Dec 14, 2013

Netzfeministischer Jahresrückblick 2013


Heute ist bei iRights.info mein netzfeministischer Jahresrückblick erschienen. Der Text kann entweder nach dem Klick kostenfrei online gelesen oder im 176 Seiten dicken Jahresrückblick Netzpolitik als eBook oder Printausgabe käuflich erworben werden. Außer meinem sind darin Artikel von Edward Snowden, Sascha Lobo, Dirk von Gehlen und Stefan Niggemeier enthalten. Leseempfehlung!

Dec 10, 2013

Ashtanga Yoga und Tattoos

Letzte Woche ist die neue Ausgabe des kostenlosen Online-Magazins ROSEGARDEN erschienen, zu dem ich einen Beitrag über Ashtanga Yoga und Tattoos beitragen durfte. Als kleines Schmankerl ist dem Text ein Interview mit meinem Lehrer David Robson angehängt, der selbst weiß, wie sich das Surren einer Tätowiernadel anfühlt. Los geht es auf Seite 50, Feedback immer wieder gerne.

Oct 30, 2013

Wer nicht isst, bleibt dumm

Teresa Bücker und Mario Sixtus haben einen Clip gedreht, in dem es um Essstörungen geht. Ein thematischer Dauerbrenner und vor dem genannten Hintergrund dessen, dass das tägliche Kalorienrechnen immer Hirnkapazitäten frisst, die an anderer Stelle konstruktiver eingesetzt werden könnten, auf jeden Fall ein Denkanstoß zum Umgang mit der Problematik. Unter dem Titel "Kriegserfahrungen" hat Teresa ihre Punkte im Film auf ihrem Blog außerdem schriftlich ergänzt.  

Sep 17, 2013

"Überwachte Gesellschaft" - Das erste E-Book zum Alltag nach PRISM


iRights.Media hat heute früh das E-Book "Überwachte Gesellschaft" veröffentlicht. Darin enthalten sind Texte und Interviews, die sich mit der Frage beschäftigen, was die derzeitige Totalüberwachung des Internets durch diverse Geheimdienste eigentlich für unsere Gesellschaft bedeutet. Neben Essays wie "Auf dem Weg zum Überwachungsstaat" finden sich in der Datei auch eine Chronologie der Enthüllungen des Whistleblowers Edward Snowden sowie Einschätzungen zum Thema Datensicherheit in der Cloud.
Das E-Book kann für 4,99€ auf Amazon und iTunes erworben oder - zumindest in Teilen - aus bereits auf iRights.info erschienenen Artikeln umsonst zusammengeklaubt werden. Es wird im Zuge neuer Enthüllungen aktualisiert werden und steht unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz, seine Weitergabe ist also ausdrücklich erwünscht.

Aug 14, 2013

It Can Wait



"From One Second To The Next" is Werner Herzog's heartbreaking new documentary on texting and driving. Watch this full length clip to be reminded that whatever it is you think you need to say, it can wait til you're there.

Jul 22, 2013

GCB Tests: The Ruby Cup

The Ruby Cup

tldr: Eco-friendly, cheap, convenient. Absolute recommendation! 

Not too long ago, I received an email asking me whether I'd like to test Ruby Cup, a re-usable menstrual hygiene product developed by a female-run social business. According to the email, Ruby Cup was a healthy, safe, convenient, cost-saving and environmentally friendly way of dealing with your monthly business (or, as coined by Stan, "shark week"): You insert it, leave it alone for four to twelve hours depending on your flow, take it out to empty it, and put it back in. Every month, after your period is done, you boil it in hot water and put it away until next month. Sounded easy as pie.

Originally designed for women in developing countries, the advantages of the cup are obvious for women anywhere: Less tampon waste, less money spent every month, no need to run to the bathroom every couple of hours, no drying out of your vagina's natural balance. And since the Ruby Cup is made of non-allergenic medical grade silicone, it can be used up to ten years. A totally novel concept for me - I had only ever used disposable tampons. Admittedly, I was a little worried about whether I really would be able to do "everything", as the product's 'You can do everything!' slogan indicates. "Everything" to me includes lots of Yoga, upside down poses on the later days of my period, and being generally active just as I would be using tampons.

With the Ruby Cup in hand, I was prepared for a long session in the bathroom to figure out how to place it right. Turns out, inserting it took only about two seconds longer than a tampon would have. The idea is to create a leak-proof vacuum by putting the cup right up the cervix. Depending on your anatomy and preferences, you can then shorten the little knob at the lower and of the cup that you would use to pull it back out (I just left it). If all goes well, just like with tampons, you won't feel a thing of the cup. For me, in the very beginning, I did feel a little more pressure on my bladder, but that went away as soon as I moved around a little; one of the advantages of silicone is that it warms up with your body and becomes flexible. So flexible, in fact, that it wanders right up to where it needs to sit almost by itself. 

Taking the Ruby Cup out was a bit of a dance the first couple of times, similar to when you start using contacts. And I do have to say that even with practice, it is not the most comfortable of feelings. I really had to activate my lower abs and pelvic floor, because it does sit a little higher up than an ordinary tampon would. Working against the vacuum still feels unusual and, frankly, can be quite hard work. But you get used to it quickly and I'd rather spend half a minute longer in the bathroom than keep on spending money for tampons or worrying about tampon strings. I'm so happy those strings are gone! So don't get disheartened if working the cup needs a little practice - I found it was totally worth it.

How to use the Ruby Cup. (Source)
Once the Ruby Cup's out, the bloody cup is a bit of mess, but you get used to that, too. There was just one incident when it leaked due to my mistake (I got that fixed by taking it out and re-inserting it).

By the end of my period, I had gotten used to working the cup with similar ease like I would have tampons. I found the Ruby Cup especially great during the last couple of days of my period. Because you can let it sit for up to 12 hours, I only had to remove it once in the morning and once at night - ideal for travelling (but do watch out for bathrooms where the sink is located outside of the toilet booth - you might not want to wash your used cup for everyone to see.)

The Ruby cup comes at 27,95€ a piece or 45,95€ for a double pack - just order with a friend or give the other one away. You can find the online shop here. They also have an FAQ section.

Have you made your own experiences with (other) menstrual cups? Would love to hear about them in the comment section! 

* Full disclosure: I have not received any money to write this positive review, just a product sample. *

Jul 3, 2013

EntdeckerInnen gesucht!

Noch bis zum 22. Juli können sich BloggerInnen für einen beinahe kostenlosen Kurztrip nach Neuseeland bewerben (Reisezeitraum: Ende September bis Anfang Oktober). Die Teilnahme an der Ausschreibung ist einfach, nur das Kleingedruckte will beachtet werden. Weitere Informationen gibt es hier.

Jun 20, 2013

Fuck Yeah Missy Magazine!

Falls Ihr es nicht längst habt, holt Euch noch das aktuelle Missy Magazine bevor es wieder aus den Kioskregalen verschwindet. Ich finde das Heft ja eh gut, aber die aktuelle Ausgabe ist wirklich ganz besonders gelungen! Danke Chris, Sonja, Stefanie, Katrin und Margarita für so viel erhellenden Input.

Jun 7, 2013

GCB Shares: Get Involved!


Im September findet in verschiedenen Städten wieder die Social Media Week statt. Noch werden Mitwirkende und SpeakerInnen gesucht. Mehr Infos findet Ihr hier.

International:
 “Together for Europe - Advocate Europe”, an initiative supported by Germany’s Stiftung Mercator, promotes ideas that show enthusiasm for the European cause. The Mercator Foundation will award up to € 50,000 to small and medium-sized projects that are innovative, politically and socially relevant, and directly related to real life. Deadline for applications is 30 June 2013, find more info on the programme and how to submit grant applications here.

Project-E sucht immer wieder PraktikantInnen, die gerne für eine Weile in Äthiopien leben und arbeiten möchten.

Das Team for Youth Association sucht ab 01. Juli zwei Freiwillige aus Deutschland, die für acht Monate in Rumänien leben möchten. Währenddessen soll mensch sich direkt für Schulen, Jugendzentren und andere Orte für junge Menschen einsetzen. Zum Abschluss des Programms soll ein einwöchiger "Carneval of Non-Formal Education" gestaltet werden. Weitere Infos bitte so schnell wie möglich per Email beim CGE Erfurt e.V. (evs@cge-erfurt.org, 0361 602 1515) erfragen.

Ebenfalls über den CGE Erfurt e.V. läuft der internationale Trainingskurs „Equal chances for all – a chance for a better future“, der vom 23.06. bis 02.07.2013 in Vranjacka Banja, Serbien stattfindet. Dafür werden noch zwei TeilnehmerInnen aus Deutschland gesucht (keine Altersbeschränkung):
The training tackles the topic of social inclusion and combating marginalization towards migrant and minorities which main objectives to develop how to use different models used for integration of minorities in society. This TC will bring together young people, youth workers and leaders involved in inclusive projects coming from Italy, Republic of Macedonia, Albania, France, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Israel, Latvia, Greece, Netherland, Montenegro, Kosovo, Germany and Serbia who are working with minority or migrants or who want to learn and understand how to include minority and migrant youth in social life. Its main aim is to develop the skills and knowledge of youth workers and youth leaders and to make them more prepared to contribute to social inclusion and active participation of minority and migrant youth. 
Die Reisekosten werden zu 70% erstattet, Unterkunft und Verpflegung sind frei. CGE Erfurt e.V. berechnet eine Bearbeitungsgebühr in Höhe von 38 EUR. InteressentInnen melden sich bitte umgehend bei office@cge-erfurt.org unter Angabe des Betreffs TC Chances13 SB.


Hier könnt Ihr an einer Studie zum Thema Einwanderung in Deutschland teilnehmen und so die entsprechende Forschung unterstützen. 

Call for Papers:

Citizens for Europe is currently inviting submissions for their Open Citizenship magazine. Topic: "The promise of urban citizenship: Lessons for Europe": 
"The upcoming issue of Open Citizenship will examine how we can conceive of a politically active, legally protected and socially embedded citizen beyond the nation-state, specifically in cities. Cities create a shared identity for their inhabitants, provide a clear place of action and are often sites of innovative citizen engagement and active citizenship. In this issue, we will shine a light on what is happening in cities in order to learn lessons applicable to European citizenship and point out emerging challenges and concerns. Can urban citizenship and a local, residency-based organisation of rights and duties serve as an alternative to nation-state and supranational citizenship regimes? How can we appropriately define its scope in terms of civil, political and social rights and duties and how can we position it vis-à-vis national, supranational and even global scales?"
Different types of contributions are allowed: Academic essays, commentaries, reviews, etc. Abstracts will be accepted until June 17th, 2013. Submission deadline for full articles is July 15th, 2013. Please send your abstracts, submissions and questions to: submissions@citizensforeurope.org. For more info check out their website.

Die Deutsche Nachwuchsgesellschaft  für Politik- und Sozialwissenschaft sucht Vortragende (nur Studierende und Promovierende) für eine Fachtagung zum Thema Sport und Gesellschaft im November 2013 in Kiel. Auch Genderthemen sind willkommen! Einsendeschluss für Papers ist der 14. August 2013. Weitere Infos hier.


In Berlin:

Am 24. Juni findet an der FU Berlin die Gründungsveranstaltung von Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) statt. Eingeladen sind alle Interessierten, vor allem jene, die die deutsche Zweigstelle der Initiative mitaufbauen möchten. Anmeldung und weitere Workshopinfos über ASAPDeutschland@gmail.com, die internationale Projektseite findet sich hier.

May 30, 2013

What's 'Provocative', Anyway?


Here's Laurie Penny saying some very smart and interesting things yet again. Her blog has moved to a new address, by the way, so make sure to click the link and update your reader!

May 29, 2013

Mobile Education mitentwickeln!

Photo: techcrunch.com
Am 11. Juni findet im betahaus in Berlin um 15.30 Uhr ein offener Workshop zum Thema Mobile Education statt. Eingeladen sind Developer, Kreative und Lehrer, die ihre Erfahrungen austauschen und zur Entwicklung von Innovationen im Bereich mobile Bildung beitragen möchten. Für die Teilnahme wird lediglich eine Anmeldung per E-Mail unter Angabe des beruflichen Hintergrundes benötigt. E-mail Adresse für die Anmeldung sowie weitere Informationen zum Workshop findet Ihr hier.

May 28, 2013

Submit Your Session Proposal to OKCon

Photo: Source
The Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) just extended their call for proposals by a week. Submitting is simple and takes barely more than five minutes, given you have an open data related session idea up your sleeve. Find more info on the event and its submission guidelines here, new deadline for applications is 31 May.

May 25, 2013

Notes on Mysore Rooms, Mindfulness, Feminism, and Sex

image
Photo source: ashtangatoronto.com
tldr: Mysore rooms must be safe spaces. Teachers must ensure that and are not supposed to look at their students in a sexual way. For students, there’s no need to suffer through bad and inappropriate adjustments. You can always just leave. Yoga is not a competition/ performance/ beauty contest.
Remember how I said I was going to tie in feminism and Yoga more? Well, tonight’s assistant teacher training gave me my first cue: We learned about how to act mindfully in the Mysore room. And while we didn’t talk about the issue from a feminist perspective, I wanted to give it some feminist thought.
Since a combination of factors makes Mysore rooms special places, teachers and their assistants are responsible for making them safe spaces. Safe spaces are spaces where you can let your guard down because there is no need to fear discriminatory behaviour. They are a concept I first came across in feminist writings. All Yoga rooms - not just Mysore rooms - need to be made such safe spaces. This is not only because certain poses might trigger memories of sexual violence or abuse, but because these rooms work along power structures, too. We might or might not have been aware of that, just like some of us might or might not have been aware of the fact that they’re feeling uncomfortable in down dog for a reason. 
In any given Mysore room, everyone should be able to practice, irrespective of their gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, body type or ailments. We should be able to feel comfortable in our bodies without having to fear even so much as a sexual thought coming our way from teachers or assistants. This is important because thoughts alone create energy - and I’m saying this in the least esoteric way possible, maybe just think of ‘vibes’ instead. That energy will waft through the room and affect its atmosphere, even when unintentional. Similar to aggressive or competitive behaviour maybe, or a strong smell that cannot be contained.
Traditional Ashtanga Yoga Mysore style is a very physical, sweaty practice, that requires one-on-one attention and hands-on adjustments. As someone once put it: “Assisting in a Mysore room is basically cattle roping.” Lying on top of each other for relaxation at the end of a practice is frequent and generally desired. Physical contact is intense, and both male and female assistants need to watch where they’re putting their stuff in assists (*hint*: far away from student bums!). This does not just apply to men: I have heard from many guys that they don’t like feeling female pubic bones rub up their backs, either. And from personal experience I can tell you that putting your chest onto strangers needs some getting used to, too.
So as much as we might like to lead monk-y, chaste lifestyles and think pure thoughts only, I doubt that this is the reality of what’s going on most of the time. In fact, as I just learned tonight, the mind is processing 30.000 automatic, involuntary thoughts every day. And we all know those statistics about how often we think about sex. Very often. So even when looking at half-naked people in a non-sexual way over multiple hours seems like an impossible task for Yoga teachers and assistants, they will have to make a conscious, concentrated effort. Tough one! But as David put it in different contexts: “Yoga is not supposed to be easy” and “your practice doesn’t end on the mat”, right?
Chances are that teachers and assistants will never hear the personal back story of their students in intimate detail. Instead, they will have to assume that what they are seeing in any given person is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The tip of a rather disturbed iceberg, really. “Never just assume that an adjustment is okay”, is how it our workshop leader put it tonight.
When we think about it, how we approach people makes all the difference. David likes to stress how important it is to be polite with students. And politeness like that automatically respects certain physical boundaries. As soon as these lines are crossed by teachers or their assistants, we students have every right to defend ourselves. And by defend I mean we can refuse adjustments, move our mats, or leave the room altogether and report inappropriate behaviour to someone in charge. There is no need to suffer through bad adjustments! If a teacher touches your private parts, (s)he is supposed to apologize. If this happens frequently, I would advise you to unroll your mat somewhere else. Yoga is supposed to make us feel better about ourselves, not worse.
Which leads me right to last point: It really doesn’t matter what you wear to practice, as long as you feel comfortable in it. If you need high-end sportswear to feel adequate, think about why that might be the case. Surely, there’s nothing wrong with looking good and treating yourself to nice equipment, but please don’t let others create fake needs and silly standards you feel you have to live up to. Don’t even worry about what they might think. It’s all in your head; in any decent Mysore room, no one would even notice, let alone care. Yoga is no competition, and Mysore rooms are certainly not catwalks. Every serious practitioner of Yoga will agree on that. No need to wear make-up, either. It will just melt away. And those heels that you’re wearing to “improve” your posture… once you realize what they are doing to your leg muscles, tendons and bone structure, you might want to consider getting svelter legs by committing to a regular practice instead. A regular practice in a well-attended to Mysore room where you will be welcome for the no frills, sweaty awesomeness that you are.

This post appeared first on Yogannina. The David I refer to is David Robson of Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Toronto.

May 19, 2013

This Is How I Work


Wenn Trotzendorff mich so freundlich darum bittet, einen lustigen Fragebogen über private Gewohnheiten auszufüllen, sage ich natürlich nicht nein. Nach dem Sprung also mehr dazu, wie ich arbeite.

May 10, 2013

Laptop Yoga @ #rp13


Zu meiner Überraschung hat die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung meine re:publica Session Laptop Yoga nicht nur schriftlich zusammengefasst, sondern auch mit der Kamera begleitet. Herausgekommen ist eine schöne zweiminütige Erinnerung - ich hoffe nur, ich habe während des Vortrags langsamer gesprochen als im Interview im Clip? Oje, oje, ich war wohl einfach noch zu aufgeregt. Der Workshop hat mir aber tierisch viel Spaß gemacht, was natürlich nicht zuletzt an meinem großartigen Publikum lag. Der Vibe hat gestimmt, alle waren zufrieden - besser hätte es nicht laufen können. Danke an alle für's Kommen und Mitmachen, hoffentlich sehen wir uns nächstes Jahr wieder! :)

May 7, 2013

Laurie Penny on Cybersexism

In case you missed Laurie Penny's excellent talk on cybersexism at re:publica 2013 yesterday, watch it here and now.

Apr 30, 2013

Stockholm


Oliver and I just returned from a ten day trip to Stockholm, Sweden. Among the things we noticed were that Stockholmers like to put lamps in their windows (a Swedish thing?) and that random shop assistants were greeting us like we've known them for years (very nice, albeit a bit confusing). Getting hold of Vegetarian food was not always easy, but we managed - we spent most of our time at Yogayama anyway, where they even serve vegan dishes. -> Click this way for workshop photos. Thanks to David, Laruga, the other workshop participants and our super nice airbnb apartment, we had an amazing time. Certainly not the last time we went to Stockholm!





 

 


 



 


 


  


 





All photos copyright by myself.

Apr 10, 2013

Scholarship for Social Entrepreneurs

Photo Source: Vodafone Institute
The Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications is currently offering a 15.000€ scholarship for Social Entrepreneurs. The grant is provided to study Public Policy (M.A. degree) at the Humboldt Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin, Germany, in either English or German. Applicants should understand mobile technology as a crucial tool towards positive change and should contribute to the "development of intelligent solutions for current social problems". Application deadline is 31 May 2013, find out more here

Apr 5, 2013

Vegan kochen mit der Bloggerin Nicole Just

Vor nicht allzu langer Zeit landete das neu erschienene Kochbuch "La Veganista" in meinem Briefkasten - ein Titel, der mich stark an das ehemalige Modeblog "Veganista" von Franziska Schmid erinnerte. Ihr habt bestimmt schon mal von Veggie Love gehört - in meinen Augen das vegane deutsche Lifestyle Blog überhaupt! Ich war also entsprechend neugierig darauf, was sich hinter diesem für mich sehr positiv besetzten Namen verbarg.
Nicole Just, die Autorin des Buches, ist wie Franziska ebenfalls Bloggerin und in der deutschsprachigen veganen Szene inzwischen ziemlich bekannt. Es ist kein Zufall, dass Franziska Nicole bereits 2011 einmal zu sich und ihrem Blog interviewt hat. Auf vegan-sein beschreibt Nicole nämlich seit mehreren Jahren, warum Veganerinnen keinesfalls verhungern müssen - von Verzicht auf irgendwas kann bei Nicoles Rezepten wirklich keine Rede sein.
Jedenfalls ist mir bei La Veganista, ebenso wie damals bei Yoga für Fortgeschrittene, direkt die wirklich schöne Gestaltung des Buches ins Auge gefallen. Die vielen bunten Fotos und kleinen Grafiken machen das Buch zu einem Gegenstand, den man wirklich gerne in die Hand nimmt - und wo ich fast ein bisschen Angst davor bekommen habe, es in der Küche aus Versehen mit Fett zu bespritzen oder mit öligen Fingern zu begrabbeln. Vielleicht wäre hier das ebenfalls sehr schön gestaltete enhanced eBook eine Lösung? Das iPad legt man ja vermutlich nicht direkt neben die Spüle. (Achtung, das enhanced eBook ist nur auf dem iPad mit der iBooks App lesbar - auf meinem iPhone hat es leider trotz der iBooks App nicht geklappt!)
La Veganista - Enhanced eBook
Als nächstes habe ich mir die Rezepte angesehen. Das waren viele, denn das Buch hat 192 Seiten und nur eine kurze Einleitung. Spontan am meisten angesprochen haben mich das Chili sin Carne, die Soljanka, das Gulasch, die Sonntagsbrötchen, die Lasagne della Casa, der gedünstete Pak Choi, die polnischen Piroggen, der Linsenbraten und die Brotknödel mit Kirschkompott.
Für einen Testlauf hier auf dem Blog habe ich mich letztlich für die Zubereitung der Lasagne entschieden, die ich dann besonders in puncto Einkauf ziemlich aufwändig fand. Zwar habe ich alle benötigten Zutaten bis auf die Pflanzensahne nach längerer Suche im Bioladen gefunden (auf die Pflanzensahne habe ich schlußendlich einfach verzichtet), aber ich hatte die wenigsten davon bereits zuhause, so dass schwere Tüten und eine ziemliche Rechnung zusammenkamen. Und obwohl ich mir fest vorgenommen hatte, alle Zutatenreste schnell zu verbrauchen, stehen immer noch eine kaum angebrochene Packung Hefeflocken und eine kleine Flasche Agavendicksaft herum. Ich muss mal weiterblättern und herausfinden, was man damit noch so alles zubereiten kann...
Zutaten, Vorbereitung, vor dem Backofen, nach dem Backofen
Die Kochanleitung innerhalb des Buches fand ich dann aber super. Leider hatte mein Backofen allerdings keine exakte Temperaturanzeige und für Gasöfen war im Text keine Einschubhöhe vorgegeben. Ich habe also ohne nachzudenken einfach die genommen, zu der geraten wurde ("unten"). Das war wohl leider ein Fehler, da die Hitze bei normalen Backöfen offenbar von oben kommt (?) und ich es also genau falsch gemacht habe - im Gasofen hätte die Lasagne vermutlich nach ganz oben gehört. Wie Ihr auf dem Foto sehen könnt, führte das Weglassen der Pflanzensahne gemeinsam mit der falschen Einschubhöhe nicht zum allerhübschesten Ergebnis - oops! Aber wenigstens die nicht verbrannten Teile waren geschmacklich top. ;) Im Buch sieht selbstverständlich alles einwandfrei aus und Menschen mit Lasagnenerfahrung wäre mein Fehler sicher nicht passiert.

Gesamteindruck

Insgesamt erscheinen mir die Zutatenlisten zu den Gerichten jeweils relativ lang. Die Mehrheit der Rezepte erfordert außerdem einiges an Zubereitungszeit. Das Buch ist also nicht unbedingt etwas für Schnellkocher, sondern eher für solche, die mit aufwändigeren Kreationen Gäste beeindrucken wollen. Für diesen Zweck scheint es mir hervorragend geeignet, und besonders die Süßspeisen sehen extrem lecker aus. Ich werde die anderen oben genannten Rezepte auf jeden Fall noch ausprobieren. Vielen Dank also an Nicole Just für das Teilen ihrer veganen Ideen und an GU für die Bereitstellung des Rezensionsexemplares.

Mar 29, 2013

Word!

Found this somewhere on the Internet (where?) - so true!

Mar 8, 2013

The Art of Asking


Amanda Palmer gave a TED talk on The Art of Asking the other day. On the art of asking for money and food and places to stay, to be exact. She likes to give away her art and music according to a "pay what you want" / Creative Commons philosophy and asks her fans for all sorts of help in return. This appears to have been going very well for her, and it is cool to see how trusting complete strangers isn't always stupid - and can actually lead to mutual happiness. Yay!

Mar 7, 2013

Feb 18, 2013

100 Books by (White) Women Everyone Must Read

Inspired by For Harriet's list of 100 Books by Black Women Everyone Must Read, I have compiled a complimentary list of books written by white women. The colour of their skin, however, was less important to me than the fact that they are and were women whose names are mostly unknown. This is because only very few female authors received important literary prizes in the past, and because even today most authors featured in popular book recommendation lists are male. By offering this very subjective list of books written by European and American women, I am hoping to add a few names to those that come to mind when you think of great female writers. There could have been many more featured on the list. If you miss someone, please feel free to leave your own recommendation in the comment section.   
As to the list itself: The authors are sorted by surname, not importance. I have consciously decided not to link to online shops but to the authors' Wikipedia pages instead (regarding the four cases I couldn't because there was no article yet - is anyone up for writing them?). Personally, I like to support small local bookshops by stopping by and ordering my literature through them. If you spot a mistake or can provide me with any of the first sentences that are still missing - great, let me know!
And now, finally, please follow the jump for the 100 Books By White Women Everyone Must Read!

Feb 8, 2013

Why Kino MacGregor's Choice of Clothing Isn't Feminist (but a Feminist Issue)

Mad skills: Kino's got Ashtanga Yoga figured out for sure! Photo via KinoYoga.com.
Three days ago, Ashtanga Yoga wild child Kino MacGregor published a long piece on her prominent role within the traditionally very low key Ashtanga Yoga lineage of teachers. Confessions of a loved & hated Ashtangi is a reaction on all sorts of criticism Kino has been subject to. Amongst other things, some people take offense at the (little) clothing Kino wears, both during her practice and in her promotion material. Sick of continuously having to defend herself, Kino lists a bunch of reasons for her choice. Surprisingly to me, besides Miami's hot weather and skin-on-skin friction in arm balances, Kino credits feminism for her breezy Yoga wear:

"I’m not going to apologize for my choice in clothes, whether they are too small, skimpy, bright or whatever. At the risk of sounding callous and elitist, I think the discussion about telling women to cover their bodies lest they offend or stimulate someone’s sexual desire belongs to a by-gone era, not the year 2013. The men’s traditional yoga gear is a loin cloth that barely covers anything. [...]
If you don’t like shorts, don’t wear them. If you don’t like seeing my wear shorts, don’t watch. My freedom of choice is rooted in the history of women who gave their heart and soul to feminism so that I could vote, wear mini-skirts and tiny shorts, burn my bras, go to college, pursue any career that I am qualified to do, lift up into handstand and marry whomever I want freely. I will not betray the heart and soul of feminism to appease anyone’s else’s discomfort with my skin." (Source)

Kino MacGregor by John Miller. Via
Interesting. I've actually been wondering about the appropriate attire for my own Ashtanga practice for a while now. Wondering, as I'm a little torn. There's a lot of sweat involved, but does that make half-naked my only option? Obviously not.

Some of you might remember a German language piece I wrote last year. Loosely translated, I called it 'Why Looking Slutty Is NOT Hot'. I had written it on the occasion of my first - and probably last - Berlin SlutWalk. My point was that young women shouldn't mindlessly put on immobilizing outfits. Instead, the clothes we wear should make us feel comfortable, free and safe. Young girls who do not need or want to prostitute themselves should go for a shoe and leg wear combination that will allow for running away if worse comes to worst. While no kind of clothing legitimizes assault or sexual harassment, and as sad as my proposition sounds, we must protect ourselves.

Traditional, yet somewhat inappropriate: Guruji Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in his Calvin Klein briefs. Via
Now, generally, no one needs to flee a Mysore room. That is, unless from very smelly fellow practitioners.  Eew! And, following Kino's reasoning, I can see how Miami is one endless urban beach. And even though I do understand that long leggings and possibly even sleeves are counterproductive to building up actual core strength, I have issues with the better part of Kino's rationale.

For example, I do not see the point of men practicing Ashtanga Yoga in their underpants. Short pants, yes, but briefs? Like most anything, the appropriateness of clothing - or the lack of it - depends on its context. Underpants are for bedrooms, night swims, protests and muddy festivals. As are bare chests. And just because some men see nothing wrong with exhibiting their belly hair - or, yes, hard abs - to anyone who does or doesn't want to watch, equality in the feminist sense doesn't mean us women have to do likewise.

While short shorts and sleeveless tops might bear advantages in a few poses, there's no necessity for  belly tops or deep necklines. Sportswear manufacturers, of course, hardly ever get that. Many women with larger breasts, including myself, would actually much appreciate a greater choice of more supportive and less revealing items. We have no interest in presenting our cleavage to our Yoga teachers. When I want to find out what practicing in my underwear feels like, I can unroll my mat at home. And when I realize that practicing without a bra feels best, which it does, then I get to decide whether I feel comfortable enough to do so at the studio.

"Don't approach Yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain." Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Kino MacGregor. Phtoto via KinoYoga.com
My assumption regarding Kino is that she has been a very clever business woman. (As she points out in her article, she wants to be the Oprah Winfrey of Ashtanga Yoga.) Kino has a great way of presenting her personality online. She comes across friendly, bubbly, and fun. She's got mad writing and entrepreneurial skills, and her understanding of the physical aspects of Ashtanga Yoga is beyond impressive. I even think it's great she brought up feminism in such a widely-read piece, and by that carried it into the Yoga community. I also agree with her that there is no need to apologize for her choice of clothing. Just to give the issue some more feminist thought, perhaps.

Certainly, "the discussion about telling women to cover their bodies lest they offend or stimulate someone’s sexual desire" does not belong to a by-gone era just yet. Unfortunately, if not in Miami, this discussion is very much alive in many countries of the world. Especially in India, where sexism is still rampant today. And, unlike Kino, I do not think it matters what men wear during their Yoga practice beyond where I am made to feel uncomfortable. In this case, it especially does not matter what men wore in Yoga traditionally, as, after all, we are indeed living in 2013. I find her "if you do not like it, then don't watch" approach difficult, too. If we were to look away from what we do not like, Hitler would have won World War II. (Sorry for that one, but I'm from Germany.) Like the rest of us, Kino knows that attractive women in little clothing sell stuff. My discomfort with her seemingly only existing half-naked is my worrying about her selling herself out. Far below value. Which is the opposite of feminist, really.


And while I wouldn't want to compare Kino to pole dancers and pantyless pop stars, three books touching upon the topic of partial and full female nudity in the media are:


Meat Market by Laurie Penny
Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy and
Living Dolls by Natasha Walter