Women! Beautiful petals that inspire poetry, and thorns that trigger wars at the same time. Women are powerful. They give life! Not surprisingly, the world around us is marked by femininity: Mother Nature holds us in her strong embrace. What's more, during the matriarchy women were the leaders of the tribes.
Women can be scientists, CEO's or political leaders. Let's admit it, feminism has helped us a lot. It has helped us raise issues that mean the most to us, like being able to vote, hold important jobs, stop us from being objectified and infantilized in the workplace.
However, there's still inequality. In fact, for a very long time women have little by little had their power stripped from them and put more and more into the domestic sphere where they could be controlled and kept from holding important statuses. Anyone can see that many young women follow trends only to be more attractive to men. And why is all the adult entertainment industry designed for men mainly?
If you think that you don't earn enough, that's a good reason to be angry. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Women are abused, assaulted, trafficked or humiliated. Their sensuality has always been suppressed: from chastity belts to female genital mutilation, women are seen as inferior. In some countries, women live the way their male relatives want them to live. Women can easily be beaten up only because they want to drive a car! In addition, many religions present the woman as something evil.
So while inequality exists everywhere, here are some reasons why we should pity these girls from around the world.
Women are often abused, raped and tortured. People try to control them in different ways. The situation is even worse in many tribes that still exist.
The Kayani women in Burma are made to wear rings, brass coils, around their necks. Actually, their necks only look longer, they don't stretch but the ribs are pushed towards their stomach. They start doing that from an early age, which as a consequence leads to many malformations.
Some claim that this tradition is to protect women from animal attacks or just to add to their dresses, but the truth is that this affects the way they eat, breath and move. It's believed that men remove the rings when they want to punish their wives. As the muscles are not developed properly, women can't support their necks and die from suffocation.
And again in Papua, New Guinea, there's another scary practice.
Let's mention that in Papua New Guinea sexual assaults and violence are common. A young mother was gang raped in a public park in the capital Port Moresby. In addition, kids are forced to prostitute. Many sex workers experience extreme levels of abuse.
When people talk about social care and fear of pedophilia, you might be surprised that there's a tribe in Papua New Ginea that practices having sex with minors at the age of 6, and it's not a crime, but a traditional practice.
Girls from the Trobriand Islands can start having sex at the age of 6 and the tribe encourages this behavior. Girls can choose their partners and change them. There’s no traditional marriage either. Strange but true.
Talking about kids having sex is disturbing.
However, in Cambodia parents encourage their teens to have sex. Sex is not a taboo there. Members of the Kreung tribe believe that if a woman has sex with different men, she can gain a lot of spiritual power. So parents build huts where their 9 to 13-year-old girls can have sex.
Nang Chan who's 17 thinks that that's a great way to find the person you love. Many of her friends believe the same. One can explore her sexuality and chose the person she loves. Of course, till they are in an official relationship, they should keep their love within the hut.
However, in a country where STDs are common, having sex with different people, especially so early, is terrifying. In addition, sex trafficking is a problem and such practices can be dangerous to the girls and their families.
If you want to have a wonderful wedding with the person you love, remember that some women can't choose their partners. Arranged marriages happen everywhere across the globe.
But what about kidnapping? Bride kidnapping or marriage by abduction is a scary practice. It's very common, especially in Kyrgyzstan. And we are talking about child brides. Even though it's illegal, many young girls are kidnapped every year. However, authorities don't do much about it and say that it's a tradition unique to their country.
Unfortunately, many women disagree. A documentary on the topic presents the lives of some women who were forced to marry their attackers. They reveal the emotional pain and injustice they've gone through.
Some victims say that even after years of living together, they never gave their heart away.
We talked about terrible practices that widows are forced to experience. Remember sati in India? It's like the pain of losing someone is not enough that people are made to experience more sorrow and horror.
Well, in another part of the world when a woman loses someone she loves, she has to cut one of her fingers. Finger cutting might sound barbaric but it's an ancient tradition in West Papua, New Guinea. The members of the Dani tribe show their pain after they've lost someone by cutting their fingers. Maybe the only good thing about that practice, if we can talk about positive sides here, is that it can be performed by males as well. For a first time it's not only women that suffer.
Sometimes people cut too many of their fingers so they become unable to perform their everyday tasks properly.
If you think that rape is terrible, imagine marrying and living with the person who has raped you!
Abusive relationships are common and many men still hurt or rape their partners. Marital or spousal rape is illegal in the U.S., but still, many abusers don't fear any consequences. Why? Because authorities sometimes ignore cases of domestic abuse and think it's okay to have sex with your partner... even though is non-consensual.
However, in many countries, such as Afghanistan, there's another phenomenon, more terrifying that anything you can imagine. Rapists avoid legal consequences... if they marry the victims.
An Afghan victim, known as Gulnaz, had to marry her attacker so he could avoid jail time for adultery by force and provide a free future for her baby that was conceived from the act.
Stoning is another cruel practice, a terrifying form of capital punishment. Lapidation is a barbaric method, and unfortunately, many innocent women become victims of it. Many rape victims are killed as well – the victims, not the attackers!
It's unbelievable even to think such an archaic method of justice is still used today. Attackers and cruel witnesses explain without a heart the importance of the size of the rocks that are used. They also say how women have fewer chances to escape from this inhumane torture as they are half buried.
The story of the Somali girl (only 13) Aisha is heartbreaking. She was raped and in an attempt to seek justice, she was accused of adultery and executed. Many human rights groups tried to raise awareness about the problem but the scary truth is that this practice still exists in many countries around the world.
There's another beauty procedure that's worse than Japanese facials. How far would you go to be attractive?
In China, leg-lengthening procedures are something that many women would go through just to appear sexy and beautiful. That is more than agonizing. If reconstructive surgery is helpful for people with birth problems or after accidents, leg-lengthening sounds scary, especially when it's just to follow some imaginary standards.
We all know about another terrible practice in China that many girls suffered from: foot binding. Men probably found this attractive but for many young girls and women this custom was more than painful. It led to permanent damage to the feet, skin, bones and hips and caused terrible headaches and infections. It's good to know that lotus feet are not modern anymore.
We have heard about ancient pharaohs buried with their partners, jewelry, and pets. But did you know that killing women after their husband's death is not only a scary myth, but in some cultures a reality. Sati or suttee is a funeral tradition accepted by many Hindu people. Many widows were burned alive on the pyre of their husbands or committed suicide. It's interesting to know why it wasn't the other why around.
Sati is believed to be a voluntary practice but there are many documented cases of people forcing widows into their death. Sometimes women are drugged, sometimes they are pushed into the fire, sometimes they are even sent to death by their relatives.
In India, there's another practice. Widows are sent away from their homes to live in poverty. Vrindavan or the city of widows is a place where widows suffer in silence.
In India, there's another strange practice. Not at all deadly, but painful enough. Tooth-filing. It's very important in the Balinese culture. Usually, it symbolizes the transition from childhood to adulthood and sometimes it's part of the wedding ritual. However, tooth-filing is extremely painful.
If you hate dentists, then feel lucky that you're not born in some of the Indonesian tribes where tooth chiseling is a sign of beauty and pure soul. The story of Pilongi, the wife of the chief in Mantawaian, tells us more about these ancient practices that don't involve any analgesics.
Talking about dental practices, it's curious to know that tattooed black gums are a sign of beauty in some areas in West Africa and many women undergo such a procedure to become more attractive to their men. Actually, in Africa, some women bleach their skin to become more beautiful. Some of these practices come from colonial times when the colonizer would only treasure people based on their skin color.
We talked about the brutal reality of bride kidnapping. Now let's mention another practice that's even worse – bride markets. Women often are seen as objects and men decide their lives. From marrying a person they don't love to being abused every single day, women around the world are victims of the patriarchate.
Bride markets are seen as something normal in some areas of Bulgaria. Many Roma people that live in Bulgaria, mainly the members of the Kalaidzhi group, organize bride markets four times a year. Note that the Balkans are a loved home for many ethnic groups: although many countries there have a lot of problems with the Roma community, gypsies are a significant part of the region.
Young girls wear a lot of makeup and provocative dresses in order to find a husband. Poor families find this as a great opportunity to earn some money...by selling their daughters. Virgins cost more.
For instance, Milka Minkova found her husband at the young age of 13.
If we think that selling kids is wrong, what do you think about throwing newborns? Okay, that's not exactly a practice indicates gender inequality, but I believe that we can pity the mothers involved.
Throwing newborns is a common practice in India, in particular in the state of Karnataka. Every year parents, Muslims and Hindus, gather and throw their little babies, under two, off a temple that's 50ft high. True, they catch them in a cloth, but the baby tossing ritual is horrifying. Babies scream and cry and after landing safely, they are given back to their stressed mothers.
In conclusion, it's hard to be a woman. But hey, there's nothing better than being one at the same time. Just the fact that you can give life is wonderful enough to make you more 'superior' than anything else.
Women are required to undergo different beauty procedures only because of society, and mainly men. If we have clothes, makeup and tanning salons, some women believe that some more curious practices will make them more attractive to the opposite sex.
Many women in Japan take their fascination with exotic birds too far. One of the secrets of the beautiful Geisha tradition consists in bird poop. Facial masks made of Nightingale poop are a hit. In particular, the ingredients are collected from the Japanese island of Kyushu.
You might find it disgusting, but remember that it helps the skin heal from acne, aging, and heavy makeup. Many famous people, such as Victoria Beckham and Tom Cruise, pay hundreds in beauty salons to get closer to this ancient mystery.
Okay, there are many standards that tell us what's beautiful and what's not. Being blond, being slim, and being tall are some of the dreams many women have. But let's face it, we can't all be like models from a magazine cover. Actually, beauty should be about personality and then being liked can take you the rest of the way toward real beauty.
Unfortunately, many women still undergo surgery to become who they are not. Botox, silicon, and the list goes on and on. We shouldn't blame these women but the fake society that pressures us.
Talking about surgery, rhinoplasty is a hit in Iran. Women have their noses 'fixed' in order to be more attractive. Nose-jobs are so popular that patients like having plasters on their face for longer to display they've had a nose-job.
If open sexuality can surprise us, there's something else that we might find too extreme – forbidden sexuality.
The Catholic people who live on the remote island of Inis Beag near Ireland, both males and females, are not allowed to enjoy sex. There's no sexual education either. Sex is seen as evil and nudity is not allowed.
People are so sexually oppressed that not only sex, but kissing and touching are signs of the devil. Sex between partners is with the only purpose to have kids and they even have sex with their clothes on.
Breastfeeding, menstruation, and menopause are also believed to be disgusting. Believe it or not, even dogs that were found to lick their genitals were whipped.
All this sexual frustration as a consequence has led to high levels of masturbation and alcoholism.
Sources: National Geographic, Science Daily