Saturday, March 8, 2014


MORE THAN JUST A COVER STORY If it weren't for the colour of the veil, this could be any other popular glossy aimed at women getting married. But in place of the traditional white, the beautiful young girl staring from the cover wears a black veil and, instead of a smile, she wears a look of pure fear. Child Bride is one of three spoof magazine covers produced by Catapult, a US-based crowdfunding site, as a way of suggesting that International Women's Day on 8 March is more than just a "cover story". 
It is brilliant not just for raising awareness about victims of sex trafficking, slavery and child marriage, but for inverting the typical media approach to International Women's Day, where inspirational women make magazine covers promoting a good cause, or even just themselves. Role models are all well and good, of course, but sometimes the reality of so many female lives is better.

Spoofs can be tricky to pull off – forced marriage and child sexploitation not in general being a barrel of laughs – but these are funny because they look so real at first sight. I particularly like the headlines “He's how old? 60? 70? and other questions not to ask”, “50 RECIPES WE LOVE – So easy an illiterate child could make them” and “Go on … STRESS LESS! Because life's too short to do anything yourself”. Good Slavekeeping, Thirteen and Child Brides are spoofs of the similarly named glossies – Good Housekeeping, Seventeen and Brides – and, indeed, all women's magazines,and cleverly exploit the way they look. 
Maz Kessler, Catapult's founder and creative director, says: “Thankfully, these are fake magazines. Unfortunately, these are real problems.” The campaign was launched to stress that International Women's Day is “more than just a cover story.”

Even in 2014, the rights of women and girls are severely threatened by sex trafficking, slavery, child marriage and other violations around the world. International Women's Day (IWD), observed annually on March 8, continues to spread awareness and garner support — and change — for women across the globe. Catapult, a crowdfunding site dedicated specifically to the advancement of women and girls, has released a startling new visual campaign. Maz Kessler, Catapult's founder says raising awareness through the media isn't enough. She set up Catapult to provide a direct link between donors and projects supporting girls and women. Next to each cover story, a button asks readers to "Do Something About It". Not a bad aim for international women's day. Srila Prabhupada has taught us about the true value of women as heads of households and as a representation of spirituality and Motherhood. They are Laksmi Devi - the Goddess of Fortune - at home, and they worth adoration. However, in many countries million girls are married; robbed of their childhood, denied their rights to health, education and security. In supposedly very advanced materialistic societies, such as New York City, the average age at which a girl first becomes a victim of commercial sexual exploitation is 13. Violence ranges from female genital mutilation, forced labor, sexual exploitation, rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence and even honor killings. Our spiritual master has taught us that these kind of sentiments about men being superior to women, is born from a mind of competition and from an inferiority complex. It is really very far from Krishna consciousness. (Editor's note).

If we truly believe, even theoretically, that we “are not this body,” then why do we care whether our bodily duties are “higher” or “lower” than someone else’s?  Such things are temporary, external, and don’t touch the real self. If doing a “lower” duty will please Krishna and Prabhupada and help us fix our minds on the glorious holy name, why for the sake of pride will we reject it? ... Most difficulties with understanding the position of women can be solved if we understand that all of us have two duties: material and spiritual.  The spiritual duties, the nine processes of devotional service, are equally available to every human being regardless of age, gender, race, intelligence, health, etc. etc. ... Why not just accept the body we have for this life, and work with it so as to please Krishna and make our life peaceful, so that we can concentrate our time and energy on what’s truly important-loving and remembering Krishna.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Prabhupada's Views on Women”

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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