Sunday, April 12, 2015

SO....NOW WHAT? Taking my Learning from the Classroom to the Community

One  of the big goals of the DP program is to assist scholars as they navigate through what they have learned and discussed in class about language and literature and figure out a way to apply their knowledge to benefits their community.  That is quite a mouthful, right?  But really, when you get right down to it, knowledge is meant not only to enrich the learner, but also to be applied in some meaningful way...

With The Scarlet Letter, we discovered that while it was a story set in Puritan times hundreds of years ago, the themes of secrets, shame, revenge and hypocrisy still ring very true today.  We think we have come so far and changed so much since then as a society, but really we are all still very flawed human beings.  Technology aside, we will often find we have a lot in common with our ancestors.  In stories like Monica Lewinsky's from our last blog post and many others like hers, we learn that public shaming has a new forum:  the internet and social media.  While it may not be against the law to "sin" as Hester Prynne did, the consequential shaming and humiliation along with the hypocrisy of the finger pointers are still all too familiar.  As Duncan Robinson put it, we now place each other on "pixillated scaffolds" and leer at the scene through our screens.

What do we do then with this knowledge?  How do we make a change?  It is words typed in comments and clicked across the world that condemn, and ultimately, it can be words speaking out in encouragement that can save.  We can form groups dedicated to stop cyberbullying.  We can speak up and teach the younger generations.  It can start small--in your own school yards--but with passion and determination to make a positive difference, it can be cast out like a large fishing net to cover greater ground and change lives forever.

We are concluding our mini-unit on Gender and Sexuality in language as sort of a precursor to Taming
of the Shrew,  but we have also raised and discussed some very significant issues in our lives and world today.  While it can always be improved, America is unique in its treatment of women as a whole.  Most people from Generation X forward believe in equal pay and treatment for women.  We will raise the outcry when we see abuse and harassment all the way to the courthouses.  We teach our daughters that they can become anything they want to become, as long as they set their minds to it, and we teach our sons to treat women with honor and respect.  It is easy in our little corner of the world to believe that this is the norm everywhere else...until something in the news or television gives us the gut-wrenching realization that this is as far from the truth as East is from West...

Let's take a trip to India.  Unlike the United States, most marriages there are arranged between two families, and it is not unusual for the groom's family to expect a dowry to be paid.  A dowry is money or property paid upfront for the privilege of marrying their son.  If the dowry cannot be paid up front or over time, or if the groom's family demands more later and the bride's family cannot pay, horrific action is often taken against the bride by the groom's family.  The most popular form of actions are called "kitchen accidents," or, more accurately, bride burning.  Even though the dowry practice was outlawed in 1961, tradition runs deep in the society and it is estimated that seventeen brides are killed or severely injured in this manner each day for failure to pay their dowry.   Any children from this unwanted bride are thrown out and become homeless.

If the woman manages to survive the "accident," it is culturally
considered a disgrace for her own family to take her back in, so she is left to die, or to seek help elsewhere.  Organizations like Hope International have created safe houses for these women and their children where they can receive medical treatment, food and shelter.  If the woman does not survive her injuries, and this is more often than not the case, the organization, which operates under the donations and support of others, will care for her children. These organizations are speaking out against the atrocities against women in India and seeking change within India's government.

Afghanistan is considered the most dangerous place in the world to "be a woman."  Let's stop and consider that statement for a moment.  Can you imagine being in danger merely because of your gender, something over which you have no control, something that should be as natural as sunshine or rain; can you imagine having your very existence threatened because you are a woman?  Consider these statistics from UN Data, CIA World Fact Book and Afghanistan Relief Organization:  Many women in Afghanistan die in pregnancy and childbirth, with 460 deaths for every 100,000 live births; 85% of women have no formal education and are illiterate; and the life expectancy for a woman is 51.  More than 50% of Afghan girls are married or engaged by the age of 12 and married by 16.  Most will marry far older men--some in their late 60's--whom they meet for the first time at their wedding.  This early marriage is prompted by the high risk of
kidnapping and rape by rival tribes.  Some girls are bartered into marriage to repay a  debt or resolve a dispute.  Since women are considered property, and legally their testimony in court counts as only 1/2 that of a man, this is not considered abusive or wrong.

In Kabul, it is not at all uncommon for young girls and women to be admitted to the hospital shortly after marriage with injuries like internal bleeding, burns, or broken limbs.  Young wives have low status in the family, and are treated like slaves by their in-laws.  If a woman is widowed, she must depend on her husband's family for survival.  If this is not possible, she is forced to beg or engage in prostitution to keep herself and her children fed.  If a young woman runs away, or refuses to marry as her father dictates, she is often beaten, burned, disfigured, disowned and abandoned or killed by her own family.

Many people shrug and say, "It's a matter of cultural differences.  We shouldn't intervene and cannot possibly understand."  While I concur  that cultural differences certainly do sometimes cloud our perceptions looking in from the outside, I cannot help but shudder.  Does this, then, become a sort of "pass" from treating other human beings with dignity and respect?  Is this claim of "cultural differences" a significant enough justification to maim, disfigure, rape, abuse and/or kill?

The study of language and literature is a lot more than reading great novels, dissecting and connecting to the themes, and constructing excellent pieces of writing with exceptional grammar.  This year, we have looked at our literature and our language within the overall theme of "The Power of Words."  Whether we speak them, write them, text them, blog or think them, words assign meaning.  They give us identity, expression, and cultivate understanding.  As Hawthorne said, (and I paraphrase), in the dictionary, they are harmless; but oh, the power they have when in the hands or mouth or one who knows how to use them! Just words so often bring imprisonment, abuse and death, words are also the things that can kindle freedom, healing, and abundance of life.  We now know a little bit more about shaming, humiliating, cyberbulling, and gender-based abuse.  We know how language can be used to hurt and heal, kill and save.  You have the knowledge.  What will YOU do with it?

 Below, there is an article about the practice of bride burning in India along with two videos from India and Afghanistan.  Read and watch.  Then, comment on what really convicted you: what issues are you most passionate about?  How can/will you use your knowledge of the power of language and communication to bring positive change in our world?

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Kalpana_Sharma/the-other-half-burn-dowry-not-women/article2856945.ece

Video #1 (India):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtHgTf67hzc
Video #2 (Afghanistan):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X2hGQ7V_Ro


30 comments:

  1. Dang.... what really got me was into the first video "What are you doing having a girl? You must kill her, push her off a building" (Or something to that nature). It's like.. how could you tell a mother to get rid of her child. However at the same time it's like... why would you want you daughter to grow up in a society like that.... Also in the video for Afghanistan, with the girls who where in the safe house looked my age if not younger. This is cruel to any human being. The only way this can be fixed through language and communications is the way many people solve issues now a days, media. I bet if campaigns went to organizations to go and save these women and girls, it could make a change. I would hope so, other wise this will continue happening forever which truly saddens me.

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  2. It honestly amazes me that people do this. It is so stupid that parents would choose not to have a girl just because she is a girl. It is outlawed in the country and people still beat their wives, marry their daughters off at a young age, pay for them to be married, and treat them like trash. I never have and probably never will understand how people will just treat others in a certain way because of something that they can't even control and there is nothing wrong with it either. I think people will start protesting though and India will have to do something more serious about it especially since they have a shortage of women. I just hope they come together and stand up for their human rights soon.

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  3. It hurts my heart to read this and see the way these people are treated. It reminds my of reading The Book Thief and seeing how the Jews were treated and discriminated against. Just because one person decided that this group of people was less valuable it made it okay for them to be tourchered and killed. It is the same in these Indian cultures. They decided the men were of more value and that because of that they could treat the women so poorly even killing them in the womb. I don't agree with abortion when women do have the choice let alone when they do not have a choice.
    I am so grateful to live with a culture where women can be doctors and lawyers and mothers and wives and not have to pay such a huge price. I still wouldn't say that men and women are completely equal. I have seen instances where women and men are doing the same job but the man is getting paid more than the women. Or even the stereotype that women are supposed to stay home with the children while the men work. It isn't perfect and I believe that is in our human nature. Even women discriminate other women. However I believe we can keep working towards more equality and peace between different types of people. God created each of us to be our own person and we each have our own path. I commend the women in india for standing up to her family because that is what we all need to do. Stand up for what we want and what we believe.

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  4. Thank you so so so much for posting this blog. I know this might sound quite perverse but I love learning about issues like this. Don't take me wrong, it just makes me acknowledge the fact that the more I am informed about these topics, the more chances I have to encounter stories that involve people not just standing up for what they believe in but standing up for what IS and should be universally right. I also find it so sad that our generation gets so caught up in the idea of "saving the planet" when we can't even save ourselves; from ourselves.
    What convicted me the most was that India of all places is doing this; a supposably "developing" country. Not too say that I didn't realize there was poverty, but their religion doesn't even allow them to eat certain types of meat and yet their willing to throw babies off roofs or set people on fire just because of they think they can. In addition, the reason for both issues is totally out of their control. The women aren't in charge of paying their dowry and yet their own families choose to physically hurt and even cast them out. What's even more surprising is that the females who are facing problems that are out of their control also take action on babies and unborn girls, when again it is out of their control (only in this case they haven't even been given a chance).
    I agree language is power. This can be shown in the surprising shift of culture that occurred in the Afghanistan culture where their rights have totally been obliterated in the short 30 year war period. These people think it is their right to mistreat women. It's almost as if they take pleasure in doing so. They believe that they can treat their cousins, aunts, sisters, wives and even daughters any way they please which typically ends up being brutal. So how do you shift entire cultures? How can you not only backtrack or fast forward entire nations but change their entire perspective on women; to see sadly not only what they are but who they are? This question baffles me as it is engrained into every persons head from the instant they are born. I believe to show women have worth you have to prove it. Take away the men and begin to show that women can have value, show it, to make a positive change. This endeavor is indeed going to need the power of words.

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  5. From the first video about Afghan women sharing stories of abuse in the beginning the speaker said along the lines of women aren’t aloud to advance or the men don’t want them too. I am having trouble understanding how war took away the women’s rights. Maybe if I was more educated on the wars I would be able to understand why the women’s rights disappeared. Moreover I found was relieved in a way knowing that these women were able to escape the unfortunate events that they had to experience. This subject about women rights in general upset me because the only difference is women have breast and vaginas and men have penises, why does a body part define who we are and what we do. I want to scream at the top of my lungs knowing that women in Afghanistan are treated as if they were a dirty t-shirt.
    Moving on to the women in India, I find it scary to think that they most women who are pregnant, with girls are aborted. It is horrible that I understand why so many women are harassed to get their daughters aborted or kill them, they do it so they don’t have to live the life they did, it shows the mothers strength to let got of an unborn child. On the flipside it is horrible that the mother has to have the fear of getting rid of her daughter before she is even born. Like I said about the conflict in Afghanistan, body parts shouldn’t determine how anyone is treated.
    My question is, why do women have to pay the price for being the, “less dominate sex”? I pose this question about the article because I honestly want to know. Women in places like India are being bought and sold as if they were a piece of property; unfortunately, to their families that is what they are. Yes, statistics show that men are physically stronger then women but that doesn’t mean they are less capable of doing anything. Women everywhere should have the right to do what they want and follow their dreams without the restriction of a man or the fear of being beaten or getting raped. The men are just worried that the women will become more powerful and show them up.

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  6. I feel like the only person who isn't over the top angry about this issue. Now it isn't because i'm not there and i'm not being affected by this, bu it's more the fact that I physically can't do anything to stop it and it's an issue that will take a very long time to fix.
    I do believe that women should be treated the same for the most part. I do think however, that we take advantage of men quite a bit without really noticing it. "Open the door for me" "respect me" "give me everything", I mean it's endless with some people. I feel that we expect men to treat us to highly that we may as well say the men are being mistreated a little bit... It might not be on a large scale such as rape, but it's still there. If we want equality, women can't expect to be treated better then how they treat men. I feel someone should hold a door for a person just to be nice, not because they are a girl. I know I try to treat Devan the same way he treats me and I attempt to hold doors and such because it makes me feel bad. It really does. It's both genders being torn down and it's ridiculous. If we can't care about both sides, then we shouldn't be doing it at all.
    The India and Afghanistan videos were pretty depressing though. Not because they were girls, but the fact they were burning and hurting their loved ones and their bothers and sisters. No human should have to be beaten because they don't love another person enough to marry them. I bet you though, that if this happened to a man the country wouldn't care at all because the man wasn't strong enough to prevent himself from getting burned or abused by a woman, he would be a disgrace. It's horrible.
    People need to learn that noting is going to get better if we don't analyze both sides. Maybe men are stronger muscle wise, well woman have a higher pain tolerance. The genders are equal, what one lacks it makes up with another.

    If they aren't praying, I'll pray for them, especially when their God comes to judge the actions that they have been condoning over there.

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  7. The thing that strikes me about the situation in Afghanistan is that women can get treated however the men want to treat them because they're women and they don't mean anything. The fact that women can get raped and beaten and not get justice for it is utterly and completely horrifying. What made me really upset is that when the girl told her mom what happened and the mother said "Get over it. I don't have power to do anything about it." How can a girl get over the fact that she was raped? Especially by her brother-in-law. The thing that made me upset is that women in India get pressured to abort their daughters simply because they're female. The babies can't help that they're a female and the fact that they're not wanted in the world by society is so horrible. They deserve a life just as much as every other women in India. In fact, they deserve a life just as much as anyone in the world. With this knowledge, I am going to pray for these families and the women that are suffering from these situations. It's not right and they shouldn't have to go through it alone.

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    1. Madisyn, thank you for your post...and the fact that your knowledge about the situation will cause you to take action by praying for this women is a powerful thing. :) It made me very inspired to read that.

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  8. In a way, these stories support the idea presented in the video shown in class, which showed men being told not to cry and led into monstrous abuse. Much of the issue here appears to be cultural conditioning for the males shaping them to view women as an expensive liability. In India, girls are at risk of kidnapping if they are not within the security of a marriage, so the father is pressured to marry them off early. The extensive dowry that comes along with the marriage of that girl becomes money and gifts that the father must see paid or else potentially endanger his entire family. Male children do not have this weight, and are thus much more desirable. I was greatly alarmed by the statistic that approximately 50% of Indian males think it is justifiable to beat their wives. I suspect this arises from much the same sort of cultural conditioning. There would not be men who beat women if there were not men raised to think in that way, and therefore the problem is one that reaches deeply into both genders. Both men and women have to be taught to view each other as equals, and this is quite possible. Reforms in the western world have brought near-equality where equality was unimaginable in past centuries.

    In Afghanistan, the video describes long decades of war creating a regression into a much less reformed culture. Having decades of war would place enormous strain on a country, nearly to breaking, causing the people to grasp for stability wherever it can be found. As there are many centuries of cultural influence that are unfavorable to women, with a comparatively very short period of more balanced western influence, this is an understandable result. I suspect that restoring stability to Afghanistan would be a crucial step in making large improvements to equality of rights.

    Both these dangerous cases need strong people to champion the cause of reform. Most of us do not possess the desire to be such champions, or at least, we do not possess it more than other, non-overlapping desires. This does not mean we do not have the potential to make a difference. Indeed, the most determined of people are hopelessly unable to act decisively without a good-natured but less driven mass of the people behind them. Every voice counts, and every person made aware of the danger is one fewer person to allow these situations by ignorance.

    As for me, I will raise awareness of these dangers within my own sphere of influence, and keep a close eye on these situations, in case I should ever find myself in a position to take direct action for these people and others around the world.

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  9. Any and all kinds of discrimination make me angry. But especially as I am a girl, the fact that there is so much discrimination against females makes me not only angry, but also afraid. It is not uncommon for girls in the US to be attacked simply because they are girls. And then in other parts of the world the mistreatment is even more obvious and not against the law. It's scary to think that just being a girl - an uncontrolable act - is a dangerous thing.

    I want the world realize that women are humans, and not lesser than men. Whenever I am having a discussion and someone makes a sexist comment, I always try to educate them. As there are so many sexist phrases that people use on a regular basis it's hard to not use those phrases, but I try to never use them. I always look for ways to say things that can't be turned into a sexist comment. I just want equality and it won't come about unless everyone bands together to make that change happen.

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  10. "It is the most dangerous place to be a WOMAN."
    A statement that could not infuriate me more. What stands out to me the most is the, "to be a woman", part. It is so dehumanizing to me. Why does being of a gender lessen your value? Any type of discrimination is wrong and disgusting, but this is an extremely broad target.

    Nothing pains me more than hearing, or seeing the pain these women are put through. Muslim, Hindu, no matter what the religion, it hits me very close to home. I am a woman. I am like these women, I am of their kind like they are of mine. We are the same, yet they suffer an unbearable and unjust amount. Another thing that makes me very sad is that the mothers of these girls are also women, having no power to protect their daughters either. They are forced to shake it off with a "get over it." Because even as mothers, they are still women. There is no right, there is no way of protection. It is even more heartbreaking that they are seen as objects and as forms of property.

    We are not in control of what gender we are born. Yes, while only body parts distinct us humans, I feel that society, dated as to ages back, has created the stereotype of women that we are only here to please our men. We have a created a lack of equality from a start, but that lack of equality should not dehumanize a gender. We know women are getting burned, beaten, not even getting the right to be born, yet India is still classified as a "developing country". I wonder for who. The men? The animals?

    Women everywhere are considered the less dominant sex. Whether on a small scale that men should hold the doors for women and wear the pants in a relationship, or greater scale that they are looked at as property and objects. Women need to take a bigger stand for each other in every aspect! We must empower each other, not tear each other down. We must learn to stand strong and independent. It is devastating the situation some of these females are put in. But I admire every ounce of strength some of them had had to share their story and keep moving forward. If we want to stop being looked at as less dominant, it's time women start tearing each other down, start empowering each other, and take a stand to help the gender across the seas that is JUST LIKE US. Feminism is a radical notion that women are human beings. And if that's the classification I must fall under to start creating a change, label me proud.

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  11. The thing that disgusts me about the situation in these countries is not just that it happens, but that it is such an ingrained, endemic part of the culture. When I first read this and watched the videos, it was awful, certainly. Who wouldn't be disgusted by the torture and murder of innocent people? But then to think that there are people who consider this normal, or expected? I've seen that some people are bringing up culture, in the sense that we shouldn't interfere in other cultures that we have no business trying to change. However, by that same logic, the Holocaust was a perfectly acceptable cultural event. Just because something happens far away from us, in a culture we don't share, doesn't mean we have to sit back and watch a society ignore basic human rights in the name of tradition. I know it's tacky, but just imagine being in their shoes. Imagine being born in a culture where some people think it's okay to treat you like livestock and kill you because you were born with a different chromosome than them. Something needs to change.

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  12. There are so many horrible unthinkable things going on in this world that many people don't know and don't want to know. I was brought up in a way where girls can do just as much as the man, I was raised to know that men and woman are equal. I spend my days playing paintball with my brother and helping with outside work. I can't imagine my father or brother forcing me to marry a older man, someone I didn't love. But I was raised to be very independent, I am my own person and I will never be anyones possession. I have mixed feelings, I believe everyone knows right and wrong naturally. So these men killing women for disobeying them must know it's wrong but they have raised to think of women as possessions. It blows my mind when a rapist blames the victim. I do not understand the thought process. The first step is making everyone aware of all these horrible situations. Make these people take responsibility for these horrible actions. To change make a big change we need to start making little ones.

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  13. Wow. Just wow. Honestly, I never knew what a dowry was before I read this blog. I am horrified at what these men (and even other women) do to young brides! I can not fathom growing up as a female in India or Afghanistan. These women and their beautiful potential are being strangled right in front of them and there is nothing they can do. I wish I could tell them how valuable they are in reality. It breaks my heart.

    My uncle is working overseas in the military in Dubai right now. His wife and their sons were going to go with him but they soon found out that there was a law that a woman couldn’t go outside unless a man is holding her arm. If she doesn’t comply, she goes to prison. FOR GOING OUTSIDE! That’s not even living. They are looked on as house pets. No. Filthy rodents. I will never be able to understand how a people group could treat anyone like this. These men are like Nazis; they have no sense of morality. When was that lost? When did it become acceptable for women to be treated with no respect, whatsoever? How did it change from the what it was like in the 40’s to now?

    It made me really angry when the Afghan brother said that killing his sister for running away from her husband was like killing a little sparrow. No big deal. That really got to me. How could one say that? Again, I don’t get it. It’s beyond me.

    Usually, I find it annoying when I hear woman’s rights activist in America. I guess my lack of knowledge about this topic and the fact that I don’t see a need for intervention here in America, adds to that way of thinking. I feel guilty saying that now. Obviously, there is a ton of work to be done in these countries. I think the biggest thing is to bring awareness to those who don’t understand the hostility towards these foreign women. Hopefully, then, people will feel convicted enough to make their voice heard and take action.

    God, please be with those women.

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  14. It was really horrifying for me to read and watch those videos. I’ve always grown up in a family that pushed me to be independent and to see other woman in theses countries being abused and raped and forced to marry men that are many years older than them, blows my mind. Something that really struck me was the “kitchen accidents”. It is really out of my understanding how someone can treat another human being like this. The first step is to make this issue aware for everyone. Before reading this or discussing it in class I was never fully aware of this issue that was going on. I think if people talked about this more and made everyone understand what is going on and to make people responsible for these horrifying actions then I think that can lead to a big change in the world we live in.

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  15. For me, I feel that the Indian culture of aborting baby girls is simply appalling. I can't believe, well, forgive me, I can believe that people would do this to preserve their nation. Hitler murdered millions of innocent people in order to create his perfect country. The fact that babies are not being born because of their gender is sickening. Much like the time of Exodus, when the Pharaoh ordered a law that said to kill all baby boys to make sure he would not be overthrown. Even when babies are born, families pressure the mother to kill the child, to throw it off of a roof! That is what just blows my mind. It's an innocent baby that I've given birth to, and you want me to murder it because she's a burden? The mother in the YouTube video that did keep her baby is very brave. However I do think about the mothers who did throw their babies away out of fear.
    I think I can help somewhat to bring a voice to this cause by creating social media pages, which nowadays seems to reach more people. Even partnering with organizations that help these women and raise money for their funding can help. Any way to bring the name of their non-profit to the public is a great way to raise awareness of what is going on.

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  16. I know it’s horrible, but the first thing I thought was, “wow, and we think we have it bad in America”. It’s the truth, though. The fact that this happens every day sickens me. Especially since it’s such a common normality for them; it’s socially acceptable. I've heard of other countries that are made to abort their baby if it’s a girl, because girls are usually “no use” to the country. It’s funny that some areas of the world haven’t adapted their gender roles as much as we have.
    I can’t wrap my head around the fact that India thinks that this is okay. They were all taught this at a young age, so none of them know any different. If your wife crosses the line, you have the right to punish or kill her. It’s disgusting, that mindset. How many of your morals and beliefs have to be corrupted before that’s considered okay to you? This is definitely one of those things that I wish I could change, but I just don’t know where to start. It’s frustrating, and needs to stop.

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  17. This is extremely overwhelming to discuss because I cannot define society. If cracking the definition of sexism in any country were as simple as reading a book or an article and deciding how and why humans act they way that they do, then we would have the answers as to why men are payed more in the U.S and yet, still rape more women. There is a balance that has occurred in the natural world in which men and women do not appear on the same page. It’s disheartening, but If I actually understood it, then I would write a book and make millions of dollars off of it and all of the worlds sexism problems would be resolved.

    I understand that this is an assignment however, and I will try my hardest to evaluate the clips to the best of my understanding. The India and Afghanistan videos were sad to say the least. Not because the subjects were women, but the fact they were people. No person should have to be beaten or injured because they are not loved enough. The only way I can even begin to fathom going about a change in society is from a magical rule that everyone learned in 3rd grade. “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” That is how I conduct my life, even if it falls short or I slip up in my execution. And I wish that everyone in the whole world could understand. I wish that we could sit down and ask these men in India if they would like to be burned for not having enough money to pay off their significant other for marriage. To make someone understand is a very difficult thing to do, and it’s a task that is so much larger then anyone is currently able to handle. However, If I could wave a magic wand and gift people in every country all across the world with the ability to possess infinite perspective, then let’s face it, every problem would be utterly solved. However, all we can do now is use our words to give others an understanding as to how we perceive our own lives. Maybe, just maybe then, an idea of what runs through the head of someone else can be surfaced and understood.

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  18. To be honest, this is awful and it makes me beyond angry, one for the women, and two because right now I am in a position where I can not one on one help those woman. Firstly, in part of your blog when you talked about the burning of wives and mothers and how when they die, their children are left as orphans, most of then are then kidnapped and injured in order to get sympathy money off the streets, which is horrifically depressing because it is not their faults. Also it is amazing how even in America, Indian men still walk around acting as if they were in India. My mother, sister, and I have been approached in a sexual manner by Indian men that were in America, so not only are they doing these things in their own country, but they are also coming to other countries with the same since of "entitlement". Moving on in the article you had us read, there was one sentence that truly stuck out to me, "We should be burning dowry, not women." This quote is just so powerful and impactful all in itself. I loved how the author challenges to abolish the ways of selling women. Also reading this article, it really got me thinking bout how when you ask people about slavery in the world today, most people will tell you that is gone, but it is not true, there is slavery all around us, except it is not being recognized by it. I feel like it is being focused on just discrimination too much and is not focusing on that these woman are being sold into marriage enslavements where they are expected to do whatever the man wants. Also hearing about the testimonies from Indian women, their encounters are horrific. The first woman in the first video, talking about how killing her daughters is a sin, that melted me right there because that lines up with what I believe so much, that it was overwhelming to know other woman across the world in the pressured society still felt that way about that action.
    As far as what I am passionate about, I am passionate about everything. I am passionate about God given rights and freedom from harm and to live the way God has commanded us to. I can't stand the made up nonsense that the Karan says this is okay when it is just ritual that does. And as far as how will I use words to help these women, I will pray. I believe that prayer is the most powerful way to use words because it connects the spirit of God with your words being spoken and the reason it is powerful is because God answers.

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  19. Before reading this article and before discussing it in class, I have never heard of dowry. I'm sure many other people are also do not realize how dangerous it is to be a woman in those countries. It is AWFUL what women have to go through. Just because someone is a women, does not make it okay to lesson their value. That woman is still a human being. These women also deserve to be treated as a human being. Discrimination of gender or any type of discrimination is completely wrong. We are all humans. Yet a lot of people do not care.
    I was horrified when I read that one bride is burnt every hour. It is sicking the number of women that have died because of this. I also found it shocking that the women's family will not accept back if she has survived this tragedy. If the women did die in the "kitchen accident" her kids would be left as orphans. This is not fair to the poor children, who had nothing to do with it. This will effect them and leave them traumatized growing up. I'm glad that there are organizations for women who go through this to get help. But it is so horrible that this occurs in that country. It is even more horrific that this is something that is so common in the country. It is also sad when a women commits suicide because of the dowry. These women will be in my prayers.

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  20. Going through this post, and articles, it all reminds me of 'Slumdog Millionaire', and my parents work in India with Hopegiver's International. In 'Slumdog Millionaire', there really is insightful information about how India works, even though it is a fiction work. These 2 boys are raised in poverty, a rival religious group came and killed Hindu's, including his mother, and they went to fend for themselves, and had to go through things like what Sam highlighted earlier, they had their eyes burned out, and were forced to learn a song so they could go onto the streets and make money. A childhood friend of the main character, who is separated from them, then found 6 or so years later, is a high priced female, because she is a pretty virgin, and is treated as such, a sex symbol to be destroyed by the highest bidder. It shows how things still are in other places, and opens your eyes to how the world really is.
    From that, my parents and grandparents, and sisters, and many family friends all go to India for the summer to work in orphanages with Hopegivers International. My family knows the man who runs it. He's a close family friend. Going there, they have built more orphanages, taught young boys how to go and be missionaries, and more. Through this, they give back to the children left over from ancient practices like bride burnings, and in general, children left on the streets.
    I think we can all give back, and help. Donate money, donate time, share links on your facebook pages, in general, keep people informed. It's all very horrific, but we can change things. We really can.

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  21. I will simply never understand how some family members in Indian can see their “loved ones” suffer or make them suffer themselves. One of the reasons girls are not wanted it is because once they are born, they are born with the promise of a second class life. That does not only make it hard for her family but it also putting the family itself at risk if anything goes wrong. A daughter is a liability to them. It is sad how people think that their religion is a demand. Religion should only be a guide not a demand. There is a difference. I read an article not too long ago stating that women and girls with disabilities in Indian are forced into mental hospitals and the conditions are horrible and very unsanitary. I directly quote “women are treated worse than animals”. These young girls/women are dumped in institutions by their family members or even the police! Only because the government fails to provide them with any kind of support. Most men think that they are superior to women in India; this a common trend that follows the family chain because once the men think that then they will raise their sons to think the same. Once you are raised one way, it is really hard to stray away from the perspective you have been drilled into your head for so long. These kind of situations should be spread throughout social media or even word of mouth. These women need everyones help.

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  22. After watching the videos and reading the article, I just kind of stared at my screen for a few minutes processing all of this information. It's shocking, jaw-dropping, eye-opening, terrifying, and any other word that could possibly describe awe and amazement due to the horrendous practices related to abuse in marriages from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. I had no idea that the burning of brides who could not pay their dowry even existed! I knew about the abuse in marriages and that marrying early was normal but to take it to another level and burning the brides before they even spend a day with their new husbands seems very extreme to me.

    First of all, let me just say that women are very important on this Earth. We are the ones who give birth and having less women will not help the population grow. If a woman is going to have a girl why is that such a bad thing?! Women are horrible but they give birth to men. Boys come from women, so doesn't that make boys just as bad? It's a precious new life that should be cared for and loved regardless of their gender. Nobody can control what gender they are. It is what it is and you shouldn't have to suffer from that just because the world you live in says it's a bad thing.

    I have always wanted to travel the world, so now that I know about how women are treated in Afghanistan, it makes me want to go there even more and live like they do for a few weeks and try to help women(while in disguise (; ha!). I feel like I will see everyone differently and try to make a change in the way people see women. Women have just as much potential in the world than men do and we should be treated equally as well.

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  23. My heart goes out to those women. There have been so many times in history where innocent people were killed because of things that are not in their control, like because of their race and in this case their gender. This honestly really makes me very angry. I dont even know where the idea that men are more important than woman came from but throughout history it has been that way and it really needs to change. I believe every person is equal no matter what gender, race, or anything else you are. Innocent people should not be losing their lives because of the stupidity of ones beliefs. This really irritates me.

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  24. Discrimination is such an ugly thing, isn’t it? With a Muslim mother, I grew up seeing and hearing a lot of it. Of course, never to the extent of these Afghani girls, but some things remain the same. My mother, at the age of thirteen, was sold into marriage with a 50 year old man in order to pay off her brother’s gambling debt. She, of course, wasn’t too happy, and fled to another country. Her father never spoke to her again. Later in life, after the 9/11 tragedy, she could not go outside, for every time she did, people would throw things at her, like fruit and silverware. Seeing this impacting her so greatly, I had always tried to be accepting of everyone and everything, as long as it didn’t cause harm to others. Discrimination solves nothing, and I firmly believe it has a very negative affect on all who do it. I do not think we are innately cruel beings. I hope to God that one day, horrible things like this won't have a place in any society. One day, I hope everyone will realize that all living beings are equal, and not one should be killed or maimed for things they can't help.

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  25. It's sometimes hard to process that these things happen everyday since we live in such a sheltered society. Although I can see discrimination on a television show or read about it in a novel, it's still overwhelming to take a step back and realize these aren't just tales from our past, they're horrible flaws of our present.
    I wish I had the answer on why we discriminate and how we can stop it but I honestly don't. It's a thin line between culture and cruel, and most discrimination cases I've heard about are culture based. I don't know if we can ever change a culture's way of practice, no matter how much I may disagree with it but how do we prevent horrible injustices every day from occurring? It's truly heartbreaking to know that this is real, not fiction. How can humans do this to one another?

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  27. It is simply amazing how someone who lived a hundred years ago can still impact many lives to this day.
    Shakespeare is indeed a brilliant man, not only can his work be translated into different languages but it can expand someones knowledge just by being able to comprehend the text.
    He has the power to impact many lives. Especially when he wrote his plays so long ago and somehow for every century he still impacts everyone or at least relates to them somehow. His plays consists of tragedies, humor, history, and romance. This is one of the reasons we can relate to the plays and enjoy watching them because most people like romantic comedies and tragedies. They are very enjoyable; just like the first blog was talking about how it is a requirement for teens to read at least a Shakespearean novel (in some High Schools) and some students do enjoy it. I am certainly guilty as charge. I really enjoy his novels although I find them challenging to comprehend.
    I love how they are festivals solely focused on Shakespeare and his novels. It does truly impact the lives of the kids who are working with his techniques and language. It is amazing how there knowledge and understanding has increased at school due to them participating in his plays. It is hard to be able to comprehend the Shakespearean language & it’s impressive how kids at such a young age can have a passionate interests about his work.

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  28. Here in America the things these women go through are seen as awful, and wrong, but in the middle east it is the social norm. It's normal for a father to sell his daughter to another man at the age of 13. It's normal for a man to abuse his wife, because she broke the television set, or didn't do as he asked. Does that make it right though? Women are seen as objects not human beings in the middle east. I couldn't imagine being lit on fire, or what that feels like. But the men don't care in the middle east, because women are something they own, and they can do whatever they want with them. In America, there aren't many people who know this is going on, and that's why there are movements trying to help the women in the middle east. I hope that eventually the men in the middle east realize what they are doing and notice it's wrong.

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  29. This blog makes me feel blessed that I do live in America. It's sad to see that parents actually abort their child for being a female, or giving them away before the age of 18 to a man that is possibly a big gap in age. I feel bad for these woman because, as a female who pretty much had to grow up and be somewhat independent on my own, they cant do anything. It horrible how this is acceptable in some cultures and social classes.

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