In this week’s Wednesday 5: Afghan journalist Najiba Ayubi wins a ‘Courage in Journalism’ Award; a father’s well-intentioned letter to his young daughter about keeping a “man’s interest” turns controversial; the ‘Great Gatsby’ film unearths a myriad of misrepresentations and stereotypes about the 1920s flapper; ‘Scandal,’ as ridiculous as the plots are, works because of cast chemistry; and a poignant video re-imagines a world where hate crimes don’t exist.

1.

Afghan Journalist Wins ‘Courage in Journalism’ Award

6419202583_a56fe24b50_b(Photo by boellstiftung via Flickr)

Journalist Najiba Ayubi, 45, redefines the notion of being on the front lines. For more than two decades she has been a force in the Afghanistan media, risking her life, and co-founding the Afghan Independent Media Consortium and the Freedom of Expression Initiative. In celebration of her efforts, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) will grant her the 2013 Courage in Journalism Award. According to the IWMF:

Since 2004, Ayubi has regularly received threatening phone calls and letters. Threats are always tied to her critical reporting and her refusal, as director of a news organization, to censor the stories that are published and broadcast on her watch. Ayubi has faced direct threats from many sources—politicians have sent gunmen to her home, anonymous aggressors have vowed to harm her family, and she has been publicly defamed. In each case, she has faced her attackers and has rejected calls to limit her work.

Read more at the International Women’s Media Foundation.

 

2.

A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband)

A father’s letter to his daughter about not giving in to pressure to keep a man interested has gone viral on the Internet. Dr. Kelly Flanagan, a licensed clinical psychologist and father of three, was appalled by the number of articles out there advising women and girls on how to keep men and boys interested in them. In response, he penned a touching letter to his young daughter, which includes the following advice:

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting: I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.

Good advice, right? Well, enter the backlash. With proof that no good deed goes unpunished, the folks at The Inquisitr weighed in on the well-intentioned letter and argued that the letter reinforces the same notion it tries to denounce—”a woman’s worth is dependent solely on a man’s interest in her.”  Their take:

The stated advice given—to reject fitting an ideal and find a “boy” who is interested naturally— still predicates a lot of the girl’s value on the issue of being coupled at all. None of the writing or thoughts addresses the likely times in a girl or woman’s life when she will be uncoupled, assuming the natural state of being for all worthy women is with a man who worships them no matter what. (The female’s behavior, for instance, is not mentioned as a barometer of her future relationship harmony, nor is a circumstance where she chooses not to partner or marry at all.)

We’d love to hear from you: What are your thoughts on the letter?

 

3.

A Misrepresentation of the Flapper 

 1920swomen-575x302Flapper women of the 1920s. (via Smithsonian.com)

“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool,” says the character Daisy about her dreams for her daughter, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby. While the film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, is now out in theaters and is not impressing the critics much (‘The Great Gatsby” Review: How Many Flappers Make a Flop?), writers are revisiting the novel’s (and by extension the film’s) portrayal of flapper women solely through the eyes of men. Lisa Hix of Collectors Weekly writes, in “The Great Gatsby’ Still Gets Flappers Wrong”:

But in 1925’s “The Great Gatsby,” Scott depicted a more dire view of flappers. Narrated by a man, the cautionary tale seems to warn against the wiles of  The New Woman—the feminist ideal of an educated and sexually liberated woman that emerged in the 1900s. So instead of intelligent, independent women telling their own stories of rebelling and rejecting their mother’s values, you have male war buddies sharing how vapid, spoiled socialites carelessly wrecked their lives.
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To the contrary, flappers were much more in charge of their agency:
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[T]he flapper’s influence on American culture could not be undone. She rejected the notion that women should be submissive and keep to their “separate sphere” of the home. She proved that women could work and live independent from men—and party just as hard. She opened up new conversations about dating [and] sexuality. . .
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Read more about the misrepresentations and stereotypes about the 1920s flapper woman at Collectors Weekly.

 

 

4.

‘Scandal’ Is a Hit, But It’s Also Full of Ridiculous Plots

scandal_season_2Like most of the country, we’re also attracted to the scandalous plot of Scandal—for purely research and cultural analysis reasons, of course. But despite all the rave reviews the shows continues to get, Dustin Rowles at Pajiba reminds us of how ludicrous the premise of the show actually is when we think of all the diverging and absurd storylines. In his article, “How Insane Cast Chemistry Transforms One of TV’s Worst Dramas into One of Its Best,” Rowles acknowledges:

What’s even more remarkable about the series is that, not only is it compelling television, but a philandering President who murdered a Supreme Court justice and his mistress, who rigged a Presidential election, are likable characters, with whom we have a rooting interest. It is confounding.

So why are we addicted? In place of the absurd and implausible plots is a consistent chemistry among the characters and the actors who play them. “It’s the perfect storm of over-the-top writing, melodramatic acting, and absurd storytelling that’s all tenuously held together by duct tape and some of the best chemistry on television,” says Rowles.

Read more at Pajiba.com

 

5.

Imagine a World Without Hate

For this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you the poignant video in celebration of the the centennial year of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The video re-imagines a world where hate crimes didn’t exist and prominent figures in history like Anne Frank and Martin Luther King are still with us and helping us improve the state of the world.