Ban Bossy is a campaign that the Girl Scouts of America and Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg co-created in 2014. The campaign has produced several videos featuring a range of women and girl’s narratives about being called bossy. In this video, “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss,” celebrities and public figures including Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Diane von Furstenburg, and Condoleezza Rice talk about women’s experiences asserting themselves. As the campaign explains, between elementary and high school, girls’ self–esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’ and girls become less interested in leadership than male counterparts.
This brief documentary was produced by filmmaker Byron Hurt in 2008, shortly before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. It is an exploration through the historical construction of black masculinity in America over time. It compares and contrasts the masculine representations as exemplified by Barack Obama, on one hand, and rapper 50 cent (Curtis James Jackson III) on the other. Ultimately, it pushes the viewer to think of black masculinity in between the extremes.
This clip, published in January 2014, is a part of beauty and skincare brand Dove’s #BeautyIs campaign, which seeks to “start a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty.” The first part of the clip illustrates a series of mother-daughter teams discussing their own personal insecurities about their appearances, such as wearing or not wearing makeup, comparing themselves to others, aging and wrinkles, and general discomfort with their looks. In the second part, professional photographer Michael Cook organizes an experimental photography workshop at a high school in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in which mothers and daughters use “selfies,” or smartphone photo portraits taken by the subjects themselves, in order to create their own definition of beauty and challenge their own perceived shortcomings. After printing out and displaying the portraits in a gallery, other girls wrote compliments on Post-It notes and attached them to each photo. While nearly all the women and girls had critical things to say about themselves in their testimonials, these Post-It notes illustrated the divergence between self-perception and outward appearance: one woman’s insecurity may be exactly what another perceives to be a unique and beautiful physical feature. By incorporating the power of social media and smartphone technology, the video illustrates to viewers the personal power they have in re-defining what is truly beautiful.
On February 6th, 2016, during Black History Month and one day before her Super Bowl halftime show performance, Beyoncé dropped the song and video for “Formation” on her YouTube channel and on Tidal, Jay-Z’s streaming service. The song's lyrics are characterized by Beyoncé reframing stereotypes traditionally used in a derogatory way towards African-Americans into empowering statements which celebrate Blackness. For instance, she states:
“Run the World (Girls)” is a song recorded by Beyonce Knowles in 2011, with the accompanying music video directed by Francis Lawrence. The video displays a post-apocalyptic war-zone in which Knowles and an army of scantily-clad women square off against men in riot gear – all through the use of seductive dance moves. The video ends with Knowles ripping off the military general’s badge and putting it on herself. The aggressive lyrics center on the superiority of women, with much of their power being attributed to their intelligence, money-making abilities, and “persuasion”.