Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Won't Always Have Paris!


So just a quick update on that traveling panel I'm helping organize this year for Women's History Month, cause I'm too darn excited not to share. As some of you know, I'm teaming up with three amazing women / girls / ladies this March:

Gloria Feldt, Kristal Brent Zook, Courtney E. Martin

We're taking it on the road to continue the conversation that I started in Sisterhood, Interrupted, and that these women have been having of late too. Together, we want to spark discussion about women's lives, power, entitlement, and the future of feminism, from a generational perspective. Sound good? If you'd like to bring us to your organization or school, please feel free to contact any of us (I'm deborahsiege AT gmail DOTCOM). But hurry -- our schedules are booking up quickly!

One of the versions we're offering is described thusly (is thusly really a word?):

We Won’t Always Have Paris:
A New Conversation about Young Women and Pop Culture

Why do teen girls dress and dance so provocatively? Do they really think that drinking and drugging at the club is empowering? How can they worship airheads like Paris and Nicole?

Why don’t older women see that there is more to our culture than Britney Spears? Have they ever heard of the World Wide Web? Was it really that different in their day or have they just romanticized it?


Sound familiar? Too often finger-pointing statements like these get thrown around by women of different generations when it comes to conversations about pop culture. With all the injustices yet to be challenged, it's time that women of all ages talked and listened to one another instead of rehashing the same cliquish complaints. It's time to reopen a dialogue about women’s lives, power, pop culture, and entitlement -- from a generational perspective.

Issues that we'll address include:
• Does liberated sexuality equal Paris Hilton? Madonna? Bisexuality? Girls Gone Wild?
• Are young women really charmed by today’s pop icons?
• Where are the strong, smart young celebrities without addictions or eating disorders?
• How can we get more positive images of women in the media?
• What do power and empowerment look like to women of different generations?
• What is the major unfinished business for women in the media and pop cultural arenas today?
• How do we keep our eyes on the prize of more complex, diverse, and healthy representation of women?

Another version we're doing goes like this:

Womengirlsladies: A Fresh Conversation Across Generations

Many of the young female students in my classes seem to think empowerment means short skirts and high heels! Even young women who say they are feminists often don’t know what’s still at stake—from pay equity to Title 9 to reproductive justice-- and they are unwilling to put in the hard work necessary to fight for change!

Older female professors act like it’s a crime against the Goddess to have a little fun! Women’s Studies classes are just too pc. I’m not a feminist but I totally believe in equality. Doesn’t everybody? And by the way, weren’t those battles already won by our mothers, so why do we have to fight them again?

Do these complaints sound familiar?

With all the injustices yet to be challenged, it is time that women of all ages talked and listened to one another. It is time to reopen a dialogue about women’s lives: our power, our entitlement, and our futures -- the future of feminism. Among issues to be addressed:

Power and Parity: What do power and empowerment look like to women of different generations, and to women of different races and cultural backgrounds? What can we envision achieving together for women in the future? What might a powerful woman look and act like twenty years down the road?

Unfinished Business: What are the major loose (or lost) ends of the feminist movement today? And how can we get what we need now?

The F-word: Why are so many younger women afraid of being identified as feminists? Do older women secretly resent the entitlement of their younger, female employees and students?

A Stripping Pole in Every Living Room: Does liberated sexuality equal lap dances? Free love? Bisexuality? Are Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan good role models for sexual empowerment? Were Madonna or Lil’ Kim?

The “Opting Out” Fiasco: How has the media slashed and distorted real women’s choices about balancing work and family? Could listening to popular myths about your options in the workplace and the home topple your career choices?

Passing the Torch without Extinguishing the Flame: How can younger women learn from older women while speaking in their own language about the issues that matter most to them?

We'll be offering these panels throughout 2008, but please do get in touch soon, as our schedules are filling up fast: taryn.kutujian@gmail.com

Would love to bring it your way!

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