Washtenaw NOW News #14

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Edition 14, 11/4/15

Dear Feminist Friends and Allies,

Washtenaw NOW is in the early stages of planning  a media awareness workshop to educate teenagers in the Ypsilanti Community School system about the dangers of the messages that media constantly bombards them with. The idea is to create holistic workshops which will focus on gender equality issues and maybe ignite the minds of a few budding feminists.   Currently, this looks like it could be 4-sessions across a one month time frame.

We are looking for volunteers:  educators, psychologists, media practitioners, doctors  and anybody who is passionate about these issues to serve on this committee and be a part of the project .  We need you to  contribute with feedback, suggestions, ideas for guest speakers and anything that you think will make this a more effective endeavor!

Below is our draft outline so far:

1) The Women’s Movement & You/’Her’story

What: The idea behind this is to reveal how some of the privileges we take for granted today were the brainchild of the feminist movement’s efforts. We could specifically focus on developments in education.

How:

– We could start off with the facts in a ‘Did You Know?’ (for instance, talk about Title IX, women not allowed to participate in sports, standardized tests designed to favor boys, etc. )

– Move into brief snippets of the women who made big strides in education and how they did it.

– We can end with contemporary women role models (ideally women who middle-schoolers would find cool and have probably not heard about via media), making the case for how important the women’s rights movement is and giving the students someone to aspire towards.

2) That’s Not Me or Anyone I Know

What: The idea behind this is to debunk gender stereotypes in the media. Get to the bottom of why women are portrayed the way they are.

How:

– We can pick up the oft-used stereotypes from popular culture and critically analyze them

– Discuss positive examples of multi-dimensional women characters

– Present statistics on under representation of women in media (off-screen) and link it to the portrayal on-screen.

3) #NoFilter

What: This would deal with toxic body images and the need to love themselves the way they are.

How:

– Focus on current media outlets and practices and the promotion of unhealthy body images

– Give a snapshot on the beauty industry and how it is linked to toxic body image

– Talk about the dangers of fat-shaming, eating disorders and possible long-term effects. Give them ideas on how to love themselves the way they are.

4) Embrace the F word  

What: The idea behind this is to give them ideas on how they can empower themselves.

How:

– Speak of what constitutes rape, sexual harassment, etc.

– How to go about reporting issues

– How to stand up for yourself and support others

If you are interested in being a part of this important project, please contact Pratiksha Menon at pratikshamenon@gmail.com  We will be setting the date for our first organizational meeting soon!

Cheryl Farmer, President

Washtenaw NOW

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