Ithacranium is the IC Honors Program blog, created and edited by students. The blog, which originated as a newsletter in spring of 2010, is updated weekly with new and relevant content.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Kayle Belval '13
On Friday, October 5 at 7 pm, I held a screening of “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” in Textor 101. It was a 40-minute screener of a four-hour PBS Independent Lens documentary, which aired in two parts on October 1, and 2.
As a campus ambassador for the Half the Sky movement, part of my role in promoting a campus-wide discussion about gender issues is to show the film. The 40-minute cut was shown because it was given to us at no cost and seemed a much more reasonable amount of time compared to four hours on a Friday night.
“Half the Sky” was co-sponsored by IC Feminists, SAFER, More Than Me and She’s The First, all clubs on Ithaca College’s campus dealing with issues related to those featured in the film. The audience watched as Nicholas Kristof, one of the authors of the book of the same name, traveled to various countries with celebrities to explore gender issues such as sex trafficking, rape, maternal mortality rates, education and economic empowerment.
After the film, there was a discussion of the issues that it displayed and the way in which they were depicted. Some thought that Kristof had no business pointing a finger at these other countries while not at the U.S and acting as a “white savior.” Others thought that the use of celebrities detracted from the stories of the girls that dealt directly with these issues. More questioned why Sheryl WuDunn was not the author depicted in the film. There was also discussion of why there were no strong, supportive male characters from these countries that were shown and why we were not watching a film made by people from one of these countries.
I was taken aback. As someone who read the book two years ago and was deeply affected by its reporting, I did not think that people would voice these issues with a movement dedicated to raising awareness of gender inequality and its solutions. That is the beauty of a college like Ithaca.
Although the screening caused some uncomfortable discussions, they were necessary to see the movement as a whole. I related the information to the other campus ambassadors so that these issues could be a larger part of the screenings held by other schools across the country and in some cases, the globe.
Next Monday and Tuesday, October 29 and 30, Ithaca College is showing the full film in two-hour sections. Thursday, November 1, Sheryl WuDunn is coming to our school to talk about the book and the film as the Difficult Dialogue speaker. The book is available in the bookstore and she will do a signing after the event.
I have the opportunity of meeting WuDunn and addressing these issues with her directly. I get to meet someone who has accomplished so much that I want to model my career after: winning a Pulitzer Prize, writing for the New York Times and exposing gender issues that were not being covered by traditional media outlets. She told the stories of the voiceless women in the countries that she and her husband reported on.
That being said, I hope to see a lot of people in Ford Hall at 7:30 pm next Thursday to see WuDunn speak and challenge her, if they find issues with her experience. The book helped me to see how local organizations can work from the ground up, fighting every institution that they have grown up oppressed by, to help other women. It showed me that media is a good outlet to expose people to social justice issues and that everything I saw implemented in the book, I could do here in the United States. It gave me solutions of education and economic empowerment to help women achieve their goals of a better life. So looking forward, this was only one small step fueling my passion of eliminating gender inequality and seeing the ways in which I could make my contributions better than those who came before me.
For those interested in discussing issues of gender inequality further, IC Feminists meets Mondays at 7 in Friends 205. We are a safe space to discuss how you have been affected by gender differences, as well as solutions to these issues or events that can bring this conversation to a campus-wide audience.
Next » « Previous