About the blog
This blog was founded in 2011 and is edited by Anu Selva-Thomson. Its purpose is to bring feminists together and offer a platform for them to share their opinions on gender issues and any other issues that are affected by the history and politics of gender.
Feminism is not easy to define and we don’t believe in pandering to any particular typecast. This blog welcomes the myriad views that stem from all aspects of feminism. We believe that diversity allows debate and that it is in pushing ourselves in the defense of our opinions that we can best develop them and convince others of their merits.
This blog serves to provide everyone with an opportunity to exchange views that support feminism in a thoughtful, constructive and respectful manner. It aims to provide a base for emerging feminists who represent all walks of life and who have a genuine interest in progressing feminist discourse. Consequently, there is no room in this environment for anti-feminists or people who seek to discourage open, honest and encouraging dialogue.
About the Title
The title of the blog is inspired by Singaporean tales of the Indian Mohini ghost which like the Malay version, the Pontianak, and the Chinese version, Kiong Xi, represent women who, as the varied stories go, have returned after death to seek revenge on men. It is said they drink the blood of virginal women to sustain a beautiful appearance in order to attract men, and once this is achieved, turn into monstrous, vampirish creatures. Because of this both men and women tread with trepidation where there have been supposed sightings of this fearsome and deceitful female ghost.
We were warned of these ghosts as children, mostly because it was time for dinner, homework or bed and we preferred to stay outside playing and our parents or grandparents preferred we didn’t. We also often reminded each other of these ghosts when we got older because sharing ghost stories is such a part of Singaporean culture.
Myths and stories play an inherent part in so many cultures and it is no different in Singapore. While in the modern world we know them (for the most part) to be folklore we continue to re-tell them, generation after generation, sometimes unknowingly but undoubtedly passing on more than just stories but also preconceptions and subtle prejudices.
When I got older and began to research the Mohini I came to be aware that Mohini is in fact the name of a Hindu goddess and not a bloodthirsty succubus. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the author of the much acclaimed book ‘Women Who Run With Wolves’ talks about how mythic stories have often been altered over time to create loathsome and fearful characters out of women who followed their instincts or responded to oppression and unfairness. One only need refer beyond pulp fiction and hearsay to discover that Medea, Baba Yaga and Kali amongst so many other frightful female characters of myth and folklore represent subjugated, ignored, misunderstood and misrepresented women who have had enough.
It is in the awareness of these weighted and biased myths and in the knowledge that so many of these stories have been told incompletely, that this blog has been named ‘The Mohini Myth’.
Message from Anu Selva-Thomson
I started this blog because I have a lot to say about women and being a woman.
Over the last few years, there have been an increasing number of platforms springing up in Singapore for people to voice their political opinions. These wonderful platforms have reached out to thousands of Singaporeans and generated so much discussion and active participation that there is no way any of us can still hold onto the timeworn criticism that Singaporeans are an apathetic bunch. We clearly aren’t, at least, not anymore.
At the same time, there are many issues that we face that have less obvious ties to the politics of government and more perspicuous ones to the politics of society. Gender issues are one of them. Each time that I have wanted to say something about feminism or issues of gender I have found that I struggle to find a fitting and focused platform that reaches out to more than my social network. The largely political blogs rightly focus on explicitly political issues and the newspapers only seem to publish things that are pathetically salacious or in no danger of being potentially controversial.
So, where there wasn’t a suitable avenue for showcasing specifically feminist views, I’ve had to create one. Not just for the sake of highlighting my views but because so many women and men I’ve met have incredibly insightful thoughts about gender politics that should be shared with a wider audience, particularly young women and young feminists who are looking for a safe and supportive environment to grow and share their thoughts.
I started this blog because more than ever, it feels like more Singaporeans care about the things that truly matter to advancing as a genuine first world country. Many of us have started to recognize that we can each be the revolution we want to see in our country and we want to convince others that they too have that responsibility.
I hope this blog offers feminists from all walks of life the opportunity to inspire each other. I also hope it urges Singaporeans to appreciate the contributions of women and to actively care about upholding the values of freedom and equality.