Hunt for equality goes viral – 10 feminist videos
I’ve been hugely inspired of late by the fantastic work of Anita Sarkeesian, founder of the fantastic Feminist Frequency site.
A feminist media critic, Sarkeesian has single-handedly broadened my knowledge of representations of women in pop culture.
After losing many, many hours to the site, I began to get really interested in the use of film in the women’s rights movement and, being a person who just loves to share, this post is the result.
Here at WVoN, it’s our mission to showcase the best and worst of media representations of and about women, and you’ll be hearing more from us on this in the weeks to come. This post concentrates on the best feminist virals – which are few and far between.
Viral videos are perhaps most familiar to us now as a form of advertising but, not being known for my love of capitalism and advertising, I’ve become more interested in how they’ve been used to bring about social change.
In the gender justice and women’s rights movement, viral videos have been used in a variety of ways, including as campaign tools, as pieces of art to provoke a response, to raise awareness and even to educate.
Personally, I think the small selection here achieve some if not all of these aims, but don’t take my word for it, share your thoughts in the comments box – that’s what it’s for, folks.
First up, who better to kick off our list than Sarkeesian herself, with her viral on the Bechdel test. She explains how low this test sets the bar and highlights the many films that fail it.
If you love this, then you have to, Have To, HAVE TO check out Feminist Frequency’s Tropes vs Women series of six videos, which starts here
Next up is a fresh take on Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance – both the video and the song – rewritten to educate viewers about women’s fight for the vote in the United States.
The quality of this video is fantastic and I seriously hope this gets used in classes in the USA – if anyone has an equivalent for the UK, let me know.
Femigeeks amongst you, Well Done, Sister Suffragette from Mary Poppins is not the same though remains a firm favourite of mine.
This fantastic viral video from Engender, Scotland brings us a Superhero for women (that you’ve probably never heard of). Not only does this viral video appeal to my superhero, graphic novel-loving bad self, but also provides yet another reason for me to wish I was Scottish.
I’m a huge fan of the No Women, No Peace campaign from the GAPS network, which I think has taken great strides, if not flying leaps, to helping women in the West develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing women across the world who are living with conflict.
For these women, being heard is a huge hurdle in their fight for freedom and justice and this viral captures that perfectly.
I had never heard of the Girl Effect campaign – organised by a diverse coalition of organisations and projects from the Nike Foundation to the UN – until I saw this video and clicked through.
This viral highlights the importance of equal rights for women and the impact that our failing to achieve this has upon not only women, but the whole world. And any campaign site that opens with ‘The world could use a kick in the pants’ is a winner with me.
I haven’t been able to track down much information on this viral mashup by Erin Richardson, but one of the many things I love is its focus on the impact of the media in creating a dangerous body image for boys and girl, men and women.
This viral does what viral videos often do best – subvert existing material, in this case the original video ‘Shit Girls Say’, which IMHO is nowhere near as funny or relevant as this one. This is just one example of the fantastic work of Chesca Leigh and if you haven’t already, you should definitely check out more of her work.
Unlike Shakespeare, I can’t possibly count the many ways in which I LOVE this viral video for Stop the Traffik.
Simply put, it took my breath away and I’m betting the shooting of this one had a pretty powerful effect on the many passers by in Amsterdam’s red light district that night.
I wouldn’t have believed that a viral video could have a club hooting with laughter in one moment and stunned to absolute silence the next.
That is, until this video from the End Violence Against Women campaign We are Man was played at last year’s White Ribbon Comedy Night in Portsmouth, and I saw it to do exactly that. Aimed at drawing attention to the so-called ‘banter’ of lad culture, this one’s a stunner.
This last viral is one of my favourites. Not only was I not this cool at 13 years, I’m still not this cool now. “How awesome would it be to change the actions of just one person?
Simple actions can have the biggest impact” says Sarah in her viral video, which not only neatly sums up her video but the benefits of viral videos more broadly.
So, what’s your favourite video, and more importantly, have I missed any out?
Answers in the comments box please…
Writer’s note: More than a passing nod goes to the journal Transformative Works and Cultures online article on the history of video mashups, which came to my attention thanks to Feminist Frequency’s Facebook page.