Badass women: 25 November 2016
Hats off to Maria Chin Abdullah, Lilly Singh, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Iskra Lawrence and Christiane Amanpour
Maria Chin Abdullah
Maria Chin Abdullah is the chairman and leader of Bersih 2.0, Malaysia's civil society movement that campaigns for free and fair elections. She was arrested last Friday, 18 November, a day before the Bersih rally took place in Kuala Lumpur.
Since Friday, Maria has been in solitary confinement under the SOSMA Act (an anti-terrorism law) that allows detention for up to 28 days without trial. She was reportedly put in a cell without windows and with the lights kept on 24 hours a day while being investigated under Section 124C of the Penal Code that criminalises the attempt to carry out activities that threaten parliamentary democracy.
Police have insisted that Maria's detention was in line with the Prisons Act 1995, while Malaysians have continued to rally in demand of her freedom since the arrest. Even the UN Human Rights Office (UNHRO) has called for her release.
"The use of SOSMA – Security Offences Act – against Maria Chin Abdullah is very concerning. Security legislation should not be used against peaceful demonstrators," Jeremy J Laurence, a UNHRO spokesperson said this week. "We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Maria Chin Abdullah and other activists."
In the meantime, Maria's family has filed a police report for her release. The application challenging her detention under SOSMA will be taken to the Kuala Lumpur High Court next Tuesday.
Lilly Singh is a SAVAGE QUEEN but we love her so much for it. The Canadian YouTube personality's comeback to sexist haters telling to her to make them a sandwich comes in the form of a video tutorial entitled How to Make a Sandwich for sexists (what else?) and it will make you laugh your (bad)ass off.
"Please note that I am using fresh ingredients to make up for your expired thought process," Lilly began before dishing other savage remarks like "Step one, chop up your onion. Now if you start to painfully tear up, don't worry, now you know how your mother feels when she sees how you turned out" and "While cutting, you'll notice the onion has layers, just like your insecurities."
Hear a lot of sizzling? That's the burn being felt by sexists everywhere.
We're lauding model Iskra Lawrence for her bravery when she stripped down to her underwear in a train in New York City, in front of strangers while telling them about her struggle with body positivity and the journey she went through. She filmed the act as part of the #UNMUTED series that was inspired by the US presidential election results. Iskra wanted the series to remind everyone that "we are all one race, the human race and we are all equal."
"This body is not just something to be objectified, to be grabbed, to be looked at," she said. "This is my vessel, this is my home. I respect it... Every single one of us has so much value and so much worth that is more than just skin. We are all brothers and sisters, we are equal. This is just our vessel."
We clapped at the end, too.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie thinks that it's time "to really stop that ridiculous idea that somehow if you're a serious woman you can't and should not care about how you look." And we couldn't agree more.
"When I moved to the US and I was publishing my first novel, I had quickly realised that for a woman to be taken seriously and to be seen as a 'serious intellectual person' she couldn't possibly look as though she cared a lot about her appearance," Chimamanda told Racked.
"I think that's important because the reality of our world is that it's an incredibly diverse place. I don't believe that there's an objective beauty standard that falls from the sky. I think that we as a society create what we aspire to," she added. Read her full interview here.
While accepting an award at a Committee to Protect Journalists event, CNN's Christiane Amanpour gave a powerful speech defending journalism and the right to freedom of press in the United States of America, following Donald Trump's president electoral win.
She was dismayed when the first tweet from the president-elect post-elections was about "professional protesters incited by the media". She had implied that authoritarian leaders might dismantle the free press. "I feel we face an existential crisis, a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession," she said.
"Now, more than ever, we need to commit to real reporting across a real nation, a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril, including by foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out and place false news, and hacking into democratic systems here and allegedly in upcoming crucial German and French elections too."
"As a profession, let's fight for what is right. Let's fight for our values. Bad things do happen when good people do nothing. In the words of the great civil rights leader, Congressman John Lewis: 'Young people and people not so young have a moral obligation and a mission and a mandate to get in good trouble.' So let's go out and make some. And especially – let's fight to remain relevant and useful," she said. Read her full speech here.