Yes, the title of this post is almost certainly controversial! It should be.
I will explain the reason I chose the title towards the end of the post – and respect to you if you can guess it earlier. First, however, let me introduce the actual topic:
image by Richard Potts
image by sejanc
It is called meninism, neo-masculinism, anti-feminism, MRA (Men’s Rights Advocacy) and a lot more. To be clear, all these titles carry different implications for those involved, which means the movement is by no means unified, but all actors share a certain belief in the wrongs of feminism.
This week, out of a sudden, my social media was trashed with antifeminism, a topic which I had banned from my mind for the last few months, after I handed in my Masters dissertation in September. One of the leading activists in the US, and founder of one of the websites I analysed for my dissertation, made it into all kinds of different newspapers: Roosh V. Given the recent rumble around one of the websites I analysed in my dissertation, in this post I want to share a glimpse of my analysis with anyone interested in a discussion of the topic that goes beyond: “these people suck” (be it directed at MRAs, men, women or any other kind of social or not so social group).
Unbelievably, I’m done with my Masters and thus also LonDONE (sorry for this bad pun, which is however part of an advertisement campaign in the tube…). Due to the high prices and the continuous humidity, I fled the city almost immediately after my last exam was over.
Unfortunately, due to my Masters Programme, I had little time to experience London beyond the realm of my daily trip to the centre and the rare visits by friends dragging me to the numerous street markets. However, there’s one thing that stuck to me during one of my rare exploration trips to the British Museum – I have discussed it since with friends and flatmates – Brits and non-Brits alike: the Imperial Hangover (unfortunately, a quick google search showed me that I’m not the one who invented the term after all), which allegedly led British Comedian John Oliver to say
The entire British Museum is basically an active crime scene
Some time ago, I left Bishkek for a weekend and visisted Talas, where the family of a friend of mine lives. Talas region is a beautiful place in a valley in between very high mountains. It is surrounded by mountain ranges which make it hard to enter (over a pass-road from the East) but make its nature all the more remarkable:
Except for the nature there were some things that were new to me or that I had heard about but never really experienced with my own eyes and ears. It was pretty interesting so I wanna share three facts that Talas taught me:
The first time I (left) ever wore the headscarf was in Cairo in spring 2012
This picture was taken in Egypt and it was the first time that I ever wore the headscarf. Since then, I have talked to many people about it, I have worn it again several times in several countries, with different people and facing different reactions. It is still always kind of an adventure for me to put it on, because I know that people react differently to women wearing the headscarf. Therefore this is a call to try to see the headscarf differently and unveil it from the whole political and religious assumptions with which it has been covered for at least the last 12 years!
We heard so much about it – yet it all comes down to the straw.
And the people you love.
I really love this poem, Hermann Hesse wrote 1941 and think it’s still worth considering although it has whiskers. It is neither a travel nor a cultural poem. He wrote it after a longterm disease, reconciling thoughts about death and life.
Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend As every blossom fades
dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe, and all youth sinks into old age,
blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern. attains its prime and cannot last forever.
Es muss das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe, At life’s each call the heart must be prepared
bereit zu Abschied sein und Neubeginne, to take its leave and to commence afresh.
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern courageously and with no hint of grief
in andre neue Bindungen zu geben submit itself to other newer ties
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne, A magic dwells in each beginning,
der uns beschützt und der uns hilft zu leben. protecting us, telling us how to live.
When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan I was prepared for the ultimate shock that would strike me at one point in the next months. And with Hesse I was counting on the magic that would help me endure it. But there’s more to that subject than mere (always helpful and great) poetry: Science! As I studied the phases you go through, (predicted by scientists of I don’t know what subject – travel-psychology supposedly) I found different models that are of course all kind of idealtypes and are to be individually adapted but that now in hindsight offer the possibility for interesting thoughts.
Independence Day: No tearing wall down but watching Kok Boru games
I am standing with high heels on a wall, while a lot of men are squatting or standing next to me in two rows in a width of 20cm. I turn my head round and my eyes try to find a black, dead, headless goat in the middle of twenty of horses. The goat is hard to find since the men on the horsebacks try to cover it with their horses to prevent the other team from taking it away from them. The horses are being crashed into each other in a rather violent way. Sometimes the goat falls down. Sometimes they are crossing in high speed directly under my feet. Sometimes they score by throwing the goat in a round hole on the other side of the playing field. I am standing on that wall for a long time without understanding the rules.
This is Kok-Boru, the national sport of Kyrgyzstan (more about it in the last paragraph)!
I am standing in the middle of AlaToo Square surrounded by people, most of them with headscarves, lots of traditional hats. The sun is shining and approximately thousands of kids run around. The fountains are coloured today, there is music being played on a stage with different groups dancing to it. They represent the different ethnicities that live in Kyrgyzstan – it is a lot of them. One weird singer with a slight touch of Elvis Presley is replaced by the next dancing group of Tatars.
This is independence day!
So far, I have just been gossiping about Kyrgyz food, so I guess it’s about time to show you the nice sides of Kyrgyz “cuisine”, that I found by now.
Street sign advertising typical Kyrgyz food you can usually purchase in Yurts: Kymyz, Kaymak and Kurut (not my pic – flickr, Evgeni Zotov).