stereotypes

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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Soapbox Time: the Midwest

I was born in Michigan and now live among highly educated East Coast types, who refer to my homeland as ‘flyover country.’  As if that weren’t bad enough, when something happens in Minnesota, they may gesture vaguely north and west and say “out there in Mich-zouri, right?”

Enough with this verbal and geographic ignorance! I can hardly imagine Michigan and Missouri in the same sentence, they are such different places. The American Midwest is an awesome slice of territory, upon which we all depend for food, fuel, industry, and even culture (seriously. click the link).
Most of us are a little vague about what the Midwest is. Fortunately this post from Vox goes into glorious detail about my home region. The current Census definition is based on the area’s evolution from ‘Northwest territories’ to ‘North Central Division,’ which now includes the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Those pale pink states, plus Oklahoma and Kentucky do not qualify.

freighter

we even have our own ships

That is a serious chunk of real estate, smaller than Australia, but larger than Mexico. It’s function as the breadbasket is due to the lucky confluence of climate and excellent soils plowed down by the glaciers which also carved the Great Lakes.

The population is slightly larger than France. And if it were a country, it would have the 6th largest economy in the world, sandwiched between Russia and Brazil.

So, think about that next time you enjoy your corn (in the form of soda, beef, packaged food, gasoline, and so much more.)

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

 

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!