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Fighting sexism and racism in pop culture

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racismWhat do young women think about the ‘sexualised’ pop culture around them?

And has anyone asked them?

Marai Larai wrote about having asked them in the Huffington Post recently.

Larasi is director of Imkaan, a black feminist organisation dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls, and a co-chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW).

She said that young black and minority ethnic women have consistently voiced their disillusionment and sense of helplessness about the way they are represented in music and other media, have said that they want opportunities to discuss this and to have their concerns addressed.

And as those young women have said, there are powerful racist as well as sexist messages throughout the UK’s media, with black and other minority women ‘exoticised’ in very specific ways.

We’ve all seen it, really.

Any look at or click on porn ads – or even ‘escort’ ads – will feature different women listed by ‘racial’ origin.

Sick stuff, and only a couple of unguarded clicks away.

And, Larasi  pointed out, young people are also aware of the racist-sexist stereotypes being promoted – and profited from.

Many of them want to talk about it and to change it; they are being misrepresented and they want to tell their diverse stories using their own ‘voices’ and their own ‘images’.

Which is why Imkaan, the EVAW Coalition and Object are launching a new multimedia project, funded by Rosa, ‘the UK fund for women and girls’,  which young women will be able to use to build as a platform to highlight and critique sexist and racist music videos.

The project aims to make it possible for young women to speak out – and change attitudes through the use of online resources for UK schools and organisations and  a national lobbying campaign.

A ‘music sexism and racism’ website is to be set up which will include a space for uploading and sharing videos which portray either positive or negative messages.

The website will also include a space for a blog, where young women can write about their experiences and debate relevant issues, and which they will be able to share via Facebook and other social media.

The idea is to encourage users to lobby artists, regulators and the music industry directly about videos or songs that are negative, sexist or racist, or any combination thereof.

And there will also be apps and other communication tools so that complaints can be made directly to regulators such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Ofcom, the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.

Who, one would like to think, had  been keeping an eye on these issues already. But clearly not.

And: has anyone seen any ‘Love Pop Culture Hate Pop Sexism’ artwork? I have not yet found any.

 

 

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