Under President Bill Clinton, the State Department created the Office of Global Women’s Issues. President Barack Obama said he was what a feminist looked like and created the White House Council on Women and Girls, because, “From sports leagues to pop culture to politics, our society does not sufficiently value women. We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should.”[i] Obama asked parents of young men to teach them respect for women as part of the 2014 campaign “It’s on Us” to prevent campus sexual assaults.[ii] . President Trump can’t say much because many women have accused him of sexual assault, including a list of women who have publically spoken up.[i]
[i] Catherine Pearson, Emma Gray, and Alanna Vagianos, “A Running List of the Women Who’ve Accused Donald Trump of Sexual Assault,” Huffington Post, October 28, 2016.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) will announce the introduction of the Employ Young Americans Now Act—which would provide $5.5 billion in immediate funding to employ one million young Americans—at a roundtable discussion Wednesday.
Look at Disney cartoons for examples of youth going against older tyrants as in The Lion King, Finding Nemo and Antz.
Listen to Manal al-Sharif discuss the impact of media on her revolution from traditional to advocate for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia.[i]
See Jean Kilbourne’s Killing us Softly: Advertisings Image of Women (1979), Still Killing Us Softly (1987), Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies and Alcohol (2004), Slim Hopes: Advertising and the Obsession with Thinness (1995), and update with recent ad images. Study guides for the films and others are available online http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/241/studyguide_241.pdf
See Miss Representation (2011) about how media portrays women in a way that keeps them from aspiring to power positions. The Mask You Live In (2015), shows how masculinity limits and men.[ii]
Look at films and TV shows about female superheroes. How are they portrayed differently than male superheroes? You could start with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 to 2003, also a 1992 film about a high school girl). Hanna (2011) is about a 14-year-old genetically bred to be a super warrior. Not only an outstanding warrior, she also has a super memory and knows many languages. She is a killer who wants to stop the killing as she travels from Finland to Morocco to Germany. The actress who played her is 18 and grew up in Ireland.
See films about teenage girls to look for themes and changes over time: Time Square (1980), Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982), Valley Girl (1983), Sixteen Candles (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986), Heathers (1988), Now and Then and Clueless (1995), She’s All That (1999) The Virgin Suicides (2000), Thirteen (2003), Mean Girls (2004), Juno (2007), Easy A (2010), the Hunger Games series (2012-2015).
Watch Meet Corliss Archer on YouTube (a radio show from 1943 to 1956, a TV show in 1952, and a comic[iii]) and My So-Called Life, 1994 to 1995, to see how teen issues have changed from when Corliss and Angela were both 15 and starting to date.
Freedom Writers. A true story, it answers the question “what was so great about Anne Frank’s writing?” The other theme is that seeing kids as gifted people can turn the worst racist gang members into inspired creators. The kids and the teacher started a foundation to spread her methods. 2007
The Varkey Foundation released a study that claims to be the first and largest global survey of Generation Z attitudes in 2017 because there’s “very little in-depth reputable polling on the opinions and attitudes of Generation Z.” It surveyed 20,088 young people ages 15 to 21 from 20 representative countries in 2016. They were part on online research panels, meaning they all had acess to the Internet. Their results reinforced my Global SpeakOut survey findings that youth attitudes are “remarkably similar” globally: They’re generally happy, comfortable with diversity, value helping others, are not religious, and are most influenced by their parents. Their parents are the main influence on their values (89%)–followed by friends and teachers–and 67% have a good relationship with their parents. Only 30% say celebrities influence their values and less than 17% report being influenced by politicians. Family is their priority for the future, more so than health, career, or money. Only 42% say religion is significant to them (especially in Africa), while 39% say it has no significance to them (especially in Japan, Australasia, and Europe). Instead of religion they value service to others; 67% think that making a wider contribution to society is important, especially if they gain more skills and knowledge.
The Digital Natives have faith that technology (84%) and education (80%) will make the future better, but in 16 out of 20 countries more young people believe the world is becoming worse. Overall, 37% think the world is getting worse, only 20% think it’s getting better, and the rest didn’t pick either possibility. The most pessimistic are in Western developed countries, France and Italy, while emerging countries of China and India have the highest percentage of optimistis about the future. The lack of good education makes 69% of them worry about the future. They’re more concerned about extremism and terrorism (83%) than climate change (66%), except in China. There pessimism is not surprising when they grew up with rapid change, growing inequality, terrorism, the refugee crisis, poor education in many developing nations, the rise of populism, climate change and probably the first generation to that will be worse off than their parents.
Two-thirds (68%) say they’re happy; more so in emerging countries (Indonesia, Nigeria, and India) than in developed countries (France, Australasia and the UK). The older respondents and the young women were less happy than younger and male respondents. The least happy Gen Z respondents live in Japan and South Korea. More than half (60%) think their country is a good place to live. However, over two-thirds lack overall emotional well-being, as measured by they don’t think about their problems too much, they don’t feel anxious, lonely, unloved or bullied. Only 17% think they get enough sleep, exercise, and time for reflection so it’s not surprising that they don’t feel content. Their main sources of anxiety are money and school.
Gen X has liberal viewpoints: Opposing prejudice, 89% believe men and women should be treated equally (especially in Canada and China), 74% believe that transgender people should have rights, 66% believe in safe and legal abortion, 63% believe same-sex marriage should be legal, but only about half believe in free speech if it’s offensive to religion or minority groups. Support for free speech is highest in Turkey and Argentina, countries with a history of authoritarian governments, and lowest in Nigeria and China. Young people in 14 out of the 20 countries are supportive of immigrant rights in their country. Few think a person’s religion is an important factor in selecting a friend. Only 3% think fame is the most important factor in choosing a career.
Emma Broadbent, et al., “Generation Z: Global Citizenship Survey,” Varkey Foundation, January 2017.
“Every year, over 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high schools across the United States. Every year across the United States and its territories, more than 80,000 individuals become eligible for DACA status but are deterred from pursuing these protections due to uncertainty and risk of deportation. Currently, there are at least 10 states calling for an to end DACA.”
The future of the DACA program remains uncertain, considering ICE has previously detained individuals at schools despite the protections.”
Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage in the World teaches that students need to learn how to investigate the world, recognize others’ perspectives, be able to communicate ideas, and know how to take action to improve problems.
Veronica Boix Mansilla and Anthony Jackson, “Educating for Global Competence,” Asia Society and Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011.
Appendicies on survey results, films, Internet resources, large global surveys of youth, academic research, and bibliography.
While researching Generations Y and Z for the past decade for a book series about global youth activism and viewpoints, I discovered a split between scholarly viewpoints about Gen Me vs. Gen We. Some researchers fault youth for being narcissists and others praise them for being altruistic. I was surprised that many scholars who write about youth don’t actually talk to them or include their voices when young people face difficult economic challenges globally, with high youth unemployment rates and increasing tuition costs. It’s easier to blame the victim than the economic system that generates more and more inequality, just as teachers get blamed for structural problems in the education system. Ageism in Youth Studies:Generation Maligned exposes how authors ignore youth, disparage them, and fault them for being anxious, depressed and narcissistic without pressing for change in the economic system that harms them. Youth are the best-educated generation ever, an altruistic group that cares about global problems. They should be viewed as a resource in the present, as they are in Nordic countries, rather than as a source of trouble.