WOMEN IN BIZ

New Survey on Feminism

New survey on feminism spotlights issues of exclusion

As reported on NY Times’ Women in theWorld, recent research conducted by SheKnows Media  about women’s relationship with Feminism reveals, among other things, that black women and conservative moms are less likely to identify as Feminists.

Long story short: it’s the intersectional* disconnect that undermines the movement’s goals to unite women in combatting misogyny and oppression.

*(Intersectionality is the term how sexism is experienced differently by women of color, poor women, queer women, women with disabilities, etc.)

The research suggests that the movement should emphasize inclusiveness, including men, and that “white feminists should make a point to better understand and include the struggles of non-white women.”

Read the whole story at #TheFWord

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Brand Responds to Social Media

upforwhateverAnheuser-Busch’s effort to engage social media got them in  hot water. Tapping into that legendary ability of alcohol to reduce inhibitions, Bud Light printed this on their labels:

the perfect beer for removing ‘no’
from your vocabulary for the night

No doubt it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Part of the #UpForWhatever campaign, the slogan is one of 140 different messages that are followed by “The perfect beer for whatever happens.”

The twitterverse erupted in criticism, citing issues of consent and college rape, as well as drunk driving and other questionable behaviors that the tagline could be condoning.  Ere long, Anheuser Busch issued an official statement within hours of widely read Mashable post:

Bud Light Vice President Alexander Lambrecht delivered a statement to Mashable stating that “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”

However, no effort was made to remove existing bottles from circulation. The New York Times suggests they might become collectibles.

According to the Washington Post, former VP of communication Franzine Katz, who resigned in 2009 and sued the brewer for sex discrimination (she was paid far less than half of the male VPs), learned of the faux-pas from her 20 something daughter. Her reaction?

“Oh my God, are they kidding?”

The current communication head, also female, engaged in twitter bickering, calling the slogan “an honest mistake.”

Lies People Tell — to Women

A new study  from University of California–Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania asked MBA students to participate in role-plays of face-to-face negotiations, and discovered that people were significantly more likely to blatantly lie to women.

The study also indicated that participants perceived women as less competent than a man or even a hypothetical person whose gender was not revealed.

Laura Kray, the study’s author noted:

 “When people perceive someone as low in competence and easily misled, they assume the person will not scrutinize lies, and that you can get away with [lying.]

Here’s more on the subject over at Slate.com

 

The Current Media Conversation on Misogyny

News-Fueled Media Conversation

(warning: many of the links in this post go to articles that contain disturbing content about violence and murder.) 

The mediaverse always reverberates with opinion after a major news cycle, and certainly in the wake of that peculiarly American spectacle, the mass-shooting. We of course have have the predictable “It’s not about guns!” verses “It’s all about guns!” debate, and I won’t get into that one, for now. But the media conversation around men, women and misogyny since the May 23rd shooting in Santa Barbara is notable for it’s intensity and momentum.

Social and online media played a role in the life of the shooter, Elliot Rodger, whose YouTube video (now taken down) claims that it’s

“an injustice, a crime” that women have never been attracted to me and that I am going to “punish you all for it” and “slaughter every single blonde slut I see.”

Rodger’s online hangout space reveals chilling conversations by men bitterly describing themselves as  “involuntarily celibate” and aiming violent hate speech and threatening statements directed at females. There are hundreds of similar sites in the ‘manosphere’, “a cyber-universe fueled by distorted views of women and sex, in which lonely, isolated and disaffected young men, unable to live up to equally distorted notions of manhood, end up turning lack of self-worth into an anger directed at women.”

Not surprisingly a loud, clear feminist response developed to the Santa Barbara shooter’s evident violent misogyny. This surge of powerful communication is still mobilizing hashtags, tumblrs and blogs, all of which keep driving the press to keep the story moving.

Twitter: #Yes, ALL Women.

This Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen sprang from the inevitable debate about sexual violence  that followed the recent shooting. A male protests: “All men don’t harass or threaten women!”  to which a feminist Twitter user replied: “Fine, but ALL women have experienced sexual violence or the threat of sexual violence.”

This woman created the hashtag #YesAllWomen and asked women to respond and share stories. Within a week, she had to remove her name from the project and close her account, due to the volume of death and rape threats that she received.

Tumblr: When Women Refuse

Media pro Deanna Zandt created a Tumblr page called When Women Refuse and invited everyone to post their stories of women threatened, injured or killed by sexual violence.  Post after post describes real life stories of women subjected to violence after they rejected the sexual advances of men — when they refused to flirt with them, dance with them, go on a date with them, or have sex with them. Reading it is a stomach-churning experience. A woman attacked with acid. A pregnant teenager stabbed to death. A woman raped and beaten. Women smashed in the head with bowling balls and glass bottles.

World Media Coverage of Misogyny

India is in the news once again this week after the brutal gang rape and murder of two young girls. Women protesting the lack of official action against rape and violence against women were dispersed by hundreds of officers and water canons.

Although a highly publicized case in 2012 energized support for tougher laws, outside of major cities police often refuse to investigates complaints of crimes against women. Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, though it’s considered drastically underreported, but more people are speaking up against violent crimes targeting women, and public protests against police inaction are increasingly common.

In Pakistan the recent stoning death of 25-year old Farzana Parveen launched a worldwide  wave of conversation about so-called ‘honor killings.’ Hashtag #Faranza made public “a crime that not long ago would barely have elicited a headline was now a source of conversation and consternation among those on social media both within and outside Pakistan. And discussion about the slaying turned up another grim fact: Iqbal told CNN he killed his first wife so he could be free to propose to Farzana.”

In Nigeria the campaign to return the girls kidnapped April 14 from Chibok school to their families has reached wide audiences with the help of the twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls. Protestors rallying under that name in Abuja, Nigeria apparently rattled the Police High Command, who attempted to outlaw the protests June 2, but public pressure, no doubt including world-wide media attention, caused a quick turn-about and  as of June 3 an official statement denying any protest ban was issued.

Making a Difference?

Clearly, blatant violence against women is more likely to be reported, shared via social media and gain the attention of activists and citizens who might take action.  The conversation is disturbing, but is instigating awareness and motivating people, people who can change laws and prevent violence.

Addressing Stereotypes in Stock Photos

enhanced-buzz-wide-20979-1392163420-30Getty Images teamed with LeanIn.org to create a collection of stock photos intended to represent women in a more empowering light.

LeanIn.org is the foundation launched by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Women, Work and the Will to Lead. The book, published last year, challenged women and the business world to step up to increase female leadership. An accomplished executive with business and government experience, Sandberg points to solid research on the stubborn stereotypes that discourage female leadership, and calls on women not to give in to those traps, but rise above them.

enhanced-buzz-wide-24504-1392163397-11The project with Getty is certainly welcome and I might say long overdue. Anyone who has worked with stock photography for the past decade or so has no doubt seen much improvement from the 90s, when smiling white men were the office norm, and the only people of color were gardeners or laborers. Today it’s possible to find images of people of various ages, ethnicities and even disabilities.

But like any media stream, the available stock photography reflects our culture and its resistance to change. Stock photos of women have developed their own tropes, many of them unfortunate. So the LeanIn collection, while populated with remarkably pretty people, is quite a few steps forward. The images feature women  at home, at work, in the world, working, leading, using technology and in hands-on careers. There are girls being bold, reading, using tools and taking charge.

An article in the NY Times points out that we’re becoming more image-based in our daily communication, using our smart phone cameras, Instagram, Pinterest and similar tools. Getty CEO Jonathan Klein notes that “imagery has become the communication medium of this generation, and that really means how people are portrayed visually is going to have more influence on how people are seen and perceived than anything else.”

original-11250-1392253880-5It’s as true as ever: seeing images of ourselves reflected in the culture supports our confidence as accomplished women. Until I browsed this collection I didn’t realize just how much I needed to see an artistic woman instructing a group, or a confident girl looking me straight in the eyes!