What else we're reading

Gay rights in South Africa, rape-prevention tips from the U.K., collective bargaining in Bangalore and more.

Page Rockwell
November 21, 2006 6:32AM (UTC)

Associated Press: South Africa may have legalized same-sex marriage last week, but gays and lesbians still face harassment and hate crimes in the country's rural towns. "I've been raped six times, five times just because I am gay. I was raped by men I know, who wanted to show me what it means to be a woman. They thought it would change me, that it would keep me from being gay," one woman tells the AP. Hideous, misguided attacks like these stem from an ingrained attitude that homosexuality is "un-African -- an unwanted legacy of colonialism and white culture," the AP reports. Interestingly, though, anthropologists say homosexuality was widely practiced and tolerated before the colonial period brought religious missionaries and the notion that being gay was sinful.

The Guardian: A proposed pension reform scheme in the U.K. would lower the number of years citizens must work to qualify for pensions; one benefit of the adjusted criteria is that they'll allow more women to qualify. But many women still won't have retirement funds, because women are still more likely to do unpaid work as family caregivers and less likely to hold full-time jobs.


City Journal: Here's a deep look into a shallow pool -- writer Kay S. Hymowitz examines the rising star and "communal dartboard" status of Paris Hilton.

Financial Express: Women information technology workers in the tech hub of Bangalore, India are banding together to bargain for better roads, saying traffic and poor travel conditions keep workers away from their families and contribute to miscarriages.

Times Online: In a piece titled "Women who really do ask for it," opinion writer India Knight says that of course women aren't responsible for being raped, but advises that women nevertheless keep in mind that "In the real world there are predatory men with demented, damaged ideas about women" and take precautions anyway. Such precautions include: "wear[ing] a coat to cover up your tiny dress when its time to roam the streets looking for an unlicensed minicab to take you home," "educat[ing] yourself about unlicensed minicabs in the first place," not sitting "on the laps of the group of lairy boys you meet on the night bus and giv[ing] them the ' cuddle' theyre baying for" and avoiding "lying comatose on the pavement, alone, with your skirt rucked up and your knickers showing at the end of an alcohol-fuelled night." Extremely helpful tips all, but why do purportedly practical pieces on this subject spend half their paragraphs mocking women's behavior?

Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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