The Pop tarts recipes

A woman, a small boy and a few cents

The story of a very brave girl called Jack

by Sabina Rossignoli

She signs MsJackMonroe, is a 25 years old British and lives alone with 3 year-old son Small Boy. She is the founder of the blog A girl called Jack where she tells the story of her difficulties in making ends meet as a single mother. In the page “Hunger Hurts” she writes about having to leave her job in the Fire Brigades and consequently face the hardship of poverty and hunger. Slowly she starts selling her belongings, TV, watch, radio, laptop and visiting the pawn shop increasingly frequently. She has to give explanations to her son who realizes that sometimes there is not enough for her mother to eat.

A girl called Jack is a food blog created by a woman who has no choice but setting a weekly food budget of 10 Pounds for her household. She offers more than seventy recipes precious to families who have little or no disposable income. She advises on the prices, the best deals, the best grocery shops. She doesn’t throw anything away and find the perfect solution to cope with the very small fridge she has. And thus the blog is a place of wisdom about home economics, where hand washing is optimized and the cattle only rarely employed.

The blog has a political stance because Jack Monroe is a sharp observer of the incongruities and inconsistencies of the thin British welfare system. When she wants to join a Conservative Party meeting, she is boycotted by the security service. When she looks for a job, she sends 300 applications and doesn’t find anything. She monitors a system that is not allowing her to provide for herself and her son properly, and she gives names and faces to those who make the lives of poor people even worse. She points at the government policies who let her and others fall into poverty.

We really love this website because Jack Monroe shares the fate of the many women who comment her posts and identify with her,  for which she is an example and a reason to hope for a better future. Jack Monroe is very brave and generous, we love her courage, her creativity and her strength. And her recipes.

Women and poverty in the West

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, out of 12.2 million single parent families in 2012, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today, 1 in 3 children – a total of 15 million – are being raised without a father.Of that group, nearly half live below the poverty line.

In UK, Single mothers could lose thousands of pounds under planned changes to the benefits system, a charity claims (2012).

In France, more than 3 single mothers out of 5 (62%) have admitted having had difficulties in eating properly, against 37% of average in the survey. 61% of women couldn’t pay their rent, mortgage or housing fees, against 36% in average.

In Germany, 14% of the citizens who have recurred to a debts advising center were female heads of household. The number doubles the national average.

Aujourd’hui, la journée mondiale des toilettes!

Dans les toilettes d’Orly, le panneau qui dérange

Le panneau, blanc sur fond orange, à hauteur d’épaule, est fait pour être vu. Dans le hall d’embarquement de la compagnie Hop !, à Orly, personne ne peut manquer la direction des toilettes. Dans la partie supérieure du panneau, au-dessus d’une flèche montrant la gauche, figurent deux femmes, reconnaissables à leurs jupes, dont l’une, penchée, semble langer un enfant. En bas, avec une flèche indiquant la droite, un homme. Alors que la “journée mondiale des toilettes” est célébrée ce 19 novembre (voir ici pourquoi c’est un sujet sérieux), le panneau symbolise à merveille la répartition des tâches dans une société patriarcale. Aux femmes la charge d’élever les enfants, aux hommes la liberté d’aller et venir.

“Dove c’é Barilla, c’é casa”, the house you don’t want to live in

by Sabina Rossignoli

As Barilla CEO declared some days ago, there is no room in the company for homosexuals. The latter can always buy another brand of pasta. I was disappointed and frustrated of realizing that somebody could give such a statement, and immediately joined the lines of planetary media complaint and disappointment. Now, the pasta brand is undergoing boycott; maybe for this reason, it is today on sale in my local supermarket? I would love it to be the reason, because it would mean that this boycott is being taken seriously, and it should.
That said I want to explain why I think this statement is not at odds from the values Barilla has always been supporting in its branding. As an Italian girl grown up in a renowned trashy TV era (thank you Berlusconi), I was raised not only with Barilla products, but with Barilla advertisement. It is important here to remark that Barilla has since the 1970s developed a line of baking products: Mulino Bianco. For a child, it was cult, both the cookies and the ads. Let me therefore give some examples of how this massive TV advertising has been pernicious to my intellectual development – meaning that I needed a lot of time and effort to get rid of certain pressures. The history of some Mulino Bianco milestones will be of help for those of you not familiar with the brand:

1. “Dove c’é Barilla, c’é casa”: Barilla is there where home is

This slogan has always been the highlight of Barilla campaigns. The house we are talking about is a wonderful mill situated in a cornfield dazzling with golden sunrays. But was most of all a symbolic house where the white reproductive straight couple was thriving in its backwards ideology. Let’s get to know the Barilla family.
2. He’s a journalist, she’s a teacher, there is also grandpa
The first memories of Barilla I have go back to a 1990 ad. There is dad – the very busy and noisy journalist -, the kids – a girl, a boy, a genetic perfection -, grandpa – there just as a substitute for a non-existing state child-care -, and finally, mummy. Mummy is wisely closing the door of her classroom: she is a teacher and lives in the world of peace and calm. The fact that she has her place in the economy of care seems just normal. They all share a dream: a house in the countryside. They will find it, and move in forever and ever, thanks to the investigative skills and driving talent of dad. The nightmare starts only then, once they all moved in.

3. Sex education given by grandpa
In an ad coming some time later (1993), little boy – about 10 years old – is fixing a broken motorbike with grandpa. We realize that grandpa is transmitting important cultural capital. A group of young friends drop by and invite little boy to join their games. Little boy is well educated, therefore he declines the invitation to stay with grandpa. But grandpa realizes that little boy has fallen for one of the girls – another genetic miracle of the saga – and insists for him to go. And, the viewer imagine, experiment with the sweet and bitter of his future straight sexual life. The advertised product will help in the seduction process.

4. “Quante cose belle nel mondo”: how many beautiful things in the world (2005)
Like motherhood, or having breakfast with your boyfriend. Incredible what Mulino Bianco achieves in terms of presenting all facets of heteronormativity: across generations, from the most innocent to the almost sexual. Always domestic. That’s a shame, because a cookie can ben in our bags while we travel, not necessarily in the catholic home. That is the house of nightmare, where the place of a woman is that of nurturing and doing it aesthetically, but nothing else. The images of motherhood are offensive, as much as it is the end slogan.

5. The cherry on top of the cake: back to nature

The whole sequence always ends with a short slogan the content of which has never changed through the years. The good things are only in nature, they say while showing a dream landscape of the beloved mill. Yet I can’t refrain from thinking two things: the first is that after such a brainwashing hymn to heteronormativity and motherhood, it is like an equation. The nature of a woman is… The second thing I think is that such a return to nature was the cornerstone of extreme right wing politics at the end of the 19th Century. The return to nature has always hidden a tragic potential. I will not draw the race politics and white privilege of Barilla, but the work should be done.

Let’s not forget women
Barilla has always been offensive regarding the images of women it conveyed. Insulting women who were always imagined as mothers, domestic, domesticated. Precisely the image against which we have been fighting for so long. Many companies use sexism to promoting their products, we must stay vigilant. The struggle against homophobia is the struggle against sexism. For all the people who are committed to social justice, it is important to unify forces against discrimination and violence.

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Frankreich und Deutschland im Vergleich

Madame macht ernst
der Freitag
Passend zur Rentrée, so nennen die Franzosen das Ende der Sommerpause, prescht Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, die Pariser Frauenministerin, mit einigen ambitionierten Forderungen nach vorn: So sollen sich künftig nur noch Unternehmen mit mehr als 50 Mitarbeitern an öffentlichen Ausschreibungen beteiligen dürfen, deren Leitungsebene gleichberechtigt besetzt ist. „Die Gleichheit ist gesetzlich festgeschrieben, aber die meisten Frauen leben noch immer schlechter als ihre Ehemänner“, sagt die Sozialistin. Einer ihrer typischen Sätze…

Read here.

M. Bessin-H. Levilain, “Parents après 40 ans. L’engagement familial à l’épreuve de l’âge”

“Ed. Autrement, collection Mutations, n° 268, 19 euros. ISBN 978-2-7467-1536-3

Avoir un enfant après 40 ans. Ce phénomène est l’objet de nombreux discours, en particulier médiatiques parfois alarmistes et souvent simplificateurs. Loin du cliché de la femme battante, cadre et surinvestie dans son travail au point d’en oublier de faire des enfants, cet ouvrage qui s’intéresse autant aux hommes et pères qu’aux femmes et mères montre que la parentalité tardive est diverse et plurielle, en même temps que genrée. Prolongation de la jeunesse, recompositions familiales, nouvelles définitions du couple : autant de transformations sociales qui conditionnent aujourd’hui le désir d’enfant et le moment de le concrétiser mettant, au centre, l’inégalité des calendriers masculin et féminin et une expérience sexuée du temps qui passe et où le fort sentiment d’urgence des femmes à l’approche de la quarantaine s’oppose au sentiment des hommes qu’ils peuvent encore se donner le temps.

La sociologie de la famille, du temps et des âges proposée dans cet ouvrage s’articule à une sociologie de l’engagement, appuyée sur des récits biographiques. Décrivant la pression du temps qui passe, des négociations parfois âpres avec le conjoint, le regard des autres (pas toujours bienveillants) et l’investissement éducatif consenti par ces parents pour ne pas faire leur âge, ils montrent combien le faire famille sur le tard constitue le cadre d’une épreuve individuelle et conjugale amenant à s’engager et, pour cela, à céder et se faire une raison.”

Continuer la lecture ici.

The world map of feminists, a global network

“We are feminists. We come from five continents, fighting for equal rights in law and in practice, and for the emancipation of all people.

Our vision is a world of equality, respect, and dignity for all. To realize this vision, we fight against all systems of oppression and domination which exist on this planet: male dominance, racism, the injunction of heteronormativity, and economic and class oppression. These systems of oppression and domination intersect and reinforce each other.

As feminists, we struggle for equality between women and men, but also for equality between all women. We are committed and engaged in a struggle against a political, economic and social system called patriarchy. It is this system, in place in every corner of the world, which leads to the oppression of half of humanity. It is this system which perpetuates a range of inequalities: the gender gap in wages and pensions; gender and sexual violence, especially in conflicts; sexual exploitation and prostitution, at the intersection of all systems of domination; the lack of women in decision-making positions; poverty and marginalization; sexism and sexual objectification in the media; and an unequal distribution of reproductive and parental tasks. This system has an even greater impact on many women as it intersects with other forms of oppression, especially for racialized women, migrants, homeless, differently-abled, lesbians, and trans*, etc. Every day, we see the symptoms of a world that has chosen not to take the necessary steps to realize gender equality.

We, as feminists, refuse to accept this reality. We refuse to accept that due to the gender assigned to us, our emancipation is inhibited, opportunities are obstructed from us, and we face widespread violence. We are committed and mobilized, and we empower ourselves by challenging this reality.

We acknowledge that we live in different contexts. The struggles of feminists in Ireland, India, Iran, Chile, Australia, Congo, Canada, France, Belgium, South Africa or Morocco are not always the same. However our strength lies in the plurality of our situations, commitments, thoughts, and movements.

Beyond our diverse struggles, forms of mobilizations and demands, we have one thing in common: due to our gender and sex, we do not have equal opportunities for emancipation. Sexism and the oppression of women are universal, as is feminism.

Our feminist commitment is part of all social mobilizations that aim to raise awareness of struggles against precariousness, and for the separation of religious and political power. Systems of oppression and domination are not only similar in appearance, they are interconnected. By dismantling one, we affect them all.

We therefore are putting out a call to feminists from every country around the world: let us unite, let us make ourselves known, and let us raise our voices to incite a radical change.”

Read and register here!

Agnès Hussherr nommée responsable de la diversité de PwC au niveau mondial

“Agnès Hussherr a pris la responsabilité de la diversité de PwC au niveau mondial (Global Diversity Leader) le 1er juillet 2013. Dans son nouveau rôle, elle va définir la stratégie et coordonner les initiatives du réseau international de PwC en termes de diversité.

Depuis 2008, elle était membre du Global Diversity and Inclusion Council de PwC, et en charge du réseau Women in PwC pour la France, l’Europe, l’Afrique, l’Inde et le Moyen-Orient. En France, PwC compte 22% de femmes associées.

Agnès Hussherr a débuté sa carrière chez PwC à Paris en 1989. Nommée associée en 2001, elle est aujourd’hui responsable de l’audit de grands clients du secteur bancaire de PwC France. Durant les quatre dernières années, elle était également en charge des RH pour l’activité audit de PwC France.

Agnès Hussherr, 45 ans, mariée, 3 enfants, est diplômée de l’ESC Reims, commissaire aux comptes et expert-comptable.”

Read here.

Rethinking Vulnerability and Resistance: Feminism & Social Change (16-19.09.2013, Istanbul)

“There is always something both risky and true in claiming that women are especially vulnerable. The claim can be taken to mean that women have an unchanging and defining vulnerability, and that kind of argument makes the case for paternalistic protection. If women are especially vulnerable, then they seek protection, and it becomes the responsibility of the state or other paternal powers to provide that protection. On the model, feminist activism not only petitions paternal authority for special dispensations and protections, but affirms that inequality of power situates women in a powerless position and, by implication, men in a more powerful one, or it invests state structures with the responsibility for facilitating the achievement of feminist goals. In yet other instances, women struggle to establish practices (self-defense) and institutions (battered women’s shelters) that seek to provide protection without enlarging paternalistic powers.”

Read more here.

Demo gegen Sexismus in der Werbung (2. Sept 2013) Berlin

Seit über einem Jahr kämpfen Stevie Schmiedel und ihre Initiative Pinkstinks für ein anderes Frauenbild im öffentlichen Raum und legen sich mit der Werbewirtschaft an. Reklame soll auch die Sicht von Kindern berücksichtigen. Eine große Demo gegen Sexismus in der Werbung in Berlin soll den wachsenden Zorn der Frauen unterstreichen.