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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top Ten Videos in Women's Rights

by Jen Nedeau

The following ten videos represent various segments and voices of the women's rights movement. These visualizations of the movement by the young, the old, the male, the female, the famous and not-so-famous, the vocal and silent all contribute to the greater quest for justice and equality everywhere in a way that is often more powerful than just words alone.

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Includes a cast of celebrities - America Ferrera, Larry David, Amy Brenneman, Michael Moore, Kate Walsh and more - who define "what a feminist looks like" in a commercial by the Feminist Majority to celebrate Women's History Month.

So What! Shake What Your Mama Gave You

A genuine series of testimonials by young women who share their thoughts about their bodies, their race, and reactions to the stereotypes presented in the media about how women should look.

Are YOU a Feminist?

Interviews with women and men who explain why they are or are not a feminist, revealing the stigmatization many women feel toward the label of feminism, as well as the ambiguity surrounding the current use of the word and what it means today.

Lilly Ledbetter Case

A video by the Alliance for Justice describing the case of Lilly Ledbetter. Ledbetter filed a lawsuit against the Goodyear Tire Company after she found out that her male counterparts had been making 25% more money for the same work for over twenty years - a reminder of the great challenges that women still face when it comes to equal pay for equal work. When the case reached the Supreme Court, the Justices, reversing their ruling on an earlier case, said that since Ms. Ledbetter failed to file her discrimination claim within 180 days of being hired, Goodyear was allowed to pay her less money than a man doing the same job. This case not only shows that the current Roberts Supreme Court is willing to reverse precedence, but also that they are likely to favor big business rather than defend gender equality.

Staceyann Chin: "Feminist or a Womanist"

Staceyann Chin, a Jamaican-Chinese-American-Lesbian Poet, describes the social tensions between feminism, womanism, and the queer lifestyle . She also describes the difficulties for women who have faced rape and demystifies the stereotype that women who dress a certain way or look a certain way therefore "ask for it." Chin goes on to say she is "too many flavors for one f***ing spoon" and finds meaning in her own ambiguity as a multi-ethnic woman who traverses various spheres of sexuality, religion and politics.

Pro Life is Anti-Woman

Comedian George Carlin describes the various attitudes toward abortion and pro-life activists. The video, which has garnered nearly one million views, serves to represent the way that many people may learn about the politics of reproductive rights through pop culture. While Carlin can often be seen as borderline offensive, he exposes the narrative behind the anti-abortion platform with a side of absurdist humor, saying, "How come when it's us, it is abortion and when it's a chicken, it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of the sudden?"

National Youth Poetry Slam Finalists "This Is For You"

Three young men perform "This Is For You," a powerful narrative about feminism from the eyes of men who grew up in Chico, California. They speak to the "mothers, sisters, daughters, women" and voice the struggles of single mothers, of women affected by sexual harassment and misogyny. Performed at Sacred Grounds Cafe in Arcata CA by Isaac Miller and Ulises Dorantes, this video is a touching example of young men who are willing to take up the women's rights movement and express it in a new way.

Women's Rights in Morocco

This EurnoNews broadcast shares the story about how the European Union is shifting its focus to the Euromed nations, in particular Morocco, which is seeking "special status" from the EU. The broadcast describes how Morocco's new government is paying new attention to human rights, particularly towards women, when it comes to reproductive rights, discrimination against women who have had sex before marriage, domestic violence, legal status, marital rights, and health care. The video should serve as a wake up call to women in developing countries, reminding them of the outstanding abuses of women in developing countries.

International Women's Day

For International Women's Day, Al-Jazeera English broadcasts information regarding global feminist issues such as women's rights and the media, and an interview with Rachel Ellison on the difficulties faced by women of Muslim nations who are being kidnapped, being sold to settle family debts, and being subjected to inadequate or archaic methods of health care.

The Greatest Silence: Rape in The Congo

Rape as a weapon of war occurs in many countries of conflict such as Sudan and the Congo. It is not only the damaging physical and emotional effects of rape that affect thousands of women in these countries, but also the "silence" of stories going untold. This HBO documentary, shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006 and shown at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, includes compelling interviews with rape victims in the Congo, the doctors who help them, activists in the area, and even the perpetrators of this unforgivable crime.

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