Most of the feminist activism I do—whether it’s writing or teaching or protesting—requires a long view. A really long view. Sometimes I feel as if my feminist colleagues and I are saying and doing the same things over and over again, with little to no results to show for any of our work. And when I see yet another sexist commercial such as DirecTV’s newest that features woman-as-marionette, I want to throw in the towel.
But not on a recent Saturday afternoon that I spent at an Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. The results there were concrete and immediate. In less than two hours, I created Wikipedia pages for three feminist artists who should have had pages already but who, like so many women, had been overlooked.
It’s no secret that women have been rendered invisible in history, sports, laws, medical care, politics, corporate boardrooms, museums, religion and the military. One of my professors in graduate school, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, used to say that part of what makes patriarchy so powerful is its erasure of feminist history. Without knowing our history, she’d say, without knowing about the work of the women who came before us, we’re left reinventing the wheel.
The Internet is now where histories are stored and accessed, and it’s where subsequent generations will go when they want to know what’s real, what matters.
But guess what percentage of Wikipedia contributors are women? 13 percent.
Yes, you read that right. Continue reading “Wikipedia activism”
Movies and books have long been used to advocate for causes, such as climate change or breast cancer. As video games become more mainstream, advocates are beginning to see how this art form can be a new way to reach out and get people engaged in a cause.
Take Half the Sky, a book about the struggles of women and girls in the developing world. Teacher and mom
Suzy Kosh read it in her book group. When she heard there was a Facebook game based on it, she checked it out, and her 6-year-old son noticed.
“He got on my lap, and I started explaining it to him, and then he was so intrigued that we kept playing,” she says. “You were going and helping people and saving people, and he was really interested in doing that.”
The game puts the player in the shoes of Radhika, a poor woman in India who lives on a farm. As Kosh plays with Dylan on her lap, Radhika’s goat gives birth.
“Remember what happens when they have a baby?” Kosh asks Dylan. “How does that help everybody in the community?”
“We can, um… so then we can get goat milk!” he says. Continue reading “Video game activism”
Young people made a critical difference in the recent U.S. election, turning out to in massive numbers to reject the misogynism, homophobia, and ethnocentrism of the Republican platform. Put another way, the recent election smashed the myth of a dysfunctional and alienated youth population.
Henry A. Giroux takes up the new spirit of activism and resistance in among teenagers and young adults in his new book Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future (Paradigm, 2012). In the book Giroux describes how American youth have demonstrated en masse about a variety of issues ranging from economic injustice and massive inequality to drastic cuts in education and public services. Youth in Revolt chronicles the escalating backlash against dissent and peaceful protest Continue reading “Youth in revolt”