Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Enchantment! Or, how Dragon Age 2 can teach us something about shirk.

Here are some some uses of the Qur'an and the verses within which I am not completely comfortable with.

1. Jewellery.
'Allah' necklace

Ayat al-Kursi necklace
Arabic script is beautiful. I understand that people find it aesthetically beautiful, and Muslims who encounter Arabic more often than not also appreciate this. I guess I'm uncomfortable with it because it's easy to start thinking that the necklace provides protection, which is dangerously close to shirk, or the sin of believing in the power something else other than God.

The second necklace is more explicit in its claim for protection. I met several young men in Morocco who wore this around their necks. When I asked them what it was for, they said that they were given it by their mothers for protection. Ayat al-Kursi (lit. Throne Verse) is actually verse 2:255 of the Qur'an, and is traditionally taught as a verse that afforded protection -- as a child I was encouraged to memorise it so that I could recite it in places where I was afraid of being possessed or attacked by spirits (like in jungles, for example!) This link details more benefits of memorising and regularly reciting this verse, based on many ahadith.

Verse 2:255 is really beautiful, as it elaborates on God's glory and power:
The One True God, there is no god but God, the Living, the Originator of life, the Self- Subsisting Sustainer of all creation.
Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes God.
All that exists in the highs and the lows, in the heavens and earth, belongs to Godalone.
Who can intercede in God's Court except by God's Leave, and then, only in accordance with God's laws?
God knows what lies open before humans and what is hidden from them.
God's knowledge transcends time and space.
No one can encompass a trace of God's knowledge but through God's laws.
The Throne of God's Supreme Control extends over the highs and the lows.
No fatigue touches God as God benevolently guards God's Dominion and creation.
God is the Glorious, the Supreme.
I understand that reciting and pondering over the meaning of the verse can help, psychologically. But it's the pondering that helps, not the mere recitation of it. I'm afraid to say that many of us memorise the Arabic words without knowing exactly what it means. And when this is translated into a physical object like a necklace, it's easy to start thinking that the physical Arabic script carries the protective function instead. (Unless you can read the small script to recite it, haha.)

It might also be rather ironic that 2:255 is surrounded by other verses that tell us to not seek out false gods. This tendency to favour 2:255 is extended to various other verses and chapters too.

2. Psychological spells for protection. 

The way people promote recitation (without understanding) makes it seem to me that the Qur'an is full of special phrases to recite for good luck, good fortune, protection, etc. Religious teachers often list out certain verses/chapters to be read at certain periods, for a certain number of times. Recently someone shared on Facebook a list that her religious teacher gave her, which included chapters 32, 36, and 67, amongst others, to be read regularly after prayers. To her credit, someone emphasised that she would read the Arabic along with translations, and reflect, regularly.

Surah 36 has also been the object of much adoration, especially in the Nusantara, or the Malay archipelago. It became quite a tradition until about five years ago (I might be mistaken, but I don't hear much about it now), to recite Yasin on Thursday nights in the mosques or in other prayer congregations.

Another popular habit taught to me as a child was to recite the short chapters 112, 113 and 114 before going to sleep. Optionally, after recitation, you may blow into your hands and wipe your face and body for maximum protective effect of these words, as recounted in a hadith. Check out this site for more examples of using recitations as healing. Definitely takes the verse 10:57 to a whole new level. :)

This second use of the Qur'an may also sometimes be combined with (3).

3. Physical spells for protection. 

These includes writing verses onto pieces of paper, then burning, mixing them with water, or stuffing them into wall cracks; or reciting over water. In other words, ordinary objects are enchanted with the power of God's words, instead of God actually working directly to grant us whatever it is we are asking for.

For example, some friends I have in Morocco were renovating their house and they came across a small leather pouch filled with a piece of paper tightly folded many times. There were verses and spells written in Arabic on it, and had been put into a small between the bricks of the house when it was being built, to protect the house from calamities.

Also, the whole idea of a bomoh, or a healer in archipelago traditions, has pagan roots. But since the spread of Islam to the region, these healers have mixed in some 'Islamic elements' in order to make it more acceptable to the Muslim population. There are still many of these kinds of syncretic healers in Indonesia and Malaysia. I remember one coming to our house when I was very young. Apparently he was trying to cure my sister, but I don't remember much beyond a lot of scented smoke, recitations, and a magical trick he did to make it look like he extracted a piece of flesh or tumour from my sister's body.

Anyway, it's still common to recite zikr (remembrance of God, usually after prayer, and consists of numerous repetitions of a single phrase) in magical sets of 33 or 99 over glasses or bottles of water, and then have someone drink this water to reap its... spiritual benefits. This is of course, encouraged by various ahadith and is sometimes the source of worry for those who wonder about the purpose and legality of this and seek rulings from jurisprudence. The most common reason for saying that this is acceptable is that one hadith narrates that the companions of the Prophet used to do this, therefore it's acceptable.

Those who summarise the various opinions as 'acceptable' emphasise the source of the power, which is God/Prophet/Quran, while those who rule 'unacceptable' sometimes also focus on the same thing. In other words, they say it's not acceptable if one thinks the reciter has the power, and not the words themselves. But very few will actually take the issue of using mere words and recitations as being superstitious in itself. I don't think the Qur'an is a book of incantations either.

I shouldn't discuss these things with video game enthusiasts :) The Dutchman said it reminded him of Sandal, a idiot-savant dwarf in Dragon Age 2 who can enchant a player's weapons and armor with powers. For example, if he enchants a "Rune of Frost" on your sword, you get a "+1 Ice Damage".

So in summary, because I find God to be the ultimate Provider and Sustainer, and God's words to work through the contemplation of our thinking minds and our thinking actions, I find the above uses of the Qur'an worth being wary about to avoid attributing God's power to something else. Shirk is sneaky!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ability and opportunity.

Baby Mario Kart

A few weeks ago, I played Mario Kart on a Nintendo Gamecube, for the first time. Both for Mario Kart and the Gamecube (yes, don't judge me!). I played with another friend, C, who had also never played hand-held video games before. What was interesting was how the Dutchman, who witnessed our feeble attempts at racing Mario around the different tracks, remarked that I played better than C.

It would be easy to pin it down to ability, but opportunity should also be taken into account. For example, I had access to computers and all kinds of technological gizmos since I was five, while C only encountered and started regularly using a computer in her workplace, at the age of 23 or so.

The level of hand-eye coordination or whatever other psychomotor skills I have must be in part due to having been exposed to years of computers, online games, Tamagotchis, and electronic diaries, calendars, dictionaries, etc. I had the opportunity of being able to use all these things. I also had the opportunity to take computer lessons in school at the age of 10, where we experimented with typing games.

Take oil painting and sports for example. In high school I had a friend who was really good at oil painting. But that was because his parents were both artists and so he had the opportunity to experiment and gain experience in using oils, which is an expensive painting medium!

In the ISS, the students play sports every Sunday. For soccer especially, more women get the opportunity to play in an all-women's team, and so they get better. It would be fallacious to say that girls can't play soccer well when they may have never had the opportunity to play, train, and develop skills before.

Likewise, during my short stint as a sports assistant in Boccia, it was clear how good equipment was particularly crucial to the success of the training and performance of athletes in the BC3 category. Even in the Olympics, where athletes try to shave off milliseconds from their time, a special streamlined outfit that costs thousands of dollars can help.

Therefore, opportunity comes with money, and what we often mistake as ability can often be the result of life chances that are linked to one's class.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Commodification of religion.

My favourite place to visit in any European city is a church or a cathedral. The older, the colder, the more stained-glass windows, the better. But when I arrived here, I was quite surprised to see how many churches were not in use. Some are emptied of carvings and figures of saints and outsourced to be sites for flea markets, restaurants or even parties (where people make out in the west front).

However, mass on the night before Christmas is so popular in some cities that the church even has to sell tickets to avoid overcrowding! Now, if they distribute tickets so that two or three people can visit a church every day of the year, I'm sure it can stay open all year round...

Reform Christians are looked upon with some hesitation, mostly because they have large families and dress nicely to go to church every Sunday.

It's also probably clear that Islam is not the most popular religion here. Nevermind that plenty of white Dutch people are also Muslims. Thanks, Geert.

That leaves Buddhism as the most popular religion here, in the form of Buddhist imagery and cliches at least. A glance at any of the yoga shops will tell you that. No politician has railed against Buddha heads, Oriental souvenir shops, yoga shops and meditation sessions. 

A whole theory and symbolism has developed around Buddha heads in particular, even down to the details such as: You can't buy a Buddha head for yourself, it has to be a gift from someone. Apparently this trend started when looters of temples sold parts of a statue off to Western tourists looking for an 'exotic' gift from the Orient. An Indonesian friend once saw a Buddha head from Borobudur temple complex sitting in some museum in the US, after the 2006 earthquake damaged a lot of the Buddha statues in Borobudur.

So now Buddha as an image popularly signifies spirituality. But I'm uneasy with selling it so easily in the form of common goods, like these gifts I found in a flower shop a few days ago:

Buddha candles

Huggy Buddhas, really?

This is a revered figure of a group of people in the world! Don't make a mockery of religion, even if you don't want one yourself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The ethics of 'halal' food.

Let's talk about food. If you know me personally, or have eaten a meal with me, you'll know that I'm a little obsessed with food -- the combinations of colour(!), taste, textures, cooking style and origins. Luckily I have the Dutchman as a partner-in-crime, who was practically vegetarian until I introduced him to the controversy of halal meat.

Like many others, I was taught that halal food encompassed these four basic criteria: anything not from the four forbidden categories mentioned in the Qur'an (2:173, 5:3, 6:145, 16:115). So no 1) dead animals, 2) blood, 3) flesh of swine, and 4) anything dedicated to other than God. Game from the sea is fine (5:96) -- that means all kinds of tasty seafood! This is a simple list of what you can or cannot eat.

In verses 5:1 and 5:3-4, there are more details as to what makes specifically meat halal or not. All herbivorous livestock is lawful. Animals that have been strangled, beaten, or gored to death are prohibited. Animals that fell to their death are prohibited. Animals that were eaten by a wild animal (unless you can slaughter it while it's still alive) are prohibited. Animals slaughtered on idolatrous altars are prohibited. Animals caught by hunting animals trained by humans are also lawful to eat.

Golden retriever hunts ducks.
From 'Tips on Selecting a Hunting Dog'

Eagle catches a rabbit in Kazakhstan

Falcon catches a hare in Kyrgyzstan

This elaboration emphasises the manner of death for the animal, and is related to the above list. The animal whose meat you'll eat has to have died in a respectful, painless, and purposeful way. It also has to die specifically because you want to eat it, not senselessly or because some animal higher up in the food chain was going to have it for dinner. Using hunting animals such as dogs or falcons would also be acceptable because these animals catch the prey for you, and not for themselves. Besides, I believe animals do a better job of it because they submit unconditionally to God, unlike us. Haha.

There is actually no fixed 'Islamic way' of slaughtering, since if there was God would have told us specifically. So in my opinion, what we consider the Islamic way is a series of general guidelines which was developed in the Prophet's time, since details such as sharpening knives are found in various ahadith. These videos from Mercy Slaughter, a ranch in Texas, gives the entire details, and also shows an actual slaughter. You can watch Part 1, Part 2A, Part 2B (Warning: actual slaughter) at Youtube.

But in jurisprudence there are all kinds of other prohibitions, exceptions, and permissions -- I'd be way in over my head to try and enumerate them all. This site lists a selection of other prohibitions and permissions from the different schools of thought.

Some of these prohibitions are related to the importance of the animal. Eating horse and camel meat is discouraged, because in the Arab world they are important for transportation. It reminds me of why cows might have been considered sacred in India -- they are so greatly needed for milk that the bit of meat from killing them outweighs the long-term benefit of having a live animal, according to Marvin Harris in his book 'The Sacred Cow and the Abominable Pig'.

In Sunday school I was taught that insects and other 'disgusting' creatures were also forbidden. Cultural-based value judgments, anyone?

Ant-egg salad in Luang Prabang, Laos
Because of this awesomely complex reasoning for what is divinely, conventionally, and unconventionally considered halal or haraam, I usually say I'm vegetarian if a host asks me what I can or cannot eat. If my host doesn't ask, I eat whatever I consider necessary for respect and feign allergies or a full stomach.

My friend who was raised a Muslim, gave a really fresh take on this. Her mum told her that if a host serves you food, just eat it! Showing respect to a host who has taken the trouble to prepare food for you is worth more than grousing about what you, as a Muslim, can or cannot eat.

Another friend also recounted her time in a rural village in her country, where she was served meat that tasted a little off (I experience this once too -- there are no refrigerators when there is no electricity, people!). The people in the village hardly ever cooked meat and here they had prepared something for their urban guests. What would you do in such a situation? (My solution which is by no means the only one: I ate around the meat.)

Recently, in the spirit of Eid al-Adha, there have been several calls for a more compassionate Eid and a vegetarian Eid. The concerns that these writers have about the intensification and focus on ritualistic halal slaughter and how this quite possibly does not make the meat halal anymore, can also be applied to halal slaughter in general. When animals are mass slaughtered by machines and a loudspeaker saying 'Allahu Akbar', is that meat still halal just because it has a green round sticker in Arabic on it?

In the same vein, huge fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King also have those green stickers and certification from their country. But when they pay their workers, legal and illegal, such low wages, cook dubious kinds of meat patties that come from meat raised, slaughtered and processed in conditions that are unsafe and unhygienic for both animal and human, is their food still halal by default? Why bemoan the lack of halal McDonald's in the West?

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet are all around.

Just to show you how ubiquitous they are, here are some more photos of where cartoon depictions of Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet can be found in the Netherlands this time of year.

AH Supermarket
"Design your own Piet hat, and go as Piet to the Sinterklaas landing"
Actually if you look at these two depictions, they are quite similar in terms of the relative sizes of the eyes, nose, and face. However, Sinterklaas is beige, which is the actual skin colour of light-skinned people, not "white". But Piet is completely black. He's not even dark brown, which makes the character look definitely non-human.

And during the landing and procession of Sinterklaas in Dutch cities, you can see many children dressing up as  little Piets, waiting for the 'real' i.e. grown-up Piets (with blackface) to come and give them candy. There are also loads of small-sized Piet costumes sold in supermarkets, toy and costume shops. So Sinterklaas is unique and no one dresses up like him (except that one white guy who acts as Sinterklaas in a city), but Zwarte Piet is not one unique person. He has no identity so anyone can be him!

On a pack of cookies

The Piet on the left looks drunk.

A little doll probably, actually drunk in a wine shop
There are more, of course. Get with the times, Netherlands!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sinterklaas, blackface, and racism.

Sinterklaas landed in the Netherlands (and also Flanders) two days ago. Simultaneously in all Dutch towns, landing at the beaches from his steamship called Pakjesboot 12, bearing gifts for all good children. He is accompanied by his black slaves who are individually and collectively called Zwarte Piet, who may or may not hint at a racist colonial history since they may or may not be black because of chimney soot or being formerly Moorish slaves.

Curly black hair and red lips
Funnily, the idea that white people put on black face paint and red lipstick, and dress up in colourful court-jester costumes isn't considered racist by the mainstream. For the many people lining the streets, dressing up their children as Zwarte Piets and waiting for the procession of Sinterklaas to come down their street and give candy to their children is considered harmless fun.


Poster along my street

I don't see any dark-skinned people dressing up as Zwarte Piets. Why is that? I think the Zwarte Piet get-up is just the human version of a golliwog, a racist caricature that views 'non-Whites as less human, less intelligent, and less civilised. And I think it's highly insensitive for people to keep on saying that it's all in good fun, and that children don't see it as racist. That's because racism is socialised into us -- wouldn't it be better to teach children about respecting everyone instead of giving them a cultural reference that places dark-skinned people as subordinate to lighter-skinned people?

My friend S said something so apt, that 'Sinterklaas is the only allochtoon (foreign-born) who is still welcomed with open arms every year'. She's alluding to the social antagonism that exists here now in reaction to the political classification of Dutch people as either 'native-born' or 'foreign-born' when they have to fill up forms for schools or hospitals. Dutch people of Moroccan or Turkish descent, being forever marked as 'foreign-born', don't stand a chance at ideological integration or being considered Dutch, with no hyphens.

Sinterklaas is white, and he has black slaves. Harsh, right? That's why later version of the story softened the colonial blow by changing the term to 'helpers', or claiming that Piet was a liberated slave to willingly serves Sinterklaas.

But in the Global South people make fun of the dark-skinned too. This is what I saw during a yearly procession called the Reog in Ponorogo, which celebrates the triumph of King Kelono Sewandono  over King Singabarong the King of Lions and his army of lions and peacocks. A group of men also dress up as dark-skinned people supposedly from Irian Jaya, but who are now said to be 'mysteries':

Whoa. Maybe I'm just linking everything to transnational domestic workers (haha!), but this softened version of the Zwarte Piet story reminded me of a quote from 'Global Woman' by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild (which I'm reading for my thesis-writing):

"Today's north does not extract love from the south by force: there are no colonial officers in tan helmets, no invading armies, no ships bearing arms sailing off to the colonies...Today, coercion operates differently."

What I want to take from this is that it is not just economic coercion, but also ideological coercion that operates invisibly. It operates by making us all think that dressing up in stereotyped caricatures is just simple fun, and that dark-skinned people bear the burden of trying to convince us that this is not amusing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tourism Malaysia and rich Arab women.

So the Dutchman is home after a week of travelling, and he brought me Emirates in-flight magazine. (I love flying Emirates and I used to take it all the time until they started regularly stopping in Colombo on the way from Dubai to Singapore -- extremely tiring because you can't sleep on that leg. Also, their food is fantastic.) I adore reading travel articles and also scrutinising tourism ads for Orientalism and other fancy theories like that.

Here's an ad for Malaysia, which targets (rich) Arab women from the Middle East. And men, I guess, but they're secondary here. Because the print says
Luxury Brands, Luxury Spas, Decisons, Decisions. 
Discover luxury spas nestled between designer labels in Asia's finest malls. 
Hydrate or detoxify? Tote or clutch? It's now or never.
It sounds almost a little sarcastic, because deciding between two kinds of handbags or two kinds of pampering is hardly a life-altering decision. But what gets me most of all is the way these Arab women are portrayed as being utterly frivolous, with nothing to do except shop and pamper themselves. Stereotyping women as obsessed with shopping and all things frivolous is nothing new. At least in this case, it isn't harmful, just offensive.

Actually, I can't deny that this is what it seems like. When waiting in airport terminals in Dubai and Doha, I've seen many well-dressed Arab women decked in jewels, thickly made-up, and occupying their children. It's possible of course, that they live a life of luxury.

But that doesn't mean that that's all they care about. And Malaysia, seriously, usually your problem with advertising your country is that you emphasise the indigenous tribes too much, or claim to be representative of Asia (Malaysia Truly Asia!). Advertise your halal food and ubiquitous musollahs! Why did the advertising change so starkly just because you're targeting a really rich demographic now?

A quest for fireflies at Kampung Kuantan

For the record, when I was queuing up for a ride in a small wooden boat in Kuala Selangor to catch a glimpse of fireflies in Pahang, there were Arab tourists there too (made up and in jewels and all, but keen to find fireflies nevertheless!). People are multi-faceted. People are not defined by their money, even though we might want to define them as such.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Subordinated happiness(es).

Foucault talks about subordinated knowledges in one of his lectures in the late 1970s. As knowledge is always linked to power, no knowledge is produced without interests.

Let's take an article from ChannelNewsAsia.com as an example. Here, the Singapore National Development Minister (actually, I never knew we had such a ministry -- goes to show how much I love my country!) Khaw Boon Wan talks about how Bhutan has been romanticised to be a 'Shangri-La on earth'.

Photo by Peter Menzel
From the book "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats"

In 2006, Business Week rated Bhutan as the eighth-happiest country in the world, which was supposedly a surprise because the top 7 were all from Northern Europe. Forget for a minute the silly positivist obsession of trying to measure the immeasurable, and think about their capitalist and developmentalist assumptions about what you need to be happy: money and its consequent effects on levels of health, education, employment, etc.

So here we have a Minister of National Development who of course, has a developmentalist worldview, which was what produced Singapore! Clear the kampongs, clear the forests, fill the swamps, destroy colonial buildings, tramways (seriously, how many Singaporeans know we used to have a tram network?) build concrete high-rise apartments, schools, hospitals, urbanise, urbanise, urbanise. People, stop speaking Chinese dialects, nevermind that the language of the land is Malay, speak Mandarin and English and modernise, modernise, modernise. (The only issue left untouched is religion -- why?)

Khaw went to Bhutan and saw 'unhappy people, toiling in the field', who actually want Bhutan to be like Singapore. This is what happens when people with power speak for those below them in power. Clearly in Asia Singapore is held as a development model, taking urbanisation, anomie and relentless capitalist economic growth as the only way to health, happiness and prosperity.

Then we should ask those who are subordinated in this power relation of (regional) class, how do they see themselves? Perhaps there are other ways to be happy. Indeed, Passu, an "ordinary Bhutanese" says in his blog, Bhutanese are happy for their strong family ties, simple and nourishing food, and subsistence agriculture. Happiness is not measured by economic growth. (Although that's what politicians have been trying to force down our throats.)

The hegemonic knowledge about how to be happy in this world is to be developed, rich and urban. Other ways of being happy -- like what the Bhutanese have -- are subordinated, and we don't hear much about them nor pay serious attention to it. Most of all, no one aspires to it. Who aspires to be poor and happy in Singapore?

If we also look at the news sources we can see how easy it is to only hear about news from sources with power and money, like a major news channel. Passu writes in a blog, easily lost in cyberspace. However, with the Internet knowledges become less subordinated, if you only know where to look...

Our arrogance is often misplaced. Why do we think everyone else wants to be like Singapore? Like one of the commenters on Passu's blog said,
"Bhutan can be Singapore, but Singapore can never be Bhutan!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Save breasts, rescue lives, and preserve the male gaze.

I know, I know, I said I would write my thesis but this campaign is too incredible to not share with you all! I present to you the Rethink Breast Cancer movement.

From what I can gather from their website, they cater to a younger (or youngish) audience, because breast cancer affects younger women differently, according to their research board of doctors and oncologists. As a primarily health, but also women's movement, they also want to differentiate themselves from the 'older' movements, which involved pink ribbons, bureaucratic charity structures, and fear-mongering.

Young people like cute drawings.

The differentiation they want to make is also seen in how they clearly distinguish themselves from these older, boring, breast-cancer movements. They use a handwritten, cursive (alive!) font, complete with little doodles of 'fun' cartoons like hearts and stars. I don't understand the resentment against pink ribbons though -- their entire website is still pink?! The colour pink has become associated with breast cancer and this can be a problem.

It's great that they try to include men (there's one working on the team) both in their work and in their target audience, because that has also been a problem of previous marketing. And so they created an iPhone App called Your Man Reminder, so a series of strong, muscular, heterosexual guys can remind you to give some TLC to your breasts. In the video a man checks his own 'breasts' (pecs? man boobs?) to demonstrate how a woman should do it to her own.

Wow. At first I thought this video was a parody -- it's such a caricature (like those Old Spice commercials!) of the male gaze and the quintessential hot guy that it's difficult to find the message (check your breasts regularly) and to take it seriously. Even with a disease that affects only women, they still manage to make men the focus of it. And let's not even get started on the fact that these guys are virtually caricatures of heterosexual masculinity, with women tripping all over themselves when they walk by.

To me, this video is implicitly saying:

  1. Hot guys love your boobs.
  2. Check your breasts so you can save them.
  3. Hot guys can continue to enjoy your boobs. 

Even the catchphrase of breast cancer campaigns is 'Save Breasts, Save Lives'. Um, breast cancer is cancer -- it can kill. I've always thought it was weird that saving breasts was mentioned first. There should be breast cancer campaigns that normalise women who had to undergo mastectomies and now have one breast, or none at all. It should not be a big deal to lose what we think constitutes femininity, if you survive cancer and stay alive. (On a side note, here's a website that has non-sexualised pictures of normal breasts, and more analysis on it.)

It's also strange that a man's body with his non-existent breasts can be displayed. A man has no breast tissue and he will never get breast cancer -- why is he demonstrating Touch, Look and Check? It's ironic that female cleavage is for public consumption everywhere we look, but we can't use it in a non-sexual way, in a fun campaign to promote self-checks for lumps. Women's bodies on the other hand, are only shown in breast cancer campaigns in Singapore when it's for the purpose of ridiculing women and their frivolity.

I love the fact that this campaign tries to be different with a fresh, new approach to marketing and fundraising. But so many elements remain the same: heteronormativity, rugged masculinity, and the eternal male gaze. With videos like these, men are still constructed to be the focus of women's lives and women still continue to feel that they have to save their breasts in order to remain attractive.

Why do YOU check for breast cancer? How can you help the women in your life prevent and/or survive breast cancer?


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