Women’s History Month
Did you know March is National Women’s Month? I didn’t, until this article was brought to my attention. Unfortunately the draw of the article was not that it was National Women’s Month, but yet another embarrassing example of how women are marginalized in the media. A local news organization in Connecticut was announcing an event celebrating National Women’s Month at the Capitol and it had a video clip of women that went with it. It wasn’t footage of women scientists, senators, teachers, or CEOs, but rather breasts. Just a long line of decapitated women walking. Perhaps those women were scientists, senators, teachers or CEOs, we wouldn’t know. Instead we could guess their cup size.
The news organization tweeted an apology, “FOX CT apologizes for today’s file footage error. We will continue to recognize great contributions of women in CT and around the world.”, after the segment ran for a second time.
Why should we be upset about an error in video? Jacqueline Kozin, co-president of the Connecticut chapter of the National Organization of Women, explains “The airing of the footage is repugnant and is not of the level of a credible news organization. FOX CT News, whether they intended to or not, has just inserted their organization into a culture war and sent the message that women should not be taken seriously. It is an insult to the female employees at Fox and to women throughout Connecticut.”
Here’s how you can celebrate National Women’s Month:
Hugo Chavez was the type of leader that people either loved or hated. His death this week elicited strong statements from citizens and global leaders alike when reflecting on his legacy. Proponents of Chavez noted that, during his 14-year rule of Venezuela, poverty rates were cut in half, infant mortality rates were dramatically reduced, secondary education became more accessible, and millions received identification documents for the first time.
But, at what sacrifice?
A Venezuelan going by the pen name Pancho49 may have said it best in his CNN iReport ’10 reasons why I will not miss Chavez,’ which details the negative effects of the dictatorship on free trade, freedom of speech, global politics and human rights. While the essay does not rejoice in the death of Chavez, it does underscore the many economic and political challenges that Venezuela now faces.
Now, the world will hold its breath as Nicolas Maduro – Chavez’s selected successor – steps into power despite potential divisions within the Venezuelan military and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. If and when an election is held, Maduro will face challenges to his presidency. Time will tell if the future government of Venezuela will embrace democratic principles, ensuring basic freedoms to its citizens.
Do you think that the U.S. and Venezuela will repair their relationship during this transition period? Please comment below and let us know.
Last week I was watching the 11 o’clock news – as uncommon as it may be – it’s still the way I consume what’s happening (or rather making news) in Baltimore. It was an all too frequent night with a “late breaking news” report of a double shooting. Admittedly, I held my breath – not again, not here. Inside, I was hoping that at the very least it wasn’t too close to home. That somehow an incident farther away, where drug and gang activity ran reckless, would make it “easier” to make sense of it.Nope, not so lucky. More importantly, not so easy.
conflict (Photo credit: Adam Prince)
The next line out of the anchor’s mouth was the location of the shooting, and what was known of the circumstances. Just blocks away, in a neighborhood adjacent to mine, it was a murder/suicide, with a small child found on the scene. One of the victims reportedly was a community mediator, presumably well-equipped with resources to peacefully solving problems in our corner of the city.In a city with 35 homicides, not quite a third of the way into 2013, gun violence has become the norm, and an acceptable one – on our streets, and in our homes. When my home was burglarized a few months ago, the first response from more than one neighbor I told was, “That’s it, I’m getting a gun.”
During a period of hyper awareness on the issue, it can be tempting to dial down the noise and let the extremes of each side hash it out. But like so many issues, this matter cannot be solved on either side.
It’s up to the rationale middle to take a hard look at why it seems easiest to solve problems with violence. Do we not have the words to use? Are we frayed from working to much, or having too few basic needs met?
Issues are difficult to parse out in a city where poverty can be pervasive, and in a culture of escalation. How do we understand these causes? What does it take to treat one another with respect, even in conflict?
There are thousands of scenarios, and circumstances, but there is also the constant of local organizations addressing solutions, with incredible results every day. Conflict itself is not a negative thing, but compounded, and in a split second it can become lethal.
Learn more about the following resources – better yet, share them, and support them if you can.
Empowering Youth Voices
Baltimore Urban Debate League
Center for Prevention of Youth Violence
Violence Prevention Program
Mitigating and Mediating Conflict
Choose Civility Project
Community Mediation Program
Finally, tell us how violence can be prevented where you are, and what resources have assisted your community?
English: Seth MacFarlane at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Best Actress Academy Award (Photo credit: cliff1066™)
In my previous life, I was an actor. I wasn’t ever Jennifer Lawrence famous, but I worked enough to be self-sufficient and sign the occasional autograph. Perhaps because of my 20-year experience in “the biz,” – or perhaps because I am a woman – I found Seth MacFarlane to be sexist – and perhaps slightly racist – during Sunday’s Oscar telecast.
For the most part, people agree with me. Some are even likening his now infamous “We Saw Your Boobs” opening number to “celebrating rapists” because most of the scenes where we “saw boobs” depicted sexual assault. There are a few people, however, who are defending MacFarlane’s jokes, arguing that they were satirizing age-old stereotypes about women.
To refresh your memory, the following are just some of Mr. MacFarlane’s musings:
Here is the thing; as an actress you are regularly reduced to the sum of your parts. I cannot tell you how many times I was – as a teenager – told to lose 10 pounds or that I was “just not hot enough” to play the leading lady. I used to wonder if casting directors were even watching my performance, one I spent hours preparing for. Not one of my male friends ever experienced anything close to that. Additionally, male actors don’t have the same shelf-life women do. You reach a certain age and it’s over for you. Part of the reason plastic surgery is so rampant is because very few women maintain their status after they reach 35 years of age.
Further, the Academy’s, which is overwhelmingly comprised of white males, tacit approval speaks to a larger issue. Women are “less than” in our society. A woman, with the same education and experience as a man makes roughly $.82 to every man’s dollar, the number of female CEOs and board members at Fortune 500 companies is less than 5 percent, a “record” number. Not to mention the Academy’s own history of excluding women from the Best Director category – for the record only four have been nominated in the 85-year history of the awards show.
These disparities are not due to lack of capable, competent women, but rather because women are widely undervalued in every aspect unless, of course, we are talking about our bodies – which, by the way, plenty of state and federal legislators try to control.
For comedy to satirize social norms it must be funny and it should not need to be dissected ad nauseum. Seth MacFarlane’s jokes are neither. Rather than criticize, he reinforced norms of women as inferior, which is why there is still much work to be done in the fight for women’s equality.
Campaign Consultation, Inc.
Video games have been blamed for increased violence and bad language in children and young adults. Considering that statistics show youth will spend 10,000 hours gaming by age 21, that’s a whole lot of influence.
A new market of raising awareness for social issues like female genital mutilation and food scarcity through games is growing. Companies such as Games for Change are facilitating the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. Games for Change is working on “Half the Sky” which is a multimedia campaign that will have games for Facebook and mobile phone platforms, as well as a television component to address the oppression of women around the world. This game will highlight women as not the problem, but the solution.
Are you interested in creating social good games for your organization? If yes, these resources will help you get on your way!
- Join Gameful, an online social network that hosts webinars, meetups, and groups based on your interests like nonprofit games, health games, educational alternate reality, and more.
- Listen to Jane McGonigal’s TED talk explaining how games can make the world a better place.
- Check out some simple games that can help organizations raise resources. Free Rice used a simple format of matching vocabulary with the correct meaning. Each correct answer equaled 10 grains of rice being donated through the World Food Program.
- Learn how organizations are using Facebook to learn about causes while they game.
By Stephanie Grocott
Campaign Consultation, Inc.