What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Well - maybe naked breasts can be liberating!

Some time ago I did a post about how more bare skin in Muslim countries is unlikely to be a sign of women's liberation. The headline was 'showing cleavage is not liberation' - and now I might have to eat my own words!

In Sweden a group of feminists are trying to spark a debate about the social norms that discrimate the female body. They call themselves 'Bara Bröst' (naked breasts) and their activities include topless visits to public swimming pools. According to Bare Bröst it should be socially accepted for women to be naked in the same situation as men - it's simply wrong to consider breasts as a part of the female genitalia.

Read the manifesto of Bare Bröst here (scroll down for English) or join their Facebook group.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is this feminism?

Is this a silly pop song or a feministic statement - or possibly both? I have no clue since I don't know a whole lot about French Yelle.

Here's the chorus translated (if it's not perfect then blame Google translate :-)):

I want to see you
In a pornographic film
In action with your cock
Shape potatoes or fries
To find out
About your anatomy
About your cousin Teki
And your accessories fetish

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In Sofia!

Today's the big day! I am in Sofia for the PES Council. Besides reading this blog there are also other online activities that you can take part in:

You can watch PES TV - 'near live' streaming of the plenary debates and press conferences via pes.org (starting in 1-2 hours) or (!) you can take part in live blogging on the PES manifesto home page.

I wish you two pleasant PES Council days!

Friday, November 16, 2007

An excursion to Sofia - adding the feminist perspective!

Next week this blog will be on the road! Together with other PES activists I will be blogging from the PES Council in Sofia. You'll be able to read my reports here and on Yourspace, the manifesto consultation website.

For those of you who doesn't know the PES, maybe a few words on the party would be appropriate. 'PES' is short for 'Party of European Socialists' (or 'De Europæiske Socialdemokrater' in Danish), it's a European-level party which gathers Europe's socialist and social democratic parties. More than 150 delegates from the national parties will take part in this year's Council (party leaders, members of national parties, international secretaries, members of the European Parliament...) - and a lot of PES activists! And, oh yes, the Danes reading this might now the PES president, it's our former prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen!

The big topic of the Council will be the party's manifesto ('valgprogram' in Danish) for the 2009 European elections. As the first European party the PES has taken a button-up approach to writing its manifesto: right now the party is asking people in Europe what they think should be its priorities for the years to come. I really think this is an exciting project.

In Sofia there will be a number of sessions devoted to gender equality. One is a debate on women and leadership and I look very much forward to discussing what socialists and social democrats can do to ensure more women leaders - in all parts of Europe. My current stand is that a quota system (like in Norway) is desireable, but I will be open to other views. Given the Norwegian experiences I am convinced this model can work in Scandinavian countries, but I am curious to know what politicians and women rights activists from other parts of Europe think about this. Could it, for example, work in Italy or Bulgaria?

Without doubt the Council days will be busy, but I'm eager to spend some time on posting. Now I have a team of PES activist bloggers to motivate me, and I'm sure they'll keep me up on my promise.

"It doesn't really interest us"

If you're Danish and interested in gender women's rights and gender issues it seems quite obvious who not to vote for at the next national election. Denmark's soon-to-be parties in government do not have a whole lot to say on gender equality. The liberal party couldn't even bring itself to answer the questionnaire. Read the article here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go, left-wing!

Tonight's the night of the Danish national elections! Keep your fingers crossed!

It has, by the way, been very interesting to see that educational politics has been on the agenda of this election campaign. If the next elections will bring a debate of gender equality, I will never complain again about the monotony of topics!

Socialists of Europe, unite!

'Open source social democracy' is the slogan of a new initiative by the Party of European Socialists (or 'De Europæiske Socialdemokrater' in Danish'). Being generally enthusiastic about democracy and communication initiatives at the European level this campaign has certainly caught my attention.

The Party of European Socialists invites Europe's bloggers and political activists to give their five cents to a common manifesto for Europe's socialist and social democratic parties in the next European elections. The PES manifesto campaign has a home on the internet, Yourspace, and it is essentially a blog where people with an interest in European politics can sign up to post and comment.

What do you think should be on the agenda of socialists in Europe? My username is 'Asynjen' and I'm saying gender equality!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Showing cleavage is not liberation

I just read a really interesting diary entry at the European Tribune. I have taken the liberty of an extensive quote - but I suggest to read the post in full.

"...a lot of "Westerners" seem to have this idea that Arab women are all covered up and hidden from view. And in some places, yeah, they are.

But even in the most conservative, Islamist parts of the Arab world, there is this newfangled thing called television, and with satellite television comes the Rotana network, owned by a very wealthy member of the Saudi royal family. Rotana is one of a growing number of hugely popular MTV-like Arabic pop music video stations, populated largely by beeeeyuuuutiiifuul scantily clad women which Abu Aardvark (otherwise known as Professor Marc Lynch) has dubbed Pop Tarts, aka the Nancy-Haifa Culture Wars.

But the pop tarts don't just inspire hand-wringing and controversy among the conservatives. There are also Arab feminists and progressive Arab women who -- like many others who'd call themselves neither feminist nor progressive -- are deeply divided about whether these "video clips" are helping or hurting.

Because, you know, there's also that whole Orientalism thing, and as Ruby reminded us above, the Middle East is no stranger to that painful stereotype of the exotic, seductive female. And this centuries-old image has not brought with it much in the way of liberation."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Help the Danes

I just came across a cause called 'Help the Danes!' on Facebook. I thought it was pretty funny - so here's the description:

Help the Danes adapt to the globalized World

We, the Danes, are very nice people but we are afraid of the World. It's not, that we don't want to meet others and learn from them. It's just, we are used to things being done in one way and one way only! Please help us, the Danes, to a higher level of cultural intelligence so that Denmark doesn't become a 43.000 km2 national-romantic museum of how things used to be in the past. Help!

Travel to Denmark!
Invite us Danes to Travel to your place!
Talk to us Danes whereever you meet us!