get involved: Why Susan J. Douglas’ piece makes me want to volunteer!

Yesterday I read a troubling piece by Susan J. Douglas titled “Girls Gone Ant-Feminist.” In the article Douglas focuses on the current types/waves of feminism circulating in television, advertising, films, and music videos. Douglas argues that in the mid 1990s we saw the emergence of what she calls “enlightened sexism,” which she argues is a “response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism—indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved. So now it’s okay, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women.” Douglas argues that enlightened sexism is effective thanks to its use of irony, in which viewers watching these degrading images of women can feel superior to what they see onscreen, and anything goes if it’s delivered with a wink and a nod and played tongue-in-cheek. But as Douglas warns “irony means that you can look as if you are absolutely not seduced by the mass media, while then being seduced by the media, wearing a knowing smirk” (emphasis added).

I read Douglas’ piece as a call to action and affirmation that I have every right to take a filmic representation or a tv narrative seriously. Moreover, Douglas’ piece reminds me why it’s important to be passionate and to fight against the detachment irony, hipster-ish attitudes, and cynicism can foster. Finally, it reminds me that one of the best ways to combat what you don’t like in the media . . . is to speak out and create your own entertainment, your own image, your own narrative!

And on that note let’s look at two Austin organizations supporting girl creativity and girl voices.

The logo for Austin Bat Cave, a non-profit organization that supports youth and their creative writing (image courtesy of austinbatcave.org)

I found out about Austin Bat Cave thanks to this week’s edition of The Austin Chronicle. You might be fooled by the name, but Austin Bat Cave is a non-profit organization that supports youth (girls and boys) ages 6 – 18 in developing their creative and expository writing skills. Moreover, all of their programs are free for youth! The organization is currently working on a city-wide anthology titled “Reflections of a Generation.” The anthology will showcase “student creative writing that explores themes of love, war, music and the American dream.” High school students have until February 28th (Sunday) to submit a creative writing piece for the anthology.

Grrl Action is a non-profit dedicated to fostering girls' creativity (image courtesy of grrlaction.org)

I discovered Grrl Action last year when I attended one night of the 2009 Grrl Wrap Festival held on the UT campus. That night featured a moving performance about depression by Trey and an insightful documentary on immigration by Isaura – both high-school-age girls. Grrl Action is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering girls’ creativity and helping girls ages 13 to 18 “plan and execute individual, long-term artistic projects, working across the disciplines, alongside professional female artists as their mentors.” The program not only supports girls’ voices, but also promotes intergenerational connections in which girls and women learn from and support one another. The organization offers a Summer Program and a Year-Round Program, and they also offer scholarships for girls who cannot afford to attend. If you’re interested in seeing some of the Grrl Action performances check in with their site in the Spring. The Year-Round Program will finish up sometime in April and then Grrl Action will host another Grrl Wrap Festival.

Here are just two – out of countless – organizations striving to make it a better place for girls. If you know an amazing girl (daughter, niece, neighbor) who could use a little creative support, have them check out these organizations. Also if you yourself are looking to donate your time and dedicate yourself to supporting girls, fill out an online form or send a quick email – non-profits are always looking for volunteers and mentors. Maybe you don’t have much free time but you have an extra few dollars to donate. Either way get involved!

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~ by actyourage09 on February 24, 2010.

2 Responses to “get involved: Why Susan J. Douglas’ piece makes me want to volunteer!”

  1. […] First up: Grrl Action, a non-profit I’ve previously highlighted on this blog, is currently accepting applications for the Summer Workshop which runs from July 5 […]

  2. […] performances, art installations, and photo exhibits on display both Saturday and Sunday. I attended last year’s Festival and was blown away by the performances and a documentary in progress. This Festival is definitely […]

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