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this week in gender bending: social justice workshops

Yikes, we at genderpanic have had a super busy week.  I work with a pro-justice team of high school youth and this week had the pleasure of acting as the discussion facilitator for the first time.  We watched and analyzed cool video clips such as Feminist Frequency’s Bechdel Test for Women in Movies, then talked about homophobia, gender and sexism in the United States.  In addition, Panda and I both attended a really interesting workshop this weekend on using Theater of the Oppressed exercises and techniques as a tool for facilitating discussions on justice and equality.  Since teaching and discussing social issues has been the main focus of my reading and thinking this week, I wanted to share some of the neat resources that I’ve come across.

The Sociological Cinema – This website lists free online video clips that can be used in teaching about social issues such as class and gender.  It’s incredibly well organized and has tags that allow you to search both by subject and by video length.  The description for each clip also gives suggestions for discussion topics.

Theater of the Oppressed – A form of theater developed in Brazil …

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sexism is making a comeback

Image from jezebel.com

Everyone’s seen good old-fashioned sexist images like the one on the left, right?  There’s no shortage of ads that reference America’s earlier, less enlightened era when women stayed in the home and their sole social function was to support their husband and kids.  It was a good, simple time, when women had nary a thought in their little heads and and could be easily appeased with new kitchen appliances.  At least, that’s how ads from before women’s liberation would have you think.

Now that women are rocking out in almost all spheres of business, politics and law (haven’t touched the presidency yet, have we?), things in advertising are a bit different.  It’s no longer considered socially acceptable to overtly compare women to objects or to imply that their only worth lies within domestic spheres.  In theory, the strides that American society has made towards equalizing opportunities in education, jobs and politics are reflected in modern advertising…but everything is ok if it’s ironic, right?

The good ol’ boys club, where a certain level of bonding resulted from the exclusion and …

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transgender love

This video is the cutest thing that I’ve seen all week, and I simply must share it.  There’s such a void in mainstream media of depictions of queer couples (much less successful, happy ones), and so I adore when I find items like this.  You can learn more about its creator Warren by checking out his youtube channel, “sillyyetsuccinct“.

aren’t women part of the family too?

‘Americans watch too many movies and tv shows’ – I see this as a statistic all the time, in many different forms, and therefore know it to be true.  The exact percentages are always changing a little bit, as is the focus of the study, but whether it’s that kids are spending an average of four hours a day watching tv or that 52% of young people have a tv in their bedroom, it’s clear that tv and movies have ample opportunity to influence our youth.

What young people aren’t seeing in this deluge of media are positive role models of women.  Or in fact, any women at all.  In Newsweek article  “The Shame of Family Films,” Julia Baird cites some rather alarming statistics about the absence of female representation in popular movies aimed at young people.  Of the fifty top-grossing films in 2006-2009 aimed at families, a mere 29.2 percent of characters were female and 25% of female characters shown were in “sexy, tight, or alluring attire.” As Baird points out,

It is a disgrace that we are still teaching girls that they should be onlookers in a world where boys do interesting …

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to all gay teens: it gets better

“It Gets Better,” a new youtube channel by Dan Savage, is the best creation I’ve seen in ages.  Savage is the sex advice columnist for The Stranger (Seattle’s “only newspaper”), and he and his husband are both gay rights activists.  This channel is aimed at queer teens, especially those who are isolated in small towns and do not have access to a queer community and support groups.  It’s primary goal is to remind young people that life really does get better after junior high and high school, and that suicide doesn’t fix anything; it only robs you of all of the opportunities yet to come.

As Kate Bornstein always says: “do whatever you need or want to do in order to make life worth living.  Love who and how you want to love.  Just don’t be mean.”  Savage and his husband convey this message of hope in a way that is endearing and uplifting – definitely watch this one!  User submissions of your own “it gets better” …

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