December 5, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The Representation Project is ”a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change.” In addition to their clever hashtags #notbuyingit (to callout sexism in the media) and #mediawelike (to spotlight media that empowers women and girls), the Representation Project has recently released a documentary, called Miss Representation. Here is the synopsis and trailer:
“Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (87 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.
In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.
Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.”
A brother film is currently under production, called The Mask You Live In. It’s about masculinity in society.
November 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Rise Africa is a multimedia platform where individuals can connect and communicate about Africa, African Culture, and the Diaspora. The platform is particularly geared toward “vocalizing the frustrations of [African] people as well as generating resolutions to change the media-enhanced perception of Africa as the world’s handicapped continent.” Rise Africa highlights everything from (fabulous!) art and culture, to activism, law, history, and ethics. Although primarily a community for Africans, it is nevertheless an enlightening, lively, and enriching read for all visitors.
This month, Rise Africa’s theme is Feminism. More specifically, it asks, “What does Feminism look like in Africa?” All community members are encourage to submit articles, blogposts, art, etc surrounding this question.
For the African woman raised abroad, reading bell hooks, and Patricia Hill Collins, Melissa Perris Harry, Audre Lorde, what does it mean to be an African woman, and feminist? For the woman growing up on the continent, where the presence and pressure of culture is present, what does it mean to be an African woman, and feminist? For the brothers, sons, uncles, grandfather, lovers, and friends, what will it mean to them to love an African feminist, or be an African feminist?
If you are interested in contributing, you can email your article submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow along with all of the submission here, as they become available.
September 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I was pleasantly surprised (and a bit panicked) to be chosen for the Listserv. I mentioned this organization a while back. One person a day wins the opportunity to send out a message to 24,000+ people. You hear from people all over the world and from all sorts of backgrounds. I still highly recommend joining it.
I didn’t think I’d ever be chosen to write the daily message. 600 word limit to say what I felt was important. There was so little time in my busy days, but here’s what went out:
The Listserv message for September 12, 2013
“Now, before I start my message, relax. Whenever I get the Listserv, I’m in midday mode. My face is tense, my shoulders are scrunched, my breathing is short. Maybe this isn’t you. But if it is.
Take a moment and a deep breath.
The combination of anonymity, a fleeting power to amplify my voice, and a word limit to simplify it makes me feel both safe and significant for today. I can open up to strangers. I can say something important. I can say the most important thing—if I could only realize and articulate it within 48-hours. But it’s the first weeks of my PhD. So I cant. And in the absence of Best, [though I don’t believe there is one], I leave you something good:
“In the center of [the city called] Fedora, that gray stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. In every age someone, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had been until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe.The building with the globes is now Fedora’s museum: every inhabitant visits it, chooses the city that corresponds to his desires, contemplates it, imagining his reflection in the medusa pond that would have collected the waters of the canal (if it had not been dried up), the view from the high canopied box along the avenue reserved for elephants (now banished from the city), the fun of sliding down the spiral twisting minaret (which never found a pedestal from which to rise).On the map… there must be room both for the big, stone Fedora and the little Fedoras in glass globes. Not because they are all equally real, but because all are only assumptions. The one contains what is accepted as necessary when it is not yet so; the others, what is imagined as possible and, a moment later, is possible no longer.”
– Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
If we are not careful, we can spend so much time building the world of our dreams
that we miss the world around us.
And if we are not careful, we can watch the world around us so intently
that we never enjoy the dream to make it better.
“There must be room both for….Fedora and the…Fedoras in glass globes.”
Now, I treasure passion and purpose. If asked what I see as something beautiful, I would say the sight a person in the act of their passion—be it painting, wandering, debating, laughing… If asked what I feel feeds my depths, I would say the moments that I engage my own passions—but I would also say the knowledge that I am making the world better, even if only for one person. In some ways, these two concepts are Fedora and the Fedoras of the glass globes.”
YouTube the black&white version of ‘Shake the Dust‘ (Anis Mojgani).
Look at the sky, often.
August 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In a recent blog post, Columbia professor and development cash transfer expert Chris Blattman states the following:
“Neither the government nor the charity I worked with in Uganda were willing to try just cash… talked to a woman from Heifer International, who give cows and training instead of cash. That could be the right thing to do. But she couldn’t bear the thought of finding out.