Global Roundup: On legs, queer representation and dating while non-binary.

Compiled and written by Miriam Batal

CANAN, Woman with Testicles (Hünsa), 2009. Courtesy of the artist via artsy.net

Humour and art are perhaps not the words that come to mind when you think of violence against women. Many would prefer to ignore the violence women are subjected to because to talk about it would force open a pandora’s box of lived trauma and uncomfortable truths.

Women in Turkey took to Twitter to write posts that are intended to reverse and ridicule the patriarchal and degrading comments used to keep Turkish women in a social role inferior to men. Posts like “my husband can work if he wants” or “the most beautiful career for a man is fatherhood” sparked conversation on Twitter by Turkish women about the ongoing violence they face due to their gender. Işıl Eğrikavuk and Neriman Polat are both artists from Turkey who are using their art to show the harsh realities of violence against women in their country. 

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Photo by Ardra KS via Feminism in India

By now it shouldn’t be a surprise that beauty companies as well as the media play a big fucking role in how folks should look, sound, and act amongst other things. Companies (by default capitalism) and the patriarchy are making a shit ton of money on our backs by selling us products to look like the next best thing to Barbie. We as womxn have always been told we should look a certain way in order to please the men around us. Not only is this narrative beyond heteronormative it is also saying to the public that our only use in life is to be submissive by our looks. Fuck that! 

Anaswara Rajan, a young actor from Kerala, India, recently shared a photo on her social media wearing shorts. This photo, of course, was met with mixed reviews. Obviously, you had the men who prefer womxn covered and “modest” BUT, on the other hand, you had other womxn taking photos of themselves in shorts or skirts; this ultimately created the hashtag on social media #WomenHaveLegs. But what about womxn with hair on their legs? This photo essay delves into how yes indeed womxn do have legs; nevertheless, they are also hairy. 

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From Cyprus Queer Perspectives Art Exhibition via Cyprus Mail

Heteronormativity has pushed queer art — and by default artists — underground and denied it the exposure that traditional art shows enjoy. An exhibit showcasing the work of 14 LGBTQI+ artists who have come together to celebrate queer viewpoints in Cyprus wants to change that. 

The Cyprus Queer Perspectives Art Exhibition will give art goers the chance to understand the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, questioning, and queer artists. By taking over space that is usually reserved for upper class and non-queer folks (yawn), queer art inspires conversations and pushes us into an acquaintance with queer culture and queer art. 

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Fuck yes! Strippers in a voting ad! Now evidently this isn’t your traditional voting ad that you would see on TV. However, thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter you can see this badass #GetYaBootyToThePolls ad by Atlanta strippers. The ad has almost 2 million views – fucking amazing,right?! In addition, the comment section of this tweet has little negative comments! Not to mention the inclusivity of different bodies and the Black and women of colour who are reminding you of the importance of voting in the November election.

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Image courtesy of Faeshon Left via Calvert Journal

Queer Russian culture was a persistent presence in the 1990s and 2000s on the fringe of the mainstream of the world – think t.A.t.U.’s single All The Things She Said  but a political pushback in the 2010s left a generation uncertain if it ever existed at all. The “gay propaganda law” in Russia has made it difficult for LGBTQ+ representation to exist. Which, of course, is putting a muzzle on queer folks around the country. 

Folks in North America tend to think other countries with homophobic laws are oppressed and that we must save them from this oppression. But in reality, queer folks in these countries are fighting back and are giving the middle finger to these oppressive laws and the people the laws target. In a recent exhibition in London, Anastasiia Fedorova speaks about reclaiming her own queer past and why Russia's LGBTQ+ culture could be looking at a better future.

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Image via Feminism in India

During a pandemic folks might feel the need to connect with other queer folks – to allow them to connect and talk with someone else for once. But what we forget sometimes is that although these dating apps are meant to be inclusive, in reality, that is only a façade. 

“But soon compliments changed into enforcement, freedom to express became governed. And when I refused to follow, I suddenly became, ‘You fucking tranny…’ They said I am not a ‘real’ woman; I never will be. But I had to fit, I couldn’t lose, not here too … I succumbed.” Riju Banerjee explains how these encounters left them feeling as if they had to assimilate and “look like a woman” when in reality that is not how they felt. Fuck that! Most people on dating apps are just looking for the folks of the opposite gender or the same gender, which leaves non-binary folks outside and alone. Fuck that (yes again)! These dating apps are reinforcing the systems of society’s norms of what a woman should look like and what a man should look like. EVERYONE should be able to use these apps without feeling pressured to dress or look a certain way. For fuck’s sake! 

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Miriam Batal (she/they) is a completing their fourth-year undergraduate bachelor’s degree with a major in World Cinemas and minor in Feminist and Gender studies at the University of Ottawa. They are out and proud queer Lebanese – Canadian, they are abled-bodied, a settler of colour, intersectional feminist, body positivity, sex-positive, pro-sex worker, fully bilingual (French and English) person who lives on Turtle Island (Canada). She currently sits on the uOPride Executive team. 

They are passionate about human rights, social justice and accessible mental health services and treatments. They are tired of cis white heterosexual men running politics and making decisions on their body and sexuality. They would like one day to make a positive change to this heteronormative world. When they are not protesting, or reading on queer theory/literature, Miriam enjoys spending time with their friends, going to the museum, attending drag shows, queer art exhibit, cinema and the theatre (pre-pandemic nonetheless) and video games. 

They firmly believe that with education whether it be in academia or through lived experiences and conversation we are able to defeat ignorance, the patriarchy, colonialism and injustices. 

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