The year is well and truly under way, but many of us are still battling with the start of year blues and the media’s focus on the darker side of life. It’s a week of ‘F’s, so here’s a run-down of the top five feminist-related news articles of late to get you up to date with all of the good things going on right now.
1. Moms in Peru got hit on by their sons
Last year saw the rise of the internet as a tool for confronting issues of sexism, with viral videos of men catcalling a woman in New York and organized movements such as The Everyday Sexism Project. This year, humor is being used to get the same message across. Check out this video of reactions from men in Peru as they realize the women they’ve been catcalling are their mothers—who are pretty pissed off at the things their darling baby boys have been saying to women. Headed up by the Olympic volleyball player and coach to the female volleyball team of Peru, Natalia Málaga, this video is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.
2. Barbie gets the best kind of rival ever
Barbie has long been criticized for misrepresenting what women should be, especially to young girls. There have been movements to improve the balance by inventing new dolls for children to play with, such as the Lottie Doll. These have been focused on making sure there isn’t a sexualization of the dolls and that the figures reflect real human anatomy. But there has been a distinct lack of dolls that reflect women of color…until now! Queens of Africa were invented seven years ago by Taofick Okoya from Nigeria, after he couldn’t find a doll he wanted to buy for his niece. The business has expanded and the range now includes a variety of tribal styles. More importantly, the dolls have started to outsell Barbies in Nigeria! With up to 15% of the country’s toy market being made up of the Queens of Africa, it’s great news for young children who can finally see themselves reflected in the toys they play with.
3. The Radical Brownies were founded
The Radical Brownies started in Oakland, California, aiming to “empower young girls of color to step into their collective power, brilliance, and leadership to make the world a more radical place.” Strong stuff! The badges up for grabs include “Black Lives Matter”, lessons in sustainable agriculture with the “Food Justice” badge, “Radical Beauty,” “Radical Self-Love,” and “LGBT Ally”. Co-founder Anayvette Martinez says her reasons for founding the group came from her experiences of raising her daughter: “I saw the need for a group that would empower and encourage her to form bonds of sisterhood with other girls in her community. I began to imagine what a radical young girl’s social justice troop looked like; a group that centered and affirmed her experiences as a beautiful and brilliant brown girl against so many societal pressures to conform to mainstream ideals.” So far 12 girls make up the group, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that the idea will spread!
4. International Day of Tolerance for FGM
February 6th was International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. This past year has seen a huge rise in awareness about the horrors of FGM. SheRa Mag covered the topic back in Issue 2, calling for the elimination of the practice. The World Future Council recently released a statement, saying: “The protection and promotion of girls’ human rights and bodily integrity needs to be a priority for governments, underpinned by a strong legal and policy framework.” As evidence suggests that the practice could be brought to an end in a single generation with the right framework in place, all the actions taken over the past year since the first international summit on FGM have been vital in taking a step closer to that reality. In December 2014, the UN adopted the resolution to push for “intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations.” Let’s all make more of an effort to discuss FGM and its dangers and to support every effort towards ending it once and for all.
5. A best-selling author was finally found out…as a woman
Also recently, Harper Lee announced the publication of the sequel to her famous novel To Kill A Mockingbird, which was incredibly exciting news for the literary world, especially as Lee was believed to have lost the manuscript for said novel, Go Set A Watchman, for many years…in fact, since about 1950! What was also shocking was the amount of people who reported that Lee was a man. Even BBC North America editor Jon Sopel (@BBCJonSopel)! On February 3, he wrote:
“Just announced Harper Lee will publish second novel 55 years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – glad his writer’s block got sorted #norush.”
He later deleted the tweet.
So not only do we have a long-awaited return of our favorite tomboy, Scout as an adult, but now we have more recognition for women writing works of incredible literary value. The book itself is set 20 years after To Kill A Mockingbird and sees the return of many familiar characters, and was written before Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning debut. “It features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort,” Lee said in the statement. “My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told.” Go Set A Watchman will be published by HarperCollins in summer 2015, and we can’t wait to find out more about Scout’s life!
Title image source: fashionforensicafrica.wordpress.com