Studying has started in earnest. Last week, I learned how the Panamanians wrenched control of the Panama canal from America, how female factory workers live and work in Bangladesh and how they deal with their husbands, male vs. female farming systems in Africa, contemporary witchcraft “salons” in rural Tanzania, what Schiller thought about other societies in comparision to Europe, and what WID stands for. Yesterday, I handed in my first assignment. On Monday, I have my first presentation -about the afore-mentioned female factory workers. You would think there’s not that much to say about them, actually, despite the best efforts of modern Western-educated sociologists. They’re women, they go to work in a factory, they earn some money, end of story. You would be wrong. Thre’s a whole lot to say about them: their struggles with the patriarchy to be able to work, power conflicts in the household about wage-disposal, popular depications of female factory workers in the press, choices and decisions in the labour market, etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah.
Last week, it was still summer. I was reading my last novel of the summer over the weekend: Killing The Rabbit.It was set in Australia and it was the story of an evil Japanese-based pharmaceutical company set to kill seven “Rabbit women” in Australia. Rabbit women, apparently like female rabbits, have the innate genetic ability to re-absorb -or resorb- their foetuses back into their body at will, in any stage of pregnancy. Such an ability -which was labelled the next stage of evolution for women- would make certain contraceptive pills obsolete, as well as effectively settling the abortion debate. So the drug company had decided to “eliminate” these women before they had children and passed their disruptive resorbing powers on to the next generation of women and spread the gene, thus causing the collapse of the market for their contraceptives. To assassinate these Rabbit women, they hire a professional hitman. The story is told through the eyes of a film-maker, who is determined to make a film about the Rabbit women, and her bald but seksy executive producer- they have “inventive” seks somewhere in the middle of the book. There’s also a fair amount of violence -nothing too outrageous or gruesome, and a pretty tense finale.
Just laying out the plot like that makes me realise how ridiculous -if not downright stupid- the story was, but it was a good read, a bit above the average “airport read”. And the text was slightly different from the hefty academic articles I am grappling with now. Still, the major theme of women getting screwed up by powerful men remains the same, from real-life Bangladeshi female factory workers to fictitious Australian rabbit women.