Women's studies

The websites treat women as ideal, damsels who have no dream but to be happily married to the client, presumably a middle-aged Caucasian who wants to retire. The women being paraded are tagged as looking for marriage and romance. They are presented to be docile, caring, and obedient, conservative types who would stay at home and be good little housewives as compared to the more liberal women of this age. They have pictures of the women in online catalogs, sometimes in scantily-clad clothes and swimsuits. Clearly, more than anything, they are being sold on the basis of their physical appearance, if they have beautiful faces and sexy bodies. The younger, the better; and being a virgin sometimes is the deciding factor.

These sites pretend to be online dating sites, but promote mail-order brides, having profiles of women from countries like Russia, the Philippines, and Latin America. The women come from Third World countries, usually from countries where there have been civil wars. In particular, Russia and the Philippines have earned distinction by being specifically named countries as compared to the more general terms of Latin America and Asia. What this say is that the bulk of the women come from these two countries.

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Mojab’s article examines the tradition of “Honor Killing”, whether the phenomenon is religious, finding its relevance in Islamic dogma. Mojab argues that it is not so, that Honor Killing is an act of violence perpetuated by patriarchal power structures. Mojab writes that Honor Killing and its variants – other physical abuse and violence against women – are being used against women with the reason that they deserved it for bringing shame when in fact the act of inhumanity is brought about by enforcing gender power, masculine power specifically. This has been going on for centuries, but the recent developments in feminism have women standing against this kind of abuse, which in turn also rouses a vehement reaction from males to cling to patriarchal tradition and rule over women who try to break free and empower themselves.

On the other hand, Abusharaf’s article discusses female genital mutilation, relating different stories, health problems and concerns, and ensuing psychological effects, insecurity and crises that it has wreaked on young girls. Abusharaf examines the reason why the practice continues despite its horrific effect. She argues that in those societies where female genital mutilation is being done, the people believe that it is actually desirable for women to undergo it to be able to land a suitable marriage because it proves their chastity and purity. In these communities women rely on men to support them and they deem having a husband a priority. However, in Abushraf’s study, men prefer women who have not gone mutilation. Women continue the ritual based on outdated beliefs, keeping the tradition alive at the cost of lives.

1. After reading the article, “Aids and Africa’s Hidden War”, by Epstein, explain some of the links between sexual violence and HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Sexual violence is intricately linked with the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa because sexual abuse and rape are condoned. Men take multiple women as they believe it is their right, because they believe they have to punish and discipline the women. They do this as a negative reaction to the “empowerment” of the women in South Africa, as women acquire skills and education that increasingly let them survive without men. In African societies, there are few things that can be considered as possessions, and women and children are the most prized ones. Men desperately cling to the traditional forms of relationships, when men’s duties were limited to forming alliances and women have to do all the hard labor like farming and tilling the soil, taking care of the home and rearing children. Coming from this sense of history, members of African society have a mentality that tells them that sticking to the traditional norms and mores is acceptable, that punishing women through sexual abuse and rape is acceptable. Indeed, women are blamed if they are raped because they failed to dress and behave properly. The bottom line is, the people in African societies have no will to stand up against sexual violence, and they end up paying for it as HIV/AIDS spread. Men rape young women and children, even babies. Women who are not even promiscuous still get the deadly disease because they are pinned down and they cannot do anything about it. Even when they report the crime to the police they do not get the justice they desperately need.

2. a.What is Fistula? b. Can Fistula be prevented? c. Can Fistula be treated?

a. A Fistula is an abnormal passage leading from an abscess or hollow organ to the body surface or from one hollow organ to another and permitting passage of fluids or secretions. Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical intervention, usually a Caesarean section. The woman is left with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby. Urine and feces leak, and is humiliating and unhealthy which can lead to other chronic medical problems, including ulcerations, kidney disease, and nerve damage in the legs.


b. Fistula can be prevented by providing timely access to safe delivery. Prolonged or obstructed labor usually are the ones who have problems that eventually lead to Caesarian operations and fistula. Women should be educated about the giving birth, and should have campaigns to raise awareness about women’s bodily health.
c. Fistula can be treated through a simple surgery, repairing the injury with success rates as high as 90% with experienced surgeons. Having a fistula surgery treatment and post-operative care costs about $300.
1. What is reproductive control?

Reproductive control is a general term that covers all the practices and methods that prevent or control the reproductive process.

2. What is female genital mutilation?

Female genital mutilation, generally known as “female circumcision” refers to the removal of external female genitalia, whether total or partial. It can also refer to any injury the female genital organs, usually for cultural and religious reasons. There are different types of female genital mutilation, including excision of the clitoris, excision of the labia, and excision and stitching of the vaginal opening.

a.What health problems does it create?

Complications include hemorrhage, shock, urine retention, internal injury, sever pain, and in certain cases, infection that can lead to death. Transmission of HIV is also a horrible possible due to the use of the instrument for the mutilation in multiple operations.

Other complications include formation of cysts, scar formation, damage to the urethra, painful sexual intercourse, sexual dysfunction and difficulty giving birth.

Female genital mutilation also have effects on the woman’s psychological health. It leaves a lasting mark on the woman, giving her a sense of incompleteness, insecurity, anxiety and depression.

b.What is being done to stop it?

Since female genital mutilation is practiced in certain cultures where it is accepted norm, it poses as a challenge to put a stop to it. The World Health Organization is working to generate knowledge through research and development to promote the elimination of female genital mutilation. They are working with research institutions and researches, and are organizing training for communities to strengthen elimination of female genital mutilation at the grassroots level.
3. How do government population control programs frequently interfere with women’s reproductive choice and health?

Sometimes the population control programs do not give adequate information to women to fully make them aware of the consequences of using pills and other contraceptives. These pills and contraceptives may have adverse effects on certain women, and may affect a woman’s reproductive capability over long-term use without her knowing it.

a.What is pronatalism?

Pronatalism is the philosophy that favors increasing birth rates supported by the view that giving birth to humans is equal to preserving heritage. Some believe that increasing birth rates translate into increasing prosperity because there will be more human resources. Pronatalists fear that antinatalism breaks down gender roles, motherhood, and tradition.

b.What is antinatalism?

Antinatalism is the philosophy that favors decreasing birth rates on the grounds that being born human is undesirable because of the pain and suffering that entails human livelihood. This is motivated more than Church values or governmental attempts to curb population. This is fueled by the thinking that with less people there are more opportunities and higher chances of national prosperity. Antinatalist say that pronatalism restrict the advancement of women.
c.What are some of faulty assumptions underlying coercive antinatalist programs?

Some faulty assumptions underlying coercive antinatalist programs include the argument that lower birthrates will decrease incidence of poverty and open more opportunities. There is no direct correlation between lower birthrates and poverty, or lower birthrates with national prosperity.