Rap Against Rape Culture

Meet the two women using rap to fight rape culture in India

“We’re now known as the land of rapes. But did you ever wonder how this took shape?”

That’s just one of the lines from a provocative new rap video that’s making headlines around the world.

Mumbai-based rap duo BomBaebs, which includes artist Uppekha Jain and TV host Pankhuri Awasthi, released a spoken-word piece on YouTube last week called “Rap Against Rape,” and the video has already been viewed nearly 500,000 times as of Monday afternoon.

Adjuncts are Exploited Educators

The New Yorker: O Adjunct! My Adjunct!

Adjuncts are generally hired on semester-to-semester contracts, given no health insurance or retirement benefits, no office, no professional development, and few university resources. Compensation per course—including not just classroom hours but grading, reading, responding to student e-mails, and office hours—varies, but the median pay, according to a recent report, is twenty-seven hundred dollars. Many adjuncts teach at multiple universities, commuting between two or three schools in order to make ends meet, and are often unable to pursue their own academic or artistic work because of their schedules. In the past four decades, tenured and tenure-track positions have plummeted and adjunct instructor jobs have soared, second only in growth to administrators. Adjuncts have always had roles to play: filling in for a last-minute class, covering for a professor on sabbatical, providing outside expertise for a one-off, specialized course. But the position was not designed to provide nearly half of a school’s faculty or the majority of a person’s income. It’s estimated that adjuncts constitute more than forty per cent of all instructors at American colleges and universities.

When Women Dare Speak on Social Media

Identities.Mic: Actress Ashley Judd, who has been active in Hollywood for more than two decades, is also a die-hard University of Kentucky Wildcats fan. While watching her team play the University of Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday, Judd posted a since-deleted tweet that suggested the Razorbacks were playing dirty — an act that apparently triggeredan avalanche of online abuse, much of which was sexual in nature.

It’s not new; we’ve seen this over and over, more and more light has been shed on this issue, and yet it still remains an issue.

Then again, I suppose that should be of no surprise. Feminism, off and on social media, is still up for debate, women are raped and abused daily (as are men who dare show any sign of femininity). So, if we haven’t fixed those problems over the centuries, why should we expect any less from social media?

We’re worried about when protecting people becomes pure policing, and restrictions on freedom of speech. I understand that. But, it becomes a cycle of pure hypocrisy; men want to feel free to say what they please about women and to women, and then complain about their freedom when someone objects. But, what they say about and to women is, in turn, doing to women what men don’t want done to them. These men are out to shut women up, but can’t handle it in return.

There has to be a way to define social media use, so that the difference between freedom of speech and useless, and potentially harmful, harassment become clear.

Some online forums have tried to do this by eliminating particular words. That never works. One possibility would be to observe how words are used; are they directed at someone, or used in general?

But, even then, you risk policing, and it’s hard to be objective.

You’ll always have people (mostly men) crying that women are too sensitive, and who will refuse to see that the greater amount of harassment, bullying, threats, and violence happens to women, no matter how much proof you show. Unfortunately, some of these people are in positions of power that allow them to crush any potential change.

So, what is to be done?

A dear friend of mine engaged in a debate recently about a transgender woman being removed from a gym bathroom after another woman complained, and her membership being revoked as a result. Just for expressing her opinion on the issue (and yes, she was being very reasonable in her debate), she was doxed. They even went so far as to anonymously e-mail her employer. I hated myself a little for telling her that, though I agree it was wrong of them to do that, she needed to be more careful about debating people on the internet. When she does that, she becomes a target (an undeserving one, obviously).

Unfortunately, there’s not much to be done at this point. Like the unfair way in which we’re expected to deal with rape culture, we must deal with online harassment. We have to be cautious. Until other, more broad and related things change, wave to tread carefully, lest we become the next tragic headline that arouses another short-lived, quickly-smothered cry for justice.

MindBodyGreen: 21 Signs You Need Change

I’ve found that the only way for a person to bring positive change to her life is if she makes the ultimate decision to do so. Sometimes people need to hit rock bottom before they realize that the only person responsible for their fulfillment is themselves; that said, many are able to make huge, lasting change in their lives simply by making small tweaks over a long period of time.

I have been thinking about this a lot, lately. It’s been weighing very, very heavily on me. I’ve put myself in a position which makes it difficult to have a real change in my life. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that change takes risk.

It’s time for change.