Asian women are exposed to British racism even before they arrive in Britain. To gain entry permission they have had to go through long and rigorous interviews in the British Embassies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have had to undergo the ordeal of answering absurd and very intimate questions about themselves, their husbands and their families. Questions such as ‘How long did you spend with your husband on the wedding night?’ are common, and if either partner makes the slightest misjudgement then entry permission is refused. In 1978, there was an exposé of the vaginal examinations carried out on Asian women to determine whether they were married or not, and to determine whether they were fiancées of men already settled in England. This was not a new phenomenon; complaints had previously been lodged against the Home Office but without any results. It was only when the liberal press had taken it up as a moral and sensational issue that there was some publicity. Examinations to ‘prove’ whether a woman is a virgin can only be seen as acts of violence and intimidation by the British state.
This ‘testing’ is based on the racist and sexist assumption that Asian women from the subcontinent are always virgins before they get married and that it is ‘not in their culture for women to engage in sexual activity before marriage’. This kind of absurd generalization is based on the same stereotype of the submissive, meek and tradition-bound Asian woman. Many Asian people are also given chest X-rays before they enter the country to ‘ensure that they are not carrying any serious and contagious disease’. These are also used to prove the identity of people wishing to settle in Britain. X-rays on pregnant Asian women have been carried out by untrained entry clearance officers in Dacca. X-rays are only ever carried out on pregnant women in ‘exceptional circumstances when either the child or the mother’s life is believed to be at risk’. The fact that the immigration officers administer them quite haphazardly on pregnant Asian women is only one example of the racism not only of individual officers but also the structural and institutional racism of the British state. Such practices also indicate the direct control the state is attempting to have on Asian women’s sexuality.
Cool Chicks from History Who Belong on Wikipedia
A lot of women’s history related pages are poorly sourced or non-existent on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is so many people’s go to source that it is a big oversight (and might have to do with the huge gender imbalance among Wikipedia editors).
Below is a list of entries I’ve found to be non-existent or lacking. I don’t have time to create or edit them myself, but editing Wikipedia pages is a pretty common school assignment and there may already be some Wikipedia editors among my followers. So I’m putting the suggestions out there.
This tumblr doesn’t meet Wikipedia sourcing standards, but I’ve linked to my own posts so you know what information can be found as a starting point. In other words, cutting and pasting my posts isn’t a way to improve Wikipedia so please don’t do it.
If you put together Wikipedia pages for any of the women listed, let me know when you’re done and I’ll post a link for my followers.
Lucy Gwynne Branham was a noteworthy US suffragette but doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. My post on Lucy in which I complain about her lack of a Wikipedia page.
Sharon Hedrick lacks a Wikipedia page despite several noteworthy firsts in wheelchair sports. My post about her.
Elsie Hill is mentioned on her husband’s entry, but lacks her own entry. My post on her suffrage activities. Elsie’s sister Helena was also a well known suffragette but lacks a Wikipedia entry. My post (with several sources linked though the photo is actually her daughter).
Cora Dow has no Wikipedia page, but was important enough in her day for Howard Taft to eulogize her. My post.
Ruth Elder lacks a Wikipedia page, despite a career in both film and aviation. My post.
Verna Erikson doesn’t have a Wikipedia page in either English or Finnish, but was an icon of White Finland (white being a political movement). My post.
The entry on the Women’s Land Army of America (Farmerettes) needs some serious expansion. My Farmerette post. (I have a few other drafts if anyone decides to tackle this one)
Princess Stephanie of Belgium has a Wikipedia page, but it fails to mention that was an inventor. My post, with link to a NYT article about her patent.
List of women firsts could use some serious work, such as listing all the the first female Nobel Prize winners.