stop her, allegedly poured the entire content with its offensive odour on Olasehinde who was neatly dressed in native attire.

The development caused a pandemonium as everybody inside the hall ran towards the electronically controlled door to escape from the stench which had taken over the entire hall.

Babatunde, according to sources within the bank, did not stop at that as she allegedly held Olasehinde and slapped her on the face severally.

Senior officials of the bank were said to have ordered the security personnel attached to the branch to arrest Babatunde while the cleaners took Olasehinde to the toilet and washed her.

The management of the bank later provided a vehicle that took Olasehinde home so that she could clean herself properly and change her clothes.

An employee of the bank, who would not want his name published, described the development as not only an embarrassment to Olasehinde but also to the organisation.

The Police Public Relations Officer at the Ondo State Command, Mr. Aremu Adeniran, however told our correspondent on the telephone that the suspect had been arrested and detained by the police.

“The incident happened around noon on Friday and the suspect who is with us came to Akure from Owo with a can containing smelling faeces which she poured on the banker. She will be charged to court after necessary investigations have been carried out.”

Our correspondent however, gathered that the suspect was not legally married to the man who she accused the banker of snatching from her but that she already had a child for him.

It was further gathered that the man is a driver.