An Opportunity for Emerging Writers

Are you an emerging and unpublished writer? Do you write prose or poetry that speaks to the female experience or identity in Guyana, the Caribbean or the diaspora? Would you like an opportunity to have your work published in Issue 3 of the Lady magazine or featured on our blog?

Send us an excerpt of your work not exceeding 400 words and tell us a bit about you in 100 words. You can also send us an epic selfie if you’d like. Submissions can be sent to ladyeditor@inspireguyana.com

Submissions made by July 6, 2015 will have the best chance of appearing in print. Others will be featured on the blog.

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Beauty

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Yesterday at a Café house, I met up with a group of friends whom I had not seen for a while. We caught up on each other’s personal lives and began some harmless bantering and then our conversation inexplicably steered to beauty. Here was a group of intelligent young people but no one could agree on what beauty was.

Eventually, for lack of a compromise, we moved to other topics to entertain ourselves but still, the beauty concept stuck with me. Almost everyone in the world has their own notions about what beauty is and what it is not. Due to this reason, judgements on beauty broadly vary across societies and cultures. In short, most of us can quickly say that X is beautiful but we struggle to say why we believe so in truly acceptable terms.

The belief that beauty is subjective is perhaps best exemplified in the popular phrase, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” This belief made me wonder as to whether beauty is what convention may have told us from childhood; that beauty is dependent on individual personality or whether there is a universal physical idea which determines beauty.

I would not be hypocritical and say that everyone is physically attractive, as I find some persons more aesthetically pleasing than others. What I can say however is that beauty is not wholly objective, as I have sometimes found persons attractive whom others may have believed to be plain or average; some part of their physicality or personality appealed to me.

According to Aristotle in his book, “Poetics,”, “To be beautiful, a living creature, and every whole made up of parts must present a certain order in its arrangement of parts.” Here, Aristotle equates beauty with symmetry, further suggesting that true beauty lies in one’s geometric composition. Beauty according to this theory then can be said to be composed of our values, morals and the Golden ratio.

Despite the steady changing of the beauty standard in the world, the one element which has remained intact as suggesting true beauty is the Golden ratio, also known as the “divine proportion” or more commonly, “phi.” It is stated that the more ones face adheres to phi, the more attractive that person is. This can be debated however. Actor, Denzel Washington has a near perfect facial symmetry and was once named sexiest man alive by “People Magazine.” He is without doubt a handsome man. Let us look at rapper, Jay-Z now. The rapper has a perfectly symmetrical face yet he is not considered beautiful by most in today’s society. Even with the “divine propertion” there seems room for debate.

Despite the fact however, that beauty; even objective beauty cannot accurately be defined, due to the mass media and books which sexualize the human face and body, we are in an age where beauty is normally measured solely on ones outward appearance. I suppose we come back to the premise that beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder but we can go further and say that what defines beauty is the multiple lenses through which that eye perceives that beauty- social conditioning, sexuality, cultural practices, other characteristics of the beheld and the direct preconceived prejudices of the beholder.

Call for Papers (Deadline Extended)—Immigration, Emigration, Exile, and Return: an Interdisciplinary Conference

Repeating Islands

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The 2015 North Central Council of Latin Americanists (NCCLA) Conference has as a central theme “Immigration, Emigration, Exile, and Return.” This interdisciplinary conference will be held at Carroll University, Waukesha, Wisconsin on September 24-26, 2015. The deadline for proposals has been extended to July 15.

Description: The keynote speaker will be Luther C. Castillo Harry, MD, MPH, who is featured in two documentaries that will be screened during the conference: Salud and Revolutionary Medicine: A Story of the First Garifuna Hospital . Dr. Castillo was educated at the Latin American School of medicine in La Havana, Cuba and has been a renowned scholar in a number of institutions across the globe. He is a passionate speaker on the topic of healthcare as a human right, and his keynote address will provide an interdisciplinary perspective on healthcare, immigration, emigration, exile, and return in Latin America. He opened the first Garífuna clinic…

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MTJAW – Nicole Cole

The best thing about being a woman in Guyana is that she can access higher Education if she so desires whilst the hardest thing about being a Guyanese Woman is that all the Progressive Laws geared towards protecting women appear to be impotent; women continue to die at alarming rates while all the “progressive laws” remain effective on ‘paper only’. – Nicole Cole

Editor’s Note – Nicole Cole is a fiery spirit who is not afraid to tell the truth and to fight for it. The following is a summary of Nicole’s responses to a series of questions asked by the More Than Just a Woman Campaign. It is not to be reproduced in part or whole without permission from the Lady Magazine & NGO.

Nicole Cole

Nicole Cole

“I am a BONA FIDE Mother, Scholar, Clinical Social Work Practitioner, Constitutional Commissioner, and Humanitarian! I work to alleviate the suffering of Humanity. My Clinical Practice of Social Work saw the introduction of ‘Play and Art’ Therapies as an alternative Therapy to alleviate Depression in Persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS (21 participants successfully completed the Therapeutic Course). My ‘Art Therapy’ Project was supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Guyana Red Cross Society, Burrowes School of Art, and Ministry of Health.

To be a Woman means that you’ll have possess Grit, Guts, and Gumption and more so being a Guyanese Woman means you’ll have to persevere and avoid pitfalls that can ensnare you such as Teenage Pregnancy, Contracting a deadly STI, Domestic Violence and Illiteracy.

The best thing about being a woman in Guyana is that she can access higher Education if she so desires whilst the hardest thing about being a Guyanese Woman is that all the Progressive Laws geared towards protecting women appear to be impotent; women continue to die at alarming rates while all the “progressive laws” remain effective on ‘paper only’.

If there’s one thing I could change currently in the lives of Guyanese Women it would be the scourge of Gender Based Violence especially Sexual Violence. Rape has had the lowest conviction rate for over a decade now hence my desire to assist in curbing Guyana’s burgeoning Rape Culture!”

MTJAW – Raiza Khan

I think it’s hard being a Guyanese woman in a society that feels it’s acceptable and more so where it seems to be a social norm to disrespect women on a daily basis. Women work along side men in almost every sector, yet we are constantly being disrespected by the crude words and gestures made towards us as we casually walk down the road. – Raiza Khan

Editor’s Note – Raiza Khan is one of those highly energetic souls who works as hard as she talks and plays. Sometimes it seems like a Raiza-day has more than 24 hours in it. Nothing else explains how this woman fits in all that she manages to do. The following is a summary of Raiza’s responses to a series of questions asked by the More Than Just a Woman Campaign. It is not to be reproduced in part or whole without permission from the Lady Magazine & NGO.

Raiza Khan

Raiza Khan

I am Raiza Khan, born and raised in Georgeotown, Guyana. Moved to Toronto, Canada when I was 17 years old to study Social Work at George Brown College. Two years later I graduated with a Diploma in Social Work and shortly after I started my Double Major Honours Degree in Latin American & Caribbean Studies & Psychology at York University, Toronto Canada.  I worked within the university and their dormitory system, as as result I have had years of experience in event planning, conflict mediation, informal counseling, sensitivity training, sexual assault training and SafeTALK training (suicide awareness).

These experiences have allowed me to explore many areas of work and volunteering after moving home a year and half ago. I have since been involved in the REDbandaid Foundation as their Manager whilst being the Vice Curator of the Global Shapers Community – Georgetown Hub for the past year. As a Global Shaper I’ve been apart the planning and implementation of capacity building events for our team but also community wide projects, such as the HEADSTART Stationery Drive 2014, Save the Libraries, and my very first proposed project called Mental Health Yourself, which will be commencing in the latter part of the year.

On top of all the amazing work I get to be apart of with the Global Shapers Community-Georgeotown Hub, I just began my first beginners level Samba dance class at the Brazilian Embassy where I’ve been learning Brazilian Portuguese for the past year in the language course they offer.

When I’m not busy with all my extra work, there will always be work-work. I’m currently a Foreign Service Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I work with a great group of youths and supervisors who are committed to the development of Guyana and the pride and professionalism that comes with representing one’s country.

I think being a Guyanese woman is no different from being a global woman. We all face similar challenges, some more than others, but when I think of Guyanese women the image of a strong, vibrant and cultured woman comes to mind. Images of teachers, politicians, mothers, vendors, shop keepers, bus conductors and lawyers, these are the women I think about when I think of what being a Guyanese woman is.

I think it’s hard being a Guyanese woman in a society that feels it’s acceptable and more so a where it seems to be a social norm to disrespect women on a daily basis. Women work along side men in almost every sector, yet we are constantly being disrespected by the crude words and gestures made towards us as we casually walk down the road. It’s very disappointing and saddening that as we get older, nothing has changed, men will continue to show young men that it’s okay to tell a woman something about her body parts, call her names or even be abusive. And what’s more upsetting is that women have just turned a blind eye and will not say a single thing to protect themselves or more so younger girls who have to be around these kind of foul behaviours. We should as women come together and say no, it’s not okay for you to tell me about my body or call me names, or try to abuse me. Women within communities should be more supportive and protective of their young women within their areas; and be their neighbours keeper.

On contrary, the best thing about being a woman in Guyana is that you have the chance to make a difference where you want to see change happen. I am respected among my peers and I have a voice. Women are represented in every sector as mentioned, it’s just a matter of believing in the power of ourselves and coming together to make a change. I have a voice and can be heard if I need to be, unlike in some other countries around the world. I’m able to dress how I like, walk where I want, go out with friends, be free. The sky is the limit for women of Guyana once they put their minds to it and work for what they truly want. It can be done because we have liberty.

If I could change one thing, I would change the above mentioned area of constant abuse and disrespect felt by many women.