January 24, 2011

“Drown the Dolls” Panel Discussion: Join the Conversation!

Daena Title‘s “Drown the Dolls” exhibit at the Koplin del Rio Gallery in Culver City, CA has been drawing attention (and mixed reviews) since it was first announced on the Ms. blog by Stephanie Hallett 3 weeks ago. I’ll be part of a panel this Saturday that will critically examine and discuss Title’s body of work. View the show and  join us for a conversation on beauty norms, body image,  girlhood play, childhood socialization, violence against women and all things Barbie.

PANELISTS:

Artist, Daena Title; Ms. bloggers Natalie Wilson, Elline Lipkin and Melanie Klein; first-ever voice of Spanish Barbie, Marabina Jaimes and Beth Grant.

LOCATION:

Koplin del Rio Gallery @ 6031 Washington Boulevard, Culver City CA

DATE AND TIME:

Saturday, January 29, 2011 3PM-5PM

This event is open to all! We hope to see you there.

Related posts:

Photographs of the exhibition by Stephanie Hallett.

January 21, 2011

Young — and not so — feminists speak out in Santa Monica

Written by Hugo Schwyzer. Originally posted at Hugo Schwyzer. Cross-posted with permission.

Last night, I went with some friends to the Young Feminists Speak Out event in Santa Monica, co-sponsored by Ms Magazine and other progressive organizations. I knew several of the organizers through Ms and the Feminist Majority (the offices of which are walking distance from my house).

The gathering was at a fun and funky clothing store. Boys with long hair were jamming on guitars when I walked in and made my way to the “bar” for a diet Coke in a plastic cup. I joked to my friend Monica that it was like going to progressive events in the Eighties: the same music, the same plastic cups, the same sorts of flyers on tables. I had a flashback to Berkeley, circa 1985: back then the flyers at feminist gatherings decried militarism and encouraged organizing to support the Sandinistas and divesting from South Africa; today, they decry militarism and demand withdrawal from Afghanistan and the closing of Guantanamo. It’s a mighty over-used cliché, but plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

But the speakers were terrific, including Melanie Klein (of Feminist Fatale and a fellow community college women’s studies prof); Morgane Richardson, Brie from Revolution of Real Women and Miranda Petersen and Myra Duran, both from Feminist Majority. (I’m sure I’m leaving someone out.) I got to meet some great folks whose work I admire, like Pia Guerrero, the founder of Adios Barbie. We had many of the heavy hitters of SoCal feminist activism all together, and that was wonderful.

Events like these, as several people pointed out, are less common in Los Angeles than they are in San Francisco or New York. Angelenos famously have a reputation for refusing to drive long distances for events on weeknights, though that’s more a stereotype than reality. I had students who came from the northern San Fernando Valley and from east of Pasadena, spending more than an hour on freeways to get to the event on Lincoln Avenue. Whatever the reason, gatherings like this are rarer than they probably ought to be.

The discussion got off to an awkward start, as the older folks in the room picked up on what we know was unintentional ageism. One panelist in her twenties said that an “older generation of feminists had fliers, we have Twitter.” My forty three year-old self looked at my dear friend and collaborator Shira Tarrant, who was standing with me in the back of the room. Shira and I are old enough to be the parents of most of the speakers – and we were the ones with our iPhones and Blackberrries in hand, tweeting live updates. (Check the hashtag #femla.) It was an innocent but annoying mistake that we hear a lot: the speaker had confused the kind of tools we used for organizing when we were their age with the kind of tools we use for organizing now. At least in my circle of activists, some of the most social-media savvy feminists (the ones with heavy Facebook, blogging, and Twitter presences) are old enough to remember Watergate. We don’t stop learning new tricks when we turn 40, people!

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January 13, 2011

Young Feminists Speak Out: Los Angeles

Miranda Petersen and I will be moderating a kick-a$$ panel that continues the conversation More Magazine began last November with their article, What the New Feminists Look Like. Join us for music by the Sun Warshippers, a panel discussion + Q& A with LA-area feminists followed by fun feminist mixing.

CREATED BY:

Morgane Richardson, Myra Duran, Alexandra Garcia and Miranda Petersen

TIME:

Thursday, January 20, 2011 @ 6:30PM

LOCATION:

Livity Outernational @ 2401 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica CA

FEATURED PANELISTS:

Myra Duran – Young Feminist Organizer, graduated from the UCLA with a B.A. in Women’s Studies with a concentration in  women of color feminism and a minor in Labor and Workplace Studies. She  began her journey fighting for women’s rights as an intern for AF3IRM.  She continued to pursue women’s issues and empowerment when she became a campus team intern for the Feminist Majority Foundation. The beginning  seed for activism had been planted there and later developed into a  heavy love for exposing the truth where she spearheaded FMF’s Campaign  to Expose Fake Clinics at UCLA with Bruin Feminists for Equality.  Serving on the Bruin Feminists’ executive board helped her increase  campus and student awareness on women’s rights, women’s issues, and  women’s empowerment. Most recently, Myra worked as a research organizer for the UCLA Labor Center’s California  Construction Academy and served on the Young Women’s Leadership Council  for the Pro-choice Public Education Project. She currently works as a  National Campus Organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Tani Ikeda – Director and Filmmaker with  ImMEDIATE Justice , is an award winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial projects. She is the Co-founder and director of  imMEDIAte Justice, a program that trains young women in media literacy  and sexuality education, and was named one of the 25 visionaries of 2010 by the Utne Reader.

Jollene Levid – is the National Chairperson of  Af3irm the Association of Filipinas, Feminists, Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization. AF3IRM a transnational feminist, anti-imperialist women’s organization with chapters in NY, NJ, Boston, the Bay Area, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, and LA. AF3IRM, formerly known as Gabriela Network, has been active for 21 years and its 3 campaign areas include Immigrant Rights, the fight against US imperialist wars, and the Purple Rose Campaign against the trafficking of women and children.

Morgane Richardson – Professional feminist,social media firm and Founder of Refuse The Silence: Women of Color Speak Out. Her reflections on women, race  and education have been published in numerous blogs and magazines
including, Bitch, Feministing, University of Venus and More Magazine. Aside from earning a degree with an all-too lengthy title Morgane spent her time at Middlebury College shaking up the status quo and demanding respect for her peers’ rights.  After graduation Morgane put her experience as a campus organizer, Posse Scholar, and her innate awesomeness, to use toward a career as a professional Feminist.  In 2008 she founded Refuse The Silence, an initiative that encourages women of color who are currently enrolled in or have attended elite liberal arts colleges in the United States to share their stories. In 2009 she co-founded a successful social media  firm, Mixtape Media, which works on pro-social campaigns for clients like Russell Simmons  and the United Nations.  And in 2010 she has taken on a new role as  Workshop Genius, traveling the country working with students and  administrators to reconcile the existing hegemony within elite academia  with the desire for diverse campuses.

Morgane is fourth wave antiracist feminist – approaching her generation’s  inherited economic, environmental, and social issues with an innovative  flair, a progressive mindset, and a practical implementation.

Brianne ‘Brie’ Widaman (a.k.a. ‘Brie’) – President and Founder, Revolution of Real Womenâ„¢, a global movement advocating the empowerment of females in reclaiming their freedom of individuality, self-esteem and unique beauty. RRWâ„¢ was created out of Brianne’s diverse background in a broad range of areas from politics and broadcast journalism to her experiences in acting, modeling and working in the music industry. Since graduating from the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston with her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business and Management, her work has taken her to Nashville, Las Vegas and finally back to LA where she grew up. As a survivor of her battle with anorexia and bulimia, she now serves as a leading public advocate for those who suffer from eating disorders, self-esteem and body-image related issues. Today, REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMENâ„¢ has grown to over 20,000 members across the web and serves as a sound voice of reason within the image-making machine that is ‘Hollywood.’ RRWâ„¢has truly come to embody its slogan – ‘Be the MEDIA you wish to see in the world.™’

November 4, 2010

Eradicate the H8! March On!

Originally posted at Elephant Journal.

Get Ready To Be Inspired.

Why do so many people look for heroes outside themselves and outside their communities? March On! reminds us that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. March On! features the stories of individuals and families that made the conscious decision to take time off work and other “householder” responsibilities to dedicate their time, energy and resources to march for equality at the National Equality March on October 11, 2009.

Not only do their stories inspire, they serve as important reminders that we are all connected in a seamless yet diverse tapestry. Our lives and and our stories are connected as are our burdens and sorrows. The courage, bravery and the spirit of the activist resides in us all. This film and the lives it showcases serve as a wake-up call and a beacon of light for all people interested in equality, from the still unpassed Equal Rights Amendment for women to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell etc. Our voices matter and the collective is powerful!

March On! Their Stories Are the Reasons We March premieres in Los Angeles on Friday, November 12, 2010 at 7:30PM at the Renberg Theater. If you’re in LA, join us. If not, spread the word and look out for future screenings.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igDVtlFh59Y&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Photo courtesy of March On! Their Stories Are the Reason We March film.

October 22, 2010

LA EVENT: $hit My TV Says: Revealing Gender in Reality TV & Pop Culture

Why does pop culture culture reduce women and men to such limiting stereotypes? Why are reality TV’s stock characters (The Desperate Bachelorette, The Angry Black Woman, The Douchebag Dude) so regressive? Find out in the town that creates them at the L.A. book launch for Reality Bites Back! Expect critical media commentary, revealing insights about gender in pop culture — and lots of laughs.

The authors will read from and sign their books. And after: schmoozing. What could be better? Oh, it is free.

So far, 62 people have RSVP’d to the Nov. 17th LA Launch: $h*t My TV Says: Revealing Gender in Reality TV & Pop Culture. Are you coming, LA friends?

If so, RSVP at the Facebook page.

When: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 7:30PM- 9:30PM

Where: Stories Books and Cafe @ 1716 Sunset Blvd (in Echo Park)Los Angeles, CA

This is Jennifer L. Pozner’s  sole reading in L.A. on her book tour for Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV. It’s also going to be a ton of fun because she is sharing the mic with Shira Tarrant, who will be reading from her work on masculinity in pop culture, and with moderator Morgane Veronique Richardson, who will tie everything together!

Join us. And if you’re not in LA, here’s a calendar of all Jennifer Pozner’s tour November stops in NY, Philly, Denver, San Francisco, L.A., Boston and Washington, DC.

For Jennifer Pozner’s recent interview with Maclean’s, Canada’s biggest newsweekly, click here.

For a recent write-up on Shira Tarrant and links to her most recent articles and interviews, click here.

April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day! Please don't buy a cheap t-shirt….

Happy Earth Day! Today is the 40th celebration of Earth Day. It was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson in an attempt to bring what he believed - in 1962 – to be an “environmental crisis” to the forefront of social commentary. Only 4 years after the first Earth Day celebration we saw the emergence of ecofeminism. Ecofeminists believe that the oppression of women (as well as other races and the LGBTQ community) and the oppression of nature are interconnected, and that man’s domination over nature is what led to a patriarchal society. Obviously, the environmental movement would feel a kindred spirit, so to speak, in this ideology and vice versa. 

I’m not one to box myself in with labels….wait, vegetarian, feminist, environmentalist, activist, communist……ok, maybe I am. So, since I’m already all boxed in, I definitely feel that the ecofeminist movement is most near and dear to my heart. There are critics of all tenets of feminism and we all seem to fall into one or another (but, maybe many) little sub-sects of the greater whole; I happen to fall here.

In 1970, the environmental movement was really just starting to blossom as a social movement. With the help of this article published in the New York Times Senator Nelson created an event that I think every Earth Day since should envy:

“Rising concern about the “environmental crisis” is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems, analogous to the mass demonstrations on Vietnam is being planned for next April…..

Students, activists, environmentalists and ideologues sprang to action. And, just a few months later, an estimated 20 million Americans participated in Earth Day events on April 22, 1970. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeway and expressway revolts, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlifesuddenly realized they shared common values.

With all that invigorating history, a movement that today – of all times in history – is more active and energized, and my self-identification as an ecofeminist – you would think I’d be a lot more excited about Earth Day than I am.

The celebration of Earth Day 2010 seems to be something else altogether. With global climate change on every  other front  page publication (despite doubters) and cheap t-shirts that say, “Recyle“ and “Eco Warrier” it seems that these issues have been appropriately brought to center stage….and appropriately transformed into something “consumable.” So, the people who truly care seem & believe in environmental responsibility have become….cheap t-shirt wearing, reusable bag carrying (sometimes), Prius driving zombies. And, the corporations who only want to seem like they care have done their jobs convincing consumers that they do. A la Walmart and Chevron’s greenwashing campaigns. Or, how about SunChips attempt to completely revamp their image? Your (genetically modified corn) chips even come in a compostable bag now! But…wait…aren’t they a Frito Lay company? And, Frito Lay is a PepsiCo company. And, PepsiCo is one of the worst environmental offenders. “Green?” Seriously? *Yawn*

So, here’s my Earth Day wish – do something real. Plant an organic garden (feminism and food are inextricably linked; and, it’s much easier than you think) or a tree. Volunteer for an environmental organization (even if just for a day). Try to reduce the number of times you flush your toilet (that’s 1.6 gallons of water EVERY time, California folks). Start to compost (also, much easier than you think). What I don’t want you to do…buy a ridiculous t-shirt that advertises your position on environmental issues and simply makes you feel like you’ve done something good for the Earth. We can’t all be No Impact Man, but actually making real, tangible changes in our daily lives is what creates the most change and sets an example for those who want to make change, but aren’t sure how.

Now go laugh a little before you get to work……

April 8, 2010

Social Justice Summit 2010

Filed under: Event — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 9:34 pm

Via Zoe Nicholson. Information posted on Facebook and cross posted here.

6th Annual Social Justice Summit @ Cal State University, Fullerton

Saturday, April 17, 2010 @ 800 N State College Blvd. Fullerton CA 92831

9:00am-5:00pm

The Social Justice Summit provides a forum for people to exchange ideas about improving the state of our communities, offers space to dialogue about the obstacles to creating effective change, provides effective tools for social action, and offers tangible grassroots solutions.

Learn about human rights issues, environmental concerns, inequality and oppression on a local, national and global level.

The Social Justice Summit is a FREE event, open to the public.

***Summit Highlights***

Empowering Workshops: Workshops will focus not only on educating participants, but also empowering them to bring about change in our community.

Resource Fair: The Resource Fair will feature campus and community organizations that provide attendees opportunities to get involved in social action.

Great music by: JAYAR

The Social Justice Summit is dedicated to providing a Green Summit through utilizing recycled and biodegradable materials, sweatshop-free apparel, organic and vegan food. The purpose of having a Green Summit is to encourage participants to make everyday choices based on environmentally conscious and socially responsible decisions.

April 4, 2010

Event: Carl Hancock Rux @ The Redcat

Filed under: Event,Media,Politics — Tags: , , , — Lani @ 3:14 pm

April 22-24, 2010 Carl Hancock Rux will be performing at The Redcat in Los Angeles, California. He will be presenting Poesia Negra: Race, Sex and the Myth of the American Mytopia. It will be a “lec/dem that blends his paper-bag storytelling, hip-bop-fueled poetic reveries and plenty of trenchant critical analysis on American mythologies and controversies new and old.” For a little more about Rux…..

Tickets are on sale on The Redcat’s website, and student prices ($16!) are available!

carl-h-rux

March 31, 2010

Is raping women only a game?

CNN reported on the latest [apparently, not the latest: see comment below] atrocious video game that allows the player to rape a woman over and over again while choosing a variety of methods to initiate the assault.

That’s right.

RapeLay, a video game that has gone viral since people, especially women’s rights groups, have reacted in outrage (and rightly so). Rapelay, a video game that, as CNN reports, makes Grand Theft Auto (the game that stirred up a firestorm of criticism upon its release in 2008) appear as harmless and “clean as Pac-man.”

Given the statistics on domestic violence, assault, and rape, it is difficult for me to conceptualize this video game as a “game.” Our media landscape is (and has been) populated with endless streams of images and messages glorifying, eroticizing and diminishing the serious nature of violence against women, an issue that some have called a hidden pandemic and others have labeled an epidemic of global proportions.

Viewing repetitive and stable images decreases our sensitivity to an issue, it normalizes the images and themes contained therein. Violence against women is an issue that we, as a culture, are already desensitized to on many levels. The systematic objectification and dismemberment of women (see Jean Kilbourne‘s film Killing Us Softly 3 and read her book, Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel) is rampant in and a staple fixture of our mediated culture, reinforcing images of aggression and violence against women as normative and unremarkable.

“Games” that continue to use images of gratuitous and unapologetic violence as a source of “entertainment” frighten me because the inevitable results are horrifying. We know that dating violence among young people is increasing. We also know that the level of mediation and amount of time young people are exposed to messages constructed by the mass media, including video game makers, is increasing (there are even treatment programs for young people addicted to video games). Taking these variables into consideration and recognizing the correlation between the level of mediation and one’s attitudes, expectations and behaviors creates a dismal picture for girls and women (and this isn’t even taking the construction of gender and the corresponding expectation of violent masculinity and submissive femininity as normative into consideration).

Given that, I think it is safe to say that rape, virtual or real, is never simply a game, at least not for the victims of that violence, virtual or real, and its social, physical and emotional consequences. In the end, we’re all negatively effected by a culture that makes violence against *anyone* a game.

rapelay_title

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March 29, 2010

Must see: WAM! Los Angeles playlist for Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian rocked WAM! LA Thursday night. We can’t wait for her to return to LA. Check out her incredible playlist. Originally posted at Feminist Frequency, March 26, 2010. Cross-posted with permission.

I had such a fantastic time presenting at Women, Action and Media (WAM) in LA on March 25th, 2010.  I curated a show of online videos including remixes, vlogs, vids and short documentaries made by women.  Staying true with WAM’s mission, these videos represent women taking action through media to talk about issues important to their lives and talking back to the media that so often misrepresents, stereotypes and victimizes us.

Celebration of Short Online Videos Made by Women from Feminist Frequency on Vimeo.

Below is the playlist of the videos I showed:

Bechdel Test – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLF6sAAMb4s
Feminist Free Association – Girl Drive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oDEr8IT9IY
Revisioning Pretty Woman – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ2H37m_Yt8
Queering Real Housewives – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shIYoOH4m3Y
Harry Potter and the Brokeback Mountain – http://www.politicalremixvideo.com/2009/03/03/harry-potter-and-the-brokeback-mountain/
It Started with a Kiss – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hs1W0OOQP4
Dance Floor Star Trek – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deQuFc3BP74
Too Many Dicks: Video Games – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PJ0JPLg_-8
I’m your man – http://www.politicalremixvideo.com/2009/03/02/im-your-man/
It Depends on What You Pay: Dollhouse – http://www.politicalremixvideo.com/2009/07/24/dollhouse-it-depends-on-what-you-pay/
Women’s Work: Supernatural Vid http://www.politicalremixvideo.com/2009/04/08/womens-work/
Planet of the Arabs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi1ZNEjEarw
Black as Me – http://vimeo.com/4080308
If Men Menstrated – http://vimeo.com/4638455
The Revolution will be Televised – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfJd0Q8HjPw

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