At the age of 16, Karen Lum created, directed, and starred in this award-winning film about gender, race, and unrealistic beauty standards. She and William Tsang are featured visually portraying the spoken word poem written and performed by Adriel Luis, whose voice is heard throughout the video. The poem starts with a young man hitting on a young woman with several unsuccessful pickup lines, ultimately eliciting an unexpected response when he blurts out, “girl, what is your ethnic makeup?” Through artful word play with makeup words such as foundation, lipstick, and eye shadow, the poem and video tells the story about how she proceeds to educate him about topics such as the commodification of beauty, unrealistic and unattainable Anglicized beauty standards, how women are measured and valued for their appearance, and the importance of learning the histories of your people within social and historical context. The film was shot in 2005 in Lum’s hometown of Oakland, CA. The full text of the poem can be found here.
This photo of a Native American protestor in Standing Rock, North Dakota was shared on Twitter on November 4, 2016. The image shows a solitary protestor on horseback, facing a line of uniformed police officers and armored police and military vehicles. The photo was originally taken by photojournalist Ryan Redhawk as part of a crowd-funding site to support his work at Standing Rock. But it was not until the photo was tweeted by filmmaker Larry Wright that it became a viral phenomenon—retweeted tens of thousands of times.
This user-created video was produced by students at a British school and uploaded to Youtube in 2009. It features students and a professor talking about the stereotypes that teens face, the social categories often prescribed to groups of students, and the role of the media in the process.
This clip is a TEDx talk by Lyn Mikel Brown, a Professor of Education at Colby College and founder of the non-profit groups Hardy Girls, Healthy Women and the SPARK movement. Mikel Brown argues that the concept of girl power – which originated in the Riot Grrrl feminist punk rock movement of the early 90s – has been co-opted by corporate media. She argues that media has appropriated feminism with politically weak versions of female empowerment, such as the Spice Girls, Sex and the City, and Bratz. Mikel Brown asks the question: “How do we empower girls when empowerment has been so co-opted by the media?” She goes onto discuss the work of Hardy Girls Healthy Women in their effort to inspire girl-led feminist media activism.
Target Women was a comedic segment written by Sarah Haskins and produced for the Current TV show Infomania from 2007-2010. The aim of Target Women was to provide a social commentary related to a diverse set of products, advertising, and media aimed at American women. In this segment, Haskins takes on the issue of "Beauty Contraptions". From the "Neck Slimmer" to "Shape Ups" to "Vibrating Mascara", Haskins runs through advertisements for products that all promise women spectacular beauty thanks to some new, exciting contraption! Fundamentally, she asks her audience to think critically about the way ideas of beauty are sold to them.