Resolved: MORE Feminist Success in 2013
2012 was a watershed year for women. Awareness grew about the prejudice and repression of women around the globe. Women around the world reached new victories and landmarks. Social media served as the broadcast medium for change. Hardly a day passed on Twitter that I did not feel inspired, motivated and impressed by the strides and new realizations of women.
For 2013, here are the top ten things I'd like to see MORE of.
1. More telling it like it is. Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, unleashed an unflinching denunciation of the misogyny and sexism of a leading male member of her parliament. If you haven't seen this clip, you should -- the first seven minutes are priceless. She is SAYING what every woman has thought or felt for years and that's why the clip went viral. In 2013, I'd like to see every women push back against the winking, derogatory, behind the back downgrading that goes on in many workplaces and social settings. Call it for what it is.
2. More pressure on the media. Media watchdog films and clips by MissRepresentation.org are reaching millions. Check out their best and worst of 2012. We need lots more of this. Why is reality TV with women depicted as bitches and bimbos even allowed on the air? Women's Media Center is also active in this space, as is Geena Davis. Let's keep the pressure on media executives to depict women as they are -- powerful and strong.
3. More research on women's roles in society. One of the great books to emerge in 2012 was "Sex and World Peace." Nope, it was not a book about sex. It was about women and their effect on society. Today's mega-computers process huge amounts of data, and these college professors enlisted their students' help assimilate data about how women fare in every country in the world. Countries where women fare best -- are safest, earn highest income, are most influential -- are the most peaceful countries in the world. Surprised? Of course not.
4. More grants and awards to support research on women. Speaking of Geena Davis, her Institute on Gender in Media landed a $1.2M Google Global Impact Award to develop voice and image recognition technology to assess gender inequalities on screen, and promote balance in children’s media and entertainment worldwide. A victory.
5. More mind-opening films about the plight of women. "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn won praise, a wide viewership and excellent media coverage. It brought to the mainstream just a few examples of unspeakable crimes against women -- forced prostitution, genital mutilation, the slave trade. Efforts to correct extreme gender imbalance are a worldwide planetary requirement.
6. More social media-inspired initiatives. In 2012, online petitions and campaigns brought awareness regarding abuse of photo retouching to create an unreal standard of female beauty that teenage girls in particular and women in general are then held to. This past Christmas, campaigns to stop sexism in toys (pink ovens for girls, science kits for boys) raised the awareness of toymakers about how toys send wrong messages to girls.
7. More video game gender equality. Anita Sarkeesian bravely endured death and rape threats to stick to her message -- represent girls and women accurately in video games. Kids today spend hours on these games and what do they see -- violence and degradation of women. Anita has started dialogues with video gamers and companies and she's not backing down. Much more work to do.