FEMINIST FRIDAY: NJ Teacher Schools Kids On Gender Inequality In Gov’t, Kristen Bell Introduces “Pinksourcing”


It’s fri-yay! That means it’s time for another edition of Feminist Friday. These videos will leave you laughing, cheering and slow-clapping.

When we talk about feminism, it has to be intersectional for us, and it must include men in the conversation, because gender inequality affects them too. Just ask this awesome high school teacher from New Jersey. Nicholas Ferroni is an educational activist and history teacher at Union High School who found a compelling and interactive way to teach his students why gender inequality in our highest level of government matters.

With the latest stats showing our 114th Congress is made up of 80% men and 80% white people, how can the views of these people adequately represent the melting pot of diversity in the United States? Electing more women and minorities into office at EVERY level is important, and we certainly hope to see that happen in the upcoming Presidential election on November 8.

But to bring it down to an everyday tangible perspective, Nicholas conducted an experiment with his class which was made up of 80% girls and 20% boys. They held votes on 3 issues to point out how having one demographic of people making up the dominant number of government leaders can be discriminatory and detrimental to many other people across the country.

Should female students getting 21% discounts on all school-related items? Should male lockers be located on the second floor so female students can avoid harassment? No prizes for guessing how the male students felt when the majority women voted overwhelmingly in favor of the policies designed to suit their needs. Watch below and be inspired by the next generation of American teens who may change the gender status quo in this country’s leadership. Nicholas Ferroni for teacher of the year! #HeForShe

The second video comes to us from a galaxy far, far away…well not quite, but now you know we’re talking about Star Wars. It seems the heightened discussions about including women and girls in Star Wars fandom is clearly being heard, because the creative agency that made this for Target, have gone all out to make sure they don’t represent the cult movie as just a “boy’s thing”.

Titled ‘There’s a Rebel in All Of Us’, the short video includes a young girl who likes dressing up as a Storm Trooper, a male school teacher who uses analogies from the movie to explain Shakespeare to his students, a woman of color and a mother who takes positive lessons and dialog from the film to instill a sense of hope in her son, and a male-female couple who got married with a group of storm troopers lining the aisle, watching their union.

It’s an interesting choice of marketing, but one that we hope will address the major concern regarding ‘Star Wars’ merchandising – the missing Rey action figures.

Michael Arbeiter from Nerdist.com writes that Target has taken advantage of the fact that “Rey was not simply an exciting new female character, but one given textual opportunities not often afforded to women occupying blockbuster fare” and how it is part of a change in popular culture as a whole.

“That something as beheld to mainstream culture as a Target ad is draping itself in a steadily evolving wave of feminism is proof that these ideas are quickly and certainly progressing past the “fringe” margins by which they’ve been forever imprisoned. It’d be outright idiotic to say that xenopobia and gender normativity aren’t pervasive problems today… But if a strong feminist message is what sells these days, we must be doing something right,” he said.

While we do think merchandising and film studios need to continue the progress of making women part of the norms in their representations, it’s easy to see how gender inequality can feel a bit like taking down the Empire.

And sometimes we just need a bit of humor to point out the problems, and remind ourselves that awareness of an important issue is often best disseminated through the medium of comedy.

In episode 1 of a new Huffington Post video series called ‘Celebs Have Issues’, actress Kristen Bell stars in ‘Pinksourcing’, which takes us through the behind-the-scenes of an organization that wants companies to take advantage of women being paid less in the workforce.

It is entirely tongue-in-cheek, of course, but points to the fact that the wage gap exists, women on average are paid 77c to every $1 a man makes, and for black and Latina women it is even less. Similar in style to a corporate video, Kristen also talks about other “benefits” of hiring women, including discriminating against them if they are pregnant and stereotyping them in roles for their gender.

By bringing attention to the wage gap, the US being the only developed nation in the world not to have any form of federally-mandated paid family leave law, and that we are yet to pass the paycheck fairness act thanks to Senate Republicans who have shown they aren’t interested in voting for a bill that would protect the female workforce, the hope is that it will spark discussions about how to change the status quo.

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