Your Vagina Isn’t Just Too Big, Too Floppy, and Too Hairy—It’s Also Too Brown

by- Lindy West

Good news, ladies! Society has discoveredanother new thing that’s wrong with you, which means another opportunity for you to make yourself more attractive for your man. Score! Turns out, the color of your vagina is gross and everyone hates it. So bleach that motherfucker. Bleach it right now!

In this commercial for an Indian product called Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, a (very light-skinned) couple sits down for whatwould have been a peaceful cup of morning coffee—if the woman’s disgusting brown vagina hadn’t ruined everything! The dude can’t even bring himself look at her. He can’t look at his coffee either, because it only reminds him of his wife’s dripping, coffee-brown hole! Fortunately, the quick-thinking woman takes a shower, scrubbing her swarthy snatch with Clean and Dry Intimate Wash (“Freshness + Fairness”). And poof! Her vadge comes out blinding white like a downy baby lamb (and NOT THE GROSS BLACK KIND) and her husband—whose penis, I can only assume, is literally a light saber—is all, “Hey, lady! Cancel them divorce papers and LET’S BONE.”

Needless to say, certain citizens are troubled by this product—which, in addition to just being fucking insane, brings up painful issues about the hierarchy of skin tone within the Indian community. As if it isn’t bad enough that darker-skinned people are encouraged to stay out of the sun and invest in skin-bleaching products like Fair & Lovely, and that white actresses arebeing imported to play Indian people in Bollywood movies, now everyone has to be insecure about the fact that their vaginas happen to be the color that vaginas are??? Splendid! God, I was just saying the other day that my misogyny didn’t have enough racism in it.

So what are the pro-vadge-bleaching people thinking? Here’s a hilarious explanation from a male ad exec:

It is hard to deny that fairness creams often get social commentators and activists all worked up. What they should do is take a deep breath and think again. Lipstick is used to make your lips redder, fairness cream is used to make you fairer-so what’s the problem? I don’t think any Youngistani today thinks the British Raj/White man is superior to us Brown folk. That’s all 1947 thinking!

The only reason I can offer for why people like fairness, is this: if you have two beautiful girls, one of them fair and the other dark, you see the fair girl’s features more clearly. This is because her complexion reflects more light. I found this amazing difference when I directed Kabir Bedi, who is very fair and had to wear dark makeup for Othello, the Black hero of the play. I found I had to have a special spotlight following Kabir around the stage because otherwise the audience could not see his expressions.

See? It makes perfect sense. We just want our vaginas to reflect more light—is that so wrong? I mean, WHAT IF MY CAR BREAKS DOWN AT NIGHT AND I DON’T HAVE A REFLECTIVE ENOUGH VAGINA? Really, the ultimate one-vagina-to-rule-them-all would glow in the dark like one of those deep-sea fishes. I need my vagina to attract more krill so my husband will fuck me again! (My husband is a whale.)

Basically the idea is to get as far away as possible from any color that vaginas actually come in. Because that’s what’s at the heart of this type of thinking—the perfect vagina would be something that’s not a vagina at all.

Contact Lindy West:your-vagina-isnt-just-too-big-too-floppy-and-too-hairyits-also-too-brown

The grammar of politics and anarchy

On Ambedkar’s birth anniversary remembering his prophetic words about protecting constitutional methods

Ajit Ranade

Posted On Saturday, April 14, 2012 ,Pune Mirror

When Dr Bhimrao Ambedkarwarned against the real dangers to democracy, he was both prescient and propheticBhimrao Ambedkar, the fourteenth and youngest child of Dalit parents, whose father served as a sepoy in the British military cantonment at Mhow (near Indore), was born on April 14, 1891. He was twenty-two years younger than Mohandas Gandhi, and died in 1956, just a few years after Gandhi. But together these two had a lion’s share in the making of modern India.

Their origins, upbringing, experiences, language, world view and strategy were very dissimilar. Gandhi romanticised about the self-sustaining village life and economy. For Ambedkar, life in a village under the scourge of caste and untouchability, was nasty and brutal.

Gandhi strived to rid untouchability through moral purification, and change of heart of upper-caste people. Ambedkar would rather depend on instruments of the state and rule of law. Gandhi did not support a separate electorate for the Dalits, but agreed for Muslims, Sikhs and others. Ambedkar wanted a separate electorate, but couldn’t prevail.

Gandhi threw away western clothes, and preferred a simple loincloth, whereas Ambedkar’s suit and tie was symbolic, and inspirational to his millions of followers. They also differed deeply on their view of Hinduism, with Gandhi seeking spiritual guidance, whereas Ambedkar considering it deeply flawed (especially because of social stratification). There are other differences too numerous to list here, but the remarkable thing is the unity of the ultimate goal that both sought.

They both looked to a future society based on justice, equality and compassion. On the issue of caste, it can be said that such was their influence, that they together changed in sixty years, what was entrenched for more than two thousand years. They also had many commonalities, such as their law degrees, and stints abroad.

Gandhi also had an indirect role in ensuring that Ambedkar became the father of the constitution. This great document, on the basis of which the Indian republic was born, was a thoughtful and scholarly synthesis of all the great democratic traditions of the world.

During the historic concluding meeting of the Constituent Assembly (charged with creating the republic), on November 25, 1949, Pattabhi Sitaramayya said, “What after all is a constitution? It is a grammar of politics, if you like, it is a compass to the political mariner.”

In that same session, Ambedkar, using similar metaphor (of grammar), warned against the dangers to democracy: He famously said: “If we wish to maintain democracy not merely in form, but also in fact, what must we do? The first thing, in my judgment we must do, is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives.

It means we must abandon the bloody methods of revolution… abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and Satyagraha. When there was no way left for constitutional methods for achieving economic and social objectives, there was a great deal of justification for unconstitutional methods. But where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for these unconstitutional methods.

These methods are nothing but the grammar of anarchy and the sooner they are abandoned, the better for us.” These words are prophetic, for they warn us of dangers that are alive even today. Whether it is ‘taking to the streets’, or ‘spontaneous outburst of emotions’, or dharnas and riots, the dangers of breakdown of constitutionality are still real. It was one thing to fast against the British rule, but quite another to fast against a constitutionally-elected government.

In that same speech, he had prophetically warned against hero-worship and blind idolatry (read sycophancy). He said, “Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”

Finally, he also warned against social and economic inequality. He said, “How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril.

We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this (Constituent) Assembly has so laboriously built up.” Spoken decades before the scourge of the Maoists, Ambedkar was prescient and prophetic.

Argentinian farmers suing Monsanto for ‘poisoning’

By Anne Sewell

Apr 12, 2012 in World
Monsanto is once again in the news. This time they and other corporations are being sued for allegedly “knowingly poisoning farmers” in Argentina.
Farmers from Argentina allege agri-giant Monsanto, together with Philip Morris and other U.S. tobacco companies, asked them to use chemicals on their crops. Said chemicals have allegedly caused “devastating birth defects.”

The farmers say the corporations were aware of the implications but have failed to sufficiently warn farmers.

The corporations thus were driven “by a desire for unwarranted economic gain and profit,” farmers say.

The suit was filed this week at New Castle County Court, Delaware and Monsanto, Philip Morris Cos, Philip Morris USA, Carolina Leaf Tobacco, Universal Corporationand others are said to have “wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”

In a 55-page complaint filed with the court, it is alleged chemicals caused conditions to develop, including: “cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida, congenital heart defects, Down syndrome, missing fingers and blindness.”

The plaintiffs in the action are growers from mostly small and family-owned farms in the Misiones Provinceof Argentina.

They say they were asked to use pesticide and herbicide products produced by Monsanto and that these were proven to be poisonous.

Many of the farmers say they were forced to replace native tobacco crops with a variant that was favored by Philip Morris. This variant required more pesticides to harvest successfully. They were pushed to use Roundup, a Monsanto herbicide product. While the product was successful in killing the weeds, it apparently has terrible side effects due to the high concentration of the chemical glyphosate in the product.

The complaint claims: “Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers in Misiones, including the instant plaintiffs, lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup.”

Attorneys further argue that both Monsanto and Philip Morris “actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides” but that they failed to recommend the necessary protective measures to combat health risks.

“The plaintiff tobacco farmers’ lack of training and instruction on the safe disposal of unused Roundup and other pesticides caused further exposure,” the complaint states. “Leftover pesticides were discarded in locations where they leached into the water supply.”

The suit is requesting financial compensation and punitive damages for “negligence, product liability, breach of warranty, ultra hazardous activity, aiding and abetting, willful and wanton misconduct and violations of Argentine laws”, according to the Courthouse News Service.

In a recent Digital Journal article, Monsanto threatened to sue the state of Vermont, U.S.A. if legislators approved a bill forcing the labeling of GMO products. Following this threat Vermont suspended voting on the bill.

Read more:

The Left’s Untouchable

Why was Ambedkar’s critique of caste anathema for Indian Marxists?
It’s an abiding mystery of Indian politics: why the Left has consistently shown an uneasy reluctance to seriously engage with B.R. Ambedkar’s thoughts. When Ambedkar pushed for the Poona Pact in 1932, demanding separate electorates for Dalits, the Indian Left kept its distance from the issue. Symptomatically, E.M.S. Namboodiripad wrote: “This was a great blow to the freedom movement. For this led to the diversion of people’s attention from the objective of full independence to the mundane cause of the upliftment of the Harijans.”

EMS’s reaction to the Poona Pact was in consonance with his reading of Indian history in Marxist terms. Borrowing crudely from Marx’s understanding of the history of slavery, EMS found the caste system, despite its exploitative structure, to be “a superior economic organisation”, which facilitated organised production through a systematic allocation of labour. He didn’t note Ambedkar’s sophisticated distinction between “division of labour” and “division of the labourer” (including the hierarchy within that division) in the casteist relations of production. The eternal fixedness of the labourer with regard to his birth (as the “subject” who “will bear its Father’s name”), and the religious sanction behind such an identity, were deemed unimportant. Being mostly from the upper castes, Left scholars avoided examining the assumptions of caste.

Since before Independence, the mainstream Left framed the class question safely within the nationalist question; for EMS and his comrades, this issue was not a diversion.

Ambedkar had the courage to push for a radical division within the framework of nationalist politics, by asking for separate electorates. By calling Ambedkar’s cause “mundane”, EMS drew a specious distinction between the working class and Dalits, holding the former to be “superior”. Through this, EMS betrayed his predominantly upper-caste mindset. He is an exemplar of progressive casteism in the history of Left politics and thinking in India. This led to lower castes and Dalits not finding a place in the party hierarchy.

The most insidious form of caste solidarity ignores and hides the stark fact that caste is part of what Althusser calls the “apparatus” of ideology and is based in material existence. Every form of social practice (and exploitation) in India is contextually casteist. It creates conditions of multiple prejudice between the bourgeois and the working class (where the scavenging class/caste goes unnamed). And this prejudice becomes part of the relations of production as caste introduces elements of segregation and humiliation within those relations. In the case of untouchables, one might in fact call it relations of waste, where the disposing of sewage, etc, is not accorded even the minimum standard of dignified working conditions.

Ambedkar pointed out how the class system had an “open-door character”, whereas castes were “self-enclosed units”. He gave a brilliant explanation of caste’s forced endogamy: “Some closed the door: others found it closed against them.” The image throws up a phenomenon opposite to the Kafkan idea of law: the (Hindu) gatekeeper of law, in Ambedkar’s explanation, is also the lawgiver, and he allows entry by birth, but no exit. Once entry has been secured in Hindu society, as Ambedkar argued, everyone who is not a Brahmin is an other. Hinduism is a uniquely self-othering social system, whose (touchable) norms are secured by declaring a brutal exception: untouchability.

In his comparison of Buddha and Marx, Ambedkar bypasses Marx’s idea of private property and keeps out the question of capital ownership. He also does not complicate the relation between ‘law’ and ‘government’. These appear to be limitations of the historical conjuncture of Dalit politics. But Ambedkar finds the materialist and non-violent character of Buddhism to be evoking another thinkable historical version of a Marxist society.

Some critics in the Indian Left see the Dalit movement as being merely a ‘politics of recognition’ and having no revolutionary potential. It is a shallow view of the movement against segregated exploitation that seeks to penetrate entrenched hegemony. The politics against untouchability demands more than good wages and working conditions: it asks for a reconfiguration of the socio-cultural space and the elimination of a violated and untouchable ‘bare life’.

Ambedkar had warned that the Indian socialist would have to “take account of caste after the revolution, if he does not take account of it before the revolution”.

In a discussion after the screening of his film, Jai Bhim Comrade, Anand Patwardhan said that even though Gandhi erred on the caste system, he did more against untouchability than the Left. Under the stark light of this observation, the Left must rethink its ideological history. Or else, the crisis of its political legitimacy may not outlive the warnings.

Debolina starts hunger strike in jail

KOLKATA, april 14, TNN : Arrested activist Debolina Chakraborty has started hunger strike in the CID custody on Friday to support the Nonadanga movement. Six other jailed activists will also start fasting from Saturday. Other political prisoners in different jails, too, have decided to start hunger strike to show their solidarity towards the Nonadanga evictees.

Meanwhile, a Left Front delegation met the fasting activists at Nonadanga, adding fuel to the movement. The CPI team, led by former mayor in council Farjana Chowdhury, extended support to the anti-eviction activists. “We will bring the matter to the notice of the proper authority and feel that none should be evicted without proper rehabilitation,” said Farjana Chowdhury.

Left Front’s involvement in the Nonadanga movement, however, led Trinamool Congress to show their political strength. Later in the day, KMC councillor Ratan De and party’s students leader Shanku Deb Ponda took out a rally and and campaigned in favour of the eviction. The Trinamool leaders asked other locals to drive away the outsiders who are camping at Nonadanga.

But the agitators refused to give up. “We will continue our fast till the government sends us a positive feeler,” said Amitava Bhattacharya, one of the fasting activists. Trinamool MP Kabir Suman is likely to meet the fasting activists at Nonadanga on Saturday.

Activist asks India, Pak to mend ties

Jaipur, April 13 2012, DHNS:

Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney on Friday demanded tangible action from India and Pakistan to mend their strained relation and prove that the recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari was not another futile do.

Burney said the governments of the two countries should soon do away with city specific visa system and issue country visas that would enable visitors to move around freely, thus enhancing people to people contact.

Speaking to the media on his way to Ajmer to meet Khalil Chisthi, the Pakistani scientist who was jailed in the country for the last 20 years, Burney said: “Chishti’s release would go a long way in the release of similar prisoners languishing in the jails of both countries.”

He added that a number of persons held captive in both countries for espionage were fishermen who strayed into foreign shores unintentionally.

Speaking on Sarabjeet Singh, an Indian facing death penalty in Pakistan, Burney said: “His petition for reverting death to life imprisonment with the Pakistani president may see the light of day.” Burney is Singh’s lawyer.

He however said Singh and Chisthi’s cases were different. While Chishti was a co-accused in a brawl that led to death of a person, charges levelled against Singh were far more serious.

“The Pakistani Supreme court had upheld his death sentence but it was delayed for the last 22 years that comes to his favour. After such a long sentence in a death cell, handing out death penalty is a serious human rights violation, he said,” Burney said.

Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur and daughter Swapandeep also accompanied Burney to Ajmer.

Recently when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari visited India on a “pilgrimage visit”, octogenarian Pakistani scientist Chishti was released on “humanitarian grounds”.

The grapevine had it that it could pave the way for the release of Sarabjeet Singh too after the noble gesture shown by the neighbouring country.

Maoists sought release mostly of tribal activists

BHUBANESWAR, April 13, 2012

Prafulla Das

It may sound strange, but it is true. Of the 27 persons whose release the Naveen Patnaik government assured Maoists for securing freedom for the abducted Italian Bosusco Paolo (since freed) and Biju Janata Dal legislator Jhina Hikaka, 24 are tribals and they reportedly have nothing to do with Naxals operating in their region in Orissa.

Of the remaining three, only two are Maoists, according to Dandapani Mohanty, convener of the Jan Adhikar Manch, who acted as interlocutor for talks with the government. The two Maoists are Murla Neelam Reddy and Setu Pangi, both hailing from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The other person, Subhashree Das, is the wife of Sabyasachi Panda, secretary of the Odisha State Organising Committee of the Communist Party of India(Maoist), which had kidnapped Mr. Paolo from Kandhamal district on March 14.

26 persons yet to be released

Ms. Das was released from jail after a fast track court at Gunupur in Koraput district acquitted her on Tuesday. The remaining 26 persons were not released till Thursday.

Land rights activists

Mr. Mohanty told The Hindu that the 24 tribals, whose release was demanded by the two different groups of Maoists who had kidnapped Mr. Paolo and Mr. Hikaka, were activists of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), a local outfit fighting for land rights for tribals for nearly two decades.

He said the cases against these activists pertained to an attack on the Narayanpatna police station in Koraput district, taking over possession of their land that had been in the custody of non-tribal families for long, and a quarrel between the two CMAS factions. Eighty-nine other CMAS activists, who faced similar cases, were already acquitted by different courts, Mr. Mohanty claimed. But many were still facing trial.

Common demand

As for the fresh demand by the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI(Maoist) — which had abducted Mr. Hikaka from Koraput district on March 24 — for release of five more persons, Mr. Mohanty said only one of them, Ghasi, was a Maoist. The other four were social activist and CMAS advisor Gananath Patra and three activists of the tribal outfit that was fighting for land rights for tribal people as well as opposing liquor trade in their region.

Interestingly, both groups of Maoists had demanded the release of Mr. Patra, who was acquitted by a court in Koraput district during the day in a case of atrocities on Scheduled Caste people, for want of evidence. In the recent past, he was acquitted in an abduction case. But two more cases are still pending against him.


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April 2012
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