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A R T I C L E S* &* S P E E C H E S

Video List for the Feminist
By Paula Silinger


Translating feminism and the complexities of gender as a social and cultural marker through a visual medium is a paramount element of feminist work. It allows those without professional degrees or training to become quickly and adequately informed on the basics of feminist politics and why those politics matter to the whole of humanity (rather than just a certain sect of women, as is often presumed). The following videos have been appropriated to specific categories, each covering a chief feminist issue. Maximize your utility of this page by gathering your friends, family, students, children, and anyone else who would not normally encounter feminist material to watch the clips and exchange ideas afterwards. Post-viewing, we highly recommend exploring Feminist.com’s extensive collection of links to grassroots organizations and activist campaigns that you can engage with at the local, national, or global level.

Historicizing, Discussing, and Debunking Myths of Feminism / Masculinities / Femininities / Gender Socialization and Education / Gender Representation & Stereotyping in the Media / Global Violence Against Women / Women & the Economy / Feminist Film Recommendations


Historicizing, Discussing, and Debunking Myths of Feminism
It is often asked what the difference is between the contemporary women’s rights movement and historical strides in efforts to achieve gender equality. Although women have struggled in every century and in every society for basic human rights, the last century has seen the most significant victories - which include the female vote, workplace rights, and the securing of legislation pertaining to marriage, divorce, sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape, reproductive rights, and various other issues. The first recognized “wave” of feminism can be conceived as occurring in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, followed by the second in the 1960s and 70s, and finally the third from the 1990s forward.

“This Is What A Feminist Looks Like”:

“Feminism: The Cool F-Word”:

“What is a Feminist?”:

“Women’s Rights in the 1920’s”:

Masculinities
Feminism can have an enormous and positive impact on men and boys by freeing them of stereotypical expectations and pressures induced by culture and society at large. Males from a very young age face relentless pressure to put on a “masculine mask”, brought about by expressions such as “don’t be a sissy” or “stop acting like a girl”. When worn, this mask acts as sort of a “psychic armor” for the male and essentially allows him to “pass” as a man in the public eye. The mask filters out all potential “feminine” expressions and ejects a narrow, conservative and limited version of masculinity, prohibiting men from fully utilizing the vast range of human behaviors and expressions available to them. Through understanding and employing feminist politics in their everyday lives, men can inherit great freedom by rejecting the pressure to put on that mask while discovering a better way to achieve status, identity, and worth.

“Tough Guise Opening Montage”:

“Tough Guise”:

“Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films”:

“Redefining Masculinity”:

“Jackson Katz on School Shootings”:

Femininities
Just as males are coerced into fulfilling a socially-constructed gender norm, females are rigorously disciplined by the specific society and culture they formulate their identities through. Women are traditionally expected to be nurturing, compliant, docile, and above everything else attractive. They are often presumed to be dependent, weak, and inferior and face a backlash whenever they exude signs of the opposite - independence, strength and equivalence. The female mask is one of narcissism, dominated by the desire to be desirable as a sexual being and/or needed as a nurturer (e.g. mother, nurse, homemaker, advice-giver, meal-maker, etc). It has been argued that the feminine mask becomes much more a part of a female’s identity than the masculine mask a part of the male identity, perhaps even standing in for a woman’s entire self.

“Femininity”:

“A Dove Film - Girl’s Self-Esteem”:

“Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls”:

“Womanly Perfection”:

Gender Socialization and Education

In every social and cultural context there is a definitive recognition of male and female human beings, and with that recognition an assignment of masculine and feminine codes to be acknowledged and applied by each individual on the basis of his or her sex. Gender socialization is the internalization, maintenance and continuation of those masculine and feminine codes in any given society by its members, members who begin receiving messages about gender norms from the earliest possible cognitive moment. The video “Gender Puzzle” in the list below underscores perhaps the most important point here, which is that nothing can be said to be inevitable or inherent in males or females, not even sex (anatomy) itself.

“Challenging Gender Roles and Categories”:

“Gender Roles, Pt 1:”:

“Gender Roles, Pt 2”:

“Gender Puzzle”:

Gender Representation & Stereotyping in the Media
Arguably the most significant source of influence and normative conditioning with regard to gender stereotypes, the media (magazines, radio, television, films, books, newspapers and the internet) have vigorously and convincingly pushed ideals of masculinity and femininity onto audiences and simultaneously made clear an alarming gender bias. Double standards (e.g. male athletes/sports taking priority over female athletes/sports), unequal representation (e.g. proportion of male news anchors to female news anchors), and the constant staging of unachievable beauty ideals are all key issues addressed within feminist media analyses.

“Gender in the Media, Part 1 and 2”:

“Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete”:

“Slim Hopes: Advertising and the Obsession with Thinness”:

Global Violence Against Women

As depicted in the following clips, violence against women and young girls manifests itself in multiple forms within a wide variety of partnerships, industries, trades, religions, cultures and contexts. All cases, however, are driven by a deeply-rooted universal culture of misogyny with a patent history and an alarming contemporary pervasiveness across the globe. Feminists today are working diligently with law and government and seek alliance with a large number of connected organizations to combat some of the most difficult and prevalent faces of violence today: human trafficking, sexual slavery, war/militarism, pornographic practices, rape and domestic violence. Many activists believe that working towards the elimination of violence against women means working to eliminate a societal hierarchy enforced through sexism.

“Violation of Women’s Rights - Poligov Report”:

“Trapped in the Thai Sex Trade”:

“Child Sex Trade in Cambodia, Pt.1 & 2”:

“Military Sexual Violence”:

“Domestic Violence”:

“Constance” (music video illustrating the sex trade):

Women & the Economy
From wage gaps to glass ceilings, job segregation and even pregnancy discrimination, women encounter a tremendous amount of interrelated prejudices within the economical sphere. Over the last few decades political attention to these concerns has met a brutal backlash, found in claims such as “feminists prioritize gender over skill”, or “the wage gap is feminist fiction”. It is clear that the bulk of the world is still not ready to allot fair wages and rights to female workers. Furthermore, what is known in feminist economics as the “hidden” or unregulated “care” economy (i.e. women’s unpaid domestic work, including the rearing of children whom eventually structure the workforce) is a below-the-radar, personal-turned-political matter affecting women all over the globe. Simply put, without women’s unpaid domestic work, the paid economy would collapse. The following videos closely examine these issues.

“UC Davis Releases Results of ‘Glass Ceiling’ Study”:

“Waging War on the Pay Gap”:

“Pregnancy Discrimination”:

“Domestic Workers United”:

“Haitian Women, Pillars of Global Economy”:

“Empowering Women, Ensuring Stability”:

“The Girl Effect”:




**Feminist Film Recommendations**

“Iron Jawed Angels”:

“North Country”:

“Trade”:

“Erin Brockovich”:

“Million Dollar Baby”:

“G.I. Jane”:

“The Hours”:

“Stepford Wives”:

“Enough”:

“Far From Heaven”:

***


Paula
Paula Silinger (MSc) is a recent master’s level graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Gender Institute, department of Gender and the Media. She is a 24-year-old feminist theorist regularly examining the relationship between culture and subjectivity (effectively the socialization of human beings) in terms of gender identity. Her initial bachelor’s degree in News and Editorial Journalism fueled her desire to become an interpreter of societal dilemma with a heightened sensitivity to the struggles of humanity.

Inspired by Susan Brownmiller’s argument that “women are all female impersonators to some degree”, Paula enjoys exploring the infinite ways masculinities and femininities construct and discipline docile bodies. She believes there are constraints worth spending a lifetime analyzing on the human path toward recognizable personhood, and that human capacities are far from being realized as long as relational concepts (such as masculinity and femininity) force an unhealthy dichotomy between the sexes.

Paula’s current research examines the ways minority groups and their allied civil rights campaigns overlap and support one another structurally and ideologically.

 

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