Hello again! I hope you are all well. This week I am studying women- all women- particularly in the media. I am discovering how women are portrayed through newspaper and magazine stories, and in the world today.
For my Women in Literature class at college, today’s assignment is to answer a couple of questions based on seven stories of women across the globe, including Brooklyn, Pakistan and Iraq. These women are “ordinary” in that they are not necessarily of “celebrity status”- they are women like you and I – but are women that prove themselves far from ordinary with persistent passion, nationalism, and perseverance, even when faced with discrimination, sexism, alienation, and exile. Feel free to check them out at the links below:
These audio and video recordings make particularly compelling stories to viewers of any gender. This is largely because of how relatable they are. These women of all ages- from as young as thirteen to maybe some in their mid twenties- have one great thing in common: passion. They want to play basketball, wrestle, go to school, and serve in the army. These women just want to have the opportunity to do what is important to them, like all of us do. However, unlike most of us, they are faced with greater hardships of poverty, discrimination, and crisis, but, as their stories suggest, this does not stop them. As thirteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai says in the Class Dismissed video, “I have a new dream. So I thought that I must be a politician to serve this country… Because there are so many crises in our country so I want to remove these crises and to serve my country.”
Unfortunately, though, it seems that stories like these are too often ignored by mainstream producers and storytellers. This is because these stories reflect a great problem in our global society. A problem of discrimination. Not to continue on a feminist sidetrack, but sexism is far to common in today’s world. Again looking at Malala’s story, the Taliban in her city of Swat, Pakistan chose to close and destroy ONLY the girl’s schools. The boy’s schools were left untouched. This was a great crisis to her, as education is most important for her dream as a doctor, or now as a politician. Even in America, sexism is all too familiar as the stories of the women in Women at Arms suggest. These women had to prove themselves before they were even considered as equals in the army and that was merely because of gender. Nonetheless, these stories serve as powerful representations of women. Women who persist. Women who don’t fall into the societal norms. For example, the woman in One in Eight Million, Elizabeth Cousins, is a teenage mother who unlike others she knows in high school has chosen to stay in school. She makes her education a priority for two reasons: for her daughter- in order to be a good mother and for herself- as a woman who wants more than to have several children and stay at home. These women of “ordinary stories” show us that there is no ordinary. These women and their true stories are powerful because they inspire a persistence and perseverance from those of any gender, age, ethnicity, or location. It’s important to believe in something so strongly that you stand up for it, regardless of anything else. These women inspire truth in this world.
Please follow the links and share what you think of these women and their stories. Post in the comments section below!
Have a great day!