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Feminist Intensive–Day II

Day II of our Intensive, with the theme of Media, started at The Women’s Media Center. “Founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem–it has the goal of making women visible and powerful in the media.  The influence of the media is the most powerful economic and cultural force today.

By deciding who gets to talk, what shapes the debate, who writes, and what is important enough to report, the media shapes our understanding of who we are and what we can be. The Women’s Media Center works to create a level playing field for women and girls in media through our monitoring, training, original content, and activism.”  We spent almost three hours talking about becoming media experts in our fields and having a mini-workshop which mimics their Progressive Women’s Voices training.  I hope to apply to this in 2013.  Their website is chock full of statistics on the lack of women in the media.  I’m also planning to invite their Vice-President to be part of my Feminist Media Literacy conference in Fall 2013 as part of the Zuckerberg Leadership Award I just won!

Then we went to AOL to see the trailer for the upcoming three-part PBS movie Makers.  This documentary chronicles over 100 women who were instrumental in the women’s movement (all of them alive).  Their website http://www.makers.com/ is amazing.  You could spend a day just watching all these interviews with amazing women.  The first one we watched was Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.  Most of us teared up.  Her story truly is one of women pushing the boundaries of patriarchy and changing the world forever.  It was kind of cool to be in a very corporate NYC office, like AOL, although one of the members of our group called their 3 story office a “sad Google.”
From AOL we went to Women’s eNews.  If you don’t subscribe you should.  They are an excellent source of honest news reporting on women around the world.  I love the “Cheers & Jeers” section.  They cover topics related to women that one would rarely find in the patriarchal news media.  
From there we were off to dinner with at Gloria Steinem’s lovely home with Marcia Ann Gillespie, the former Editor of Ms Magazine, and random houseguest of Gloria’s, Sheila Tobias.   

“Marcia Ann Gillespie is a trailblazer in the magazine industry, a leader in the women’s movement, a champion of gender of racial justice. A provocative writer and thinker, hers has been a consistent eloquent voice affirming the human potential for good, challenging inequality, pushing herself and others to hope, dare and strive for a better world. She is the author of Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration, an authorized biography published by Doubleday in April 2008, and is currently writing a memoir titled When Blacks Became Americans. She has been a driving force behind two of this nation’s most important women’s magazines, as the editor in chief of Essence from 1971-1980 and most recently as the editor in chief of Ms. from 1993-2001. Marcia is the current Professor of Diversity in Residence for the Johnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett College.” I was thrilled she remembered me from coming to campus in 1997, I think, as our keynote for Women’s History Month

“Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She was a cofounder ofMs. magazine as well as Voters for Choice, the Ms. Foundation, the Women’s Media Center, the Women’s Political Caucus and many other pioneering feminist organizations. She is the author of several best-selling books, including Revolution from Within and Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.” She remembered coming to Woodland Commons five years ago and being in the strange concrete building.  


What resonated most from our talk with these amazing women, for me, was her focus on female friendship and how this is such an important aspect of organizing and feminism in general.  If we can’t support each other, how can we even begin to change the world.  

 


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About thefeministcritic

Feminist, student affairs professional, actor, director, writer, yoga teacher, lover of dogs and cats, vintage trailers and an amazing cook named Jeff.

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