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I saw a news report about this on T.V., she was a straight A Student who had perfect attendance and everything. Everyone loved and respected her for her skills, but when she started this experiment and people thought she was pregnant, they started treating her like garbage. Even her teachers started looking down on her like she was scum of the earth. The only people who knew she was doing this as an experiment were her school principle, her health care teacher and her father. Her own mother thought she was pregnant.

I mean even her friends turned on her, it was horrid. Very very sad, and as soon as she revealed during an assembly that the pregnancy was false, a lot of people were in shock as she brought up all the horrible things they said and did to her because they thought she was pregnant.

The reason for the experiment was to see how people would react and treat her if they thought she was pregnant, as apposed as to treating her as the straight A “Perfect” student they usually did. And it proved that people were horrible scumbags to her as soon as they thought she was.

A 14-year-old, Julia Bluhm, has defeated Seventeen Magazine,

A 14-year-old, Julia Bluhm, has defeated Seventeen Magazine, the most widely distributed teen girls’ magazine in the U.S.—at least for now. Because of Julia’s online petition asking Seventeen to run unaltered photos to show its readers what real beauty and real girls look like, which was signed by 80,000 people, the editors of Seventeen caved. In Seventeen’s August issue, the magazine’s Editor in Chief announced that the magazine vows not to use Photoshop to alter the face shape and body sizes of its teen models, and that it will feature a diversity of models with different body shapes, races, and hair textures — a coup for girls and women. Now it’s up to us to keep the fire to Seventeen’s feet. Though chances are that Julia will likely do that for us. :

like I always say "They need to be beaten with sticks!"

The Gulabi gang (named after the fluorescent pink saris they wear) was founded by Sampat Pal Devi in 2006 in Banda in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. They began as a sisterhood that became more a squad of vigilantes in response to widespread domestic, sexual, & governmental violence against women & they use bamboo sticks to threaten or punish abusive husbands & officials. They now claim 20,000 members across North India. In the style of Robin Hood, they protest child marriages, dowry, female illiteracy, & official corruption. Abusive husbands are negotiated with first, threatened, & then pummeled with the bamboo sticks if they persist in violence. In one notorious instance they ambushed the local utility office which was withholding electricity unless they received bribes or sexual favors, roughed up the staff, locked them out, & took off with the key until power was restored. An hour later, the power which had been withheld for over two weeks was back on. Their most daring exploit was hijacking trucks of food meant for the poor being taken to market for sale by corrupt officials.

The founder, Sampat Pal Devi is the daughter of a shepherd put to work on family land while her brothers went to school & married off at the age of 12 to a 20-year-old ice cream vendor she had never met. She had the first of her five children at 15 & was not allowed by her mother-in-law to stop having children until she produced a boy. She now has a long list of criminal charges against her, including unlawful assembly, rioting, attacking a government employee, & obstructing an officer in the discharge of duty. She is nevertheless a folk hero in the tradition of Phoolan Devi, a woman from the same region, known as the Bandit Queen of India who was gang-raped by upper caste men & led a gang of robbers in retribution on upper caste villagers.

Vigilantism is certainly preferable to the despondency of women taking out the violence on themselves through self-immolation or hanging. But political activism is an alternative to vigilantism. Much political heft can be thrown around with 20,000 women carrying bamboo sticks & trained to wield them. The Gulabi gang is only the most prominent female gang & is often favorably reported in the media. India is sustaining a rise of female vigilante groups—termed a “mini-revolution” by some journalists—who are taking things into their own hands. Though it’s hard to see the downside to this female militancy, more violent vigilantism has been reported elsewhere in India among dispossessed women. In 2004, hundreds of women brutally killed a serial rapist after the courts failed to convict him over a period of 10 years. The women collectively claimed guilt for the murder, making it difficult for the police to charge anyone for the crime.

The gut reaction to this phenomenon of women defending themselves is to cheer them on exuberantly, but there is a long, regrettable history to vigilantism that begins as self defense & doesn’t inform itself with a vision of transformation. It gets stuck in retribution & ends up in criminality. The Gulabi gang has the potential to move beyond retribution to political transformation & when they do, media coverage will be far less favorable. The linked article is an interesting portrait of some of the women in the gang. In this photo “Commander” Sampat Pal of the Gulabi gang teaches women how to wield the bamboo baton. (Photo by Sanjit Das)

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