The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has been named a recipient of a $1.2 million Google Global Impact grant to further its research on gender depiction in entertainment programming for children.
From “Thelma and Louise” to “A League of Their Own,” Geena Davis has been more women in her lifetime than most of us will ever dream of, but stepping into all those different roles has left some lingering side effects for the 56-year-old Academy Award winning actress and Mensa member.
“Playing so many characters that have resonated with women heightened my awareness of how female characters are portrayed—or more frequently not portrayed—in Hollywood,” she says, although in her early years on the screen she was able to shrug off the troubling feeling. But after the birth of daughter Alizeh in 2002, she found herself unable to ignore the disparity for a minute longer.
“Until then I had no idea that there was such a huge gender gap in the programming we’re creating for and showing young children in the United States,” she says. “I was floored. Not only are there far fewer female characters than there are male, but the hyper sexualization of those characters is outrageous.” When she took her theory to the Hollywood community she was shut down: “Directors, producers and studio heads invariably told me that this was a problem that had been fixed long ago.”
But Davis wouldn’t be cowed. Instead, in 2004 she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which in the ensuing eight years has become the leader in research on gender depiction in the media. Thanks to Davis’s existing relationships within the media and entertainment industries the organization has been able to make great strides in educating and influencing players on the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating empowering female characters for entertainment targeting young children.
Jacqueline Fuller, Google’s director of charitable giving and advocacy, which awards the grants, which this year totaled more than $23 million, says that while the search giant has been aware of Davis’s work for years, the latest research from the Institute hit home for Google. “Sometimes in looking for projects and organizations to fund we begin with a problem,” Fuller told me. “We had heard the statistics about family films and the representation of women and were struck by that dearth. As Google has been to interested in encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers it was clear to us that if girls aren’t seeing women portrayed in those professions—as scientists, doctors, computer scientists—it would only compound the problem.”
Davis’s most recent piece of research has proved critical to that issue. Titled “Gender Roles and Occupations: A Look at Character Attributes and Job-Related Aspirations in Film and Television,” the paper analyzes 11,927 speaking characters in family films, prime-time programming and cable programming for children between 2006 and 2011. The findings are shocking, and speak to the importance of the continuation of advocacy for major changes in programming for kids, girls in particular.
Not only is the gender imbalance alive and well in entertainment targeting children under 11 (just 28% of characters in family feature films are female, 38.9% in prime time and 30.8% in kid’s shows), but what the Institute exposed about the glass ceiling of employment in the media is truly disturbing. Men dominate every sector, comprising 96.6% of family film characters employed in the C-Suite, 100% of chief justices, 95.5% of high level politicians, and 78.1% of doctors. Male actors play 100% of the fictional editors-in-chief in family films. STEM careers are just as glaring. Female actors portray just 26 of the 160 speaking roles where characters are employed in STEM fields.
It’s that final piece of research that aligns the interest of Google with the passion that’s driven Davis for more than a decade. “We really have a long way to go in the work that needs to be done,” she says. “A huge part of the problem of not having enough girls and women going into tech fields is because children aren’t exposed to characters that have these jobs.” The problem isn’t just a women’s issue, she continues. “Girls don’t have characters to aspire to, sure, but boys don’t see these characters either,” she says, “And as a result don’t see women and girls as being competent equals.”
To Google’s delight, Geena Davis has become a self-described “datahead” through her work in media research, and is eager to embrace technology further in the work ahead of her, particularly as the Institute puts the $1.2 million grant to work in 2013.
“Of course we’re thrilled and honored at the award,” she says, “But all of this is about creating tools that will enable us to analyze gender portrayals on screen through software with greater precision and accomplish our goals much more quickly.” Google’s cash, she says, will “profoundly improve [the organization’s] ability to scale up, research more broadly and, most excitingly, help us to expand globally.”
To date the Institute has focused on U.S. films and television programming, which Davis notes comprise over 80% of the media consumed worldwide. (“We are largely the ones responsible for exporting this negative view of women and girls,” she chides). By extending its research around the globe, Davis offers that she might uncover countries that have achieved balance. “How are they doing in England, Scandinavia and India? Maybe there are places where they are creating great content for girls.”
“We had been raising funds for a global study but we would have had to pick and choose where to spend that money,” she says. Google has helped to erase that concern, leaving Davis with nothing but positivity that 2013 will be rich with revealing data—and with luck, progress towards ending the gender gap for women—both onscreen and off.
Here’s an interesting article from the WSJ about a “gender blind” catalog from a Swedish company – happy shopping!
In Sweden, Playtime Goes Gender-Neutral For Holidays
This holiday season, how about a toy gun for the girl on your shopping list, and a doll for the boy?
That vision of gender-neutrality in toy-buying is coming to life in Sweden, where Top-Toy Group, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has published a gender-blind catalog for the Christmas season.
On some pages, girls brandish toy guns and boys wield blow-dryers and cuddle dolls. Top-Toy, a privately-held company, published 12 million catalogs and owns the BR Toys chain, with 303 stores in Northern Europe.
Sweden’s top advertising watchdog—known as Reklamombudsmannen, or RO—has taken the retailer to task in recent years for catalogs and ads that showcase girls playing with dolls, scrapbooks, and kitchen and beauty toys and boys with guns, cars, trains and tech gadgets. RO also has criticized Hennes & Mauritz AB, owner of the H&M chain, for ads with bikini models who were too tan.
A comparison of Top-Toy’s Swedish catalogs with their Danish counterparts shows girls have replaced boys in some photos featuring toy guns, and boys have swapped places with girls in photos featuring dolls and stuffed dogs. In one picture in the Swedish catalog, a boy is blow-drying a girl’s hair whereas in the Danish version, a somewhat older girl is blow-drying her own hair.
Top-Toy also is working on adjusting store displays and packaging to reflect the gender-neutral approach, said Jan Nyberg, Top-Toy’s sales director in Sweden. Boys and girls can now be seen playing together on boxes of “Happy House,” Top-Toy’s own kitchen set.
“We can’t decide what the big toy makers’ boxes should look like as their products are made for the global market, but we can make changes on our own boxes and in our stores,” Mr. Nyberg said.
The Swedish government has been on the front line of efforts to engineer equality between men and women, with generous paternity benefits and plans to spend the equivalent of some $340 million through 2014 on boosting gender equality in the workplace. Last year, the country famously mulled the use of a single-gender pronoun, “hen,” to replace “he” or “she” when a person’s gender is unknown or insignificant.
In a country of 9 million people, gender equality is seen as a bedrock principle of a productive workforce and a healthy welfare state. Sweden needs women in the labor force to maintain output. State-funded child care structures put in place after World War II have enabled women to return to work after having children, and four different government entities are devoted to the issue.
Mr. Nyberg said the changes reflect cultural trends. “We want our catalog to reflect how kids are playing today,” he said. “It’s important for us to be modern.”
At a BR store in Stockholm Tuesday, images of boys dominated the toy guns and cars section, although images could be found of boys with fluffy pets or playing house.
Malin Welin, an insurance saleswoman shopping for Christmas gifts with a 2-year-old son, said she was impressed. “I think it’s amazing that they’ve actually listened to the consumers,” she said. “I didn’t used to shop here as much before they changed, because I didn’t like the way they separated between girls and boys, pink and blue.”
Other retailers have grappled with this issue. Earlier this year, Harrods, the London department store, opened a shop categorizing toys according to theme, not gender.
The role of gender in childhood development has been a hot topic for decades, especially so in the U.S. after studies in the 1970s asked whether children were being biased toward specific behaviors. By the 1980s and 1990s, many parents took to the idea of buying traditionally-female toys for boys and vice versa.
Lisa Wade, a sociologist and professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, said Top-Toy’s gender-neutral approach is significant because it challenges common ideas about masculinity by putting dolls and hair dryers into the hands of boys. “You may give tool toys to your daughter, [but] you don’t give the lipstick bag to your son,” she says.
In many cases, she says, she suspects the gender-neutral platform is a marketing ploy. “It’s a mistake to think that companies typically do this out of ethical belief,” Dr. Wade said. “Most of the time they are doing it strategically.”
Elisabeth Trotzig, who serves as the ombudsman for RO, applauds Top-Toy. “I’m convinced others will also follow this line,” Ms. Trotzig said. “It’s especially important when it comes to children and young people since they don’t have the same experience and opportunity to evaluate marketing communication.”
Mr. Nyberg says Top-Toy has received positive emails and in-store comments after the change to its catalogs, but not all customers are happy about it. “As always, there are two camps,” he says.
Outdoors: a mostly authentic Thanksgiving feast is planned by a columnist – The Worcester Telegram
Back in 1621, the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in North America lasted for three consecutive days, most likely somewhere between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11. The exact dates are uncertain. But that otherwise-memorable feast 391 years ago certainly wasn’t the first Thanksgiving here.
Local native tribes, of course, had long before celebrated the bounty of the autumn harvest, as do most hunter-gatherer cultures, vulnerable to capricious natural cycles.
They would have little to be thankful for in subsequent years as more displacing Europeans followed the Pilgrims.
Those Pilgrim farmers from Europe, rather inept at survival in wild New England, had difficulty settling on an infertile, forested sand plain. Many died in the process. From the beginning, they needed to scrounge and exploit a weakened population of resident Native Americans.
Journals reveal they resorted early to stealing the natives’ seed corn stashes even before meeting them. Thankfully for the Pilgrims, our region’s Indians, severely weakened by the 1617 typhus epidemic introduced by French explorers, were not only nonbelligerent, but critically helpful, generous and initially much more tolerant and forgiving than the Pilgrims would have been, had Indians tried to settle their land and steal their seed.
Many of the decimated natives’ untended fields were conveniently open for the lucky Pilgrims to plow. The Indians’ hospitality would prove a strategic blunder, accelerating their rapid elimination.
The epic feast in Plymouth involved just 53 Pilgrims and nearly twice as many Wampanoag tribesmen. Accompanied by their leaders, Puritan Gov. Bradford and Chief Massasoit, everyone behaved. The lack of alcohol no doubt contributed to the civility.
Hunters provided all the main courses. Bradford had sent his shooters out fowling for several days earlier. Passenger pigeons, now extinct, were abundant then, as were fishy-tasting sea ducks and herons. Canada geese, mallards, black ducks, grouse and wild turkeys were shot, too, but the latter weren’t the centerpiece of the table as most believe.
The Pilgrim’s feast was lacking until the Wampanoags arrived carrying five deer. Venison and assorted wild fowl — not turkey — were the main entrées of the first Thanksgiving. Considering that back in England all deer belonged to the king, feasting on venison was a novel privilege.
Large fowl like turkeys were typically boiled before roasting, rendering them more tender and creating a much-relished broth. Eels, clams, mussels, oysters, cod, flounder and lobsters were common, the latter surprisingly regarded as unappetizing “bugs.” Having depleted sugar supplies and possessing no oven, they baked no desserts. Breads were made from corn, not wheat. Stuffing consisted of onions, chestnuts and herbs.
The seriously religious Pilgrims didn’t condone wild partying, frivolity or excessive drinking of either beer, the most popular beverage of the time, or aqua vitae, a strong liquor made from distilling wine or beer. They’d have been surprised by our observance of football as part of the celebration. They certainly would have prayed.
We give the Pilgrims credit for establishing our most popular annual tradition, but they only initiated it. Surprisingly, they didn’t continue celebrating Thanksgiving in subsequent years. The permanent establishment of the holiday resulted from later historical events.
Deer hunting back then was exceptional, considering the natives’ excellent success with primitive means. Native Americans clearly had learned to manage the land, periodically burning areas to promote nourishing new growth, which would have attracted and sustained many more deer than shaded, mature forests with little undergrowth.
Indians didn’t need Scentlock clothing, scentless soaps, doe-in estrus urine lures, compound bows, laser range-finders, steel broadheads or any of the dozens of other products hunters depend on today. Nor did they use the 5-foot, 6-inch heavy matchlock muskets of the Pilgrims. They had to be skilled and resourceful, playing the wind, trapping and ambushing. Their lives depended on their hunting success, so kills were always reason to celebrate. There were no anti-hunting or animal-rights factions back then.
My family will try to celebrate Thanksgiving semi-authentically with venison, wild turkey, oysters, quahogs, smoked bluefish and striper, boletus and chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms, and cranberries — all foods we hunted, fished for, or gathered ourselves in the wilds of Massachusetts.
Unlike the Wampanoags who roasted their venison to charred black over a wood fire, we’ll be grilling kebabs of tenderloin and backstrap wrapped in maple-flavored bacon, very careful to cook them medium rare. And we’ll incorrectly enjoy homemade pecan and apple pies for dessert.
I’m thankful my son and I could hunt together and kill deer for our family and friends, and that we still have wild lands to hunt, fish and gather. These opportunities of freedom don’t exist in many other parts of the world.
Thanksgiving is a perfect time for successful hunters to share our bounty, and to thank the many people responsible for the continuance of our tradition — Mass. Fish and Wildlife, sportsmen’s clubs, gun rights supporters, the Nature Conservancy, Trustees of Reservations, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Committees, our Land Trusts, all the private landowners who share their land with us, and especially our beloved mates who understand and encourage our wild passions.
The leadership development program is a great way to combine the theories of WGS studies with leadership skills. The leadership program will educate students in many areas related to WGS studies including ethics, social justice, and civic engagement.
• First-year students will have the opportunity to enroll in LEAD 101: Redefining Leadership. Students in this program will be studying leadership from a theoretical point of view and applying leadership skills in ways that will support their future careers and as well as their civic identity.
• Sophomore, junior, and senior students will be able to apply for the Leadership Fellows Program. Students selected will be charged with planning and implementing leadership development focus groups, workshops, presentations, trainings, marketing, social media, and supporting LEAD 101. Fellows will be educated in many areas related to leadership development such as StrengthsQuest, MBTI, relational leadership, ethical leadership, group facilitation, social justice, and civic engagement.
More information regarding these programs and other leadership development opportunities at Fairfield can be found online.
Related web site: www.fairfield.edu/leadership
Meet Donna Edwards of Maryland, a veteran congresswoman who represents the new face of Democrats in the U.S. House.
Come January, women and minorities for the first time in U.S. history will hold a majority of the party’s House seats, while Republicans will continue to be overwhelmingly white and male. The chamber, already politically polarized, more than ever is going to be demographically polarized, too.
“One thing that’s always been very startling to me is to see that on the floor of the House of Representatives when you look over on one side where the Democrats caucus and you look to the other side and it looks like two different visions of America,” Edwards, 54, a black woman who has served in Congress since 2008, said in a telephone interview.
The visuals will be striking when the House debates whether to overhaul the country’s tax code and considers ways to keep the costs of Social Security and Medicare under control. The white males of the Republican Party will be arguing to reduce benefits while the women and minorities of the Democratic Party will make a case for keeping the nation’s safety net where it is.
With eight races still to be settled, white men had secured about 90 percent of Republican seats and about 47 percent of Democratic seats, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
There will be at least 57 female Democrats in the House, about 30 percent of the caucus. Republicans will have at least 20 women, less than 10 percent of their party’s House majority, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The final tally in a few states could add to that count.
Democratic Hispanics are poised to outnumber their House Republican colleagues 23 to five, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.
“Latinos took advantage of the redistricting process,” said Arturo Vargas, the group’s executive director. “There will be more opportunities as the elections develop over the next decade.”
Black representatives should number 41 on the Democratic side of the aisle, the Congressional Black Caucus said. That compares with either one or two seats for black Republicans.
“When voters and citizens look at the Democratic Party, what they see is America,” said Edwards.
Republicans, who will continue to set the House agenda, could end up with just one woman heading a committee and a single woman in their top leadership ranks.
On the other side of the U.S. Capitol, women will hold a record 20 Senate seats next year. That includes both Democrats and Republicans.
“About a third of our caucus is going to be women,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters in the Capitol.
“It’s clear we’re the party of diversity,” the Nevada Democrat said.
The Republicans who have majorities in legislatures controlled the redistricting process in enough states to lock Democrats of every color and gender out of contention in dozens of House seats for years to come, said David Wasserman, House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“Republicans, in drawing safe districts for themselves, have also boxed themselves in somewhat in their long-term appeal,” he said. Packing minority voters into fewer districts “has reduced their own incentive to reach out to minorities in the electorate. That is not helpful for the party’s brand over the long term.”
Minority babies outnumbered white newborns in 2011 for the first time in U.S. history, census figures show. The U.S. population is projected to become majority-minority by 2042, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Congress lags the general population in terms of how representative it is of the population,” said Kathryn Pearson, an associate professor specializing in American politics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“You rarely, if ever, see a press conference with Democratic leadership that doesn’t reflect the diversity of the House caucus, and that’s a pretty dramatic change just from Speaker Tom Foley in the early ’90s,” said Pearson, referring to the Democratic lawmaker from Washington State who served as speaker from 1989 to 1995.
Men have been so dominant in the House for so long that it wasn’t until 2011 that Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, ordered that a women’s bathroom be installed off the House floor. Female senators got theirs in 1993.
In the 1970s, when the Democratic leadership decided it was time to put a woman and a black congressman on the House Armed Services Committee, it wasn’t exactly a moment of celebration, said Loren Duggan, Bloomberg Government’s chief congressional analyst.
The disapproving chairman, fellow Democrat F. Edward Hébert of Louisiana, refused to add two chairs, so Democrats Patricia Schroeder of Colorado and Ron Dellums of California had to share a seat at the committee’s organizational meeting, said Duggan.
“The House has come a long way,” he said. “Dellums took over the committee in 1993. Schroeder stayed in the House until 1997 and even sought the presidential nomination. Today, House Democrats are led by a woman and the No. 3 Democrat is a black man.”
Women and minorities are in line to become the top Democrats on almost half of the 22 committees, including powerful panels such as Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform.
Under the Democrats’ seniority system, Maxine Waters of California, a black woman, is in line for the party’s top slot on the Financial Services Committee.
Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, the longest-serving female in the House, is next in line for the top Democratic position on the Appropriations Committee. That would be a first for a woman.
Kaptur, first elected to Congress 30 years ago, recalled in a Nov. 5 interview how, no matter how comfortable former Speaker Tip O’Neill, a Massachusetts Democrat, tried to make her feel, she didn’t think she could pull up a chair when he and her other male colleagues were hanging out in the Cloakroom watching baseball on television.
“If you didn’t know what happened in the major and minor leagues for the last 50 years and quote every major player, you wondered if you could enter into the conversation,” she said. “I just remember how that felt. It’s changed a lot now.”
Analysts at the Cook Political Report and other Washington organizations predict that only one Republican woman has a shot at being elected to a top party leadership position in the House: Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who’s vying for the No. 4 job, conference chair.
Candice Miller of Michigan probably will become chairwoman of the Homeland Security Committee.
The House majority party’s smaller number of females can present challenges.
Sandy Adams of Florida, the only Republican woman on the Judiciary Committee, was front and center at all the press conferences when the House considered the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, H.R. 4970. She lost her primary, so party leaders have only men returning to that committee.
The Democratic Party’s more diverse caucus sometimes translates into a more disagreeable caucus.
“It can create some tensions within the Democratic caucus with the more moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog members, who are very focused on fiscal responsibility, and, say, the Black Caucus, which sees a generally larger role for government,” Pearson said.
The Blue Dog Coalition has shrunk with every recent election, and Nov. 6 was no different, with the defeat of Democrats Leonard Boswell of Iowa, Ben Chandler of Kentucky and Larry Kissell of North Carolina. The group will have at least 14 members next year, compared with 24 now.
“Their loss of Blue Dogs, who happen to be predominantly white men, means they’re likely to be in the minority for some time unless they benefit from some huge wave, and there’s simply no wave on the horizon,” Wasserman said.
“The redistricting map that has solidified Republicans’ position in the House this year is bad news for Democrats not only in 2012 but for the foreseeable future over the next decade that these maps will be in effect.”
A message for our minors from Dr. Gudelunas:
Dear Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Minors-
I hope everyone is safe and warm after last week’s storm. I wanted to write you all and remind you about all the great classes being offered that are cross listed as Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies courses in Spring 2013.
BI 71 Identity and the Human Genome, Professor O. Harriott
CO 236 Gender, Sexuality and the Media, Professor D. Gudelunas
EN 162 Irish Women Writers, Professor M. White
EN 171 Literature and the Visual Arts, Professor E. Orlando
EN 200A Special Topics: Edith Wharton and Her Circle, Professor E. Orlando
EN 353 Representations, Professor G. Rajan
EN 372 All About Eve, Professor R. Epstein
EN 374 The Woman Question, Professor E. Petrino
EN 377 Urban Texts and Contexts, NYC, Professor J. Garvey
HI 263 Inventing Themselves: African American Women in U.S History, Professor E. Hohl
HI 366 Women in China and Japan, Professor D. Li
NS 314 Nursing of Women and the Childbearing Family, Professor N. Manister
PO 136 Gender, War and Peace, Professor J. Leatherman
PO 153 Politics, Race, Class & Gender, Professor J. Bogyezka
PO 170 The Battle Over Family Values in America, Professor G. Alphonso
RS 215 Women in Judaism, Professor E. Umansky
SO 142 Sociology and the Family, Professor D. Hodgson
SO 162 Race, Gender and Ethnic Relations, Professor M. Ramlal-Nankoe
SO 169 Women: Work and Sport, Professor R. Rodrigues
WS 299 WGS Studies Internship, Professor D. Gudelunas
WS 301 WGS Studies Capstone Seminar, Professor D Gudelunas
WS 399 WGS Studies Independent Study, Professor TBA
Also, please remember that Seniors must enroll in the Capstone Course (WS301; Thursdays 5-7:30). This class will not meet the entire semester, but will instead be run more like an independent study where students will work on their own project that most appeals to them. Details will be forthcoming, but expect a lot of fun. Juniors can also be enrolled in this course.
As a reminder, all students need six WGS courses (including the Senior Capstone) to complete the minor. Please feel free to come see me (check my faculty webpage at www.gudelunas.com for office hours) if you need any help during the advising period. Also, while I have your attention, let me encourage you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and keep up to date with all the WGS happenings by visiting our blog! While you’re doing that, please encourage your friends to consider a minor that makes a major difference! Good luck with registration!
Court Requires Disabled Rape Victim To Prove She Resisted, Calls For Evidence Of ‘Biting, Kicking, Scratching’
An important case regarding women’s rights….
In a 4-3 ruling last Tuesday afternoon, the Connecticut State Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of a man who had sex with a woman who “has severe cerebral palsy, has the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and cannot verbally communicate.” The Court held that, because Connecticut statutes define physical incapacity for the purpose of sexual assault as “unconscious or for any other reason. . . physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act,” the defendant could not be convicted if there was any chance that the victim could have communicated her lack of consent. Since the victim in this case was capable of “biting, kicking, scratching, screeching, groaning or gesturing,” the Court ruledthat that victim could have communicated lack of consent despite her serious mental deficiencies:
When we consider this evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, and in a manner that is consistent with the state’s theory of guilt at trial, we, like the Appellate Court, ‘are not persuaded that the state produced any credible evidence that the [victim] was either unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse at the time of the alleged sexual assault.’
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), lack of physical resistance is not evidence of consent, as “many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.” RAINN also notes that lack of consent is implicit “if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect” as the victim did in this case.
Anna Doroghazi, director of public policy and communication at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, worriedthat the Court’s interpretation of the law ignored these concerns: “By implying that the victim in this case should have bitten or kicked her assailant, this ruling effectively holds people with disabilities to a higher standard than the rest of the population when it comes to proving lack of consent in sexual assault cases. Failing to bite an assailant is not the same thing as consenting to sexual activity.” An amicus brief filed by the Connecticut advocates for disabled persons argued that this higher standard “discourag[ed] the prosecution of crimes against persons with disabilities” even though “persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.”
Members of the campus community are invited to the LGBTQ & Ally Art Show, where LGBTQ artists from the CT area will come together to exhibit their art and connect with the community.
The reception will take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Barone Campus Center’s Lower Level. All are welcome to the reception to view art unique to the campus for a night of self-expression and creativity. The artwork is already on display if you’d like to check it out but are unable to attend the reception tonight.
This event counts for FYE credit!
The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
CAPSTONE PRESENTATIONS & MINOR SOCIAL
MONDAY, APRIL 30th, 6:30pm
LIBRARY MULIT-MEDIA ROOM
Open to all!
The Capstone Students in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program have been working on a range of diverse, community engaged scholarship initiatives
Marissa Tota, Rachel Lang, and Bradley Fay are working with “Project Return”, a youth center in Bridgeport that provides, shelter and basic life-skills training to teens who run away from home
Sara Heogan and Amanda Steiger are working with Dean Suzanne Campbell from Fairfield University’s School of Nursing to create an awareness pamphlet about the benefits of breast feeding on infants.
Caitlin Leist is working on providing a detailed information brief for Scholars at Risk program at NYU on a Turkish professor, who is jailed for being a woman-insurrectionist.
Elaisa Rubio is working with a Legal Office in Stamford that provides free advice and counsel, is in fact a “first defense” on immigration matters as it pertains to labor issues. Her research paper will enable the lawyers to help women in jeopardy, particularly as they caught between employment disputes in the public sphere and the perils of domestic violence, often attributed to machismo attitudes.
Julia Grimm and Kaley Gibson are preparing a feasibility study with Village Gardens in Bridgeport to explore what methods and vegetables are best to be grown by school children in what is considered food-desert areas of this city, and how to sustain the gardens through various crop cycles.
Marissa Lischinsky is preparing a full packet to be used by Deaf-Hope, a San Francisco NGO, for their Capital Campaign. This research covers various aspects—practical, emotional, law enforcement, and societal awareness—in educating communities about the vulnerability of deaf women who are preyed upon because of their disability.
Tanya Rossicone is working with Prof. Rajan on the Impact India 2021 project, and providing supplementary research on literacy rates of girls and women in three major cities in India
Miriam Sanchez is preparing a research document for Latina Power in Massachusetts on the various difficulties that Hispanic girls and women face in education—primary, secondary, and post-secondary, and the difficulties they have in the workplace.
The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
Invites you to
Celebrate our Persons of the Year:
Founders of the
Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons
May 9th at 7 p.m.
Diffley Room Bellarmine Hall
These exceptional students are the founders of The Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons at Fairfield University (GSSC).
The Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons at Fairfield University was chosen and ranked 15th in the MTVU and White House Campus Champions of Change Challenge in April 2012. The students’ work was recognized with an invitation to Washington DC, where they met the President of the United States, who congratulated them for their innovative student-led program aimed at and creating positive change.
Inspired by the Jesuit ideal of working for social justice and upholding the dignity of every human person, GSSC is a ground-breaking, activist and advocacy model for creating a safe space that is inclusive of diverse student populations on Fairfield University’s campus. As a physical space with imaginative and ethical potential, GSSC ensures peer education of our student body about wide-ranging ranging matters of tolerance and acceptance of diversity, and problematic issues surrounding hate crimes, particularly those linked to violence against women and gay, lesbian, and transgender students in a Catholic and Jesuit University. As a student organization, GSSC forges that vital link with many on-campus clubs that work towards social justice and community change.
The program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is pleased to honor Amanda Steiger with our first ever award for scholarly excellence. In true liberal arts fashion, Amanda has found linkages between her interests in biology, medicine, women’s health, and social justice both in the classroom and in the global community.
College of Arts and Sciences Annual Student Awards 2012
BCC OAK ROOM
April 24, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Through her past four years at Fairfield, Amanda has immersed herself into a myriad of extracurricular activities and academic projects. As a biology major, she performed various projects, such as a study on student health and the harmful bacteria present within residential halls and academic buildings, and participated in an academic seminar on the biology of cancer which dedicated some of the course load on the study of breast cancer.
Her academic background in science and dream to attend medical school to become an OB/GYN took her to Myanmar this past December on a medical mission trip. While there, she delivered free medical attention to impoverished Burmese women and children alongside doctors and fellow students. A more notable moment of her trip involved the identification of a large tumor in the right breast of a young Burmese woman and the subsequent raising of money from the students involved to pay for the excision of her tumor.
Her passion for women’s health and equality spans from the classroom to the court as a Fairfield University Volleyball team member. While on the team, she participated in programs such as National Women in Sports Day and Girl Scouts of America to promote gender equality within the sports world. Amanda is also involved in the Fairfield University Glee Club, and has repeatedly participated in campus events such as Hunger Clean-Up (captain), Relay for Life (captain), and the Color Orange Ball.
She is currently working on her Women’s Studies Capstone, with partner, Sara Hoegen, which focuses on the choices that women must make when feeding their newborn children. It is titled “To Breastfeed or to Resign: the Correlation Between Maternity Leave and Breastfeeding Efficacy”. Her future plans include more medical mission trips to Haiti and Myanmar, acquiring a Master’s in Microbiology and Infectious Disease, and attending medical school to become an OB/GYN.
On Friday, April 13th the WGS Program hosted our colleagues who teach in Women and Gender Studies programs from across Connecticut and Rhode Island for a day of conversation and networking. It was a great meeting and we are appreciate to everyone who participated and helped produce the day’s events.
Check out these two articles from a recent edition of the Fairfield Mirror about WGS events. This article about our name change, and then this front page article about an event we sponsored!
Friday, March 30th from 9-4pm
Lower Level of BCC
GSS Event! This year’s theme of Empowerment will explore the different ways our campus, community, culture, and world empowers women and girls to overcome adversity and to make a difference. The event will focus on a variety of issues women and girls face around topics of gender, sexuality, workplace inequality, political involvement, and economic disadvantages. The day will explore this theme through artwork, music, performances, displays, fundraisers, and of course, food!
This Friday is Women’s Day.
I contacted organizer Marissa Tota who gave me an insider look at putting on this exciting event!
Q. Tell me about planning Women’s Day:
A. Planning Women’s Day has always been an initiative of a few students with the support of Departments such as Women Studies, Diversity and Peace and Justice (this year they were joined by Students for Justice Residential College and Dean of Students).
In the past, these students were seniors from a group called Project Peg, but when this disbanded earlier this year, Rachel and I took it upon ourselves to take the organizing reigns. Both Rachel and I felt that we wanted to make this year’s Women’s Day bigger than ever before by bringing in other student leaders and students groups on campus to help from the beginning planning stages. By bringing in a diverse group of students we felt we could attract a larger population of students to the event, as well as come up with new ideas that enabled students to interact with these different clubs and initiatives.
Q. Why the theme Empowerment?
A. The theme we chose this year was Empowerment because we felt that it was something all students could relate to and plays a central role in the reason why most of the student leaders do what they do- they want to empower others to do the same.
Q. What was planning like?
A. To plan the event we met multiple times as a group to brainstorm ideas, delegate tasks, and ensure we reached out to as many clubs as we could think, as well as come up with creative ways to get students to participate in the different activities at the event. This year, we were also especially interested in involving more men in the planning process as well as attracting them to the event itself.
Q. How do you hope to incorporate men into the event?
A. We hope that through displays that ask men to post what women in their lives inspire them (led by Josh Robichaud and Men to Men), as well as having men sign certificates promising to prevent sexual assault, we can better include them in the event.
Q. What was the inspiration for the slogan?
A. The slogan “She Loves You”, which derives from the Beatles song, is also reminder to both men and women that there are women in all of our lives that love us, and Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and honor those women.
Q. Is there an aspect of the event you are particularly interested in?
A. We are very excited for the performances organized by Jasmine Fernandez which features inspirational women throughout history, in a timeline fashion, from Betty Friedan, and Abigail Adams, to Eve Ensler, and personal pieces written by Performing for Change, that will be performed throughout the day.
“Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation and towering rage, whose work — distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity — brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse and kept it there for nearly a half-century, died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, Calif. She was 82.
Widely read, widely anthologized, widely interviewed and widely taught, Ms. Rich was for decades among the most influential writers of the feminist movement and one of the best-known American public intellectuals. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose; the poetry alone has sold nearly 800,000 copies, according to W. W. Norton & Company, her publisher since the mid-1960s.
Her constellation of honors includes a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1994 and a National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for “Diving Into the Wreck.” That volume, published in 1973, is considered her masterwork.
In the title poem, Ms. Rich uses the metaphor of a dive into dark, unfathomable waters to plumb the depths of women’s experience:
I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently about the wreck
we dive into the hold. …
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to the scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.”
-Courtesy of The New York Times
Trailblazers and Troublemakers: Fairfield Firsts
Join us this Thursday (3/22) at 7 PM in the Kelley Center Presentation Room for refreshments and a lively panel discussion on Firsts at Fairfield to mark Women’s History Month. Hear from some trailblazers around campus and celebrate with faculty and students.
2012 Theme: CONNECTING GIRLS, INSPIRING FUTURES
If every International Women’s Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally.
Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Organizations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.
“Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” is the 2012 theme of the internationalwomensday.com website and this has been widely used by hundreds of organizations including schools, universities, governments, women’s groups and the private sector. Each year the United Nations declares an overall International Women’s Day theme. Their 2012 theme is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. Many organisations develop their own themes that are more relevant to their local contexts
United Nation International Women’s Day themes:
Various IWD themes around the world
- Global, United Nations: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
- Canada, Status of Women (Federal Gov): Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality
- Australia, UNIFEM: Unite to End Violence Against Women
- Australia, Queensland Government Office for Women: Our Women, Our State
- Australia, WA Department for Communities: Sharing the Caring for the Future
- UK, Doncaster Council: Women’s Voices and Influence
- UK, Welsh Assembly Government: Bridging the Generational Gap
- UK, Accenture: Stretch Yourself: Achieving 50:50 in the boardroom by 2020
- USA, IBM: Women@IBM: Success in the Globally Integrated Enterprise
What would your theme for Fairfield Univeristy be?
Here is one of the many interesting videos featured on their website:
Visit their page for more: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/resources.asp
The new program name needs a new logo, and the winner gets a $75.00 Gift card. Entries are due by April 15th to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Center Event
Monday, March 5th, 7:00PM, BCC LL
Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation explores how mainstream media contributes to the negative and under-representation of influential women in positions of power. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and average women to feel powerful. The documentary includes perspectives and interviews of teenage girls, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Gloria Steinem, and numerous journalists, entertainers and academics.
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