FEMINIST FRIDAY: India’s ‘Alpha Female’ Skaters & Ashley Judd Discusses The Online Abuse of Women

Welcome to another Feminist Friday! Our favorite part of the week where we get to share our favorite videos of the moment with you. This series was created to share content related to our mission of feminism, female empowerment, and changing the representation of women in the media especially. This week we’ve got not one, but TWO music videos for you, plus a very powerful TED Talk by actress and activist Ashely Judd.

But first, we can’t get enough of the Wild Beasts ‘Alpha Female’ music video featuring a group of girls from the Bengaluru skateboarding community. The video was shot in India by British director Sasha Rainbow who told Dazed magazine in an interview why these girls became the key characters.

“Because of the current political climate in the west and attitudes of intolerance and sexism across the world, I wanted to create a video that celebrates everyone who takes the risk to be themselves. In places like Afghanistan, Cambodia, and India, skating has not been solidified as a male sport and therefore has had a massive cultural impact, teaching values about self-empowerment through skateboarding,” she said.

Also featured in the video is India’s most well-known female skater Atita Verghese, whose TEDx Talk about being a trailblazer in a male-dominated sport, in a conservative culture was a message to all other girls out there that society should never limit who you are and what you want to achieve. That sentiment is certainly captured among the visuals of these ‘Alpha Females’:

At the Women’s March on Washington back in January, Ashley Judd gave one of the most in-your-face speeches from the podium, stating, “I am a naaaaaaaaassty woman!” to rapturous applause. That statement alone, said by Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton in their very last 2016 Presidential debate where she called him out for his shady financial dealings (appropriately) has become a battle cry for women everywhere who are fed up of the patriarchy trying to trample on their rights, roll back the clock of progress, and silence their voices.

One area where women’s voices are louder than ever is online. Social media, blogs, and video platforms have given ordinary people the opportunity to share their opinions and influence change in a way like never before. It has particularly become a huge turning point for women and girls, who historically have easily been drowned out or silenced in favor of more “authoritative” male voices which even today still dominate politics, media, academia and culture.

Yet, along with this newfound democratic space comes the added burden of harassment and abuse, which affects women daily. Women who speak about equal rights and feminism become targets of trolls and stalkers whose intention it is to intimidate them to the point of not speaking out anymore. Ashley Judd has experienced this and spoke about it in the following video. It is telling to note that the description under the Youtube video also addressed not only the content of the talk, but the TED company’s experience with abusive comments.

“In this searching, powerful talk, Ashley Judd recounts her ongoing experience of being terrorized on social media for her unwavering activism and calls on citizens of the internet, the tech community, law enforcement and legislators to recognize the offline harm of online harassment. NOTE: Comments are disabled on this video, because it’s been our experience that comments on talks about online misogyny tend to tempt online misogynists to try even harder to create mindless shock. Unfortunately, YouTube’s comment moderation tools are simply not up to the task. (Yes, we’re calling you out, YouTube.) So for now, if you have something interesting to say about this talk, please jump over to the TED.com version.”

And finally, to end on a positive note, we’re sharing a new music video by Hawaiian singer JoLivi. ‘Love Who You Wanna Love’ is an empowering reminder that, as ‘Hamilton’s’ Lin-Manuel Miranda so eloquently put it, “love is love is love is love”. Although JoLivi’s track isn’t explicitly political, the issue if equal marriage has become a heavily politicized issue thanks to conservative politicians and groups trying to stop the LGBTQ community from being allowed to marry the person they love.

While we are yet to see a bill being proposed and passed under the Trump administration to overturn the historic 2015 Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court decision which made same-sex marriage the law of the land, every day cultural battles are being fought in people’s lives, and this is what JoLivi speaks to.

“With the concept for the video I wanted to show the lyrics through different relationships: gay couple, lesbian couple, and couples of different ethnicities. I also, wanted to show the diversity in age, race, gender, and size… That no matter who we are, where we are from, and what we do or look like, we are all still human and should always treat each other with love and respect,” she told ArtistDirectInterviews.com.

All the people you see in the video are real life couples, some of them being personal friends of JoLivi.

“I am so unbelievably proud of the message this song and video express, and I truly believe that LOVE is so important to spread. Especially with what we are going through right now with a divide in our societies, we must come together, and be who want to be, love who we want to love, and change whatever we feel is necessary,” she added.




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