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Illegal abortions in Indonesia, the story of a brave woman.

I’m pregnant. I need someone to talk to.


Sanne van Oosten

A quaint house in the middle of a rice field, not really the place where one would expect the headquarters of the Indonesian women’s reproductive rights movement to be. But it is. When you walk inside, women’s rights posters from all over the world decorate the house. The founder and leader of Samsara, Inna Hudaya, welcomed us into her house in the middle of a rice field. She lives in a small remote village to be able to be as anonymous as possible. The village doesn’t know about her work, and she’d like to keep it that way. They think she works in educating women on sexuality. For her own safety, that’s all they should know.

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Ponderings of a pregnant feminist

london-pregnant-womenWhat happens when a feminist becomes pregnant? Does she hate her body? Does she wish she were a man? Does she wallow in misery? Not this feminist. Every change in my body is received with joy, even the (mild, yes I’m lucky) nausea is easy to get through with the thought that it is leading us to having our own child. The swelling belly is exciting, the growing out of my pants is exciting, the ultrasound: all very exciting. So what did happen when this feminist became pregnant? Well, I noticed some conspicuous social interactions that need to be criticized.

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Why we need female role models, even if fictional

Sanne van Oosten

With the premier of The Girl Who Played With Fire coming up, I am hoping that Hollywood managed to make the lead Lisbeth Salander as inspirational to women as the version in the novel by Stieg Larsson was. The second book to the Millenium­-trilogy was the book in which the character Lisbeth Salander was given depth that is unique for female characters in the history of literature.

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Mirror mirror on the wall, which movie breaks the most gender stereotypes of them all?

Sanne van Oosten

Is it the movie Hunger Games featuring female action hero Katnis Everdeen? Is it The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo featuring the relentless hacker Lisbeth Salander? Wrong and wrong! It might just be the modern day rendition of the notoriously sexist fairy tale of Snow White. Mirror Mirror with Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the evil stepmother. Let’s run through the ways in which Mirror Mirror breaks and reinforces gender stereotypes, in a match between breaking and reinforcing.

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The inefficiency of sexism in Japan

Sanne van Oosten

Japan is the land of efficiency. If a machine can do the job, then let the machine do that job! If a person can do something in a more efficient manner, make up a system in which this happens! There is no country in the world that is this efficient, and we’re having a lot of fun being amazed by all the smart tricks of the Japanese. However, there is one way that Japan can be even more efficient. But first I’ll tell you about the ways in which Japan is very efficient.

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Yet another case of blaming the rape-victim

Protesting comfort women in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul

Sanne van Oosten

This rainy Wednesday afternoon in Seoul we headed towards the Japanese embassy to see the weekly “Comfort Women Protest.” Since it was raining we were afraid nobody would be there, but the contrary turned out to be true: a large group of men and women of all ages were gathered armed with banners, camera’s, loudspeakers and an army of police.

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How Hong Kong’s domestic workers are becoming visible

Sanne van Oosten

Walk around the center of Hong Kong on any given Sunday and you’ll notice massive amounts of women hanging around. If you don’t know what it is it can be quite puzzling. You see women picnicking, playing cards, talking on their cell-phone, chatting and generally having a good time. These women are mostly Hong Kong’s Filipina domestic workers.

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Maids plummeting to their death is their own uneducated fault?

Sanne van Oosten

Once again, Singapore manages to shock me with its complete lack of human decency and civilization. The Bangkok Post featured an article which revealed a shocking statistic: “Eight Indonesian maids have fallen to their deaths from high-rise apartments in Singapore this year.” But not only this, it is seen as their own uneducated fault.

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Does religiosity work?

Davey Meelker

Are Muslim women held back because of their religion? This is a much discussed question in today’s post-9/11 world. In this world, gender equality is plays an important role in the politics of Western Europe. In her recently published research, Van Oosten argues that gender equality is instrumentalized as a modern justification for scrutiny of (Muslim) immigrants. Especially Islam is targeted for its restrictive rules towards its female adherents. But how true are such statements? Van Oosten’s recent research in the Netherlands points out that Muslim female emancipation has nothing to do with religiosity.

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From Lady Gaga to Katniss Everdeen and The Avengers: Why it is better to be a girl in puberty now than 10 years ago

Sanne van Oosten

Sometimes I envy girls who are going through puberty now as opposed to me, who did so about a decade ago. Now there are so many more women to look up to in pop culture than there were back then. Here’s a brief comparison.

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