In this week’s Wednesday 5: the Parents Television Council finds, in a new study, sexual exploitation of underage girls on TV; Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai delivers the most important speech of the year; Latina women are increasingly converting to Islam; For Books’ Sake compiles of list of woman authors who should have never been overshadowed; and the awe-inspiring art that umbrellas can make.



The Parents Television Council Finds Sexual Exploitation of Underage Girls on TV 

Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone, but we’re sharing it anyway: Writing for TIME, Lily Rothman tells that a new study conducted by the Parents Television Council found that “underage girls are more likely than adult women to show up in a [television] scene classified as “’exploitative.’” The organization analyzed 238 episodes of prime-time TV shows from November 2011 to May 2012. Two of its major findings include: 

  • Topics that targeted underage girls and were presented as jokes included: Sexual violence (child molestation), sex trafficking, sexual harassment, pornography, and stripping.
    • EXAMPLE: Family Guy, 05/06/12: Sex Trafficking Meg appears onstage for the sex slave auction. Announcer: “This girl is perfect if you want to buy a sex slave, but don’t want to spend sex slave money.”
  • Underage girls are more likely than adult women to be in a sexual scene presented as humorous (rather than sexy, scary, etc.).

While our young girls are increasingly hyper-sexualized on television, the real-life stakes are getting higher. The study reminds us that the average age of entry into prostitution is growing younger and younger, with young women entering prostitution as early as 13 years old; and of the 80 percent of female victims who experienced their first rape before the age of 25, almost half experienced their first rape before age 18.



The Most Important Speech of the Year

I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. And my dreams are the same. Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohammed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. — Malala Yousafzai

Last Friday, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban last October because of her fight to educate girls,  addressed the United Nations as part of her campaign to ensure free compulsory education for every child. This is how she marked her 16th birthday.  While we mourn our children who are gunned down, we are also encouraged by the ones who survive the bullets, who return to lead, and who lead with courage. Malala’s speech  is one of the most important speeches of the year; below, we share it with you in its entirety. You can read the entire transcript of her speech here




Latina Women Converting to Islam

Muslim Woman in Timor-LesteAs many around the nation and the world honor the period of Ramadan, Hajer Naili of Women’s eNews reports on Muslim women in the United States and finds  that “since the 9/11 tragedy, the Hispanic community in the United States has witnessed a significant rise in conversions to Islam, especially among women.” The reasons for the shift are actually linked to Latina women’s finding more gender equality as Muslims. Several interviews with Latina women reveal that they were drawn to “women’s rights in the Islamic faith,” the important roles Islam grants women in society, and the beliefs ascribed to modesty when it comes women’s public appearance.

Read more: “Latina Converts to Islam Growing in Number” at Women’s eNews




Women Writers Who Deserve More Recognition

200px-AnneBronteThe folks at “For Books’ Sake” a site  for “books by and for independent women,”  have put together a short list (very short, ’cause we know there are many more unrecognized authors than we can count) of women writers who have at moments been overshadowed but whose body of work remains absolutely compelling. Making the list are Ntozake Shange, Grace Paley, Anne Brontë, and Alice Hoffman. What we loved about the list is that the compilers also shared their favorite author quotes–such as  Shange’s “Where there is a woman there is magic!”

(Pictured: Anne Brontë)




July in Portugal

umbrella-canopy-portugal-03Photo by Patrícia Almeida

For this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you a beautiful use of the umbrella. For this year’s Agitagueda art festival, design studio Ivo Tavares covered several streets of Portugal in canopies of umbrellas for all of the month of July.

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