Archive for September 3rd, 2011

From: “Priiti Devii”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Worries of Women
Date: Sat, 03 Sep 2011 19:15:48 +0000



Note: Appended below are 2 critical articles and a link to sound file on this key issue.

Around the world, women struggle with their identity: Am I beautiful? Am I sexy? Am I good enough?

In this capitalistic, male-dominated society where materialism and sexuality are everything, then we women have been branded in a certain way. As much as we may not like to admit it, the point is like an elephant in the living room: Am I sensually appealing to the guy next to me? That is the way things are in the general society.


Women suffer from their own set of worries and insecurities.

White women want to be tan or brown. We want to look like super-models.

The situation is considerably worse for women of color. They are not just struggling to look like super-models; our sisters are struggling to be accepted by the white establishment. This is particularly true for African-American women and other black women in the western world.

Our sisters use harsh and biting chemicals to change the tone of their skin so that it will be lighter, i.e. whiter. Plus, the practice of straightening, a.k.a “relaxing”, their hair is quite common. By this latter method their naturally “kinky” hair more closely resembles a white person’s hair. This is a multi-million dollar industry.

All around the globe people are emulating the dominant white, European culture.

In the east, Asian females are concerned about their look: their skin tone, shape of nose and eyes, etc. In particular, Chinese plastic surgeons tell how Chinese women wish to have a Caucasian /European nose. And in the Indian subcontinent and SE Asian countries and Central America, females want to have lighter, whiter skin.

Indeed peoples around the world suffer from an inferiority complex. It has been imposed on them and this is especially true of women of color. That is the sad fact, especially here in the west.

So while as a community our sisterhood and even existence is dominated and controlled by the white male establishment, this is especially true of our sisters of color. The below articles and sound file focus on this desperate situation.

At the same time we should know Baba’s teachings on this subject.


Capitalists want to get all within their control and a key way of doing this is through psycho-economic exploitation. They impose an inferiority complex upon a given community and then exploit them to the bone psychologically and financially. Now this is going on in dramatic fashion with respect to women of color.

Top vaeshyas have brainwashed African-American women into thinking that they are not good and that to become good they must look white. In turn, black women spend millions on cosmetics and beauty agents so that they look “respectable”. That is one part; and secondly when the mind is diverted in this way then one cannot be concerned about injustices. Why? Because they are too worried about their own appearance and personal insecurities.

Here Baba explains how psycho-economic exploitation works. The first stage is to impose an inferiority complex upon a given community like black women.

Baba says, “Psycho-economic exploitation is the latest form of dangerous and all-devouring capitalist exploitation. It is a special type of exploitation which first weakens and paralyses people psychologically in various ways, and then exploits them economically.” (A Few Problems Solved – 9, Capitalism in Three Spheres)

Is this not what is going on with women of colour. This is graphically depicted in the below articles.

Then Baba goes on to list some of the methods used in psycho-economic exploitation. You will certainly find some of these strategies present as you read the articles appended below.

Baba says, “Some of the methods of psycho-economic exploitation include, first, the suppression of the indigenous language and culture of the local people; secondly, the extensive propagation of pseudo-culture, exemplified by pornographic literature which debases people’s minds and undermines the vitality of the youth; thirdly, the imposition of numerous restrictions on women, forcing them to be economically dependent on men…eighthly, placing the control over different mass media such as newspapers, radios and television, in the hands of the capitalists.” (A Few Problems Solved – 9, Capitalism in Three Spheres)


It is only by eradicating these devious methods of exploitation that we can create a true human society wherein women are respected and regarded as equals. Only then can women become free of the worries that now hound their psyche.

Baba says, “Women should have as much unbarred liberty to enjoy the light, air, earth and water like children of nature as men have. In fact, it is not a case of granting rights to women, it is a case of recognizing their rights.” (Human Society – 1, Social Justice)

To solve this matter fully, neither can we blame only the exploiters (white, male capitalists) nor can we blame only the exploited (women, and in particular, women of color). Both parties are responsible for reaching a proper solution. That is our perspective in Ananda Marga. The exploiters must be opposed at every turn and the exploited must become educated about their plight and rise up. Then this matter of the exploitation of women can be resolved in a dharmic and righteous manner.


Prioritizing Health Or Hair?

by NPR Staff

Issue: U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin recently said many women, particularly those who spend lots of time and money on their hair, tend to skip much-needed exercise to maintain their locks….

Here below is a partial transcript:
MICHEL MARTIN, host: This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I’m Michel Martin.

Dr. Regina Benjamin, the surgeon general of the United States, recently called for women to put their health ahead of their hair. Dr. Benjamin spoke recently at an international hair show in Atlanta, Georgia. She said that too many women are foregoing exercise because they are worried it will ruin their hair.
This has sparked an interesting reaction of the role of the surgeon general.

We’re also joined by Dr. Reed Tuckson. He’s the executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at United Health Group. He is a former commissioner of public health for the District of Columbia, and his group sponsored the Healthy Hair Symposium at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show in Atlanta. He’s with us from Minnesota Public Radio. And I welcome you both, and I’d like to thank you both for joining us.
REED TUCKSON: Thank you.
MARTIN: And I wanted to just – to tell you that when we posted this topic on NPR’s Facebook page yesterday, we were interested in what people might have to say about it. We received nearly 700 comments in 20 minutes. And since yesterday, the total number of comments is at least 2,000 comments. So I want to start by playing a couple of these comments for you, some of them that we recorded this morning. It takes a minute, but you’ll get a flavor of the kinds of response that we received. Here it is.
HEATHER BARCLAY: My name is Heather Barclay(ph). I live in Reston, Virginia. A lot of comments that were received were this is crazy, this is sexist, whatever. As a black woman, I understood exactly what the surgeon general was saying.
There are some black women who go get their hair relaxed. They spend a great deal of money. It’s usually about $80 to $150 to get your hair relaxed, and it lasts for a long time. And going to exercise would not be conducive to having relaxed hair because you’ll sweat the straightener out.
I do think it’s good that the surgeon general said this. There’s a lot of heart disease and obesity in our culture, and really, hair should not keep somebody from exercising. I understand why it does, but it shouldn’t keep somebody from exercising and being healthy.
MARTIN: Well, Dr. Tuckson, let me ask you this. Do you think that this an appropriate role for the surgeon general? And do you think this is small? You were the person who sponsored the event at which Dr. Benjamin appeared. TUCKSON: Well, of course it’s an appropriate role. Look, we can’t continue to try to fight the serious health challenges that are confronting this nation, and in this case, African-American community, with pamphlets and sloganeering. We’ve got to go deeper than that.
Any professional in health care, and certainly in the public health world, clearly understands that the social determinants of behavior and the social determinants of disease are extremely complex, and they are very intimate.
For the surgeon general to say I want to be successful as the leader in this country to fight the fight for obesity, and in this case trying to get more people to exercise appropriately, she’s got to deal with fundamental, root-cause issues.
So to say that her engagement in this particular tool in the larger fight is somehow narrow or bizarre, is inappropriate. What we need to do is to get down to where life is really lived, how decisions are really made, and what she is doing is to recruit an army of people in that fight who have a real role to play. In this case, 60,000 hair care professionals. To enlist them to help them with their customers, to develop positive attitudes about health, to eliminate the barrier that hairstyles have and hair maintenance and hair costs have to exercise, and to help them to teach appropriate nutrition and diet.
No question that in the African-American community, as we heard from – and others – even in all of American communities, the role of the professional hair care industry and their salons are a cultural force within these communities.
I would hope that anyone that is observing this issue would give her credit for being a professional who understands her business. If this was all that she was doing, maybe one could have an argument. But this is not all, and to suggest that the issue of hair is the only strategy that she is using to combat the issues of obesity and exercise, would be inappropriate characterization of her agenda.
MARTIN: All right. Dr. Reed Tuckson is vice president and chief of medical affairs at United Health Group. He was with us from Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Or listen to the full interview here…

Copyright © 2011 National Public Radio®.

Skin Deep
Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics

Published: August 26, 2009

SILKY straight hair has long been considered by many black women to be their crowning glory. So what if getting that look meant enduring the itchy burning that’s a hallmark of many chemical straighteners. Or a pricey dependence on “creamy crack,” as relaxers are sometimes jokingly called.

Getting “good hair” often means transforming one’s tightly coiled roots; but it is also more freighted, for many African-American women and some men, than simply a choice about grooming. Straightening hair has been perceived as a way to be more acceptable to certain relatives, as well as to the white establishment.

“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” the comedian Paul Mooney, sporting an Afro, says in the documentary “Good Hair,” which won a jury prize at the Sundance film festival and comes out in October. “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”

The movie, made by Chris Rock, explores the lengths black women go to get long, straightened locks, from a $1,000 weave on a teacher’s salary to schoolgirls having their hair chemically relaxed.

In the face of cultural pressure, the thinking goes, conformists relax their hair, and rebels have the courage not to. In some corners, relaxing one’s hair is even seen as wishing to be white.

“For black women, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” said Ingrid Banks, an associate professor of black studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “If you’ve got straight hair, you’re pegged as selling out. If you don’t straighten your hair,” she said, “you’re seen as not practicing appropriate grooming practices.”

Anyone who thought such preconceptions were outdated would have been reminded otherwise by some negative reactions to the president’s 11-year-old daughter, Malia Obama, who wore her hair in twists while in Rome this summer. Commenters on the conservative blog Free Republic attacked her as unfit to represent America for stepping out unstraightened.

Although legions of black women in America straighten their hair (including Michelle Obama), hair salons specializing in natural styles have proliferated, and more black women are working with their virgin hair. Many wear their twists, locks or teenie-weenie Afros (known as TWAs) with an attitude — proud to have not given in to the pressure to straighten hair. In “Good Hair,” Nia Long, the actress, describes the conventional wisdom that straightened hair is more desirable: “There’s always a sort of pressure within the black community, like ‘Oh, if you have good hair, you’re prettier or better than the brown-skinned girl that wears an Afro or the dreads or the natural hairstyle.’ ”

…Last year, sales of home relaxers totaled $45.6 million (excluding Wal-Mart), according to Mintel, a market research firm, a figure that has held steady in recent years. So many African-American women use relaxers or a hot comb to get a straight look temporarily that not doing so can require courage. Online where black women discuss hair, commenters may support the natural look for strangers but don’t adopt it, said Professor Rooks, the author of “Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture, and African American Women.” I’m not brave enough, they write — it’s so wonderful that you can accept yourself as you are.

The “good hair” issue has almost always skewed toward women. Black men with highly textured hair have long had a convenient, socially acceptable option: a close trim. Many black women get into the habit of relaxing hair as girls — when the choice is made by their mother or another relative — so changing the status quo as an adult can be difficult.

For the full article:



“Pita’ ma’ta’ bandhu sakha’ a’ndha’re a’lokavarttika’…” (P.S. 218)


Baba, You are my most intimate and loving One; by Your grace You are so close. Baba, You are my father and You are my mother; You are my friend as well as my eternal companion. Baba, You are my everything– my One and only. By Your infinite grace You are that divine lamp of effulgence, always guiding me along the proper path in life. Baba You are everywhere. By Your grace no one is ever alone or helpless. You are ever-present carefully watching over everyone. Baba, by Your grace You are always residing in my heart.

Baba, with Your infinite compassion, no matter how difficult the circumstances are, You are always present to provide a gentle touch. Amongst the thorns & tears You are the soothing balm of the lotus flower which relieves all pains and sorrows; and in scorching heat of the burning fire You are that refreshing, calm, cool sandalwood. Baba, You are the ultimate Savior. When one has lost everything then in that bleak hour You are the only shelter. You are that divine jewel which makes everything else into a shining jewel as well. By Your touch, unit beings become divine. That is Your causeless grace. Baba, You are the best of everything. In the beautiful rose garden where all the flowers are aromatic and fragrant, You are the most gorgeous– You are the most beautiful. Baba, You are the most effulgent Entity in this vast universe.

Baba, You are the Cause of everything. You are the Source and You are the Origin. Baba, because You are, I am. You are the breath of my very life. Without You my whole existence is meaningless. Baba, You are my dearmost, You are my everything. You alone are the eternal lamp of my heart. Baba, please grace me by keeping me in Your divine shelter…

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