Magazine article New Internationalist

[The Drag King Book]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[The Drag King Book]

Article excerpt

With an unsettling blend of pain and optimism, journalist Yayori Matsui charts the course of Asian women's movements over the past two decades. As co-founder of. Asia-Japan Women's Resource Centre and editor of Women's 21st Century, she is well equipped for the task.

Asia is home to the largest number of the world's impoverished women. Despite the region's recent economic boom, there has been a widespread feminization of poverty in most of its countries. This has been matched by the continuing, if not increasing, infringement of human rights for women, including domestic violence and female infanticide.

In Women in the New Asia Matsui balances these tragedies with heartening stories of women's credit co-ops, democratic movements and resistance to the 'dictatorship of development'. It was women, she Says, who took the lead in Japan's national anti-pollution struggle and peace movements in the early 1970s. It was largely Korean women who protested against their country's dictatorship and against its patriarchy, despite threat of torture and imprisonment.

It was Thai women who took to the streets over the confiscation of land and Cambodian women who took the helm to rebuild their nation. And it is the regions' women who are protesting against the rise of religious fundamentalism which she sees as a major instigator of anti-women violence. Matsui's insights are strong balm; her alternative ways of seeing, the gentlest of rejoinders. They deserve to be widely read.

Politics **** Entertainment **

Facing the Mirror is about women in the new India. To be specific, it's about those women who have been the most effectively silenced of all, marginalized by omission even in equality-conscious, gender-and-development books: lesbians. This collection is something of a milestone, dealing with the experience of Indian lesbians across caste, religion and to some extent class and region, too. And it knocks on the head the arguments of those who would rather believe that homosexuality in India -- and other Majority World countries -- is some kind of 'Western import', like champagne for elites. Bringing together fact, fiction, analysis, confessionals and oral testimony, Facing the Mirror is a labour of love -- and courage -- by editor Ashwini Sukthankar and its scores of contributors. In literary terms it's patchy, but there's a raw energy and a wry humour that may wring a smile from even the straightest quarters. …

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