In this week’s Wednesday 5: the trouble with the Men’s Rights Movement; Google searches reveal widespread prevalence of sexism; a photographer captures “the beauty in obesity”; at 43, Samantha Power is the youngest American to hold the post of United States Ambassador to the United Nations; and one little girl reminds us that improvisation is truly an art.



The Trouble with the Men’s Rights Movement



“Just because you regret a one-night stand doesn’t mean it was rape.” So reads a series of ads, targeted at women, that have been increasingly popping up as part of the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM), which is “one of the quirkiest, fastest-growing, and most frustrating civil-rights movements in the Western world today,” writes R. Tod Kelly in “The Masculine Mystique” for The Daily Beast. Other slogans have included ‘Don’t Be That Girl,’ ‘Don’t Be That Lying Feminist,‘ ‘Don’t Be That Bigot,’ ‘Don’t Be That Princess,‘ and ‘Don’t Be That Bitch. What is MRM? Kelly tells us:

A predictable reaction to the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the MRM struggled for decades to get recognition. Occasionally an issue like child-custody rights would allow some small growth, but for the most part the MRM limped along relatively unknown for decades. And then, the Internet happened, and the MRM evolved along with it into a coalition where the most radical, hyperbolic and outrageous voices are disproportionately rewarded with visibility and clout.

Unfortunately, a large part of men who belong to the Movement are largely men who fight for those accused of rape.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



Google Searches Reveal Widespread Prevalence of Sexism


Speaking of ads, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) is undertaking a new campaign we consider quite clever and innovative in its fight against sexism and misogyny. It takes real Google search terms and words used to expose how the world talks about women. For example, consider these actual search terms that were searched in September 2013:

women shouldn’t have rights
women shouldn’t vote
women shouldn’t work
women shouldn’t box

Jennifer Miller of of Fast Company tells us:

“To prove that masses of Internet users have worrying opinions on what women should—or cannot—do,  UN Women tested the search engine’s autocomplete feature. Type in the words “women” and “shouldn’t” or “women” and “cannot,” and you’ll get a litany of despicable options: drive, vote, speak in church, box, have rights . . . you get the point (interestingly, here in the U.S., when you type in “men shouldn’t,” you get a more innocuous list: wear flip-flops, wear shorts, marry).”

View a slide show of the Ad Campaign here.



The Full Beauty Photo Project


Italian photographer Yossi Loloi’s Full Beauty project captures nude women who are obese (weighing between 350 and 600 pounds) and who range in age from 23 to 50. In her review of the project, Abigail Jones of Newsweek writes:

The images offer up a corporeal exhibitionism that we rarely see in mainstream media. They are meant as provocation, an extreme end of a legitimate argument that women’s bodies are beautiful and sexy at any shape and size.

The models are certainly vulnerable, but they exhibit a kind of courage that forces us to confront our assumptions about women’s bodies—what we define as beautiful, ugly, fat, thin, disturbing, inspiring. Staring at their stretch marks and veins, suddenly we are the ones who are vulnerable. Our reactions to the photos say more about us than about the women we’re looking at. Indeed, the impossibility of their beauty and size is at once unsettling and riveting; it’s almost impossible to look away.

Clearly, part of the reason these images might come across at first glance as shocking is due in part to the pervasive presence of “rail-thin cover girls” in the media. Yossi Loloi’s images are a stark contrast to what we are used to seeing. But Loloi’s work has also come under intense criticism, as many argue it “exploits the obese and glorifies a dangerous medical condition,” writes Jones. Yet when one in three Americans is obese and the average woman wears a size 14, Jones poses an interesting counter-argument: “the Full Beauty project is less a confrontation than a nod to reality.”



At 43, Samantha Power is United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Yesterday, our Diane Vacca wrote beautifully about the “compromising women” who get things done in the Senate. Equally powerful is Samantha Power—who is 43, a mother of two, and the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, a study of the U.S. foreign policy response to genocide. She currently serves as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, the youngest American ever to hold the post. In the recent issue of Vogue, Robert Sullivan tells us that, starting with her book on human rights, Power has been powerful in inspiring more women to venture into the field of public policy.

“She has had more influence on the career paths of young women in public policy schools around the world than almost any other single figure,” says her friend Michael Ignatieff, the former leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the Munk School of Global Affairs in Toronto. “I’ve got students who say ‘I want to go into human rights because of A Problem from Hell.’ ”

Below, we share with you Power’s TED Talk in which she shared the compelling story of “A Complicated Hero,” Sergio Vieira de Mello, a UN diplomat “who walked a thin moral line, negotiating with the world’s worst dictators to help their people survive crisis.”



This Week’s Dose of Laughter: The Art of Improvisation

To balance a heavy Wednesday 5 lineup of Men’s Rights Movements, Sexism in the Media, Obesity, and Genocide, we share with you something we hope will at least make you smile—this little girl’s performance has been racking up the hits on the internet this week. Watch as she makes up her own preschool tap-dance choreography to “Broadway Baby” from the musical Follies. She’s a true reflection of Art of Improvisation! Click here to watch!

Dance FActory

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  • Marcia October 23, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Just started subscribing to Women’s Voice for Change about 2 weeks ago. I found today’s post (Oct. 23) to be the best example of serious enlightenment and humorous enlightenment at the same time. Thanks! Keep up the good work!