Scouting the Web this week, we were inspired by Nike’s tribute video of pioneering women in sports; moved by one artist’s personal journey to use art to advocate for women who have been victims of violence; tickled by a new Declaration of Independence (from dieting); and inspired all over again—this time by some fabulous sexagenarians.
Nike’s “Voices” Pays Tributes to Women in Sports
Recently we featured an article by Perry Barber, “Great Implications: Title IX, 40 Years Later,” recalling the days when girls and women were assumed to be too frail for (or uninterested in) strenuous sports. This past week, Nike released a tribute video, Voices, making clear how very far women have come in sports. But this isn’t any old tribute video. What’s unique about it is the intergenerational dialogue between pioneering women in sports and young girls today. We see and hear icons like Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Women’s Olympic Marathon, in 1984, and Lisa Leslie, veteran of the first-ever WNBA season, speak about the pushback they received for wanting to do what they love doing. Then, cleverly, young girls finish the older women’s sentences with phrases like “People aren’t used to women being so passionate. It scares them.” The intention of this cinematic journey is to remind us of the sheer ridiculousness of the discrimination women have endured.
Telling Women’s Stories through Art
When art not only reflects beauty but also inspires and motivates, it can serve as a catalyst for social change. We were moved by Gender Bytes’ interview on (East) Indian–Canadian artist Soraya Nulliah, who uses her art to bring attention to the issues of violence against Indian women. In “Artist Soraya Nulliah On: Art, Apartheid, Women and Violence,” Nulliah speaks candidly with the site’s Rita Banerji about her personal experiences with violence and how it led her to create beautiful solo portraits of women. We were struck by her incredible global journey: She is of Indian origin, but grew up in South Africa and Canada and now lives in the United States. Nulliah tells us:
My identity has myriad influences—Indian, South African and Canadian. They are like threads coming together to form a rich and varied tapestry. I feel equally comfortable sitting barefoot in an ashram as I do marching at a gay rights parade. But I am also an “outsider” to each of these cultures, not assimilating completely into any of them. While being an “outsider” has been a very painful and isolating experience for me at times, it has also afforded me innumerable gifts.
Declaration of Independence . . . from Dieting
Those witty women over at A Weight Lifted are celebrating the Fourth of July by rewriting the Declaration of Independence as a manifesto on “never dieting again.” We’re not sure historians would appreciate this kind of rebranding of one of the most revered documents in our nation’s history, but we think this reworking of the text is clever as well as audacious. Consider this the new call to action:
“. . . That these women ought to be Free and Independent of ineffective and unhealthy diets; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to restriction, starvation, deprivation, guilt and the self-judgment that diets create; and that as Free and Independent women, they have full Power to decide what to eat, when to eat, and why to eat, based on their personal needs and desires, and to do all other Acts and Things which normal eaters may of right do.”
Al Gore Did NOT Invent the Internet, but Nancy Hafkin DID Bring the Internet to Africa
“Before Nancy Hafkin came along, Internet in Africa hardly existed,” writes Sarah Mitroff for Wired magazine. In the article, “Nancy Hafkin Brought Internet to Africa, Now She’s Tackling the Tech Divide,” Mitroff traces the almost two decades’ worth of advocacy and infrastructure-building Hafkin, backed by the United Nations, put in place from 1980 to 2000 to create and improve Internet technology in Africa. Now retired from the U.N., Hafkin is focused on improving Internet access for women and “to make sure computers and the Internet are available to every woman in the world.” Naturally, this year Hafkin was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame, an honor well deserved. Yet she’s among only a handful of women who are Hall of Famers—another reason she continues to work to get technology into the hands of women.
Inspired by Sexagenarians
Speaking of inspiring women in their sixties, our Judith Ross, who recently wrote a fabulous review of Lily Ledbetter’s memoir Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, shares with us on her blog, Shifting Gears—Navigating Middle Age and Beyond, that she’s got women on her mind . . . women in their sixties and older, that is. “While I have a few years before my own 60th birthday, I’m noticing that late middle-age/early old age can be one of the most powerful and vibrant times in a woman’s life,” writes Ross. In the last couple of weeks she’s been blissfully surrounded by some inspiring women in their sixties. In hearing Patty Larkin live in concert, immersing herself in the story of Lilly Ledbetter, and experiencing the Annie Leibovitz exhibition Pilgrimage, Ross is convinced that “women like these show us that we don’t have to fade away. If we keep working, doing, and learning, we can be better, we can do more.”