Everyday Hybridity

Dr Paul O'Connor
Anthropology/Sociology/Cultural Studies/
Hong Kong/Ethnicity/
Skateboarding/Everyday Life

Lecturing in Anthropology at CUHK

Me

cuhk.academia.edu/PaulOConnor
@peejayohhsee
everydayhybridity@gmail.com

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  1. David Jacobson has a new book out "Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict".  This article in Salon makes a timely connection with its publication and recent events.
Interesting topic, well worth a look.

    David Jacobson has a new book out "Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict".  This article in Salon makes a timely connection with its publication and recent events.

    Interesting topic, well worth a look.

     
     
  2. Erasing Women

    So over the last few weeks there has been a little bit of fuss surrounding Ikea as their culturally sensitive catalouge in Saudi Arabia has erased all traces of the female models apparent in the same catalouges in the rest of the world.

    A similar thing happened to Hilary Clinton in an Isreali conservative newspaper which erased her from the Obama’s opertaion room when Bin Laden’s compund was raided. Just to show that it isn’t simply an anti-Hilary bias, the next photo shows the Isreali parliament with and without its female members in order to appease the ultra-orthodox. For parity we have a ‘girls only’ version of the Bin Laden opertaion’s monitoring room too.

    The media in the UK are currently trying to come to terms with the blatant sexism that exists in the media. It has oddly taken a plethora of abuse claims against a dead BBC Radio personality for this introspection to occur. Women make up less than 30% of journalists yet women are ubiquitous on the covers of our magazines and newspapers argues the Guardian today.

    The process of erasing women is actually entrenched. The very crude and obvious examples by Ikea and the conservative Israeli camp are actually upfront and obvious in comparison to the insidious erasing that has become endemic. This erasing is the photoshopping of women on magazine covers, removing blemishes, making limbs more slender, straightening natural curves. Creating an imagined femininity, which values no one and has no real role model.

    At the very same time the promotion of women in purely glamorous and sensual ways continually erases the social progress that so many women have fought for. This erasing of value was brought in to sharp relief by the recent suicide of Amanda Todd. There is simply so much commentary about women’s appearance. Such is the pursuit of beauty that we have recently seen beauty clinics in Hong Kong offering expensive medically questionable procedures that have hospitalised 4 women and killed 1.

    I think Ikea is the least of our problems.

     
     
  3. I have another endorsement for my book from acclaimed youth scholar Anita Harris.
Her 2004 book Future Girl is an excellent and timely text. She looks at the new status of young femininity and the ubiquitous position of young women as champions of popular culture, business, and their own self determination. The text shows how much of the ‘new girl’ ideology of the 21st Century is a veneer that hides long standing power dynamics. The women who are on top, are in most cases those that were always going to be on top. Much of their new success is built on selling this new message to scores of young women who are in many senses less well positioned, less able to succeed, and at much more risk. It is an excellent book that should be widely read.
Harris also has a new book Young People and Everyday Multiculturalism that will be out later this year. There are of course many parallels between everyday multiculturalism and everyday hybridity. The former is engaged in revealing how multiculturalism is actually lived rather than how it is more popularly considered as a policy and ethic in political culture. Everyday hybridity on the other hand has been focal in providing empirical accounts of cultural hybridity and presenting the dismissed un-exotic, less celebrated face of difference. This new release from Harris promises to be an insightful read.
I am very honoured to have the words of support from Anita Harris on my forthcoming book Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China’s World City.

In this insightful and fascinating book, O’Connor walks us through the bustling streets of Hong Kong where space, civility, hope and freedom are created every day by the territory’s diverse Muslims. It provides a rare glimpse into an imperfect, but perhaps ‘good enough’ cosmopolitanism, lived in the schools, homes, shops and lives of ordinary people. Amidst the worry and panic about young Muslims in diaspora as either problems or victims, this is a refreshing and much-needed account of the valuable ways a global city deals with difference. An essential text for scholars and students of youth, diversity and contemporary multiculturalism.

    I have another endorsement for my book from acclaimed youth scholar Anita Harris.

    Her 2004 book Future Girl is an excellent and timely text. She looks at the new status of young femininity and the ubiquitous position of young women as champions of popular culture, business, and their own self determination. The text shows how much of the ‘new girl’ ideology of the 21st Century is a veneer that hides long standing power dynamics. The women who are on top, are in most cases those that were always going to be on top. Much of their new success is built on selling this new message to scores of young women who are in many senses less well positioned, less able to succeed, and at much more risk. It is an excellent book that should be widely read.

    Harris also has a new book Young People and Everyday Multiculturalism that will be out later this year. There are of course many parallels between everyday multiculturalism and everyday hybridity. The former is engaged in revealing how multiculturalism is actually lived rather than how it is more popularly considered as a policy and ethic in political culture. Everyday hybridity on the other hand has been focal in providing empirical accounts of cultural hybridity and presenting the dismissed un-exotic, less celebrated face of difference. This new release from Harris promises to be an insightful read.

    I am very honoured to have the words of support from Anita Harris on my forthcoming book Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China’s World City.

    In this insightful and fascinating book, O’Connor walks us through the bustling streets of Hong Kong where space, civility, hope and freedom are created every day by the territory’s diverse Muslims. It provides a rare glimpse into an imperfect, but perhaps ‘good enough’ cosmopolitanism, lived in the schools, homes, shops and lives of ordinary people. Amidst the worry and panic about young Muslims in diaspora as either problems or victims, this is a refreshing and much-needed account of the valuable ways a global city deals with difference. An essential text for scholars and students of youth, diversity and contemporary multiculturalism.

     
     
  4. When this song came out my two youngest sons really enjoyed the music video. They sang along to the lyrics which mildly amused me and thus I became familiar with both the song and the promo video. I was however troubled by the message, it was powerful, and yet remote. It wasn’t as defiant as it was trying to be, its message rang hollow. This was especially true as it became a background tune to the height of the Arab Spring. International events did not seem to support what Beyonce was saying…

    I stumbled across this posting by happen-chance and I like what it says.

    Girls Run the World,  is masquerading as female empowerment when it is really audio-visual abuse: that is the exploitation of female sexuality guised as postfeminist liberation.

    For Sociologists a curious bit of trivia also on the Beyonce front. The iconic video to ‘single ladies’ is actually shot and directed by the son of the Cultural Studies Professor Mica Nava who wrote the excellent book 'Visceral Cosmopolitanism'.

     
     
  5. Why do they hate us?

    A great deal of interest has surrounded this article from Mona Eltahawy. It is a thought provoking piece and manages to get a strong point across because it doesn’t censure itself to tell the whole story. The issues that Eltahawy mentions are those that simply need addressing.

    It resonates with me today because I have just been going over the proofs for my book and I revisited accounts of young Muslims in Hong Kong reflecting on their freedoms in the territory. One young girls says that she is free to be religious, to wear what she wants. In Paksitan she has to wear her hijab. She is challenged and ridiculed if she doesn’t wear it, in the UK she is made to feel bad if she does wear it. 

    The level of freedom for women globally is a question. Just the other week I discussed this. However, that doesn’t mean that Eltahawy can’t ask these questions and can’t call for real change.

    The choice of Foreign Policy to present the article with the editorial photographs of the painted woman is questionable. I do wonder how Eltahawy feels about this uneasy mix.

    So to sum up the article and its debate I post a collection of links surrounding the story. Such is the interest in the story, it could be possible that Eltahawy might ultimately be a catalyst for further change.

    - Body paint controversy for Foreign Policy

    - List of responses

    - Mona you do not represent us

    - Everybody hates Mona

    - OpenDemocracy

    - (update) from the Guardian

    And also Mona’s own blog

     
     
  6. Safe Cities

    A recent report has suggested that London is the worst place to be a woman in the UK. A series of statistics indicate that women earn less, are less healthy, and the subject of more violence and abuse in Britain’s capital city. The city’s negative aspects are, sadly to little surprise, felt most acutely by women who are ethnic minorities. It is in many senses alarming that women are still so vulnerable in 21st century society and that the news is no great shock.

    Predictions for London are that things are not going to get better anytime soon. But what for Hong Kong? My own research delivered an un-ignorable pattern of responses that affirmed the safety and freedom both genders felt when they negotiated the city. This is perhaps most notable because I looked exclusively at Muslims who are best understood here as ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is often celebrated as a remarkably safe city where freedom of movement is a central feature of its liberty.

    However 2012 has so far been a year where we have to question Hong Kong’s safety and freedom. In the last few weeks a series of murders and murder suicides have been reported in the news. From the grizzly discovery of a floating suitcase with a murdered girlfriend inside, to the butcher of a wife in a ‘love hotel’. 

    Compound these events with the ubiquitous issue of mainland mothers giving birth in Hong Kong, and their for right of wrong vilification in local media and political debate, and we have an important question arising. How safe and free is Hong Kong for women?

    Visiting the the Hong Kong maritime museum earlier this week and seeing their special display on the Titanic provided another insight on this musing. It turns out their were 6 Hong Kong passengers on the Titanic all in 3rd class. Very few people in 3rd class managed to survive and get off the ship. But of the 6 men (4 firemen and 2 sailors) from Hong Kong 4 managed to survive. Little is known about their tenacity in getting off the ship and into the lifeboats. 

    Whatever the case may be, whilst the civilised ethic in times of trouble and emergency may be women and children first, out current social issues increasingly twist this belief. Women and children seem far more likely to perish, suffer, and struggle first.

     
     
  7. http://www.sarahmaple.com/
     
     
  8. From OpenDemocracy…

    "Maple’s first exhibition hit a raw nerve in the art world – ‘This Artist Blows’ covered art world clichés and explored Maple’s Muslim heritage, although feminist themes emerged in her self-portraits, like the footage of her wearing a burqa with a badge saying ‘I love orgasms.’ ‘It’s A Girl’, however, feels less sarcastic and more focused on its feminist message, with Maple working in a variety of different media, from photography to wallpaper and videos."