Brave: Young Women’s Global Revolution Volume 1 Themes
Gayle Kimball, Ph.D.
400 pages $9.99 eBook available now on Amazon and other platforms.
Vol. 2 about regional activism will follow in a few weeks.
Brave explores young women’s issues and activism globally, based on hundreds of interviews—some videotaped, and over 4,000 surveys from 88 countries. What makes Brave unique is its global rather than regional reach and its rare inclusion of many young women’s voices. The book includes popular cultural references and feminists’ critiques of the economic and political system. Volume 1 is about global issues and Volume 2 is about regional activism. Discussion questions and activities end each of the five chapters. Chapter titles are: The Future is Female, Global Desire for Equality, Global Status of Young Women, Consumerism Targets “Girl Power,” Global Media Both Helps and Inhibits Girls.
- 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
About one in four college women suffer sexual assault or rape, although they may not consider date rape worthy of being reported to campus authorities. This was discussed in I Never Called It Rape (1987) by Robin Warshaw. Sexual harassment is even greater for women graduate students. The Association of American Universities survey of 27 colleges found that 23% of women had experienced unwanted sexual contact accompanied by physical force or the threat of it during their years in university (5% of men reported this), including 31% of the women of the Harvard class of 2015.[i] In an extensive study of American Hookup: the New Culture of Sex on Campus (2017), Lisa Wade found that male athletes have high status on campus and “In the culture of sex that dominates college campuses today, status is what sex is all about.” Scoring with a high status person gives status points. On the other hand, if sexual assault occurs, it’s difficult to confront a high-status athlete or fraternity member, so 80% of such assaults aren’t reported.
[i] Michele Richinick, “1 in 4 Women Experienced Sexual Assault While in College,” Newsweek, September 22, 2015.
What would you add to the extensive history of sexism in popular music, including emo that is supposedly anti-macho? The girlfriend is both the enemy and the prize to be won, as seen in songs by Adam Lazarra and his band Taking Back Sundays or violent songs by Chris Conley and his band Saves the Day. He sings about sawing off flesh from a woman’s thighs “If I could somehow make you mine.” John Lennon talked about hitting his first wife in “Getting Better” (“I used to be cruel to my woman. I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved.”) Mick Jagger sings about a man raping a young black slave in “Brown Sugar.” In his song “Kim” Eminem says, “Sit down bitch. If you move again I’ll beat the shit out of you,” an exceptionally hateful and violent song—search the lyrics online.
Matthew Reyes, “Why Did We Justify Misogyny in the Emo Scene?” The Earlier Stuff, November 4, 2016.