May 12, 2010

What Does Media Democracy Look Like to You? Photo Booth of Change v2.0

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 9:52 pm

Make sure the sound is up for this one!

Once again, thanks to Carla O for putting this together for the spring 2010 class of WS30.

Student activism breaks the silence around violence

Filed under: Violence — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 7:13 pm

Yesterday, a group of my WS 30 students put on the Clothesline Project as part of their final class project and the turn out was outstanding. What a success!

Guest post by Clothesline Project co-organizer, Marley, on the experience:

Women’s Studies 30 has undoubtedly changed my life this semester.  Melanie Klein is an inspiring feminist mentor who has encouraged us to take our knowledge, growing awareness and media literacy skills out of the classroom and use them to promote social change.  Perhaps the greatest gift I was given was the ability to become an activist and to use my voice as a tool for promoting a better and more just world.  For our final projects, my group unanimously agreed that putting on the Clothesline Project at Santa Monica College was of utmost importance to break the silence that surrounds violence against women—and after a semester raising our consciousness, developing tools of activism and honing our media literacy skills, there was no better or more worthwhile cause for us.

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 by a group of women that wanted to educate, bear witness to and break the silence that surrounds violence against women.  The catalyst for the event was the staggering statistic that 58,000 soldiers died in Vietnam and during that same time 51,000 women were killed by men who claimed to “love them.” Hanging clothes on a clothesline is considered to be symbolic of “traditional” women’s work. Decorating t-shirts with one’s experiences and reactions to violence is healing process for survivors and witnesses of domestic violence.

Since 1990, the Clothesline Project has been done in over 41 states and 5 countries and is an ever growing grassroots organization that is dedicated to empowering women and allowing them a vehicle to utilize their voice.  Pretty incredible, right?

While coordinating the event,  I learned that sexual violence is still quite a taboo subject in today’s society and though I didn’t come across anybody that openly condones abuse, I was confronted with some resistance along the way. I was told (more than once) that the Clothesline Project’s intense subject matter was “too heavy” or too much of a “visually graphic display” and in some cases the lack of words said it all.

However, the overwhelming success of our event was proof that there are countless men and women who are willing to share their stories and ready to help create change. We started out the day with 50 t-shirts on the clothesline and by 6pm, we had over *100*. I was humbled by the overwhelming support we received from men and women who were touched by the space we created and the public dialogue we sparked. I am moved by the countless conversations I had and the new friends I made. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and  I am eager and excited for my next event. 

Violence is about control and domination and by becoming aware of it’s unfortunate prevalence and making our voices heard, we are able to break the silence.  So, the lesson here is to SPEAK UP because you will be surprised by the amount of people that are just waiting for a chance to do the same.  No one of us has the power to solve all the world’s problems, but each of us has the power to change the world one person at a time, even if the only person we succeed in changing is our self.

For more photos from the day, visit the new young feminist blog started by another group of my students for their final project. Finally, I want to congratulate Carolyn, Rachel, Allison, Stephanie and Marley for their hard work and dedication.

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


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 5, 2010

Podcast: Tweeting Feminists Episode 2 featuring Melanie Klein the Feminist Fatale

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 5:53 pm

Originally posted at Check out all the interviews of tweeting feminists with interviewer, Ronak Ghorbani.

Podcast: Tweeting Feminists Episode 2 featuring Melanie Klein the Feminist Fatale

By Ronak Ghorbani

Tweeting Feminists is a podcast about feminism and social media.

With a flare for pop culture and an academic background, Melanie Klein started her blog Feminist Fatale. The women’s studies professor from Santa Monica College loves Twitter and social media. In today’s episode Melanie talks about her blog and how the web is changing feminism.

Music featured on today’s episode is Noun with her song “Holy Hell” provided by If You Make It.

(Photo of Melanie provided by

Tweeting Feminists Episode Two by ronak_gee

March 31, 2010

Suffragists spread the word utilizing postcards

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 11:07 am

Check out David M. Dismore’s post at to view the collection of vintage postcards that women fighting for suffrage used to get the word out and help cinch voting rights. They’re amazing. Also, check out Dismore’s website: Feminism 101.

March 29, 2010

Kamala Lopez featured at Women's Media Center

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 3:15 pm

WAM! LA’s first presenter, Kamala Lopez, and her film, A Single Woman, about the first woman in Congress and lifetime pacifist, Jeannette Rankin, are showcased in the EXCLUSIVE: Women’s History Spotlight at the Women’s Media Center. It was the research for this film that motivated Lopez to begin the ERA Today campaign which she presented to the Veteran Feminists of America in Dallas 2 weeks ago (see my post from March 19, 2010).

Jeannette Rankin and Kamala Lopez are inspirational role models for all of us. Please read the full article at Women’s Media Center.


Left: Kamala Lopez discussing her film at WAM! LA On Thursday, March 25, 2010 at Santa Monica College Right: Presenter Carla Ohrendorff and Kamala Lopez at WAM! LA Thursday, March 25, 2010.

March 10, 2010

WAM!ing it on the westside

Filed under: Event — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 11:56 am


We’re WAM!ing in So. California over two days this month.

Thursday, March 25, 2010 at Santa Monica College, Bundy Campus (Bundy 123) @ 3171 South Bundy Drive, LA CA 90066

2- 4:15PM Heroica Films‘, Kamala Lopez, will show “A Single Woman” Q & A to follow

4:30-6PM Carla Ohrendorff, lecture and discussion on feminist activism and media, Q & A to follow

6:15-7:30PM Anita Sarkeesian, lecture and workshop on feminist activism via blogging/vlogging and video remix

7:45-9PM Mariko Passion presents Media Whores, a facilitated dialogue looking at Hollywood portrayals of street workers, strippers and other sex workers and a look at a few sex worker made sex worker rights films with Mariko Passion, educated whore and urban geisha. Freeway, Monster, Flashdance, The Players Club and the recent Girlfriend Experience…what do sex workers think of the portrayals in these films? What do YOU think about them?

Come hungry, folks! The Green Truck will be there from 2p-9p and will offer a special campus menu at a reduced rate.  The Sweet Truck will arrive at 3p to satisfy your sweet tooth. The event is free but the food is not. Bring cash to enjoy.

PARKING: Enter the Bundy campus from Bundy by turning on College Avenue and entering the parking lot. The first lot you enter is the east student lot. Park here. Parking regulations will not be enforced between 1-10pm. Do not park in the west lot behind the building. This is reserved for faculty and staff.

*No registration required. First come basis. Please arrive early as we anticipate a full house for all 4 segments. Facebook event page to be created in the next few days. Contact:


Friday, March 26, 2010 at private residence in Culver City, CA
Film Social and Potluck: 6PM-9:30PM
Sarit McCarty, photographer, Melanie Klein, Feminist Fatale, and Lani Phillips Smith, fellow Feminist Fatale, will be hosting the showing of “Who Does She Think She Is?

Facilitated discussion to follow screening

This event is a social and is limited in capacity. Official RSVPs to are required. Location will be given at that time. Guests are encouraged to bring food to share and get ready to have a good time.


Kamala Lopez is an actress, screenwriter, director and producer. Since 1995 Lopez’s Heroica Films has been creating media for women, about women and utilizing women both in front and behind the camera. She sits on the Jury and Advisory Board of The Women’s International Film and TV Showcase, the Advisory Board of Global Girl Media, and was on the Board of Young Artists United. In 2009 she was given a retrospective at the Museum of Latin American Art. She is also an official blogger for the Huffington Post.

Carla Ohrendorff is a media artist and activist. She combines her passion for feminism with her interest in film to share stories from underrepresented cultures and communities. Her first film, Thick Strings y Shredded Cheese, was exhibited at the 2009 San Diego Latino Film Festival. She has participated as a mentor for the ImMEDIAte Justice film program, which explored the intersection between reproductive and media justice in young women’s lives. Carla is currently working as a youth film and video instructor at the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles.

Anita Sarkeesian is a Feminist cultural critic and social justice activist who has provided media support work for a variety of movements across the United States and Canada. In 2007, Anita co-founded the NYC Youth Chapter, a training collaborative dedicated to providing young activists with anti-oppression and media skills. In addition to her workshops on Media Strategy, Organization Building, and Anti-Oppression Skills, Anita recently facilitated youth public speaking trainings at the 2008 Fair Use Remix Institute. This coming Spring, she will be teaching a video-blogging workshop with Reel Grrls in Seattle and organizing an afternoon of curated shows about resisting traditional gender and sexuality norms with Remix Video at California State University, Northridge. She earned her BA in Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge. Anita is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Social and Political Thought at York University.

Mariko Passion is a performance artist, blogger and educator. She has worked for justice in the sex worker rights movement for 11 years, as well as worked in many different occupations in the sex industry. She can be found on twitter, myspace and youtube.

Co-host of Friday night’s movie mixer and potluck: Sarit McCarty, a local feminist photographer, will be hosting a social networking event in her home in Culver City, CA. We will have a plethora of local feminists, artists, activists and community members in attendance. Sarit is working on several conceptual projects, desirous of bringing a feminist perspective to a new batch of images. She uses her photography as a means of political activism and healing for women who have lost their ability to speak for themselves.

March 5, 2010

Spreading the word is powerful

One of my former students sent me a link to Nicholas Kristof’s latest op-ed piece in the New York Times. He explores the world of child marriages and makes a correlation between societal violence and the degree of female repression in that society.

It’s hard to imagine that there have been many younger divorcées — or braver ones — than a pint-size third grader named Nujood Ali.

Nujood is a Yemeni girl, and it’s no coincidence that Yemen abounds both in child brides and in terrorists (and now, thanks to Nujood, children who have been divorced). Societies that repress women tend to be prone to violence.

Not only was I excited to read yet another piece by Kristof detailing the global injustices waged against girls and women, I was excited that Samantha had sent me that link the morning after I had attended the Half the Sky event in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event created  an educational platform to foster dialogue about global women’s rights violations, make these violations center stage and offer solutions and examples of triumph. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn authored the book that inspired the movement and last night’s event.

Last night’s event and this morning’s message from Samantha linking me to Kristof’s article came after an inspiring morning with my classes yesterday and the women from Global Girl Media and Heroica Films. The morning was an inspiring mix of presentation and brainstorming. The power of the new media, online social networking and spreading the word became inspiring themes, themes that are not unfamiliar to many of us but themes that came alive for many for the first time and became alive again for many others (myself included).

These 3 events combined have stoked the fire anew. After decades of activism and consciousness-raising, I can never be reminded enough about the power of community, the connections that spark our imaginations and hearts and the power of spreading the word by any means necessary.

December 29, 2008

W.A.M registration opens January 6, 2009

Filed under: Event,Media — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 1:50 pm

Women, Action and the Media is opening registration for their 2009 conference in Cambridge, MA. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the media and activism.

November 7, 2008

Wings to fly

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — Melanie @ 4:44 pm

Wendy sent this to me this afternoon:

The other day I got an e-mail message saying simply this: Rosa Parks
sat in 1955. Martin Luther King walked in 1963. Barack Obama ran in
2008. That our children might fly.

Thanks 😉

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